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Cassea

Is the internet making us Dumber?

29 posts in this topic

I have been coming to message forums. To try to improve my writing skills. And critical thinking. And I'm more than a little surprised when I realize how much we rely on "google searches" for evidence in a discussion. It is especially egregious when you are talking to someone, who clearly had no idea what you were talking about. You make a point. They don't understand. Then you back it up with a googled source. Then the other person comes back with their own as a debate. And you think (or I do) hang on, you didn't even know what I was talking about a few minutes ago. Now you want to engage in a discussion? And the funny thing is. They think they can? I've also seen people want to discuss something after just reading it once or twice. Maybe I'm stupid. But if I wanted to discuss something with someone who was knowledgeable I would not feel adequately prepared.

I found this article that states that "Google is Making us Dumber"

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/

And this article that is saying that "The Internet is Making us Smarter"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-weinberger/internet-makes-us-smarter_b_1225187.html

Which is it? Sometimes I think that the diversity is making us smarter in a different way. Then other times I think the worst part is that it makes people think they are smarter than they really are? So confusing.

Edited by Cassea

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I for one know I'm getting lazy. It is just too easy for me to do a search than to have to research for the answer in a book or article. Human nature always follows the path of least resistance.

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it all depends on how you use it i spend most my time on here or watching documentaries or looking stuff up so i for one think it can make you more intelligent but also if all your doing is looking at porn and playing games its going to dumb you down a bit

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i disagree that the internet makes people unintelligent ('dumb' is an inability to speak)

google is a great search engine and so much information can be accessed through it - nonsense as well as viable factual info.

so it comes down to, what do you google? what actual sites do you choose once you get the results? are they scientific or professional sites? are they forums like this? are they fringe?

it's not the internet. it's the people themselves.

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dumb (dm)

adj. dumb·er, dumb·est

1.

a. Lacking the power of speech. Used of animals and inanimate objects.

b. Often Offensive Incapable of using speech; mute. Used of humans. See Usage Note at mute.

2. Temporarily speechless, as with shock or fear: I was dumb with disbelief.

3. Unwilling to speak; taciturn.

4. Not expressed or articulated in sounds or words: dumb resentment.

5. Nautical Not self-propelling.

6. Conspicuously unintelligent; stupid: dumb officials; a dumb decision.

7. Unintentional; haphazard: dumb luck.

The title is lifted from the article. I think it goes without saying. That he didn't mean lack of being able to speak. I do think people think if they find it on the internet and it is sourced, that means it is a good source. I usually use wiki in discussions because of the simplicity. And also because it is normally looked at with a bit of suspicion.

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It definitely allows people to broadcast their dumb ideas.

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it all depends on how you use it i spend most my time on here or watching documentaries or looking stuff up so i for one think it can make you more intelligent but also if all your doing is looking at porn and playing games its going to dumb you down a bit

Have you considered watching any documentaries on grammar, by chance?

Edited by Funky Poacher

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Right now I'm reading a book entitled "The Social Animal" by David Brooks. Now, if I wanted to refer to it on these forums I could cite chapter and page number (such is allowed). However, if any portions of the text could be found online I'd most likely provide a source link to it. Why? because it would then be readily available for even the casual reader. Not everyone is willing to make a trip to the library to check out an information source.

I seriously doubt that the internet is making us dumber (some people were always dumb). I'm old enough to remember the world long before the internet, before computers, before cell phones, before DVDs or even VHS tapes. Information is now available right in my own home that I'd have had to travel to probably more than one library in order to access. IMO if people are dumber, they're choosing to be dumber...the internet isn't at fault.

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dumb (dm)

adj. dumb·er, dumb·est

1.

a. Lacking the power of speech. Used of animals and inanimate objects.

b. Often Offensive Incapable of using speech; mute. Used of humans. See Usage Note at mute.

2. Temporarily speechless, as with shock or fear: I was dumb with disbelief.

3. Unwilling to speak; taciturn.

4. Not expressed or articulated in sounds or words: dumb resentment.

5. Nautical Not self-propelling.

6. Conspicuously unintelligent; stupid: dumb officials; a dumb decision.

7. Unintentional; haphazard: dumb luck.

The title is lifted from the article. I think it goes without saying. That he didn't mean lack of being able to speak. I do think people think if they find it on the internet and it is sourced, that means it is a good source. I usually use wiki in discussions because of the simplicity. And also because it is normally looked at with a bit of suspicion.

you actually needed to post that?

forget the point of my post or any relevent content in it, you had to make a point to post about that?

consider this a classic example of why i didn't want you on my friend list.

Edited by JGirl

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? :sleepy: Yes because you pointed it out. So I made it clearer. ETA Just so you know. I accidentally clicked on the friend. Instead of private message before. I did not mean to friend you. Sorry to have bothered you that way. Have a great day.

Edited by Cassea

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JGirl and Cassea, tone it down, the both of you.

As far as the internet goes, it is not making us dumber. "Dumber" implies a sort of biological or physical impairment. It is making us a bit more intellectually lazy. This is not so much a reflection on intelligence as it is on practice. The advent of the word processor also made our penmanship lazier. The abilities are still there, but are not exercised to their full potentional.

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JGirl and Cassea, tone it down, the both of you.

As far as the internet goes, it is not making us dumber. "Dumber" implies a sort of biological or physical impairment. It is making us a bit more intellectually lazy. This is not so much a reflection on intelligence as it is on practice. The advent of the word processor also made our penmanship lazier. The abilities are still there, but are not exercised to their full potentional.

this is what i said.

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JGirl and Cassea, tone it down, the both of you.

As far as the internet goes, it is not making us dumber. "Dumber" implies a sort of biological or physical impairment. It is making us a bit more intellectually lazy. This is not so much a reflection on intelligence as it is on practice. The advent of the word processor also made our penmanship lazier. The abilities are still there, but are not exercised to their full potentional.

This is more what I am thinking. That it seems to me, people think they are smart. Because they can research things. And find out quotes. And read things quickly. One thing I noticed. Is someone who knows nothing about a topic that comes up in conversation. In person. The person would have to look it up. Do a bit of research. And so they'd listen. To what the people with them were saying. They would try to learn first. Then do research. Online. People will want to discredit something. So they run off to google. Then come back with a bunch of links. Then they post those. I've seen this happen. In the evolution threads. Someone doesn't understand. A poster explains. The person still doesn't understand. But then comes back with a some quotes. Thinks he's right again. Or a woman (to be fair to the gents) who has no idea what the topic is about. And debating someone who clearly has spent years. Researching the topic.

This is to me. Very stupid behavior.

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It is the difference between arguing to support a belief and arguing to win.

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Yes, but at the same time. It seems like. The internet is giving people. A lot more things to have. Beliefs about. And a lot less things to learn. The information is so jumbled together. Blogs don't need to source their information. There is no academic integrity. Yet if the site looks. Interesting. People think it is official.

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I'm not sure the problem is that the internet is making people lazy. I think people are as lazy as they have always been. However, what the internet HAS given us is instant access to a multitude of ideas. If someone asks a question, a five minutes window acting as Google Scholar and they think know enough to take on someone who's been studying that field of knowledge for years. And because they read it and linked it, they think they've done enough to prove that they know what they are talking about. Before the internet most people simply would never have gotten into this type of discussion. Thus they would have had no need to bother going to libraries or news archives to validate for themselves. These days it is so readily available that these people who would never have bothered are now putting in token searches to try and support their view - they won't do any more because if the internet did not exist they wouldn't have done anything at all.

However, due to the anonymous nature of the internet there is a lot of misinformation out there. Not all ideas are equal, but the way the internet is presented it often sounds like it is. So when a Google Scholar looks up a concept they might be led to untrustworthy sources and gain a false idea of the topic, but because they found it on Google they unquestioningly accept it, then use that knowledge as if they are experts, often arguing the rub with those who have spent years studying these questions in academic circles.

Just my thoughts,

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The internet is a tool, no more no less. I taught my 11 year old 2 things about the internet, "Google is your friend" and "Don't believe everything you read on Google"

I don't think that the internet makes people any more/less intelligent, obnoxious, pompous or any other adjective. I believe that it simply magnifies what is already there.

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I'm not sure the problem is that the internet is making people lazy. I think people are as lazy as they have always been.

Sure, laziness is kind of the preferred mode in any mammal, but I am saying that we are more intellectually lazy because of the internet, in the same way that we tend to be a bit more physically lazy because we aren't working on farms or hunting mammoths for dinner. It is simply not an enforced behaviour anymore.

Back in the day, people would have to memorize their data, and in certain societies, entire books and subjects. They would actively create methods and tactics to help them achieve this, and even if it was only rote memorization, it still made for stronger analytical powers, in the same way that doing nothing but running will still help improve overall fitness.

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The internet is a tool, no more no less. I taught my 11 year old 2 things about the internet, "Google is your friend" and "Don't believe everything you read on Google"

I don't think that the internet makes people any more/less intelligent, obnoxious, pompous or any other adjective. I believe that it simply magnifies what is already there.

Very interesting. Well put.

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I think the internet is a kind of miracle. I was born in 1960. Growing up if I had a question that parents, teachers or friends couldn't answer then I had to be off to the library. Digging for that info made me remember and focus better but often I couldn't get to a library and the question went unanswered. I had LOTS of questions :P My point is that now information is literally at our fingertips. We are deluged with it and our biggest problem is whether to trust the source. Overall I have to say it enhances a person's knowledge base if used with discretion. But it certainly can enhance laziness with regard to deeper study of any topic. The quick "picture" with no deeper understanding of a subject may be the outcome for casual users of the net.

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I think the internet is a kind of miracle. I was born in 1960. Growing up if I had a question that parents, teachers or friends couldn't answer then I had to be off to the library. Digging for that info made me remember and focus better but often I couldn't get to a library and the question went unanswered. I had LOTS of questions :P My point is that now information is literally at our fingertips. We are deluged with it and our biggest problem is whether to trust the source. Overall I have to say it enhances a person's knowledge base if used with discretion. But it certainly can enhance laziness with regard to deeper study of any topic. The quick "picture" with no deeper understanding of a subject may be the outcome for casual users of the net.

yes i agree. i too was born in 1960 by the way.

i think it's not only a fantastic reference tool, but also a great way to bring people of the world closer. interacting, becoming more knowledgeable and hopefully more understanding of each other's culture and practices. i think it's cool to have people i call friends in many different parts of the world. that's the best part for me.

i really don't see it having anything to do with people becoming lazier or less intelligent. the lazy and unintelligent are pretty much always going to be that way, regardless.

those who thirst for knowledge know enough to look at reputable and relevent sites.

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I have been coming to message forums. To try to improve my writing skills. And critical thinking. And I'm more than a little surprised when I realize how much we rely on "google searches" for evidence in a discussion. It is especially egregious when you are talking to someone, who clearly had no idea what you were talking about. You make a point. They don't understand. Then you back it up with a googled source. Then the other person comes back with their own as a debate. And you think (or I do) hang on, you didn't even know what I was talking about a few minutes ago. Now you want to engage in a discussion? And the funny thing is. They think they can? I've also seen people want to discuss something after just reading it once or twice. Maybe I'm stupid. But if I wanted to discuss something with someone who was knowledgeable I would not feel adequately prepared.

I found this article that states that "Google is Making us Dumber"

http://www.theatlant...us-stupid/6868/

And this article that is saying that "The Internet is Making us Smarter"

http://www.huffingto..._b_1225187.html

Which is it? Sometimes I think that the diversity is making us smarter in a different way. Then other times I think the worst part is that it makes people think they are smarter than they really are? So confusing.

i used to feel this way but.... how lucky are we to have so many questions with the answers at our fingertips. The internet is just a tool. If you view it as such then...if you abuse it then it is just like any other thing used in a negative way or not used in moderation. JMO

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It can't do much worse than what the calculator did for me.

Some time back it took me seriously a minute or so to remember how to do basic subtraction.

You know.... Carry the one... Cross out the nine and make it an eight. That sort of thing.

( Of course I was never that smart to begin with ) :unsure:

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Sure, laziness is kind of the preferred mode in any mammal, but I am saying that we are more intellectually lazy because of the internet, in the same way that we tend to be a bit more physically lazy because we aren't working on farms or hunting mammoths for dinner. It is simply not an enforced behaviour anymore.

Back in the day, people would have to memorize their data, and in certain societies, entire books and subjects. They would actively create methods and tactics to help them achieve this, and even if it was only rote memorization, it still made for stronger analytical powers, in the same way that doing nothing but running will still help improve overall fitness.

Ok, gotcha. That makes sense. The physical laziness because we don't hunt mammoths was a good analogy to understand your point. I still tend to think that people are as lazy as they always were. Consider UM for a moment - of all the members here, let's say there's a discussion on Nibiru and Zechariah Sitchin. People will come, read the thread, and offer their opinions on this. Some will be hardcore believers. Others will be sceptical. However, it would be fair to say that 90-95% of the people who read about this on UM (or another website) would have conceivably never have even heard of the concept of Nibiru. Having never heard of it, or perhaps hearing about it in passing when a friend mentions it, without the internet those 90-95% of people will likely never arrive at a conclusion because they simply didn't have the resources to look into it. They would devote their time to other things that meant more to them. But since we do have the internet, it's very easy to search (5-6 minutes of google will probably outline the basics of Sitchin's ideas), and therefore everyone who looks will have an opinion. But once that conclusion is reached, chances are they will never look at the idea again and just rest on the answer they arrived at in the first five minutes.

Does that clarify? They are neither more or less lazy than before, but because the information is literally at our fingertips we can invest a token amount of time to the topic and then pass it on and devote our time to the ideas that really do interest us.

~ PA

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And, in general, people just like taking the path of least effort.

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