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The most ironic logical proposition on the internet

Posted on December 20, 2006, in Programming

I generally don’t like to dabble in silliness that can be easily misconstrued as elitist (or some other negative label), but nevertheless, I feel compelled to record what I believe is the most ironic logical proposition that is available on the internet. I am not recording this so that we can all point and laugh or anything mindless like that, but instead, to reflect on just how easy it is to make a crucial mistake in judgment particularly when you least expect it. I believe that the irony of this statement supersedes that of any propositions that have exited from the mouth of President Bush or any other equally vulnerable world leader, etc. though many have come close.

If we pop on over to a document titled, Beating the Averages, we find a proposition (or assumption for the remainder of the section) that is somewhat striking. Here it is:

Lisp is so great not because of some magic quality visible only to devotees, but because it is simply the most powerful language available.

I have lost a little bit of the context in citing this statement, so I encourage anyone to read the full script. The irony lies in the fact that the author (Paul Graham) sets about describing what he calls the “Blub Paradox”, which is defined by how computer programmers can only look back at what they once knew about computer programming languages, but cannot make sense of what might be ahead - or might not even be aware that there is anything ahead! What the author probably does not know, is that in attempt to describe the “Blub Programmer” in the third person, he has inadvertently labelled himself a Blub Programmer by his very own definition.

I wonder if Mr. Graham has learned of this mistake, but I sure hope someone points it out to me if (when) I make it! :)