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Mind Over Mass Media

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posted on Jun, 12 2010 @ 02:41 PM
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Debunking popular conceptions on the effects of a connected population Steven Pinker delivers an Op-Ed that hopefully opens the door to helpful and thoughtful debate on the issues as they stand currently, and also how they are likely to evolve over then next ten or twenty years.

Mind Over Mass Media


NEW forms of media have always caused moral panics: the printing press, newspapers, paperbacks and television were all once denounced as threats to their consumers’ brainpower and moral fiber.



For a reality check today, take the state of science, which demands high levels of brainwork and is measured by clear benchmarks of discovery. These days scientists are never far from their e-mail, rarely touch paper and cannot lecture without PowerPoint. If electronic media were hazardous to intelligence, the quality of science would be plummeting. Yet discoveries are multiplying like fruit flies, and progress is dizzying. Other activities in the life of the mind, like philosophy, history and cultural criticism, are likewise flourishing, as anyone who has lost a morning of work to the Web site Arts & Letters Daily can attest.



And to encourage intellectual depth, don’t rail at PowerPoint or Google. It’s not as if habits of deep reflection, thorough research and rigorous reasoning ever came naturally to people. They must be acquired in special institutions, which we call universities, and maintained with constant upkeep, which we call analysis, criticism and debate. They are not granted by propping a heavy encyclopedia on your lap, nor are they taken away by efficient access to information on the Internet.


Just a few snippets.

In the interest of full disclosure: I have a lot of respect for Pinker and probably have every one of his books. Besides, I would naturally agree with anything that said the information age was a *good* thing cos I'm such a "geek"


[edit on 12/6/10 by Geeky_Bubbe]




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