Sunday, October 12, 2008

completeness, consistency, and politics
Sunday, October 12th, 2008
Kurt Gödel at the beginning of the 20th century developed this idea about “completeness” - summarized by Douglas Hofstadter in his recent book “I am a strange loop“. I’ll continue to abuse Kurt’s ideas with this paraphrase:

1. If a system requires internal consistency there are things that cannot be proven.
2. If a system is required to be “complete”; that is, have proofs for everything, you have to live with internal inconsistencies.

I finally realized, that Obama is probably the candidate that is trying to be logical and consistent. He cannot bring himself to talk out both sides of his mouth at the same time. Obama is trapped in his logical, consistent universe, and he will have to grant you, some things just aren’t going to be provable. I think he would be OK with that, having confidence that when faced with such uncertainty, we can figure out what to do when the situations present themselves.

McCain, on the other hand, wants his certainty - completeness, and is not concerned with some internal inconsistencies, characteristic of his party - capital punishment is OK, sending US soldiers to death, killing Iraqis (hundreds of thousands) and Pakistanis (in cross border incursions into other sovereign nations) doesn’t seem to be a problem, but destroying four-celled clusters certain embryos is not. Biblical validation of definitions of marriage as between one man and one woman, don’t seem to have problems with polygamy - maybe we should bring that back, as are other things with which biblical references don’t raise objections, like slavery.

Deterministic answers appear to be desirable from GOP, while Dems ask the “what if” questions, and live with the unprovable nature of the universe. Donkeys seem to be more probabalistic.

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