Life on Mars? Future PCT

From Stefan Balke (960809.1130 CET)

Peter Cariani, (960808.1130 EDST) ---

Stephan Balke wrote:

No, certainly not. But maybe the further discovery
of small bakterias on Mars will lead to further poverty
on Earth. Clintons message about the
discovery of life on Mars and his announcement of greatest efforts for
further research arrived just one day after the message of dramatic
cuts in the social net.

This linkage is a gigantic red-herring if I ever saw one. Research
is such a miniscule part of the Federal budget. Stephan, if you're
want to attack and destroy science, this is the way to do it.

As a PCT-oriented scientist I'm convinced that their is no other way to
escape from privat and social problems than to do proper research. I believe
in the truths of Kurt Lewin's: 'There is nothing as practical as a good
theory'. Be sure, I certainly do not want to attack or destroy science. On
the contrary, I think that many parts of the society work on outmoded
pseudo-scientific knowledge and that it is necessary to spend much more
money into the renewal process (especially if it is PCT based :-)). So I'm
really on your side if you complain about the small research budget. I
myself could also need a little more money.

But you are right it the point, that my remark about the linkage between
Mars bacteria and poverty on Earth was thoughless. To be correct, I didn't
mean I as serious as you obviously perceived it. It was more that I was
shocked about Clintons announcement of social cut the day before. As I
listend to his speech about being proud of his NASA researchers, I got the
impression, that _he_ tried to make a red-herring. After the Olympic
disappointment and leaving the social course he used the Mars story to
regain control about an important perception, being successful and proud. So
my remark was intended (but not really good expressed) as a sarcastic hit
against Clintons policy to restore his proud without caring for the people
in need.

To be explicite, I'm not against doing exobiology research and Mars
journeys. Maybe I can convince you about my fascination for the space if you
visit my homepage and see my link to the best of Hubble Space Telescope
(http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/psycho/ae02/sbalke/sbalke.html).

Rick Marken (960708.1030) ---

Stefan Balke (960808.1030 CET) --

3. Unfortunatly, the practicability of The Test for more complex situations
is low.

This is not necessarily true. The Test may be highly practicable in complex
situations. We don't know much about this yet because not many people are
using The Test systematically in these situations and reporting on "lessons
learned".

Are their any plans to make common efforts in the development of systematic
tests for controlled perceptions? It seems to be a very important point for
the development of (H)PCT - so, I can imagine, that their had been official
or private debates on one of the CSG meetings.

Anyway, even if The Test proved to be entirely "impracticable" in
some situations, it would not mean that we should go back to using the
misleading procedures that are used now. If people are perceptual control
systems then you can only understand them if you can figure out what
perceptions they are controlling; that's just the way it is.

I agree.

And I'm not sure that it is necessarily _hard_ to use The Test. Mass
spectrometry was probably hard to use at first, too -- but the use of such
procedures get easier once you get a bunch of clever people involved in
figuring out how to simplify things. I bet that The Test will seem as easy
and intuitive as conventinal methods do now -- once it becomes the
conventional way of doing behavioral science.

What should be done to come closer to the goal of common efforts?

Best Stefan

[From Rick Marken (960708.1030)]

Stefan Balke (960808.1030 CET) --

maybe the further discovery of small bakterias on Mars will lead to further
poverty on Earth. Clintons message about the discovery of life on Mars and
his announcement of greatest efforts for further research arrived just one
day after the message of dramatic cuts in the social net.

Peter Cariani (960808.1130 EDST) --

This linkage is a gigantic red-herring if I ever saw one... I really do
think NASA's scientific mission should be vigorously defended...We
desperately need to reform our political system, so that the real priorities
of the vast majority of the populace can take priority over those of Big
Money.

I'm with Peter on this. And along with Peter I am pessimistic about any real
political reform taking place in the USA in the next 100+ years or so. The US
has a way of institutionalizing problems by seeing possible solutions as a
violation of principles. Guns cause orders of magnitude more mayhem in the US
than in any other developed nation but efforts to manage (control) the use of
guns are seen as a violation of principle (the 2nd amendment: "right to bear
arms"); wealthy interest groups can buy elections with money but efforts to
control campaign contributions is considered a violation of principle
(1st amendment "Freedom of speech"). It's amazing that, despite all this self-
destructive control (of principle) by its citizens, I still love livin' in
the USA. I think it's possible that if the US suddenly started doing
everything sensibly (sensibly from _my_ point of view) -- implemented strict
gun control, started public funding of elections (each candidate gets the
same amount), decriminalized and regulated victimless crimes (drugs,
prostitution) -- things would just get TOO good. The US would become
cloyingly pleasant and we'd be drinking ourselves silly to overcome the
boredom;-)

Stefan Balke (960808.1030 CET) --

3. Unfortunatly, the practicability of The Test for more complex situations
is low.

This is not necessarily true. The Test may be highly practicable in complex
situations. We don't know much about this yet because not many people are
using The Test systematically in these situations and reporting on "lessons
learned". Anyway, even if The Test proved to be entirely "impracticable" in
some situations, it would not mean that we should go back to using the
misleading procedures that are used now. If people are perceptual control
systems then you can only understand them if you can figure out what
perceptions they are controlling; that's just the way it is.

4. How can the model be improved, if The Test is so hard to be carried out?

Who knows? But the goal of doing PCT research is not just to test the model.
The goal is to understand what variables people control and how. The goal, in
other words, is to find out about behavior -- this time, using the correct
model of how behavior works.

And I'm not sure that it is necessarily _hard_ to use The Test. Mass
spectrometry was probably hard to use at first, too -- but the use of such
procedures get easier once you get a bunch of clever people involved in
figuring out how to simplify things. I bet that The Test will seem as easy
and intuitive as conventinal methods do now -- once it becomes the
conventional way of doing behavioral science.

5. Do we really need further improvement of the model?

Again, the goal of PCT research is not just to test (and improve, if
necessary) the model. The goal is to learn about human nature -- which PCT
says requires learning about the perceptual variables that people control,
why they control them and how. The study of catching baseballs was an
interesting study, not just because it tested the control of perception
model; it was also interesting because it showed that one variable people
apparently control is the shape of the trajectory of a moving image on their
retina. PCT couldn't have told you that outfielders control for a linear
optical trajectory of an image of the baseball; all PCT says is that the
outfielder is controlling for _some_ perceptions; The Test is used to
fugure out which perceptions these are.

Best

Rick

From Stefan Balke (960808.1030 CET)

Rick Marken (960807.1430) --

It would be wonderful to find evidence of life forms on other planets -- it
would certainly be useful data for exploring the paths and processes of
evolution - - but would it really change our conception of life? Is there
anyone out there who's conception of life is "earth centric"? Would the
discovery of life on Mars (if it pans out) be a disturbance to your
conception of life?

No, certainly not. But maybe the further discovery of small bakterias on
Mars will lead to further poverty on Earth. Clintons message about the
discovery of life on Mars and his announcement of greatest efforts for
further research arrived just one day after the message of dramatic cuts in
the social net.

···

--------

Thanks. I found it (the last part of the URL is "html", not "htm"). It turns
out I have heard of T. C. Boyle; I read a review of something of his in the
New Yorker a while ago. He apparently lives right here in LA LA Land. I'll
try to take a look at this book of his when I'm at one of the many books
stores that now dot my neighborhood, providing a unexpected intellectual
antidote to the still more prevalent video boutiques.

I looked it up, the English title of my favorite Boyle is Burried Prospects.
By rereading passages of this book yesterday I noticed, that I was most
impressed by Boyles style, because he creates very clear pictures
(perceptions/imaginations). While reading the text I have the feeling of
being in between. As I have heard their is also the opportunity to meet
Boyles work in a video boutique: Road to Melville.

Rick Marken (960806.0900) --

But we could imagine in a mind experiment, that we would be able to perceive
the controlled perceptions of another person (and this is not so absurd, if
you think of a very close person) what would be the use? Direct
communication without misunderstandings? Ok, that would be useful enough,
but what else? Would it bring to light anything new about the human nature?
What is to expect?

I think these are _excellent_ questions. I believe that psychologists have
problems with The Test, not only because it is an unfamiliar procedure but
also because it is used to achieve unfamiliar goals. The goal of conventional
methodology is the "prediction and control of behavior"; ...

I agree, but although I'm not the one who wants to defend conventional
methodologys, without understanding a good prediction is impossible. If one
wants to predict something, he first has to understand it. So I think most
of the conventional research share the goal of understanding behavior.

I believe that the goal of understanding behavior (in the sense described
above) is worthwhile. I can use my understanding to predict and control
behavior...

I agree completely that all of these applications are very, very useful and
that's great. Luckily, they are already available, it is the PCT knowledge
for a practical philosophy. But my question was directed to the future. I
will reformulate it, to avoid Bills 'pigs with wings' joke.

Let's imagine the PCT thinkers and experimenters have elaborated a model
that nearly perfectly mimics all the observations we make what would be the
additional use of this model compared to the model from today? Would it
bring to light anything new about the human nature? What is to expect?

I have a few thoughs in mind:

1. A practical PCT philosophy is already available.
2. There is only one method to find out controlled variables: The Test.
3. Unfortunatly, the practicability of The Test for more complex situations is
   low.
4. How can the model be improved, if The Test is so hard to be carried out?
5. Do we really need further improvement of the model? Where are apparently
   parts of the reality, behaviors or something else which are inconsistent
   with the already existing (H)PCT model?

Best, Stefan