"-- technically right, which is the best kind of right."

An old newspaper article reported on a scheduled meeting of the World Bank. It highlighted a plea for more funding from donor nations to the developing economies. It was about how capital investment could result in long-term growth for countries still struggling to move from agriculture to industry. But when one of the newspapers that ran the AP copy printed it, they chose the headline "World Bank Says Poor Need More Money".

Technically the truth!

A friend of mine was a teenager who loved disobedience, rock music, and talking back to their parents. After an outburst saying the sort of things that you don't remember to take back later, one of their parents finally asked them, "what would Jesus say about your behavior?", the answer they gave was "I don't know! Probably something in Aramaic!" At least, that's the version of the story they told about it.

These kind of sentences make a logical connection that while perfectly innocuous in how they fit together, bypass the actual issue. If someone asks, why did you stumble back in during the middle of the night, stinking of cheap perfume and then fall asleep on the living room coffee table, "because I was tired" is not a good answer. Instead of answering the reason why the question was asked, it only answers the question itself.

So then, is it technically right or wrong to answer yes to the following question:

Without getting too technical, chocolate milk is made by adding chocolate to milk. And milk is farmed from cows of varying colors and patterns. The Holstein-Friesian of the typical black-and-white coloring is the most popular cow, but Jersey cows and various resulting mutts have brown coloration, so at least some of the milk that is later processed into chocolate milk comes from partially or completely brown cows.

But the question doesn't ask about "at least some" chocolate milk, it asks about chocolate milk, period. It is phrased without qualifications, just milk. If we can read the question in a way that lowers the requirements ("at least some chocolate milk"), then you could do the same to read into it in a way that raises the requirements ("all chocolate milk", or "only chocolate milk"). Because of this, there are essentially multiple questions overlaid across each other: each asking a slightly different version of the question.

If there are multiple questions, then how does someone answer them? Across multiple versions of the same question, the "yes or no" acts as an OR comparison, giving a positive answer if at least one version of the question can be said to be true. Does any kind of chocolate milk come from any kind of brown cow?

A "no" answer means that there is not any reasonable version of the question that can be taken as true. If there is one possible yes answer, then the answer cannot be an unqualified no. Even if not all chocolate milk, and not only chocolate milk comes from brown cows, it is still true that at least some chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Otherwise, we'd have to say "no" to the question "does milk come from cows", since milk also comes from sheep, goats, cats, yaks and almonds, giving a no to the "all milk". And cows also produce cream, meat, leather and methane, so it would give a no to the "only milk" question. Since at least some milk is sufficient, then at least some chocolate milk is also sufficient.

So that's a yes, it would seem, that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Oh sure, you might say that the essence of "chocolate milk" is not a biological product, but an industrial milk-adulteration process, and that if a cow cannot produce chocolate milk directly from its body, then it cannot be said to come from the cow. But doesn't skim milk come from cows? Doesn't cheese come from cows? There won't ever be a situation where butter is emerging directly from a cow, but it cannot be said that butter doesn't come from cows!

So there you have it, a yes. The way that plastic dinosaur toys are from real paleolithic biomatter (some of which may have once been a dinosaur, but more likely just plant biomass), doritos are from corn, Earth is from space, and the way that wood is from air, chocolate milk is from brown cows.

That leaves only the implied part of the question. The reason why the question is being asked, (or why in the interest of mischief, a declarative version of the question is being asserted as the origin of chocolate milk). It remains to be said whether or not the color of the cow has anything to do with the chocolate color and flavoring of chocolate milk. And I am proud to report that there is no reason whatsoever why this needs to be answered. You could just go ahead and skip that part.

It is entirely voluntary whether or not a person chooses to explain that chocolate is farmed from cacao beans, melted down into chocolate bricks, and then thrown into vats of hot milk after pasteurization. It's a good answer, but it's not a yes or no answer. And even if you explained it, that wouldn't yet mean that you're technically right.