re: potential debate
Fri, 22 Mar 1996 21:57:21 +0000

F. Reid Creech writes:

>I repeat that I am not a Kellian, and may be unqualified to make this
>observation, but from my lurking, it appears that both Dr. Chambers and
>Dr. Neimeyer are personal construct psychologists, neither of whom "own
>the truth" in PCP. These learned men possess opposing views.
>WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY for the engagement of a wonderful debate! This has
>never been accomplished before! NEVER! What an opportunity! What a

The "not a Kellian" comment is surely a red herring: I should have thought
that an openness to contributions from a great variety of viewpoints will
be valued by a discipline which subscribes to constructive alternativism!
And so, as a person who's always attracted by the possibilities of a debate
between two viewpoints, I'm interested.

My problem is that I'm not quite sure which viewpoints Reid would like to
see debated.

If he means a debate between Bob Neimeyer and Bill Chambers, I really don't
see that either represents the "opposing forces" which would provide for an
exciting discussion.

Bill Chambers builds models (death threat or mandala grids) about which he
offers a reasoned monologue so long as the responses remain within his own
terms and so long as his ownership is repeatedly acknowledged.

Bob Neimeyer responds with saintly restraint when the _completely
unrelated_ ad hominem attacks by Bill Chambers step beyond the bounds of
taste and reason.

There aren't any opposing forces here, IMHO; they merely run in parallel,
and that, only because Bill eventually manages to turn any sort of
discussion, relevant or not, into veiled, or blatant, attacks on Bob!

>What a wonderful forum to produce a debate between opposing theoretical
>forces! A debate which takes place nearly in "real time," with the rest
>of the network in a position to observe and monitor the debate. Before
>the Internet, such a process would have been ABSOLUTELY impossible! Now
>it is before us!

Well, there have been many Internet-based debates and indeed complete
conferences on competing, and complementary themes, in which debate in real
time has occurred. There was a most interesting ongoing debate on
positivism versus constructivism under the heading of "The Big Five" in
this very newsgroup, to give a low-key example. I'm not sure quite what
ground-breaking excitements Reid is offering us in the present context!


Ho hum. Maybe these comments sound a little sour because of the way in
which Reid presented his earlier comments about "the good old boy network".
In brief, he said that it functions partially by an exclusion of
>access to "membership" and publication to those who are not believers;
and he feels that it blights careers
>people who fly in the face of the "good old boy" network have been blacklisted
>>by the simple transmission to others that "this guy is not to be trusted," or
>>that "he is not one of us."

Well, that's certainly one way of putting it; but why choose to look at it
in this particular way? Why taint the process with the negative
associations involved in calling it a grouping of "good old boys"? Why talk
about the refereeing process in terms of "blacklisting"? Why choose a word
like "trust", with its connotations of personal vulnerability and betrayal?

As several contributors have recently pointed out, the rejection of a paper
submitted to a journal is no great matter; it seems to me that only someone
who is convinced of his or her Divine infallibility will object if the
occasional submission to a journal, or a conference, gets rejected.

So, if my reaction is a crabby one, it's because of the loaded language.

I would put this issue differently, and in neutral terms: _every_
discipline runs conferences, journals, and debates in which the relevance
and weight of contribution are assessed against the objectives and values
shared by that group. _All_ of us have been rejected by reviewers (and for
some of us, myself included, that includes rejection by the reviewers of
the _Journal of Constructivist Psychology_! )

What's the big deal? Can't we move on to other things?

Kindest regards,

Devi Jankowicz.