Monday, August 10, 2009

Pragmatic argumentation

I read Chad Fowler's The Passionate Programmer this weekend. All in all a pretty good book which I recommend. Remaining from the previous edition however is one of my least favorite paragraphs in the book.

In his essay "Great Hackers", Paul Graham annoyed the industry with the assertion that Java programmers aren't as smart as Python programmers. He made a lot of stupid Java programmers mad (did I say that?), causing a lot of them to write counterarguments on their websites. The violent reaction indicates that he touched a nerve.

So if, purely for the sake of argument mind, I claimed that "Chad Fowler is a racist" (he's not) and he got really upset about it, his reaction is an indication that I am on to something? No, only if you are on the level of a tabloid journalist. If you come with a hurtful accusation and people get really upset, that is an indication you are being a dick.

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