Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why is not How

This has been a long-standing pet peeve of mine. On the forums I often see threads with titles like "Why Blizzard fails at X." With a title like why you should expect a post like "They don't care enough, so they don't bother to put effort into X." Instead the post is more of a set of subjective proofs that "Blizzard is bad at X." A better title would be "How I can tell that Blizzard fails at X."

Why is about purpose or reason, often with implied intellect behind the event. Why does humanity exist? That's a hard one. You'd have to ask God and he might say he was lonely or the world was incomplete. Or you'd have to say there is no why, that humanity is the product of chance and therefore purposeless and without a Why.

How is about the process. How does humanity exist? You could ask God which sort of hand-waving he used or read the Bible and it would describe the shaping of dust. Or you'd see if you could track a series of genetic mutations. Or some other method.

How is not Why. Sometimes in context they can have similar or overlapping meanings, but too often they are used almost interchangeably. I must admit that I probably do not use words perfectly, so it could be that officially Why and How are much more similar than I think; but fuck official!

1 comment:

Sankamsu said...

How could you say such a thing? :)

How do you make such arguments? :)

How am I sitting here responding? :)

Why do I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, do I use a knife and bread? :)