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Re: [dvd-discuss] The Touretsky and Shamos debate at CMU.

On Friday 30 November 2001 23:38, you wrote:
> Scott A Crosby  wrote:
> [...]
> >What Shamos claims is that it is wrong to distribute things with
> >functional aspects. Shamos says that instead, one should just make sure to
> >distribute it as something that DOESN"T have functional aspects.
> [...]
> In my declaration, I argue that oftentimes, code is a useful form of
> communication precisely because it is functional: it is useful because
> it is precise & unambiguous, and it is precise & unambiguous because of
> its functional nature.  (Computer tolerate no ambiguity, so writing in
> code is an effective way to avoid ambiguity.)

You have it backwards: it is functional because it is clear and
unambiguous.  The only obstacle to computer use of natural
language is that natural languages tend to be imprecise and
ambiguous; add precision and remove ambiguity and natural-
language computing becomes straightforward.

Therefore, under the Court's reasoning, clear and unambiguous
natural language is also "functional" and therefore bereft of
First Amendment protection [1].  This becomes a *reductio*
*ad* *absurdem* exercise when you realize that one of the
goals of the Law is to be clear and unambiguous.

[1] I realize that the Court made some gestures in the general
direction of the 1A.  However, since they didn't bother to conduct
the O'Brien analysis, their reasoning in effect amounts to a
determination that no First Amendment issues are raised by any
"functional" content.

| I'm old enough that I don't have to pretend to be grown up.|
+----------- D. C. Sessions <dcs@lumbercartel.com> ----------+