Star Stuff: The Adventure Continues

[From Rick Marken (941104.1130)]

Bill Powers (941104.0740 MST) --

I see that it took Rick about three hours to pin down the correct
analysis of Bruce's program.

I had to spend some time eating dinner, Captain;-)

Bruce Animist, er, Abbott (941104.1315 EST) --

The aliens' new ECOLI3 simulation doesn't quite follow Sam Saunders's
proposal, now that I've had a chance to look it over again, because it does
not change the tumble rate directly as a function of the consequences of the
previous tumble. Rather, it changes tumble rate as a consequence of the
current value of dNut. However, the aliens tell me that they recognize this
problem and are working on yet another e. coli simulation that works as Sam
suggested. They plan to call this new (and I might add, complex) species e.
coli skinnerius.

When the aliens finally get this set up, they will see that E. coli does
a random walk around the screen. This will show what should have been
obvious, without modelling, from my original E. coli demo; if behavior is
selected by consequences, then random consequences (like those in the E. coli
demo) should select random behavior. In fact, random consequences DO select
random behavior (as the aliens will see when they get the reinforcement
model of E. coli working) but this is quite different than the behavior
we see in the E. coli demo. In that demo, people select a particular
consequence and make it happen despite the fact that the actual consequences
of their actions are random. The E. coli demo (combined with the reinforcement
model) should convince the aliens that the behavior of the Participant in
the E. coli demo involves the selection OF consequences: there is no
selection BY consequences.

Since you are not one of the aliens, Bruce, but just translate for them,
I'm sure that you know this; but it would be nice to hear you agree that
this is the case; Scotty and I get a little nervous when we suspect that
aliens, representing themselves as members of the Federation, have access
to the communications room of the Enterprise (yes, we have always had our
suspicions about McCoy). So how about reassuring us, Bruce:operant behavior
is the selection OF consequences, isn't it? The notion that behavior is
selected BY its consequences is just another alien misconception about the
nature of behavior, right?