Rationality Jokes Thread

by Gunnar_Zarncke1 min read18th Dec 201425 comments


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This is an experimental thread. It is somewhat in the spirit of the Rationality Quotes Thread but without the requirements and with a focus on humorous value. You may post insightful jokes, nerd or math jokes or try out rationality jokes of your own invention. 

ADDED: Apparently there has been an earlier Jokes Thread which was failry successful. Consider this another instance.

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True story:

My son resisted cleaning up his toys but loved beating me at games. Once when he was three I took advantage of his competitive spirit by dividing his blocks into two piles, assigning one pile to him and the other to myself and then telling my son that we will race to see who puts away all of his blocks first. My son smiled, indicating that he was going to play my game, making me proud of my parenting skills.

At the contest’s start my son grabbed a bunch of my blocks, ran outside of his room and threw the blocks down our stairs. When he returned I laughed so hard that the game ended.

My son recently joined LessWrong.

Since, as you have noted, we have already had a joke thread, perhaps it would have been better to ask for, e.g. funniest rationality quotes or funniest LessWrong comments? Or perhaps make it more specific than the previous thread. For example, some jokes that are thought of as nerdy, math-y or intellectual are actually quite simple, as their reputation as intellectual is based on the subject matter they touch and not on the joke's "structure" itself (e.g. their humour derives from puns, cultural references, or parodies of the cultural references). In short, these are the jokes that, to paraphrase The Ig Nobel Prize description, make you think, and then laugh. On the other hand, some jokes might have mundane subject matter, but their structure may impress you more than the subject matter itself. These could be called jokes that make you laugh and then think. Obviously, there are many fewer jokes of the latter type. A couple examples that, I think, qualify, both taken from LessWrong comments:

From here

Once there was a miser, who to save money would eat nothing but oatmeal. And what's more, he would make a great big batch of it at the start of every week, and put it in a drawer, and when he wanted a meal he would slice off a piece and eat it cold; thus he saved on firewood. Now, by the end of the week, the oatmeal would be somewhat moldy and not very appetising; and so to make himself eat it, the miser would take out a bottle of good whiskey, and pour himself a glass, and say "All right, Olai, eat your oatmeal and when you're done, you can have a dram." Then he would eat his moldy oatmeal, and when he was done he'd laugh and pour the whiskey back in the bottle, and say "Hah! And you believed that? There's one born every minute, to be sure!" And thus he had a great savings in whiskey as well.

-- Norwegian folktale.

Another one from here:

"“It seems a Christian missionary was visiting with remote Inuit (aka, Eskimo) people in the Arctic, and had explained to this particular man that if one believed in Jesus, one would would go to heaven, while those who didn’t, would go to hell.

The Inuit asked, “What about all the people who have never heard of your Jesus? Are they all going to hell?’

The missionary explained, “No, of course not. God wants you to have a choice. God is a merciful God, he would never send anyone to hell who’d never heard of Jesus.”

The Inuit replied, “So why did you tell me?”

Well, the second one might remind some people a local cultural reference, but it is definitely not a part of the joke itself.

I really like the Inuit one.

Three bystanders walk into a bar. The bartender asks, "Does anyone want a drink?"

Nobody answers - bystander effect. (Not necessarily applicable here since nobody's asking for help, but still.)

I feel like it would've been even better if no one ended up explaining to Capla.

"So, I threw a party for time travelers last week. It was awful. Nobody showed up."

"Well, Did you invite anyone?"

"Not yet."

The only time the word incorrectly isn't spelled incorrectly is when it's spelled incorrectly.


Two is an odd prime number, because two isn't odd.

Thank god for the use-mention distinction :-)

"Why did you become an economist?"

"I forgot to check my second order conditions."

[-][anonymous]7y 6

An infinite number of mathematicians walked into a bar. I'll have a beer, the first one said. I'll have half as much beer as the first mathematician said the second. I'll have half as much beer as the second mathematician said the third. The bartender looked at all of them, said you guys are jerks, and served them two beers.

I heard it as

... "You all really ought to know your limits" said the bartender, and he just poured them two beers.

"I'll have a beer", the first one says. "I'll have two beers", says the second. "Three beers, please", says the third.

The bartender says, "you guys owe me a twelfth of a beer."

Three logicians walk into a bar. The bartender asks, "Do all of you want a drink?" The first logician replies, "I don't know." The second logician says, "I don't know." The third logician says, "Yes."

Two Bayesian agents with common priors walk into a bar. The first one says "I'll have a beer". The second one says "that sounds good, I'll have one too".

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. It collapses into a gravitational singularity.

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. It collapses into a gravitational singularity.

...and starts to emit Stephen Hawkings

A countably infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first mathematician orders a beer. The second orders half a beer. The third orders one third of a beer. The bartender says "whoa, I'm going to run out of beer!".

An uncountably infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first mathematician orders no beer. The second orders no beer. The third orders no beer. The bartender says "whoa, I'm going to run out of beer!".

Why didn't the chicken cross the road?

Antipredictions need no explanation.

An existentialist walks into a bar and orders a martini. The bartender say "Would you like an olive in that?", to which the existentialist responds "I think not", and promptly disappears.