Appeal, Disturbance, God(s)

[From Rick Marken (940405.0945)]

Bill Powers (940405.0750 MDT) --

Nevertheless, under the well-known legal principle that it is better
to let 100 guilty persons go free than to convict one innocent
person, this Court must find in favor of the defendant.

Case dismissed.

I accept the court's ruling and will not file an appeal. I guess letting a
few information theorists go is a small price to pay for the freedom
of understanding how purposeful behavior actually works.

It occurs to me that statistics has been honed into a very effective
tool for making garbage results seem much better than they are.

Indeed. Immediately after Martin's post about the significance of the
correlation between derivatives, Tom Bourbon tried to post a reply explaining
what it took King Lear some time to understand -- that "nothing comes of
nothing", no matter how "significant" that nothing might seem. Tom is again
having trouble posting to the net so I will post his post for him (at the
risk of repeating) as soon as he gives me permission.

Bill Leach (940404.18:59 EST) --

Now we ARE still talking about perception being the input variable to a
control loop "comparator" yes?... and not some "conscious" awareness
think, yes? If this is the case, then I posit that it is impossible for
a disturbance to result in a change in output unless there is a change in

The time varying perceptual input to a control system, p, is a simultaneous
result of two independent influences -- a time varying disturbance, d (which
could itself be the sum of many physical influences) and the time varying
output of the system itself, o. So, p = d + o. What a control system
perceives is a continuously varying result of distrubance and its own output.
It cannot itself partition p into it's component influences -- and it doesn't
need to. In a properly designed negative feedback loop (appropriate gain and
dynamics) o will vary as necessary to keep p approximately equal to r (the
reference signal). Any sudden change in p could just as well be the result of
a suddent change in o as d -- the system sees only the change in p (if there
is such a change -- any change in o or d could be being offset by a
corresponding change in d or o, respectively).

In a stable, high gain negative feedback control loop, the perceptual signal
does not cause, guide or inform the system about what output, o, to produce;
it just doesn't work that way. The perceptual signal is a CONTROLLED VARIABLE;
it is not the start or end of a causal chain; it is part of a LOOP; a circle
of causality.

This point is important because in conventional psychology perception
typically has the status of cause, informant, or stimulus; it is the start of
a causal chain that ends with behavior (output). The entire ediface of
experimental social science is based on this view of perception; that is why,
in social science experiments, one manipulates an independent variable to
determine its effect on a dependent variable.

It is this basic assumption -- the assumption that perception is the cause of
or information for output -- that is thrown out by PCT; THAT is why PCT is
revolutionary; THAT is why there are only about 20 people paying attention to
the discussions on this net; that is why I arrested Martin; that is why I
regret that, based on a technicality, he must be set free.

BTW: Is there a comprehensive definition of "New-Age"?

I have no idea. I'm pretty much into "Old Age" -- musically and,
soon, chronologically.

Oded Maler (940405) --

not every function is monotone ("goodness" = f(N) where N is the number of

I was just wondering where you thought the idea that "monotheism is better"
came from. I heard this alot -- since I never went to church or temple or
religious school it must have been in regular school; I seem to remember
hearing it in classes in high school and even college. The idea seems to have
been that Greek and Roman mythologies were really primative -- the "great"
step forward in religious history occurred when the jews came up with the
idea that there was just one god. I had always taken the "superiority" of
monotheism for granted (just as I took it for granted that what we experience
causes us to do what we do). I was never religious but the idea of
"monotheism being better" was so prevalent that I just didn't question it.
Now, of course, I realize that it's just a patently silly notion made up by,
who else -- monotheists.

The teacher of the "Mythology in literature" class that Linda and I just took
(it was great!) made two excellent points about "problems" with the
supposedly superior monotheism relative to polytheism; first, monotheism
has a problem explaining the existence of evil in the world; if there is one
all powerful, all good god, then why does shit happen? Much of modern
monotheistic thought can be seen as an attempt to wrestle out of that one.
The other point he made is more interesting; he pointed out that mono-
theism is a set up for conflict. If there is one god, then any gods you
might be worshiping are false gods -- and you are bad for worshipping false
gods. Polytheistic religions tend to be more tolerant (well, at least there
is room in polytheistic stories for being tolerant -- there are obviously
intolerant polytheists). If I believe in all kinds of gods, then its no
problem if you happen to like to worship some gods and I prefer others;
polytheism is a god smorgasbord. That might actually be better than no
"bord" at all -- my current preference.

So I'd say that f(N) is, indeed, non-linear, with a local minimum at N=1.



<[Bill Leach 940405.22:08 EST(EDT)]

[Rick Marken (940405.0945)]

YES damnit! That is all that I am trying to say (I think anyway).

Perception doesn't "know" anything in a control loop. But from a
physically reality standpoint, as long as the reference remains
unchanged, a change in preception from ANY cause will cause an output
change, INCLUDING a change in the disturbance.

Or in other words, the closed loop control system formula hold true at
all times when the loop IS in control.

AND it IS this very fact that causes S-R testing to often appear to the
outside observer to BE correct. As long as the S-R researcher is
changing an environmental factor (disturbance) along a control axis for a
subject, then the subject's behaviour will "appear" to be "acting upon

Now as far as "perceiving a disturbance" in the sense that I believe that
I was taken to mean:

The subject MIGHT perceive a disturbance through a control system that is
monitoring the performance of a task. For example you might become aware
of the motions that you are making to keep an automobile on the reference
path while driving on a rough road. Your peception in this other control
system is related to the disturbance that is affecting the "steering
program" and depending upon your cognitive power may be very closely
related or... you might just decide that the "push the cars off the road
God" is restive tonight.

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     / -bill /
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