Belief in being right

[From Bruce Gregory (981230.1622 EST)]

Rick Marken (981230.1300)

This is not a problem; I don't think people need to recognize
that they are rationalizing (controlling via imagination) in
order to be able to rationalize.

I agree. But if you don't know when you are rationalizing and when you are
not, it's difficult to stop rationalizing or to recognize the need to look
for additional data.

> It [control via imagination] also keeps very sound beliefs going.
> Magicians do many unbelievable things.

What do you mean by "sound"? I consider a sound belief one that
is continually supported by the results of appropriate experimental
tests.

Me too.

I consider my belief in PCT sound. I consider a belief in
magic unsound because appropriate experimental tests (looking
from the appropriate angles; checking the contents of hands and
pockets at appropriate times, etc) would quickly reveal that what
one believes is happening is not what is happening (exit Uri
Geller, stage right).

Yes, my point was simply that we don't allow our observations to convince us
to change our beliefs no matter how inexplicable the observations prove to
be. Just because we cannot explain a magic trick, we do not accept that
something paranormal has occurred.

I'm not familiar with this literature but my guess is that the
peers pointed out flaws in the way the observations we made. I'm
sure it wasn't because the peers "out opinioned" the discover
of N-rays.

Actually the process would appeal to you. Try this site
http://skepdic.com/blondlot.html
I simply meant that peers often keep us from convincing ourselves of
something on the basis of less than totally persuasive evidence.

Bruce Gregory

[From Rick Marken (981230.1400)]

Bruce Gregory (981230.1622 EST)

I agree. But if you don't know when you are rationalizing and
when you are not, it's difficult to stop rationalizing or to
recognize the need to look for additional data.

Yes. That's the rub!

my point was simply that we don't allow our observations to
convince us to change our beliefs no matter how inexplicable
the observations prove to be.

Yes. This was really where the whole discussion started and it
is the great mystery to me. The mystery is why some people
are willing to change their beliefs based on evidence while
others are not. I think science asks us to do something that
goes against human nature (as viewed by PCT). It asks us to
believe in something (like Newton's laws) -- which means setting
a reference for perceptions that would be a consequence of that
belief being true. Then it asks us to act to produce perceptions
(do experiments) that are consistent with that belief; and, finally,
it asks us to _abandon_ our belief when we are unable to produce
a perception that _should be_ a consequence of that belief (or
when we produce a perception that _should not be_ a consequence
of that belief).

Try this site http://skepdic.com/blondlot.html

It looks great, thanks. I met Randi one night at the Magic Castle
here in LA. He was just visiting, like me, but I talked to him
for a while and he was nice enough to do the Uri Geller key
bending trick for me. I was going to enshrine the psychically bent
key at my house but I haven't been able to find it -- it really
disappeared;-)

I simply meant that peers often keep us from convincing ourselves
of something on the basis of less than totally persuasive evidence.

That's for sure!

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Kenny Kitzke (981230.1700 EST)]

<Rick Marken (981230.0920)>

<[From Rick Marken (981230.0920)]

<I think it does. Indeed, I think PCT is all about right and
wrong. PCT explains why right and wrong exist.>

Why am I surprised? You are right about everything you say you are right
about. Even when others perceive you are wrong.

<In PCT, behavior is aimed at making one's own perceptions _right_.>

I guess you have learned the secret of Mr. Bill. If he does not think he
lied, he did not. If he does not know which meaning of "alone" or "is" he
is using, it could mean just what he wanted, even after the fact. He is
always right then, just like you!

But what you call right, I would call making one's perceptions agree with
what they want, regardless of how right or wrong they may be in the
perceptions of others.

In your spare time, have you considered taking PCT to a monastery to teach
those right wing monks what right and wrong according to Rick really means?

Happy New Year, bubba.

[From Rick Marken (981230.1520)]

Kenny Kitzke (981230.1700 EST)--

But what you call right, I would call making one's perceptions
agree with what they want

So would I.

regardless of how right or wrong they may be in the perceptions
of others.

No. I know that what I call right is what others may call wrong.
I am saying that this difference between people in terms of what
they see as right or wrong is a difference in their references
specifications for the perceptions in question. This seems like
a reasonable PCT explanation of why different people come to
different conclusions about what perceptions are right and
what perceptions are wrong. Do you have a different explanation
for this phenomenon? If so, what is it?

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bruce Gregory (981230.1910 EST)]

Rick Marken (981230.1400)

Yes. This was really where the whole discussion started and it
is the great mystery to me. The mystery is why some people
are willing to change their beliefs based on evidence while
others are not. I think science asks us to do something that
goes against human nature (as viewed by PCT). It asks us to
believe in something (like Newton's laws) -- which means setting
a reference for perceptions that would be a consequence of that
belief being true. Then it asks us to act to produce perceptions
(do experiments) that are consistent with that belief; and, finally,
it asks us to _abandon_ our belief when we are unable to produce
a perception that _should be_ a consequence of that belief (or
when we produce a perception that _should not be_ a consequence
of that belief).

As I've said before, I think the analogies between the models of continental
drift and PCT are instructive. As revolutionary as plate tectonics has
proved to be, there seem to be many areas of geology where its impact
remains minor. Those who were quickest to adopt the emerging model were
those who were trying to make sense of observations produced by new
technology applied to new domains--in particular to the incredible growth in
data about the structure and properties of the seafloor made possible by
developments during WW II. Continental geologists were dragged along by
their geophysical juniors. Were it left to the former, it is not clear that
the "plate tectonic revolution" would have yet occurred. I highly recommend
Le Grand's _Drifting Continents and Shifting Theories_ to anyone who wants
to explore the dynamics of contemporary scientific "revolutions". I'm sure a
similar story can be told about molecular biology, but I haven't found a
comparable work to Le Grand's dealing with biology. If anyone knows of such,
I'd like to know about it for our _Nature of Science_ course.

Bruce Gregory