Subject: Re: Your introduction to Lisp...
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 07 May 2002 19:19:40 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Chris Ball
| You could argue[1] that languages like these make those who think in them
| smarter, or better programmers.  A Hungarian has been the recipient of a
| Nobel Prize fourteen times since 1905[2], which is certainly higher than
| most, and than you'd expect for a small, fairly poor country.

  Before you go too far on this line of argumentation, you should realize
  that there is a not insignificant amount of politics involved in all the
  Nobel Price.  This is not to say that those who get it do not deserve it
  -- far from it, the Nobel Prize is unparalleled in integrity -- but which
  of the several exceptionally outstanding nominees get it is not as free
  from bias as we might hope.  Also be careful that you do not believe that
  countries and cultures are awarded Nobel Prizes.  The flip side of giving
  cultures credit for the achievement of exceptional individuals is that
  you give cultures the blame for excecptional evil-doing, too.  While some
  cultures are clearly rotten to the core, they still "produce" singular
  achievement -- sports achievements is the archetypical alibi for a rotten
  culture, because cultures that have no intellectual capital always resort
  to sports, both for their highest achievenments and their entertainment.
  However, I would not want to hold France as such responsible for Le Pen
  any more than Hungary as such for Hungarian notation.  Poor countries may
  also have an astonishing concentration of power and money that make it
  more likely that they can afford to invest in their geniuses.  All in
  all, national pride because of some accident of birth place is generally
  a phenomenally bad idea, and leads to such things as national guilt, too.
  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.

  70 percent of American adults do not understand the scientific process.