The Little Schemer – Discussion of Part of Chapter 9

I’m confused by a part of Chapter 9 of the Little Schemer.

I’m fine so far – this is just context.

The Seventh Commandment:

So they are using number of atoms as the yardstick to judge whether the new argument to align is smaller and thus a reasonable recursive case.

Basically we don’t know if align will loop infinitely for some arguments.

This is where I start to get confused.

What do they mean by simpler?

I’m not sure what their answer means.

Since I don’t understand their previous answer, I’m not following their reasoning in this part either.

I’m not sure why it’d be twice as much.

I can follow the procedure, but I don’t understand the purpose of it.

After seeing their answer to the first example and reasoning my way through the procedure, I was able to answer the second question on my own successfully.

If I understood their criterion for simplicity, I think this part would make sense.

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