Morality and Probability September 30, 2012 | 08:33 pm

I’ve been noodling around with a response to Robert about god-less morality for a while now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that a large part of my problem is that the subject is so large, that condensing the whole thing down into a single blog post is impossible. So I’ve decided to start splitting it up into multiple blog posts (as the muse moves me), each dealing with a small corner. And I’ve decided to tackle the “gotcha” question for utilitarian morality: whether you would kill someone if you knew that you’d make $1 doing so, and that there were no other consequences of said action.

The idea here is that, to make a choice like this, you’d draw up a little diagram like this:




Result
Perform actionB1 – C1
Don’t perform actionB2 – C2

Where here, “perform action” means “kill this person”, and Bn is the benefit of performing (or not) said action, and Cn is the cost. Simplistic utilitarian philosophy says that if B1 – C1 > B2 – C2, you should perform the action. The trick question has us set B1 – C1 = +1 dollar, and B2 – C2 = 0, and thus show that those with utilitarian morality are evil people who’d kill someone for a single lousy buck.

The first thing I’d like to point out is religious moralists are also utilitarian moralists, they just have some additional potiential costs and benefits added to the equation, based on the reactions of their deity, that atheistic utilitarian moralists don’t have. The argument is that no earthly reward can compensate for an eternity of punishment, so $1, $1 million dollars, $1 trillion dollars, it doesn’t matter what the reward is, it’s not worth it.

But deist-based costs can change as well. One can fairly ask the religious people if they would kill someone for $1, if they knew that God wouldn’t punish them for doing so? That’s the equivalent to the question first posed in this post. Indeed, you can go much further along this spectrum, and ask if they would kill someone, even if the face of extreme corporial cost, if they knew God would reward them for doing so? What earthly, temporary, punishment isn’t worth suffering for eternal reward? Abraham proved his faith by being willing to kill even his own son for eternal reward. And, more recently, this is exactly the logic that suicidal terrorists use. If God wanted you to blow yourself up in a crowded market place, and would reward you for all eternity, would you do it?

Of course, there’s a key word, and all it implies, I’ve been throwing around with impunity, which is “know”. We’ve been assuming that the benifits and the consequences of both committing and not committing the action are known with absolute certainity. Once we open up the possibility that we might be wrong, the situation becomes a little more complex. Our table above now becomes:




We’re rightWe’re wrong
Perform actionB1 – C1B3 – C3
Don’t perform actionB2 – C2B4 – C4

And if the probability that we’re right is P (as a fraction), and thus the probability that we’re wrong is (1-P), the equation to determine if we should perform the action becomes: P*(B1 – C1) + (1-P)*(B3 – C3) > P*(B2 – C2) + (1-P)*(B4 – C4). We’ve been implicitly assuming that P = 1, and that thus (1-P) = 0, in which case this equation simplifies to the one above. But once we accept the possibility that P can be less than 1, that there is a possibility that we’re wrong, the equation literally changes.

So let’s take a look at the gotcha question a second time, using the full equation with the assumption that we could be wrong. Now, if we’re right, things remain the same- so B1 – C1 = 1 dollar, and B2 – C2 = 0. Furthermore, we assume that B4 – C4 = 0 as well, that if I pass on killing the person, and I’m wrong, there are still no consequences. Now, lets consider B3 – C3, the result if I kill the person and am wrong about there being no repercussions. In this case, even absent any divine retribution, I’m looking at serious negative consequences- a trial for certain, followed probably by either a lengthy and unpleasant prison stay, or possibly even the death penalty. B3 – C3 is a very large negative number.

So it all comes down to P. If P is close enough to 1, if I have enough confidence that I’m right, then the utilitarian argument is in favor of committing murder. Note that I would argue that it is impossible for P to be equal to 1. You can’t know for certain that, over my future life expectency, that we won’t suddenly develop remote time viewing technology, and that once the historians and paparrazi have had their field days, the cops don’t decide to go through their backlog of unsolved crimes and disappearances to determine what actually happened, and suddenly I’m up for murder one again. Current physics says such a capability is impossible, but current physics doesn’t have a workable theory of quantum gravity, and has aboslutely no idea what 96% of the universe is made of (the dark matter and dark energy). So neither you nor anyone else can rule out such a possibility. And such technological leaps are happening- there has been a spate of rape and murder convinctions recently of very old cases, based on recently discovered DNA evidence. Evidence that, at the time the crime was committed, wasn’t known to exist. So people who had thought they had literally gotten away with murder are now discovering that they were mistaken.

The next thing to understand is that we humans suck at probability. We suck badly enough in abstract, more or less purely mathematical situations where P can be calculated quite accurately- ask any serious poker player about how often suckers draw to an inside straight. But we suck even worse in amorphous, real world situations where P can not be calculated exactly. Like what the probability is that we won’t leave any incriminating evidence at the scene of the crime. We wildly over to underestimate probabilities all the time. This is because the heuristics are brains use to calculate probabilities, which served us well on the Serengeti, fail spectacularly in the modern world. Witness how many people are terrified of flying, when it’s much more likely you’ll be killed driving to the airport.

Given that P can not be mathematically deduced, and given that our intuitions are probability are prone to wild inaccuracies, the only logical course of action is to assume that P, the probability that we’re right, is much lower than we think. This will tend to drive our decisions towards choices that avoid catastrophic downsides if we’re wrong, even to the point of missing potential opportunities. To pass up the opportunity to make a quick buck, to avoid the possibility of being hauled up on murder charges. A rule of thumb might be that any P value greater than about 0.85 (5/6th) should be assumed to be 5/6th. That you can’t be 99% sure about anything. At which point, the gotcha question has a simple, obvious answer- the downside to being wrong is greater than $6, so it’s not worth the risk of being wrong.

This does raise the issue of why crimes happen, given that it’s not rational, given then logic I just gave. And the answer is that people are often irrational. And we not only suck at probability, we suck at math in general (especially when our emotions are involved).

This allows me to raise another point. I have, in other debates, called Communism a religion. Part of this is that it shares the trappings of religion- it has it’s own ten commandments, it hates all other religions (“You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”), you go to a special building or room every weekend where you listen to specially elected person who reads passages from the special books and gives a lecture on their meaning, interspersed with chants and songs, and so on.

But the key commonality between Communism and religion is just this: the illusion of certainity. Communism’s illusion of certainity came from a misunderstanding or deliberate perversion of both the theory and practice of science. Religion’s illusion of certainity comes from the claimed communication with the omnipitent omnipresent omnipotent creator of all, who (by definition) can not be wrong. And this is the great danger in both religion and communism- all of the great crimes, all of them, throughout history, all the wars and genocides, were committed by people who firmly believed that it was inconceivable that they were wrong. Inconceivable, I say!

In this sense, the current atheist/skeptic philosophy is diameterically opposite of both communism and religion. It’s response is literally “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” Not only is it conceivable, history has shown time and again that we humans are never more likely to be wrong than when we are certain we are right. As Oliver Cromwell said, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

What My Pacifism is NOT September 29, 2012 | 09:48 pm

There are a lot of people out there who want to tell you what pacifism is. This is a noble and constructive project, but it’s not the one that I need most often. Most often, I need a good explanation of what pacifism is not, because most of the reaction that people have towards my pacifist claims are reactions to positions that I do not hold. So let me be very clear about what I do not believe.

  • My pacifism is not passive-ism. Although there are purportedly some out there who believe in the utter non-resistence to evil, I am not one of them, and I don’t recall ever actually encountering a person like that. Often, however, well-intentioned but misguided anti-war rhetoric comes off attempting to portray the world as less bad than it is, or as though we should not act to oppose things that are genuinely evil. This is not my belief. I believe in the active resistence of evil. I’m simply unimpressed with the track record of violence and hatred on solving the problem of evil, and so I look to alternative approaches.
  • My pacifism is not the denial of violence. If anything, pacifism takes more seriously the reality of violence. In every war we have ever fought, our military has killed innocent people. People who had no reason to die ended up killed by our troops. This will happen in every war we fight in the future. That is a violent reality which my pacifism takes seriously, but which is intentionally overlooked when the war drums start beating, and then gets brushed under the rug as “collateral damage”. Yet the reality is that before we deploy any troops, we need to ask ourselves: “How many innocent people is it worth slaughtering to accomplish our goal?” We know innocent people will die when we go to war. We are certain this will happen. We know we will do this, and we will bear sole responsibility. So how many innocent lives is it worth cutting down for our cause? I will not ignore this violence.
  • My pacifism is not the denial of interpersonal violence. I simply prefer risking the possibility of violence happening towards me in the hope that the violence can be avoided completely. Pacifism is not ignorance about violence, but instead the embracing of vulnerability and the faith that human vulnerability has its own amazing power to ensure safety. This sounds backwards and crazy, but it actually works. The vulnerable assertion of dignity—both of yourself and the would-be perpetrator violence—is surprisingly effective in avoiding situations that would otherwise escalate to violence.
  • My pacifism does not reject violence as a solution in some situations. There are times when a doctor has to break bones for healing. This is the “madman with a sword” scenario that Gandhi presented, and even he granted that violence may be a solution in that scenario. If I came across a situation where violence was occurring and violence was truly the only way I had to stop it, I would use violence. To this end, training in martial arts and even martial weaponry can be viewed as in line with pacifism, because they are both learning to minimize the application of violence in the unfortunate situation where it is necessary. (The threat, of course, is that familiarity and availability with methods of violence will entice their use in scenarios where other solutions may be better.) The difference is that pacifism recognizes that my violence is a sign of my own failing (why didn’t I have other options?), as well as a failing of the situation (what was broken that allowed the situation to reach violence in the first place?). The violence is something to mourn, to recover from, and to work to repair. The violence is just the beginning of addressing the problem, and it is definitely not something to be lauded, valorized, and romanticized. It’s certainly not something to joke about or take lightly or treat as though it will actually resolve issues.
  • My pacifism is not an individual claim. My pacifism is not simply something I believe. My pacifism is an underlying reality that demands a response, but which we spend huge amounts of time and effort trying to obscure, because the response is scary, threatening, and counter-cultural. It is, however, also demanded by truth.

Where I Will Be… September 29, 2012 | 06:39 pm

So, I’ve just booked my next couple of months. Here’s the plan, for those of you who are curious.

I am a pacifist because I can’t sit by and do nothing while people suffer September 28, 2012 | 07:57 pm

I am a pacifist. I am a pacifist because it means actively opposing the cycle of violence instead of passively participating within it. I am a pacifist because the moral high ground is not just a nice place to be, but is a weapon against misery and self-hatred and self-destruction.

I am a pacifist because Jesus said to be one. Peter echoed him. I am a pacifist because they were pretty clear about what they were saying, and I take scripture seriously.

I am a pacifist because nineteen hundred years after Jesus ended his life dedicated to his pacifism, Gandhi proved that returning love for evil can conquer evil empires. I am a pacifist because there was a man who suffered for glory through Gandhi’s pacifism and who loved Jesus’ teachings, and he created a new way of thinking about economics which is more sustainable than our system that needs endless consumption and malignant growth.

I am a pacifist because groups like the Nonviolent Peaceforce and movements like Arab Spring demonstrably do more for the long-term welfare of a region than any amount of arming rebels.

I am a pacifist because, like General Eisenhower, I recognize that every bomb or missile or battleship that is built is ultimately a theft from the welfare of our nation. I am a pacifist because, like General Smedley Butler, I understand that the armies follow the dollars of the corporations, not the heart of the nation. I am a pacifist because I believe in freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and forcing citizens to give up money to illegal and unjust wars against their conscience is an immoral and unconstitutional act. I am a pacifist because I do not want to be a part of any group that coerces and compels other people to damage their bodies and souls and to kill innocents on our command—even if that group calls itself a government.

I am a pacifist because it is time that we recognize that compassion is not a just sentiment: it is the basis of a very real and proven spiritual technology. I am a pacifist because studies in mirror neurons, meditation, and interconnected sustainability are scientifically validating the pacifist claims of centuries of mystics and philosophers, and I take both science and mysticism seriously. I am a pacifist because the more we discover about our world on all fronts, the more we discover that active, loving responses to those around us work out for the best for all of us.

For more information, I’d encourage you to read The Search for a Nonviolent Future.

Choose Your 9/11 September 11, 2012 | 06:00 am

Each year, when 9/11 rolls around, we are given a choice between two 9/11s. One is a 9/11 which is borne on and fuels hatred and division in our world. The hatred and division of September 11th expressed itself by transforming planes full of innocent people into missiles of war. Airplanes, instruments of peace and industry, became instruments of war and death — plowshares turned into swords.

The instantaneous creation of three thousand victims shocked us. It led the politicians of the United States of America, like the elders of Israel in 1 Samuel 8, to call for a strong leader who could lead us into war. In the face of so many innocent deaths, we offered patriotic prayers. We turned to violence and war. We would eradicate the hatred of us by killing those who hate us.

Like Samuel, some prophets of our age warned us about what we were doing, what we were giving up, and what we were taking on. The prophets warned us that succumbing to fear would transform the USA into a country where hate and bigotry become powerful and influential forces. They warned us that the economic toll of the military’s needs would be disastrous to our nation’s struggling livelihood. They warned us that the consolidated power would be abused, invasive, and turned to the ends of the powerful against the good of the populace. They warned us that thousands upon thousands would join the three thousand who died on that day. Despite warnings, we still called for a strong leader to lead us to war: someone who could save us from this threat, who would keep us safe and be our salvation. Just as when the Israelites were calling for a king, God granted us our wish and the prophetic warnings have come to pass.

On this anniversary, the wounds are fresh again. The images of terror and panic are new in our minds all over again. Relived traumas reinforce the pain. We also have the additional weight of our past decisions that tripled the count of dead through our direct actions. The weight presses the pain deeper into our psyche. It is oppressive.

On this anniversary, we have a chance to take a new choice. We cannot change the past, but we can take the pain we feel in the present and use it to make a better future: one of peace, one powered by a force more powerful than hatred and division. We can learn how to do that by looking to another anniversary commemorated today. The other anniversary is of an event one hundred and six years ago today.

One hundred and six years ago today, another war started. This war was a new kind of war, a war that demonstrated that there was a force more powerful than tanks and mortars. The new war was based on faith in God, on faith in the power of martyrdom and truth to prevail over the most despicable and systematic acts of humanity’s sin.

The Muslim people who make up Afghanistan were key and powerful soldiers in this faithful war. This war drew one hundred thousand Muslims of the area into a movement called the Servants of God, dedicated to building up the destitute and to gaining freedom against a deadly oppressor. This new way of waging war converted the people of Afghanistan, then violent resistors and victims of oppression, into a force for peace and social betterment. This new way of waging war all started one hundred and five years ago, on the other 9/11.

The other 9/11 is when a man named Mohandas Ghandi launched of a new kind of war: one called “Clinging to Truth”. Believing that people are fundamentally relational, this war is based on exposing the truth of a situation and forcing people to cope with it. Exposing the truth of a situation may mean accepting violence done upon you without returning any in kind, a shocking concept in our age of industrialized state-advocated killing. Yet there is a tremendous and well-proven power in the witness of innocents, and in the power of innocence to triumph over death. Waging war through witness and relationship freed three hundred and fifty million people, and rippled throughout the twentieth century, especially informing the careers Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. To paraphrase XKCD: “Peace. It works, Brothers.”

So on this 9/11, we have a choice. We can myopically focus on the pain of the last decade and victimize ourselves all over again, or we can see the pain of these last years in light of the revelation of a century before. We can choose to entrust our salvation to a strong earthly leader and the ways of the nations, or we can choose to put our faith in the empowerment of that of God in people.

If you would like more information about the other 9/11, see the Metta Center’s Hope Or Terror?: Gandhi and the Other 9/11.

Christianity’s Pharisee Problem September 10, 2012 | 09:34 pm

Fellow Christians, we need to talk. We have a Pharisee problem, and we need to do something about it.

The problem starts in the gospels. The driving plot within the gospels—becoming more prominent as you approach the passion—is Jesus’s conflict with the religious authorities of the day. This, combined with Paul’s efforts to make sense of his people’s rejection of Jesus, results in a popular idea that Jesus was somehow against “the Jews”. There was a mass of people—”the Jews”—for whom Jesus’s message of love was incomprehensible. This mass of people were represented by the Pharisees and the Scribes, who confronted Jesus with legalisms and tricky intellectual puzzles and traps.

This way of thinking is only reinforced by the popular division of the Old Testament and the New Testament into two stories about two separate Gods. There’s the Old Testament God who is wrathful and evil and metes out merciless justice. Then there’s the New Testament God who is mercy and sparkles and lights and loves you just the way you are. There are three problems with this idea.

  1. This statement immediately implies that contemporary Judaism worships a wrathful and evil God who metes out merciless justice. Somehow, thousands of years of Judaism hasn’t ever recognized their God that way, so you’re forced to argue that contemporary and historical Judaism either A) does not know, or B) does not take seriously, their own scriptures and their own God. These are both blatantly anti-semitic claims (not to mention obviously false), and I seriously doubt most people making the Old Testament/New Testament division would care to make either of them.
  2. The New Testament God, including Jesus, has just as strong a concept of justice and is just as damning to the unjust. Jesus rejects and condemns people throughout the gospels—select targets include those who neglect the suffering, those who are evil, those who reject or ignore his message, and those who claim to follow him in word but fail to live into it in deed. Revelation is equally as unhappy with the unfaithful. And of course you see it in Paul and the other epistles.
  3. Jesus and the texts we have closest to Jesus’ own time all affirm the continuity between the Children of Israel and the followers of Jesus. If you think there is a new God in the New Testament versus the Old Testament, you are at odds with Jesus and the New Testament itself.

Beyond these issues, there’s a problem with this conception of “the Jews” because throughout all four gospels, it’s not the crowds who fail to understand and accept Jesus’s message: it’s the disciples. The crowds flock to Jesus and lay down palm leaves and cry “Hosannah!” The people that Jesus calls the most faithful are not the disciples, but the people he stumbles across along the way: the centurion, the woman at the well, the lepers who call him “King”, the bleeding woman, the woman he calls a dog. These people approach Jesus with faith and with a hope of transformation. It’s the disciples that spend all their time trying to figure Jesus out and try to get Jesus to explain himself, and thereby miss the point entirely.

The biggest issue, however, is that “the Jews” that we are reading out of scripture don’t exist. Although it is popular and common (and even arguably useful) for Christian theologians to talk about “the culture” Jesus was speaking to, the reality is that there was no homogenous mass of people that Jesus preached to. There was no “the culture”. Jesus served people, and those people were each individuals with complex histories and motivations and understandings. The more we learn about the time of Jesus, the more diversity we find, and we have even found quite a few critiques and teachings from other contemporary Judeans that sound a lot like Jesus. Thanks to our historical research, we now know that even the Scribes and the Pharisees as portrayed in the scriptures are satires and convenient fictions.

In fact, if you want to find Pharisees and Scribes and hard-hearted nationalists who reject Jesus’s message, you’re better off looking away from the 1st century Middle East and towards 21st century American Christianity.

You want Pharisees? Ask Hugh Hollowell, the Mennonite minister who runs Love Wins Ministries and serves those on the fringes of Raleigh’s social structures. Ask him about those who need to know his doctrine of the resurrection to decide if he’s a Christian. He is guiding a community that is literally feeding the hungry, befriending the lonely, and caring for the neglected sick. He does this all while proclaiming himself proudly as a follower of Christ, but people still need to know how his theology accounts for this or that passage of the Bible to know if he’s a Christian. If his theology is wrong on that point or on any other myriad number of points, then their church couldn’t possibly support him. Those are Pharisees. Every damning word Jesus said about the Pharisees and every derogatory portrayal of the Pharisees in the scriptures apply directly to them.

You want Scribes? Look to divinity schools and seminaries, where master’s students debate denominational affiliations and solve all the world’s problems over lunch tables, and where famous tenured theologians write about vulnerability and taking up the cross. I know we are the Scribes, because I was one. We aid and abet the Pharisees in their task, all the while thinking we have been gifted special and secret knowledge of God, sanctified by study and therefore able to judge our brothers and sisters.

You want hard-hearted nationalists who reject Jesus’s message? Look to every member of the Christian church who rejects Jesus’s calling in order to retain their American exceptionalism, their proud militarism, or their comfortable lifestyle. Any self-righteous indignation here should be checked, though, because that mass of people certainly includes your present author and almost certainly the reader.

Fellow Christians, we are the Pharisee problem. When John the Baptist is confronted with those who sought him out for ritual cleansing, he calls them a “brood of vipers”. He calls us a brood of vipers, because we follow any popular movement and seek out any charismatic figure who might have a quick fix for our problems. When Jesus talks about those who reject him, those who are blind, those who do not have eyes to see or ears to hear, those who have fail to have faith, then he is talking to us. He isn’t talking to some other group separated from us by time, space, or tradition. He is talking about us.

As far as I can tell, the only way to solve this Pharisee problem is for us—Christians—to change our whole way of following Jesus. And this means that we must first and foremost love people. Don’t try to love people. Don’t strive to love people. Don’t pray that some day you might be gifted with the grace enabling you to love people. Love people. Loving people may mean that things will suck sometimes. However, the few times that I have truly felt love for God, it was because I was loving people. And those people in my life who most resemble Christ are those who love others deeply and are compelled by that love. These people also have another strange commonality: they don’t have much time for abstract theology, and absolutely no time for systematic theology and creedal litmus tests. As far as I can tell, if we want to be more like Christ, then we should follow their lead, let that stuff slide, and focus our energies on more important things.

Gaelyk (Groovy/Google App Engine) Persistence in September’s GroovyMag: Announcement and Errata September 9, 2012 | 11:24 am

This month, I have an article on persistence on Google App Engine’s persistence (BigTable/DataStore), viewed through the perspective of Gaelyk. One of the big things I highlight is ways in which this NoSQL engine differs from relational databases, and what that means for structuring your data and optimizing your structures. This is a part of the conversation which is often sorely missing, so I felt the need to highlight it.

Vladimír Oraný read through it, and said he liked it quite a bit, but noticed two things that I have to correct. First, I apparently imply through my example that you need to use @Entity in order to use coercion into Google App Engine’s Entity. This isn’t true: any bean or POGO can be coerced. I knew that, but apparently conflated two steps in a way that might be confusing. Second, despite an error in the documentation implying the contrary, @Unindexed cannot be applied to a class. Instead, you need to pass that as an argument to the @Entity annotation: @Entity(unindexed=true).

Like before, you can get a free copy of this month’s GroovyMag by tweeting me for it.

JQuery PeriodicalUpdater in JSMag July 4, 2012 | 08:43 pm

The jQuery PeriodicalUpdater, which is undoubtedly my most popular open source project to date, is featured in this month’s JSMag. It’s actually a part of a two-part series, the first on jQuery PeriodicalUpdater in particular, and the second on witing jQuery plugins, using jQuery PeriodicalUpdater as an exemplar. So keep an eye out for that next month, too.

The jQuery PeriodicalUpdater is responsible for long-polling the backend from the client. When people usually write this code, it tends to be like some little kid: “Can I have it now? What about now? How about now? Now? Now? Now? Now?” This leads to exasperated servers. The PeriodicalUpdater handles this with much more grace, leading to happy servers while keeping the client up-to-date.

Like last month’s GroovyMag article, I’m offering a free copy of this month’s JSMag if you drop me a tweet asking for it. (There’s also a few more GroovyMag article codes for those tweets.)

jQuery: Timing of Selector Resolution June 17, 2012 | 07:05 pm

I was curious how eager or lazy jQuery was with its selector resolution. So when you say $(".foo"), does it walk the DOM immediately looking for things of class “foo”, or does it wait? After all, it could wait until a call comes in to modify an element before resolving the elements, which could be an optimization in some cases. This would also handle mutations to the DOM, which would be nice in certain cases (such as the bound version of PeriodicalUpdater). It could also be that that jQuery detected changes to the DoM via jQuery, and perhaps threw signals to keep things in sync.

However, it turns out that selector resolution is eager in jQuery. I checked it twice: once using a timer as a simplified version of what JQuery PeriodicalUpdater does and once using direct DOM modifications. In both cases, you see the straight eager behavior.

So there you have it: selector resolution is eager in jQuery. So don’t ask for elements until you’re sure you want them, and not until you’re sure they exist.

This Recruiter E-mail Approaches Optimally Bad June 12, 2012 | 05:05 pm

This is a headhunter e-mail I received today. I wish I could say it was out of the ordinary, but it’s only remarkable in how fully it embodies the general tone of headhunter e-mails I tend to receive.

Bottom line: Are you sick of working with people that don’t give a $*!% about their code?! Are you bored out of your skull? Are you not working up to your intellectual/creative capabilities? If any/all of this is true, we would love to speak to you. We’re not looking for 15 people; we’re looking for just one, possibly you.

Our client is on the cutting edge of cloud computing, developing software that is impacting the commoditization of cloud and influencing how big companies use and manage their clouds. This position is for a front end ‘architect/genius” developer to work on a rock star team with a focus on all NEW development, encountering challenges never before seen, and opportunities never before explored. You will work with JavaScript, CSS3 and jQuery in addition to other tools that YOU may recommend for building the best front end functionality that is possible.

Developer/coding elitists need only apply. If you are particular and passionate or know someone that is, we want to talk to you!

A few notes:

  1. Either swear or don’t. Hiding your swearing behind symbols is the worst of all possible worlds, because it says that you’re being informal enough to use crude language, but not informal enough to actually trust me to be able to read your crude language.
  2. Keep your hackneyed epithets to a minimum. Or at least pick one and commit. Rockstar? Genius? Elitist? I have to be ALL of those things?
  3. And while we’re on this point: Stop Giving Me So Many Blatant Opportunities to Think about How Great I Am. It’s a transparent sales ploy, and doesn’t give me any information about the position you’re attempting to fill.
  4. Likewise, Stop Giving Me So Many Blatant Opportunities to Think about How Horrible Everyone Else Is. Seriously? Is that the kind of person who you want to hire? You want a flaming narcissist who is going to feel perpetually underutilized and superior to the rest of the team? For real? Soft skills are valuable in software development, and the best developers I know are the ones who are also humble and engaged in communities. The brogrammer who is convinced they are smarter than everyone else is a stagnant investment for your business and a morale killer for your team.
  5. Finally, If Your Position Was That Cool, You Wouldn’t Be E-mailing Me Out of the Blue. Nobody using standard technologies is really “encountering challenges never before seen, and opportunities never before explored”. That hyperbole is just plain nonsense, and the people engaged in those kinds of projects aren’t recruiting through spammy e-mails.