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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > May > May 9

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 18:33:57 -0500
Archived: Wed, 09 May 2012 07:50:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 13:00:49 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 16:33:15 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>I already explained it, Cathy. If you had read and understood
>>the explanation in my previous post concerning this, you would
>>not be asking these questions.

>Or it could be, of course, that I'm asking these questions
>because I find your previous answers to be incoherent,
>disingenuous and self-contradictory.

Could be. Or it could be that you are only _pretending_ to find
my previous answers to be incoherent, disingenuous and self-
contradictory because it is essential for you to do this if you
are going to be able to continue this line of sophism, allowing
you to save face in light of the fact that you made a number of
totally false and unfounded assumptions about what I am saying -
that has resulted in you totally derailling this discussion from
the get-go.

>>I explained that I was interchanging the word "operationalism"
>>(the name of the doctrine) with the word "operationalization"
>>(operationalized measure). Explained that it was an improper use
>>of these terms.

>It seems crystal clear to me that your were also claiming there
>is no such doctrine as operationalism:

Then you need to polish your crystal because it definitely isn't
transmitting the clear light of day to you at all. See below.

>"Without this addition, the sentence implies an 'ism' such as
>Functionalism, Cognitivism, Behaviouralism, etc. which is not
>what an operationalism is."

Let's back up here a bit. It was _you_ who brought up the fact
that I was using a confusing term and said it was a word which I
appeared to have invented. I conceded that this was true. The
word being referred to here is "operationalisms". As you pointed
out, there is no such term.

The "addition" you are talking about above is the word "an." I
made it a point to post and explain that there should be the
word "an" in front of "operationalisms". The first part of the
sentence you quote above is explaining that, without the
addition of "an" the word "operationalisms" implies a doctrine
(like Functionalism, Cognitivism, or Behaviouralism). The second
part of the sentence you quote above is explaining that this is
not what I mean by "an operationalism". It is not what "an
operationalism" is (that is, not what my intended meaning of the
word is).

When I wrote that post which you are quoting, I was fishing in
my head for the proper word "operationalization" but couldn't
remember it. I came up with "operationalisms" instead - an
invented term, as you yourself pointed out - to convey "an
operationalized measure."

The above sentence quoted by you is simply me explaining to the
list members not to confuse "operationalism" (the doctrine) with
"an operationalism" (read: operationalization, operationalized
measure). In that post (quoted above by you) I am saying that
"_an_ operationalism" is not the same thing as "operationalism."

If you apply my explanation of my interchanging an invented
term, - and use the proper term "operationalization" instead of
the wrong word - the sentence will read: "Without this addition,
the sentence implies an 'ism' such as Functionalism,
Cognitivism, Behaviouralism, etc. which is not  what an
_operationalization_ (read: operationalized measure) is." (It's
not a doctrine; it's an operationalized measure - an example of
the application of the doctrine.)

That's a far stretch from "claiming there is no such doctrine as
operationalism". Of course there is. But I haven't had to use
such terms since I studied sociology in college in the late
1970's - so make a big deal out of my forgetting the word
"operationalization" if you need to. The arguments and
allegations you are making here are only serving to point out
the desperation of your position, if you need to resort to this
type of thing.

>- But I'm not surprised you are now trying to spin it otherwise.

What's not surprising is that you are trying to make it look
like I am now trying to spin it otherwise. If you don't try to
make it look this way then it becomes blatantly obvious that you
made a confused assumption about what I meant and have, with
your arguments in this regard, been doing nothing but further
derailling this discussion.

>>No. That is not what I am saying.

>Ok, let's see if we can work out what you actually are saying.

Yes, Cathy... let's see if we can work out what I _am_ saying,
instead of what you _think_ I am saying, or what you _say_ I am
saying. We would be able to do this quite easily and efficiently
if you would just ask for clarification before you assume, jump
to conclusions, and accuse.

>>I am saying that psychology
>>uses empirical experimentation and has obtained a fair amount of
>>empirical data. This is a solid base. Even if everytime
>>psychological research used an operationalized measure it
>>confused operational notions of things with proxy notions of
>>things when extrapolating from this solid base - and these
>>extrapolations were flawed and needed to be discarded (as they
>>should be) - the solid base still exists. I am saying that
>>psychological research has come up with some good data since its
>>inception, and it will always have this - even when the flawed
>>extrapolations have been recognized and discarded.

>Well, you have previously acknowledged that pretty much the
>whole of modern psychology relies on operationalized measures.
>You are also claiming that, even so, psychology has a solid
>empirical basis.

Somehow I don't see my saying "psychology uses empirical
experimentation and has a fair amount of empirical data" (my
exact words above) as being the same thing as "claiming
psychology has a solid empirical basis" (your accusation above),
at least not in the way that you are obviously taking my

But I do see where you are starting to _lose_ my meaning. I see
now where we are becoming divided on this. You are not
understanding what I mean by "a solid empirical base".

I am saying that psychology's use of controlled empirical
experimentation and the results obtained from that
experimentation are something to start with. This is the solid
base. But it needs a proper methodology when it comes to
analysing and measuring the results of its experiments. It does
not have this.

>Now see below.

>>>Once again this is a most bizarre claim. Here's what I said
>>>about this in a post dated 22 April:

>>>"Here's why this is such a big deal: Operationalism is supposed
>>>to be a way of putting all your measurements and observations on
>>>a sound empirical basis without recourse to spooky metaphysical
>>>entities that can't be observed. So anything required by theory
>>>but which can't be observed - such as quarks - has to be linked
>>>to what can be observed by a rigorous process of logic.

>>>But if your supposedly "operational" measure is simply a proxy
>>>for something completely different which not only can't be
>>>measured or observed, but whose relationship to the proxy is
>>>impossible even to define, then the whole basis of your claim
>>>to empirical rigor is a mirage. Your supposedly objective
>>>measurements and observations are all hopelessly contaminated
>>>byarbitrary subjective considerations. You might as well be
>>>gazing into a crystal ball."

>>Except that I'm not disagreeing with what you have written.

>That's interesting. So you are claiming:

>1) That pretty much all modern psychology depends on
>operationalized measures;


>2) That if these supposedly operational measures are really just
>proxy measures, then this fatally undermines the empirical basis
>for psychology. (This is my proposition above, which you now say
>you are "not disagreeing with".)


>3) That even if every measure in psychology is really just a
>proxy measure, it is still the case that psychology has a solid
>empirical basis.

No. Whatever came out of these proxy measurements is suspect and
dubious. Garbage. This leads to "garbage in, garbage out," as
you initially pointed out, if further extrapolation is done.

Psychology is then back to square one. The solid base that it
has is its use of controlled empirical experimentation and the
results that were obtained during this type of experimentation.
This is somewhere to start from. But it needs a proper way of
analysing and measuring these results - using proxy notions of
things doesn't cut it.

>Eugene, just re-read those three statements and just see if you
>can understand why they are completely inconsistent. Do you now
>understand why I find your reasoning to be incoherent,
>disingenuous and self-contradictory?

I can see where you _think_ my reasoning is incoherent,
disingenuous, and self-contradictory (at least in regards to
this argument over the solid empirical base, but not in regard
to my meaning of "operationalisms," dealt with earlier). If you
think that the solid empirical base I am talking about is the
proxy notions of things used by psychology, and the assumptions
that are based on these, then you certainly will have to come to
these conclusions. But if you recognize that I am referring to
one of psychology's methodologies  - controlled empirical
experimentation - and the results obtained from such
experimentation (the raw data), before analysis and proxy
notions of measurement are applied, then you won't come to these

That's been the course of this discussion since you got
involved. You make assumptions about what you think I am saying
and what you think I am arguing against. Then you make
accusations based on these assumptions and we waste ninety
percent of our time and discourse trying to get back to what was
really being said. When I explain, rather than just say I
misunderstood you, you make further accusations that I am
changing what I initially said - when the only thing that is
changing is your understanding of my intent and of my meaning.

Of course, it is an effective strategy to derail the discussion
away from the important points under consideration if you don't
have any legs to stand on, by making it look like the person you
are discussing these things with is arguing something he isn't
and is changing his position all the time. But we all know what
sophism smells like.

That's why I said to William that this thread is a huge bruhaha
instead of a fairly high level discussion.

>>words above were written in regard to the use of the words
>>"modern psychology" which, it is my understanding, are referring
>>to the doctrine of Cognitivism.

>Ah, I take it you are now going to claim that only Cognitivism
>depends on operationalized measures. Well that is simply false.

No, I am simply making a distinction between Cognitivism, and what
comes from Cognitivism, from what is not Cognitivism, so that what
is good in psychology is not tarred with the same brush. But I am
not surprised that you would see my motives as you have
interpreted them above - or, at least, _represent_ this as your

>>>>Since the 1990's, post-cognitivist
>>>>ideas such as 'embodied cognition', 'embodied embedded
>>>>cognition', 'situated cognition', 'ecological psychology',
>>>>are starting to take psychology past Cognitivism.

>>>No, they don't. They are all entirely dependent on Cognitivist
>>>etc. assumptions.

>>The above listed are post-cognitivist propositions. Post-
>>cognitivist psychology is that which goes beyond or opposes the
>>ideas of Cognitivism.

>"Ecological Psychology" is Gibson's theory from which his ideas
>on perception were derived, so that example doesn't count. (I'd
>asked you for examples _other_ than Gibson, if you remember).

>The others are all Gibsonian-inspired; but Cognitivist
>assumptions are so deeply embedded in modern psychology that
>even these have evolved to become merely extensions of cognitive
>psychology. The Cognitivist practice of trying to explain any
>experimental result by invoking a computational module to
>produce it, is endemic. Sometimes it acquires a character of the
>manifestly absurd - one computational model had additional
>modules bolted on purely to increase the error rate.

Exactly. That is why I initially said post-cognitivism is
_starting_ to take psychology past Cognitivism. And why I said
it has not gone far enough. Go back and re-read my posts and you
will see that I said this. Let's nip it in the bud.

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