Get a Life

[From Rick Marken (980406.1000)]

Bruce Gregory 9980406.1126 EDT) --

Fellows. Fellows. Fun is fun, but let's get serious here. Other
than those for whom PCT is a religion, PCT is a model...It does
not take a religious conversion to enable one to use a model.

In fact, a religious conversion to PCT is precisely what keeps
people from understanding the model. The people who "get" PCT are
not those who have made a "religious conversion" to PCT. The
people who "get" PCT are those (few) have been able to approach
PCT without any baggage; people who are not already "caught up in
some other school of thought".

Your intended audience has no idea of what you are talking about.

Sometimes this is true. But there are many cases where people
clearly _do_ have an idea of what we are talking about but they
experience it as a large deviation from what they already believe.
As Bill said: "Where PCT conflicts with what is already believed,
PCT loses". Look at the conflicts we've had on the net: about
testing for controlled variables, the non-existence of reinforcement,
the non-existence of social control systems, etc etc. These conflicts
do not result from a failure to understand systems analysis; the
people involved in these conflicts often understand systems analysis
quite well. Rather, these conflicts result from differences about
what people want to think the results of that systems analysis show.
Bruce Abbott, for example, is perfectly capable of doing systems
analysis and modeling. But, due to the fact that he is still caught
up in a school of thought that treats "reinforcement" as a real
phenomenon, he is not going to put up with the results of a
systems analysis that shows that it makes no sense to talk about
"reinforcement" when one is dealing with the behavior of a control
system.

Unless social scientists start to use models it will take a hell
of a lot of funerals before any changes are forthcoming.

I really don't think this is the problem. There are many social
scientists who use models and are perfectly capable of doing
systems analysis (Herb Simon comes immediately to mind). These social
scientists (like Simon) have had well over 20 years to look at the
PCT systems analysis of behavior and conclude that it is what it is --
airtight. Yet none have done it. Having delt with these social
scientists for over 20 years now I think I know why this is the
case; it is because nearly everyone who comes to PCT is already
caught up in _some_ school of thought. I certainly was. So was Tom B.
and Phil R. When you are caught up in some school of thought
you will automatically defend aspects of it that are disturbed
by PCT. But by some miracle Tom, Phil and I were (eventually)
willing to look at PCT without trying to find in it a justification
for what we already believed.

It's not a religious conversion that is needed in order to
start "getting" PCT; it is a religious _unconversion_. People
have to (somehow -- don't ask me how) unconvert from the schools
of thought that they are already (often unconsciously) caught up
in. Only when they do this, they will be able to stop defending
against PCT ideas and start learning them. They will start
_questioning_ PCT instead of _resisting_ it.

If you want to see the difference between one who comes to PCT
caught up in some school of thought and one who doesn't, compare
the posts from Bruce Abbott to those from Tim Carey; resistance
(and preaching) in the former; questioning (and learning) in the
latter. You can learn a _lot_ from CSGNet.

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 (980406.1330 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980406.1000)

Bruce Gregory 9980406.1126 EDT) --

> Fellows. Fellows. Fun is fun, but let's get serious here. Other
> than those for whom PCT is a religion, PCT is a model...It does
> not take a religious conversion to enable one to use a model.

In fact, a religious conversion to PCT is precisely what keeps
people from understanding the model. The people who "get" PCT are
not those who have made a "religious conversion" to PCT. The
people who "get" PCT are those (few) have been able to approach
PCT without any baggage; people who are not already "caught up in
some other school of thought".

> Your intended audience has no idea of what you are talking about.

Sometimes this is true. But there are many cases where people
clearly _do_ have an idea of what we are talking about but they
experience it as a large deviation from what they already believe.

I think you are underestimating the problem. Today someone sent
me an letter published in the journal _Physics Education_ a few
years ago. Here is a paragraph that captures what I mean:

"For 35 years I have investigated the misconceptions of
professional physicists, particularly as revealed in textbooks
and examination papers. An early study of A-level textbooks
(Warren 1961) showed widespread misunderstanding in nearly all
relevant branches of physics, and in particular I observed 'Very
few of the authors appear to understand the significance of
Newton's laws of motion'. Since then standards have fallen
lower and lower as new curricula have imposed innumerable new
wrong ideas, and every attempt at reform has been successfully
opposed. Perhaps Dr. Helligman may find it hard to believe, but
my (unpublished) tests on a group of British science teachers
showed that _none_ could apply Newton's laws correctly to his
problem or to some other very elementary questions. It is not a
matter of lack of full understanding, but of total misconception
of the basic principles."

This 300 years after the model was accepted as fundamental to
our understanding of the physical world.

How many of those you characterize as wedded to alternative
conceptual schemes could explain how a thermostat works? May
they not find it easier to ignore something that they cannot
understand?

As Bill said: "Where PCT conflicts with what is already believed,
PCT loses". Look at the conflicts we've had on the net: about
testing for controlled variables, the non-existence of reinforcement,
the non-existence of social control systems, etc etc. These conflicts
do not result from a failure to understand systems analysis; the
people involved in these conflicts often understand systems analysis
quite well. Rather, these conflicts result from differences about
what people want to think the results of that systems analysis show.

Based on the above I question how well even practioners of
systems analysis understand what they are doing. How many
appliers of statistics understand what they are doing.
Statistics is a "plug and chug" algorithm for most social
scientists that I knew.

There are many social
scientists who use models and are perfectly capable of doing
systems analysis (Herb Simon comes immediately to mind). These social
scientists (like Simon) have had well over 20 years to look at the
PCT systems analysis of behavior and conclude that it is what it is --
airtight. Yet none have done it. Having dealt with these social
scientists for over 20 years now I think I know why this is the
case; it is because nearly everyone who comes to PCT is already
caught up in _some_ school of thought.

I'm still betting on ignorance. Can Herb Simon model a
thermostat? How many of his followers can?

If you want to see the difference between one who comes to PCT
caught up in some school of thought and one who doesn't, compare
the posts from Bruce Abbott to those from Tim Carey; resistance
(and preaching) in the former; questioning (and learning) in the
latter. You can learn a _lot_ from CSGNet.

Just out of curiosity, where do you place me on this
continuum?

Bruce

[From Rick Marken (980406.1300)]

Bruce Gregory (980406.1330 EDT)--

I'm still betting on ignorance. Can Herb Simon model a
thermostat?

I don't know. I don't even know if he's still alive. But I wouldn't
put too much money on "ignornace" as the explanation of resistance
to PCT. Look at the resistance to PCT on CSGNet. This is coming
from people who are not only _not_ ignorant (of control theory and
systems modeling) but who are also actively _pro_ PCT.

Trust me. It's the baggage, not the ignorance.

Me:

If you want to see the difference between one who comes to PCT
caught up in some school of thought and one who doesn't, compare
the posts from Bruce Abbott to those from Tim Carey; resistance
(and preaching) in the former; questioning (and learning) in the
latter. You can learn a _lot_ from CSGNet.

Bruce G.

Just out of curiosity, where do you place me on this
continuum?

If there is a continuum it is a continuum of the "degree to which
one is already caught up in some school of thought". Bruce A. is
way caught up in the "conventional psychology" school of thought
as evidenced by the fact that he has resisted some of the most
basic (and important) concepts of PCT (control of perception,
testing for controlled perceptions, etc) for years. Tim C. seems
to be not caught up in any school of thought at all; he really seems
to want to learn PCT and he is learning it. He has asked (often in
private) some _great_ questions (that demanded answers in terms of
observations and modeling) and he has never lectured me about how
PCT is _really_ about "this" or perfectly consistent with "that"
when it wasn't.

I don't know where you fall on this continuum. I suspect that you
are much closer to Tim than to Bruce A (the fact that you are not
a psychologist probably leaves you with a lot less "counter PCT"
baggage to defend right off the bat;-)). But I guess I'll get a
better read on it as I see how you reply to comments like:

Mary Powers (980406) --

Anyone who is trying to write about PCT for the general public
certainly has my best wishes for success. But I can see why
trying to do it through concepts like a ball calling forth a
swing have gotten sat on. It's like starting to explain the
phases of the moon by saying they're caused by the earth's shadow.

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 Abbott (980406.1755 EST)]

Rick Marken (980406.1300) --

Bruce A. is
way caught up in the "conventional psychology" school of thought
as evidenced by the fact that he has resisted some of the most
basic (and important) concepts of PCT (control of perception,
testing for controlled perceptions, etc) for years.

Ah, I see that the doctor of distortion is at it again. In all the time I
have been on CSGnet I have not once expressed any opposition to either of
these "basic concepts of PCT." Here in PCTland, it is evidently the case
that fact is far less important than polemical effect. Get a life!

Bruce

[From Rick Marken (980406.1930)]

Me:

Bruce A. is way caught up in the "conventional psychology" school
of thought as evidenced by the fact that he has resisted some
of the most basic (and important) concepts of PCT (control of
perception, testing for controlled perceptions, etc) for years.

Bruce Abbott (980406.1755 EST) --

Ah, I see that the doctor of distortion is at it again. In all
the time I have been on CSGnet I have not once expressed any
opposition to either of these "basic concepts of PCT."

Oh, Bruce. Haven't you gotten it yet? It's not just you who is
the victim of my distortions; it's the whole discipline of
psychology. This whole "PCT conflicts with conventional psychology"
thing has been one huge distortion. I know as well as you do that
operant conditioners who study reinforcement have known all along
that they are studying the control of perception; I also know
that every psychologist who has ever manipulated an IV and
measured a DV knows how to test for controlled perceptions. Heck,
that's one of the first things I learned in my undergraduate
experimental psychology course: the t-test for the controlled
variable.

This whole PCT thing has just been a long very April Fool's
joke, Bruce. So don't worry. Your career has not really been
the meaningless pursuit of useless information (using particularly
cruel techniques) that I have depicted

Now you can crawl back under your rock and enjoy your life again.
Just think how lucky you are that you don't have to try to get
one (a life or a rock;-))

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 (980407.0233 EDT)]

Bruce Abbott (980406.1755 EST)]

Ah, I see that the doctor of distortion is at it again. In all the time I
have been on CSGnet I have not once expressed any opposition to either of
these "basic concepts of PCT." Here in PCTland, it is evidently the case
that fact is far less important than polemical effect. Get a life!

Ah, Bruce, don't you see? Rick will only change when changing enhances his
ability to control. That's just the way it is with HPC systems.

Bruce

[From Bruce Gregory (980407.0951 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980406.1000)]

It's not a religious conversion that is needed in order to
start "getting" PCT; it is a religious _unconversion_. People
have to (somehow -- don't ask me how) unconvert from the schools
of thought that they are already (often unconsciously) caught up
in. Only when they do this, they will be able to stop defending
against PCT ideas and start learning them. They will start
_questioning_ PCT instead of _resisting_ it.

Yes, I take you point. Those who have managed to reduce error by
adopting other approachs will not consider HPCT until they
encounter errors that they cannot reduce.

If you want to see the difference between one who comes to PCT
caught up in some school of thought and one who doesn't, compare
the posts from Bruce Abbott to those from Tim Carey; resistance
(and preaching) in the former; questioning (and learning) in the
latter. You can learn a _lot_ from CSGNet.

Yes, but learning is not something that HPCT has much to say
about.

Bruce