X-Message-Number: 23870
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2004 09:21:16 EDT
Subject: Goedel & Halting

I don't think anyone will be persuaded of anything, but very briefly:

As to the significance of Goedel's undecidability:  Undecidability can stem 
from more than one cause. In Goedel's case, it was just a trick of language or 
labels, and therefore of no real consequence. Undecidability for other reasons 
is a different story.

The Halting problem: Why should anyone ever have assumed that any program 

would have the referenced property (ability, confronted with a specific program,
to decide in a finite time whether that program would ever halt)? It is not 
news that an arbitrary program can have unexpected results, and that even the 
programmer cannot know for sure what will happen until the program runs long 
enough. It is also possible to write self-modifying programs, for example 
involving random or pseudo-random numbers, and it is hard to see how any prior 
program could deal with this.

Robert Ettinger

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