[ExI] anorexic geniuses, was Re: Religions and violence.

Gregory Jones spike66 at att.net
Tue Aug 3 21:59:50 UTC 2010

--- On Tue, 8/3/10, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
>...The way I heard it, Godel was studying up for the required test and got a bee in his bonnet about that vulnerability in the constitution. As his pals prepped him for the hearing, they told him urgently, "And for the luvva Christ, Kurt, DON'T MENTION THE GODDAM FLAW IN THE CONSTITUTION!" He brought it up anyway, but the Judge shut him up, and allowed his citizenship...  Damien

I like that version.  Were I a judge, if a candidate pointed out this particular flaw in the constitution, I would climb down off the bench and hug that man, not just allow citizenship but recommend him for a citizenship medal.
Regarding Godel's work, compare to the other great intellectual breakthroughs.  If Newton hadn't discovered calculus when he did, Liebniz was right there.  If not Darwin with evolution, then Wallace.  If not Einstein, there were several others on the verge of discovering special relativity.  But Godel was sailing uncharted waters alone.  I have found no one even close to discovering the incompleteness theorems, not Russell, not Ulam, not Goldstein, none of the giants of the time.  God hadn't even figured it out before Godel came along.  It is possible we would still not know of that field even today, were it not for Godel's work.  If not for Hofstadter's admirable efforts to explain incompleteness and self reference to the rest of us, Godel's work would still be completely opaque to all but the elite mathematicians of the world.
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