Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Poetry Month, Day 6 - Paradox

Today's word, PARADOX, was given to me by my Facebook friend, Donna Rossman.  I researched some paradoxes and found one about a crocodile that I thought would be fun to write about.  I've explained it below the poem.  I took a little creative liberty - I hope I've done it justice!

Pair of crocs 

I offer you this paradox
It's all about this pair of crocs . . .

While one day walking in the wild,
two crocs snatched up a little child.

The first croc said, “We’ve got your daughter;
grabbed her up, from in the water.”

“Give her back!” her father called.
“My baby girl!” her mother bawled.

“So, here’s the deal, now listen well.
We’ll give her back if you can tell

the plan we have in mind for her.
Now, go ahead, discuss – confer.

And if you guess our plan correctly,
We swear to follow through, directly.


Well, there you have it – think it through.
Just what’s a croc supposed to do?

The Crocodile Paradox - Explained

A crocodile snatches a young boy from a riverbank. His mother pleads with the crocodile to return him, to which the crocodile replies that he will only return the boy safely if the mother can guess correctly whether or not he will indeed return the boy. There is no problem if the mother guesses that the crocodile will return him—if she is right, he is returned; if she is wrong, the crocodile keeps him. If she answers that the crocodile will not return him, however, we end up with a paradox: if she is right and the crocodile never intended to return her child, then the crocodile has to return him, but in doing so breaks his word and contradicts the mother’s answer. On the other hand, if she is wrong and the crocodile actually did intend to return the boy, the crocodile must then keep him even though he intended not to, thereby also breaking his word.

The Crocodile Paradox is such an ancient and enduring logic problem that in the Middle Ages the word "crocodilite" came to be used to refer to any similarly brain-twisting dilemma where you admit something that is later used against you, while "crocodility" is an equally ancient word for captious or fallacious reasoning

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