Explaining dh code in words

I found myself drawn to the twitter exchange between Scheinfeldt and Shaw, perhaps because it was mercifully brief, but more likely because it seemed to me to present a clear disparity of opinion, one that furthermore was easy to take sides in. I side firmly with Scheinfeldt.
Shaw’s comment “if you can’t explain to me in words how your code works, You don’t really know how it works’ seems to me to be problematic on more than one level. It presupposes that explaining the how of a thing is a necessary component, and furthermore, considering what a cross-disciplinary field this is, odd that using words woukd be likewise viewed as necessary.
Substitute ‘music’ for ‘code’ and two well known (or hackneyed) quotes come to mind: Ellington’s dictum ‘if it sounds good it is good’ and the oft-attributed ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture’.

One Response to Explaining dh code in words

  1. Avatar of Jonathan Knust
    Jonathan Knust November 27, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Amen, brother. I agree, there is a tendency, especially in academia, to over-intellectualize works of art (and, yes, code can be art). The mind is a great tool–it slices and dices–but to be human is to have intuition and right-brain logic, as well as left-brain analytics; and to be a humanist means acknowledgement of non-verbal forms of understanding and communication as well as more traditional forms of written language. How about Louis Armstrong’s famous “if you have to ask [what jazz is], you’ll never know.”

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