Subject: Re: Lisp programs are themselves Lists -- this is the Litmus Test
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/09/18
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Barry Margolin <>
| This would exclude McCarthy's original Lisp from the Lisp family!  The
| fact that Lisp programs could be represented as lists was a revelation
| that came a few years later, when the EVAL function was written.

  John McCarthy went on record in comp.emacs when somebody wanted to
  replace Lisp with Perl, saying, and I quote, hopefully sufficiently
  accurately from dejanews, despite their tendency to view articles and
  headers as subject to interpretation and layout control:

    From: John McCarthy <jmc@Steam.Stanford.EDU>
    Date: 08 Feb 1998 00:00:00 GMT
    Subject: Re: w3 and Re: perl embedded in emacs ("no zero-indexed char arrays")
    Newsgroups: comp.emacs, comp.emacs.xemacs
    Message-ID: <x4hk9b5p7hz.fsf@Steam.Stanford.EDU> 

    One of the major characteristics of Lisp is that Lisp programs are
    Lisp data and one can compute with Lisp programs present in the
    machine without parsing.  Scheme does this.  Prolog does it to some
    extent.  The original version of the late Dylan language did this.

    To what extent is this facility used in XEmacs Lisp?  Macros use it,
    and of course compilers do?

    What about Perl?
    John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
    He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.
  ATTENTION, all abducting aliens!  you DON'T need to RETURN them!