[Martin Taylor 2009.02.20.17.20]
[From Rick Marken (2009.02.20.1220)]
Bill Powers (2009.02.20.1100 MST)–
If you really don’t think you’re going to
change anyone’s mind, just what is the objective of your attacks?
I wonder what you consider to be attacks. Was it when I said to Martin
“Bill is right and you are wrong”?
I certainly didn’t find that to be an attack. I did find it a
disturbance to a belief I like to hold: that Rick Marken is a serious
scientist. You didn’t explain in what way Bill was right and I was
wrong (which might have helped clear away some misunderstanding you had
observed). Furthermore, you said this even AFTER Bill agreed that we
were BOTH right. Presumably, since at that time Bill and I had
reconciled our differences, you must have meant that Bill is right
because he is Bill, and I am wrong because I am Martin.
This all started when I asked Martin to comment/critique my
“Revolution” paper. I suspected that he would disagree with the
fundamental premise and, indeed, he did.
No I didn’t. I said it was a fine paper, on several occasions, and in
my initial comments I offered a few suggestions toward making your
point more powerfully. I even used your own criterion for determining
when one can use data from conventional experiments to discover
something useful about an individual. You asked what I meant by one
comment, and I explained – obviously in a way that was misunderstood.
When you and Bill thought I was saying something other than what I
meant, I explained in more detail. Bill followed up, you didn’t, other
than by repeating over and again that I was saying things that I had
told you I was not.
I didn’t feel like I was attacking Martin any more than I
thought he was attacking me (by saying things like I was only dealing
with what I imagined he was saying). I know Martin and I wouldn’t
engage him in debate if I didn’t think he could handle himself just
You didn’t engage me in debate except once: [Rick Marken
(2009.02.18.0820)], which I answered in some detail. I repeatedly asked
you to, but you didn’t. Your messages after my response to your single
serious message indicated that you had not read that response any more
than you had read any others of my messages in the thread. You assumed
that I MUST find your paper a disturbance, and therefore you need not
read anything that might disturb your strongly held belief. You may
perhaps be interested to learn that I don’t usually like to play
fantasy games, which is what you seem to me to have been doing
recently, so that was indeed a bit of a disturbance.
Bill has debated with me. You have not. Bill questioned details,
corrected my mistakes, accepted my suggestions when they seemed to him
to be improvements, and eventually we reached what I believe to be a
mutual understanding. You, on the other hand, even went so far as to
say explicitly that you don’t need to read what I write, because you
know it is going to be wrong.
Until you said you didn’t read my messages before deciding they are
wrong, I had been wondering why (apart from that once) none of your
messages commented on errors you presumably thought I had made in my
explanations. I wondered why you didn’t refer to the control-loop
diagrams I posted. All your messages on the thread have simply been
assertions of my ignorance of PCT, with never a suggestion as to which
of the facets of my PCT-based analysis has been wrong. You have, many
times in the “PCT Research and Statistics” thread, commented in detail
on things I never wrote, to the extent that I was contemplating phoning
Bill to ask whether he knew of anything that might be bothering you
that could lead to this kind of strange behaviour (one of my controlled
perceptions is that if I can do something to help someone in trouble, I
try to do it – I like you, and I perceive you to be troubled, but I
don’t know in what way or whether I can help).
I know Martin and I know he can take care of himself and I’m
pretty sure that what I said to him didn’t hurt.
Actually, it did hurt, because I hate the feeling that someone I like
seems to be sick, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Helplessness,
the inability to influence a controlled perception, is an unpleasant
feeling. You didn’t offend me. You just puzzled me, and left me feeling
in the end that the most useful thing I could do might be to ignore the
silly things you were writing. I don’t know whether you read my message
[Martin Taylor 2009.02.19.10.31] in which I said: "
I think this finishes this particular thread. I have exhausted all
convenient means at my disposal for controlling my perception that you
understand what I am saying. All of them have the same result –
nothing, nil, nada (to quote you)." But I mis-stated: What I meant was
that I considered the thread finished as far as direct comment on your
messages was concerned, unless you wrote something relevant to previous
messages in the thread. I did not mean I was no longer interested in
serious discussion on the topic.
I did not do anything to intentionally hurt anyone. I would bet Martin
was not hurt at all. If he was I aplogize. He was simply making has
case for conventional research, a case I knew he’d make, and be happy
to do it. I thought it was “fun”, not because Martin would be hurt but,
rather, because, in his arguments, I knew Martin would be revealing the
problems I have had trying to explain the PCT perspective to my
research psychologist peers (problems I described in the “Revolution”
paper itself). These arguments provided a nice basis for discussing
these issues, and we did get a start at discussing them.
You reveal quite a bit when you say: “He was simply making has case for
conventional research, a case I knew he’d make, and be happy to do it.”
That, in itself tells how much you have read in that thread. The case I
made, and will continue to make, are that there are circumstances in
which results obtained by conventional methods are nevertheless useful
for studying some properties of living control systems. That’s a VERY
I am sorry that you find yourself incapable of arguing the matter
coherently, and I hope you get better soon.