Re: Response re Bill

Gary Blanchard (
Tue, 07 May 1996 09:39:36 -0700

W Ramsay wrote:
> >For those still remaining
> >
> >
> >I would also like to vote that Bill be removed from the list.
> Barbara,
> As one of the remaining I'd like to contribute a few points:
> 1. For some, Bill's behaviour is personal and offensive. For others it's
> just plain boring. Of the former aspect I have no experience. Of the
> latter I have to say that being boring is not yet a capital offence, nor is
> it confined to Bill. I've had a lot of stimulation from this net and hoped
> to have yet more. I've also binned a fair proportion of the postings right
> off. Whether Bill is removed from the list is a bullet that someone else
> will have to bite on since a valid ballot on the net is pretty impractical.
> 2. I find it interesting that, in a group whose core seems to (or used
> to!) contain so many individuals engaged in therapy and para-therapeutic
> activities, no effective and sensitive way of dealing with the situation has
> emerged. As a peripheral member and a behaviourist by inclination could I
> point out that reciprocal offensiveness and self-defence have not worked.
> Rather they have aggravated the problem as perceived by the net. (No value
> judgements of members' behaviours are intended or needed here, their
> consequences explain them.) If PCP is that good, how has this come about?
> I found Robin Hill's recent posting on non-reinforcement entertaining in
> this respect. Extinction is a difficult strategy to make work, especially
> by non-behaviourists. The danger of shifting the subject on to an
> extinction-resistance-promoting intermittent reinforcement schedule is great
> and usually happens because the 'trainer' loses patience. If you don't
> believe this (or believe in it) have a dig in the archives and look at the
> pattern of postings. As a practical piece of behaviour therapy for the
> future may I suggest simply checking the heading and hitting the delete key?
> Don't read the stuff and thus don't be tempted to respond.
> 3. My analysis comes back to a point I raised long ago, it seems now. If
> we are scientists then we should be able_and_willing to test the relative
> merits of alternative theories. Isn't that what constructive alternativisim
> is about? I first raised this in connection with behaviourist and
> constructivist models of (core) personality. I asked for discussion and got
> the War of Jim Mancuso's Tongue, which was fun but not a lot of help. To
> the extent that this kind of thing happens, Bill Chambers has a point. Is
> there a paper in "death-of-a-theory threat" I wonder?
> 4. No-one who looks at the archives is going to be impressed by a bunch of
> so -called mature scientists and therapists whose response to the problem is
> to go and play in someone else's yard. There are other balls, other bats
> and other problems, so let's get on with it. It's a big yard.
> 5. I've had some personal correspondence with Bill Chambers and I don't
> propose to discontinue it. I think I can learn a lot from him. Despite
> this, I hold no brief for the way in which he conducts discussions on this
> net, or for his dealings with other individuals, but I would say two things,
> for Bill and for all of us:
> "A scream is easier to hear, but a whisper is easier to decode."
> Edvard Munch.
> "Bairnies 'gree, you'll soon be parted"
> My grannie - and God knows how many others'.
> Sorry to introduce the B-word again.
> Kind regards to the survivors.
> Bill.
> Bill Ramsay,
> Dept. of Educational Studies,
> University of Strathclyde,
> Jordanhill Campus,
> G13 1PP,
> Scotland.
> 'phone: +44 (0)141 950 3364
> 'fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367
> e-mail: Bill-

Thanks for your thoughtful and, I thought, professional response. For
me, you have correctly noted that Eumaeus poses a useful litmus test for
those of us on the list: are we objectivists flirting with
constructivism, or are we developing a constructivist interpretation
capacity which will afford us a truly binocular view of the world? It
has not been an easy capacity for me to develop, and I still backslide at
times, so I can appreciate that others might find it difficult---even
baffling. It is, after all, a radical paradigm shift from the norm we
all grow up in, so we can't help but experience it as highly
discontinuous from our present way of knowing. But the litmus test is
there anyway, as it is everywhere else in our life. And I say that the
law of life still holds: grow or die. We needs must grow, and perhaps it
can be said that Bill is, if not our inspiration, our fertilizer.

Thanks again. Best, Gary Blanchard, MPA
New Jersey, USA Organization Behaviorist