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Is the internet making people more stupid?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Adam Howard, May 11, 2013.

  1. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    Is The Internet making people more stupid? I guess I should also ask, is the growing global consciousness making people more stupid?

    When I first logged into The World Wide Web (back in the late 80's into the early 90's), The Internet was a vast resource of documentation and later the world's large encyclopedia of information. Knowledge and information was a few keystrokes away.

    But now as I continue to use The Internet today, I find more people spitting out useless junk as factional information. Search engines such as Google or Bing (for example) seem to only help that growing trend, because the popular search results on page one, does not guarantee a correct answer, and so that "popular answer" becomes the socially correct & taught (educated) answer to others. Copy & pasted over and over again, over thousands and millions of web sites.

    Social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) only adds fuel to this growing fire, where billions of users regurgitate that "so called knowledge" to their friends, family, and even complete strangers who will in turn also share their new found "knowledge".

    Making "smart people" the new stupid, because lord help you if you disagree with the masses and "overwhelming" results of misinformation that has been accepted globally as "fact".

    As the world grows smaller and it becomes easier to share, is the information being shared the right information that should be shared?! Is the growing global consciousness making people more stupid?
  2. FredC

    FredC Well-Known Member

    No, its a global epidemic. I think its the water. ;)
  3. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the copy/pasta from your forum. The 7000+ links are slightly irritating.
    Forsaken and SneakyDave like this.
  4. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    what do you mean with the wording "more" ? :D
    Adam Howard likes this.
  5. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    I did copy this form my site, yes.... There is only 6 links ....

    One of the things about XenForo is when you copy & paste something it carries over everything (links, text formatting, smilies, ect...).

    In this case it was "tags" that where copied over.

    It wasn't intentional. :rolleyes:
  6. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member


    I picked my words carefully.... I use to know some people who were seemingly well educated. And their use of The Internet has seemingly undone their education in part (my opinion of course).

    Recently I noticed something in my niece's history book (from her school). And I compared it to a history book I had in school, as well as an older edition. My niece's history book seems to be slightly off on a few things.
  7. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    I think the internet is allowing for both. People who want to become smarter and learn will benefit from the internet. It makes self study a lot easier and it's cost and time saving. For me personally, the internet has given me everything: wealth, freedom, free information, relations, and yes I feel I have become a lot smarter since I first opened a browser window. But that could be partly related to age as well.

    But sure it also allows for people to waste a lot of time, spend their time doing useless stuff that does not make their brain work and may actually make their brain more 'lazy' which I expect would make one less smart. But you really can't blame the internet for anything. It depends more on how a person is raised and how he/she goes through life.
  8. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    brainwashing of the masses...
    sheep sheep.... meh meh
    Adam Howard likes this.
  9. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    I was going to suggest people are becoming more lazy, but I can't exactly stand on that point of view completely. Information is found where information is made available. And to seek out information where you know it can be found is not a sign of laziness.

    I just believe a lot of the useful and truthful information is being buried alive in a world full of inaccurate and sometimes misleading information.

    So when you come onto The Internet looking to learn something, that may not be well known or documented in your general area, leaving The Internet your only outlet for information...

    If the popular answer is on the first 100 pages of Google, with thousands of people telling you the same answers, you're liking to buy into that information. After all it's the answer that continues to repeat with no visual end in sight, backed up by the large majority of thousands or millions of individuals all agreeing that is the answer you seek.

    So that person in turn also adapt that as "knowledge learned", when in fact nothing was learned. And runs the same risk of sharing that new found "knowledge" to others, who in turn also pass on that to others, and they as well do the same.
  10. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    I noticed a lot of things that were a little off.
  11. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    We shouldn't have let the great unwashed masses get to the interweb.......we need a test where they must prove worthy....
  12. mistypants

    mistypants Well-Known Member

    It's all about how you use it. You could sit on facebook all day and take whatever your friends say as gospel, you could rely on the information of the #1 result on Google, or you could do actual research--find unbiased and reliable sources, compare & synthesize information, and form your own opinions. The internet itself makes knowledge more easily accessible than ever before and can connect you to a variety of resources across the globe. It's not an inherently bad thing... blame the worker, not the tools.
    Morgain, Adam Howard and Jeremy P like this.
  13. turtile

    turtile Well-Known Member

    The internet had a more limited audience in the past. Now it's open to everyone and all the junk that comes with it. Not only is it more open, it's easier to make a website and spread garbage all over through social media. Facebook also limits a lot of knowledge by locking it within the site. Can't find the information on Google anymore...

    The fact that finding simple information on Google is almost impossible is annoying! If we didn't have Wikipedia, it would be a nightmare!
  14. 14DH01

    14DH01 Active Member

    your site is not updated, you still have the old avatar.:p
    denis_koronets and Adam Howard like this.
  15. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    No and I will follow up with the why.
    I still say the information is just a keystroke away...(-->)
    (<--)... at this point the information is not lost, there is just a lot more of it now, it is just required that you make good search queries and have an idea of something you need to reference in order to start you on to a quick find. I am not disputing that there is a lot of trash out there and a lot of misleading publishing, I am just saying that it is out there and it takes a little more effort to get to a good resource.

    If you think about it, the internet has grown to resemble face to face life pretty good in the sense that you don't go believing everything you hear from everyone and you kind of have to take it as it comes and filter out the bs.

    I think more than anything else that social networking has contributed to whatever perceived 'stupid -factor' to which you infer in the way that most of those sites are not populated with communication of meaningful ideas, they are used to post simple one liners and quotes and I do see people attached to some social sites in the way you see a gamer really into a game locked in and going hard for hours and realistically I would rather link-hop on Wikipedia for four hours than talk in single sentences about nothing and swap pictures of no artistic value and or relevance to anything significant.

    In my mind for the most part, sharing images, video and audio should augment an exchange of ideas and not make way to completely abandon the concept of meaningful communication and most of what I have seen on public pages @ social sites tends to lean towards worthless.

    They can be great tools but like any tool, some and in this case probably many choose to misuse them but on the same token they introduce a whole bunch of people to the internet who otherwise would almost never use it.

    Back to my point about face to face life. Remember school days and a rumor getting passed around?... this sounds similar to that in the way that someone lies, it is spread around, people who hear it believe it to be fact and why, because at the core a person was either conniving, misinformed, seeking revenge, stood to gain or all of the above.

    Since the data accessible on the internet is created by people, I would expect the same tendencies to surface in what is the most recent addition to our toolkit of communication which happens to be much more prevalent than anything previous as far as allowing people to socialize with people around the globe that would otherwise would probably never happen. For instance...if it wasn't for the internet I would not be responding to you now.

    Random Abstract? :

    Maybe the internet is just giving you access to communication with more people who are 'stupid' than you would have had you not had access to the internet and in that respect from your perspective you could be led to the conclusion that there is more 'stupid' people when in fact there was always x amount of 'stupid' people, you just met more because of the access to random global communication provided by the internet.

    'Stupid' is an opinion and for that matter you could think I am stupid and if someone else thinks I am smart chances are both of you with think the other is stupid for disagreeing with the opposing stance. I for one think all of that is stupid.

    The short version:

    Aside from all of the leisurely activities one can do which utilizes the internet, I see internet access as a tool with access to more tools and more knowledge when one so chooses to use it that way.

    With that said you can't hand someone a wrench and make them be a mechanic when they desire to be an accountant.

    Tools just don't work that way and in that respect the internet is not making people dumber.

    Tools do not make the man, man makes the tools. It is what man does with the tools that matters.
    samo, Kim, Morgain and 2 others like this.
  16. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    I got the idea for this topic somewhere else.... With that said...

    I agree with your point of view.

    But the re-occurring argument people seem to make, which I can't seem to really defend against is; If your only source of information is The World Wide Web (for whatever reason), even if you're smart enough to exclude social networking and the first 100 pages of Google... How do you best educate yourself to know the difference from that 1 source which may have the right answer -vs- the 5,000+ which are repeating the wrong answer?
  17. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

  18. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    Wikipedia has been proven wrong in the past. It wouldn't call that a 100% fool-proof, always valid source for information. It's a good start as they do require quoted sources outside of Wikipedia, but if the source quoted is incorrect, it too can be used to provide wrong answers.
  19. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    But even in error it can be used to get links to sources and key words to reference which can help you search for more data.

    For instance, I am currently reading about Magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters and it is not like I searched for that word but through Wikipedia I found exactly what I was looking for and now have a large base of words to search with in order to find more reliable and in depth sources. Sometimes Wikipedia is the only place with a reference to something, sometimes it is good to get a general idea but everyone knows you don't do any serious research from one source anyways.
    Adam Howard likes this.
  20. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    The internet makes people stupid just like the printing press made people stupid.

    It's an information medium, nothing more. It's best not to judge it.
    Markos, Kim, ManagerJosh and 2 others like this.

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