François-René Rideau on From Creationism to Evolutionism in Computer Programming

This is a past event

75 people went

Location image of event venue



Human brains are attuned to stories as the most powerful way to communicate about the world. The most powerful stories are cosmogonies, that tell the origin of the Universe (usually created by a God or Gods, if any), and theodicies (or cosmodicies), that explain why evil exists, despite (or because of) these Gods if any. These stories are powerful precisely because they are not "just so", but affect the very structure of how individuals set their purposes, behave and organize.

In this talk I will explore logogonies, stories that tell the origin of Software (usually created by a Man or Men), and anthropodicies (or logodicies), that explain why bugs occur, despite (or because of) these Men.

In a first part, I will explore such stories, from the simplest version of Creationism to the most elaborate variants of Evolutionism, and illustrate what they tell us about the way we write software, or fail to write it.

In a second part, I will step back and discuss the use of such stories themselves as tools, how they shape our behavior, and how we may shape them to improve ourselves.

Notice Biographique

François-René Đặng-Vũ Bân Rideau is a Lisp Hacker and Libertarian Writer who enjoys working where the structure of ideas (including software) affects the structure of human interaction. He went to the very best Schools in France, where he learned that schools mostly don't matter, except for the great people you may meet. He failed at reinventing computing with his TUNES project, and is only known for reinventing ASDF, the build system of Common Lisp, eventually turning Common Lisp into an Acceptable Scripting Language. He is currently wasting his time at Google, working on a better extension language for its massively scalable build system.

His Common Lisp code is at: and some

more code is at:

you may also read his Cybernethics blog at

or follow his quips on:

his webpage is webpage at:

is only slightly less outdated than the TUNES project at: