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An Observation

I've been reading through the archives, and looking at the discussion related to each peice. And almost without exception someone says 'I was disappointed to see Joel drop so from his usual high standards' or words to that effect. In other words for everything Joel's written there's always someone who thinks Joel is a) smart, good at writting and normally right and b) wrong on this.

From this we can draw the following conclusions: a) Joel is smart. b) many smart people read Joel-on-software and agree with Joel on most things but c) not on all things. Therfore we can conclude that intelligence does not lead people to draw the same conclusions. So, coming to an answer is independent of intelligence and - this is the scary part - hence we cannot get to the right answer by applying intelligent thought.

Mr Jack
Thursday, October 10, 2002

Garbage In Garbage Out.

So intelligent thought doesn't mean you don't need backround knowledge. As IRL knowledge is allways incomplete, smart people (with varying premises) will conlude different things.

Why does that scare you?

Daren Thomas
Thursday, October 10, 2002

Also, there's often more than one way to skin the same cat.
The 'best' way is somethimes only subjective.

Alberto
Thursday, October 10, 2002

"So, coming to an answer is independent of intelligence and - this is the scary part - hence we cannot get to the right answer by applying intelligent thought."

Your conclusion is false. Change it to '... cannot always get ...'
And that's not the scary part, its what seperates us thusfar from machines. We can draw conclusions from incomplete pictures and usually come to an acceptable conclusion. And have ways to improve...

Erik
Thursday, October 10, 2002

"Incomplete picture" is the key.  Intelligent people come to different conclusions after applying intelligent thought to the evidence they personally have available to them.  What you're observing isn't the futility of intelligent thought; rather, you're seeing just how much information has yet to be gathered on software development.

Furthermore... you -can- get the right answer with intelligent thought, and enough information.  You can also get it by guessing, but your chances are much worse.

Paul Brinkley
Thursday, October 10, 2002

A few people on this board have an irritating desire to disagree with Joel just fo the heck of it.

pb
Thursday, October 10, 2002

This reminds me of people who gripe about how far Slashdot has fallen since the "glory days". Rob Malda jokes that people have been saying this since Day 1. As someone who's been reading Slashdot since nearly the beginning (October 1997) I can second that.

A more likely conclusion to draw from this, however, is that different people disagreed with each of Joel's columns. Surprised to find themselves disagreeing with Joel, they conclude that his columns have gotten worse over time.

But maybe there is just a cadre of negative people who like to criticize.

http://justlooking.recursion.org

Luke Francl
Thursday, October 10, 2002

"So, coming to an answer is independent of intelligence and - this is the scary part - hence we cannot get to the right answer by applying intelligent thought."

Thinking intelligently is necessary, not sufficient.  Having the right facts helps.  So does being able to distance yourself emotionally from the outcome of your train of thought.  And we sometimes reach the wrong conclusion not because intelligence doesn't help, but because we're not quite intelligent enough to work through the issues.  (When you can't figure something out, do you look to other intelligent people for opinions, or do you call the the World Wrestling Federation?)

I've seen people leap to the "intelligence doesn't help" conclusion in politics, too.  After Kennedy's "best and brightest" team managed to drag us into the quagmire that was Vietnam, some people concluded that you might be just as well off electing an ignoramus (put names of your own choice here).  Well, that doesn't work either.

Hardware Guy
Saturday, October 12, 2002

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