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No no, I said ‘critical examination’

Posted on December 6, 2007, in Philosophy, Programming

The expected tripe has rolled in after my previous post was publicised on reddit (thanks gst whoever you are ;)).

Here are some of the wonderful accusations:

What a controlling, elitist piece of shit. Worthless article.

Elitist? I’ll accept that and so what? There is nothing wrong with elitism; in fact, I encourage it. Of course, bragging about it publicly is a little distasteful, but that was never the intention. Controlling? I seem to have controlled you, but nobody else. What else can I say? The response is full of gems of insight!

What else did you expect? It is Tony Morris, after all.

Ever heard the term, Ad Hominem fallacy? Such… a critical examination, um, yeah.

…here we have a Haskell zealot…

WTF? I use many languages, one of which is Haskell, but certainly nothing that could be described as ‘zealous’. This seems to be an outright statement of ‘I have tricked myself into describing something other than reality’, since I find absolutely no evidence to support it.

…banned Java from his 6 year-old son’s computer, lest it pollutes his mind. And then he criticises people for being closed-minded!

I concede on this one and should have made my point clear. I have no intention of hiding Java from my son indefinitely. I’m not going to show him a horror film until he a sound moral basis to conduct himself with his peers for the same reason that I will not show him Java until he has a sound basis with which to apply reason and understands the foundations of what it is he is doing (programming).

Well I think we’ve all seen this kind of attitude to some extent, but it all seems to proliferate quite extensively from the ivory towers of academia, i.e. the functional programming community.

They look down on other people who dirty their hands doing “real work” instead of spending time worrying about how pure their language is.

This one is a classic! First, I’d like to dissolve the apparent rift between ‘the functional programmers’ and ‘the imperative programmers’. There simply is no clear distinction and it’s a pointless exercise anyway. Second, I am a member of both communities.

Finally, I’d like you to describe for me what “real work” is. Is it repeating yourself indefinitely because your programming language demands it? No really, I’m asking for a formal definition that we can have a discussion about. You do realise that almost all of Java’s language features started off in “the academic world” (i.e. someone though of a clever idea) and were subsequently perverted before finalising in a JSR (i.e. they were dumbed down to appeal to the masses), right? The results of these JSR teams are merely acts of intellectual fraud. I wish they gave public tours of these circuses so you could see for yourself.

So Tony hangs around mediocre programmers. Big deal.

Perhaps I do, but there is no evidence supporting this position. I have only described quite a small subset of all programmers that I could potentially know of. I think that most people only know one language, but I could be mistaken (from the samples I have anyway). i.e. Java, C#, VB, C, etc. are all the same language under this description. How many people do you know who look to advanced languages for insight?

He only hit the grey mass of average programmers. These used to program in C++ and Visual Basic, and before that in FORTRAN. This grey mass of programmers never have in depth knowledge of the programming language or tools they are using, and are too intelectually lazy to actually learn it. I don’t think java create this kind of guys, but it seems to have the qualities that attracts them.

On a positive note, this response is one that I have not considered enough to my own satisfaction and I thank that respondent for it! ;) Specifically, the response that Java may not create self-delusion, but attracts those who seek it. I’ll have to think about it some more, thanks again.

Thanks for some of the other positive responses that attempt to refute my argument (read: outburst of frustration) with a rational response, it is most appreciated. THINK