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Re: Re: Second rate programmers and my confession

by mfriedman (Monk)
on Jun 06, 2002 at 15:16 UTC ( #172247=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Second rate programmers and my confession
in thread Second rate programmers and my confession

Does that mean Newton didn't understand his stuff? Or that he wasn't a first class scientists? I don't think so.

Yes, I think it's indicative of not being a first-class scientist. I don't think anyone would say that Newton wasn't brilliant, but part of being a scientist is making Knowledge available to the world. The pursuit of science is (or should be) ultimately altruistic, and if Newton deliberately made his writings harder to read than they could have been, then he was a second-rate scientist. He allowed his ego to get in the way of the real purpose of scientific exploration.

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Re: Second rate programmers and my confession
by Abigail-II (Bishop) on Jun 06, 2002 at 15:20 UTC
    Well, that's just your opinion, and I'm convinced that your belief Newton wasn't a first class scientist isn't shared by many.

    Abigail, who prefers peer review over popular vote.

      What's the definition of a first class scientist? I always thought it was a casual, subjective term rather than an obvious objective one. I must have been wrong though, because if this was the case, you'd be arguing a completely irrelevant point.

      You state in Re: Second rate programmers and my confession:

      Newton was not a nice person. He had a big ego, always tried to make him look better than his peers. He got real nasty in his long standing argument with Leibnitz, (Newton's "fluxions" vs Leibnitz' derivates), dividing the Western scientists into two camps. Newton also made his Principae (spelling?) hard to read, on purpose. He didn't want to be bothered by remarks and questions from "lesser scientists".

      Now you could argue that these traits made Newton a better scientist, that the competition drove him to new discoveries. You could also argue that his big ego made him less willing to cooperate with other scientists, ultimately hurting progress. However, arguing that he was still a "first class scientist" is pointless if you don't define exactly what a "first class scientist" is.

        Debating over Newton's standing as a scientist is a laughable exercise.

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