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Connection Theory:

The Current Evidence

v2.1

draft written – 2/13/11 minor revisions – 9/21/11

Author: Geoff Anders

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Methodology

2.1. The Elegance Principle

2.2. Applying the Principle

2.3. Truth and Usefulness

2.4. Types of Data

2.5. Distinguishing Options

3. Current Evidence

3.1. Evidence For CT

3.1.1. Recommendation Plan Tests

3.1.2. Mind Mapping Tests

3.1.3. Other Sources

3.2. Evidence Against CT

3.2.1. Counterexamples

3.2.2. Conflicts with Established Science

3.2.3. Other Sources

4. Assessment of the Evidence

4.1. The Evidential Situation

4.2. Candidate Theories

4.3. Proposed Conclusions

5. Conclusion

0. Preliminary Remarks

Even though this is version 2.0 of this document, it is still an early version. It is better than version 1.0 in a number of regards. Nevertheless, it is still unpolished, incomplete and simplified

in a number of regards. Please continue to forgive this. I will release another version of this document soon.

1. Introduction

Connection Theory (CT) is a scientific theory. As such, it should be accepted or rejected on the basis of the evidence. This document presents my current evidence both for and against CT, as well as the conclusion I propose to draw on the basis of this evidence. 1 To anticipate, I will draw the tentative conclusion that the evidence favors either (a) the acceptance of CT as approximately true in at least a narrow range of cases, or (b) the acceptance of CT as true and universally applicable. Which a person should believe depends, I will argue, on the person’s philosophical views about the physicality or non-physicality of the mind.

2.

Methodology

To assess a scientific theory, one must employ some method. Over the next few sections, I will discuss the method I use to assess scientific claims and theories. As the purpose of this document is to assess the evidence for and against CT, and not to give a full exposition of my views on scientific methodology, I will keep this discussion relatively brief. I will discuss scientific methodology fully in another document. 2 In the following sections, I will state the principle I use to determine which claims to accept and reject (2.1), describe how to apply this principle in practice (2.2), discuss how the principle relates to my goals of truth and usefulness (2.3), and discuss the types of data I use (2.4). I will then distinguish several philosophical theories about the mind and explain why it is important to distinguish such theories prior to assessing evidence (2.4).

2.1. The Elegance Principle

I use a single principle to determine which scientific claims to accept or reject. I call this principle the “Elegance Principle”. The Elegance Principle is as follows:

The Elegance Principle:

All propositions included in the most elegant theory that explains all of the data are true.

1 Keeping in mind the caveat in section 0. 2 Forthcoming.

Let’s clarify some of the terms here. A “theory” is just a collection of one or more propositions. I will discuss what we count as “data” in section 2.3. For now, an intuitive understanding will suffice. “Elegance” is a measure of explanatory completeness, i.e., how much of what is posited by a theory is explained 3 within that theory. Go through the things a theory says are the case. Ask why each of those things is the case. Why does this exist? Why did this happen? The more a theory can answer, the more elegant it is. The more times a theory fails to answer, the less elegant it is. Elegance can be thought of as opposite of arbitrariness. The more that a theory posits arbitrarily, the more there will be unexplained things within the theory, the less elegant the theory will be. The fewer arbitrary things a theory posits, the more the theory will provide explanations for what it posits and hence the more elegant the theory will be. The Elegance Principle is not meant to be special or controversial. It is similar to principles that many people use, including the many variations of Occam’s Razor. Why do I use the Elegance Principle instead of another principle? I leave this question to my full discussion of my views on scientific methodology.

2.2. Applying the Principle

It is straightforward to see how to apply the Elegance Principle in general. If a proposition is included in the most elegant theory that explains all of the data, then it should be accepted as true and its negation rejected as false. It is also fairly simple to see what sorts of theories the Elegance Principle will favor. It is easier to ask more questions about complex theories, so in general, the Elegance Principle will favor simpler theories. These simpler theories will still need to explain all of the data, of course, and this will only be possible if the theories are sufficiently universal. As a result, in general, the Elegance Principle will favor theories that are more universal. Sometimes when simple, universal theories are used to explain data, the theories cleanly explain the data. Other times, the theories can only be made to explain the data by adding various additional posits (dust in the lens, unseen forces, etc.). Since these additional posits typically decrease the elegance of a theory, all else equal, the Elegance Principle will typically favor theories that require one to make fewer additional posits of this sort. Unfortunately, while it is possible to see how to apply the Elegance Principle in general and while it is possible to see broadly what sorts of theories the Elegance Principle will favor, I do not have a procedure for applying the Elegance Principle precisely in practice. I have no way to precisely rate theories in terms of elegance. I cannot provide them with a precise elegance “score”. I also do not know how to measure the amount of elegance a theory gains or loses as a result of particular modifications. A new posit is added and not explained – how much elegance is lost? Two semi-universal laws are replaced with a single universal law – how much elegance is gained? I do not currently know how to answer these questions. In practice, what I do is this. If I am assessing a theory, I consider the theory and get a general sense of how elegant its major components are. I then look at how well the theory explains the data. First, I look for data that directly contradict the theory. If there are any such data, the theory is refuted. Second, I look for data that the theory explains by means of arbitrary

3 Here and elsewhere in this document, I use the word “explain” so that “X explains Y” does not imply “X correctly explains Y”. According to my use, it is consistent to have an explanation of something that is not a correct explanation of it.

posits. Such data is evidence against the theory; the more arbitrariness required to explain some bit of data, the stronger that data is as evidence against the theory. Third, I look for data that the theory explains without the addition of arbitrary posits. All such data is evidence for the theory; the cleaner the explanations a theory gives of a piece of data, the stronger that data is as evidence for the theory. Then I compare the theory to other theories. I look in particular for things that distinguish theories from one another. If the theory I am assessing only has a poor explanation of some data (i.e., the theory can only explain the data via a bunch of arbitrary posits), and there are theories that are have good explanations and that are not too inelegant, this is good reason to reject the theory in question. If the theory we are assessing has a good explanation of some data (i.e., the theory can explain the data without adding arbitrary posits), and all other theories either have poor explanations of that data or are otherwise too inelegant, this is good reason to accept the theory in question. If there are simultaneously both good reasons to accept a theory and good reasons to reject it, then the evidential situation is difficult. In such cases, there are various possible courses of action. The procedure I have just described involves comparing relative degrees of elegance without any well-specified procedure for ascertaining or comparing degrees of elegance. This may seem to be a problem, but as far as I can tell, comparing relative degrees of elegance is something that scientists in their work and people in everyday life manage to successfully accomplish every day. If people do manage to compare relative degrees of elegance fairly well, then the fact that I do not have a well-specified procedure is not a significant practical problem. (This is not to say that I would not prefer to have a well-specified procedure. I very much would.) What happens in the case of disagreement? The fact that I do not have a well-specified procedure means that in practice we may encounter cases where different people judge theories differently. If this happens, in many cases it is possible to design tests that will produce data that will help decide between the different theories. If one person thinks the most elegant theory that explains the data is theory A and another person thinks it is theory B, we can try to design a test that will, depending on how the test comes out, produce data that favors theory A over theory B or produce data that favors theory B over theory A. One point of clarification. The generally-specified procedure I have just described is a procedure for assessing total theories, i.e., theories that purport to explain all of the data. It is not a procedure for assessing partial theories, i.e., theories that purport to explain only some of the data. To assess partial theories, I first assess total theories. I then adopt whatever partial theories are included in the total theory I judge to be best. Regarding the task at hand, this means that I will not assess CT by itself. CT is a partial theory: it offers no explanation at all, for instance, for the existence of a person’s current sensations. Instead of assessing CT by itself, I will assess the best total theory that includes CT and compare that to the best total theories that do not include CT. If I decide that the best total theory that includes CT is the best overall, I will conclude that CT should be accepted as true. If I decide that some other total theory is the best overall, I will conclude that CT should be rejected as false.

2.3. Truth and Usefulness

As I said earlier, my goal in this document is to assess CT for truth and usefulness. One might wonder then whether the deliverances of the Elegance Principle are meant to be true or useful or both. The answer is somewhat complex. In section 2.1, I said that my method for assessing scientific claims involves “using” the Elegance Principle. The Elegance Principle itself says that all of the propositions included in the most elegant theory that explains the data are “true”. This permits one to interpret my procedure here in accordance with one’s own philosophical predilections. If one would like, one can accept the Elegance Principle as true. If one does, then one should take the deliverances of the Elegance Principle to also be true. In this case, one should take CT to be true if the claim “CT is true” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data, one should take CT to be false if the claim “CT is false” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data, one should take CT to be useful if the claim “CT is useful” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data and one should take CT to not be useful if “CT is not useful” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data. If one does not want to accept the Elegance Principle as true but is willing to accept the deliverances of the Elegance Principle as useful, one can form two sets of beliefs. The first set of beliefs pertains to what is true conditional on the acceptance of Elegance Principle (EP). So, one should believe “if EP is true, then CT is true” if the claim “CT is true” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data, one should believe “if EP is true, then CT is false” if the claim “CT is false” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data, one should believe “if EP is true, then CT is useful” if the claim “CT is useful” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data and one should believe “if EP is true, then CT is not useful” if the claim “CT is not useful” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data. The second set of beliefs pertains simply to what is useful. Here, one should believe “CT is useful” if the claim “CT is true” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data, one should believe “CT is useful” if the claim “CT is useful” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data and one should believe “CT is not useful” if the claim “CT is not useful” is part of the most elegant theory that explains the data.

2.4. Types of Data

I have spoken quite a bit about the “data”. What things count as data? I recognize two general types of data. I will call the first general type “observational” data and the second general type “theoretical” data. Let’s start with observational data. Observational data includes all and only those things, states, events, etc., that one observes. Speaking strictly, this includes only those things that one is observing oneself right now – the things one sees, smells, hears, tastes, feels and is aware of in one’s mind. For most purposes, though, it is acceptable to expand what falls under “observational data” to include things that one has observed in the past and things that others are observing now or have observed in the past. In this document, unless otherwise noted, I will include past observations and the past and present observations of others as observational data. Theoretical data is data of a different sort. It includes, speaking roughly, everything that one knows through the use of pure reason. Thus theoretical data can include mathematical results, such as “2 + 2 = 4”, and the rules of logic, such as modus ponens. Some people maintain

that some philosophical claims can be known with certainty. If this is true, whatever philosophical claims a person knows with certainty can be considered theoretical data as well. Unfortunately, there is a special difficulty associated with presenting theoretical data from philosophy (or, more simply, “philosophical data”). The difficulty is that most people today have not spent time considering philosophical issues and are, as a result, are not currently prepared to assess sophisticated philosophical arguments. This means that while it may be possible to collect philosophical data and use it in the assessment of a scientific theory, it is often difficult to present this data to others. As a result, this version of this document will discuss the philosophical data only briefly and incompletely. I will include a more complete discussion in a future version of this document.

2.5. Distinguishing Options

Some will propose that it is impossible to prove anything philosophically and that as a result there is no need to consider philosophical data at all. Whether this is true or not, there is another way in which philosophy ideas are relevant to the assessment of CT. This is a way in which philosophical considerations cannot be avoided. As described in section 2.1, I use the Elegance Principle to assess scientific theories. CT is a scientific theory, and so I will assess it using the Elegance Principle. The Elegance Principle calls for us to accept as true the most elegant theory that explains the data. In order for us to be able to do this, we must know what the different options are. If we are unfamiliar with the different candidates for the title of “most elegant theory that fits the data”, we may end up selecting some sub-optimal theory. In many cases, being familiar with the different candidate theories does not require us to make any philosophical distinctions. For the purposes of assessing CT, however, it will be necessarily to distinguish the philosophical theories of physicalism, dualism and idealism. Why this is necessary will become clear in section 4.2. What are physicalism, dualism and idealism? To understand these views, one must first understand the concept of a non-spatial object. A spatial object is an object that has length, width and/or depth, has a spatial location and/or stands in one or more spatial relations to other objects. Examples of spatial objects include rocks, trees, animals, human bodies, stars, electrons, regions of space and points of space. A non-spatial object is an object that is not a spatial object. Thus a non-spatial object is one that lacks length, width and depth, lacks a spatial location and does not stand in any spatial relations to any objects. In terms of examples of non-spatial objects, many people believe in a God that has no size, no location and no spatial relation to anything. This means that many people believe in a non-spatial God. Some people believe that there exist such things as physical laws. If there physical laws exist, where are they? Could we find the law of gravity and pick it up? Might we trip over it while out on a walk? Clearly not, the people think. On the contrary, they say, physical laws exist but have no size, no location and no spatial relation to anything else. Thus these people believe that physical laws are existing non-spatial objects. Other people believe that there exist such things as numbers. They take very seriously statements like “there are three odd numbers between 3 and 11”. They also believe that the numbers lack size, location and spatial relation to things. Thus they believe that numbers are existing non-spatial objects. And, most importantly for our purposes, many people believe that the mind is a non-spatial object. They

believe that the mind has no length, breadth or depth (“How big is the mind?”), no spatial location (“Where is the mind?”) and that the mind is not spatially related to anything else (“What is the mind to the left of?”). Whether one agrees that any non-spatial objects exist, it is possible to understand the proposal that they do. Some may propose that the notion of non-spatial objects is unintelligible, as it is impossible to picture something in one’s mind that lacks all size and location. It is true that it is impossible to accurately picture non-spatial objects; however, it is not true that this is a barrier to understanding them. One can understand the concepts of a four-dimensional space, the sound of a voice, an invisible person and justice, even though none of these things can be accurately pictured in the mind. Likewise, one can understand the concept of a non-spatial object.

Once one has wrapped one’s mind around the concept of non-spatial objects, it is possible to explain physicalism, dualism and idealism. Physicalism, as I will define it for the purposes of this document, is the view that states that every existing thing is a spatial object. Adherents of physicalism often grant that the mind is an existing object; when they do, they also maintain that the mind is identical to some spatial object, such as the brain or part of the brain. Dualism, as I will define it, is the view that states that spatial things exist, minds exist and minds are non-spatial. Idealism, as I will define it, is the view that every existing thing is a non-spatial object. Adherents of idealism typically believe that the mind is an existing object and is also non- spatial. (In this connection, “idealism” here should not be confused with other views that sometimes go by the same name, including the view that things will go well or the view that one should never compromise one’s moral principles.) This concludes my remarks on scientific methodology. Again, this has not been meant as a full discussion. I did not, for instance, discuss whether there are any grounds to utilize the Principle of Elegance. I will fully describe my views on scientific methodology in another document.

3. Current Evidence

The evidence pertaining to CT can be divided into two categories: evidence in favor of CT and evidence against. In sections 3.1 and 3.2 below, I will discuss both of these categories of evidence. For both, I will select some data, explain how I believe that sort of data should be assessed, present the data itself and then assess it. As we will see, different pieces of data support different conclusions to different degrees. In section 4, I will discuss what conclusions I believe should be drawn on the basis of all the evidence taken together.

3.1. Evidence For CT

Currently, there are six different source of evidence for CT. I will discuss two of them, the Recommendation Plan tests and the Mind Mapping tests, in detail. I will briefly summarize the remaining four.

3.1.1. Recommendation Plan Tests

Description. The first type of data I will examine is data from our Recommendation Plan (RP) tests.

Using CT, a comprehensive CT chart and information about a person’s environment, it is possible to deduce conditions under which CT says that a person’s beliefs and actions will change. Each of these conditions can be phrased as a specific prediction, formulated as follows:

“If person X performs actions A 1 , A 2 , A 3 , etc., in that order, then at time T person X will change in way W”. For instance, CT, a person’s CT chart and the facts of the person’s environment may imply that if a particular person learns to dance, creates a theory of what her mother approves of and negotiates how to divide chores with her husband, in that order, then immediately upon the successful completion of the negotiations she will stop assuming that her husband always understands what she really wants. The fact that CT makes specific predictions makes it possible to test those predictions. This is what RP tests are designed to do. To run an RP test, select a test participant. Make a comprehensive and accurate CT chart of the participant’s mind. Ask the participant which elements of her mind she would like to change. Then use CT, the participant’s chart and facts about the participant’s environment to derive a set of predictions. Each prediction should be of the form “if the participant performs actions A 1 , A 2 , A 3 , etc., in that order, then at time T the participant’s mind will change in way W”, where way W is one of the ways the participant would like her mind to change. Next, have the participant perform the actions in the order prescribed. Keep track of the results, either by questioning the participant or by having the participant keep a diary. Once the participant stops performing the actions stated in the antecedents of the predictions, either because all of the prescribed actions have been taken or for some other reason, the RP test is complete. Collect all of the results. Be sure to determine which actions were taken at which times and which results occurred or failed to occur at which times. For results that occurred, determine how long results lasted. Determine how unusual it was that the results occurred. If a result, for instance, was the production of a particular action, it is important to note how frequently the participant performed that action prior to the RP test. Was this the first time in five years the participant got herself to perform the action in question? Or did the participant perform the action sporadically in the past? Also, it may be useful to determine what methods the participant had used previously, if any, to try to cause the same results, and the degree of success the participant had with those methods. The data produced by RP tests consists of sets of observed phenomena. For example, a set of observed phenomena corresponding to a successful prediction could include the following observations: (a) the participant has been smoking for three years, (b) the participant has been trying to stop smoking for one year, each time using a method based on willpower, (c) while trying to stop smoking for a year, the participant succeeded in stretches of a week or a week and a half on a few occasions, but otherwise continued smoking, (d) the CT advisor created a practically comprehensive mind chart for the participant, following the procedures stated in the most recent CT documentation, (e) the CT advisor used the mind chart to generate the following prediction: “if the participant performs actions A 1 , A 2 and A 3 , in that order, then immediately upon the completion of action A 3 , the participant will stop smoking”, (f) the CT advisor recorded the prediction made, (g) the participant performed actions A 1 , A 2 and A 3 , in that order, (h) immediately upon the completion of action A 3 , the participant stopped smoking, and (i) the participant did not smoke for N months following the completion of action A 3 . A set of observed

phenomena corresponding to a failed prediction could include (a)-(g) but then instead of (h) and

(i), could include: (h*) upon the completion of action A 3 , the participant did not stop smoking, and (i*) the participant has continued smoking for N months following the completion of action

A 3 .

How to assess. Assessing data from an RP test is relatively straightforward. If the participant performed the actions prescribed in one of the predictions and the effect occurred at the time predicted, then the prediction came true. If the participant performed the actions prescribed and the effect did not occur at the time predicted, then the prediction failed. In some cases predicted effects are amorphous. This can make it difficult to tell whether the effects have occurred. In such cases, one should note the difficulty and do one’s best. If a prediction is recorded as coming true, there are several possible explanations. The prediction may have come true. Or there may have been error in calculating the prediction. Or there may have been error or bias in recording the results. If the prediction did come true, it could be because CT is true. Or it could be because CT is false but functionally true in the relevant circumstances. Or it could be a matter of random chance. For each prediction recorded as coming true, one should look to see which of these explanations are more elegant and which are less so. The more unusual the effect, the less plausible it will be that it was merely a result of random chance. The more concrete the predicted effect, the less plausible it will be that there was an error in recording the results. Any prediction that actually came true provides some evidence for CT. The more clearly the prediction came true, the better. The less plausible it is that some other factor caused the result, the better. Results that clearly occur, just as predicted, and are not plausibly explained by other factors provide very strong evidence for CT or for a very similar theory. If a prediction is recorded as having failed, there are also several possible explanations. The prediction may simply have failed. The prediction may have been miscalculated, either as a result of an inaccurate mind chart or as a result of incorrect reasoning from an accurate mind chart. There may also have been error or bias in recording the results. For each prediction recorded as having failed, one should look to see which of these explanations are more and less elegant. Luckily, in the case of failed predictions it is possible to double-check the accuracy of the mind chart and the accuracy of the derivation of the prediction. If there appear to be no errors, there is some chance that the predicted effects did occur but were not noticed. If the effects would have been easily discernible, then either there was some indiscernible error in the mind chart or the prediction failed. It may be permissible to explain a very small number of failed predictions as due to unascertainable inaccuracies in the participant’s mind chart. However, this should only occur rarely. Each case where we must posit unascertainable inaccuracies in a participant’s mind chart to save CT decreases the elegance of the best total theory that contains CT. Enough such posits and it will become more plausible to suppose that predictions have simply failed. If we judge that one of more predictions have actually failed, we should reject CT. Whether CT or a CT-like theory can be salvaged in the face of failed predictions will depend on the specific details of the failure. All of the preceding applies to RP tests conducted with the highest standard of care and rigor. For RP tests conducted less carefully, the resultant evidence for or against CT will be proportionally less strong.

The data. I have conducted two full RP tests. The first was performed by me on myself. The second was performed by me on a friend and colleague of mine. The statistics from the tests are as follows:

Recommendation Plan Test #

1

2

# of Predictions Originally Made

29

31

# of Original Predictions Tested

15

7

# of Original Predictions Untested

14

28

% of Original Predictions Tested

51.7%

22.6%

# of Original Predictions Tested

15

7

# of Variants of Predictions Tested

0

1

# of Predictions Tested Total

15

8

# of Independent Original Predictions Tested

15

6

# of Independent Variant Predictions Tested

0

1

# of Independent Predictions Tested Total

15

7

# of Successful Independent Predictions

9

7

# of Failed Independent Predictions

1

0

# of Independent Predictions Too Difficult to Confirm

5

0

# Independent Failures Due to Error

1

0

# Independent Failures Due to CT

0

0

% Successful Independent Predictions

60.00%

100.00%

% Failed Independent Predictions Due to Error

6.70%

0.00%

% Failed Independent Predictions Due to CT

0.00%

0.00%

% Independent Predictions Too Difficult to Confirm

33.30%

0.00%

% Successful Original Independent Predictions, Clear Test

100.00%

100.00%

% Successful Independent Predictions, Clear Test

100.00%

100.00%

The failed prediction in the first RP test did not arise from an inaccuracy in the participant’s mind chart. It arose from a mistake in the reasoning used to derive the prediction from the participant’s mind chart. It is worth noting that once the error was corrected, the new prediction came true. This is not reflected in the table above; if it were, the first RP test would show 10 successful independent predictions instead of 9. Here are some graphical representations of the results of the first RP test. Each shows an estimate of the degree to which particular phenomena were present over the course of time. (Each is also mildly inaccurate to permit me to display what would otherwise be several perfectly overlapping lines.) The nine phenomena depicted are the phenomena targeted by the nine predictions. For “positive features”, the prediction in each case was that the phenomena would start being exhibited:

RP #1 - Positive Features - 1/08 to 2/09 1 0.8 Phenomenon #1 0.6 Phenomenon
RP #1 - Positive Features - 1/08 to 2/09
1
0.8
Phenomenon #1
0.6
Phenomenon #5
Phenomenon #7
0.4
Phenomenon #8
0.2
0
Degree of Phenomenon Observed

For “negative features”, the prediction in each case was that the phenomena would stop being exhibited:

RP #1 - Negative Features - 1/08 to 2/09 1 Phenomenon #2 0.8 Phenomenon #3
RP #1 - Negative Features - 1/08 to 2/09
1
Phenomenon #2
0.8
Phenomenon #3
0.6
Phenomenon #4
0.4
Phenomenon #6
0.2
Phenomenon #9
0
Degree of Phenomenon Observed

Here is a close up of the last few months for the positive features. The actions required by the recommendation plan were performed between 12/30/08 and 1/5/08.

RP #1 - Positive Features - 12/08 to 2/09 1 0.8 Phenomenon #1 0.6 Phenomenon
RP #1 - Positive Features - 12/08 to 2/09
1
0.8
Phenomenon #1
0.6
Phenomenon #5
Phenomenon #7
0.4
Phenomenon #8
0.2
0
Degree of Phenomenon Observed

The purple dot is a discontinuity in the tracking of phenomenon #8. I have solid data from shortly prior to the test on 12/30/08 up until 1/23/09. Then I did not record data again until 2/18/09. During the time the phenomenon was not tracked, the effect diminished. A cause was ascertained as part of a second round of mind mapping; this started soon after 2/18/09. Here is a close up of the negative features:

RP #1 - Negative Features - 12/08 to 2/09 1 Phenomenon #2 0.8 Phenomenon #3
RP #1 - Negative Features - 12/08 to 2/09
1
Phenomenon #2
0.8
Phenomenon #3
0.6
Phenomenon #4
0.4
Phenomenon #6
0.2
Phenomenon #9
0
Degree of Phenomenon Observed

Here is a sample of the prediction data. Some of the cases are from the first RP test; some are from the second:

Prediction data, case #1 – eliminating online procrastination

Background:

o The participant had been reading various Internet sites for 1-3 hours a day. The participant would do this instead of working productively; this had been going on for at least 29 months. During this time, the participant had tried to stop procrastinating by using introspection and by using his or her own informal psychological theories and observations to attempt to understand the source of the procrastination. These attempts did not succeed in any noticeable way.

The required action:

o The participant must come up with what he believes is the best way to learn about society.

The predicted effect:

o As soon as the participant has completed the action just described, then so long as the method the participant has devised does not include reading Internet sites, the participant will stop reading Internet sites except when doing so is truly useful.

The result:

o Immediately upon completing the action described above, the participant stopped reading Internet sites completely. The participant did not look at relevant sites for more than three and a half months. For the nine months after that, our records are currently incomplete. After that nine months, and for the following year, the participant read news sites and other sites for an average of approximately 20 minutes a day. This took place before work on 0 of 365 days, during a work break on approximately 10 of 365 days and after work on the remainder of the days in which the participant read such sites.

Prediction data, case #2 – being oneself

Background:

o Before doing the RP test, the participant would switch back and forth between feeling like he could be himself while still being accepted and feeling like he needed to be someone he wasn’t. This was a feature of his personality that had been present for ten or more years.

The required action:

o

The participant must determine a way to achieve nearly universal world virtue that is more effective and feasible than any of the participant’s current ways and does not involve the participant being an approachable example for others to emulate.

o

The participant must also determine a feasible way to search for friends the participant won’t need to change to be friends with. The participant needs to do this while still being virtuous and while retaining the ability to walk away from people.

The predicted effect:

o As soon as the participant completes the actions just stated, the participant will at all times feel like he can be himself while still being accepted.

The result:

o At some point after the participant completed the above tasks, the participant started to feel at all times like he could be himself while still being accepted. The

time the tasks were completed was not recorded carefully. Some time after the tasks were completed, the participant started to feel at all times like he could be himself and still be accepted. The time this effect occurred was also not recorded carefully. Based on the participant’s guesses, the effect occurred less than one month after the above tasks were completed. As of nine weeks later, it still appeared that the effect was persisting. After that week, the participant noticed that the effect has stopped. A CT-compliant explanation of the effect ending was later determined.

Prediction data, case #3 – quitting smoking and drinking

Background:

o The participant had been smoking and drinking for approximately 6 years. The participant tried to quit smoking in little pockets here and there, but was not typically not successful. The most successful times were two times when the participant quit smoking for a period of two months each time. During those times, the participant did not want to smoke and did not have cravings. Each time the participant tried to quit, the participant either (a) used willpower or (b) gave himself an incentive to not smoke by starting to do some form of exercise that smoking interfered with. The two times the participant quit for two months both involved the latter method, (b). The participant’s attempts to use willpower to quit were not particularly successful. The participant had not tried to quit drinking before and had not really thought about it.

The required actions:

o

The participant must create a list of things to reward himself or herself with that are consistent with being a moral exemplar and which are equally good or better as a reward than drinking and smoking.

o

The participant must also determine a way to achieve nearly universal world virtue that is more effective and feasible than any of the participant’s current ways and does not involve the participant being an approachable example for others to emulate.

o

Finally, the participant must determine a feasible way to search for friends the participant won’t need to change to be friends with. The participant needs to do this while still being virtuous and while retaining the ability to walk away from people.

The predicted effect:

o As soon as the participant completes all three of these actions, the participant will stop drinking and stop smoking.

The result:

o The participant did not note when exactly the effects began to occur, but at some point after the completion of the required actions, the participant stopped drinking and smoking. After the participant stopped drinking and smoking, the participant also stopped having a desire to drink or smoke. The participant did not have to struggle with cravings at all and did not have to struggle with the difficulty of getting out of an old routine. The effect persisted for eight weeks. The effects abruptly came to an end when a particular negative event occurred and

substantially altered the participant’s life plans. The day after this event, the participant began smoking and drinking again.

Prediction data, case #4 – eliminating irrationality

Background:

o Prior to performing the above actions, the participant often denied that he or she had any personal desires. This had been the case for many years. Six years earlier, for instance, the participant had been subjected to an intense bout of (non-CT) psychoanalytic questioning that stretched over several days. The purpose of the questioning was to get the participant to recognize his or her personal desires. Eventually, the questioning led the participant to identify a single personal desire:

a desire for a particular type of snack. This was noteworthy, as the participant had not identified any personal desires for years. Later that evening, the particular fulfilled the personal desire by purchasing and consuming the snack in question. Upon finishing the snack, the participant declared it “unfulfilling” and stated that the entire project of locating and acting on personal desires was, at least in his or her case, a complete waste of time. Soon after, the participant returned to denying that he had any personal desires. According to the participant’s memories, the participant continued frequently denying that he had any personal desires for the next six years.

The required actions:

o

The participant first must create a list of types of people he believes to be acceptable to society as they are.

o

The participant must then pick one of the types of people from the list, such that the participant believes that it is acceptable to society that people of that type have their own personal desires.

o

The participant must then gain the ability to become that type of person.

o

The participant must then attempt to become that type of person.

The predicted effect:

o As soon as the participant starts trying to become the type of person selected, the participant will stop denying that he has personal desires and will stop having an aversion to having personal desires.

The result:

o Within one day of completing the first three required actions stated above and starting on the fourth required action, the participant found that he was able to explicitly recognize that he had personal desires. At the same time, the participant also found that he no longer had any aversion to having personal desires. This effect has persisted continuously for more than two years.

One note on the third set of data. One might think that the fact that the participant in the third case started drinking and smoking again weighs against the predictions having been correct. This is not true. The changes caused by RP plans are not supposed to be permanent. Whether they persist or not depends on what other things happen in the person’s mind. Effects are frequently long-lasting since people’s minds do not change so frequently. But it is perfectly possible that some external event would change a person’s mind and reintroduce a mental phenomena we had eliminated. This is what I believe happened in the smoking/drinking case. In fact, the negative

event that immediately preceded the relapse was exactly the sort of event that CT predicts would cause a relapse – it was an event which cut off the new paths to the participant’s IGs that the participant had created through the actions recommended by the recommendation plan. Had I had the prescience to write down the conditions under which the participant would start smoking and drinking again, there would be an additional successful prediction from that RP test.

Assessment. The RP tests provide very strong evidence in favor of CT or a variant of CT. I successfully predicted 16 conceptually independent effects beforehand. In each case, I specified a narrow window of time in which the effect was supposed to occur. In many cases, the predicted effect would break a trend of months or years. And yet I observed the predictions coming true and did not observe any predictions failing. No other existing psychological theory has anything close to this degree of predictive power. As a result, I believe that the RP tests narrow the field of possible explanations to three general options. First, I can explain the RP data by positing that CT or a close variant are true or functionally true. Second, I can explain the RP data by positing that the RP tests were affected by significant bias or error. If this is the case, then what I and my colleague recorded during the RP tests is not what was actually observed. What was actually observed was something mundane; through bias or error, we made it into something extraordinary. Finally, I can explain the RP data by positing that some theory other than CT is true, that through mechanisms posited by that theory, the procedures I followed should produce effects in the ballpark of what CT predicted, and that then as a result of chance the effects ended up being just what CT predicted. Advocates of this third explanation will note that it is not too implausible to propose that the results here are partially a matter of luck as a result of the relatively small number of predictions that have been made. Advocates of the third explanation may also propose that the recorded data was affected to some degree by bias or error; this reduces the proposed role for luck. I will discuss these possible explanations in greater detail in section 4.

3.1.2. Mind Mapping Tests

Description. The second type of data I will discuss is data from our Mind Mapping (MM) tests. The Mind Mapping (MM) test tests the ability of CT to explain the psychological phenomena exhibited by a single person. To run an MM test, select a test participant. Then, following the protocols described in the most recent CT documentation, create a comprehensive CT chart for the person. While doing this, record any psychological phenomena the person exhibits or describes that are unusual or otherwise seem to call out for an explanation. When the chart is completed one should have a thorough list of psychological phenomena to explain. Use CT, the participant’s chart and information about the participant’s environment to provide CT- compliant explanations for all of the psychological phenomena listed. Keep track of the number of serious attempts at explanation each phenomenon resists, if any resist explanation. When the comprehensive CT chart and the CT-compliant explanations of the list of psychological phenomena together explain or fail to explain all or almost all of the participant’s actions, beliefs and derivative phenomena, the MM test is complete. As described in the protocols for creating CT charts, a large amount of information about a person’s mind – information that is obvious or otherwise trivial – can be left implicit. In

conducting the MM test, explanations that are similarly obvious or trivial can be left implicit as well.

The data produced by MM tests consists of a list of all of the psychologically noteworthy beliefs, actions or derivative phenomena that were observed as part of the mind mapping process and a list of CT-compliant explanations for those phenomena. Such a list, for example, might include the observation that the participant procrastinates and the explanation that the participant procrastinates because she believes that it is the best way to get her work done in a timely manner. Or it might include the observation that the participant believes that she is always being watched and the explanation that she has an intrinsic good of social acceptance, a belief that social acceptance requires being seen by society and the belief that she would not be able to be seen by society unless society could see everywhere automatically.

How to assess. Assessing data from an RP test is fairly straightforward. Every psychologically noteworthy belief, action or derivative phenomenon given a CT-compliant explanation counts as a successfully explained phenomenon. Every psychologically noteworthy belief, action or derivative phenomenon that is not given a CT-compliant explanation counts as a phenomenon not successfully explained. Among phenomena that are not successfully explained, some will have resisted one or more attempts at explanation; others will simply have not been examined. If a phenomenon is successfully explained, there are several possible explanations. CT may be true and may offer the correct explanation. Or CT may be false but nevertheless give the correct explanation here. The amount of evidence each successful explanation provides for CT depends on two factors. First, it is important how many conceivable phenomena CT can explain. The more conceivable phenomena a theory can explain, the less elegant the explanations will be, and thus the less each successfully explained phenomenon supports the theory. Second, it matters how the phenomena are selected. Each phenomenon successfully explained provides more evidence for a theory if the phenomena to be explained are selected randomly, rather than if one explains phenomena in order of ease. The importance of this second factor diminishes as the proportion of phenomena successfully explained goes up. This is because as the proportion of successfully explained phenomena goes up, it becomes less and less plausible that the theory can provide successful explanations of some but not all phenomena. In the case of CT, I do not yet have a good sense of how many conceivable phenomena CT can explain. It clearly cannot explain all conceivable phenomena; it is easy to specify conditions under which one would not be able to give a CT-compliant explanation. For instance, if a person had the persistent belief that water froze at 400° C, was resistant to all evidence to the contrary and yet one could discover no way that water freezing at 400° C was necessary to preserve the person’s paths to her intrinsic goods, I would not be able to give a CT-compliant explanation. (This would be a case of irrational belief not founded in the need to preserve paths to intrinsic goods.) This said, again I cannot yet rule on how many conceivable phenomena CT can explain. Regarding phenomena that are not successfully explained, each case where a phenomenon has not been successfully explained but also has not resisted explanation does not provide any evidence for or against CT. Cases where a phenomenon does resist explanation by CT, however, do provide evidence against CT. The amount of evidence provided depends on the degree of skill and effort put into attempting to develop CT-compliant explanations. Phenomena that cannot be immediately explained by moderately skilled CT testers provide a very small amount of evidence against CT. Phenomena that cannot be explained even after strenuous effort

by highly skilled CT testers or that seem very clearly to not have any possible CT-compliant explanation provide fairly strong evidence against CT. Because the space of possible CT- compliant explanations is large, however, and one’s ability to search it quickly may be small, it may be reasonable to continue maintaining that CT is true and/or useful even in the face of persistent failure to explain several phenomena. Over the course of time, though, if CT- compliant explanations are not found for several phenomena, I would consider this to be a critical failure and would begin the process of seeing what could be salvaged from CT. All of the preceding applies to MM tests conducted with the highest standard of care and rigor. For MM tests conducted less carefully, the resultant evidence for or against CT will be proportionally less strong.

The data. So far I have completed a total of 8 MM tests on a total of 7 different participants. Statistics for these tests are currently being generated. In no case did I encounter phenomena that resisted explanation by CT. In each case the tests were conducted with a high degree of care. Phenomena to be explained were selected on the basis of ease of explicability.

Assessment. It is unclear how much evidence the MM tests provide for CT. I am inclined to believe that they provide a moderate degree of evidence. However, before ruling on this I will need to assess how many conceivable things CT can explain. I also need to finish generating the statistics on the MM tests I have conducted.

3.1.3. Other Sources

There are four more sources of evidence in favor of CT: (3) results from the everyday use of CT, (4) results from applying CT to various practical subjects, such as recruitment and training, (5) sociological phenomenon CT explains, and (6) philosophical arguments. Regarding the everyday use of CT, several people have used CT to achieved very noteworthy results in their everyday lives. People have improved relationships with their parents, kicked irrational fears of illness, maintained astonishing work ethics and more. Unfortunately, these results are not measured systematically enough to provide a lot of high-quality evidence in favor of CT. Still, it is better than nothing. In addition to the everyday use of CT, I have applied CT to a number of practical subjects. This includes recruitment, training, fundraising, organizational structure and the assessment of containment mechanisms for advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Unfortunately, I am too early in the process to be able to say much here. It may be notable that in the course of applying CT I have not encountered any conceptual difficulties with it. Just as CT can be used to explain psychological phenomena, it should be able to be used to explain sociological phenomena. I and some of my colleagues have begun attempting to give such explanations. So far, we have explained a few sociological phenomena. I will describe our results here in full in a later version of this document. Finally, there are a number of high-quality philosophical arguments that can be used to establish claims that relate to the central claims of CT. I will discuss these arguments fully in a later version of this document as well.

3.2. Evidence Against CT

There are four different sources of evidence against CT. I will discuss two of them fully below. For each, I will describe the source of evidence, explain how to assess evidence from that source, present the evidence I have and then assess it. I will then briefly discuss the other two sources of evidence against CT. In each section I will discuss both the evidence that seems the most solid to me as well as the evidence that is cited most frequently by others.

3.2.1. Counterexamples

Description. CT states universal rules governing belief and action. CT also purports to be able to explain virtually all mental phenomena other than sensations and emotions. As a result, one way to provide evidence against CT is to give counterexamples to its universal rules. Another way is to provide examples of mental phenomena CT cannot explain.

How to assess. Most proposed counterexamples to CT will include two components: some observed phenomenon and a CT-opposed explanation of that phenomenon. Against these counterexamples, the standard response will be to admit the existence of the observed phenomenon but to proposed a CT-compliant explanation instead. Since the goal is to adopt the most elegant theory that fits the data, most proposed counterexamples to CT try to provide evidence against CT by factoring into competing theories. If a CT-compliant explanation cannot be given, or if one can only be given by significantly sacrificing elegance, then the counterexample is strong evidence against CT. On the other hand, if a CT-compliant explanation can be given without significantly sacrificing elegance, then the counterexample is either weak evidence against CT or no evidence at all.

Evidence. There are three known proposed types of counterexamples to CT that are worth mentioning. The first type of counterexample involves proposed violations of CT’s Belief Rule. The Belief Rule states that every person at all times believes that all of his or her intrinsic goods will be fulfilled. When many people introspect, however, they think they find that they have intrinsic goods that they do not believe will ever be fulfilled. For example, some people introspect and then report that they value world peace for its own sake but nevertheless do not believe that there will ever be world peace. Others, for example, introspect and report that they value universal freedom from coercion but do not believe that this will ever be achieved. If these introspective reports are correct, then CT is false. The second type of counterexample involves proposed violations of CT’s Action Rule. The Action Rule states that every person at all times acts in the way that he or she believes will bring about the conjunction of his or her intrinsic goods. When many people introspect, though, they think they find that they have intrinsic goods that they would be willing to permanently sacrifice if they were compensated sufficiently well. If these reports are accurate, then the Action Rule is violated and CT is false. The third type of counterexample involves the phenomenon of despair. Despair is typically described as a state where a person believes that the things she intrinsically values will never be achieved. Clearly, this would be a violation of the Belief Rule. One might thus take the

reality of the phenomenon of despair to show that the Belief Rule is false. This in turn would show that CT is false.

Assessment. Unfortunately, these counterexamples are only very weak evidence against CT. Each of the counterexamples is described very generally. But for many generally described phenomena, it is not difficult to give one or more CT-compliant explanations. Since the phenomena are described generally, one has a free hand to fill in the remaining details of the mind in whatever way is necessary in order to reconcile the observations with CT. Of course, as one does this, the more arbitrary posits one needs to make, the less elegant the explanation will be. But this is not particularly problematic for two reasons. First, it is possible to give relatively simple explanations of the above purported counterexamples. Second, most theories will require us to postulate some complicated explanations of mental phenomena. These reduces the overall theoretical cost of postulating complicated explanations in any particular case. Regarding the first type of counterexample, there are several possible CT-compliant explanations. First, many people mistake their explicit verbal thoughts for beliefs. Thus a person may check what he says to himself and see that he says “I value world peace for its own sake” and “world peace will never happen”. This would lead him to report that he had world peace as an intrinsic good and also that he did not believe world peace would ever happen. Second, a person may have pseudo-beliefs generated as a result of an instrumental good of conformity. For instance, a person may have an intrinsic good of social acceptance and have as part of her path to social acceptance believing what society believes. The person may believe themselves powerless to induce beliefs she does not already have, and so via an attainment response come to believe that she believes what society believes – in this case, that world peace is valuable for its own sake and that world peace will never happen. This could lead her to report that she has world peace as an intrinsic good and that she believes world peace will never happen. Third, a person may have pseudo-beliefs generated as a result of an instrumental good of reasonability. For instance, a person may have an intrinsic good of world peace and have as part of his path to world peace being a reasonable person. The person may believe himself to be powerless to induce beliefs he does not already have, and so via an attainment response come to believe that he already believes what is reasonable – in this case, that world peace will never be achieved. This, combined with his having an intrinsic good of world peace, could lead him to report that he has world peace as an intrinsic good and that he believes world peace will never be achieved. It is possible to give other CT-compliant explanations as well. Regarding the second type of counterexample, there are a few different CT-compliant explanations. First, people could be reporting their beliefs about what they would do were they to be offered something in exchange for sacrificing one of the their intrinsic goods. But these beliefs could simply be mistaken. End of story. There is no need to suppose that people have special access to what they would do in particularly unusual circumstances. Second, people could be correcting reporting their beliefs about what they would do, but could be mistaken about what their intrinsic goods are. There are multiple ways this can be implemented in the mind; see the response to the first type of counterexample just above. Regarding the third type of counterexample, let’s make a distinction. We can either use the word “despair” to refer to a particular set of beliefs, actions, thoughts and feelings or we can use the word “despair” to mean “a state where a person believes that it is not the case that all of her intrinsic goods will be fulfilled”. To the first use, it is clear that this phenomenon is real. Many people are correctly described as despairing; they feel extremely negative emotions, say

despairing things, lie in bed, and so forth. What is under dispute is whether this phenomenon is correctly described as “a state where a person believes that it is not the case that all of her intrinsic goods will be fulfilled”. To the second use, it is clear that there is a phenomenon where people feel extremely negative emotions, say despairing things, and so on. What is under dispute is whether this phenomenon should be called “despair”. Regarding the phenomenon of people feeling extremely negative emotions, saying despairing things, acting despondently, etc., CT offers a wide variety of explanations depending on the specific case. There are many CT-compliant reasons a person may say despairing things. There are many CT-compliant reasons why a person may choose to lie in bed all day. And so forth. For instance, a person may believe that her intrinsic goods will not be fulfilled in this life and instead will be fulfilled in the next. That person may also believe that whether she is admitted to an afterlife where her intrinsic goods are fulfilled depends on her not making mistakes in this life. Such a person would have an excellent reason to say that they did not look forward to anything more in this life and may also have an excellent reason to lie in bed all day. Regarding the explanations that have just been given, it is true that there are competing theories that offer explanations that are more straightforward for the phenomena in question. This is a degree of elegance that a worldview including CT does not have. Thus the counterexamples given do count as evidence against CT. However, the CT-compliant explanations are not particular complicated. And again, it is worth reiterating that every theory will expect some psychological phenomena to have at least mildly complicated explanations. Together, these factors mean that the evidence mustered against CT by the counterexamples under discussion is very low. A counterexample that would give a very large amount of evidence against CT would be a particular case of a person with some psychological phenomenon that resisted explanation by CT numerous times. I have not encountered such a phenomenon as yet.

3.2.2 Conflicts With Established Science

Description. CT has a large number of implications. Some of them are surprising. Some are more than surprising: some seem to conflict directly with established science. This provides a source of evidence against CT. Wherever CT implies something that conflicts with established science, one can simply argue that the established science is correct and that as a result, CT is incorrect.

How to assess. The strength of the evidence against CT in each case of a conflict with established science will depend on the strength of the evidence in favor of the scientific result. If the evidence is strong, the fact of a conflict with CT is strong evidence against CT. If the evidence is weak, the fact of a conflict with CT is weak evidence against CT. Obviously, one should not assume that “established” science cannot be overturned. “Established” science has been overturned many times in the past – by better science.

Evidence and assessment. There are two known conflicts between CT and established science. I will describe and assess each of them here.

The conflict. Why do some people learn more quickly than others? Why are some more creative? Why do some have better memories? According to current science, part of the explanation will have to do with a genetically based, irreducible intellectual power, something we might call “raw intelligence”. According to CT, however, there is no such thing as raw intelligence. According to CT, the correct explanation for different rates of learning, different degrees of creativity and different abilities to remember will not refer to raw intelligence in any way.

Assessment. The evidence in favor of the view that there is such a thing as raw intelligence comes from several places, one of the most important being twin studies. I was inclined to think that the issue of raw intelligence would be more of a problem for CT before I began investigating the solidity of things like the twin studies. Now I am inclined to judge that the evidence in favor of raw intelligence is weak. Determining whether this is so, however, will require a full investigation. My colleagues and I will be conducting this investigation as part of our Genius Deconstruction Project.

2. Direct influence on beliefs

The conflict. According to current science, it is possible for physical processes to alter a person’s beliefs without doing so by means of sensations. For instance, there are plenty of documented cases where patients have suffered brain injuries, where their beliefs appear to have changed as a result, and where these changes do not appear to be the result of changes in the sensations a person experiences. According to CT, such interaction is impossible. The only way beliefs change, according to CT, is in accordance with the Belief Rule, and the Belief Rule states that current beliefs are fully determined by previous beliefs and current sensations.

Assessment. I intend to investigate brain-belief interactions very closely. Until such an investigation is completed, I am happy to register this conflict as strong evidence against CT.

3.2.3. Other Sources

There are two further sources of evidence against CT: (3) philosophical arguments, and (4) socio-historical considerations. In brief, there are two philosophical arguments against CT worth considering, one from physicalism and the other from free will. Neither provides substantial evidence against CT by itself. I will discuss both fully in a later version of this document. Regarding socio-historical considerations, the idea is this: “If any simple theory of the mind is true or exceedingly useful, it would have been discovered long ago. Obviously no such theory was discovered long ago. It follows that no simple theory of the mind is true or exceedingly useful. But CT is a simple theory of the mind. Thus it follows that CT is neither true nor exceedingly useful.” This argument is weak. I will discuss it in full in a later version of this document.

4. Assessment of the Evidence

4.1. The Evidential Situation

The two primary sources of evidence we have examined are the RP tests (3.1.1) and the second noted conflict with established science (3.2.2), to wit, the well-established fact that damage to the brain can cause changes in belief states without going by way of the CT mechanism. The RP tests, if taken at face value, offer strong evidence favor of the truth of CT or some nearby variant. The direct brain-belief interaction phenomenon, if taken at face value, offers strong evidence against the truth of CT. It may seem that given this evidence, the best thing to do is to take both the RP tests and the direct brain-belief interaction phenomenon at face value and conclude that CT is false but some nearby variant of CT is true. This may be the case. But it is not the only option.

4.2. Candidate Theories

We will now present four candidate partial theories. We take these to be the theories with the best claim to being part of the most elegant theory that explains all of the data. Candidate #1: Physicalism + CT approximation. According to the first candidate theory, physicalism is true; the mind is the brain or part of the brain; beliefs are parts of the brain as well. From this and from the laws of physics, it follows that there can be direct brain-belief interaction. From that it follows that CT, as stated, is false. Nevertheless, according to the first candidate theory, something very close to CT is true. In particular, CT is approximately true, under most circumstances, for people with brains sufficiently similar to the participants of the RP tests. How similar is “sufficiently” similar? According to the first candidate theory, this is something we will have to find out through further testing. Candidate #2: Dualism/Idealism + CT. According to the second candidate theory, physicalism is false. Instead, either dualism or idealism is true. Either way, the mind is not a physical object. Furthermore, according to this theory, CT – or a close conceptual variant – is literally and universally true. It holds in all cases, just like the true laws of physics. In fact, according to the second candidate theory, there is a particular beautiful symmetry here. If dualism is true, then there are two types of objects: physical objects, governed by the laws of physics, and non-physical minds, governed by CT. If idealism is true, then perhaps there is just one type of object: non-physical minds. These minds would be governed by simple, elegant laws, just like we currently believe physical objects are. Because this theory posits the truth of CT, it also must conclude that there is no direct brain-belief interaction. It follows from this that the second theory must suppose that when one looks more closely into direct brain-belief interaction, one will find that the evidence is not nearly as solid as one might think. Candidate #3: Bias. According to the third candidate theory, there is no need to posit the truth of CT or a nearby variant. This is because, according to this theory, the results of the RP test were affected by bias. The first CT test was the designer of the theory (me) testing the theory on himself. No surprise, says the third candidate theory, that the results came out the way the designer wanted. The second CT test was performed by the designer of the theory on one of his friends. No surprise, this theory continues, that the results came out the way the designer wanted.

(The friend could have wanted the theory to come out true just as much as the designer of the theory, though perhaps for other reasons.) With no RP test, little evidence remains and so neither CT nor any variations need be accepted.

Candidate #4: Alternate Mechanism. According to the fourth candidate theory, there is no need to posit the truth of CT or a nearby variant. This is because, according to this theory, the results of the RP were produced by a mechanism other than CT. In particular, it could simply be that the CT advisor in each case (me) is an excellent life coach or informal therapist. As a result,

it is no surprise that results occurred that were in the general vicinity of what was desired. This

does not explain the precision of the results of the RP tests, the very narrow timeframes, but that could merely have been a matter of chance (or bias).

4.3. Proposed Conclusions

In a future version of this document, I hope to be able to present the strongest variations of the third and fourth candidate theories presented above (4.2). I also hope to be able to show why they are not particularly good theories. Barring the third and fourth candidates for now, the choice is between the first candidate (physicalism + an approximation of CT) and the second candidate (dualism/idealism + CT). There are many people who believe that philosophical considerations can never play a

substantive role in scientific or everyday matters. If we have assessed the situation properly, the choice between CT and an approximation of CT depends on one’s philosophical views. If one is

a physicalist, one should favor a global theory that has an approximation of CT as a part. If one

is a dualist or idealist, one should favor a global theory that has CT – or a close conceptual variant – as a part. The choice here has consequences. Whether one accepts CT or an approximation will determine how confidently one extends CT into unfamiliar territory. Should we expect CT to describe the developing mind of an infant? If physicalism is true, I am inclined to believe the answer is no. If dualism or idealism is true, I am inclined to believe the answer is yes.

5. Conclusion

We need more evidence. Future versions of this document will present more of my existing evidence and will refine what I have presented here. Future versions will also help one to choose which sorts of tests need to be run.