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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > May > May 15

Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2012 17:27:35 -0500
Archived: Tue, 15 May 2012 09:07:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>From: Cathy Reason <Cathym.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Wed, 9 May 2012 13:37:16 +0100
>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

>>From: Eugene Frison <cthulhu_calls.nul>
>>To: <post.nul>
>>Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 18:33:57 -0500
>>Subject: Re: Ufology And Psychiatry - Summary

This whole discussion is utterly hopeless. You are never going
to get past your tendency to rigidly define words and terms
(usually in the context of Cognitivism's meaning of them) and to
not grasp the concept that someone else might be using a word or
term in a context totally different than you - derailing the
discussion as a consequence.

Not only this, but it is an undeniable truth that you are the
sole person in this thread that has been guilty of using faulty
logic. You have been tripped up by the same fallacies from the
get-go, yet you continue to allege _my_ logic is poor and the
product of a befuddled mind. Since you don't strike me as a
stupid person - in fact, you come across as being very sharp,
clever, and shrewd - I can only conclude that what you are doing
is deliberate. That you are, in fact, intentionally confusing
the issues as part of your tactic of using sophism to distract
from important issues where you are clearly wrong, and to save
face in those instances were it is blatantly obvious you made
bad assumptions as to what I was saying or meant.

To give some examples, your logic was: all of modern psychology
is Cognitivism, Eugene is defending psychology, therefore Eugene
is defending Cognitivism. One of the key assumptions of
Cognitivism is "representationalism" (indirect or
representational realism, a virtual-reality copy of reality
created in our brains), Eugene is using the word
"representation," therefore Eugene must subscribe to
Cognitivism's key assumption of represenationalism with its
humunculus fallacy and its problems of infinite regress. This,
despite my saying numerous times that you need to get past
seeing other people's viewpoints in terms other than that of
Cognitivism. My use of the word "representation" had nothing to
do with Cognitivism's representationalism. You have continuously
been tripped up by this type of faulty logic, derailing this
discussion in the process.

Your entire approach to this discussion since you became
involved is to make it look like I am saying something I am not,
that I am blinded by fallacy in my reasoning where there is no
fallacy, and that I am changing my position when, indeed, I have
been saying the same things over and over since the very
beginning - to a point that is ridiculously redundant.

I have made only two very basic claims since this discussion
started: 1. that psychology is a science, and 2. that its
premise that the human perception system is unreliable (though
functional) is valid. I maintained these claims all through the
discussion and am still maintaining them now. My position has
not changed - ever. I maintained (and still do) that there is
more to psychology than Cognitivism - from the psychologies of
Gurney, Myers, Janet, etc from the 1800s long before Bridgman
formulated his ideas of Operationalism in 1914 and Cognitivism
started to become dominant in the 1950s, through the systems of
Freud and Jung, to the newer psychologies of Groff, Tart, etc.
today - and that psychology uses more than confused proxy
notions of things when taking measurements.

The premise that human perception is flawed is based on evidence
from physics, hundreds of empirical experiments and thousands of
observations from psychology, and common everyday observation
and experience - your accustions of my possessing a "physicists
view of reality," "rag bag of perceptual anomalies," and "logic
that is based on something found at the bottom of mineshafts and
belonging in a hole in the ground" notwithstanding.

>>>That's interesting. So you are claiming:

I will state, quite matter-of-factly, what I am claiming.

To avoid further confusion, and to make sure you can't say that
I am changing my views on this, I am going to clarify and
qualify my answers as I gave them below.

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


This is to say that pretty much all of accepted modern
psychology is Cognitivism and that other fields of psychology,
such as evolutionary psychology, are based on cognitivist ideas,
and that these all heavily rely on operationalized measures.

It is not to say that Cognitivism is all there is to psychology,
nor is it to say that every measurement taken during
psychological research is an operationalized measurement, nor is
it even to say that every operationalized measurement taken
during psychological research is based on proxy notions of

>>>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".)


By "psychology" I mean "psychological research" - not the entire
discipline known as psychology. And I mean only those instances
when and where operationalized measures are used and during this
use there is a confusion based on proxy notions of things.

This is not the same thing as saying the entire discipline of
psychology is fatally undermined. Not even close.

>>>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.

Did you miss the words "is its use of" in my comment directly
above? Your response below clearly shows that you did. And it
also shows that you did not understand what I meant by a

Psychological research uses controlled empirical
experimentation. During this controlled empirical
experimentation, it makes discoveries or observations (these are
probably better words than "results"). This _use of_ controlled
empirical experimentation, and these thousands of _observations_
that have been made, constitute a solid base from which to
proceed. Analysis and measurement of these observations - if
they are operationalized measures and these operationalizations
are based on proxy notions - are faulty, flawed, and undermine
the measurements. If they are not based on operationalized
measures that are confusing proxy notions of things then they
may be good measurements that produce good results.

Every measurement that has taken place during psychological
research has not been an operationalized one. And every
operationalized measurement that has been taken during
psychological research has not been based on proxy notions.

>Except you have just admitted above that the empirical basis for
>psychology is fatally undermined.

What I have admitted - and have been stating since the very,
very beginning - is that every time psychology uses a proxy
measure of its raw data, it is producing results that are
dubious and suspect, and that _these_ results that are based on
these proxy measurements are fatally undermined.

I have not admitted that the only type of measurements ever taken
during psychological research are operationalized measures, and
based on proxy notions to boot.

Again, not the same thing as saying the basis for the entire
discipline of psychology is fatally undermined. Again, not even

>So now you are claiming that psychology "has a solid base of
>controlled empirical experimentation" despite its empirical
>basis being fatally undermined. That's a pretty impressive
>piece of doublethink.

It's only an impressive piece of doublethink if you fall for
your subtle transformation of 'the instances where, during
psychological research, measurements taken were in the form of
operationalized measures and based on proxy notions' into 'the
whole discipline of psychology.' And then completely miss the
boat when it comes to understanding what I meant by a solid
empirical base and what I meant by a result.

Again, did you miss the words "is its use of" in my comment? Did
you miss the words "raw data" behind the word "results" at one
point in my comments?

The argument you _think_ I am making, the one you _say_ I am
making, is not the one I _am_ making. Not at all. But that has
been the problem with your responses throughout this entire

>>But it needs a proper way of
>>analysing and measuring these results - using proxy notions of
>>things doesn't cut it.

>Eugene, you are a testament to the power of a social sciences
>education to befuddle the mind. This statement above is
>completely meaningless - results are the product of measurement,
>not the other way round.

I have had more than a "social sciences education", Cathy. My
thinking relies on more than this. And, in fact, I never did
complete that "social sciences" education because of becoming
aware of the many problems with the approach - even, early on, of
the very problem that we have been discussing here.

Of course results are the product of measurement, in the way
_you_ mean here.

You need to go back and discover what _I_ meant by "results".

To help you do this, it behooves me to quote Websters New World
College Dictionary, Third Edition, thus:  a dictionary
definition of "result" - 1. anything that comes about as a
consequence or outcome of some action, process, etc. This leaves
a lot of room for confusion. My intended meaning of "result" was
as a piece of raw data, an effect, a discovery, or an
observation - while your meaning of it clearly implies that of
the product of some measurement. If you doubt I meant what I am
claiming to have meant by it, go back and reread my post - you
will notice the words "raw data" behind the word "result' in
brackets at one point.

When Mark Jung-Beeman, Associate Proffesor of Psychology at
Northwestern University, posed problems to a person whose brain
was being monitored by EEG (electroencephalography) or MRI
(magnetic resonance imaging) and noticed that in the right
hemisphere, specifically in the anterior superior temporal gyrus
(a small ridge at the front of the temporal lobe just by the
right ear) the brain came online in this area when that person
claimed to have solved a language-related task using insight,
this was an observation (in the way that _I_ meant result).

When Simons and Levin conducted change blindness experiments and
noticed that a particular subject failed to notice the switch
that had occurred, this was an _observation_ (what _I_ meant by

It is important to note that there is no use of operationalized
measures, based on proxy notions or otherwise, at this stage of
the game and that there are hundreds of these types of
experiments and thousands of such observations. I could go on
for days listing examples. This is what I meant by psychology's
_use of_ controlled empirical experimentation and the results
from these experiments (in the context of observations) being a
good place to start from. A good base.

When Simons/Levin repeated the experiment again and again with
different subjects and measurement was applied to determine that
at least fifty percent of the subjects failed to notice the
change, this is a measurement in the way _you_ meant result.

Simons and Levin's use of measurement to get the result that
more than fifty percent of subjects failed to notice the switch
that had taken place during the experiments had nothing to do
with operationalized measures, based on confused proxy notions
or otherwise, and this effectively demolishes your contention
that every measurement in psychology is an operationalized
measure based on proxy notions of things. It is easily and
incontrovertibly verifiable by anyone who is willing to do a
modicum of easy checking that psychological research takes
measurements all the time that are not operationalized measures
based on proxy notions of things. You have been blowing smoke in
this regard, obscuring the truth for those ignorant and gullible
enough not to know the difference.

>It's quite obvious you have no idea
>what operationalism really means - which is something you have
>in common with about 95% of social science graduates.

That remark is completely false. If I was, as you say, in the
same boat with that 95% of social science graduates, I would not
be agreeing with you that these social scientists regularly use
proxy notions of measurement instead of in the way in which
Operationalism was and is intended, and that this is a bad

And anyway, your remark that I have no idea what Operationalism
really means is based completely on what you mistakenly thought
I meant by "results" so these accusations get thrown right out
the window on that basis alone.

It is clear that this discussion is going to continue along
these lines and that it is going to remain a case of 'he said,
she said' rather than a true discussion of whether or not
psychology merits being called a science. All of your arguments
and remarks have been dealt with and you have been left only
with this criticism of psychology: that it regularly confuses
operational notions of things with proxy notions of things. I am
not, and never have been, guilty of denying this, and you are
left with having to make it look like I don't understand
Operationalism, and that I am making arguments based on a poor
understanding of same, to distract from the fact that, while
your criticism of psychology's improper use of Operationalism is
a valid one, it doesn't destroy psychology's claim to being a

My remarks stand as part of the archives, as do yours. Any
further discussion of this would be a repeat of what has already
been said over and over again, and thus a complete waste of time
and effort. It is up to people reading this thread to make up
their own minds on this matter. Consequently, I am going to make
this my last post in this thread and going to allow you to have
the last word on this. I've wasted enough time and energy
already playing your  'see if he can detect and counter the
sophism' game. I'm sure your last words will do a good job of
misrepresenting what I am saying.

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