What is different with Python ?

Andrew Dalke dalke at dalkescientific.com
Tue Jun 14 01:38:05 CEST 2005

Peter Maas wrote:
> I think Peter is right. Proceeding top-down is the natural way of
> learning (first learn about plants, then proceed to cells, molecules,
> atoms and elementary particles).

Why in the world is that way "natural"?  I could see how biology
could start from molecular biology - how hereditary and self-regulating
systems work at the simplest level - and using that as the scaffolding
to describe how cells and multi-cellular systems work.

Plant biology was my least favorite part of my biology classes.  In
general I didn't like the "learn the names of all these parts" approach
of biology.  Physics, with its more directly predictive view of the world,
was much more interesting.  It wasn't until college when I read some
Stephen J. Gould books that I began to understand that biology was
different than "'the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell', here's
the gall bladder, that plant's a dicot, this is a fossilized trilobite."

Similarly, programming is about developing algorithmic thought.
A beginner oriented programming language should focus on that, and
minimize the other details.

Restating my belief in a homologous line: proceeding from simple to
detailed is the most appropriate way of learning.  Of course in some
fields even the simplest form takes a long time to understand, but
programming isn't string theory.

				dalke at dalkescientific.com

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