Subject: Re: LISP - 2 exponent 0 = 1
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 18 Sep 2002 14:59:43 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Immanuel Litzroth
| Reading, or almost any task you accomplish that uses sensory input has this
| property.

  This is plainly false.

| How do you watch something move at 1 foot per second?

  Sigh.  Get the point already.

| And you can watch accelerations too? Do you see forces? 

  I can see the force of intelligence coming to get you.

| Mathematics is: given a (un)reasonable set of axioms can I prove that the
| this is a constant, or what happens if I take it as an axiom and use that,
| or what happens if I assume it is not a constant?

  You have not understood mathematics.  I recently discovered the works of
  Keith Devlin, and would very strongly recommend his book «Mathematics: The
  Science of Patterns: The Search for Order in Life, Mind and the Universe
  (Scientific American Paperback Library)», ISBN 0-7167-6022-3.  It may well
  change the way you see mathematics.  That would not be for the worse.

| I think you might have missed out on the most exiting discoveries if you
| think mathematics is a branch of experimental physics.

  Good lord.  How could you possibly have failed to see the point?

| The distinguishing feature of mathematics is the use of a formal system for
| reasoning even though the axioms in this system might not be in concordance
| with our perception.

  This idiocy is why children do not learn mathematical thinking in "modern"
  schools and why we have politicians, journalists, and social scientists who
  suffer from what John Allen Paulos calls innumeracy.  (Get some of his books,
  too; he is a hilarious writer for thinkers.  Start with «I Think, Therefore I
  Laugh», then «Mathematics and Humor» and «A Mathematician Reads the
  Newspaper».  You need to get rid of the misconception that mathematics /is/
  formal systems.  It is like saying that poetry is an exercise in grammar.)

  Speaking of books on mathematics, this is the book that led me to discover
  Richard Courant: «What is Mathematics? An Elementary Approach to Ideas and
  Methods ».  It is a most spectacular work.  The brilliance of Courant's mind
  could not possibly fail to capture your fascination, if you have any.

Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway

Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder.
Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.