Subject: Re: Difference between LISP and C++
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 29 Oct 2002 15:57:50 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* arien <spammers_suck@getlost.invalid>
| I have always believed, that if someone has to defend themselves, then 
| they mustn't be particularly confident about themselves or their 
| position....

  Yet you keep arguing that you had to defend yourself when you thought I
  implied that you were "dumb" and that you had no choice, and you go on
  "defending" yourself long after you (claim to) have put the offender in
  your kill-file.  This must mean -- tada! -- that you really are dumb and
  feel you must fight tooth and nail to keep anyone from realizing it,
  which it would take /several/ miracles to avoid at this point.

| So why is it that the people here have to defend lisp so vehemently?  It
| sounds to me like Lisp is in a precarious position if lispers must attack
| anyone who so much as accidently suggests that there is something wrong
| as lisp.

  Now you are just being dumb, again.

| Some of my posts should even have been taken light-heartedly, but yet
| lispers can't seem to do that.

  Yet you publicly admit to not getting at least one joke, and the number
  of humorous references that fly by you like migratory birds is enormous,
  a clear indication that your mental capacity is also heading south.

  I am amazed by the resilience of the very unintelligent.  One must wonder
  what such energy could have produced had it been offered in conjunction
  with a healthy mind, but premature certainty is a byproduct of not getting
  the message.  The more you understand, the better your capacity to realize
  that the world is more complex than one's understanding of it.  I have
  come to wonder just how much information a self-aware system needs before
  it realizes that what is has become aware of from its surroundings is not
  the whole story.  Some believe that self-awareness simply happens when a
  sufficiently large number of connections is made in something like the
  brain.  But what needs to take place before the self-aware system realizes
  that the information it has collected and the conclusions it has reached
  /may not be sufficient/ and that new data could /surprise/ the system by
  offering unexpected data that /could/ alter its conclusions?

  The research into human stupidity is looking for a definition of what it
  actually is that makes people stupid (not the same as unintelligent).  I
  think I have a definition: Stupidity is the premise that the information
  gathered and the conclusions reached so far are /sufficient/ and that no
  further information-gathering or thinking needs to take place before you
  act on a "mental model" of the world.  The switch from observing reality
  and letting it have the last say if you think differently to judging it
  to be /wrong/ if it differs from your "mental model", that is the precise
  moment of stupidity.  /Thinking/ conversely occurs when the input from
  the world around you takes precedence over your "mental model".

  The one thing that stupid people (people who habitually act as if they
  know reality better than reality) do not do is consider the possibility
  that they could be wrong, that something out there needs attention and
  even scrutiny because it looks out of place.  The failure to pay attention
  is a major part of the problem, but not all.  Even if they noticed that
  something was amiss, the stupid person would claim that the world is
  unknowable, anyway, and this goes to prove it.  Should /people/ fail to
  do exactly as they predict, they will act in such a manner as to encourage
  them to act the way they have predicted instead of listening to what they
  actually do.  In the terminology of behaviorists, stupid people reinforce
  only what they expect and ignore everything else, and if this does not
  yield the expected responses, either, the stupid person acts even more
  stupidly in order to fulfill their predictions.

  The stupid person is the person who responds to a large number of signals
  that could be interpreted many ways with "I told you so!" because he has
  ignored the unexpected, whereas the thinking person is the person who
  looks at exactly the same signals and responds with "hm... that's odd..."
  because he has ignored the expected.  The stupid person is the person who
  looks at something he does not understand and "knows what it will do" and
  does not even try it out because that is a waste of his time, while the
  thinking person is the person who looks at exactly the same thing with
  exactly the same understanding and goes "I wonder what this does?"
  Can a stupid person be made to think?  I have long believed that if I give
  unthinking people with something contrary to their expectations, they
  might wake up and think -- and it works surprisingly often, but it is not
  the kind of thing that happens in public view.  Thinking is a private
  activity, perhaps the most private activity there is.  To the habitually
  non-thinking (a stupid person), that spark of thought is nigh invisible
  precisely because it is the unexpected.  To the habitually thinking (a
  smart person), that spark of thought is precisely what they enjoy.  The
  capacity to be surprised is therefore connected to your ability to deal
  with a world that is /not/ entirely expected.  The smart person regards
  the unexpected as intriguing, the stupid person regards it as confusing.

  It is hard to notice all the unexpected things and I suspect that it is
  so hard that it requires a lot more intelligence and brain capacity than
  we humans are equipped with from the start, which means that it will be
  impossible for us to ever get rid of lapses of sufficient thought, errare
  humanum est, because the volume of information we need to process in
  order to make the smart decision exceeds our capacity.  This is how I
  would connect "intelligent" and "smart": Intelligence is the capacity,
  while smart or dumb is the degree of utilization.  A person of low
  capacity utilized at its fullest is in some ways indistinguishable from a
  person of high capacity utilized minimally.  Therefore, a person of
  modest intellectual means is considered "stupid" because of the visible
  failure to gather information and reach conclusions with the requried
  speed, but the smart/stupid axis really is fundamentally different from
  the intelligence axis.

  In recent (real-world) news here in Norway, a moderately retarded mother
  was denied the right to care for her own children and the government
  wanted to take them away from her and the psychotic, drug-addicted and
  violent father.  She had been IQ-tested on the WAIS scale and scored 53.
  There was, for some reason I cannot possibly relate to, a public outcry.
  Old teachers and "friends" and a sundry corral of ludicrous people spoke
  up in the media, admitting that "she sure is slow, but", while the social
  services office in the community got hate mail and death threats from
  other retarded people who obviously had no concern for the children.
  Now, the crux of the argument was that she had previously tested 74 on an
  IQ test.  What could have accounted for the incredible drop?  The really
  amazing thing, and which made me laugh out loud, was that those who
  wanted to reunite the innocent children with these clearly unfit parents
  tried to argue that this retarded woman had been under a lot of pressure
  and had her sick child with her to the IQ test, thinking that this should
  have been ameliorating or at least mitigating, instead /proved/ that her
  IQ dropped 20 points when she had to perform tasks of mild to moderate
  intellectual complexity while tending to her children.  The tester was
  "surprised" to see that the test was given such weight in the outcome of
  the decision, but if /anything/ could show that a person would be an unfit
  mother, it is the inability to deal with many tasks simulataneously.  It
  is in fact not uncommon for the IQ of mothers to /increase/ dramatically
  after giving birth precisely because mothering is such a tremendously
  difficult task and requires so much more of the woman than ordinary daily
  life.  Some estimate the natural increase for someone around the IQ=100
  norm to be as much as 15 IQ points, or one standard deviation.  If, under
  such a situation, the IQ instead dropped by 20 points, the retarded unfit
  mother's IQ dropped 35 points under stress and simulataneous intellectual
  stimuli.  If there ever were a good reason to take children away from
  their parents, the very people who tried to defend her provided the best
  evidence there could be!  Such is the life of unintelligent and stupid
  people.  If it were not for the poor chidren involved in this squabble and
  the chance that they could be returned to these idiot parents, this would
  be a tremendously funny story.

  Back in our pig-pen, we have some people whose intelligence also drops a
  standard deviation or more when they are under intense pressure to prove
  that they were not stupid by showing us how well they function when they
  are not thinking, but occasionally people grow a clue real quick and show
  themselves to be a credit to the human race.  Invariably, and I mean this
  in the most specific sense, they get on with what they came here for.  The
  first and probably best sign of a thinking mind under pressure is that it
  focuses on its actual purposes and applies concentration to understand
  what went on.  Absent whining, absent victimization, absent insults, they
  turn to do exactly what they said they would to begin with.  Momentarily
  derailed if at all, they get back on track entirely on their own and apply
  themselves to accomplish something useful to themselves.  Many in this
  category of great people write me personally and thank me for specific
  advice or for helping them or for /listening/ to them, which is one of
  the rarest activities you find anywhere today.

  Some people have posted here about how they have been encouraged in their
  continued attacks directed at me by other retarded lunatics and claim they
  fight something they consider worthy because stupid people feel hurt and
  instead of encouraging them to think, feel they should validate stupidity.
  My reward for the work I actually do for people here is that I have caused
  people to /think/ about something they had not otherwise thought about
  and people give me very valuable ideas and suggestions in return.  To the
  credit of the people who "side" with me, I have /never/ been encouraged in
  any fight against human stupidity.  This is no doubt incomprehensible to
  the people who need encouragement to be as evil as they have been, but
  there is one point of crucial difference: I fight /for/ the ability and the
  freedom to think, while these lunatics who gang up on me fight /against/
  the freedom to speak up against stupidity.  (They could perhaps fight for
  the right to be stupid, but I kind of doubt that anyone would actually
  admit that.)  I do consider stupidity to the worst of all possible human
  flaws and the root cause of evil.  I see the lack of pressure to think in
  schools, or in society in general, to be the most dangerous development in
  modern society, and I believe that those who "learn" to habitually avoid
  thinking turn to braindead violence and destruction, instead.  We see
  enough of that on this newsgroup, too.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.