Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?

Expand Messages
  • Shlomi Fish
    Hi Ido! ... OK. Sorry to hear that. Do you know what were the reasons for you receiving such bad grades? You seem like a smart guy, regardless of your other
    Message 1 of 28 , Mar 24, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Hi Ido!

      On Friday 23 March 2007, ik wrote:
      > Well, I'm one of the people that never had any collage/university degree.
      > Just to let you understand, I tried to learn at the open university
      > (here in Israel), but my while my work didn't went bellow 90, my exams
      > didn't raised above 30 ...
      >

      OK. Sorry to hear that. Do you know what were the reasons for you receiving
      such bad grades? You seem like a smart guy, regardless of your other faults.

      > However, in my current work place (as one example), I was able in my
      > first month to create a program for a customer in a subject I had no
      > past knowledge or experience prior to that month.
      > After the first month (although I still keep on learning the subject),
      > I was able to start and explaining things to others at my work place,
      > and understood better what they are talking about.
      >
      > I try to place my programs (that I do on my "free" time) on the
      > Internet as open source projects, so many people can see what I can
      > do, so you can see what I'm capable of doing without any proper
      > education.

      That's a good strategy.

      >
      > But the problem is that most places are narrow minded, and can't see
      > anything, nor decide without a "proper" degree on your hands. I wish
      > to remind you that such a degree cost a lot of money, but does not
      > give you any real knowledge (yes, it is like anything else, arguable

      Well, I felt that studying EE at the Technion gave me a lot of important
      background and knowledge. I understood for exmample, why it is a good to keep
      related information close to each other in memory or on the disk, and many
      other things. I also understood how computers work, down to the
      semiconductors' level, which is pretty useless for most higher-level
      engineers (where "higher"-level is Verilog/VHDL chip design and above) and
      learned a lot of math, computer science, electronics and to a lesser extent
      physics. It was also a very good brain exercise.

      Like I said in my original essay:

      http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/opinion-on-the-technion/

      The Technion gives one mostly foundations and basic stuff. Or if it does not,
      its material can be a bit out-of-date, at least in regards to things I was
      familiar with. So I believe saying it does not teach you anything is a
      hyperbole, if not a complete overstatement of the case. Maybe it's true to
      Computer Science studies, but it's certainly not the case for Electrical
      Engineering.

      One course I was impressed from was "Structure and Interpreation of Computer
      Programs":

      http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/

      It was given by the EE department (not by CS) by a professor who studied in
      MIT. I believe it and its exercises taught good programming and modular
      design, and many elements of programming languages. It's not a good
      introductory course (too abstract and impractical), but it's a good one for
      second semester or afterwards.

      >
      > :))
      >
      > Few years ago, I made an experiment that it's result where very scary
      > on my hands:
      > I gave the same amount of people without any university degree and
      > people with a university degree to do the same "task" for a real life
      > problem I had, when I wrote a program (using Perl). The result as I
      > said where really scary:
      >
      > The people without any degree had various solutions for the problem,
      > when all of them where written in a very simple way, and wrote
      > maintainable code.
      >
      > All the people with a computer degree solved the problem in the same
      > way ! where some of them even asked for directions such as "what am I
      > allowed to do, and what am I not allowed to do ?" and few other such
      > questions. Where the result ended up as unmaintainable code, that did
      > the job, but was inefficient code if I compare it to real life product
      > that needs to be maintainable by more then one developer.

      Well, I think the problem is that many people arrive at universities without
      proper experience in programming on their own. So they try to digest what the
      university teach them (in a demanding way that requires investing a lot of
      time, and often using the wrong languages, tools and platforms). One of the
      reasons I did not study CS was because I knew that I couldn't become a better
      programmer by going to a university. So it would have just been an excuse to
      learn Mathematics and to get a Bachelor degree so workplaces will like me. If
      I really wanted to learn Math then the Math department would be the way to
      go. Of course, from my experience with it, I don't think I would have
      survived there, with the "work-only-in-singles" and "exams-with-no-material"
      dogmas, which are less common in EE, CS and other engineering degrees.

      Perhaps the most enlighetening diploma would be in humane studies like
      philosophy. But this has a repuatation for being the easiest diploma. Law
      also involves a lot of philosophy, but I find it boring, and redundant.

      >
      > In my opinion the way schools and universities teaches us, is the way
      > of "mass production", where you must remember things rather then
      > knowing them.

      That's not true for EE in the technion, and I believe neither for CS there.
      People there are required to understand the material. Usually, they can bring
      books, notes and calculators to the exams, and still have to think a lot.

      > For example babies learn how to walk by falling all the
      > time, until they learn how to place balance to their feet, but for
      > that they need their feet to get longer.
      > The same is for eyes. The light arrives to our eyes come upside down,
      > that is what existed up, is appearing down, and what is down appears
      > above. It's our brain that rotate the image to be straight forward,
      > but it does it from trial and error when we are babies.
      > And I can continue to give examples for trial and errors such
      > learning, but our society is using the "Prussian education system",
      > where you must be a robot and remember things, rather then knowing
      > them. The education system made the error as something bad, that
      > claims that people that does not understand or remember and make
      > mistakes as "stupid" people, that at the end does not deserve to be
      > part of the successful society.
      >

      This reminds me of Feynman's ciritique of the Brazilian Physics education
      system in his book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman":

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surely_You're_Joking,_Mr._Feynman!

      Basically he said the books tought a lot of statements, which the students
      learned by heart (very well) but were completely unable to do anything with.
      He compared it with an educated Greek man, who grew up in Greek, where
      everyone study Ancient Greek and literature and nobody takes it seriously, to
      a place where Greek is holy. He asks a student to tell him what Socrates said
      about democracy, and the student is unable to tell him. Then he asks him to
      say the part where he said it and the student recites it in beautiful Greek.
      [1]

      I disagree with what you say that pure trial and error is the best way to
      learn when being more mature. I'd had to learn about self-balancing binary
      trees, hashes and other data structures, and an algorithm I came by myself
      for topological sort (or package depenedncy resolution) was shown in class a
      week later, but turned out to have a more efficient alternative. Or at high
      school I thought of a sorting algorithm and thought of insertion sort,
      instead of Quick Sort, Merge Sort or Heap Sort. As one of Nadav's signatures
      read: "Always learn from other people's mistakes. You won't have time to do
      them all yourself.". You can learn a lot from existing CS, Math and Physics
      literature.

      If you invent your own wheel, you'll understand much better how a wheel works,
      and may have a slim chance of inventing a better wheel. But you may also
      invent a square wheel. So I suggest you try to think of a programming problem
      yourself, and then try to ask around or research it.

      > Well I'm one of these people that the education system thinks that
      > they can't read or write (not to talk about the fact that I know 4
      > human languages that most of them I learned on my own).

      Maybe it was just the open university. Perhaps you'd like the Technion better.

      >
      > So how employers can know if someone is good for work for them ? If
      > you ask this question, then you don't believe in the power of open
      > source.
      > People that work on their own time in the subject that they suppose to
      > work at, are much better candidate then the one's that only expect
      > that a diploma/degree will open them a door.
      > If you will look at people that do wish to learn and expand their
      > minds into additional knowledge as better candidates as people that
      > are close minded. So please update the way you look at things, and you
      > will find a new world.
      >

      I agree and said so in the original article:

      http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/opinion-on-the-technion/

      Some people who did not go to university eventually earn enough expertise and
      prestige, to become successful enterpreneurs, consultants/contractors, etc. A
      good example is Randal L. Schwartz, who is the author of several Perl books,
      a Perl contributor, and who I think know Perl (and Perl technologies much
      more so) better than Larry Wall, and knows UNIX inside and out:

      http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/

      However, many people also regret not going to university to get a degree. And
      if you want to work in a large Research Department, you normally need a
      Ph.D., and from what I know, from very good reasons.

      A Technion graduate in Electrical Engineering with an average of 70% (very
      low) is well and above the average intelligence. You cannot survive there
      without being exceptionally bright.

      One of my roommates, was very fond of logic and math riddles and was quite
      good at it ("That's what kept me through the army."), but he still found the
      studies from the third semester onward too hard. And I told him it doesn't
      get much easier. So he was bright and intelligent, but again had an issue,
      that made him unsuitable there. He may actually make a very good programmer
      or Electrical Engineer, but he won't be a Technion graduate, at least not
      probably without making himself more prepared somehow. I don't believe in
      Fatalism.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      > Ido
      >

      [1] - I often feel the same about Bible studies in Israel vs. in many
      Christian countries or by non-Israeli Jews who don't understand Hebrew.
      Israelis Jews study the Bible in its original language and writing, for 10 or
      so years, and are heavily exposed to it in the culture and literature. And we
      still speak a very similar language on a day to day basis.

      Recently, a Christian British correspondant I talked with about King David
      asked if it was he who killed Goliath or it was Samson. And the "David vs.
      Goliath" paradigm is present in English as well. I have yet to see a
      translation of the Bible to English that does not mutilate it completely.
      Don't take me wrong - even a translation of the Bible to contemporary Hebrew
      will lose most of the beauty. And I've seen some good Hebrew->English or vice
      versa translations.

      One of the themes on my blog is discussing the Bible, Hebrew, and Arabic and
      debunking some myths.

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
      Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

      If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
      one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
      -- An Israeli Linuxer
    • Nir Simionovich
      Hi All, Wow, this one even has me coming out of the bleachers, so I ll give my 2cents on the issue. I believe it is fairly easy for me to comment, as I had
      Message 2 of 28 , Mar 24, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi All,

        Wow, this one even has me coming out of the bleachers, so I'll give my
        2cents on the issue. I believe it is fairly easy for me to comment, as I had
        studied in the Technion for a period of time, however, hadn't completed my
        degree there.

        I believe the main issue with academic studies is: academic studies gives
        you structures, paradigms and most importantly - some form of order.
        However, at the same time, most people become somewhat fixated to these
        methodologies of problem solving, resulting in the ability to produce a
        predictable result - every time. However, anything you learn in the academic
        world, can be learned in a real-life scenario, just from using some form of
        deductive reasoning, or just simple common sense. Some of the most complex
        problems are solved with a very simple, sometimes stupidly simple, solution.


        As an employer, I can surely say that for some roles I would rather take a
        person with a degree, while other roles require someone who has none. When
        taking somebody to work inside a large team, I would rather take someone
        with a degree, as I know that they are "programmed" to do what they are
        told, and their paradigms are well known and fairly predictable. When a role
        requires a somewhat of a "lone gun-man" approach, I would prefer a
        non-academic background, as this approach requires "out-of-the-box"
        thinking, an ability to go beyond the paradigms and in some cases, breaking
        a rule or two along the way.

        I think that there is no rule or thumb saying what is better, or
        preferred. I think that one of the guys here had a signature that said: "In
        a world without border, who needs gates?", so, I'll paraphrase this into:
        "In a world where rules are rewritten daily, who can rely on a paradigm?"

        Just my 2c on the subject.

        Nir S

        -----Original Message-----
        From: hackers-il@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hackers-il@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of Shlomi Fish
        Sent: Saturday, March 24, 2007 3:09 PM
        To: perl@...
        Cc: ik; Hackers-IL
        Subject: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?

        Hi Ido!

        On Friday 23 March 2007, ik wrote:
        > Well, I'm one of the people that never had any collage/university degree.
        > Just to let you understand, I tried to learn at the open university
        > (here in Israel), but my while my work didn't went bellow 90, my exams
        > didn't raised above 30 ...
        >

        OK. Sorry to hear that. Do you know what were the reasons for you receiving
        such bad grades? You seem like a smart guy, regardless of your other faults.

        > However, in my current work place (as one example), I was able in my
        > first month to create a program for a customer in a subject I had no
        > past knowledge or experience prior to that month.
        > After the first month (although I still keep on learning the subject),
        > I was able to start and explaining things to others at my work place,
        > and understood better what they are talking about.
        >
        > I try to place my programs (that I do on my "free" time) on the
        > Internet as open source projects, so many people can see what I can
        > do, so you can see what I'm capable of doing without any proper
        > education.

        That's a good strategy.

        >
        > But the problem is that most places are narrow minded, and can't see
        > anything, nor decide without a "proper" degree on your hands. I wish
        > to remind you that such a degree cost a lot of money, but does not
        > give you any real knowledge (yes, it is like anything else, arguable

        Well, I felt that studying EE at the Technion gave me a lot of important
        background and knowledge. I understood for exmample, why it is a good to
        keep
        related information close to each other in memory or on the disk, and many
        other things. I also understood how computers work, down to the
        semiconductors' level, which is pretty useless for most higher-level
        engineers (where "higher"-level is Verilog/VHDL chip design and above) and
        learned a lot of math, computer science, electronics and to a lesser extent
        physics. It was also a very good brain exercise.

        Like I said in my original essay:

        http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/opinion-on-the-tech
        nion/

        The Technion gives one mostly foundations and basic stuff. Or if it does
        not,
        its material can be a bit out-of-date, at least in regards to things I was
        familiar with. So I believe saying it does not teach you anything is a
        hyperbole, if not a complete overstatement of the case. Maybe it's true to
        Computer Science studies, but it's certainly not the case for Electrical
        Engineering.

        One course I was impressed from was "Structure and Interpreation of Computer

        Programs":

        http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/

        It was given by the EE department (not by CS) by a professor who studied in
        MIT. I believe it and its exercises taught good programming and modular
        design, and many elements of programming languages. It's not a good
        introductory course (too abstract and impractical), but it's a good one for
        second semester or afterwards.

        >
        > :))
        >
        > Few years ago, I made an experiment that it's result where very scary
        > on my hands:
        > I gave the same amount of people without any university degree and
        > people with a university degree to do the same "task" for a real life
        > problem I had, when I wrote a program (using Perl). The result as I
        > said where really scary:
        >
        > The people without any degree had various solutions for the problem,
        > when all of them where written in a very simple way, and wrote
        > maintainable code.
        >
        > All the people with a computer degree solved the problem in the same
        > way ! where some of them even asked for directions such as "what am I
        > allowed to do, and what am I not allowed to do ?" and few other such
        > questions. Where the result ended up as unmaintainable code, that did
        > the job, but was inefficient code if I compare it to real life product
        > that needs to be maintainable by more then one developer.

        Well, I think the problem is that many people arrive at universities without

        proper experience in programming on their own. So they try to digest what
        the
        university teach them (in a demanding way that requires investing a lot of
        time, and often using the wrong languages, tools and platforms). One of the
        reasons I did not study CS was because I knew that I couldn't become a
        better
        programmer by going to a university. So it would have just been an excuse to

        learn Mathematics and to get a Bachelor degree so workplaces will like me.
        If
        I really wanted to learn Math then the Math department would be the way to
        go. Of course, from my experience with it, I don't think I would have
        survived there, with the "work-only-in-singles" and "exams-with-no-material"

        dogmas, which are less common in EE, CS and other engineering degrees.

        Perhaps the most enlighetening diploma would be in humane studies like
        philosophy. But this has a repuatation for being the easiest diploma. Law
        also involves a lot of philosophy, but I find it boring, and redundant.

        >
        > In my opinion the way schools and universities teaches us, is the way
        > of "mass production", where you must remember things rather then
        > knowing them.

        That's not true for EE in the technion, and I believe neither for CS there.
        People there are required to understand the material. Usually, they can
        bring
        books, notes and calculators to the exams, and still have to think a lot.

        > For example babies learn how to walk by falling all the
        > time, until they learn how to place balance to their feet, but for
        > that they need their feet to get longer.
        > The same is for eyes. The light arrives to our eyes come upside down,
        > that is what existed up, is appearing down, and what is down appears
        > above. It's our brain that rotate the image to be straight forward,
        > but it does it from trial and error when we are babies.
        > And I can continue to give examples for trial and errors such
        > learning, but our society is using the "Prussian education system",
        > where you must be a robot and remember things, rather then knowing
        > them. The education system made the error as something bad, that
        > claims that people that does not understand or remember and make
        > mistakes as "stupid" people, that at the end does not deserve to be
        > part of the successful society.
        >

        This reminds me of Feynman's ciritique of the Brazilian Physics education
        system in his book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman":

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surely_You're_Joking,_Mr._Feynman!

        Basically he said the books tought a lot of statements, which the students
        learned by heart (very well) but were completely unable to do anything with.

        He compared it with an educated Greek man, who grew up in Greek, where
        everyone study Ancient Greek and literature and nobody takes it seriously,
        to
        a place where Greek is holy. He asks a student to tell him what Socrates
        said
        about democracy, and the student is unable to tell him. Then he asks him to
        say the part where he said it and the student recites it in beautiful Greek.
        [1]

        I disagree with what you say that pure trial and error is the best way to
        learn when being more mature. I'd had to learn about self-balancing binary
        trees, hashes and other data structures, and an algorithm I came by myself
        for topological sort (or package depenedncy resolution) was shown in class a

        week later, but turned out to have a more efficient alternative. Or at high
        school I thought of a sorting algorithm and thought of insertion sort,
        instead of Quick Sort, Merge Sort or Heap Sort. As one of Nadav's signatures

        read: "Always learn from other people's mistakes. You won't have time to do
        them all yourself.". You can learn a lot from existing CS, Math and Physics
        literature.

        If you invent your own wheel, you'll understand much better how a wheel
        works,
        and may have a slim chance of inventing a better wheel. But you may also
        invent a square wheel. So I suggest you try to think of a programming
        problem
        yourself, and then try to ask around or research it.

        > Well I'm one of these people that the education system thinks that
        > they can't read or write (not to talk about the fact that I know 4
        > human languages that most of them I learned on my own).

        Maybe it was just the open university. Perhaps you'd like the Technion
        better.

        >
        > So how employers can know if someone is good for work for them ? If
        > you ask this question, then you don't believe in the power of open
        > source.
        > People that work on their own time in the subject that they suppose to
        > work at, are much better candidate then the one's that only expect
        > that a diploma/degree will open them a door.
        > If you will look at people that do wish to learn and expand their
        > minds into additional knowledge as better candidates as people that
        > are close minded. So please update the way you look at things, and you
        > will find a new world.
        >

        I agree and said so in the original article:

        http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/opinion-on-the-tech
        nion/

        Some people who did not go to university eventually earn enough expertise
        and
        prestige, to become successful enterpreneurs, consultants/contractors, etc.
        A
        good example is Randal L. Schwartz, who is the author of several Perl books,

        a Perl contributor, and who I think know Perl (and Perl technologies much
        more so) better than Larry Wall, and knows UNIX inside and out:

        http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/

        However, many people also regret not going to university to get a degree.
        And
        if you want to work in a large Research Department, you normally need a
        Ph.D., and from what I know, from very good reasons.

        A Technion graduate in Electrical Engineering with an average of 70% (very
        low) is well and above the average intelligence. You cannot survive there
        without being exceptionally bright.

        One of my roommates, was very fond of logic and math riddles and was quite
        good at it ("That's what kept me through the army."), but he still found the

        studies from the third semester onward too hard. And I told him it doesn't
        get much easier. So he was bright and intelligent, but again had an issue,
        that made him unsuitable there. He may actually make a very good programmer
        or Electrical Engineer, but he won't be a Technion graduate, at least not
        probably without making himself more prepared somehow. I don't believe in
        Fatalism.

        Regards,

        Shlomi Fish

        > Ido
        >

        [1] - I often feel the same about Bible studies in Israel vs. in many
        Christian countries or by non-Israeli Jews who don't understand Hebrew.
        Israelis Jews study the Bible in its original language and writing, for 10
        or
        so years, and are heavily exposed to it in the culture and literature. And
        we
        still speak a very similar language on a day to day basis.

        Recently, a Christian British correspondant I talked with about King David
        asked if it was he who killed Goliath or it was Samson. And the "David vs.
        Goliath" paradigm is present in English as well. I have yet to see a
        translation of the Bible to English that does not mutilate it completely.
        Don't take me wrong - even a translation of the Bible to contemporary Hebrew

        will lose most of the beauty. And I've seen some good Hebrew->English or
        vice
        versa translations.

        One of the themes on my blog is discussing the Bible, Hebrew, and Arabic and

        debunking some myths.

        ---------------------------------------------------------------------
        Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
        Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

        If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
        one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
        -- An Israeli Linuxer



        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • Arik Baratz
        ... Hey Nir, You re being very stereotypical. You re assigning properties to people s character based on their education. I would say that there are good
        Message 3 of 28 , Mar 24, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          On 3/24/07, Nir Simionovich <nirs@...> wrote:

          > As an employer, I can surely say that for some roles I would rather take a
          > person with a degree, while other roles require someone who has none. When
          > taking somebody to work inside a large team, I would rather take someone
          > with a degree, as I know that they are "programmed" to do what they are
          > told, and their paradigms are well known and fairly predictable. When a role
          > requires a somewhat of a "lone gun-man" approach, I would prefer a
          > non-academic background, as this approach requires "out-of-the-box"
          > thinking, an ability to go beyond the paradigms and in some cases, breaking
          > a rule or two along the way.

          Hey Nir,

          You're being very stereotypical. You're assigning properties to
          people's character based on their education.

          I would say that there are good people and excellent people. The good
          people can benefit from higher education (by learning to treat
          problems in a structured way), and the excellent people cannot be
          ruined by higher education, and can sometimes benefit from it.

          I can say that I have benefited from my Technion experience (I'm a CS
          BA). I've learned, mostly, humility. I used to be able to just wing it
          in high school, to the extent that I would read the response to my
          homework from a blank page, doing it in my head as I pretended to
          read. The Technion is the first place that challenged me in a major
          way and taught me that winging it is not enough, that sometimes it
          does pay to sit down for a moment and do structured work.

          It has nothing to do with being a "lone gunman" or thinking outside
          the box or bending some rules to a well-calculated pre-breakage point.
          This is where you need someone excellent, regardless of education.

          Being able to both think outside the box AND enjoy the benefits of
          structured work is even better. What's more, higher education gives
          you a common language spoken by the top people in our industry, and as
          you well know, communication is sometimes as important as mad skillz.

          To sum it up: The people who "do what they're told" and are programmed
          with paradigms are good, and they probably benefited from higher
          education. They probably made a wise choice. The people who are
          excellent, might be refined by higher education but you can't take
          that edge away from them.

          I have a lot of examples to show you of both kinds of people,
          including people we both know.

          -- Arik
        • Micha Feigin
          On 24 Mar 2007 06:14:53 -0700 ... It s not true that a degree gives you no real knowledge. Far from it. One of the big problems with people who are self taught
          Message 4 of 28 , Mar 25, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            On 24 Mar 2007 06:14:53 -0700
            Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:

            > Hi Ido!
            >
            > On Friday 23 March 2007, ik wrote:
            > > Well, I'm one of the people that never had any collage/university degree.
            > > Just to let you understand, I tried to learn at the open university
            > > (here in Israel), but my while my work didn't went bellow 90, my exams
            > > didn't raised above 30 ...
            > >
            >
            > OK. Sorry to hear that. Do you know what were the reasons for you receiving
            > such bad grades? You seem like a smart guy, regardless of your other faults.
            >
            > > However, in my current work place (as one example), I was able in my
            > > first month to create a program for a customer in a subject I had no
            > > past knowledge or experience prior to that month.
            > > After the first month (although I still keep on learning the subject),
            > > I was able to start and explaining things to others at my work place,
            > > and understood better what they are talking about.
            > >
            > > I try to place my programs (that I do on my "free" time) on the
            > > Internet as open source projects, so many people can see what I can
            > > do, so you can see what I'm capable of doing without any proper
            > > education.
            >
            > That's a good strategy.
            >
            > >
            > > But the problem is that most places are narrow minded, and can't see
            > > anything, nor decide without a "proper" degree on your hands. I wish
            > > to remind you that such a degree cost a lot of money, but does not
            > > give you any real knowledge (yes, it is like anything else, arguable
            >

            It's not true that a degree gives you no real knowledge. Far from it. One of
            the big problems with people who are self taught computer programmers is that a
            lot of them of no notion of software engineering and design, design by
            contract, group collaboration, proper commenting etc. (the problem is that you
            can finish your degree with no notion on how to turn on a computer, but that is
            another issue).

            Add to that the problem of having to handle possible upwards of a couple
            hundred application requests a month, which requires some intermediate
            filtering because interviewing and testing new applicants also costs a lot of
            money (you need to pay a knowledged interviewer who could have done actual work
            otherwise).

            A university degree with a minimal grade gives some indication that the person
            has at least minimal theoretical and practical experience, hopefully some
            intelligence and the ability to learn.

            Due to the amount of applicants they latch onto the one filter they have that
            indicates something in order to lighten the load.

            > Well, I felt that studying EE at the Technion gave me a lot of important
            > background and knowledge. I understood for exmample, why it is a good to keep
            > related information close to each other in memory or on the disk, and many
            > other things. I also understood how computers work, down to the
            > semiconductors' level, which is pretty useless for most higher-level
            > engineers (where "higher"-level is Verilog/VHDL chip design and above) and
            > learned a lot of math, computer science, electronics and to a lesser extent
            > physics. It was also a very good brain exercise.
            >

            Beside the brain exercise it does give you some background understanding that
            can be useful, depending on where you end up (from personal experience, I
            didn't think I'd need computer structure for being a software person but that
            turned out false).

            And the brain exercise can be a good thing in itself.

            > Like I said in my original essay:
            >
            > http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/opinion-on-the-technion/
            >
            > The Technion gives one mostly foundations and basic stuff. Or if it does not,
            > its material can be a bit out-of-date, at least in regards to things I was
            > familiar with. So I believe saying it does not teach you anything is a
            > hyperbole, if not a complete overstatement of the case. Maybe it's true to
            > Computer Science studies, but it's certainly not the case for Electrical
            > Engineering.
            >

            It does give you the tools however to learn and _understand_ whatever tools you
            later need.

            > One course I was impressed from was "Structure and Interpreation of Computer
            > Programs":
            >
            > http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/
            >
            > It was given by the EE department (not by CS) by a professor who studied in
            > MIT. I believe it and its exercises taught good programming and modular
            > design, and many elements of programming languages. It's not a good
            > introductory course (too abstract and impractical), but it's a good one for
            > second semester or afterwards.
            >

            They just started with that course instead of pascal in TAU when I started. I
            also read the book afterwards.

            Its a great course about programing techniques, but I believe you need some
            programing background to get the most out of it, and at least at the time they
            made it more into a course on lisp instead of programing ideas.

            The book is worth a read in my opinion even later on. It's got some nice ideas.

            > >
            > > :))
            > >
            > > Few years ago, I made an experiment that it's result where very scary
            > > on my hands:
            > > I gave the same amount of people without any university degree and
            > > people with a university degree to do the same "task" for a real life
            > > problem I had, when I wrote a program (using Perl). The result as I
            > > said where really scary:
            > >
            > > The people without any degree had various solutions for the problem,
            > > when all of them where written in a very simple way, and wrote
            > > maintainable code.
            > >
            > > All the people with a computer degree solved the problem in the same
            > > way ! where some of them even asked for directions such as "what am I
            > > allowed to do, and what am I not allowed to do ?" and few other such
            > > questions. Where the result ended up as unmaintainable code, that did
            > > the job, but was inefficient code if I compare it to real life product
            > > that needs to be maintainable by more then one developer.
            >

            My experience is usually the opposite.

            > Well, I think the problem is that many people arrive at universities without
            > proper experience in programming on their own. So they try to digest what the
            > university teach them (in a demanding way that requires investing a lot of
            > time, and often using the wrong languages, tools and platforms). One of the
            > reasons I did not study CS was because I knew that I couldn't become a better
            > programmer by going to a university. So it would have just been an excuse to
            > learn Mathematics and to get a Bachelor degree so workplaces will like me. If
            > I really wanted to learn Math then the Math department would be the way to
            > go. Of course, from my experience with it, I don't think I would have
            > survived there, with the "work-only-in-singles" and "exams-with-no-material"
            > dogmas, which are less common in EE, CS and other engineering degrees.
            >
            > Perhaps the most enlighetening diploma would be in humane studies like
            > philosophy. But this has a repuatation for being the easiest diploma. Law
            > also involves a lot of philosophy, but I find it boring, and redundant.
            >
            > >
            > > In my opinion the way schools and universities teaches us, is the way
            > > of "mass production", where you must remember things rather then
            > > knowing them.
            >
            > That's not true for EE in the technion, and I believe neither for CS there.
            > People there are required to understand the material. Usually, they can bring
            > books, notes and calculators to the exams, and still have to think a lot.
            >

            From current teaching experience, a good test makes all the books, notes and
            calculators redundant. Usually people who get the highest grades need the notes
            at most to remember the exact formulation of the formulas.

            Earlier courses may be a bit mass production, at least in michlalot, but
            anything past that requires understanding.

            > > For example babies learn how to walk by falling all the
            > > time, until they learn how to place balance to their feet, but for
            > > that they need their feet to get longer.
            > > The same is for eyes. The light arrives to our eyes come upside down,
            > > that is what existed up, is appearing down, and what is down appears
            > > above. It's our brain that rotate the image to be straight forward,
            > > but it does it from trial and error when we are babies.
            > > And I can continue to give examples for trial and errors such
            > > learning, but our society is using the "Prussian education system",
            > > where you must be a robot and remember things, rather then knowing
            > > them. The education system made the error as something bad, that
            > > claims that people that does not understand or remember and make
            > > mistakes as "stupid" people, that at the end does not deserve to be
            > > part of the successful society.
            > >

            There is a CS theorem that says that you can't have a methodical method to
            create proofs (basic logic courses). The result is that you teach people how
            to prove things the same ways babies learn to walk or see. You show them a lot
            of proofs and try to explain the logic behind them, hoping that at some point
            the students will understand the ideas but be able to construct new ones by
            themselves. Along the way you also try to give the tools of the trade.

            I am a mathematician, but it EE and CS are somewhat similar (and I believe they
            are) you rather missed the whole point of the studies.

            >
            > This reminds me of Feynman's ciritique of the Brazilian Physics education
            > system in his book "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman":
            >
            > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surely_You're_Joking,_Mr._Feynman!
            >
            > Basically he said the books tought a lot of statements, which the students
            > learned by heart (very well) but were completely unable to do anything with.
            > He compared it with an educated Greek man, who grew up in Greek, where
            > everyone study Ancient Greek and literature and nobody takes it seriously, to
            > a place where Greek is holy. He asks a student to tell him what Socrates said
            > about democracy, and the student is unable to tell him. Then he asks him to
            > say the part where he said it and the student recites it in beautiful Greek.
            > [1]
            >
            > I disagree with what you say that pure trial and error is the best way to
            > learn when being more mature. I'd had to learn about self-balancing binary
            > trees, hashes and other data structures, and an algorithm I came by myself
            > for topological sort (or package depenedncy resolution) was shown in class a
            > week later, but turned out to have a more efficient alternative. Or at high
            > school I thought of a sorting algorithm and thought of insertion sort,
            > instead of Quick Sort, Merge Sort or Heap Sort. As one of Nadav's signatures
            > read: "Always learn from other people's mistakes. You won't have time to do
            > them all yourself.". You can learn a lot from existing CS, Math and Physics
            > literature.
            >
            > If you invent your own wheel, you'll understand much better how a wheel
            > works, and may have a slim chance of inventing a better wheel. But you may
            > also invent a square wheel. So I suggest you try to think of a programming
            > problem yourself, and then try to ask around or research it.
            >
            > > Well I'm one of these people that the education system thinks that
            > > they can't read or write (not to talk about the fact that I know 4
            > > human languages that most of them I learned on my own).
            >
            > Maybe it was just the open university. Perhaps you'd like the Technion better.
            >

            I agree, the open university is good for some people but for others it's
            completely wrong. It requires very good discipline and doesn't give you as much
            interaction with other students or the library,

            > >
            > > So how employers can know if someone is good for work for them ? If
            > > you ask this question, then you don't believe in the power of open
            > > source.
            > > People that work on their own time in the subject that they suppose to
            > > work at, are much better candidate then the one's that only expect
            > > that a diploma/degree will open them a door.
            > > If you will look at people that do wish to learn and expand their
            > > minds into additional knowledge as better candidates as people that
            > > are close minded. So please update the way you look at things, and you
            > > will find a new world.
            > >

            There is a lot of very badly written open source programs out there. There is
            also little way to know how much and what contribution each person made. It
            also shows you know a programing language, but not other knowledge.

            It is taken into account more and more these days, partly as a way for people
            to gain experience in places they don't need job interviews. It is not however
            treated as a sole indication due to it's limitations.

            >
            > I agree and said so in the original article:
            >
            > http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/education/opinion-on-the-technion/
            >
            > Some people who did not go to university eventually earn enough expertise and
            > prestige, to become successful enterpreneurs, consultants/contractors, etc. A
            > good example is Randal L. Schwartz, who is the author of several Perl books,
            > a Perl contributor, and who I think know Perl (and Perl technologies much
            > more so) better than Larry Wall, and knows UNIX inside and out:
            >
            > http://www.stonehenge.com/merlyn/
            >
            > However, many people also regret not going to university to get a degree. And
            > if you want to work in a large Research Department, you normally need a
            > Ph.D., and from what I know, from very good reasons.
            >
            > A Technion graduate in Electrical Engineering with an average of 70% (very
            > low) is well and above the average intelligence. You cannot survive there
            > without being exceptionally bright.
            >
            > One of my roommates, was very fond of logic and math riddles and was quite
            > good at it ("That's what kept me through the army."), but he still found the
            > studies from the third semester onward too hard. And I told him it doesn't
            > get much easier. So he was bright and intelligent, but again had an issue,
            > that made him unsuitable there. He may actually make a very good programmer
            > or Electrical Engineer, but he won't be a Technion graduate, at least not
            > probably without making himself more prepared somehow. I don't believe in
            > Fatalism.
            >
            > Regards,
            >
            > Shlomi Fish
            >
            > > Ido
            > >
            >
            > [1] - I often feel the same about Bible studies in Israel vs. in many
            > Christian countries or by non-Israeli Jews who don't understand Hebrew.
            > Israelis Jews study the Bible in its original language and writing, for 10 or
            > so years, and are heavily exposed to it in the culture and literature. And we
            > still speak a very similar language on a day to day basis.
            >
            > Recently, a Christian British correspondant I talked with about King David
            > asked if it was he who killed Goliath or it was Samson. And the "David vs.
            > Goliath" paradigm is present in English as well. I have yet to see a
            > translation of the Bible to English that does not mutilate it completely.
            > Don't take me wrong - even a translation of the Bible to contemporary Hebrew
            > will lose most of the beauty. And I've seen some good Hebrew->English or vice
            > versa translations.
            >
            > One of the themes on my blog is discussing the Bible, Hebrew, and Arabic and
            > debunking some myths.
            >
            > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
            > Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
            > Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/
            >
            > If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
            > one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
            > -- An Israeli Linuxer
          • ik_5
            Hello Araik, I wish to highlight from advance, that I m not going to attack you, and I really interested in answers (I hope you do not know what I m talking
            Message 5 of 28 , Mar 25, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              Hello Araik,

              I wish to highlight from advance, that I'm not going to attack you,
              and I really interested in answers (I hope you do not know what I'm
              talking about) :)

              As far as I know from your "CV" (I didn't really saw it), you where
              head of computer science at the Technion, or something close.
              Now I really respect what you are saying, but because Nir used some
              quoting, I have the need to use it as well:

              "The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the
              level of thinking that created them."
              Albert Einstein

              Personally (I always write about myself or on people I know from first
              hand), I'm not very objective in my perspective, and I think that non
              of the answers on this subject can arrive from objective point of view.

              However, any such argument creates some type of stereotypical answers.
              That's btw what happens also when you are looking for a job.

              Personally, I believe that the open source world gave us something
              great: The ability to show the rest of the world our code, and the
              ability to learn from others without the need to be part of an "elite"
              group.

              Personally I do not believe that things such as exams can point on
              someone knowledge in a subject other then taking exams.

              I do not believe that learning at a university can point something on
              a person.
              I know (from first hand) a person that have taken curses in order to
              have an academic degree in one subject, after two years, he moved to
              computer science, with points on many subjects that gave him "ptor"
              for a lot of harder classes, and now he learns CS in order to be a
              software engineer.
              I also know from first hand, few people that dropped out of
              university, and returned to finish their degree.
              And last but not least I know people that have so many diplomas, but
              they don't understand anything.

              So I can't trust that someone can be good or excellent just because he
              or she learned at the university.
              I also believe that no one is perfect (I know that I'm far from being
              perfect).

              But why do you believe that only someone that learned from university
              can have good tools and paradigms, while others can not ?

              Why did the studding at university became like religion, that only the
              ones that part of that "cult" can have access to things, while people
              that do wish to know, but can't handle this religion, are not deserve it ?

              While I do have a lot more to say, on the subject I'll shut myself up
              and I'll end up in few other quotes of my liking for this subject :)

              "Data is not information, Information is not knowledge,
              Knowledge is not understanding, Understanding is not wisdom. "
              Cliff Stoll & Gary Schubert

              "The only real security that a man will have in this world is a
              reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability."
              Henry Ford

              And last but not least:

              "Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always
              glorify the hunter."
              African Proverb


              Ido
              --
              http://ik.homelinux.org/

              --- In hackers-il@yahoogroups.com, "Arik Baratz" <yahoo@...> wrote:
              >
              > On 3/24/07, Nir Simionovich <nirs@...> wrote:
              >
              > > As an employer, I can surely say that for some roles I would
              rather take a
              > > person with a degree, while other roles require someone who has
              none. When
              > > taking somebody to work inside a large team, I would rather take
              someone
              > > with a degree, as I know that they are "programmed" to do what
              they are
              > > told, and their paradigms are well known and fairly predictable.
              When a role
              > > requires a somewhat of a "lone gun-man" approach, I would prefer a
              > > non-academic background, as this approach requires "out-of-the-box"
              > > thinking, an ability to go beyond the paradigms and in some cases,
              breaking
              > > a rule or two along the way.
              >
              > Hey Nir,
              >
              > You're being very stereotypical. You're assigning properties to
              > people's character based on their education.
              >
              > I would say that there are good people and excellent people. The good
              > people can benefit from higher education (by learning to treat
              > problems in a structured way), and the excellent people cannot be
              > ruined by higher education, and can sometimes benefit from it.
              >
              > I can say that I have benefited from my Technion experience (I'm a CS
              > BA). I've learned, mostly, humility. I used to be able to just wing it
              > in high school, to the extent that I would read the response to my
              > homework from a blank page, doing it in my head as I pretended to
              > read. The Technion is the first place that challenged me in a major
              > way and taught me that winging it is not enough, that sometimes it
              > does pay to sit down for a moment and do structured work.
              >
              > It has nothing to do with being a "lone gunman" or thinking outside
              > the box or bending some rules to a well-calculated pre-breakage point.
              > This is where you need someone excellent, regardless of education.
              >
              > Being able to both think outside the box AND enjoy the benefits of
              > structured work is even better. What's more, higher education gives
              > you a common language spoken by the top people in our industry, and as
              > you well know, communication is sometimes as important as mad skillz.
              >
              > To sum it up: The people who "do what they're told" and are programmed
              > with paradigms are good, and they probably benefited from higher
              > education. They probably made a wise choice. The people who are
              > excellent, might be refined by higher education but you can't take
              > that edge away from them.
              >
              > I have a lot of examples to show you of both kinds of people,
              > including people we both know.
              >
              > -- Arik
              >
            • Nadav Har'El
              ... I like to point out parallels between free software and the academic world. In both worlds, people are judged and ranked by what they publish (source code
              Message 6 of 28 , Mar 25, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                On Sun, Mar 25, 2007, ik_5 wrote about "[hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?":
                > Personally, I believe that the open source world gave us something
                > great: The ability to show the rest of the world our code, and the
                > ability to learn from others without the need to be part of an "elite"
                > group.

                I like to point out parallels between free software and the academic world.
                In both worlds, people are judged and ranked by what they publish (source
                code and papers), its quantity, quality, and impact. In both worlds, people
                are expected to publish their results in a way that their followers can
                replicate and build on (in software, this means publish the source code,
                not binaries). In both worlds, there's a lot of politics, people getting
                ahead because they know the right people or were at the right place at the
                right time, but ultimatively, those who really succeed are the ones who
                really excell at what they do, and really had great ideas that changed the
                world.

                So in my opinion, nothing in the academia is more elitistic than in the
                free software world. Just as graduates from one university are considered
                "more desirable" than graduates from another university, so are programmers
                on one project (say, the Linux kernel) often considered "more desirable"
                than programmers on a different project (say, a clock applet). Just like
                the academia in its hundreds of years of existance has defined several
                "ranks" of people (such as students, doctors, professors, etc.), so does
                the free software world, with its concepts of "committers", "maintainers",
                and so on. In one medium-sized free software project I've been interested
                in, there's a clear separation of one guru, several steerers, a bit more
                committers, and a larger crowd of people sending patches. Ataining the
                status of "committer" instead of just being a patch-sender, is highly
                coveted in this project. This is not all that different from a lowly PhD
                student attaining a position, becoming a professor, and so on - it's just
                (for medium-sized projects) much easier.


                --
                Nadav Har'El | Sunday, Mar 25 2007, 7 Nisan 5767
                nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |A bird in the hand is safer than one
                http://nadav.harel.org.il |overhead.
              • Arik Baratz
                ... It s Arik, Ido. ... I wasn t even close. I was an undergraduate student, I did work in the Technion Computer Center as a student, which is not the same as
                Message 7 of 28 , Mar 25, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  On 3/25/07, ik_5 <idokan@...> wrote:
                  > Hello Araik,

                  It's Arik, Ido.

                  > As far as I know from your "CV" (I didn't really saw it), you where
                  > head of computer science at the Technion, or something close.
                  > Now I really respect what you are saying, but because Nir used some
                  > quoting, I have the need to use it as well:

                  I wasn't even close. I was an undergraduate student, I did work in the
                  Technion Computer Center as a student, which is not the same as the
                  Computer Science faculty. I did not have any role in this faculty
                  other than that of a student.

                  > Personally (I always write about myself or on people I know from first
                  > hand), I'm not very objective in my perspective, and I think that non
                  > of the answers on this subject can arrive from objective point of view.

                  That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
                  merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
                  ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.

                  > Personally, I believe that the open source world gave us something
                  > great: The ability to show the rest of the world our code, and the
                  > ability to learn from others without the need to be part of an "elite"
                  > group.

                  Ou Contraire, mon ami. Open source coders ARE an elite group. People
                  who can code. The credentials you need to join the group: Be able to
                  code and have free time. You know how many people have that
                  combination? A minute percentage of the population. People who are
                  well fed, well clothed, well educated (not necessarily formal
                  education here) and don't have to worry about what they will do
                  tomorrow for the essentials of life.

                  > Personally I do not believe that things such as exams can point on
                  > someone knowledge in a subject other then taking exams.

                  That's not entirely accurate, it depends on the exam, and the
                  examiner. And yes there are techniques for taking exams. I believe
                  that you're also missing an important subtext, an important
                  meta-program that stems from going to school (again, not just higher
                  education): The ability to get an assigned task, do it, get feedback,
                  learn from the feedback and do better next time.

                  This meta-program is, IMHO, an extremely important part in the ability
                  to cope with life as it is today and be successful. It's a basis to
                  basically everything you do. If you have a job - you're handed a task,
                  you perform it, and get feedback. If you're self-employed - you decide
                  on a task, perform it, and the success of your business is your
                  feedback. If you're an inventor, you create something, you realize it,
                  and acceptance in the market is your feedback. If you're an artist...
                  I can go on and on about this, you get the point.

                  > I do not believe that learning at a university can point something on
                  > a person.

                  Are we talking about what other people think? Because I'm talking
                  about what's important to you as a person, for your personal
                  development. When I went to the Technion I went there because I wanted
                  to learn, definitely not because I wanted a diploma. In fact, I was an
                  Atudai (עתודאי) and when asked for the faculty, my first choice was
                  computer science. I was asked to specify a second choice which I have
                  left blank to the dismay of the officer who filled this form. I knew
                  what I wanted to learn, I couldn't care less about the diploma. (BTW
                  in retrospect Atuda for me was a bad thing and I don't recommend it
                  without careful consideration).

                  Regardless of that, when I interview someone I do take into account
                  their university degree, because I think it DOES say something about
                  the person. It says "the person in front of you can take up a
                  long-term task that lasts 3-4 years, a task which is made up from many
                  different challenges, some are boring and some are interesting. All in
                  all, that person took the challenge and completed it to a certain
                  degree of success". Although not having a degree does not imply that
                  the person is incapable of such feats, having a degree indicates that
                  the person has done it at least once.

                  > I know (from first hand) a person that have taken curses in order to
                  > have an academic degree in one subject, after two years, he moved to
                  > computer science, with points on many subjects that gave him "ptor"
                  > for a lot of harder classes, and now he learns CS in order to be a
                  > software engineer.

                  Yep, I think most of the first semesters - math, physics, etc. - it's
                  quite a lot. It doesn't let you waive the requirement for any core CS
                  courses though.

                  > I also know from first hand, few people that dropped out of
                  > university, and returned to finish their degree.
                  > And last but not least I know people that have so many diplomas, but
                  > they don't understand anything.

                  Of course they do. They understand how to get diplomas. I'm not being
                  cynical, but if that is all you gained from your academic studies, I
                  don't think going there was such a good idea.

                  > So I can't trust that someone can be good or excellent just because he
                  > or she learned at the university.

                  Obvious.

                  > I also believe that no one is perfect (I know that I'm far from being
                  > perfect).

                  Obvious.

                  > But why do you believe that only someone that learned from university
                  > can have good tools and paradigms, while others can not ?

                  I'm going to read what I wrote to see how you got that impression.
                  Nope, I didn't say that. All I said is that it can help.

                  > Why did the studding at university became like religion, that only the
                  > ones that part of that "cult" can have access to things, while people
                  > that do wish to know, but can't handle this religion, are not deserve it ?

                  I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to unpack this question. You're
                  mentioning a lot of terms I am not sure I get the way you get.
                  'deserve' is a very loaded word. It means that you have the right to
                  something because of who you are or the work you did. So which one is
                  it? What are the "things" that one would deserve being a part of the
                  cult?

                  > "Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always
                  > glorify the hunter."
                  > African Proverb

                  I like that one. Can you please explain its relevance to the topic? I
                  hope you don't mean what I think you mean.

                  -- Arik
                • Shlomi Fish
                  Hi Arik and Ido and all! ... Just a note. You claim that objectivism is highly over-rated. Do you mean the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as
                  Message 8 of 28 , Mar 25, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Hi Arik and Ido and all!

                    On Monday 26 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                    > On 3/25/07, ik_5 <idokan@...> wrote:
                    > > Hello Araik,
                    >
                    > It's Arik, Ido.
                    >
                    > > As far as I know from your "CV" (I didn't really saw it), you where
                    > > head of computer science at the Technion, or something close.
                    > > Now I really respect what you are saying, but because Nir used some
                    > > quoting, I have the need to use it as well:
                    >
                    > I wasn't even close. I was an undergraduate student, I did work in the
                    > Technion Computer Center as a student, which is not the same as the
                    > Computer Science faculty. I did not have any role in this faculty
                    > other than that of a student.
                    >
                    > > Personally (I always write about myself or on people I know from first
                    > > hand), I'm not very objective in my perspective, and I think that non
                    > > of the answers on this subject can arrive from objective point of view.
                    >
                    > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
                    > merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
                    > ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                    >

                    Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated. Do you mean
                    the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as "Randianism")? Or do you mean
                    plain-old "objectivity"?

                    In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there are three
                    similar but non-identical terms:

                    1. Unbiased.

                    2. Objective.

                    3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of View or
                    NPOV.

                    They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many Evil
                    acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is true.

                    While we are inherentely subjective to some extent, we can and should always
                    try to be as objective as possible. I'm not saying we should be unbiased,
                    just that we try to perceive and conceive reality as if we were not
                    associated with anyone, and could always judge things objectively.

                    Aside from objective/subjective, there are also matters of taste, which are
                    not subject to such judgement. I can consider a painting as good and another
                    person may dislike it, and arguing about it is pointless.

                    Regards,

                    Shlomi Fish

                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                    Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                    If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                    one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                    -- An Israeli Linuxer
                  • Nadav Har'El
                    ... So, you claim that objective equals true? So what, in your view, is subjective (i.e., not objective)? Only lies? -- Nadav Har El |
                    Message 9 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
                    • 0 Attachment
                      On Mon, Mar 26, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Objectivity [was Re: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                      > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many Evil
                      > acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is true.

                      So, you claim that objective equals true? So what, in your view, is subjective
                      (i.e., not objective)? Only lies?

                      --
                      Nadav Har'El | Monday, Mar 26 2007, 7 Nisan 5767
                      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                      Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |If a million Shakespeares tried to write
                      http://nadav.harel.org.il |together, they would write like a monkey.
                    • ik_5
                      ... Sorry Arik, my bad. ... view. ... Actually that s wrong :) We have (in Israel) group of people that does not know how to code, but still contribute. They
                      Message 10 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
                      • 0 Attachment
                        --- In hackers-il@yahoogroups.com, "Arik Baratz" <yahoo@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > On 3/25/07, ik_5 <idokan@...> wrote:
                        > > Hello Araik,
                        >
                        > It's Arik, Ido.

                        Sorry Arik, my bad.

                        >
                        > > As far as I know from your "CV" (I didn't really saw it), you where
                        > > head of computer science at the Technion, or something close.
                        > > Now I really respect what you are saying, but because Nir used some
                        > > quoting, I have the need to use it as well:
                        >
                        > I wasn't even close. I was an undergraduate student, I did work in the
                        > Technion Computer Center as a student, which is not the same as the
                        > Computer Science faculty. I did not have any role in this faculty
                        > other than that of a student.
                        >
                        > > Personally (I always write about myself or on people I know from first
                        > > hand), I'm not very objective in my perspective, and I think that non
                        > > of the answers on this subject can arrive from objective point of
                        view.
                        >
                        > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
                        > merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
                        > ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                        >
                        > > Personally, I believe that the open source world gave us something
                        > > great: The ability to show the rest of the world our code, and the
                        > > ability to learn from others without the need to be part of an "elite"
                        > > group.
                        >
                        > Ou Contraire, mon ami. Open source coders ARE an elite group. People
                        > who can code. The credentials you need to join the group: Be able to
                        > code and have free time. You know how many people have that
                        > combination? A minute percentage of the population. People who are
                        > well fed, well clothed, well educated (not necessarily formal
                        > education here) and don't have to worry about what they will do
                        > tomorrow for the essentials of life.

                        Actually that's wrong :) We have (in Israel) group of people that does
                        not know how to code, but still contribute. They translate, they write
                        documents and guides, they report bugs, and they help people to use
                        open source software.

                        The thing is, that university is for rich people, that can invest all
                        of their time into having some sort of diploma. And the higher you go,
                        the harder for you is to find a job, and places such as the Technion
                        will also prohibit people from working while making a degree higher
                        then the BA (or BS etc..)

                        >
                        > > Personally I do not believe that things such as exams can point on
                        > > someone knowledge in a subject other then taking exams.
                        >
                        > That's not entirely accurate, it depends on the exam, and the
                        > examiner. And yes there are techniques for taking exams. I believe
                        > that you're also missing an important subtext, an important
                        > meta-program that stems from going to school (again, not just higher
                        > education): The ability to get an assigned task, do it, get feedback,
                        > learn from the feedback and do better next time.
                        >
                        > This meta-program is, IMHO, an extremely important part in the ability
                        > to cope with life as it is today and be successful. It's a basis to
                        > basically everything you do. If you have a job - you're handed a task,
                        > you perform it, and get feedback. If you're self-employed - you decide
                        > on a task, perform it, and the success of your business is your
                        > feedback. If you're an inventor, you create something, you realize it,
                        > and acceptance in the market is your feedback. If you're an artist...
                        > I can go on and on about this, you get the point.

                        So why does “spill all your knowledge without interruption, at a
                        giving time” is the right way ? How about “Arik, please write me a
                        program that calculates the sum of all the digits of PI, oh and please
                        submit it by tomorrow” is not such a good checking to see your
                        knowledge, and if you can handle giving tasks on time etc.. ?

                        >
                        > > I do not believe that learning at a university can point something on
                        > > a person.
                        >
                        > Are we talking about what other people think? Because I'm talking
                        > about what's important to you as a person, for your personal
                        > development. When I went to the Technion I went there because I wanted
                        > to learn, definitely not because I wanted a diploma. In fact, I was an
                        > Atudai (עתו×"אי) and when asked for the faculty, my first choice was
                        > computer science. I was asked to specify a second choice which I have
                        > left blank to the dismay of the officer who filled this form. I knew
                        > what I wanted to learn, I couldn't care less about the diploma. (BTW
                        > in retrospect Atuda for me was a bad thing and I don't recommend it
                        > without careful consideration).

                        So why is it so hard for you and many other people that did go the the
                        university that some people like to learn, but they can learn only by
                        doing it on their own, with trail and error ?

                        For example, at high-school, I found out that numbers are not
                        integers, but actually only wish to become integers, but they are not.
                        You know what caused me to understand that ?
                        I did not understand a subject in Algebra, and the teacher was unable
                        to explain to me the subject. So I started looking at the result of
                        things that was made using that subject, but when I tried to solve it,
                        I always got close answer, but not the same answer. That is if the
                        book written “1”, I always got something like 0.9333431 or 1.01 etc..
                        while the way I solved things, where the same as they thought us, but
                        the result was “almost” but not closed, so I concluded (after that few
                        other people checked my formulas, that found thing wrong), that you
                        can not have an integer value with out rounding things up.

                        It took me 7 years to discover that there is such actual mathematical
                        theories ...
                        So who learned better from that experience, a person that learn the
                        subject at university, or a person that found out about it while
                        trying to understand different things ? !

                        >
                        > Regardless of that, when I interview someone I do take into account
                        > their university degree, because I think it DOES say something about
                        > the person. It says "the person in front of you can take up a
                        > long-term task that lasts 3-4 years, a task which is made up from many
                        > different challenges, some are boring and some are interesting. All in
                        > all, that person took the challenge and completed it to a certain
                        > degree of success". Although not having a degree does not imply that
                        > the person is incapable of such feats, having a degree indicates that
                        > the person has done it at least once.

                        So the fact that I'm at the same open source project for more then 4
                        years (give or take, by the time I have to give something), and the
                        fact that I had 3 full years of service, and if tomorrow I'll raise
                        kids, or marry a woman, and live with them for years, it will say the
                        same thing ...
                        So I do not understand this filter, because you have so many ways to
                        prove the same thing.
                        If you need to find a filter, please look at how the person using his
                        or her occupation. For example, does that person go to a computer at
                        home after 12-14 hours of work and continue doing something on the
                        computer ?
                        Does that person try to learn and be better, even when that is done on
                        that person “free” time ?
                        Does that person have more interests then just working in specific
                        subject.
                        And I can continue giving you filters for people ... the thing is,
                        that the above filters are much better then having a diploma. I know
                        a person that have a BS degree, but he only knows things that giving
                        to him by educational places, such as schools and universities, but
                        nothing further then that. So why would you prefer someone like this,
                        over someone that does not have any degree but does have good
                        answerers to my filters ?

                        >
                        > > I know (from first hand) a person that have taken curses in order to
                        > > have an academic degree in one subject, after two years, he moved to
                        > > computer science, with points on many subjects that gave him "ptor"
                        > > for a lot of harder classes, and now he learns CS in order to be a
                        > > software engineer.
                        >
                        > Yep, I think most of the first semesters - math, physics, etc. - it's
                        > quite a lot. It doesn't let you waive the requirement for any core CS
                        > courses though.

                        I don't trust people that can't handle their choices ...
                        What will promise you that tomorrow, that person will have a twinkle
                        in his eyes, and will use your place, and resources to have something
                        completely different then what he was needed for, and instead of doing
                        his job, he will do something else.

                        >
                        > > I also know from first hand, few people that dropped out of
                        > > university, and returned to finish their degree.
                        > > And last but not least I know people that have so many diplomas, but
                        > > they don't understand anything.
                        >
                        > Of course they do. They understand how to get diplomas. I'm not being
                        > cynical, but if that is all you gained from your academic studies, I
                        > don't think going there was such a good idea.

                        Then it means that having a diploma does not mean you know something
                        on the subjects you have learned, it means only that you know how to
                        get a diploma (what about buying them, or something similar ?)

                        >
                        > > So I can't trust that someone can be good or excellent just because he
                        > > or she learned at the university.
                        >
                        > Obvious.
                        >
                        > > I also believe that no one is perfect (I know that I'm far from being
                        > > perfect).
                        >
                        > Obvious.
                        >
                        > > But why do you believe that only someone that learned from university
                        > > can have good tools and paradigms, while others can not ?
                        >
                        > I'm going to read what I wrote to see how you got that impression.
                        > Nope, I didn't say that. All I said is that it can help.
                        >
                        > > Why did the studding at university became like religion, that only the
                        > > ones that part of that "cult" can have access to things, while people
                        > > that do wish to know, but can't handle this religion, are not
                        deserve it ?
                        >
                        > I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to unpack this question. You're
                        > mentioning a lot of terms I am not sure I get the way you get.
                        > 'deserve' is a very loaded word. It means that you have the right to
                        > something because of who you are or the work you did. So which one is
                        > it? What are the "things" that one would deserve being a part of the
                        > cult?

                        Most of this argument, is does a person that learned at the
                        university, is better then a person that did not, hench, he or she
                        gives you better filters to accept such person to work for you, or
                        with you.
                        So I still can't find an answer (that is not questionable) to why
                        people that learned at the university have better resources, and
                        acceptance, then people that have the same knowledge but got it
                        elsewhere ?
                        The only way I can understand it, is that they are part of a cult or a
                        religion ... because any other answer I was given until today is
                        highly questionable for me, and still doesn't really answer the question.

                        >
                        > > "Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always
                        > > glorify the hunter."
                        > > African Proverb
                        >
                        > I like that one. Can you please explain its relevance to the topic? I
                        > hope you don't mean what I think you mean.

                        What do you think I meant ?

                        Sometimes it takes years to understand a meaning of something, so
                        please do not take any shortcuts, because then you will not learn to
                        think, you will learn only to ask for an answer.

                        >
                        > -- Arik
                        >

                        Ido
                      • Nadav Har'El
                        ... If your statement is true (and I have strong objections to it), it is doubly true for free software activity. Writing free software requires either being
                        Message 11 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On Mon, Mar 26, 2007, ik_5 wrote about "[hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?":
                          > The thing is, that university is for rich people, that can invest all
                          > of their time into having some sort of diploma. And the higher you go,
                          > the harder for you is to find a job, and places such as the Technion
                          > will also prohibit people from working while making a degree higher
                          > then the BA (or BS etc..)

                          If your statement is true (and I have strong objections to it), it is doubly
                          true for free software activity. Writing free software requires either
                          being paid for it (which means being relatively well-off) or a lot of free
                          time. A poor person working his *** off and spending whatever time is left
                          to care for his N children, has absolutely zero chance of succeeding in the
                          world of free software.

                          > So why does “spill all your knowledge without interruption, at a
                          > giving time” is the right way ? How about “Arik, please write me a
                          > program that calculates the sum of all the digits of PI, oh and please
                          > submit it by tomorrow” is not such a good checking to see your
                          > knowledge, and if you can handle giving tasks on time etc.. ?

                          Of course it does, and many courses have such longer exercises in addition
                          to, or completely replacing, the exams. In fact, at least half of the courses
                          I took in my masters degree (in the Technion, Mathematics) were like this -
                          with no test at all. But exercises have their problems too - they take up
                          a lot of time (so again we're back to students needing to be supported by
                          some rich person :-)), they are often much harder than tests (because
                          teachers assume the students have all the time in the world, and have access
                          to books, so they can't just give an easy exercise). And of course, if the
                          student group is large (not the 15 people in my math courses, it becomes
                          almost impossible to make sure that people don't copy the exercises from
                          each other, so a teacher basing 100% of the grade on them needs to be
                          extraordinarily naive...

                          > So why is it so hard for you and many other people that did go the the
                          > university that some people like to learn, but they can learn only by
                          > doing it on their own, with trail and error ?

                          Because the saying goes, "Learn from other people's mistakes - you won't
                          live long enough to make them all on your own"... Studying in the university
                          is one way to learn from other people's decades (or even centuries) of
                          mistakes and successes. Of course there are other ways to do it - you can
                          just read books. Most of the CS I know (as opposed to the Math I know), I
                          read from books, not from frontal lectures. But how am I supposed to prove
                          to a skeptic that I really read all those books? This is what a degree does
                          for you - it's a *proof* that you studied the material, with some sort of
                          measure on how well the professors thought you understood the material.
                          Surely you could have learnt the same material other ways - but then you'll
                          need to figure out other ways to prove that, to a skeptical employer.

                          The book "Freakonomics" has an interesting section about a similar issue -
                          of the value people place on confirmed information (in this case, a "degree"
                          is just confirmation that a person learned something). As an example, he
                          gives the fact that a 1 day old car is sold at a price much lower than a
                          new car. Why? Because the buyer can't be sure why the seller is selling
                          the car; If he was sure that the reason is that the buyer has to suddenly
                          move abroad like he claimed, even a 1000 shekel saving would have been enough;
                          But maybe the seller is lying? Maybe there's something wrong in the car?
                          Not being able to confirm this information, the buyer places a lower value
                          on the car. Similarly, an employer often places a lower value on a applicant
                          without a degree - just because he cannot really confirm that the applicant
                          knows what he's claiming. If there are other ways to confirm this (e.g.,
                          previous work experience), the applicant's value goes back up.

                          > And I can continue giving you filters for people ... the thing is,
                          > that the above filters are much better then having a diploma. I know

                          Except, none of the filters you suggest are verifiable. If word got around
                          that employers liked people who program at home, every applicant will start
                          saying, "yes, I program 3 hours a day at home", and nobody will ever be caught
                          lying. You need verifiable claims (even if the employer usually won't try
                          to verify them). One such claim is a degree. Another is experience at
                          previous work. A third is experience at free software (which is "out there"
                          and can be looked at). I know several people who were hired for highly
                          lucrative and desired jobs because they had an excellent record on just one
                          of the three - one person with an excellent degree but no experience, a
                          second person with no degree and no free-software but work experience from
                          previous high-tech companies, and a third person with no degree and no work
                          experience, but a lot of free-software experience. The problem is that if
                          you have only one of these qualifications, you may find yourself competing
                          against someone with more than one. For example, if you just have free
                          software experience, you'll have a hard time competing with someone who has
                          free software experience *and* work experience *and* a degree.

                          > a person that have a BS degree, but he only knows things that giving
                          > to him by educational places, such as schools and universities, but
                          > nothing further then that. So why would you prefer someone like this,
                          > over someone that does not have any degree but does have good
                          > answerers to my filters ?

                          Of course not. In my previous job, I interviewed people, and I interviewed
                          many people like this, who could recite useless facts from the course they
                          studied the last semester, but had no interest or knowledge of what's
                          happening outside these courses. Obviously, we didn't pick these people.

                          > Then it means that having a diploma does not mean you know something
                          > on the subjects you have learned, it means only that you know how to
                          > get a diploma (what about buying them, or something similar ?)

                          The hallmark of a high-reputation university is that the only way to
                          "get a diploma" is to learn the material. In the Technion (at least when
                          I studied there, over a decade ago) you couldn't get a diploma (with high
                          grades) by becoming a better slacker, by bribing the teachers, by cheating,
                          or anything of this sort. Your only way to "learn to get a diploma" is to
                          learn the material the professors wanted you to learn - which in my case
                          was a whole lot of Mathematical knowledge which the professors decided every
                          Mathematician needs to know. The whole process more-or-less guarantees that
                          anyone that finished the Mathematics degree with a high grade has to be
                          good at math - there's simply no other way to come across these grades.

                          Of course, in other universities or departments, the situation might be
                          different. In some fake universities, your money means more than your
                          studies. This is why employers don't look as highly at a graduate of
                          Latvia (or whatever was that fake university which was recently in the news)
                          as they do at a graduate of the technion.

                          --
                          Nadav Har'El | Monday, Mar 26 2007, 7 Nisan 5767
                          nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                          Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |We are Microsoft. You will be
                          http://nadav.harel.org.il |assimilated. Resistance is futile.
                        • Arik Baratz
                          ... I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it is a real thing or even possible. ... How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol
                          Message 12 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
                          • 0 Attachment
                            On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                            > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
                            > > merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
                            > > ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                            >
                            > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated. Do you mean
                            > the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as "Randianism")? Or do you mean
                            > plain-old "objectivity"?

                            I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it is a
                            real thing or even possible.

                            > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there are three
                            > similar but non-identical terms:
                            >
                            > 1. Unbiased.
                            >
                            > 2. Objective.
                            >
                            > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of View or
                            > NPOV.
                            >
                            > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many Evil
                            > acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is true.

                            How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the 13th
                            century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan. Go read
                            the [1] wikipedia entry.

                            I believe that there is nothing objective, and there are no
                            universals. Even 'one and one is two' is true only if you accept the
                            two mathematical axioms regd. natural numbers. In some reference
                            systems one and one is three... like in a family.

                            > While we are inherentely subjective to some extent, we can and should always
                            > try to be as objective as possible. I'm not saying we should be unbiased,
                            > just that we try to perceive and conceive reality as if we were not
                            > associated with anyone, and could always judge things objectively.

                            IMHO, since you perceive reality through your senses alone, which are
                            fallible, and you further filter what you sense through your
                            unconscious filters, which are individual and subjective, the attempt
                            at objectivity is doomed to fail.

                            > Aside from objective/subjective, there are also matters of taste, which are
                            > not subject to such judgement. I can consider a painting as good and another
                            > person may dislike it, and arguing about it is pointless.

                            Taste is subjectivity to a personal extreme. For example, killing is
                            bad because the society we live in dictates it as a moral rule (and
                            morality is subjective but relatively uniform in a single society in a
                            point in time). Your painting sux because I personally think so. It's
                            a matter of scope.

                            -- Arik
                          • Shlomi Fish
                            ... Well, not exactly. For example, I talked with someone on the IRC the other day, who said that ESR should be shot, because he supports the war on Iraq and
                            Message 13 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
                            • 0 Attachment
                              On Monday 26 March 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                              > On Mon, Mar 26, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Objectivity [was Re:
                              [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                              > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many
                              > > Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is
                              > > true.
                              >
                              > So, you claim that objective equals true? So what, in your view, is
                              > subjective (i.e., not objective)? Only lies?

                              Well, not exactly. For example, I talked with someone on the IRC the other
                              day, who said that ESR should be shot, because he supports the war on Iraq
                              and other stuff. Well, this is subjective because ESR has done a lot for the
                              community from writing the Cathedral and the Bazaar and other important
                              documents, to actually writing some useful code (whose quality is not
                              withstanding). And he hasn't harmed anyone in his life.

                              I agree that ESR does not precisely qualify as sane, or that his code may not
                              be of good quality, but he is still doing important work. I'd rather have a
                              lot of ugly code that works and that I can refactor and clean up later, than
                              a small amount of beautiful code that only prints "Hello World".

                              Further, he said that Linus Torvalds was a "F**king Capitalist". Again, that
                              is subjective. I think Linus Torvalds did a lot for FOSS and for the world in
                              general, and should be admired and respected rather than be labeled. This was
                              probably said out of some Socialist-induced resentment, or even due to
                              (non-sexual) jealousy or envy.

                              If you and I know a girl called Sophie, and I say "I hate Sophie", then this
                              is also a subjective statement. It expresses my general feeling rather than
                              anything wrong with her. However, if I say "Sophie is a Liar", then this
                              statement may be factual or it may be false, dependening on its truthhood.

                              Saying that "Communism is good for you" is both subjective and false, because
                              I'm speaking out of my general feeling, and we all know the destruction and
                              badness Communism brought onto the world.

                              Regards,

                              Shlomi Fish

                              ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                              Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                              If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                              one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                              -- An Israeli Linuxer
                            • Arik Baratz
                              ... Heh. My first job ever (after graduating, I had a lot of odd jobs before), a friend of a friend told them to call me because of a particular interest I
                              Message 14 of 28 , Mar 26, 2007
                              • 0 Attachment
                                On 26 Mar 2007 02:12:08 -0700, Nadav Har'El <nyh@...> wrote:

                                > Of course, in other universities or departments, the situation might be
                                > different. In some fake universities, your money means more than your
                                > studies. This is why employers don't look as highly at a graduate of
                                > Latvia (or whatever was that fake university which was recently in the news)
                                > as they do at a graduate of the technion.

                                Heh. My first job ever (after graduating, I had a lot of odd jobs
                                before), a friend of a friend told them to call me because of a
                                particular interest I have shown in the Compilation and Compilers
                                course in the Technion. My interview was very short, it was a team
                                leader in a start-up. He asked me if I've studied in the Technion, and
                                when I answered in the affirmative he hired me.

                                I hope it doesn't infuriate people here. I can only say that I am more
                                discriminating when it comes to hiring people. Also, my job was to
                                write a compiler, something very few people like to do apparently, and
                                my interest in compilers was a factor in the decision.

                                -- Arik
                              • Shlomi Fish
                                ... OK. :-) ... It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual data. Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had to,
                                Message 15 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  On Monday 26 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                  > On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                  > > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be objective
                                  > > > merely because we live in a subjective world, the one we created for
                                  > > > ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                                  > >
                                  > > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated. Do you
                                  > > mean the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as "Randianism")? Or do
                                  > > you mean plain-old "objectivity"?
                                  >
                                  > I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it is a
                                  > real thing or even possible.
                                  >

                                  OK. :-)

                                  > > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there are
                                  > > three similar but non-identical terms:
                                  > >
                                  > > 1. Unbiased.
                                  > >
                                  > > 2. Objective.
                                  > >
                                  > > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of View or
                                  > > NPOV.
                                  > >
                                  > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan performed many
                                  > > Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is objective because it is
                                  > > true.
                                  >
                                  > How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the 13th
                                  > century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan. Go read
                                  > the [1] wikipedia entry.

                                  It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual data.
                                  Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had to, but
                                  because he wanted to. Maybe it seemed right to his present day Mongols, but
                                  it wasn't. Some mainland Chinese I talked to did not know Mao was a
                                  mass-murderer, but we all know he was an Evil man who killed at least 40
                                  million people of his own people.

                                  To quote Neo-Tech ( http://www.neo-tech.com/orientation/ ):

                                  <<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                  The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                                  done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                                  productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                                  prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                                  destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).

                                  Honestly using one's reasoning nature is always beneficial and moral;
                                  dishonestly using one's reasoning nature is always harmful and
                                  immoral. ...Volitionally harmful acts always arise from mysticism -- from
                                  dishonesty, rationalizations, evasions, defaults.

                                  Yet, acting on fully integrated honesty (Neo-Tech), not reason itself, is the
                                  basic moral act. When Genghis Khan, for example, chose to use reasoning for a
                                  specific military move, then in an out-of-context sense, he chose to act
                                  morally by protecting himself and his troops (thus filling human biological
                                  needs). But in the larger sense of fully integrated honesty, Khan's total
                                  actions were grossly immoral in choosing to use aggressive force in becoming
                                  a mass murderer (thus negating human biological needs). The highly
                                  destructive, irrational immorality of Genghis Khan's overall dictatorial
                                  military actions far outweighed any narrow, out-of-context "moral"
                                  actions. ...Genghis Khan was enormously evil as were Stalin, Hitler, Mao,
                                  Castro, Pol Pot.
                                  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  (I hope I'm not invoking Godwin's Law here - see
                                  http://www.killfile.org/~tskirvin/faqs/godwin.html for why it may not be the
                                  case)

                                  Objective is not what has a full consensus. It is what can be universally
                                  agreed upon by most or any sensible person (or alternatively a different
                                  intelligent life form similar to humans) who has all the relevant data and is
                                  capable of thought. If I told a tribesman in Africa about Mao, he'll probably
                                  agree that he's Evil.

                                  >
                                  > I believe that there is nothing objective, and there are no
                                  > universals.

                                  If nothing is objective neither is this statement. Thus, it is a subjective
                                  (or mystical or whatever) statement, that I'd rather ignore coming from you.
                                  If everything is subjective any argument is pointless:

                                  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                  Interviewer: let's do a discusssion about drug legalisation.

                                  A: I support it.

                                  B: I oppose.

                                  Interviewer: well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, so let's end it
                                  here. Thanks for watching
                                  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                  (Based on the Zehu-Zeh's episode about Cable-TV).

                                  If a parent, sibling, child or SO of mine tells me about his feelings, this is
                                  a subjective statement of importance to me. But the statement "The distance
                                  between Tel Aviv and Haifa is 100 km" is either objective/factual or simply
                                  false. It cannot be subjective.

                                  > Even 'one and one is two' is true only if you accept the
                                  > two mathematical axioms regd. natural numbers. In some reference
                                  > systems one and one is three... like in a family.

                                  2 + 2 == 5 for very large values of 2.

                                  More seriously now, yes, I can define my own math:

                                  http://search.cpan.org/dist/Acme-NewMath/lib/acme/newmath.pm

                                  ^^^^ Read it - it's hilarious.

                                  And even more seriously now, 2 is commonly understood as the number following
                                  1 in standard arithmetics. All modern languages can express such arithmetics
                                  (see the large numbers mentioned in the Old Testament for example), and it
                                  can be written very succinctly by using Arabic numerals and the Algebraic
                                  notation. If I mean a different algebraic system, I should explicitly mention
                                  it. Otherwise, in the standard system 1+1==2, and objectively.

                                  If I define a system such that 1+1==3, then this is the case in its context,
                                  and objectively.

                                  There's a difference between subjectivism and contextualism.

                                  >
                                  > > While we are inherentely subjective to some extent, we can and should
                                  > > always try to be as objective as possible. I'm not saying we should be
                                  > > unbiased, just that we try to perceive and conceive reality as if we were
                                  > > not associated with anyone, and could always judge things objectively.
                                  >
                                  > IMHO, since you perceive reality through your senses alone, which are
                                  > fallible, and you further filter what you sense through your
                                  > unconscious filters, which are individual and subjective, the attempt
                                  > at objectivity is doomed to fail.

                                  "I'd rather be a tail for the lions, than the head of tha jackals."

                                  I'd rather be as close to be objective as possible, then be almost completely
                                  subjective. Objectivity is an ideal, which can never be entirely reached.
                                  However, honesty is also an ideal, which can never be fully attained. And so
                                  is self-esteem, and happiness.

                                  Do you claim that I should ditch honesty, self-esteem and happiness too, and
                                  be dishonest, feel lousy about myself, and miserable?

                                  >
                                  > > Aside from objective/subjective, there are also matters of taste, which
                                  > > are not subject to such judgement. I can consider a painting as good and
                                  > > another person may dislike it, and arguing about it is pointless.
                                  >
                                  > Taste is subjectivity to a personal extreme. For example, killing is
                                  > bad because the society we live in dictates it as a moral rule (and
                                  > morality is subjective but relatively uniform in a single society in a
                                  > point in time). Your painting sux because I personally think so. It's
                                  > a matter of scope.

                                  Right. However, the fact that killing is bad can be easily deduced from the
                                  Golden Rule:

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethic_of_reciprocity

                                  Which is very logical, and commonly accepted. If you want to go against logic,
                                  and devise a system of ethics that is not based on the Golden rule, I suppose
                                  you can. But you might as well say that A may be not-A, and get over with it,
                                  as you will be able to immediately deduce any claim and its opposite.

                                  Regards,

                                  Shlomi Fish

                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                  Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                  If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                  one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                  -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                • Tal Kelrich
                                  On Tue, 27 Mar 2007 09:48:29 +0200 ... Define Evil ? -- Tal Kelrich PGP fingerprint: 3EDF FCC5 60BB 4729 AB2F CAE6 FEC1 9AAC 12B9 AA69 Key Available at:
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    On Tue, 27 Mar 2007 09:48:29 +0200
                                    Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:

                                    > On Monday 26 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                    > > On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...>
                                    > > wrote:
                                    > > > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be
                                    > > > > objective merely because we live in a subjective world, the one
                                    > > > > we created for ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated.
                                    > > > Do you mean the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as
                                    > > > "Randianism")? Or do you mean plain-old "objectivity"?
                                    > >
                                    > > I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it
                                    > > is a real thing or even possible.
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    > OK. :-)
                                    >
                                    > > > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there
                                    > > > are three similar but non-identical terms:
                                    > > >
                                    > > > 1. Unbiased.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > 2. Objective.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of
                                    > > > View or NPOV.
                                    > > >
                                    > > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan
                                    > > > performed many Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is
                                    > > > objective because it is true.
                                    > >
                                    > > How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the
                                    > > 13th century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan.
                                    > > Go read the [1] wikipedia entry.
                                    >
                                    > It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual
                                    > data. Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had
                                    > to, but because he wanted to. Maybe it seemed right to his present
                                    > day Mongols, but it wasn't. Some mainland Chinese I talked to did not
                                    > know Mao was a mass-murderer, but we all know he was an Evil man who
                                    > killed at least 40 million people of his own people.
                                    >

                                    Define "Evil"?

                                    --
                                    Tal Kelrich
                                    PGP fingerprint: 3EDF FCC5 60BB 4729 AB2F CAE6 FEC1 9AAC 12B9 AA69
                                    Key Available at: http://www.hasturkun.com/pub.txt
                                    ----
                                    With a gentleman I try to be a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I
                                    try to be a fraud and a half.
                                    -- Otto von Bismark
                                    ----
                                  • ik
                                    OK, I will not answer most of what you have written (Even the one that you took out of context), I dissagree with you, and I guess we will not agree on the
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      OK, I will not answer most of what you have written (Even the one that you took out of context), I dissagree with you, and I guess we will not agree on the subject.
                                      BTW on the "finding" of the "math" issue (and the "language" -> the fact that I do not remember the name, does not mean that I do not know how it called, and I only gave it an example, I do not look for a pat in the back or something... it's just was a pure example).

                                      Now,  I'll only answer my usage of the last quote:

                                      In a different argument I was giving an answer such as "but the statics shows that people that have learned at universities can learn better" (or something like this, I'm using my memory). So Unlike you, I do not see things as winners and losers (although the lion always loose, because it is not a human), but the fact that you use University based information (statistic) that does not really check the other side, but you keep on using it... So I placed (actually more then one) mind for you to remove :)

                                      So because I see that you are like myself (love quotes), here is a cool quote for you to end up with:

                                      "The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create."
                                          Leonard I. Sweet


                                      So I hope you take the right people with you to create your idea as a feature,

                                      Ido

                                      On 3/27/07, Arik Baratz < yahoo@...> wrote:

                                      On 26 Mar 2007 02:12:08 -0700, Nadav Har'El <nyh@... > wrote:

                                      > Of course, in other universities or departments, the situation might be
                                      > different. In some fake universities, your money means more than your
                                      > studies. This is why employers don't look as highly at a graduate of
                                      > Latvia (or whatever was that fake university which was recently in the news)
                                      > as they do at a graduate of the technion.

                                      Heh. My first job ever (after graduating, I had a lot of odd jobs
                                      before), a friend of a friend told them to call me because of a
                                      particular interest I have shown in the Compilation and Compilers
                                      course in the Technion. My interview was very short, it was a team
                                      leader in a start-up. He asked me if I've studied in the Technion, and
                                      when I answered in the affirmative he hired me.

                                      I hope it doesn't infuriate people here. I can only say that I am more
                                      discriminating when it comes to hiring people. Also, my job was to
                                      write a compiler, something very few people like to do apparently, and
                                      my interest in compilers was a factor in the decision.

                                      -- Arik




                                      --
                                      http://ik.homelinux.org/
                                    • Tzahi Fadida
                                      I don t understand why you (plural) insist on associating studying in the university and work. While it is the most practical reason, many (and me) studied for
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        I don't understand why you (plural) insist on associating studying in the
                                        university and work. While it is the most practical reason, many (and me)
                                        studied for personal enrichment. I believe that any person that desires study
                                        should do so if he can.

                                        --
                                        Regards,
                                                Tzahi.
                                        --
                                        Tzahi Fadida
                                        Blog: http://tzahi.blogsite.org | Home Site: http://tzahi.webhop.info
                                        WARNING TO SPAMMERS:  see at
                                        http://members.lycos.co.uk/my2nis/spamwarning.html
                                      • Arik Baratz
                                        ... I just latched on to it because I wanted to make a point, meant no disrespect. ... Is statistics a university based information? It s scientific, and it s
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Mar 27, 2007
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          On 3/27/07, ik <idokan@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > OK, I will not answer most of what you have written (Even the one that you took out of context), I dissagree with you, and I guess we will not agree on the subject.
                                          > BTW on the "finding" of the "math" issue (and the "language" -> the fact that I do not remember the name, does not mean that I do not know how it called, and I only gave it an example, I do not look for a pat in the back or something... it's just was a pure example).

                                          I just latched on to it because I wanted to make a point, meant no disrespect.


                                          >
                                          > In a different argument I was giving an answer such as "but the statics shows that people that have learned at universities can learn better" (or something like this, I'm using my memory). So Unlike you, I do not see things as winners and losers (although the lion always loose, because it is not a human), but the fact that you use University based information (statistic) that does not really check the other side, but you keep on using it... So I placed (actually more then one) mind for you to remove :)


                                          Is statistics a university based information? It's scientific, and
                                          it's taught at universities, but is it something inherent to
                                          universities? I don't think so.

                                          >
                                          > So because I see that you are like myself (love quotes), here is a cool quote for you to end up with:
                                          >
                                          > "The future is not something we enter. The future is something we create."
                                          > Leonard I. Sweet

                                          I agree.

                                          >
                                          > So I hope you take the right people with you to create your idea as a feature,

                                          Me too.

                                          -- Arik
                                        • Shlomi Fish
                                          Hi Tal! ... Quoting my previous message:
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            Hi Tal!

                                            On Tuesday 27 March 2007, Tal Kelrich wrote:
                                            > On Tue, 27 Mar 2007 09:48:29 +0200
                                            >
                                            > Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                            > > On Monday 26 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                            > > > On 25 Mar 2007 23:42:52 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...>
                                            > > >
                                            > > > wrote:
                                            > > > > > That's fine, objectivism is highly overrated. We cannot be
                                            > > > > > objective merely because we live in a subjective world, the one
                                            > > > > > we created for ourselves. I can go on and on about that, though.
                                            > > > >
                                            > > > > Just a note. You claim that "objectivism" is highly over-rated.
                                            > > > > Do you mean the philosophy of Ayn Rand (also referred to as
                                            > > > > "Randianism")? Or do you mean plain-old "objectivity"?
                                            > > >
                                            > > > I never read Rand. I meant the indulgence in objectivity as if it
                                            > > > is a real thing or even possible.
                                            > >
                                            > > OK. :-)
                                            > >
                                            > > > > In any case, I have a problem with this. As you may realise there
                                            > > > > are three similar but non-identical terms:
                                            > > > >
                                            > > > > 1. Unbiased.
                                            > > > >
                                            > > > > 2. Objective.
                                            > > > >
                                            > > > > 3. Neutral. Or as it is known on the Wikipedia - Neutral Point of
                                            > > > > View or NPOV.
                                            > > > >
                                            > > > > They are not the same. For example, if I say "Genghis Khan
                                            > > > > performed many Evil acts", this is a biased statement. But it is
                                            > > > > objective because it is true.
                                            > > >
                                            > > > How is that exactly objective? If you were a Mongol living in the
                                            > > > 13th century, you'd think that Genghis was a great and worthy Khan.
                                            > > > Go read the [1] wikipedia entry.
                                            > >
                                            > > It is objective because it is an accurate description of the factual
                                            > > data. Genghis Khan did kill many innocent people, not because he had
                                            > > to, but because he wanted to. Maybe it seemed right to his present
                                            > > day Mongols, but it wasn't. Some mainland Chinese I talked to did not
                                            > > know Mao was a mass-murderer, but we all know he was an Evil man who
                                            > > killed at least 40 million people of his own people.
                                            >
                                            > Define "Evil"?

                                            Quoting my previous message:

                                            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                            The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                                            done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                                            productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                                            prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                                            destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                            >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                                            As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                            == "bad".

                                            Regards,

                                            Shlomi Fish

                                            ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                            Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                            If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                            one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                            -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                          • Nadav Har'El
                                            ... This definition is far from scientific... In fact, it looks completely broken to me... Is rape filling your own biological needs (and therefore good) or
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              On Fri, Mar 30, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                                              > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                              > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                                              > done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                                              > productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                                              > prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                                              > destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                              > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                                              >
                                              > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                              > == "bad".

                                              This definition is far from scientific... In fact, it looks completely broken
                                              to me...

                                              Is rape filling your own "biological needs" (and therefore good) or harming
                                              someone else (and therefore bad)? What about stealing food (which fills your
                                              own biological needs, and does not "biologically" harm the store you stole
                                              from)? If Gingis Khan's campaign is bad in this definition (he harmed others
                                              more than he benefited himself), what about Churchill's and Roosvelt's
                                              campaign in WWII - after all they didn't fill their biological needs, and
                                              millions of Germans lost theirs?

                                              --
                                              Nadav Har'El | Friday, Mar 30 2007, 11 Nisan 5767
                                              nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                              Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |How's he gonna read that magazine rolled
                                              http://nadav.harel.org.il |up like that? What the ... - a fly.
                                            • Shlomi Fish
                                              ... Hi Nadav! Please see the rest of my quote. Please be readink, understandink and integratink what I m writing. kthx, bye. Regards, Shlomi Fish ... Shlomi
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                On Friday 30 March 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                                                > On Fri, Mar 30, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re:
                                                [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                                                > > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                                > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                                > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral
                                                > > (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously
                                                > > done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and
                                                > > immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                                > >
                                                > >
                                                > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                                > > == "bad".
                                                >
                                                > This definition is far from scientific... In fact, it looks completely
                                                > broken to me...
                                                >
                                                > Is rape filling your own "biological needs" (and therefore good) or harming
                                                > someone else (and therefore bad)? What about stealing food (which fills
                                                > your own biological needs, and does not "biologically" harm the store you
                                                > stole from)? If Gingis Khan's campaign is bad in this definition (he harmed
                                                > others more than he benefited himself), what about Churchill's and
                                                > Roosvelt's campaign in WWII - after all they didn't fill their biological
                                                > needs, and millions of Germans lost theirs?

                                                Hi Nadav!

                                                Please see the rest of my quote. Please be readink, understandink and
                                                integratink what I'm writing.

                                                kthx, bye.

                                                Regards,

                                                Shlomi Fish

                                                ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                                Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                                If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                                one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                                -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                              • Arik Baratz
                                                ... Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it s okay and you might agree. I don t. It s using subjective terms in a scientific definition. Nope, I
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Mar 30, 2007
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                                  > > Define "Evil"?
                                                  >
                                                  > Quoting my previous message:
                                                  >
                                                  > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                                  > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is consciously
                                                  > done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral (e.g., the
                                                  > productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously done to harm or
                                                  > prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the
                                                  > destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                                  > >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
                                                  >
                                                  > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                                  > == "bad".

                                                  Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                                  might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                                  definition. Nope, I don't buy it.

                                                  -- Arik
                                                • Shlomi Fish
                                                  ... Why? Show me the Proof!!! The burden of proof is on you. Regards, Shlomi Fish ... Shlomi Fish shlomif@iglu.org.il Homepage:
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Apr 18, 2007
                                                  • 0 Attachment
                                                    On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                                    > On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                                    > > > Define "Evil"?
                                                    > >
                                                    > > Quoting my previous message:
                                                    > >
                                                    > > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
                                                    > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                                    > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral
                                                    > > (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously
                                                    > > done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and
                                                    > > immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                                    > >
                                                    > >
                                                    > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                                    > > == "bad".
                                                    >
                                                    > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                                    > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                                    > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                                    >

                                                    Why?

                                                    Show me the Proof!!!

                                                    The burden of proof is on you.

                                                    Regards,

                                                    Shlomi Fish

                                                    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                                    Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                                    If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                                    one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                                    -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                                  • Nadav Har'El
                                                    ... There are several problems with this definition, and I ll mention one below, but I have to admit it s not very fair that I disprove a definition based on
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Apr 19, 2007
                                                    • 0 Attachment
                                                      On Thu, Apr 19, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re: [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                                                      > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                                      > > On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                                      > > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                                      > > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and moral
                                                      > > > (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is consciously
                                                      > > > done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological needs is bad and
                                                      > > > immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics and neocheaters).
                                                      > > >
                                                      > > >
                                                      > > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context "evil"
                                                      > > > == "bad".
                                                      > >
                                                      > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                                      > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                                      > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                                      > >
                                                      >
                                                      > Why?
                                                      >
                                                      > Show me the Proof!!!
                                                      >
                                                      > The burden of proof is on you.

                                                      There are several problems with this definition, and I'll mention one below,
                                                      but I have to admit it's not very fair that I "disprove" a definition based
                                                      on your very short and probably not entirely accurate explanation of it - I
                                                      didn't like it when you did that to Kant and Kirkegaard after my explanations,
                                                      and I probably shouldn't be doing this to Neo-Tech. I have to admit that I
                                                      never read anything about "Neo-Tech" except what you said on this list.

                                                      I think Arik's point was, though, that there's nothing "scientific" about
                                                      this definition. What makes this definition more "scientific" than a dozen
                                                      other definitions of ethics? For example, how is this definition of ethics
                                                      based on intention, better than a definition based on actual consequences
                                                      (aka "utilitarian" ethics)?

                                                      Anyway, the biggest flaw I see with this definition is that it relies on
                                                      a person's intentions, which are very subjective, rather than the actual
                                                      consequences of his actions, which is more objective (because everyone
                                                      sees the consequences of an action, but only the person knows his intentions).
                                                      The problem is that except in the extreme case of psychopaths (who are unable
                                                      to understand the concept of other human beings having their own lives and
                                                      wishes), most "bad" actions are somehow justified in the eyes of its doer.

                                                      If you asked a white slave-owner whether he's conciously harming his negro
                                                      slave's biological needs, he would say no: he would say that he took care of
                                                      their basic needs (minimal amount of food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and would
                                                      claim (wrongly of course, but he thought this was true) that negros are so
                                                      privitive that left to their own devices they would be far worse off. He
                                                      would add that furthermore, without the slaves the slave-owners would go
                                                      bankrupt and starve, so that it is *freeing* the slaves which is immoral
                                                      because it would bring "biological" harm to the slave-owners.

                                                      A second problem, possibly in your short explanation and not in neo-tech
                                                      itself, is the definition of "biological needs". What are these, and why
                                                      discuss them and not the "wishes" or "will" of the person instead? A few
                                                      obvious examples: a person has the biological need to have sex. Does this make
                                                      resisting being raped an immoral act? Is stealing food moral because a
                                                      person needs to eat? Is selling real-estate for money an immoral act,
                                                      because people need to sleep somewhere and you're prevented them a place
                                                      to sleep by charging money? And what about people's non-biological needs,
                                                      like the need to be free, the need to be happy, the need not to be bored,
                                                      etc. - is it moral to violate these needs? For example, is it moral according
                                                      to your definition to keep a human in a large cage while catering for his
                                                      biological needs (giving him food, water, air, sex, etc.)? Can this defintion
                                                      explain why (or whether) it is moral to do this to a convict, but not to
                                                      "ordinary" people?


                                                      --
                                                      Nadav Har'El | Thursday, Apr 19 2007, 1 Iyyar 5767
                                                      nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
                                                      Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is
                                                      http://nadav.harel.org.il |a fine for doing well.
                                                    • Arik Baratz
                                                      ... No it is not. In my reality this definition sucks. You may buy into this definition, because you subscribe to some absolute truth. I don t. We don t have
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Apr 20, 2007
                                                      • 0 Attachment
                                                        On 19 Apr 2007 00:47:19 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                                        > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:

                                                        > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                                        > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                                        > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                                        >
                                                        > Why?
                                                        >
                                                        > Show me the Proof!!!
                                                        >
                                                        > The burden of proof is on you.

                                                        No it is not. In my reality this definition sucks. You may buy into
                                                        this definition, because you subscribe to some absolute truth. I
                                                        don't. We don't have to agree, and our world view is therefore
                                                        different. No proof necessary or even possible.

                                                        -- Arik
                                                      • Shlomi Fish
                                                        ... OK. ... Actually no. Most evil people are well-aware that their actions are destructive. They never admit it, but they know it. When Mao killed 60 million
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Apr 20, 2007
                                                        • 0 Attachment
                                                          On Thursday 19 April 2007, Nadav Har'El wrote:
                                                          > On Thu, Apr 19, 2007, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: Objectivity [was Re:
                                                          [hackers-il] Re: [Israel.pm] Is University Really Necessary?]":
                                                          > > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                                          > > > On 30 Mar 2007 00:39:48 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                                          > > > > The meaning of moral in Neo-Tech is simple and direct: Whatever is
                                                          > > > > consciously done to help fill human biological needs is good and
                                                          > > > > moral (e.g., the productive actions of honest people). Whatever is
                                                          > > > > consciously done to harm or prevent the filling of human biological
                                                          > > > > needs is bad and immoral (e.g., the destructive actions of mystics
                                                          > > > > and neocheaters).
                                                          > > > >
                                                          > > > >
                                                          > > > > As you can see it's even a scientific definition. In this context
                                                          > > > > "evil" == "bad".
                                                          > > >
                                                          > > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                                          > > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                                          > > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                                          > >
                                                          > > Why?
                                                          > >
                                                          > > Show me the Proof!!!
                                                          > >
                                                          > > The burden of proof is on you.
                                                          >
                                                          > There are several problems with this definition, and I'll mention one
                                                          > below, but I have to admit it's not very fair that I "disprove" a
                                                          > definition based on your very short and probably not entirely accurate
                                                          > explanation of it - I didn't like it when you did that to Kant and
                                                          > Kirkegaard after my explanations, and I probably shouldn't be doing this to
                                                          > Neo-Tech. I have to admit that I never read anything about "Neo-Tech"
                                                          > except what you said on this list.
                                                          >

                                                          OK.

                                                          > I think Arik's point was, though, that there's nothing "scientific" about
                                                          > this definition. What makes this definition more "scientific" than a dozen
                                                          > other definitions of ethics? For example, how is this definition of ethics
                                                          > based on intention, better than a definition based on actual consequences
                                                          > (aka "utilitarian" ethics)?
                                                          >
                                                          > Anyway, the biggest flaw I see with this definition is that it relies on
                                                          > a person's intentions, which are very subjective, rather than the actual
                                                          > consequences of his actions, which is more objective (because everyone
                                                          > sees the consequences of an action, but only the person knows his
                                                          > intentions). The problem is that except in the extreme case of psychopaths
                                                          > (who are unable to understand the concept of other human beings having
                                                          > their own lives and wishes), most "bad" actions are somehow justified in
                                                          > the eyes of its doer.

                                                          Actually no. Most evil people are well-aware that their actions are
                                                          destructive. They never admit it, but they know it. When Mao killed 60
                                                          million of his own people, it was not for survival.

                                                          In any case, there are several ways to look at this definition. One way is to
                                                          say that the intention is irrelevant, and that any action that ends up as
                                                          fullfilling human biological needs is good and moral, while any action that
                                                          ends up detracting from human biological needs is bad and immoral.

                                                          >
                                                          > If you asked a white slave-owner whether he's conciously harming his negro
                                                          > slave's biological needs, he would say no: he would say that he took care
                                                          > of their basic needs (minimal amount of food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and
                                                          > would claim (wrongly of course, but he thought this was true) that negros
                                                          > are so privitive that left to their own devices they would be far worse
                                                          > off. He would add that furthermore, without the slaves the slave-owners
                                                          > would go bankrupt and starve, so that it is *freeing* the slaves which is
                                                          > immoral because it would bring "biological" harm to the slave-owners.
                                                          >
                                                          > A second problem, possibly in your short explanation and not in neo-tech
                                                          > itself, is the definition of "biological needs". What are these, and why
                                                          > discuss them and not the "wishes" or "will" of the person instead? A few
                                                          > obvious examples: a person has the biological need to have sex.

                                                          I don't think so. A person has a biological desire to have sex, but it's not a
                                                          need. A person can go on not having sex for decades on end.

                                                          > Does this
                                                          > make resisting being raped an immoral act?

                                                          No, because a person has a need for the completeness of his body. As such, he
                                                          or she has a right to resist being raped.

                                                          > Is stealing food moral because a
                                                          > person needs to eat?

                                                          It depends. By stealing you detract from the food owned by the other. However,
                                                          you might need to do that if you are being exploited (e.g: Robin Hood who
                                                          stole from the exploiters and gave to the exploited.).

                                                          > Is selling real-estate for money an immoral act,
                                                          > because people need to sleep somewhere and you're prevented them a place to
                                                          > sleep by charging money?



                                                          > And what about people's non-biological needs, like
                                                          > the need to be free, the need to be happy, the need not to be bored, etc. -
                                                          > is it moral to violate these needs?

                                                          These all descend from the biological needs or otherwise are ammoral action.
                                                          If I insulted a person by accident, and made him unhappy, then I may have
                                                          caused him to be able to less focus on work, and thus detract from his
                                                          biological needs. However, this action is not unethical, and as such should
                                                          be legal:

                                                          http://www.neo-tech.com/neotech/advantages/advantage83.html

                                                          > For example, is it moral according to
                                                          > your definition to keep a human in a large cage while catering for his
                                                          > biological needs (giving him food, water, air, sex, etc.)?

                                                          Well, that in turn will cause other people to have to support this (benevolent
                                                          I assume) person, instead of this person being able to support himself. So
                                                          it's immoral.

                                                          > Can this
                                                          > defintion explain why (or whether) it is moral to do this to a convict, but
                                                          > not to "ordinary" people?

                                                          Actually, according to Neo-Tech, prisons are not a good way of punishment, as
                                                          it is a huge strain on society to maintain all the prisoners.

                                                          Regards,

                                                          Shlomi Fish

                                                          ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                                          Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                                          If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                                          one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                                          -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                                        • Shlomi Fish
                                                          Hi Arik! ... If no proof is possible, then I cannot accept your claim, because it lacks any reasoning. So you might have well not said it. Thanks for playing!
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Apr 20, 2007
                                                          • 0 Attachment
                                                            Hi Arik!

                                                            On Friday 20 April 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                                            > On 19 Apr 2007 00:47:19 -0700, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                                                            > > On Friday 30 March 2007, Arik Baratz wrote:
                                                            > > > Bah. This definition sucks. Neo-Tech might think it's okay and you
                                                            > > > might agree. I don't. It's using subjective terms in a "scientific"
                                                            > > > definition. Nope, I don't buy it.
                                                            > >
                                                            > > Why?
                                                            > >
                                                            > > Show me the Proof!!!
                                                            > >
                                                            > > The burden of proof is on you.
                                                            >
                                                            > No it is not. In my reality this definition sucks. You may buy into
                                                            > this definition, because you subscribe to some absolute truth. I
                                                            > don't. We don't have to agree, and our world view is therefore
                                                            > different. No proof necessary or even possible.

                                                            If no proof is possible, then I cannot accept your claim, because it lacks any
                                                            reasoning. So you might have well not said it.

                                                            Thanks for playing!

                                                            Regards,

                                                            Shlomi Fish

                                                            ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Shlomi Fish shlomif@...
                                                            Homepage: http://www.shlomifish.org/

                                                            If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
                                                            one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
                                                            -- An Israeli Linuxer
                                                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.