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    This makes a little more sense (I guess?) if you know something about this.

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      Thanks for that! I was eternally confused, like, I’d have to rewrite this post, from scratch, in its entirety hoping to understand it.

      I guess(?), if I understand this correctly, the “critique” is that Lisp is so simple, anyone could have invented it—like, the idea is inherent in us all, in some way.

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        I’m the author of the blog post.

        For sure it’s interesting to read Borges’ Pierre Menard first.

        Pierre Menard, by Borges, has many readings. From a Literary Theory POV you could say it contests the idea of authorship, if Menard writes the prologue, then Cervantes becomes a character, and the Quixote written by Menard ends up written by Cervantes, the character. Also the author is the first character in a book. There’s lots of literary analysis that can be taken from that story.

        It’s also about interpretation, Menard’s Quixote is much better because we know of the context of its production.

        So with all that said, how much do you have to forget from computer science, culture, years of OOP indoctrination, modern CPU architectures, refactoring ideas, code clarity ideas, etc., to come back and reinvent LISP, even with the CAR, CDR, etc?

        Also the list of papers quoted in the article are interesting on their own.

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          Thanks for replying so thoughtfully! In other words, it’s a piece that deserves a much more carefully considered read through than what I gave it. And, I agree, the linked papers are good—or at least the ones I’ve read. I’ve not read the Turner paper.

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            The Turner paper is from CodeMesh and it’s quite interesting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbgMY0ap4p0

            About Pierre Menard, there’s lots of papers written about it. Perhaps Umberto Eco On Literature has essays about the authorship issue: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/dec/24/featuresreviews.guardianreview19

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        Umm, Wait, What!? So this whole story is an elaborate literary critique of that oilshell guy?

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        Here Menard bases his comments on a Marxist view where talking of GOTO statements as “cheap” and procedure calls as “expensive” present an invalid dichotomy, since a capitalist economy tries to extract surplus value from open source work, and not from CPU cycles.

        Hahahaha wow, this is really well done. I had to go back to the original to see if the author had based it on one of the points in the list or come up with it on their own.

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          McCarthy, at least when I used to debate him on Usenet was a far right ideologue - but much nicer than the current ones. His parents were communist labor organizers.

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            I knew it was somewhere:

            There was a general confidence in technology as being simply good for humanity. I remember when I was a child reading a book called 100,000 Whys — a Soviet popular technology book written by M. Ilin from the early 1930’s. I don’t recall seeing any American books of that character. I was very interested to read ten or fifteen years ago about some extremely precocious Chinese kid and it was remarked that he read 100,000 Whys.

            from http://www.nyu.edu/classes/jcf/CSCI-GA.2110-001/handouts/mccarthymini.pdf

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              I considered an intelligent thing as a finite automaton connected to an environment that was a finite automaton.

              This suddenly reminded me of Legg’s and Hutter’s definition of intelligent agent… and indeed McCarthy is cited there: http://www.vetta.org/documents/legg-hutter-2007-universal-intelligence.pdf

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          This is lovely. Thank you.

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            Three cheers. More than three.