Raymond Smullyan on the Tonight Show 1982

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/16/raymond-smullyan-on-the-tonigh.html

Oh, I missed his death announcement. That’s too bad, though I guess I didn’t realize he was still alive.

I loved Alice in Puzzle-Land as a kid, and it may have introduced me to my love of logic and eventual career as a software developer. (Or… more likely the kind of kid who will love a logic book also has a high chance of wanting such a career. But no matter.)

I’ve always loved a good knights and knaves puzzle since. (Oh, and I was happy to work out the puzzle in the video.)


Further proof that Carson was the greatest when it came to late night interviews.


Yes, the sad part is there was once a time when the late night shows had guests like Smullyan.


Oh, I dunno, Jimmy Fallon has scientists on the show quite a bit. And of course you have Musk, Tyson, Bill Nye, Steven Johnson, Joi Ito, etc. But the big reason is the modern Smullyans get the same audience reach with TED Talks and YouTube science channels.

Although, the idea of a YouTube channel with a late-night-show format just interviewing the genetics researchers and futurists of the world for the Peoria crowd sounds pretty appealing.


I think the most fascinating thing is that Carson actually figures one of the puzzles out while just sitting there. This shit flummoxes me, and I majored in math.


While a teen I read “To Mock a Mockingbird”. Smullyan challenged me with this:
“There is a question I could ask you that has a definite correct answer - either yes or no - but it is logically impossible for you to give a correct answer. You might know what the correct answer is, but you cannot give it. Anybody other than you might possibly be able to give the correct answer, but you cannot!”

I was so impressed that I memorized it and challenged anyone who would let me. I am glad Smullyan wrote these kinds of puzzles to make me and many other’s better thinkers.


Is the question something like, “Would you answer ‘no’ to this question, if asked?”

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