Subject: Re: On nil qua false [was: Re: On conditionals]
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 14:57:17 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Thomas F. Burdick
| I don't know that the problem is the inexperienced user.

  I think it is.  Some people insist on being inexperienced despite their
  experience.  I think this is a stupid kind of stubbornness, but we find
  it in a number of people.

| But our current conception of evolution could very well be off, and I
| don't think it takes a genius to figure out that English is a crazy (if
| practical) language.

  But it takes a really smart person to accept it for what it is and not
  nurture a desire to change the grammar.  The same is true for medicine.
  It is pretty easy for anyone who is studying anatomy to figure out ways
  that the human body could be improved.  Fortunately, the ethical
  standards of the medical discipline tend to discourage such desires.

| I *really* just wanted to refute the idea that it was nuts to separate
| NIL and false.

  It _is_ nuts.  False is defined as nil.  Just as true is defined as t.

| For all the arguments in that direction, the obvious usability of Common
| Lisp means that it's also reasonable to conflate them, despite any
| conceptual messiness that might (or might not) entail.

  They are not conflated.  There is no conceptual messiness.  False is
  defined as nil.  True is defined as t.  That is how it is.  If you cannot
  deal with this, it is only your problem.  Augustine's prayer may apply:
  God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to
  change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

  Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's
  Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate.
  Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.