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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Apr > Apr 22

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 13:07:01 -0500
Archived: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 08:28:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 15:13:47 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2012 19:18:28 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>I think I spoke too soon when I said you displayed a deep
>>understanding of how psychological researchers proceed. They
>>also use empirical methods. You clearly can't get past your view
>>that psychology is nothing but Cognitivism.

>The vast majority of psychologists, whatever their area of
>interest, are Cognitivists. Even the modern fad for Evolutionary
>Psychology is based on Cognitivism.

Yes, I completely agreed with you that Cognitivism is dominant.
I'm not disputing this. But you keep defining psychology by it
and ignoring the fact that psychological research uses the many
other methods conforming to the standards of the scientific
method, other than statistics and the use of operationalisms. It
uses empirical methods as well.

>There are some exceptions - in perception research there are the
>Gibsonians, for example, and psychophysics owes little or nothing
>to Cognitivism. And there are the applied social psychologists,
>who try as hard as possible to be completely atheoretical. But
>these are very much the exceptions, not the rule.

Cathy, mentioning only the Gibsonians, psychophysics, and the social
psychologists doesn't even begin to describe the number of subfields
present within, or the complexity of, psychology and psychological

And it doesn't show psychology's eclectic nature drawing heavily
on other fields of science to support its premises and conclusions.

>>Use of statistics is not infallible but used in science. Meta-
>>analysis improves things. Being aware of 'publication bias' and
>>of the "file drawer effect" - if taken into account - allows for
>>falsification. (When the number of experiments producing
>>negative results reaches such a degree as to seriously outnumber
>>experiments producing positive results.)

>The file drawer effect does not allow for falsification. It
>isn't intended to - it's purely a way of correcting the
>statistical significance of a result by estimating the number of
>unpublished studies. It does nothing to address the problem that
>negative results are by definition non-significant, which means
>the underlying theory is not falsifiable even in principle.

I think you and I are on different pages here, arguing two
different arguments. I am saying that if you perform a number of
experiments and get results that support an idea, the "file
drawer" may contain a significantly larger number of experiments
that have produced results supporting a conclusion opposite to
what these experiments are saying, so that you can conclude the
idea probaly is not true. Nothing more!

There is no "file drawer" containing data that shows the premise
of human perception being inaccurate is wrong, or that it is a
faulty premise. There are counter-premises and philosophies
opposing it but no evidence that these opposite views are true.
In fact, the preponderance of the evidence - coming from fields
other than psychology but including psychology - strongly
indicate it is a valid premise.

>>Operationalism is not the demon you make it out to be. It is
>>used in other sciences, particularly in the medical and physical
>>sciences. Here it is used to preserve the unambiguous empirical
>>testibility of hypothesis and theory.

>Where exactly did I make Operationalism out to be some sort of
>demon? Of course it is used in the physical sciences - it was
>invented by a physicist, P W Bridgman.
Clearly your implication was it's a demon (bad entity) when
psychology attempts to use it. See your next remark below.

>But what psychologists are actually doing when they claim to be
>using operational definitions is both confused and self-
>contradictory. In psychology an "operational " definition is a
>proxy for some other quantity which cannot be directly measured
>and which has no rigorously defined relationship to the proxy.
>This is absolutely not what Bridgman meant by an operational

This may or not be a valid point. Or it may be valid only in
some circumstances. I seriously doubt it has the far-reaching
implications you are alleging. Even if you are one hundred
percent correct on this in that it applies everywhere and all
the time in psychology and it totally messes up the research
(and I am saying you are not correct here) then it is still not
defining the big picture of psychological research.

>>Your remark that neuroscience has produced data during the past
>>thirty years that invalidates the notion that human perception
>>is inaccurate is just wrong. It may have invalidated some
>>cognitive assumptions but certainly not this one. This one has
>>so much backing it up that it's solid. Human vision is a grand
>>illusion and, as Jay Ingram says in his book entitled Theatre of
>>the Mind (in Chapter Six, The Grand Illusion), "If you want to
>>keep believing in your visual prowess, then it's a grand

>It has a lot of evidence backing it up if you accept the
>premises by which that evidence is interpreted. If you challenge
>these premises - as for example the Gibsonians have been doing
>for thirty years now - you find most of that evidence disappears
>like mist.

Only if you accept these premises. But premises are not the same
thing as evidence.

And these premises, by the way, don't have much going for them.

James J. Gibson's views of 'direct perception' and 'direct
realism' are demolished by research in modern physics.

>Of course the human visual system makes mistakes - but the
>errors are specific to the circumstances which produce them. And
>in the case of perceptual experiments those circumstances are
>_designed_ to be highly contrived and unrepresentative of normal
>life because that's the whole point of experiment; to be able to
>control circumstantial variables in a way that can't be done in

Oh, it makes some pretty big mistakes. And on a very consistent

And I can spend the next several days typing up descriptions of
experiments in perception that don't fit your "those circumstances
are _designed_ to be highly contrived and unrepresentative of
normal life" allegation.

>But Cognitivism is based on the assumption that the brain
>doesn't extract information from the visual world because there
>is no information there to be extracted. Instead the brain is
>assumed to interpret the visual world by means of a sort of
>elaborate guesswork. In other words, Cognitivism assumes that
>the visual system is highly fallible right at the outset and all
>experiments are interpreted as yet more evidence of that
>fallibility. But change the assumption, and the evidence ceases
>to support that conslusion - which is something J J Gibson
>realized more than thirty years ago.

What he didn't realize though was that things don't have to be
black or white. It doesn't have to be a case of trees, rocks, in
short, matter, being perceived directly, and as is, by human
beings (direct perception) or a case of perception producing an
exact miniature replica or copy of the external world in our
awareness, along the lines of an accurate virtual-reality in our
minds (indirect or representational realism). There can be
something 'out there' that is totally different than the image
produced in our awareness by the human perception process. This
is strongly indicated by modern physics, and my saying it is
getting redundant.

Why does psychology assumes the premise regarding human
perception is true? Because the evidence coming from fields
other than its own strongly indicates this is the case.

And you have brought us back to Cognitivism again. As I'm
getting tired of repeating over and over again, the evidence of
the inaccuracy of the human perception process is coming from
more areas than Cognitivism.

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