# Re: The horse race

From: Tony Andrews <andrewst_at_onetel.com>
Date: 25 Feb 2006 05:19:53 -0800

Mark Johnson wrote:
> "Tony Andrews" <andrewst_at_onetel.com> wrote:
>
> >Mark Johnson wrote:
>
> >Sorry to butt in, but I have just been read this and another related
> >thread for the first time, and it is getting bizarre. Mark, are you
> >asking Marshall to attempt to count a collection of some kind (punch
> >cards, lines of code, whatever) when they are not in their correct
> >order? And are you implying that he won't be able to do it?
>
> I'm pretty sure. Some of those punch card programs ran hundreds of
> cards. As cliched as the joke is, I'm sure one or more people dropped
> their boxes of cards on the way to the old central computer card
> readers. It's a lot to resort, if, assuming if, the cards were not
> otherwise numbered in order.

But the key word here was COUNT. You are saying that items have to be "in order" to be able to COUNT them? If so, how do you count your pennies when you empty your piggy bank, given that pennies don't have serial numbers and don't have an intrinsic "order"?

> The problem appears to be that in order to think in terms of sets and
> the 'new math', that some are driven to defend it to an absurd degree,
> claiming that proper order is essentially irrelevant. And I've simply
> tried to offer numerous examples showing that proper order is
> essential to most all data. However accounted, in a database, that
> order must be accounted. Other examples were a roster of US
> Presidents, start and finish positions in a horse race, literally the
> order of words and phrases in these very messages back and forth, and
> so on.

I am sure nobody sensible (and I know that includes Marshall) would claim that order is never important. I think what is claimed is that (a) sets are not intrinsically ordered, and (b) sets can nevertheless be used to store data which may then be ordered, perhaps in more than one way. For example, you could list the horses in the race in order of finish position, or in order of horse's name - all from the same intrinsically unordered set of data. Do you not agree? Received on Sat Feb 25 2006 - 14:19:53 CET

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