Martin, Knowledge and belief

[From Dag Forssell (950521 1900)]

Bill Powers on Friction, Wed, 17 May 1995 05:24:50 -0600,
Joel Judd 950518.0730 CST

  I think that given the amount of space devoted to the

    discussions you summarized and, more importantly, the number of
    people who potentially read them, it was appropriate for you to
    state explicitly how you view what has been said.

I agree with Joel that it was appropriate and valuable that Bill's
post got on the net. I have read Bill's post three times. I think
it is valuable on more than one level.

Addressing Martin, I think it parallels a post on clarity [Dag
Forssell (940113 1700)], where I vented my frustration with reading
Martin's posts and blasted him for his reluctance [as I saw it] to
stoop to kindergarten physics. I suggested that

  I get the impression that your systems concepts have lost touch

    with the principles that created them, [I might have said:
    observations on which they were based] and that this creates
    difficulties for you to express yourself and others to
    understand you. . .

Bill notes that his post is only an expression of his perception of
friction and imagined reasons for it; Bill's guess, reasoning from
the principles of PCT.

I think Bill's post is even more valuable if it is read as a
discussion of belief and knowledge in the context of the recent
thread on CSGnet.

When discussing belief versus knowledge, it is easy to think of
religion and belief in GOD as a prime example of belief without
possible verification. That, and the great variety of religious
beliefs, is in fact a good example, but it is far from the only one
or necessarily the most significant one.

To recognize the significance of the discussion of belief versus
knowledge, it behooves us to notice how much of our culture,
interpretation of history [written by victors and survivors], trade
relations [understanding of foreign cultures and their values],
eating habits, expectations of career success [employer
appreciation and loyalty], and even sciences are based on stories
and beliefs derived from them. We have a mixture of verifiable
knowledge and unverifiable belief in every subject area.

Since knowledge and belief look the same from inside -- both are
made up of stored memories at the program, principle and systems
concept levels -- I am totally oblivious to the difference between
what I think I know and what I may only believe. I may harbor as
many unfounded prejudices, unwarranted assumptions, and gullible
interpretations of things I have experienced as the next guy. But
I cannot tell which is which without great effort and a willingness
to reorganize.

Bill's post to Martin really addresses all of us and gives us all
reason to stop and think. The challenge Bill throws down before us
is to be willing to backtrack and question everything to the basic
premises; to test and verify every program, principle and systems
concept against experience as much as possible.

Best, Dag