May 23, 2002


Reflections on Stephen Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science" (Ray Kurzweil)
It's hard to know where to begin in reviewing Wolfram's treatise, so I'll start with Wolfram's apparent hubris, evidenced in the title itself. A new science would be bold enough, but Wolfram is presenting a new kind of science, one that should change our thinking about the whole enterprise of science. As Wolfram states in chapter 1, "I have come to view [my discovery] as one of the more important single discoveries in the whole history of theoretical science."

This is not the modesty that we have come to expect from scientists, and I suspect that it may earn him resistance in some quarters. Personally, I find Wolfram's enthusiasm for his own ideas refreshing. I am reminded of a comment made by the Buddhist teacher Guru Amrit Desai, when he looked out of his car window and saw that he was in the midst of a gang of Hell's Angels. After studying them in great detail for a long while, he finally exclaimed, "They really love their motorcycles." There was no disdain in this observation. Guru Desai was truly moved by the purity of their love for the beauty and power of something that was outside themselves.

Then they beat him worse than Hunter S. Thompson. Posted by Orrin Judd at May 23, 2002 12:52 PM
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