On 12 Jul 2011, at 08:34, Russell Standish wrote:

On Sat, Jul 09, 2011 at 02:26:19PM +0200, Bruno Marchal wrote:

David Deutsch has an interesting discussion about this in his
"Beginning of Infinity". He actually introduces several notions of
universality, one of which is universality of the numbering
system. Our numbering system is universal,

Well, carefull. It is unidversal in some sense, but is not Turing
universal.

Of course. This is David's idea (not mine), expounded in Beginning of
Infinity, of various sorts of universality, leading up to the idea of
a universal knowledge creator. I haven't got to that part of the book
yet, but I've noticed a bit of controversy about it on the FOR list.

I am still waiting for Elliot temple's answer, on the UDA step 4.





Similarly, Babbage and Lovelace came very close to the Turing
universality concept, but again mysteriously shied away from
it.

Here I disagree. I have made research, and I am convinced that
babbage has been aware of the Turing universality, of, its notation
system to describe its machine. He said that this was his real big
discovery, but none understand it.

Fair enough (as far as I am concerned). It is a historical matter,
in which I have no stake. But David Deutsch does make this claim on
BoI, and in particular refers to the "Lovelace objection".

Really? It is an original claim, and usually people disagree until I mention a 1911 work by a french, Jacques Lafitte, who talk about unknown notes by the old Babbage, trying to describe the functioning of his machine, and discovering that its system of notation is ... a new form of universal machine, and by this he is close to Church thesis. I think that Ada Lovelace is not involved. Actually she is often considered as the first programmer, indeed as the inventor of the notion of subroutine.




I think it would have taken some more centuries. They might have
discovered it in the 12 or 13th century. They would not have been
able to miss it, especially with the development of math and
calculus, which they would have developed much faster than Newton
and Leibniz. OK, that is just my current opinion. We can't change
history.

Fair enough. BTW, in response to your follow-on message when you
mention Hypatia, don't take the movie "Agora" as the gospel truth -
certain matters were exaggerated to make it cinematically more
interesting. My son discovered this when he wrote a play based on
those events for a school assignment (for which he got top marks).

Congratulation for your son.
I have never heard about the movie "Agora".
I know that many people, especially atheists, blame Christians for the murder of Hypatia. But Hypatia was murdered by the fanatic Christians, in their fight against ... Christians. The fanatics were building Churches, and begun the building of the first "arguments by authority", and, at that time were the enemy of the many open minded early Christians. Most of them in Alexandria really appreciated her teaching of Plotinus (neo)platonism, and her course in math and astronomy. Hypatia's murder happened about 400 after JC. That is, one hundred years after Plotinus, and one hundred years before the "bad christians" took power. By "bad" I really mean those willing to think at your place (obviously for political reasons). I am not sure there is any doctrinal relationships between Christianity and Roman Christianity, but I am still looking for more information.



Nevertheless, it must be true that the European dark ages set us back
several centuries.

It is a natural phenomena. Humans, like wolves, needs leaders. Our brains are hardwired for local survival, not for contemplating long term possible truth. We can't fight in any quick ways our own genes. "The boss is always right, especially when wrong" will still rule for some time.

Best,

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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