"If you aren't using the diffusion equation - putting in numbers and getting out results that control your anticipation of particular experiences - then the connection between map and territory is severed as though by a knife. What remains is not a belief, but a verbal behavior."
I'm surprised noone's commented on this before, but I think this is overly restrictive. If I'm familiar with the process of diffusion, I intuitively know what's going to happen, without actually plugging in numbers. I don't need to do math to reach the right conclusion, I can just sort of visualize what's happening. I think you progress from mechanically plugging in numbers to generalizing the behavior into a pattern that you can apply, like people can catch a ball in the air without actually calculating a parabola. That doesn't mean that there is no connection between map and territory. Of course, you have to take some care to make sure you're applying the right pattern, but that's no different than knowing to apply the right equation.
"And if all the partners agree that something sounds like a good idea, they won't do it. If only grant committees were this sane."
but then you say:
"Properties like truth or good design are independent of novelty: 2 + 2 = 4, yes, really, even though this is what everyone else thinks too."
In venture capital it may pay off to avoid doing what every one else does. But in funding grants, it seems there's no advantage to that. It's not like the science get devalued if it's discovered twice. If everyone thinks it's a good grant, then maybe it just is?