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Charlie_(Colorado) comments on Trust in Math - Less Wrong

14 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 January 2008 04:25AM

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Comment author: Charlie_(Colorado) 15 January 2008 07:49:03PM 6 points [-]

When one got past pre-adolescence, one realised that Heinlein's writing skills, such as they were, were in the service of a political philosophy somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun. Whatever floats your boat.

Then one got past pre-adolescence by becoming an uninformed dolt. In fact, Heinlein's political views ranged from Upton Sinclair socialist and New Deal Democrat in the 30's, to hard-core libertarian later in life, but never corresponded to anything "right wing" except to those people who use "right wing" as a synonym for "I don't like it."

Leo, Heinlein praised math to the very stars, but I'm not sure he was actually good at math. It's been a long time and I don't have the book in front of me, but I remember a scene in The Rolling Stones where the father is telling the kids they need to study advanced math, and using some mathobabble, and I don't think the father was making any sense...

The kids, looking at some kind of map of mathematics, say "Dad, what's a hyper-ideal?" "Hyper-ideal" is a perfectly good term in algebraic topology. Heinlein did graduate work in maths at UCLA after his medical discharge. He did incline to being a hardcore formalist, as evidenced by the discussion of axiomatic systems and such in Rocket Ship Galileo.

And yes, it does worry me a little that I can quote a Heinlein juvenile by memory....