It sounds as if your high school math was on about the same level as mine. It stopped with analytical geometry, and despite my loud agitation for a course in calculus, it was not on offer. In retrospect, I think the nuns simply had no one who could teach it. Interestingly, it was as a Maryknoll nun that I discovered math was something more than a Soduku puzzle yielding clever Right Answers. To their credit, our superiors brought in a series of speakers, one of whom introduced us to math as something far more than plugging in formulas to get right answers. (I often wonder now if our superiors had any inkling of the force they were unleashing when they encouraged us to start thinking. Though Pope John is the one who started it, and at least for the group of which I was a member, I think the storm was unstoppable.)

Anyway, I am competent in math, but I possess nothing like the heights required to understand some of the mathematical proofs on the level of quantum mechanics. I would not say I have even so much as wondered about the algorithms that were involved in the transition to life. Mostly I take these mathematics on faith. But I think I understand the thrust of the mathematical mind, and the awe-filled world which it describes.

I will look up Kaufman’s work. “At Home in the Universe” sounds interesting, although just the title “Reinventing the Sacred” would have put me off without your recommendation. It sounds as if it is going to be an esoteric introduction to Intelligent Design. I’m flying to the States in mid-June. If I can get one of his books from the Cambridge library here, I’ll make it my reading for the trip.

Thank you for suggesting what sounds like another – uhm – interesting challenge.

Terry

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]]>This is amazing stuff for me. Science was within my range of interest … but the math … maybe it was the teachers, but while I could do it, it never meant anything real to me. We only were taken as far as analytucal geometry, anyway. We were not even given calculus. There were no electives. But if there were I rpobably would not have “elected” math. Now I’m trying to play catch up.

I would love to get your impressions and observations of Kaufman’s efforts … you as a scientist, and I presume, a mathematician. You can google his name and there are some interviews by him that might get you started. He’s in Calgary Canada, now, I believe. He used to be at the Santa Fe Institute.

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