Psycho-maths Respond to Denunciation by True Mathematicians

Iteration in the Perceptual Process

In response to an editorial in the Sentinel two weeks ago by the Association of Complexity Theorists for Propriety in Mathematics (ACT-Pmath, Sentinel: Psycho-babble no place in True Maths), the Association of Complexity Theorists for Perceptual Psychology (ACT-Ppsy) has written an open letter to the Pmath defending their position. Although normally we would not deign to print anything that the flakes and frauds at Ppsy regurgitate, this document may have significant repercussions, and we feel it our duty to warn the general public in advance of those shock waves.

The underlying issue, of course, is the deployment of public funds. Complexity theorists, of course, are given huge grants of public money to explore their valid and uplifting research. Their research, it is presumed, will someday raise the quality of life for all the peoples of the earth. The Ppsys want to drain money from this worthy endeavour into their own pockets to pay for their nefarious studies of the "complexities" of "human perception." What is particularly disturbing is that the intrepid scientists of Pmath have refused all comment on the letter. Sources close to the organisation have voiced fears that Pmath may be incapable of refuting the arguments put forward in the letter, and that public funds might flow once again into the coffers of the Ppsy, and thence to ports unknown. For now, it appears that the Pmaths are trying to stall, keeping the public funds flowing to their proper destinations for as long as possible, but, if the Ppsy's arguments are accepted by the adjudicators, the stall tactic will be moot.

It has long been known, of course, that Ppsy has connections to the shadowy underworld of psychology, though no solid evidence of this connection has been uncovered. Of course, all public funding of psychologists was cut off some six years ago in the Anti-Thought Bill. That bill set up a programme of cleansing which was, through a process of attrition and culling, to eventually eliminate the entire hated and reviled breed. Ppsy, however, has recently claimed that it is a pure-maths species, that, not only does it not deserve to be culled, but that public funds intended for the important work of complexity theory should be diverted to support it, and, we might add, through it, the entire psychological underworld.

Public outcry over this obvious miscarriage of justice, and misuse of public funds has been immediate, vocal, and occasionally violent, but the wording of the Complexity Theory act is such that, if a group can prove themselves to be complexity theorists they must be given public funds. A safeguard to protect long-shot research in this brave and dangerous field may be exploited to support an organisation that is psychology in all but name.

In the hopes that one of our readership might be able to assist in refuting the claims, we feel it our duty to précis them here. As you are no-doubt aware, to qualify as a subset of complexity theory, a discipline must demonstrate at least one strong and one weak indicator of complexity. If even one strong counter-indicator can be found, it is believed that we can defeat the application by arguing for the exclusion of the second strong indicator.

Note: discretion is advised, the following material is explicit, and insidious, there is no shame in skipping the material if you feel it may shake your confidence in the evil of psychology.

Sensitivity to Initial Conditions: strong indicator

  • Claims two methods for meeting criteria. The first is the mechanism of "feedback." The second is the mechanism of "experience." Feedback is the mechanism where our current understanding of our environment is used to control further understanding of the environment. A minor element or idea can galvanise and radically alter our experience of an environment. Puts forward an example where our "impression" of a building is completely altered when we get a sliver off a banister. Experience is a longer time-scale version of the same, where the events of the user's past affect the outcome of any perceptual act. Puts forward example of two women, who have had affairs with a man, both are shown a statue with a face which resembles the man's. Depending on the character of the emotions toward the affair, the women's reactions to the statue are radically different. (Cumulative and Suggestive experience)

Iterative Nature: strong indicator

  • Same two mechanisms, claims that the results of each perceptive pass, the model that is developed, the experience that is gained, becomes data during the next perceptive pass. Support for this model was not strong within their community until they learned that it would open the spigot of public funds.

Fuzziness and Imprecision, Late resolution: Weak indicator

  • Imprecise nature of resolution. Ability to have entire systems triggered to single criteria. Ability to have multiple "states" (that is, to have two conflicting "ideas" simultaneously). Is often a characteristic of complex systems, where the system is sensitive to initial state. Based on the Schrödinger's Cat model.

Counter-intuitive Results: Weak indicator

  • Again, the same major mechanisms make the prediction of the system difficult according to regular mathematics, since different users may have slightly or radically different experiences, requires statistical modelling to hope to predict the results for the majority of the populace.

Refining versus Expanding System: Weak counter-indicator

  • Responds to the major argument of the ACT-Pmath article, which showed that the perceptual system generally attempts to normalise toward a particular type model. Claims that, though the format is generally known, the content of the format is unpredictable, as is demonstrated by the previous indicators. Claims, also, that though deductive reasoning fits the pattern outlined, (systems that predictably find a single or small number of solutions), inductive reasoning and creation follow a very different pattern, and even within deductive reasoning, the path that is followed is a complex problem.
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Copyright (c) 1997 -- Mike Fletcher
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