Is Programing Art or Science?

Xah Lee xahlee at
Fri Mar 30 10:27:16 CEST 2012

the refreshen of the blood, from Xah's Entertainment Enterprise, i
bring you:

〈Is Programing Art or Science〉

penned in the year of our lord two thousand and two, plain text
version follows.

Is Programing Art or Science?

Dear friends,

You mentioned the title of Donald Knuth's magnum opus Art of
Programming in the context of discussion that fringes on whether
programing is science or art. I'm quite pissed off at work at the
moment, so let me take the time to give some guide on this matter to
the daily programers.

At the bottom rung of programers, there's no question about whether
programing is science or art. Because monkey coders could not care
less. These folks ain't be reading this post, for they hardly will
have heard of lisp.

This leaves us with elite programers who have a smattering of
interests on cogitation and philosophical conundrums. So, is
programing a science or art?

For the programing morons, this question is associated with erudition.
It certainly is a hip subject among hackers such as those hardcore
Perl advocates and unix proponents, who would casually hint on such
realization, impressing a sophistication among peers.

Such a question is not uncommon among those curious. For example, “Is
mathematics science or art?”, is the same type of question that has
been broached by dabblers now and then. We can also detect such
dilemma in the titles conferred to blathering computer jockeys: which
one are thee: baccalaureate of science or baccalaureate of arts? It
really makes no fucking difference.

Ultimately, fantastically stupid questions like these are not
discussed by mathematicians nor philosophers. These are natural
language side-effects, trapping dummies to fuzz about nothing; not
unlike quotations.

For these computing jockeys, there remains the question of why Knuth
named his books the “Art” of Computer Programing, or why some
computing luminaries litter the caution that programing is as much a
art as science. What elite dimwits need to realize is that these
authors are not defining or correcting, but breaking precepts among
the automatons in programing industry.

To the readers of hip literature, words like science and art are
spellbinding, and the need to pigeonhole is imminent. Of these
ruminating class of people, the problem lies in their wanting of
originality. What fills their banal brain are the stale food of
thought that has been chewed and spewed. These above-average eggheads
mop up the scholastic tidbits of its day to mull and muse with fellow
eggheads. They could not see new perspectives. Could not understand
gists. Could not detect non-questions. They are the holder and passer
of knowledge, a bucket of pre-digested purees. Their train of thought
forever loops around established tracks — going nowhere, anytime!

So, is programing a art or science? is it art or science? I really
need to know.

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Ruby〉 @

yours humbly,


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