Misc. Comments

[From Rick Marken (930301.1000)]

Greg Williams (930228) --

I'm really glad to hear that Cam is recoving. Thank God (whatever
THAT is).

Did anyone like or not like the last CLOSED LOOP? (Hint, hint.)

I loved it; particularly that paper on "The Blind men and the
Elephant". I'm currently negotiating options on the movie rights
and your cut will be hugh -- about as big as my royalties for the
LCS intro.

Ed Ford (930228:0920) --

A close friend needs good references in the current literature
(books and articles) on the best explanation of cognitive theory.
I would appreciate anything you could offer.

I don't have easy access to the current literature on cognitive
theory. And it would be hard for me to evaluate what might
constitute the "best" explanation of this theory -- since I
think they are all equally ridiculous. But I an currently
reading a pop science book called "The Improbable Machine"
by Jeremy Campbell. It's really about how neural networks are
the cognitive theory of the future; but it does describe "current
cognitive theory" as well.

Allan Randall (930226.1730) --

You do not like information theory.

It's not a matter of like or dislike. It's a matter of "SO WHAT"?
Information theory contributes zilch to our understanding of
living control systems (though, I'm sure, Martin disagrees). But
there is no need to argue; WITHOUT information theory, Bill Powers
has been able to build a simulation of a system that can produce
realistic complex behavior in a realistic environment; WITH
information theory the life sciences (with thousands of bright
researchers and decades of research) have been barely able build
simulations of systems doing unrealitic, simple behavior in
unrealistically simple environments.

Information theory may be cute and elegant and famous -- but
it contributes nothing to our understanding of purposive systems
(at least, I think so -- until I am proved wrong by Martin).
I don't think PCTers "dislike" information theory any more than
they dislike S-R theory. When it comes to the behavior of living
systems, these theories are either irrelevant or wrong. No need
for dislike. Of course, if you just like the theory and, for whatever
reason, think that it just MUST be of some value -- well, feel free
to think that way. In PCT we value demonstrations (via working models)
of the value of theoretical ideas. I will believe that information
theory is valuable when I see how it can improve models of
purposive behavior.