Only a Mathematician would say

I came across a version of Dijkstra’s “Goto Considered Harmful” annotated by David Tribble. A lot has changed since then; the annotated version is perfect for acquiring the right context to read the paper.

There was a particular line by the annotator that continues to amuse me:

Dijkstra seems to imply that iterative looping (inductive) statements are intellectually harder to grasp than recursion, which is the kind of thing only a mathematician would say.

Among the ways you can bisect computer science, is whether this statement insults or compliments.

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    1. Funny thing, Zed Shaw gave a talk recently saying essentially this. Give a person a console, show them some commands, show them how to write their own commands through scripts and (he claims experience in this) they discover recursion on their own.

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