Saturday, May 05, 2007

Probably Certainly Probably Not

StatGuy's mention of the Yes, Prime Minister TV show, one of my favorites, reminded me of this exquisite dialogue (one of many in the series):

Sir Humphrey: "With Trident we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe."

Jim Hacker: "I don't want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe."

Sir Humphrey: "It's a deterrent."

Jim Hacker: "It's a bluff. I probably wouldn't use it."

Sir Humphrey: "Yes, but they don't know that you probably wouldn't."

Jim Hacker: "They probably do."

Sir Humphrey: "Yes, they probably know that you probably wouldn't. But they can't certainly know."

Jim Hacker: "They probably certainly know that I probably wouldn't."

Sir Humphrey: "Yes, but even though they probably certainly know that you probably wouldn't, they don't certainly know that, although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would."

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