Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How pure scientists are annoying

Literalism. Logic pushed to the extreme, in a narrow way, ignoring the broader context.

A few examples taken from my own life, off the top of my head:
A1: "Does anyone have the time?"
I: "No, sorry"
A2: "Did anyone answer A1?"
I: "Yes, I did"
... (pause) ...
I:"...and I answered that I didn't have the time"
B1: "Can I count on you for this task?"
I: "I can't promise"
B1: "Do you not want to do it?"
I: "Well, an earthquake might strike, or the end of the world might arrive, or something. So I can't promise."
C1: "How to solve world hunger?"
I: "Let's see. One fairly clear way could be to kill the weak and old, to reduce overpopulation."
D1: "Child, don't put your bare feet on the table!"
I: "Why shouldn't he put his feet on the table?"
D1: "Come on. Because it's dirty."
I: "If that's the reason, then does it mean that, if his feet are clean, then he'll be allowed to put them on the table?"
E1: "I'm off to the store. Do you want to come along?"
I: "Sure, I'll be happy to."
E1: "But beware, I am paying for everything. I don't want you to pay. Is that clear?"
I: "All right, I won't pay for everything."
E1: "(after hesitating a moment and parsing my answer:) Oh, you mathematicians! One always has to listen carefully to every word to avoid being tricked. You twist meaning."


  1. You can also add this:

    Teacher: "If you add 3452 and 3096, then divide the answer by 4 and multiply by 6, what would you get?"

    Little Johnny: "The wrong answer!"

  2. Why are you using 1 after ABCDE? Why is E before D? ;)

  3. Did you really mean "Litter"alism? :-)

  4. Fixed. For my defense, I would point out that the word has two t's in French, so it's difficult to remember which language has repeated letters in the word.

    So much for blogging in the middle of traveling.


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