Wednesday, January 18, 2006

First Post

Hello everyone. The name of my blog is supposed to sort-of rhyme, if you use the correct pronunciation for Gödel. "Turtles" refers to the "turtles all the way down" line from Stephen Hawking's book and elsewhere. The line occurs in the description of an idea for a cosmology in which the world rests on an infinite stack of turtles. While this idea is ostensibly ridiculous, Gödel's incompleteness theorems indicate to us that it might be unwise to expect resolution and closure in a quest for mathematical understanding of the fundamental nature of reality. Here are some related topics:

  • Artificial Intelligence - I don't think a computer will ever pass the Turing test. Furthermore, I don't think we will ever completely understand human/animal thought in terms of any predictive scientific theory.
  • Mystery of Life - My above statement on human/animal thought implies that life will also never be completely understood. This makes me think that the theory of Intelligent Design has some validity in a general sense.
  • Theory of Everything - I don't think a physical theory of everything that can be finitely stated is possible.
All three of my above listed beliefs are motivated in part by Gödel's theorems and computability theory.

I am probably going to stick to responding to other bloggers for the time being, so don't expect a lot of new posts, but I welcome responses to this one.

-Hal

4 Comments:

Blogger Wolfgang said...

> The name of my blog is supposed to sort-of rhyme, if you use the correct pronunciation for Godel.

But it certainly does not rhyme;
whether you use the correct Austrian or a US/English pronounciation.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Hal said...

If you are a native German speaker then I suppose I should take your view on this subject seriously. I can find plenty of websites that say that the umlaut o sound is like ur or er. Here is an example:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A863453

According to the following site, Godel (with an umlaut o) is pronounced somewhat like "Girdle":

http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/ku/Kurt_G%F6del

I think this is close enough to "sort-of" rhyme with turtle. Do you disagree? You say it does not rhyme, but I didn't claim that it was a perfect rhyme.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous wolfgang said...

I can see that Girdle rhymes with turtle (sort of), but while the Girdle gives you an idea (only an idea] how the oe is pronounced, the "r" part is not in Goedel and therefore it does not rhyme.

(But "Goerdel" would be very similar to "Girdle")

I hope this helps 8-)

7:29 AM  
Blogger Hal said...

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (m-w.com) Godel can be pronounced 'g&r-d&l, and turtle is pronounced 't&r-t&l.

There are two problems with the rhyme. First, the d sound is not exactly the same as the t sound, but this difference is not too noticeable unless you say both words slowly. Second, the oe can be interpreted as not having an r sound, but this is a matter of degree, especially to a native English speaker such as myself. The r sound is deemphasized in turtle too, in fact, although this might not be the case if you tried to use a German pronunciation for it.

To me the pairing of the words is amusing, and I actually did anticipate that native German speakers might grumble about it a bit.

8:40 AM  

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