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#lisp macros and lisp fanatics

lisp macros and lisp fanatics.

[original g+ post https://plus.google.com/b/116187821854023674058/116187821=
854023674058/posts/NewjjhGz4js
]

as you may know, i think lisp macro is one of the most idiotic thing
in computer science. (and cons, and lisp's IRREGULAR nested syntax)

i've wrote perhaps 10 articles on this, and been arguing with lispers
for about 10 years.

still, once in a while, out of the blue (or, as Naggum says: crawling
out of the woodwork), i got some comment or email, criticizing my
criticism on lisp.

the degree of quality, and what i can guess of the person's programing
experience/knowledge varies. Some, are your average reddit/hackernews/
slashdot/freenode-irc hacker/idiots who repeat the same old shit of
lisp FAQ/lore/epigram.

now, i am a hacker type (despite my loathing of the term =E2=80=9Chacker=E2=
=80=9D).
I've been reading online stuff avidly (and much of it printed books in
1990s) since 1991. If they just pay a little attention, they would
know this. Sometimes it goes like this:

Xah Essay: 1+1 is 2, and therefore 1+1+1+1 is 4.

Hacker fanatic: Idiot! Before you talk about 4, you should know that
1+1 is 2. [citation on 1+1=3D2 here]

although, some, after reading i think lots of my essays, and typically
they have good lisp experience, may still not agree on what i say.
Yet, they still sometimes argue in a way i think i already made it so
clear repeatedly.

it's not unlike, religion. Sometimes, doesn't matter what, but to a
fanatic, all facts are already decided. God exists, only if you open
your mind.

one interesting question is that, sometimes i do ask some non-trivial
questions. Some are about some technicality of lisp (say, requiring
someone to know compiler well to answer. (know compiler really well,
as if written a respected text book, a professor teaching it, or
implemented a popularly used one, not, some student who studied
compilers or wrote a toy one. (and i feel sorry that i even have to
mention this))) Sometimes my question is about lisp history that
requires non-trivial research.

However, whenever i ask these question, i got NO response on the
question. Quite unfortunate. (this is rationally understandable,
because, my questions, are often research level questions, and those
who are capable of answering it, normally do not hangout in online
forums or write anything public on something they are the real expert,
except journals.)

the other thing is, these lisp fanatics who argue with me, almost
never showed expertise in another functional lang. (again, expertise
means real expertise. i.e. you worked in a day job for 5 years writing
OCaml, Haskell, Erlang, Mathematica, etc. Not, =E2=80=9Coh i read the lang =
and
i think this is wrong and that is wrong.=E2=80=9D LOL)

but, after getting frustrated about this and thought a lot about this
situation, i think this situation isn't particular to me. It's been
thousands of years in human society. It's a problem of education, in
publication, in communication. Countless before me have ran into the
same problem, the problem of dealing with fanatics, ignorance, or, the
problem of education, or, the problem of persuasive communication,
problem of cults. (here, assuming that my essasy are mostly correct)
It's rather not a problem per se, but a on-going human activity.

=E3=80=88Programing Language: Fundamental Problems of Lisp=E3=80=89
http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/lisp_problems.html

=E3=80=88Computing Culture: What's Hacker?=E3=80=89
http://xahlee.org/Netiquette_dir/whats_hacker.html

 Xah
0
xahlee (1001)
2/25/2012 1:47:08 AM
comp.lang.lisp 16861 articles. 5 followers. Post Follow

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On 2/24/2012 5:47 PM, Xah Lee wrote:
> lisp macros and lisp fanatics.
>
> [original g+ post https://plus.google.com/b/116187821854023674058/116187821854023674058/posts/NewjjhGz4js
> ]
>
> as you may know, i think lisp macro is one of the most idiotic thing
> in computer science. (and cons, and lisp's IRREGULAR nested syntax)
lisp macros have nothing to do with computer science, they are all about 
software engineering. this is the critical piece to understand for 
macros to click.
to the computer it makes little difference whether you wrote macros and 
called them OR you wrote each and every one of it's expansions.

-Antony
0
2/26/2012 9:52:59 AM
On 2012-02-26, Antony <remove+spam_lisp.linux@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/24/2012 5:47 PM, Xah Lee wrote:
>> lisp macros and lisp fanatics.
>>
>> [original g+ post https://plus.google.com/b/116187821854023674058/116187821854023674058/posts/NewjjhGz4js
>> ]
>>
>> as you may know, i think lisp macro is one of the most idiotic thing
>> in computer science. (and cons, and lisp's IRREGULAR nested syntax)
> lisp macros have nothing to do with computer science, they are all about 
> software engineering. this is the critical piece to understand for 
> macros to click.

That is false in more ways than one. Firstly, software engineering belongs
squarely under computer science.  The non-software engineering stuff in
computer science is really mathematics.

> to the computer it makes little difference whether you wrote macros and 
> called them OR you wrote each and every one of it's expansions.

You seem to be using reductionism to narrowly constrain what is computer
science, which easily backfires, as follows:

To the computer it also doesn't matter if you toggled machine code into memory
one bit at a time, or whether you compiled from a high level language.

So, does that mean that only bit toggling is computer science, and
all higher levels are software engineering?
0
kaz15 (1143)
2/26/2012 11:18:44 AM
Xah Lee <xahlee@gmail.com> writes:

> [...]  one interesting question is that, sometimes i do ask some
> non-trivial questions. [...]  However, whenever i ask these question,
> i got NO response on the question.

This is probably because the ones who could answer your questions
killfiled you long ago.  They did this, first because of your strange
logic exhibited in arguments like:

> Xah Essay: 1+1 is 2, and therefore 1+1+1+1 is 4.

and second, because you boast[*] about being a troll.  And most people
don't want to waste time on such characters.

Nicolas

[*] or at least boasted - I did not look at your webpage in recent years
0
lastname2919 (129)
2/26/2012 1:17:22 PM
Nicolas Neuss <lastname@scipolis.de> writes:

> Xah Lee <xahlee@gmail.com> writes:
>
>> [...]  one interesting question is that, sometimes i do ask some
>> non-trivial questions. [...]  However, whenever i ask these question,
>> i got NO response on the question.
>
> This is probably because the ones who could answer your questions
> killfiled you long ago.  They did this, first because of your strange
> logic exhibited in arguments like:
>
>> Xah Essay: 1+1 is 2, and therefore 1+1+1+1 is 4.
>
> and second, because you boast[*] about being a troll.  And most people
> don't want to waste time on such characters.
>
> Nicolas
>
> [*] or at least boasted - I did not look at your webpage in recent
> years

	Personally, I kill-filed Xah (about 12 years ago) because he
posts mostly off-topic drivel, and in the few cases where he's on-topic,
he's wrong.
0
raw7 (46)
2/26/2012 3:00:37 PM
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