Finally Finished "A Tour Of The Calculus" By David Berlinski
I’ll start out by referring you to a previous post where I wrote about David Berlinski and his Creationist math problems. This was my introduction to Berlinski and his philosophy of mathematics – how it should be used to calculate the odds of evolution happening; that small odds is proof that something didn’t happen. And by that logic, no one could win the lottery because the odds are so small.
I tried not to let his bad logic interfere with my reading of A Tour Of The Calculus, and I think I did a pretty good job. I actually enjoyed this book.
Overall, it’s very well written. It’s easy to follow. He is very narrative and eloquent in his writing.
My only problem with the book, and it really isn’t a problem, is that it isn’t really for someone who has no experience with calculus at all. The first half may be alright for the beginner, but when he starts talking about the integral and differentiation, I feel like he makes some grand assumptions about his reader – that they understand these concepts to begin with. I found myself struggling with the equations and ideas that he presented simply because I didn’t understand the processes involved in integration, differentiation and the like.
I also understand that you couldn’t possibly encompass the entirety of the calculus in a 300-page book. I suppose it’s more a problem of time and space than it is of incompetency of the writer.
Personally, I would absolutely recommend this book for someone who is experienced with calculus, but hasn’t touched it in a long time. It would be a great refresher course.
To conclude with, Berlinski doesn’t bring up any Creationism or Anti-Evolution rhetoric in this book, which I was somewhat surprised with. Usually Creationists love to inject their religion in everything they do. So congratulations to Berlinski on a great book.
And, as usual… read a book. It’s good for you.