(urth) barrington interview
severiansola at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 7 15:25:03 PDT 2014
>Marc Aramini: "Marc used a math problem"??????????????????????????????
>Rick Norwood: First, let me apologize for getting Marc and Lee mixed up. When I read an amalgam
>of many posts, I sometimes get confused about who is doing what, with what, and to whom.
Same here. It's the reason I try to assign names to quotes in my posts.
>Aliens who use a different number base is a red herring. The math is the same, independently of
>the language in which it is written.
Not a red herring; and don't think I didn't notice how you cleverly focused on the alien's 12 fingers
and ignored "his" silicon brain. :- )
I've had this debate before and I know it can be disturbing to the purely science/mathematically
minded. But math isn't really "universal". It a system of calculation created by the human mind
which is part of a primate brain evolved from more primitive mammalian ancestors.
Our brains may organize the search patterns of bees or the spiral shape of a conch shell or the
galaxy into a mathematical pattern. But I am confident in stating that bees and mollusks and stars
are not doing math. We are, as we seek to organize the universe into patterns our brains can
>And I really do think there are right and wrong interpretations of literature. As somebody said
> (Marc? Lee?), the ghost of Hamlet’s father is not an alien. That interpretation would be just plain
Not me. I am on the other side of the fence on this debate. I can find at least a couple ways of
understanding "ghost of Hamlet's father is an alien" to be a true statement.
1. The author, William Shakespeare, was from England. Hamlet's father was Danish.
2. We live in a material world. Ghosts, by definition, are from another sort of world who happen
to be visiting this one.
Of course I am not trying to be right about Hamlet's father, per se. I am only saying that anytime you
make a statement of absolute or universal rightness or wrongness, you are unconsciously operating
within a system of assumptions shared by the people you are talking to. Those assumptions can and
sometimes should be questioned, especially when "universality" is the claim.
It reminds me of a quote I heard from somebody in Mississippi back in 2012. He said that he knew
Barack Obama couldn't be re-elected because everybody he knew was voting against him.
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