Python is readable
steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info
Fri Mar 30 05:36:27 CEST 2012
On Thu, 29 Mar 2012 22:26:38 -0400, Nathan Rice wrote:
>> He did no such thing. I challenge you to find me one place where Joel
>> has *ever* claimed that "the very notion of abstraction" is meaningless
>> or without use.
> To me, this directly indicates he views higher order abstractions
Yes he does, and so we all should, but that's not the claim you made. You
stated that he "fired the broadsides at the very notion of abstraction".
He did no such thing. He fired a broadside at (1) software hype based on
(2) hyper-abstractions which either don't solve any problems that people
care about, or don't solve them any better than more concrete solutions.
> and assumes because he does not see meaning in them, they
> don't hold any meaning.
You are making assumptions about his mindset that not only aren't
justified by his comments, but are *contradicted* by his comments. He
repeatedly describes the people coming up with these hyper-abstractions
as "great thinkers", "clever thinkers", etc. who are seeing patterns in
what people do. He's not saying that they're dummies. He's saying that
they're seeing patterns that don't mean anything, not that the patterns
> Despite Joel's beliefs, new advances in science
> are in many ways the result of advances in mathematics brought on by
> very deep abstraction. Just as an example, Von Neumann's treatment of
> quantum mechanics with linear operators in Hilbert spaces utilizes very
> abstract mathematics, and without it we wouldn't have modern
I doubt that very much. The first patent for the transistor was made in
1925, a year before von Neumann even *started* working on quantum
In general, theory *follows* practice, not the other way around: parts of
quantum mechanics theory followed discoveries made using the transistor:
The Romans had perfectly functioning concrete without any abstract
understanding of chemistry. If we didn't have QM, we'd still have
advanced electronics. Perhaps not *exactly* the electronics we have now,
but we'd have something. We just wouldn't understand *why* it works, and
so be less capable of *predicting* useful approaches and more dependent
on trial-and-error. Medicine and pharmaceuticals continue to be
discovered even when we can't predict the properties of molecules.
My aunt makes the best damn lasagna you've ever tasted without any
overarching abstract theory of human taste. And if you think that quantum
mechanics is more difficult than understanding human perceptions of
taste, you are badly mistaken.
In any case, Spolsky is not making a general attack on abstract science.
Your hyperbole is completely unjustified.
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