By James Bailey
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Additional resources for After Thought: The Computer Challenge To Human Intelligence
2 Between these two extremes of total serendipity and total compulsion lies a more subtle position first articulated by Galileo. He imagined a "language" through which God declared the world. Because humankind was part of God's creation, we were also imbued with this language. Scientists were able to say sensible things about the world because they inherently spoke the language in which the world itself was expressed: Philosophy is written in that vast book which stands forever open before our eyes, I mean the Universe; but it cannot be read until we have learned the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written.
As the diagrams were suppressed, the formulations themselves became incomprehensible. " 19 Numbers and equations, meanwhile, rode the tide of the new economies of print. Perhaps they also changed the relationship of computers and mathematicians to the symbols they worked with. Until the time of Regiomontanus, numbers and letters had been distinct markings on a page. Was it harder, perchance, to conceptualize using one such ink marking to stand for the other as the techniques of algebra require?
Algebra and calculus have been effective because they work in ways analogous to the rates of change of the motions they are asked to predict. Intermaths are effective because they work in ways analogous to the adaptivity of the biological and social behavior they are asked to predict. In fact , there will be no Part Three of the Book of Nature in a literal sense. The inert pages of a traditional book will be superseded by the vast memory banks of a Tarantola-style network of computers. Because the formulations inside will be incomprehensible to humans anyway and will be changing all the time, there will be no point in printing them out for inspection.