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Discussion 2 to Meditation 8
Follow up to Meditation 8

John Tyrrell

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This item is based on a review of a book, not the book itself which I have not read. So if there are any errors, blame the reviewer or my failure to understand the reviewer, not my failure to understand the book itself.

Shortly after receiving "Rollin Hills" message on Asimov and entropy, I encountered mention of entropy in a book review.[1] Apparently, "A New Type of Science" by Steven Wolfram[2] claims that the use of mathematical equations to describe the fundamental workings of the Universe is a use of the wrong tools for the job. What should be used are algorithms. And simple algorithms have the capability to produce "endlessly intricate behavior." And through a class of algorithms known as cellular automata, both entropy and highly organized complex structures can simulated.

Combine the right algorithms into a program, and you have the "universal operating system" which Wolfram imagines is not "something horribly complicated like Windows".[3]

What does this mean for believers? Is their god the program? the computer? or the programmer? In any event, the implication is a deity that is not "beyond human understanding."

Though I must admit I am impressed by the video card.

Footnotes:

  1. "You Know That Space Time Thing? Never Mind" by George Johnson; The New York Times Book Review; June 9, 2002
  2. "A New Kind of Science" by Steven Wolfram; Wolfram Media
  3. Is this proof that Bill Gates is not a deity - either malign or benign?