Was the answer funny, or not?
question by an anonymous supplicant, answer by Dan Harris-Warrick
The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

> Oh Might Oracle, whose knowledge is unboundable, please permit me to
> ask the following question.
>
> Whilst reading through The Digest of Your Best Answers, volume #1105, I
> came across the following question:
>
> > I have $5 riding on whether your answer to this will be funny, so
> > gimme something good.
>
> If my humble human brain may permit me to remind you, you responded:
>
> > You lose.
>
> Paradoxically, I found this answer to be absolutely hilarious. This
> would mean that, indeed, your response was funny.
>
> Therefore, I ask thee ... does the questioner get the $5 or not?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} Well, let's see. If the answer was funny, then the Supplicant won the
} bet and got the $5. I am omniscient. I told the Supplicant that he
} lost the bet. Therefore, the answer was not funny. But you found it
} funny. There's a bit of a contradiction here. The two possibilities
} are: 1) I was wrong. 2) You are wrong. Now, since I'm omniscient,
} clearly I'm not wrong. Therefore, you obviously are.
}
} >But I found it funny! How can you say I'm wrong to find it funny?
}
} Ah, you see, you didn't really find it funny, you only thought you did.
}
} >That doesn't make sense. If I thought I found it funny, then I found
} >it funny.
}
} Hm.
}
} >Ah hah! I've got you caught in a contradiction!
}
} No you haven't. I've got it. The statement was simultaneously funny
} and not funny. When each observer observes a copy of the statement, he
} collapses its "funny waveform" to either the "funny" or "not funny"
} state. Since the statement is temporarily stored on each observer's
} computer, your collapsing the waveform to "funny" didn't prevent the
} Supplicant from collapsing his copy to "not funny."
}
} >But that still doesn't work. You're saying that you knew that the
} >Supplicant was going to find his copy not funny. Doesn't that make
} >you the observer, then, and since you know all copies, shouldn't they
} >all have collapsed to "not funny" simultaneously?
}
} Um...uh...*ZOT*
}
} You owe the Oracle a nice, straightforward question about woodchucks or
} something.

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