Re: feedback and sharing knowledge

Geoff Smith (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 17:30:45 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 30 Sep 1997, Joao Pedro wrote:

> Also from personal experience, my writing skills (which are
> not exceptional but do the work) have surely earned me many points in
> exams on those questions one is not particularly sure about the answer,
> know what I mean?

Yes, I think I have experienced this phenomenon first-hand. ;)

> > >The more people try to solve the aging problem, the
> > > quicker will it be solve, the better for all of us, including myself.
> > > Answering your question, if someone woke me up to ask me how to play a B
> > > chord, I would be upset because that persons disturbed my sleep.
> >
> > As some people on this list are disturbed by the massive amount of mail in
> > their box every day from people asking the same basics questions, over and
> > over.
> Do you want to compare the trouble of replying to a couple of messages
> once in a while (which can be a matter of days, weeks or months but no
> less than that) with the agony of not being able to sleep? It's two
> completely things, the word "disturbed" has two different meanings in
> the two sentences.

I am not disturbed, but maybe some who are subscribed to multiple mailing
lists are disturbed by the massive volume of repetitive e-mails they

> > > A better example is my aging research,
> > > the more people I can teach about aging, the more people will be
> > > interested and start researching and the more people would try to solve
> > > the aging problem.
> >
> > And so you must weigh the advantages of spending your time teaching others
> > and spending your time actually doing research. When you spend too much
> > time teaching others, you have to cut back so you can do more research.
> > This is all anyone on the list is saying: too much time is being spent on
> > answering basic questions(as opposed to more complicated and unanswered
> > question), so people asking these questions are being discouraged in
> > favour of going and reading a book.
> I saved this reply for later, as a sort of finishing touch, I think that
> with the amount of people asking this kind of questions (in the last
> week I think that was just me, not too much), you don't have an arguing
> base to complain. As I said before, I respect your positions and I shall
> ask no more basic questions but I think that if you spent a few minutes
> per week answering basic questions that wouldn't do you any harm, that
> wouldn't disturb you and in the end you would convert more persons to
> your ideas.

did you like my "start a new list" idea?

> > > > If I told you "the A chord isn't actually an A, it's a B flat", you would
> > > > say I'm wrong. What if I replied: "I don't believe you, but I don't want
> > > > to read any books on subject... maybe I will eventually get around to it.
> > > > In the mean time, I don't believe you. It's obvious that the A chord is
> > > > actually B flat, I don't understand how you can even begin to think it's
> > > > not." Wouldn't that make you a little frustrated? (come on, be honest ;)
> > >
> > > Yes but if you ask 100 guitar player what is an A chord, they will ALL
> > > give you the same answer. However, if you ask 100 economists if
> > > free-markets are the best solutions, they won't give you the same
> > > answer.
> >
> > I have yet to have an economics professor or teaching assistant who
> > doesn't think a free-market is the best solution. If you admit you
> > haven't read any books on economics, how can you make this statement?
> Personally I never had any teacher of economics because I never had to
> learn economics in scholastic life but just because I don't read any
> books that doesn't mean I don't know anything about it. I read the daily
> newspaper, I watch TV, I read books that mention economical issues, I
> talk with other persons about economics, I manage my own money, I buy
> and sell things, I'm no ignorant and, fortunately, I have the ability to
> think based on observations. Just because I don't have a Ph.D. in
> economics that doesn't mean I don't have the ability to talk about
> economical issues. And I do know economists that don't see free-markets
> as the best solution.

References? Who are these economists and what have they written? Maybe
you are mistaking economists and political scientists?

> > > Free-markets is not (at least for many people) the best
> > > solution, it's not the ultimate truth.
> >
> > No, but what is?
> That is what I would like to find out. I asked my original questions
> because I wanted to see if free-markets was a possible solution to many
> of the world's problems.

Which problems?

If you define your problems, it might be easier to solve them.

I think the two major world problems are lack of freedom, and lack of
productivity per capita. If you study economics, you will instantly
realize that the free market maximizes these two things.

If your world problems are "too much freedom" and "too much productivity",
then the free market is definitely not for you. I hear there are still
some communist countries accepting new residents ;)

Also, if you world problem is "not enough equality", then again the free
market is not for you. If we were all equal, there would be no diversity.

> > > An A chord is always an A chord
> > > and if anyone disagrees on that he is immediately wrong,
> >
> > I think you should go to your local library or even the internet, and
> > search for the word "epistemology" before you make a statement like that.
> > What makes you so sure? Why is he "immediately wrong"?
> Come on, a philosophical discussion now!? You know what I mean.


maybe the currrent A chord is actually out of tune with the original A
chord, or theoretical A chord based on the other chords. hmmm.... that
sounded ugly. "you know what I mean"?

how do you know when you have found the "truth"?

how do you know when someone is "immediately wrong"?

is it a warm, fuzzy feeling?

(sorry to get philosophical on you...but since Science is a philosophy,
you might want to get used to it)