Moral Equivalency

Remember folks; the term “Moral Equivalent” should only be used in a discussion of the relative ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of something. It’s a judgement call. If thing A were put on one side of Anubis’s scales, and thing B were put on the other side, and they weighed equally, then you would have something that was morally equivalent to something else.

It is not meant for use in technical discussions.

Saying that this for loop:

for (int i = 0; i < 20; ++i)
{
}

…is the “moral equivalent” of this while loop:

int i = 0;

while (i < 20)
{
    ++i;
}

… is a pointless statement. What you really mean is that they’re equivalent to one another, not that they’re the moral equivalent of one another. The while loop is not evil. The for loop is not a noble act equivalent in nobility to the while loop. They’re just equivalent.

Next time on pedant’s corner: mute discussion points, things you do anyway irregardless, and if worse comes to worse I’ll look at similarly mangled other phrases. Capeesh? (sic)

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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