(urth) 5HC : Skinner, Turing (fwd)

Andy Robertson andywrobertson at clara.co.uk
Thu Feb 3 16:54:15 PST 2005


> ~Maru
> I'd say that The Death of Doctor Island was pretty Skinnerian- the
> trio got massivly manipulated, Doctor Island controlled the enviroment
> absolutely, and he got one of two planned, predicted outcomes.

Not at all.   Doctor Island is indeed a nearly omnipotent Skinnerian 
conditioning machine, but he is not merely evil, but - more importantly - in 

He works on an estimate of the boy's IQ (and consequentially his economic 
value) which is fake, having been made up by a nurse when the boy refused to 
take a test. 

Read the story 

TDODI is an example of something seen frequently in Wolfe's writing.  You 
have "undomesticated" human beings who can not fit into a society and are 
terribly punished for it (punishment being another form of skinnerian 
Operant Conditioning, of course). 

But the reason why they can not fit in, not because they are sick, but 
because the are sane, and the society does not allow healthy human beings to 
survive in it. 


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