Niels and Albert

[From RIck Marken (930314.1000)]

Gary Cziko (930314.0410 GMT) --

The "slipping rubber band" demo is beautiful; elegant and simple;
you're getting to be awfully good at this.

Hm, I suppose this casts Bill Powers or Rick Marken as Niels Bohr and
Martin Taylor or Allan Randall as Albert Einstein.

I don't like that casting. I feel more like Albert trying to explain
to a Newtonian that relativity predicts that the measured speed of light
will be the same regardless of the direction of motion of the observer rel-
ative to that of the light. I don't think the PCT model involves magic (in
the way quantum physics seems to); you gave a nice simple explanation of
the PCT model in your post. What we are having trouble with is convincing
people that a "non-prosaic" phenomenon (sensory input as DEPENDENT rather
than INDEPENDENT variable) actually occurs and that it is predicted
by the "prosaic" PCT model. I think relativity had an easier time than PCT
because Albert was dealing with an actual science (physics) which
expected (and got) precise predictions from and confirmations of the theory.
PCT offers precise predictions and confirmations but conventional behavioral
science offers statistical relationships in return ("well, that may happen in
your little tracking task, but look at all the studies that have found a
statistically significant relationship between independent and dependent
variable"); not much you can do to fight that -- except possibly pray for
the salvation of their immortal souls.


Rick (sleeping peacefully now that Bill's in and the jerks are out) Marken

[Martin Taylor 930315 11:00]
(Rick Marken 939314 10:00)

None so blind as those who will not see, eh, Rick?

Trouble is, none of us know who that refers to. I think all of us (I
mean you, me, Allan, Bill P.) understand and believe:

a "non-prosaic" phenomenon (sensory input as DEPENDENT rather
than INDEPENDENT variable) actually occurs and that it is predicted
by the "prosaic" PCT model.

The comparison with Niels Bohr and Einstein is different from that
between Newton and Einstein. (And I would prefer Heisenberg or
Schroedinger to Bohr in the analogy). Both sides of that argument
were putting something radical and initially non-intuitive in place
of a long established doctrine. Both were right in their field
of main concern, but there was (and I think still is) conflict and
uncertainty about how to fix it at the border. Einstein based his
concern about quantum physics on a notion of beauty. He had been
right to use that criterion in developing relativity theory. Had
he lived to see modern quantum electrodynamics, he might well have
thought it beautiful, too. We will never know.

One doctrine I learned in graduate school and have not forsworn is
that when two schools of thought contend, each claiming the other is
dead wrong, they probably are both right except in that claim. It
just takes seeing the problem in a new way. In our case, I don't
think you are wrong, except in saying that I am. I'll leave Allan
to fend for himself, since I can't see into his mind.

By the way, I'm not ignoring Bill's challenge, as Bill knows.