Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About

 

Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About

Paul's Goodreads Review

This really isn't a 5-star book in many senses. As transcripts of lectures (and very exact ones at that) it takes a little getting used to reading, at least one chapter was way to technical for me, and there were theological conclusions which I couldn't agree with.

But I just had to give it five stars because this book tries to do what no book I've read has tried before: to bring together computer science, and its way of thinking, and applies that to God. Knuth's way of going about getting to know God more really related to me. It was incredibly refreshing to hear the Bible approached in this way. Not that it's better than any other way, but I think it was a way that connects with how I like to relate: systematic, procedural, investigative, intellectual yet truly humble.

A combination of computer science, Christianity, and typography: what more could you want.
 

Quotes

Computer science is wonderful, but it isn’t everything.

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I’m convinced that computer science grew so fast and is so vital today because there are people all over the world who have a peculiar way of thinking, a certain way of structuring knowledge in their heads, a mentality that we now associate with a discipline of its own. This mentality isn’t sharply focussed, in the space of all possi... View Quote


The author of [the Gospel of John] has a kind of peculiar way of writing sentences that point ahead instead of backwards… Once you get used to the Gospel of John and the letters of John, you see that this style comes up all the time: The first part of the sentence points to the last part, or to the next sentence. [See John 3:19; 15:8, 12, ... View Quote


The fact is, at the time when Jesus called him Rock there was no such name as Peter. Nobody else living had such a name. In fact, nobody is known to have had the Greek name Pétros outside of the Christian community, before 278 A.D.; and the equivalent Aramaic name Kephâ is known only in an isolated legal document from the fi... View Quote


The multiplicity of different ways to render an idea in English is a phenomenon that people who work on search engines for the internet have begun to notice too; they call it “verbal disagreement.”

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The notion that [the texts of the Bible] have meaning and integrity, intention, contexts, and subtexts, and that they are part of an enormous history of interpretation that has long involved some of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world, is a notion often lost on those for whom the text is just one more of the many means the church p... View Quote


I’m glad the Bible is challenging. If it were all cut and dried—if everything had been dictated directly by God in imperishable digital form together with check sums and unambiguous authentication—I believe people would soon get tired of it. It would be boring, and I’m convinced that God doesn’t want it to be boring. Fortun... View Quote


I think it’s fair to say that many of today’s large computer programs rank among the most complex intellectual achievements of all time. They’re absolutely trivial by comparison with any of the works of God, but still they’re somehow closer to those works than anything else we know.

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