Re: NULLs: theoretical problems?

From: Marshall <>
Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2007 21:04:52 -0000
Message-ID: <>

On Aug 8, 1:20 pm, Bob Badour <> wrote:
> Jan Hidders wrote:
> >>>>How
> >>>>exactly does that differ from scriptural interpretation and theories
> >>>>thereof?
> >>>Exactly! Rejecting straight away null values in any form or shape
> >>>without any sort of investigation of their properties would have been
> >>>much more scientific. :-)
> >>That doesn't answer the question. How does it differ from scriptural
> >>interpretation and theories thereof?
> > What makes you think they have anything in common?
> Each relates to interpretation and to an abstract entity taken as a given.

If I may jump in, I see a clear distinction. Where the domain is abstraction
itself, as is the case in mathematics or database theory or whatever, it is perfectly reasonable to just make stuff up and see how it behaves.
If we get a useful formalism out of it, great; if not, we haven't lost anything except the time spent on the investigation.

On the other hand, if we are discussing scriptural interpretation, then those engaged in the process do *not* consider the domain abstraction. Believers in deity x do not consider it an *abstraction*; rather it is an attempt to explain the natural world. If they didn't consider it "real" then they wouldn't be believers, would they?

Concepts such as natural numbers or relations or functions do not exist in the same way that rocks and birds exist. NULL "exists" in exactly the same way that 5 exists; the only distinctions to be made between abstractions is in their behavior and our judgment of their usefulness. I say this even though I have a very low opinion of NULL.

Even the most solid and established database theory or math is a purely human construct, and is generally understood to be so by theoreticians in the field. I will not address the question of what scripture *actually* is, but I will claim that it is not understood to be a purely human construct by its adherents.

Marshall Received on Wed Aug 08 2007 - 23:04:52 CEST

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