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Pinker Rebuts Carr

June 11, 2010 10:44:56.082

Nick Carr's thesis that Google, or the net in general, is making us stupid is, well, stupid. Steven Pinker makes a point that I made awhile back:

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.

Put another way, there never was a golden age of mass reflection. Newspapers were a "wuick hit" of information compared to personally delivered news, and radio and TV even more so. It's not as if distraction is a new thing.

Ultimately, I think Carr is looking for an excuse for his own limitations.

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posted by James Robertson

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