(no subject)

Dear William,

Diane wanted me to write and let you know that she will be attending the
conference in Burlington. Diane would like to get together with you for
lunch on Thursday or Friday if possible. Diane is staying at the
Burlington Marriott Hotel, the number there is; 781-229-6565. Have a
great day! Darla

From [Marc Abrams (2004.10.28.0949)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.10.26.1452 MDT)]

Control is a process that emerges when perception, comparison, and action

form a closed loop with a feedback link outside the control system. Neither

perception, comparison, nor action are (necessarily) control processes in

themselves; that is, we can understand each part of the system without

having to analyze it further into lower-level systems, and the parts do not

have to be treated as control systems in themselves.

Very Interesting statement. I don’t disagree with this in principle, but if this were true, why bother with the hierarchy? What purpose does it serve, and more importantly does it in fact explain perceptions, reference levels and how we acquire either one?

Does it? I don’t think so. Should it? I think it should. Will it? Not if we depend on the expnasion of PCT to take place on CSGnet it seems.

[From Bill Powers (2004.10.26.1255 MDT)]

I define a belief as a proposition I accept without having what I consider

to be reasons to think it is true. I believe, for example, that cashiers

give the the right change, and I don’t make a big fuss about counting my

change down to the penny. To say I believe it doesn’t mean I think it’s

true; it just means that I operate on the basis that it’s true, to avoid

unnecessary effort.

If you want to argue that cashiers are not honest, I

won’t argue against you. I might even count my change more carefully for a

while if you persist in your doubts. A belief is only a working hypothesis,

adopted for a purpose. It has no value of its own. Its only value is in

what it accomplishes, or seems to accomplish, for you.

This certainly sounds like an accurate description of the PCT hierarchy to me.

The preexisting belief or notion behind this is that when beliefs are given

the status of truth, true knowledge goes out the window. Belief leads us to

ignore counterexamples, to accept data without checking it just because it

leads to the answer we want. It leads us to imagine supporting evidence

where there is none and to avoid looking for evidence that the belief is

wrong. In short, it leads to the exact opposite of scientific knowledge.

Bill, this is a tough way to view 35 years of work on your part. I guess blocking e-mails from people who might provide views that go against strongly held beliefs is one way of avoiding the pain, another might be to take each argument on its own merits and toss what you feel is unwarranted. Of course doing the latter would require some actual concern for the truth on your part as well as some backbone to take some critisism

What I call true knowledge is not, of course, true in any ultimately

provable sense. It is simply the best we can do in creating good models of

the real world.

Spoken like a true philosopher. What pray tell is a ‘good model of the real world’. According to whom?

Honest observation, searching for contrary evidence, and

open means of testing and reasoning are our best guarantees of arriving at

good models.

Why is your practice different than your belief? How do you ‘serach’ for contrary evidence when you refuse to acknolwledge the work of others as being useful or important? Why do you have such a difficult time in supporting others who might have a different view of things than you do?

Belief is almost sure to lead to false knowledge,

superstition, and self-deception. That is why I try to avoid it in

important matters – more important than getting the right change at the


You talk a wonderful game. Its inspiring. When you actually start practicing what you preach we will all be better off. Please tell me how you check yourself for ‘self deception’?

Do you really believe you have ‘objective’ introspective discussions with yourself? How do you disconfirm a belief if you are unwilling to listen to how others assess what you say and do?

If you believe your introspection is self evident, than so will the ‘truths’ be that it represents. On this basis, it would become obvious as to why you can’t give up the notion of the hierarchy.

As a very dear friend of mine told me recently. I am not your enemy. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t bother.

The thought that you think your major contribution is wrapped up in that hierarchy is mind boggling. Do you really have such a narrow view of what you have done?

In pointing out that you and Jay Forrester seem to have the same view on behavior, the fact of the matter is that you don’t, and the differences are important to the BOTH of you.

But this would hardly matter to you if you have no concern or interest in it. Where is your ‘scientific’ curiosity? Where is your searching for the truth?


From [Marc Abrams (2004.12.04.0917)]

Kenny, you may not want to read any further, this post is about feelings and I know how you feel about that (pun intended).

Bryan, you might actually enjoy the thrust of this post.

I am moving into lurkdom on CSGnet because I really enjoy most of Bill’s rants and gain a great deal from him even when its unintended. Bill makes me think.

So does Rick. And it has largely been through his ignorance and hubris about that ignorance that has provided me with the most to think about.

Like just about everyone else who has come onto CSGnet over the years I have finally come to understand the nature of this list and most importantly its purpose.

I just want to wish all a happy holiday season if you celebrate and wondrous New Year to all.

It has been a gas and I’ll be watching. I hope each and every one on this list gets what they want.


Bill, I have never seen you so terrified! I am relieved to know you escaped in one piece.

My guess is the only thing in Denver more terrifying is Tim Tebow riding a bronco!



In a message dated 11/30/2011 4:10:29 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, powers_w@FRONTIER.NET writes:

(Attachment 15e54431.jpg is missing)


Hello, everybody –

You will all be relieved to know that Bill, his daughter Allie, and his granddaughter Sarah, though terrified, safely escaped from a giant control system while on a recent trip to downtown Denver.

              <img src="cid:X.MA1.1322706331@aol.com" alt="Emacs!" width="512" height="366" datasize="213600" id="MA1.1322706331">


Bill P.