Subject: Re: Why is Scheme not a Lisp?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 18:55:20 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Erann Gat
| The introduction to R5RS says, "Scheme was the first major dialect of
| Lisp to [have certain distinguishing features]".  So it does call itself
| a "dialect of Lisp."

* Erik Naggum
> When was this written?

* Erann Gat
| R5RS is dated 20 February 1998.  It's the most recent Scheme standard.

  OK, I see I have to be extremely explicit here.  That bores the hell out
  of me, so I am not going to repeat the effort.

  When people write something, they do so in a particular context, even
  though they are not necessarily consciously aware of this context.  In
  particular, the meaning of a word is contextual and the external
  references refer to other things as they both exist and are understood by
  the particular person at that particular time.  In particular, a sentence
  like the above might have been true once, but the common referent for
  "Lisp" may change, so it has to be understood in its historical context.
  The Bible works that way, and people have to assume (or "temporarily
  adopt", since you have demonstrated problems understanding this word,
  too) a special context to understand it properly.  The same is true of
  most non-fiction, actually, and the more specialized some area is, the
  more context becomes explicit.  In fact, the bibliographic references of
  a scientific paper works to establish the context in which the paper is
  written as well as its soundness.  In particular, a scientific paper
  makes its position in time very explicit through its bibliographic
  references, and thus establish the time-dependent meaning of any term,
  the time-dependent status of any theory, and the time-dependent referents
  of a concept.  The ability to understand that something changes in time,
  that it is indeed a "fourth dimension" that we travel through, seems to
  take some time for many people to develop, and the ability to understand
  that some words (like "gay", "negro") may change dramatically in meaning
  over a few years is usually resisted by some people who "liked" the old
  meaning (like "hacker").  So, too, is the case with the meaning of "Lisp"
  that Scheme freaks want to enforce, but they are dishonest, sloppy people
  with little or no experience in writing scientific papers (or this is a
  sloppiness done on purpose, which may be worse), because they have _not_
  provided the particular time-dependent reference of "Lisp" as they have
  used it.

  Also note that I did not ask when the line was "published".  I asked when
  it was _written_, specifically in order to request the time-dependent
  context of the particular sentence, since the sloppy writers somehow
  managed to omit that information in the otherwise anal-retentively
  detail-driven accuracy in that document.  There is often a remarkable
  difference between the time of writing and the time of publication that I
  hope you will understand some day so I do not have to be extremely
  explicit about that difference, too.

  Sometimes I wonder if you are intentionally obtuse or if you cannot help
  it.  I keep hoping that you can do better, which is probably why it is so
  annoying that you do not.  Let me know if I should stop hoping.

> The two languages and their attendant communities have drifted so far
> apart that there is nothing of value in their intersection.

| What about the use of S-expressions to represent both code and data?

  How about using characters to represent source code?

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.