Is Programing Art or Science

By Xah Lee. Date:

Dear friends,

You mentioned the title of Donald Knuth's magnum opus Art of Programming in the context of discussion that fringes on whether programing is science or art. I'm quite pissed off at work at the moment, so let me take the time to give some guide on this matter to the daily programers.

At the bottom rung of programers, there is no question about whether programing is science or art. Because monkey coders could not care less. These folks ain't be reading this post, for they hardly will have heard of lisp.

This leaves us with elite programers who have a smattering of interests on cogitation and philosophical conundrums. So, is programing a science or art?

For the programing morons, this question is associated with erudition. It certainly is a hip subject among hackers such as those hardcore Perl advocates and unix proponents, who would casually hint on such realization, impressing a sophistication among peers.

Such a question is not uncommon among those curious. For example, “Is mathematics science or art?”, is the same type of question that has been broached by dabblers now and then. We can also detect such dilemma in the titles conferred to blathering computer jockeys: which one are thee: baccalaureate of science or baccalaureate of arts? It really makes no faaking difference.

Ultimately, fantastically stupid questions like these are not discussed by mathematicians nor philosophers. These are natural language side-effects, trapping dummies to fuzz about nothing; not unlike quotations.

For these computing jockeys, there remains the question of why Knuth named his books the “Art” of Computer Programing, or why some computing luminaries litter the caution that programing is as much a art as science. What elite dimwits need to realize is that these authors are not defining or correcting, but breaking precepts among the automatons in programing industry.

To the readers of hip literature, words like science and art are spellbinding, and the need to pigeonhole is imminent. Of these ruminating class of people, the problem lies in their wanting of originality. What fills their banal brain are the stale food of thought that has been chewed and spewed. These above-average eggheads mop up the scholastic tidbits of its day to mull and muse with fellow eggheads. They could not see new perspectives. Could not understand gists. Could not detect non-questions. They are the holder and passer of knowledge, a bucket of pre-digested purees. Their train of thought forever loops around established tracks — going nowhere, anytime!

So, is programing a art or science? is it art or science? I really need to know.

[Google Plus discussion 2013-06-22]