Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixed

Has science taken a wrong turn? If so, what corrections are needed? Chronicles of scientific misbehavior. The role of heretic-pioneers and forbidden questions in the sciences. Is peer review working? The perverse "consensus of leading scientists." Good public relations versus good science.

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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:26 pm

If, instead, a person is trying to focus on the answering of a particular focus question, then they are engaging science at the propositional level of discourse. Yes, worldviews are still involved. And so are models and concepts. Each of the layers interacts with the others. But, notice that we care about different things on the worldview and propositional layers: At the worldview layer, we are approaching engagement with others from the mindset of a particular worldview, and we are oftentimes forced to look to philosophy of science in an attempt to adjudicate arguments which may, in truth, have no firm answer. At the propositional layer, by contrast, people would be asking open-ended questions, and the intent should be to consider the answers which are provided by all worldviews. It's a very important distinction which is not made in conventional scientific discourse -- the consequence being that conventional thinkers simply look to their own worldviews when they should be broadening their scope (like at the inferential step).


It cannot be a matter of "separate layers interacting" because concepts are "atomic" to language. There are no non-conceptual languages or non-linguistic concepts and that includes mathematical concepts (another of your false dichotomies) In fact abstraction itself is a form of measurement.....


I think you're trying too hard to not get the idea: I'm not supposing that concepts are ever not the atoms. We clearly agree that concepts need to be at the root of the process of idea building. If you look at my most recent post on this construct of node compression, you'll see what the layers accomplish: They represent different levels of focus. This layer mechanism is concerned with interfacing the human with objective knowledge, and so it is necessarily a product of the person's intention, their inherent subjectivity and focus at a particular moment.

The fact is that there can be different contexts for the problems we are trying to solve, based upon our intention at any particular moment, and this is what leads to the fundamental, observable disparity in problem-solving between people like David Talbott and Tom Bridgman: Tom Bridgman exclusively builds models (and calls this science), whereas David Talbott (and other "explorers" like him) are engaged in more than just that activity. Dave is also trying to ask creative (what I would call "good") questions, which is a completely different endeavor than building models. It's not that one of the two are right; the system of science is simply a system of systems. The methodology is not just one single process. It's a system of cognitive processes which feed into one another. And like any machine -- if we can liken it to that -- the effectiveness of this system depends upon each part functioning as best as it can, and there is no sense to mixing the measures of success for each component. The reason that they are components is because they each exhibit different intents and measures for success.

to describe the dogmatic endorsement of scientific methodology and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measurable.[14] 'Scientism' has also been taken over as a name for the view that science is the only reliable source of knowledge by philosophers such as Alexander Rosenberg


Second, it does not follow from the fact that people have different perspectives that your incoherent "levels" are necessary or even meaningful. I have asked for specific clarifications which I am still awaiting. Third, a tool which acknowledges the truth that there are alternative views on the same question does not require or depend on any such levels.


If this structure can be shown to create value for discourse, then whether or not they are necessary to have a conversation about science is irrelevant. I am not suggesting that this is the only solution; what I am trying to do is encourage people to come up with additional ways of using some sort of structure to solve the problems of scientific discourse, so that we can benefit from considering options. I think the problem you're running into here is that you're not trying hard enough to couch your own unique perspective in the problems that tend to obstruct rational discourse about science. I don't observe our epistemological differences as having much consequence for the site design so far (but I just received Ayn Rand's books on concepts in the mail, so I have some reading to do … Thank you for the recommendation). Epistemology cannot be the sole source of states of wants/needs for the site design, because psychology and sociology play very large roles in the choices people make about what to focus upon in science.

The choice to integrate these mental models into your way of thought is a choice which only you can make. But, if you were part of a larger organization like a corporation which was paying you, and you weren't engaging people on these levels, what would happen -- if it was a good corporation -- is that they would psychoanalyze you, and they would present their findings to you at your quarterly review (in a private setting).

This is what I mean when I say that we need to give people tools to expose one another's biases. At the level of interacting worldviews, the level of complexity is extraordinarily high. There are numerous layers of cognition at play at this highest level -- psychological, sociological, philosophical, logical & argumentative, conceptual, mathematical, etc. The quality of the discourse at this highest level suffers when any of these layers of cognition operate "in the dark". So, what some corporations have realized is that the psychological and sociological are especially problematic in this regard, and so one thing that they do is to rig the culture so that people are fluent in one another's personality profiles -- their Myers-Brigg, for instance.

But, there are many ways to expose peoples' biases. Notice, for instance, a site like physorg, which places a small box for comments beneath an article. There is little support there for people to directly and specifically challenge the content. Such sites are fundamentally designed to service the existing pool of scientific ideas, because they fail to provide effective mechanisms for challenging the claims being made. A logical response to that is to give people better tools for annotating the content. But, what I am personally advocating is that we not stop there, because if you think carefully about it, you will come to realize that this is insufficient structure for creating an environment which is conducive to learning. So, we might choose to add on top of that a library of mental models which people can attach to particular ideas. That is one idea worth thinking about.

Another idea is to break up our annotations according to our intention, and the reason we might want to do that is to preserve the functionality of both processes, so that they do not conflict with one another. We want people to not only build models, but to also ask good questions, and we can see from observing people like Tom Bridgman and David Talbott that these two types of people, in practice, service different processes in the same scientific methodology. Now, if we had the Myers-Briggs for both David Talbott and Tom Bridgman, I am confident that we'd notice patterns that link their personalities to their preferences in what to think about. If our goal is to actually answer the most complex questions man has ever asked, we cannot avoid engaging the problem at this level.

What I would encourage you to do is to spend some time imagining what your own preferred system for annotating press releases would look like. You already know from your own experiences online what sort of pitfalls scientific discourse tends to succumb to. How would you use objectivism as a basis for formulating a structure which would steer the discourse to favorable learning outcomes?

What you will notice when you engage this problem at that level is that the problem space is larger than just epistemology. I don't know that you'll come to that realization, however, without actually trying to imagine an actual interface of your own. I hope you decide to do it, because I am incredibly interested in what you might come up with. If we have to wait for me to develop a fluency in objectivism, before we can get a better picture of the type of features that an objectivist scientific social network would include, then this could take some time.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby Plasmatic » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:50 am

Chris let me explain something to you about folks who take the virtue of integrity very seriously.

Statements like:

I think you're trying too hard to not get the idea:


are not taken lightly and are a moral indictment not to be suffered with equanimity! My lack of motivation to post in this thread recently is a result of having spent much time crafting considered and sincere questions only to have them evaded. The shortness of my last post is due to the fact that the very same contradictions and ambiguities were simply being reasserted. I will extend you the courtesy of considering that you think your reassertions are clarifying your reasons for holding to this notion that "we care about different things" on these hypothetical levels which you have vaguely laid out, but how you arrive at the premise that the observer relative nature of a particular persons "intention" and "subjective focus" create and an objective basis for an infrastructure that is supposed to be based on the "inherent structure" of science is as discernable to me as a frog fart in a foggy swamp... :D
.

In other words my questions:



4). If a tenet of Constructivism is that "the way in which knowledge is structured by an individual determines how it is used" and that knowledge is a "social construct", then what is the role of the individual?

5). If science has its own "inherent structure" that the individual must "internalize", then in what sense does the individual (or society) construct this "structure"?

6). If A scientist' philosophy guides "the entire intellectual enterprise" and "science education" is an intellectual category then how is science education a "more fundamental domain"?

7). If science has an "inherent structure", and there is more than "one worldview which we call science", and both are part of the intellectual enterprise,then how does one determine what philosophy identifies that structure correctly, in order to "impose" it, and facilitate "thinking like" an "actual scientist"?

8). If science has its own "inherent structure", then why don't philosophical models of science that don't contain this structure, qualify as a separate category/concept than science?("pseudoscience")?


still stand as a reductio and a call to clarify your premises.
The fact is that there can be different contexts for the problems we are trying to solve, based upon our intention at any particular moment, and this is what leads to the fundamental, observable disparity in problem-solving between people like David Talbott and Tom Bridgman: Tom Bridgman exclusively builds models (and calls this science), whereas David Talbott (and other "explorers" like him) are engaged in more than just that activity. Dave is also trying to ask creative (what I would call "good") questions, which is a completely different endeavor than building models.


Again I ask for a justification of this notion that creativity is a kind of emotional non-rational process. You are talking to someone who has invented an prototyped an exercise machine that does something no machine has accomplished to date. I know that creativity is a matter of grasping and identifying causal connections. It is no slap dash, arbitrary meandering of whimsical conjecture, but a process of conceptualizing how the possible is constrained by the actual in a given context. A solution is predicated on a rational identification of the identity of a problem.

The question "why should I eat bread and not poison" is a "good" one because man is a living entity with particular requirements for remaining as such. That is, what a thing is determines what it ought to do and "good" is a moral concept. So if ones intention is to remain alive then one must identify the good, that which sustains it.

Why am I talking about morality and life? Because science is the pursuit of knowledge and knowledge is the means of sustaining and enhancing a conceptual consciousness' life. You cannot separate fact and value. You cannot successfully attain knowledge from a wrong method. That is, the notion that knowledge is objective is inseparable from the premise that there is a "right" method of attaining it! Mans consciousness has identity and ones observer relative identifications and values must correspond to ontologically objective facts.......

The structure of any conceptual infrastructure must correspond to the function of mans consciousness. It must be right to be good. ;)

If this structure can be shown to create value for discourse, then whether or not they are necessary to have a conversation about science is irrelevant.


See above.

I am not suggesting that this is the only solution; what I am trying to do is encourage people to come up with additional ways of using some sort of structure to solve the problems of scientific discourse, so that we can benefit from considering options. I think the problem you're running into here is that you're not trying hard enough to couch your own unique perspective in the problems that tend to obstruct rational discourse about science. I don't observe our epistemological differences as having much consequence for the site design so far (but I just received Ayn Rand's books on concepts in the mail, so I have some reading to do … Thank you for the recommendation). Epistemology cannot be the sole source of states of wants/needs for the site design, because psychology and sociology play very large roles in the choices people make about what to focus upon in science.



When you read ITOE and see how much Oist epistemology relates to the issues you are dealing with you may reconsider the above. The "node compression" is trying to describe what Oist call "unit economy":


http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/unit-economy.html

Since consciousness is a specific faculty, it has a specific nature or identity and, therefore, its range is limited: it cannot perceive everything at once; since awareness, on all its levels, requires an active process, it cannot do everything at once. Whether the units with which one deals are percepts or concepts, the range of what man can hold in the focus of his conscious awareness at any given moment, is limited. The essence, therefore, of man’s incomparable cognitive power is the ability to reduce a vast amount of information to a minimal number of units—which is the task performed by his conceptual faculty. And the principle of unit-economy is one of that faculty’s essential guiding principles........
Conceptualization is a method of expanding man’s consciousness by reducing the number of its content’s units—a systematic means to an unlimited integration of cognitive data.

A concept substitutes one symbol (one word) for the enormity of the perceptual aggregate of the concretes it subsumes. In order to perform its unit-reducing function, the symbol has to become automatized in a man’s consciousness, i.e., the enormous sum of its referents must be instantly (implicitly) available to his conscious mind whenever he uses that concept, without the need of perceptual visualization or mental summarizing—in the same manner as the concept “5” does not require that he visualize five sticks every time he uses it.

For example, if a man has fully grasped the concept “justice,” he does not need to recite to himself a long treatise on its meaning, while he listens to the evidence in a court case. The mere sentence “I must be just” holds that meaning in his mind automatically, and leaves his conscious attention free to grasp the evidence and to evaluate it according to a complex set of principles. (And, in case of doubt, the conscious recall of the precise meaning of “justice” provides him with the guidelines he needs.)

It is the principle of unit-economy that necessitates the definition of concepts in terms of essential characteristics. If, when in doubt, a man recalls a concept’s definition, the essential characteristic(s) will give him an instantaneous grasp of the concept’s meaning, i.e., of the nature of its referents


More later...
"Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification"......" I am therefore Ill think"
Ayn Rand
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Aristotle
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:07 pm

"When I make predictions, I am not speaking as a scientist. I am speaking as a story-teller, and my predictions are science-fiction rather than science. The predictions of science-fiction writers are notoriously inaccurate. Their purpose is to imagine what might happen rather than to describe what will happen."


People will predictably differ on where they draw the line on which parts of the methodology of model-making are actually part of the process of science. It's at this point of demarcation where there is the opportunity to redefine science on terms which are not hostile to new ideas.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:38 pm

The above is predicated on the idea that "creative" thinking is somehow irrational or "emotional (more "Kirk vs spock"), which I do not accept and you have not argued for. (quoting books that assume this usage is not an argument). You want to make an argument for such a dichotomy? (the onus is on you) Its been several posts and no clarification or answers to my questions.


Psychology research uncontroversially demonstrates that the subconscious mind contributes a form of problem-solving which is generally associated with creativity. That is not to say that the rational mind cannot perform the same functions. What it does mean is that people who learn how the subconscious mind tends to work, in practice, can get better at putting it to work, in service of their rational goals. Some of the most compelling arguments that creativity exhibits an important non-rational, subconscious component to it are the stories of people who have solved complex problems in the midst of sleeping.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:16 pm

The Post-Rational Mind

The logical, deductive approach to problem solving that we’ve all been taught is not always the best for creating breakthrough ideas. In fact, it can be positively counter-productive. You often need to be illogical, non-linear, and have the idea before you know why it’s valuable to help get things rolling.

By Adam Richardson

One of my favorite quotes is from fabled IBM engineer Howard Aiken: “Don’t worry about other people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” When I show this in a presentation it always elicits a wry smile since most people have seen this happen. It’s easy to understand why—in their nascent stages, breakthrough ideas are rough, full of holes, easy to find fault with. The more radical an idea and the more it challenges conventional thinking, the harder it can be to see the value in it at first. Sometimes even the person who came up with the idea can’t say exactly why the idea seems compelling, so they fumble around for explanations and try to interest others.

But this pattern of having the idea before you understand why it’s great and before you can rationalize it logically is one of the most powerful tools in an innovator’s kit. We just have to give ourselves permission to use it.

Our educations tend to emphasize a linear path to having new ideas: research, analyze, deduce, solve. Unfortunately, creativity is usually much messier than this simple model. The subconscious is a powerful tool for generating unexpected ideas—ideas that at first can be hard to explain. We probably have all had the “lightning bolt” experience of being distracted and relaxed, and having an idea or a solution come out of the blue. I commute by train to work, and I often find that my best ideas come while traveling home from work and reading a book or listening to music. That’s the subconscious helping along the creative process, working away in the background without feeling constrained by the same assumptions as your conscious mind.

It is one thing to have the idea, quite another to understand its possibilities and implications. Some lightning bolt inspirations are indeed junk, but some of them really strike at something valuable. It’s just not always clear what that value is.

This is where post-rationalization comes in. Post-rationalization is simply working out if and why something is valuable after you’ve already come up with the solution. It’s a much-maligned approach, as it can be an excuse for laziness or sloppy technique. For example, a research study can be skewed to confirm a pre-existing hypothesis, cherry-picking the data to make it fit a desired outcome. When we read a horoscope, we rationalize its banal description to make it fit our current life (and ignore the parts of the reading that don’t fit). This is the dark side of post-rationalization. Logically-minded people tend to look down on it, as it puts the cart (solution) before the horse (evidence).

But don’t let that deter you from being open to the benefits of post-rationalization!

By freeing yourself from having to deduce a creative idea from existing data, you can open up whole new territories of opportunity. Many of the ideas may be wrong, but some of them won’t be, and chances are you wouldn’t have come up with those (or come up with them as quickly) with the traditional linear approach.

Trust your gut instincts—if an idea seems to have that spark that says, “Something is here that I can’t quite put my finger on,” then follow the thread. As Howard Aiken found, there will be many people who won’t get it right away, but if you see the value, keep going. (If you find yourself obsessively scribbling the idea all over your walls, however, it might be time to take a step back ... every idea has its limits.)

With a promising idea in hand, you can start to investigate its merit. Obviously, this should be done objectively, but with the idea already there you may be inspired to look at supporting data that you might not otherwise have thought of. Or re-cluster existing data in a new way that sheds a different light on your findings. A given set of data rarely points to a single conclusion, but it’s easy for us to get into a data rut.

Make a quick prototype or simulation of the idea—sketch, spreadsheet, cardboard model, whatever works—and start to gather feedback on it. Often people react differently to a material expression of something than they do with an abstract statement of an idea, which is why focus groups that use the common technique of visualizing and describing new product concepts on cards often throw away good ideas prematurely. Doing quick simulation has never been easier or cheaper.

Post-rationalization is not as alien as it may appear at first. It’s like a looser version of the scientific method, which sets out to test hypotheses through iterative experimentation. You have some data, you develop a hypothesis which may or may not conform exactly to the data, then you test to see if the hypothesis holds up or not. If not, you either modify the hypothesis, or if you believe strongly enough in it, you see if there’s some other data to help explain it. This is how Einstein arrived at E=MC2. He believed strongly in the counter-intuitive idea that energy and mass were interchangeable—so strongly that he spent a decade trying to find the mathematical rationale for it, with E=MC2 being the result. Science is replete with anecdotes about intuition leading to empirical breakthroughs.

Post-rationalization is not a replacement for the deduction-based approach; they are complementary. But if you’re feeling stuck, or finding that relying on deduction is leading only to incremental, me-too, familiar ideas, post-rationalization may be just the ticket for helping find that next breakthrough. If you’re idea really is good, you’ll find the rationale to justify it to others.

frog AVP of marketing Adam Richardson is the author of Innovation X: Why A Company’s Toughest Problems Are Its Greatest Advantages and a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:50 pm

Wikipedia: Critical Theory

Critical theory is a school of thought that stresses the reflective assessment and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities. As a term, critical theory has two meanings with different origins and histories: the first originated in sociology and the second originated in literary criticism, whereby it is used and applied as an umbrella term that can describe a theory founded upon critique; thus, the theorist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them."


What I would suggest is that critical theory is just as important as epistemology for formulating a scientific social network that will help people to create a better future -- for people -- through science. It seems that this is what I've already been doing in applying Jeff Schmidt's Disciplind Minds hypothesis …
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:28 pm

Ranney and his co-authors – Dav Clark, Daniel Reinholz and Sarah Cohen – surveyed 270 people in San Diego to find out what they knew (or didn't know) about global warming. Not a single person could explain it correctly at even the basic level, he said.


Node compression in action …

Earth transforms sunlight's visible light energy into infrared light energy, which leaves Earth slowly because it is absorbed by greenhouse gases. When people produce greenhouse gases, energy leaves Earth even more slowly – raising Earth's temperature.

[…]

This 35-word description can be a powerful tool in helping people understand the science behind global warming and climate change, said GSE Professor Michael Ranney, a cognitive psychologist.

[…]

The researchers developed a 400-word explanation – including the 35 words from above – as well as a series of videos (ranging from 52 seconds to 4 minutes and 45 seconds) to explain how global warming works. Within four days after the videos were launched, the videos had more than 35,000 site-views.


Very clever. We need knowledge mapping systems which incorporate this node compression into the visualization.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby Plasmatic » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:22 pm

Chris, it appears you have consistent difficulty answering a direct question.

Your response to the controversy between you and I on the concept of creativity, where I asked for an argument and not a quote that simply assumes the same usage as yours, is to give me such a quote and comment that the issue is uncontroversial.......

One of my favorite quotes is from fabled IBM engineer Howard Aiken: “Don’t worry about other people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.” When I show this in a presentation it always elicits a wry smile since most people have seen this happen. It’s easy to understand why—in their nascent stages, breakthrough ideas are rough, full of holes, easy to find fault with. The more radical an idea and the more it challenges conventional thinking, the harder it can be to see the value in it at first. Sometimes even the person who came up with the idea can’t say exactly why the idea seems compelling, so they fumble around for explanations and try to interest


This is what John Searle called the "heroic-age-of-science" maneuver" :

Another maneuver, the most favored of all, I will call the
"heroic-age-of-science" maneuver. When an author gets in
deep trouble, he or she tries to make an analogy with his or her
own claim and some great scientific discovery of the past.
Does the view seem silly? Well, the great scientific geniuses of
the past seemed silly to their ignorant, dogmatic, and preju-
diced contemporaries
. Galileo is the favorite historical
analogy. Rhetorically speaking, the idea is to make you, the
skeptical reader, feel that if you don't believe the view being
advanced, you are playing Cardinal Bellarmine to the author's
Galileo.3 Other favorites are phlogiston and vital spirits, and
again the idea is to bully the reader into supposing that if he or
she doubts, for example, that computers are actually thinking,
it can only be because the reader believes in something as
unscientific as phlogiston or vital spirits.


I am working on a substantive reply.
"Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification"......" I am therefore Ill think"
Ayn Rand
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Aristotle
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:58 pm

I recommend that people check this out as well. I suspect that the bias against creative ideas is a harm-reduction mechanism of the subconscious, and that the notion of creativity is treated differently by the mind from actual manifestations of creative ideas, because the latter comes with ramifications to our existing worldviews.

People are biased against creative ideas, studies find
Aug 26, 2011 By Mary Catt

The next time your great idea at work elicits silence or eye rolls, you might just pity those co-workers. Fresh research indicates they don't even know what a creative idea looks like and that creativity, hailed as a positive change agent, actually makes people squirm.

"How is it that people say they want creativity but in reality often reject it?" said Jack Goncalo, ILR School assistant professor of organizational behavior and co-author of research to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science. The paper reports on two 2010 experiments at the University of Pennsylvania involving more than 200 people.

The studies' findings include:

  • Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable.
  • People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practical -- tried and true.
  • Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it.
  • Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.

For example, subjects had a negative reaction to a running shoe equipped with nanotechnology that adjusted fabric thickness to cool the foot and reduce blisters.

To uncover bias against creativity, the researchers used a subtle technique to measure unconscious bias -- the kind to which people may not want to admit, such as racism. Results revealed that while people explicitly claimed to desire creative ideas, they actually associated creative ideas with negative words such as "vomit," "poison" and "agony."

Goncalo said this bias caused subjects to reject ideas for new products that were novel and high quality.

"Our findings imply a deep irony," wrote the authors, who also included Jennifer Mueller of the University of Pennsylvania and Shimul Melwani of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Uncertainty drives the search for and generation of creative ideas, but "uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most," the researchers wrote. "Revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary. ... The field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identify how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity."

The study, "The Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative Ideas," might validate the frustrations of creative people, Goncalo said.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:22 pm

I'm going to get into the habit of posting psychology and sociology press releases which I've collected over time that align with my own experiences, as it seems to be a topic which many people tend to ignore. Recurring themes should be observable in these articles ...

June 12, 2012
WHY SMART PEOPLE ARE STUPID
Posted by Jonah Lehrer

Here’s a simple arithmetic question: A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

The vast majority of people respond quickly and confidently, insisting the ball costs ten cents. This answer is both obvious and wrong. (The correct answer is five cents for the ball and a dollar and five cents for the bat.)

For more than five decades, Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate and professor of psychology at Princeton, has been asking questions like this and analyzing our answers. His disarmingly simple experiments have profoundly changed the way we think about thinking. While philosophers, economists, and social scientists had assumed for centuries that human beings are rational agents—reason was our Promethean gift—Kahneman and his scientific partner, the late Amos Tversky, demonstrated that we’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe.

When people face an uncertain situation, they don’t carefully evaluate the information or look up relevant statistics. Instead, their decisions depend on a long list of mental shortcuts, which often lead them to make foolish decisions. These shortcuts aren’t a faster way of doing the math; they’re a way of skipping the math altogether. Asked about the bat and the ball, we forget our arithmetic lessons and instead default to the answer that requires the least mental effort.

Although Kahneman is now widely recognized as one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century, his work was dismissed for years. Kahneman recounts how one eminent American philosopher, after hearing about his research, quickly turned away, saying, “I am not interested in the psychology of stupidity.”

The philosopher, it turns out, got it backward. A new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology led by Richard West at James Madison University and Keith Stanovich at the University of Toronto suggests that, in many instances, smarter people are more vulnerable to these thinking errors. Although we assume that intelligence is a buffer against bias—that’s why those with higher S.A.T. scores think they are less prone to these universal thinking mistakes—it can actually be a subtle curse.

West and his colleagues began by giving four hundred and eighty-two undergraduates a questionnaire featuring a variety of classic bias problems. Here’s a example:

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

Your first response is probably to take a shortcut, and to divide the final answer by half. That leads you to twenty-four days. But that’s wrong. The correct solution is forty-seven days.

West also gave a puzzle that measured subjects’ vulnerability to something called “anchoring bias,” which Kahneman and Tversky had demonstrated in the nineteen-seventies. Subjects were first asked if the tallest redwood tree in the world was more than X feet, with X ranging from eighty-five to a thousand feet. Then the students were asked to estimate the height of the tallest redwood tree in the world. Students exposed to a small “anchor”—like eighty-five feet—guessed, on average, that the tallest tree in the world was only a hundred and eighteen feet. Given an anchor of a thousand feet, their estimates increased seven-fold.

But West and colleagues weren’t simply interested in reconfirming the known biases of the human mind. Rather, they wanted to understand how these biases correlated with human intelligence. As a result, they interspersed their tests of bias with various cognitive measurements, including the S.A.T. and the Need for Cognition Scale, which measures “the tendency for an individual to engage in and enjoy thinking.”

The results were quite disturbing. For one thing, self-awareness was not particularly useful: as the scientists note, “people who were aware of their own biases were not better able to overcome them.” This finding wouldn’t surprise Kahneman, who admits in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” that his decades of groundbreaking research have failed to significantly improve his own mental performance. “My intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy”—a tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task—“as it was before I made a study of these issues,” he writes.

Perhaps our most dangerous bias is that we naturally assume that everyone else is more susceptible to thinking errors, a tendency known as the “bias blind spot.” This “meta-bias” is rooted in our ability to spot systematic mistakes in the decisions of others—we excel at noticing the flaws of friends—and inability to spot those same mistakes in ourselves. Although the bias blind spot itself isn’t a new concept, West’s latest paper demonstrates that it applies to every single bias under consideration, from anchoring to so-called “framing effects.” In each instance, we readily forgive our own minds but look harshly upon the minds of other people.

And here’s the upsetting punch line: intelligence seems to make things worse. The scientists gave the students four measures of “cognitive sophistication.” As they report in the paper, all four of the measures showed positive correlations, “indicating that more cognitively sophisticated participants showed larger bias blind spots.” This trend held for many of the specific biases, indicating that smarter people (at least as measured by S.A.T. scores) and those more likely to engage in deliberation were slightly more vulnerable to common mental mistakes. Education also isn’t a savior; as Kahneman and Shane Frederick first noted many years ago, more than fifty per cent of students at Harvard, Princeton, and M.I.T. gave the incorrect answer to the bat-and-ball question.

What explains this result? One provocative hypothesis is that the bias blind spot arises because of a mismatch between how we evaluate others and how we evaluate ourselves. When considering the irrational choices of a stranger, for instance, we are forced to rely on behavioral information; we see their biases from the outside, which allows us to glimpse their systematic thinking errors. However, when assessing our own bad choices, we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. We scrutinize our motivations and search for relevant reasons; we lament our mistakes to therapists and ruminate on the beliefs that led us astray.

The problem with this introspective approach is that the driving forces behind biases—the root causes of our irrationality—are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence. In fact, introspection can actually compound the error, blinding us to those primal processes responsible for many of our everyday failings. We spin eloquent stories, but these stories miss the point. The more we attempt to know ourselves, the less we actually understand.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:24 am

Eureka! How Distractions Facilitate Creative Problem-Solving

Oct. 2, 2008 — How many times have you spent hours slaving over an impossible problem, only to take a break and then easily solve the problem, sometimes within minutes of looking at it again? Although this is actually a common phenomenon, up until now the way that this occurs has been unclear.

But new research in the September issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, demonstrates the answer is more complex than simply having an “Aha!” moment.

The new research, led in part by Kellogg School of Management Professor Adam Galinsky, suggests that unconscious thought results in creative problem-solving via a two-step process.

According to Galinsky and fellow psychologists Chen-Bo Zhong from the University of Toronto and Ap Dijkstererhuis of Radboud University Nijmegen, distractions may be helpful in coming up with creative solutions to a certain problem, but must be followed by a period of conscious thought to ensure that we are aware of those solutions and can apply them. Likewise, while distractions are more useful in solving difficult problems, it may be better to stay focused on finding the solution when confronted with easier problems.

The researchers conducted two experiments to test their idea. In the first experiment, 94 subjects participated in a Remote-Association Test (RAT), which tests for creativity. In this test, participants were presented with three words (a triad) and were asked to come up with a fourth word that is linked with all three words. For example, if presented with the words cheese, sky and ocean, the correct answer would be blue (blue cheese, blue sky, blue ocean). Subjects were shown nine very difficult triads (but were instructed not to solve them yet) and were then divided into groups.

For five minutes following the RAT, participants were either concentrating on the triads they had just seen (the conscious thought group) or engaging in a test completely unrelated to the RAT (the unconscious thought group). Following the five-minute interval, all of the subjects participated in a lexical decision test. During this test, subjects were shown sequences of letters and had to indicate as quickly as possible if the sequences were English words or not. The sequences presented included answers to the RAT triads, random words and non-words. Finally, subjects were again shown the RAT items and had to write down their answers.

The second experiment involved 36 subjects and had a similar set up to the previous experiment, although the RAT triads presented were much easier to solve compared to those in the first experiment.

The results showed that in the first experiment, during the lexical decision test, members of the unconscious thought group had much faster responses to letter sequences which were answers to RAT items, compared to the conscious thought group. However, when it came time to solve the RAT problems, both groups had similar results. In the second experiment (using an easier set of RAT triads), the conscious thought group had more correct RAT answers compared to the unconscious thought group, but there was no difference in response time during the lexical decision test.

“Conscious thought is better at making linear, analytic decisions, but unconscious thought is especially effective at solving complex problems,” said Galinsky and his co-authors. “Unconscious activation may provide inspirational sparks underlying the ‘Aha!’ moment that eventually leads to important discoveries.”
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:08 am

Others may know us better than we know ourselves, study finds
March 2, 2010
By Tony Fitzpatrick

Since at least the days of Socrates, humans have been advised to “know thyself.”

And through all the years, many, including many personality and social psychologists, have believed the individual is the best judge of his or her own personality.

Now a psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis has shown that we are not the know-it-alls that we think we are.

Simine Vazire, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences, has found that the individual is more accurate in assessing one’s own internal, or neurotic traits, such as anxiety, while friends are better barometers of intellect-related traits, such as intelligence and creativity, and even strangers are equally adept as our friends and ourselves at spotting the extrovert in us all, a psychology domain known as “extroversion.”

“I think that it’s important to really question this knee-jerk reaction that we are our own best experts,” Vazire says. “Personality is not who you think you are; it’s who you are. Some people think by definition that we are the experts on our personality because we get to write the story, but personality is not the story — it’s the reality. So, you do get to write your own story about how you think you are, and what you tell people about yourself, but there still is reality out there, and, guess what? Other people are going to see the reality, regardless of what story you believe.”

Personality, Vazire says, is pervasive in many things that we do — clothing choice, bedroom arrangement and Web site and Facebook profiles, for example. “Everything you touch you leave a mark of your personality,” she says. “You leave traces unintentionally. You give off hints of your personality that you don’t even see yourself.”

Vazire’s study is published in the February 2010 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Personality is composed of the underlying traits that drive behavior, Vazire says. The model she developed is called the self-other knowledge asymmetry (SOKA) model. To test it, she called upon 165 volunteers who were given a number of different tasks.

To obtain an objective measure of behavior, they took an IQ test; they all participated in a leaderless group discussion to see who emerged as the take-charge individual; and they took a Trier social stress test, in which trained experimenters with faux stern demeanors filmed participants in a narrow, cramped room, as they gave a two-minute public speaking exhibition on the topic of what I like and don’t like about my body — a sweat-inducer for many. Each participant also graded group members and him or herself on a 40-trait personality rating form.

Vazire’s model correctly predicted that self ratings would be more accurate for internal things, such as thoughts, feelings, sadness and anxiety, for example, than the ratings of friends and strangers.

“You probably know pretty well your anxiety level, whereas others might not be in the position to judge that because, after all, you can mask your inner feelings,” Vazire says. “Others, though, are often better than the self in things that deal with overt behavior.”

The self has difficulty in accurately judging itself in areas that are desirable or undesirable, what she calls evaluative traits. Intelligence, attractiveness and creativity are hard for the self to judge objectively because “there is so much at stake, meaning your life is going to be so much different if you are intelligent or not intelligent, attractive or not. Everybody wants to be seen as intelligent and attractive, but these desirable traits we’re not going to judge accurately in ourselves.”

The self is better at judging friends’ intelligence than its own “because it’s not that threatening to us to admit that our friends aren’t brilliant, but it’s more threatening to admit to ourselves that we’re not brilliant,” she says.

Take attractiveness and your mirror. “We look in the mirror all the time, yet that’s not the same as looking at a photo of someone else,” Vazire says. “If we spent as much time looking at photos of others as we do ourselves, we’d form a much more confident and clear impression of the other’s attractiveness than we would have of our own. Yet, after looking in the mirror for five minutes, we’re still left wondering, ‘Am I attractive or not?’ And still have no clue. And it’s not the case that we all assume that we’re beautiful, right?”

For some personality traits, she says we miss the point if we look at thoughts and feelings and ignore the behavior. Bullies, for instance, fit the SOKA model, because their thoughts and feelings tell them they’re insecure and want to be liked and admired, which is not a horrible, nasty notion. They cannot see their behavior as nasty and horrible, though, because their thoughts obscure their actions.

Similarly, if you think that you are warm and friendly, and your friends and family say even if you think along those lines, you don’t come across that way, you might pay more attention to your behaviors.

“I believe I’ve presented evidence that should make people think twice,” Vazire says. “On average, the people who know you best know you as well as you know yourself, no better, no worse than you. More importantly, there are things that both you know that they don’t know, and things that they know that you don’t know, and those lead to very interesting experiences and disagreements.”


The comments about looking at yourself in the mirror are especially important here. This is direct testimony to the subconscious' interference in your rational thought. Not everybody has had the occasion to experience it, but many people who take psychedelic drugs report seeing themselves for the first time as others see them while under the influence and staring in the mirror. This is the temporary exposure of the ego's typical activities, which can be an incredibly powerful experience which a person can recall for the rest of their lifetime, and which can have an enormous impact upon a person's perception of how their mind works. It's a very personal experience which does not lend itself well to a text-based description, and a person need only experience it once to receive the wisdom of the experience.

In terms of the history of our culture, the 60's will turn out to be a turning point in our own awareness of the role of the subconscious mind in our perception and daily decision-making. But, we are culturally still experiencing this realization. It's apparent to me that we still have a long way to go before this cultural change is complete, and that there is a role to be played by a scientific social network in helping people to come to grips with their own irrational influences.

Realizing our own irrationality is a very personal experience. People who have worked hard to elevate their position in the world's social hierarchy might never have the occasion to see their own irrationality. It usually takes an entity which has the power to exert some control over that person to bring them to awareness (like their employer, a spouse or perhaps a fraternity, if it is a good one). But, nobody should imagine that the subconscious should be visible without something to force its visibility.

There is a theme in these studies that exposing people to their own biases does not tend to influence their own ability to avoid them. We'd be very wise to not interpret this to mean that we cannot become better rational thinkers through learning about how the subconscious works; it simply means that a functional system has yet to be discovered. It's only a matter of time before entrepreneurs start applying the rich tapestry of observations from psychology and sociology to the social networking context. The cultural ramifications of this next step to social networking will be profound.
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby Plasmatic » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:59 pm

CHRIS SAID:
I AM TRYING TO DO IS ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO COME UP WITH ADDITIONAL WAYS OF USING SOME SORT OF STRUCTURE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE, SO THAT WE CAN BENEFIT FROM CONSIDERING OPTIONS.[....] I DON'T OBSERVE OUR EPISTEMOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES AS HAVING MUCH CONSEQUENCE FOR THE SITE DESIGN SO FAR [....]EPISTEMOLOGY CANNOT BE THE SOLE SOURCE OF STATES OF WANTS/NEEDS FOR THE SITE DESIGN, BECAUSE PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY PLAY VERY LARGE ROLES IN THE CHOICES PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT WHAT TO FOCUS UPON IN SCIENCE [........]
IT'S AT THIS POINT OF DEMARCATION WHERE THERE IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEFINE SCIENCE ON TERMS WHICH ARE NOT HOSTILE TO NEW IDEAS.


I AM NOW GOING TO DEMONSTRATE HOW THE CONTENTION BETWEEN US REGARDING WHAT "SORT OF STRUCTURE SOLVES THE PROBLEMS OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE" IS PRIMARILY EPISTEMOLOGICAL. I WILL NOW BE USING OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY EXPLICITLY TO HELP YOU CONCEPTUALIZE HOW "OUR EPISTEMOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES" ARE EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO GRASP AS THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTIC THAT DEFINES THE PROBLEM OF "WHAT TO FOCUS" ON IN SCIENCE. PLEASE NOTE MY PREVIOUS SOCRATIC POSTS DID NOT DO THIS DELIBERATELY.


I HAVE BEEN MAKING THE POINT THAT YOUR CHOPPING UP OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE INTO "LEVELS" IS ILL-DEFINED/AMBIGUOUS AND SIMPLY WRONG. I HAVE INSTEAD INSISTED THAT IT IS AN EPISTEMIC, PRIMARILY CONCEPTUAL PROBLEM THAT THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE/LANGUAGE SUFFER FROM. THIS CAN BE EXTENDED TO THE DEBATE ABOUT WHAT "CREATIVITY" IS. THE SECONDARY ISSUE SURROUNDS THE MOTIVES BEHIND THE INTERPRETATION OF CERTAIN PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTS AND THE "SOCIAL, CULTURAL, AND POLITICAL" GOALS OF CONSTRUCTIVISM.

CONCEPTS AND, THEREFORE, LANGUAGE ARE PRIMARILY A TOOL OF COGNITION—NOT OF COMMUNICATION, AS IS USUALLY ASSUMED. COMMUNICATION IS MERELY THE CONSEQUENCE, NOT THE CAUSE NOR THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF CONCEPT-FORMATION—A CRUCIAL CONSEQUENCE, OF INVALUABLE IMPORTANCE TO MEN, BUT STILL ONLY A CONSEQUENCE. COGNITION PRECEDES COMMUNICATION; THE NECESSARY PRECONDITION OF COMMUNICATION IS THAT ONE HAVE SOMETHING TO COMMUNICATE . . . .



SO, WHAT IS A CONCEPT AND HOW DOES KNOWING THIS EMPOWER AN INDIVIDUAL TO "BENEFIT FROM CONSIDERING OPTIONS" BY KNOWING "WHAT TO FOCUS ON" WHETHER OR NOT ONE IS COMMUNICATING/"DISCOURSING". (INCIDENTALLY THIS IS THE SUBJECT OF MY PROPOSED TALK "CONCEPTS: WHO NEEDS THEM?" BUT I WILL HERE FORGO THE GENERAL TYPES AND HISTORY OF CONCEPTS IN THE DEBATE OVER THE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS AND ADVOCATE FOR A PARTICULAR VIEW OF CONCEPTS) HOW DOES THIS INFORM THE PROPOSED DIFFERENTIATION CHRIS HAS MADE BETWEEN DAVE TALBOT AND BRIDGEMAN? HOW WILL UNDERSTANDING THE METHOD ACTUALLY EMPLOYED BY DAVE TALBOT IN HIS WORK ON MYTHOLOGY REFUTE CHRIS' CATEGORIZATION OF HIM?

FIRST, A DEFINITION:
A CONCEPT IS A MENTAL INTEGRATION OF TWO OR MORE UNITS POSSESSING THE SAME DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTIC(S), WITH THEIR PARTICULAR MEASUREMENTS OMITTED.....
ACCORDING TO OBJECTIVISM, CONCEPTS “REPRESENT CLASSIFICATIONS OF OBSERVED EXISTENTS ACCORDING TO THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO OTHER OBSERVED EXISTENTS.” (AYN RAND, INTRODUCTION TO OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY; ALL FURTHER QUOTATIONS IN THIS SECTION, UNLESS OTHERWISE IDENTIFIED, ARE FROM THIS WORK.) TO FORM A CONCEPT, ONE MENTALLY ISOLATES A GROUP OF CONCRETES (OF DISTINCT PERCEPTUAL UNITS), ON THE BASIS OF OBSERVED SIMILARITIES WHICH DISTINGUISH THEM FROM ALL OTHER KNOWN CONCRETES (SIMILARITY IS “THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TWO OR MORE EXISTENTS WHICH POSSESS THE SAME CHARACTERISTIC(S), BUT IN DIFFERENT MEASURE OR DEGREE”); THEN, BY A PROCESS OF OMITTING THE PARTICULAR MEASUREMENTS OF THESE CONCRETES, ONE INTEGRATES THEM INTO A SINGLE NEW MENTAL UNIT: THE CONCEPT, WHICH SUBSUMES ALL CONCRETES OF THIS KIND (A POTENTIALLY UNLIMITED NUMBER). THE INTEGRATION IS COMPLETED AND RETAINED BY THE SELECTION OF A PERCEPTUAL SYMBOL (A WORD) TO DESIGNATE IT. “A CONCEPT IS A MENTAL INTEGRATION OF TWO OR MORE UNITS POSSESSING THE SAME DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTIC(S), WITH THEIR PARTICULAR MEASUREMENTS OMITTED.”.....
CONCEPTS CANNOT BE FORMED AT RANDOM. ALL CONCEPTS ARE FORMED BY FIRST DIFFERENTIATING TWO OR MORE EXISTENTS FROM OTHER EXISTENTS. ALL CONCEPTUAL DIFFERENTIATIONS ARE MADE IN TERMS OF COMMENSURABLE CHARACTERISTICS (I.E., CHARACTERISTICS POSSESSING A COMMON UNIT OF MEASUREMENT). NO CONCEPT COULD BE FORMED, FOR INSTANCE, BY ATTEMPTING TO DISTINGUISH LONG OBJECTS FROM GREEN OBJECTS. INCOMMENSURABLE CHARACTERISTICS CANNOT BE INTEGRATED INTO ONE UNIT.

TABLES, FOR INSTANCE, ARE FIRST DIFFERENTIATED FROM CHAIRS, BEDS AND OTHER OBJECTS BY MEANS OF THE CHARACTERISTIC OF SHAPE, WHICH IS AN ATTRIBUTE POSSESSED BY ALL THE OBJECTS INVOLVED. THEN, THEIR PARTICULAR KIND OF SHAPE IS SET AS THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTIC OF TABLES—I.E., A CERTAIN CATEGORY OF GEOMETRICAL MEASUREMENTS OF SHAPE IS SPECIFIED. THEN, WITHIN THAT CATEGORY, THE PARTICULAR MEASUREMENTS OF INDIVIDUAL TABLE-SHAPES ARE OMITTED.
ITOE

HTTP://AYNRANDLEXICON.COM/LEXICON/CONCE ... ATION.HTML
HTTP://AYNRANDLEXICON.COM/LEXICON/CONCEPTS.HTML

LETS APPLY THE ABOVE VIEW OF CONCEPTS, WHICH I WILL SUMMARIZE AS; ISOLATE, ABSTRACT, INTEGRATE-SYMBOLIZE:

ISOLATE:

"TO FORM A CONCEPT, ONE MENTALLY ISOLATES A GROUP OF CONCRETES (OF DISTINCT PERCEPTUAL UNITS), ON THE BASIS OF OBSERVED SIMILARITIES WHICH DISTINGUISH THEM FROM ALL OTHER KNOWN CONCRETES (SIMILARITY IS “THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TWO OR MORE EXISTENTS WHICH POSSESS THE SAME CHARACTERISTIC(S), BUT IN DIFFERENT MEASURE OR DEGREE”)....
A COMMENSURABLE CHARACTERISTIC (SUCH AS SHAPE IN THE CASE OF TABLES, OR HUE IN THE CASE OF COLORS) IS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT IN THE PROCESS OF CONCEPT-FORMATION. I SHALL DESIGNATE IT AS THE “CONCEPTUAL COMMON DENOMINATOR” AND DEFINE IT AS “THE CHARACTERISTIC(S) REDUCIBLE TO A UNIT OF MEASUREMENT, BY MEANS OF WHICH MAN DIFFERENTIATES TWO OR MORE EXISTENTS FROM OTHER EXISTENTS POSSESSING IT.”

THE DISTINQUISHING CHARACTERISTIC(S) OF A CONCEPT REPRESENTS A SPECIFIED CATEGORY OF MEASUREMENTS WITHIN THE “CONCEPTUAL COMMON DENOMINATOR” INVOLVED.
" ITOE

DAVE TALBOT HAS HAD MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THE METHODOLOGY HE EMPLOYED TO IDENTIFY THE CATEGORY HE CALLS THE "ARCHETYPES "...

DAVE SAID:

(A definition just to avoid misunderstanding: By the "substratum of human memory" I don't mean Jungian collective memory, though Jungian archetypes may indeed come into the equation in the bigger picture. For now, I mean the common mythical, symbolic and ritual themes of widely separate cultures. Another way of putting it might be, "Points of agreement concerning remembered events.")....
But the implications become all the more astounding when you begin to see that each of the archetypal figures is linked in no uncertain terms to the ONE STORY. (I'll give some key examples in the next few submissions.) A *universal structure* to ancient memory is present.......
HOW CAN THE DISPARATE THREADS OF MEMORY, EXPRESSED IN SEEMINGLY
CONTRADICTORY SYMBOLS, THROUGH STORIES THAT ARE OFTEN BARELY
INTELLIGIBLE, AND IN ARCHAIC WORDS OF UNCERTAIN MEANING, EVER PROVIDE
A DEPENDABLE GUIDE FOR RECONSTRUCTING COSMIC EVENTS?
THE FIRST ESSENTIAL IS TO EXPOSE THE *SUBSTRATUM* OF MEMORY, AND THIS
CAN ONLY BE ACCOMPLISHED BY LIMITING WHAT COUNTS AS EVIDENCE. ONLY
BROADLY-REPEATED THEMES ARE TO BE INCLUDED
IN THE EARLY PHASES OF THE
INQUIRY, AND ONLY THE CLEAREST FACTS, OR UNDISPUTED PRINCIPLES QUALIFY
AS BUILDING BLOCKS IN THE RECONSTRUCTION....
OF ALL THE SKILLS THAT THE INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER MIGHT BRING TO THIS
INQUIRY, NONE WILL PROVE MORE CRUCIAL THAN THAT OF PATTERN RECOGNITION
.....
THE FIELD OF EVIDENCE WE MUST DRAW UPON INCLUDES EVERY FEATURE
DISTINGUISHING THESE CIVILIZATIONS FROM THE PRIOR, MORE PASTORAL EPOCH
OF HUMAN HISTORY.......
HOW DID HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS, EMERGING FROM
THE WOMB OF NATURE, CONVERGE ON THE SAME IMPROBABLE IDEAS
*CONTRADICTING* NATURE? FOR CENTURIES WE'VE LIVED UNDER THE ILLUSION
THAT OUR ANCESTORS SIMPLY MADE UP EXPLANATIONS OF NATURAL PHENOMENA
THEY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND.
SATURN THEORY OVERVIEW PT.1-5


THE ABOVE METHOD EMPLOYED BY DAVE T LAYS OUT HIS VERSION OF THE FIRST STEP IN ISOLATION;
DIFFERENTIATION VIA A "CONCEPTUAL COMMON DENOMINATOR" (CCD). WE START BY IDENTIFYING SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN ORDER TO FIND AN ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISITC.

CONSIDER THE SQUATTER MAN CONCEPT.

squatterman.jpg


IT IS A FACT THAT EACH OF THE ABOVE PARTICULAR INSTANCES OF THE SQUATTER MAN POSSES UNIQUE, SEPARATE AND DISTINCT SHAPE THAT DIFFERS FROM ONE ANOTHER AND FROM SAY, THE DIOCOTRON INSTABILITY:

256px-Diocotron.jpg
256px-Diocotron.jpg (8.48 KiB) Viewed 8902 times


BUT THE SHAPES OF THE PARTICULAR SQUATTER MEN ARE SIMILAR TO ONE ANOTHER AS AGAINST A BACKGROUND OF DIFFERENCE OF THE DIOCOTRON INSTABILITIES. THE CHARACTERISTIC SHAPE OF THE INDIVIDUAL SM FALL WITHIN A RANGE OF MEASUREMENTS THAT MAKE THEM SIMILAR TO ONE ANOTHER AND DIFFERENT FROM THE SHAPE OF ALL OTHER ENTITIES NOT WITH IN THAT RANGE.(CCD) THEIR SHAPE IS THE COMMENSURABLE CHARACTERISTIC USED TO CLASSIFY THEM AS A GROUP OR KIND BECAUSE THEIR DIFFERENCES FROM EACH OTHER ARE SO SMALL WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER ENTITIES WE CAN OMIT THEM. MEASUREMENT OMISSION")THIS DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTIC IS CALLED THE ESSENTIAL CHARACHTERISTIC"("THE FACT THAT THIS PROCESS INVOLVES A RANGE OF MEASUREMENT OF "THE MORE AND THE LESS" IS WHAT MAKES CONCEPT FORMATION A MATHEMATICAL PHENOMENON!

NOTICE THIS IS NOT AN ARBITRARY, "MADE UP" PROCESS BASED SIMPLY ON THE INTENTIONS OF THE OBSERVER (ALTHOUGH THERE IS OBJECTIVE CONSTRAINTS CONTRIBUTED BY THE OBSERVER). THE BASIS OF SIMILARITY IS REAL, PERCEIVED, OBJECTIVE FACTS.

THE PROCESS OF SELECTIVELY FOCUSING ON THOSE CHARACTERISTICS WITHIN THE CCD IS AN ACT OF ABSTRACTION:
"The act of isolation involved [in concept-formation] is a process of abstraction: i.e., a selective mental focus that takes out or separates a certain aspect of reality from all others (e.g., isolates a certain attribute from the entities possessing it, or a certain action from the entities performing it, etc.)." ITOE

The act of uniting the particulars into a group is an act of Integration:

"....by a process of omitting the particular measurements of these concretes, one integrates them into a single new mental unit: the concept, which subsumes all concretes of this kind (a potentially unlimited number). The integration is completed and retained by the selection of a perceptual symbol (a word) to designate it. . . . [In concept-formation], the uniting involved is not a mere sum, but an integration, i.e., a blending of the units into a single, new mental entity which is used thereafter as a single unit of thought (but which can be broken into its component units whenever required)......
Integration is a cardinal function of man’s consciousness on all the levels of his cognitive development. First, his brain brings order into his sensory chaos by integrating sense data into percepts; this integration is performed automatically; it requires effort, but no conscious volition. His next step is the integration of percepts into concepts, as he learns to speak. Thereafter, his cognitive development consists in integrating concepts into wider and ever wider concepts, expanding the range of his mind. This stage is fully volitional and demands an unremitting effort." ITOE
http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/integration_(mental).html

Consider Dave"s words from THE ONE STORY TOLD AROUND THE WORLD. :

But the implications become all the more astounding when you begin to see that each of the archetypal figures is linked in no uncertain terms to the ONE STORY. (I'll give some key examples in the next few submissions.) A *universal structure* to ancient memory is present.......
Our contention will be that hundreds of ancient themes speak for a
unified experience, an experience more specific in context and detail
than any of us had ever imagined when we started our research. No
universal theme stands alone or in isolation from any of the others.
All are connected
......


The choice to the label this integration "squatter Man" is an act symbolizing and completes the Integration.


Language is a code of visual-auditory symbols that serves the psycho- epistemological function of converting concepts into the mental equivalent of concretes....
A concept substitutes one symbol (one word) for the enormity of the perceptual aggregate of the concretes it subsumes. In order to perform its unit-reducing function, the symbol has to become automatized in a man’s consciousness, i.e., the enormous sum of its referents must be instantly (implicitly) available to his conscious mind whenever he uses that concept, without the need of perceptual visualization or mental summarizing—in the same manner as the concept “5” does not require that he visualize five sticks every time he uses it.


We compress all the instances of the particular squatter men into a single unit that reduces the amount of cognitive bandwidth required to reference the group. We simply say "squatter man". The word itself is not a concept but merely the symbols that stands for the actual referent SM.

Dave said:

A symbol is a reflection of some aspect of a prior experience. As such it does not, on its own, disclose the full character of that experience.
Velikovsky's comet Venus

Now we need to talk about definitions:

A definition is a statement that identifies the nature of the units subsumed under a concept.
It is often said that definitions state the meaning of words. This is true, but it is not exact. A word is merely a visual-auditory symbol used to represent a concept; a word has no meaning other than that of the concept it symbolizes, and the meaning of a concept consists of its units. It is not words, but concepts that man defines—by specifying their referents.....
The purpose of a definition is to distinguish a concept from all other concepts and thus to keep its units differentiated from all other existents.....
Since the definition of a concept is formulated in terms of other concepts, it enables man, not only to identify and retain a concept, but also to establish the relationships, the hierarchy, the integration of all his concepts and thus the integration of his knowledge. Definitions preserve, not the chronological order in which a given man may have learned concepts, but the logical order of their hierarchical interdependence...
The rules of correct definition are derived from the process of concept-formation. The units of a concept were differentiated—by means of a distinguishing characteristic(s)—from other existents possessing a commensurable characteristic, a Conceptual Common Denominator. A definition follows the same principle: it specifies the distinguishing characteristic(s) of the units, and indicates the category of existents from which they were differentiated. The distinguishing characteristic(s) of the units becomes the differentia of the concept’s definition; the existents possessing a Conceptual Common Denominator become the genus.Thus a definition complies with the two essential functions of consciousness: differentiation and integration. The differentia isolates the units of a concept from all other existents; the genus indicates their connection to a wider group of existents.


A definition:
A squatter man is a petroglyph or painting that looks like a man with extended arms and legs usually bent and usually with a dot on either side.

Note that the purpose of a definition is to help point one to the units that the word refers too. Its another tool of "unit-economy". Just as the words squatter man differentiates the concept from say, diocotron instability, a definition does the same thing by stating the genus and differentia.

The above is an extremely "reduced" account of the process and I "omitted" certain things for brevity. I recommend anyone wanting the whole account read ITOE. I also could have spent much more time organizing Dave's method but opted to merely sketch the similarities.


Now, how does all this relate to the debate about creativity?

In response to my comment:

The above is predicated on the idea that "creative" thinking is somehow irrational or "emotional (more "Kirk vs spock"), which I do not accept and you have not argued for. (quoting books that assume this usage is not an argument). You want to make an argument for such a dichotomy? (the onus is on you) Its been several posts and no clarification or answers to my questions.


Chris replied:

Psychology research uncontroversially demonstrates that the subconscious mind contributes a form of problem-solving which is generally associated with creativity. That is not to say that the rational mind cannot perform the same functions. What it does mean is that people who learn how the subconscious mind tends to work, in practice, can get better at putting it to work, in service of their rational goals. Some of the most compelling arguments that creativity exhibits an important non-rational, subconscious component to it are the stories of people who have solved complex problems in the midst of sleeping




My goal here is to show that my request of Chris reduces to a request for a definition, a statement that identifies the generative context of differentiation that Chris has abstracted the units of the category/integration "creative" from. What Chris has done above is to mis-integrate creativity with the subconscious processes of cognition as well as the concepts non-rational with the subconscious. Oist call this type of mis-integration a
'package deal" http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/packa ... cy_of.html

“Package-dealing” is the fallacy of failing to discriminate crucial differences. It consists of treating together, as parts of a single conceptual whole or “package,” elements which differ essentially in nature, truth-status, importance or value."


To point out this mis-integration/category errors we can use an If-then question.

1).If the rational mind is capable of creativity, then why do you insist that is an essential characteristic of the subconscious? What then differentiates the subconscious from the conscious?

2).If conscious creativity is a rational process, then why is it irrational when the subconscious does it?

The point here is that clearly creativity is not defined by being a subconscious process. The concept of subconscious is non-essential.

Its becoming obvious that the real issue is Chris' conception of the subconscious. Again we'll see this "recurring theme" is an extension of the false dichotomy of "Kirk vs Spock", reason vs emotion, logic vs illogic, rational vs irrational. I will elaborate on this soon....

I want to stress that I do see the subconscious as relevant as well as what Rand called "psycho-epistemology" I will elaborate soon.

Sorry for the caps. when I pasted it from works it changes part of the text.
"Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification"......" I am therefore Ill think"
Ayn Rand
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Aristotle
Plasmatic
 
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:37 am

The point here is that clearly creativity is not defined by being a subconscious process. The concept of subconscious is non-essential … Its becoming obvious that the real issue is Chris' conception of the subconscious.


Plasmatic, my definition does not at all deviate from the modern conventional view of the subconscious. Subconscious simply means below your ability to perceive it, and if you are not willing to accept that there exists a part of your brain which operates below your rational awareness, then the burden is really upon you to explain who or what is driving your car when your rational mind is occupied with thoughts other than driving? I think it's plain to see that there are very complex decisions being made in that specific situation (and many others), and that those decisions are made even when your rational focus wanders away from that which you are doing.

Part of the reason why I am not fully engaging this conversation is that I'm not quite sure what sort of gap exists between modern scientific culture and objectivism. I do see that modern scientific culture seems to reflect the general view (apparently held by objectivists) that the subconscious plays no important role in scientific practice, but I am so far very unimpressed by this notion that we can explain everything in terms of epistemology. Feel free to post that which you feel is important, but I will ask that you try harder to write for comprehension, and to the point.

I am focused upon the creation of a scientific social network -- for which epistemology is simply one of many domains involved -- and nothing will derail me from that objective.

And either way, nobody can take the red pill for you. If you simply observe the alleged behavior of the subconscious, you'll see that it is difficult to observe. So, part of the journey here is whether or not you, personally, are willing to try to observe it, for yourself. That's not a conversation for you and me. That's between you and you ...

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pln2bz
 
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Re: Online scientific discourse is broken and it can be fixe

Unread postby pln2bz » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:16 pm

Objectivism is Not a Consumer Perspective

One of the key themes I've tried to stress is that products are designed for people who buy them -- very specific segments of the population, in fact. And the way to create products which people buy is by stepping into those peoples' shoes. What is the problem that they have which you are going to solve for them?

This is what I'm trying to do when I am thinking about what it is that is happening in peoples' heads when they are struggling to evaluate the EU's claims. What I'm trying to do is to use the EU as a test case. The people coming to that idea for the first time are experiencing a clash of worldviews between conventional theory and this new idea. Some will go on to learn more about it, while others will -- for some reason -- decide not to. If the goal is to build a scientific social network which actually helps people, then one incredibly important area of focus would necessarily be on how people should be choosing what model to pay attention to, based upon their needs at that moment. The value of the Electric Universe, within this design context, is that it provides the concrete example which we can use to brainstorm with, and even test hypotheses against.

I really need to stress to people that this process of solving other peoples' problems does not come naturally for many people. Some people never learn how to do this even though they actually work IN innovation. That says a lot about how difficult this can be, because their entire livelihood depends upon their being able to know what their customers are thinking. And they've not even learned how to imagine the world from their customer's perspective. That's very bad.

The problem with your approach, Plasmatic, is that you insist upon starting with objectivism. In other words, you completely refuse to start with the customer's perspective. You furthermore insist that people are rational -- in principle, disconnected from any customer behavior -- and then you completely ignore the irrational behavior of people who come to the conclusion that the EU is nonsense. Something went wrong here. Even if the EU is still just a possibly incomplete model in our minds, we know from our own readings that they've erred in their decision to completely ignore it. Why did it happen?

How did those people come to that conclusion? Do you really believe that those people relied upon a scientific or some sort of epistemological methodology to come to that conclusion? When I watch and interact with people online who are trying to make sense of whether or not they should spend more time on this EU idea, I see people trying to apply mental shortcuts. They are literally trying NOT to think. They want to know what experts have to say about it; in other words -- again -- they are trying to avoid having to think.

Many of the people I talk to exhibit an artificial need to winnow their choices -- as if they actually prefer to have fewer cosmological options. Why is that? Why do none of the other EU advocates notice that this is unusual? If you ask people directly, they will generally tell you that they prefer choices. But, that rational statement is not at all reflective of their behavior. Why do people act as though they need to decide on some of the most complex questions man has ever asked, right now, without having done any actual investigation? Is this somehow rational? Why do people not simply accept that the question is open, as I believe would be the rational choice at this early stage of their investigation?

It turns out that this artificial need to knock options out is exactly how people buy products too: They look for reasons to not buy. We can reasonably see that there is something going on here with regards to the uncertainty, and that the uncertainty is creating a feeling in the person of discomfort. What does any of this have to do with epistemology? Nothing, unfortunately. The fact is that we don't get to follow our interests when solving this part of the problem. We have to force ourselves to make observations of peoples' beliefs and actions. We have to try to prod our potential targets, to see how they react to certain stimuli, to see if our conception of what's happening in their head is on target.

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to reframe the way in which you are approaching a problem, but you're treating this social network as though the science of your consumer's mind -- their psychology and sociology -- are basically irrelevant. You've got to shake yourself from this. This other stuff that you are thinking very well might turn out to be important for coming up with a visualization for concepts, but your future success at this point in creating products which people will want to buy boils down to whether or not you're going to permit yourself to switch to solving somebody else's problem.

I am actually with you here: Given the choice, I'd always prefer to think about knowledge mapping. But, notice how much of a spectacle that is … Just think of it … You only wanting to talk about objectivism and me only wanting to talk about knowledge mapping. Why is it so hard to see how crazy that is? Why do you think anything would ever come of a group of people doing that?
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