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A Brain in a Vat

Member Since 18 Apr 2011
Offline Last Active May 19 2012 09:09 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: John Carmack a racist?

19 May 2012 - 08:48 AM

The only way his wife might be relevant is that she's founder and CEO of "Fountainhead Entertainment", and she's supposedly an admirer of Ayn Rand. Carmack supposedly is as well. The reason that's relevant is that Ayn Rand, while she was an unabashed sexist, does decry racism: http://www.freedomke...m/ar-racism.htm

I'd suggest to Carmack that Ayn Rand would consider John Derbyshire's small-minded views "most crudely primitive".

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage -- the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

Racism claims that the content of a man's mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man's convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical forces beyond his control. This is the caveman's version of the doctrine of innate ideas -- or of inherited knowledge -- which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of anmials, but not between animals and men.

In Topic: John Carmack a racist?

19 May 2012 - 08:39 AM

Generically the thread's title is too open and somewhat offensive most likely in its ambiguity esp given his wife's ethnicity irl.
As a straight out point very intelligent people can at times say very dumb things and vice versa.

You've just provided an example of an (I assume) intelligent person saying a very dumb thing. What does his wife's ethnicity have to do with it? She's asian, how's that relevant? If she was black it still wouldn't settle the question of racism. This isn't even the simple-minded "I have a black friend!" response to racism, it's the "I have an asian friend, so obviously I don't think blacks are inferior!" response?

Id Software is just one part of the larger Zenimax organisation...

id does its own hiring, and I assume Carmack has lots of say in that hiring if he chooses to be involved. Irrelevant.

In Topic: John Carmack a racist?

19 May 2012 - 08:32 AM

All you've done is attempt to damage the reputation of another in a public forum.

QFE - seeing this is just a thread about slandering someone's reputation (and only at all relevant because said person is well known in this community - for reasons outside of the scope of this thread), does anyone care if I close it?

Where's the slander? I didn't assert anything that's false. I did ask a question -- a question that I think is valid given his statements and his reluctance to answer the question, even when posting in this very thread. He has time to say he doesn't "think very highly

of people that go out of their way to take grievous offense in other people’s names." He has time to say he's tempted to make a "thoughtful position statement" but doesn't want to start an argument since it wouldn't be "orthodox political correctness."

The one thing he hasn't done is say he disagrees with Derbyshire on those particular points, or even to say "I'm not a racist." Of course he doesn't *have* to say that. I wish he would though. I've looked up to Carmack for a long time and wouldn't slander him.

As to whether you should close this thread, I don't quite understand why you would but it's obviously not up to me. The conversation has been civil. Carmack has poked his head in, so it's not like we're talking about someone behind his back and without giving him a chance to respond and set the record straight. There have been threads about people outside of gamedev being racist which weren't closed. There have been threads about games being racist or sexist. These weren't closed.

I think it's relevant for more than just because he's "well known in this community." It might be relevant to black members of this community who might want to know whether applying at id may not be a good idea. It might be relevant to black people already working at id, for that matter.

Please don't to paint this as a blind smear campaign (if it can be called a campaign). I haven't uttered one false statement, I was simply surprised by some of his statements and have asked a question publicly about them. He's chosen not to answer the question.

In Topic: John Carmack a racist?

18 May 2012 - 07:01 PM

As a general rule, I don’t think very highly of people that go out of their way to take grievous offense in other people’s names. The comments sections in the meta-articles about the actual article are filled with a great many people whose company I would not enjoy.

I am a little bit tempted to try to write a thoughtful position statement, but I know that anything that strayed from orthodox political correctness would generate lots of little tempests in a teapot, and I am too busy working to argue.

So you settle for no statement at all on your position? That's pretty weak. I don't think you've given anyone the impression of being shy to give your opinion on other topics in the past. You're an influential member of this community -- one looked up to by countless game developers, to be sure, myself included. I won't go as far as saying "You owe it to us", because I don't think you as a private citizen owe us anything in particular, but it seems the right thing to do to set the record straight.

"Too busy to argue" seems like an excuse. In the time you took to set the record straight about which racist article was being referred to, you could have written a one-liner to reassure the black members of this community (or your black employees, for that matter) that you don't think they are less likely to be productive non-violent members of society because of the color of their skin. And setting the record straight doesn't imply staying around to argue about it.

Regarding the article you actually were referring to, it's just as ignorant, if not as blatantly racist.

White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with.

There have of course been some blots on the record, but I don't see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group.

This is an unfortunately selective and simplistic reading of history. How long have white Europeans been running "fair and stable societies"? For how many thousands of years were the Ottomans, the Persians, or the Han the paramount of civilization during their times? Where were the origins of civilization, and what were white Europeans doing at the time? Might a dominant civilization at any of these times throughout the millenna not have suggested they'd done a "better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group"?

It's ignorant to mistake correlation for causation, and it's lazy and convenient to attribute race as the cause. The "logic" employed by Mr. Derbyshire could just as easily be used to assert "Male Supremacy", "Christian Supremacy", "Straight Supremacy", and "American Supremacy". I wonder how you feel about the section entitled "The Case Against Female Suffrage" in that very book you're reading, Carmack. I wonder whether you'd scrutinize a black programmer applying to id more than you'd scrutinize a white one.

I hope this isn't the last we hear from you on the topic. I don't give a shit about political correctness, but ignorance, myopia, elitism, and prejudice all rub me the wrong way.

In Topic: John Carmack a racist?

17 May 2012 - 07:32 PM

Agreed. Frankly, my hope is that this thread draws enough attention that Carmack notices and says "Whoa, you took it wrong. What I meant is this." And then I can go back to my lazy hero-worship :)