Dimaikys D. Duncan
May 30, 2013
Does the Internet make us smarter or dumber?
There is a complex debate over the Internet and whether it is making society smarter or dumber. For that matter the debate focuses on the Internet and the intellectuality of individuals, and if the Internet hinders or it progresses society as a whole. Other critics argue that the Internet contributes to the decline of our mental state. On the other hand, others argue that the Internet promotes and encourages literacy by its ability in providing limitless amount of information at the stroke of a key. In the articles, “Does the internet make you smarter” by Clay Shirky supporter of literacy by internet and, “Does the internet make you dumber”, by Nicholas Carr unsupporter of literacy by internet, portrays that each article have different points of views regarding the internet making us smarter or dumber. Clay Shirky uses more historical examples of texts that were written in the form of books way before there was Internet. Nicholas Carr uses more proven statistics and psychological information in his article, to persuade his audience. In the next paragraphs I will compare and contrast both Nicholas Carr and Clay Shirky’s article.
In Nicholas Carr article, he addresses that the internet does not make you smarter, instead it makes your attention span shorter and you become more distracted. Carr identifies scientific studies suggesting this is not only his opinion, but statistically proven by evidence collected. Nicholas Carr also relates to the Nobel Prize winning
Neuroscientist Erick Kandell as well as roman philosopher Seneca. In addition, Nicholas Carr uses Rhetorical appeal to logos or reason by referring in his article, the Internet to being “shallow”. Carr uses this sense of reason to influence the reader by referencing several different studies completed by Cornell University as well as Stanford University supporting his article. In his article “Does the Internet make you dumber by using emotion to make the reader believe is he or she does not agree with these statements they may be shallow or less intelligent. In opposition to Carr, Clay Shirky believes that the Internet is making us smarter because he thinks that the Internet is an easy way to search for information. Shirky also believes that we are no more evolved to read books than the internet, and that “dumb stuff” can be found in books as well as online but it depends on how you utilize it.
However Clay Shirky counters, he identifies the internet as a positive cognitive tool for individuals to use, he uses the past media revolution and how individuals saw the progress from carving on rocks to other means as compared to the present media revolution to provide reason of logos or claims to the reader. This provides the reader understanding that some things, which seem unreasonable prior to maybe seen as necessary in the future. Clay Shirky uses pathos or emotion towards the reader by flattering the reader’s sense of self, by referring the internet to be cognitively constructive materials as well as thought provoking he makes the reader feel a sense of positive reinforcement despite the criticism brought by Nicholas Carr. Mr. Shirky’s article also addresses ethos on the trust me approach by using counter claims to the statements made by other authors stating the internet is not providing a cognitive approach and is only a series of pop-ups and distractions.
Nicholas Carr also argues that reading helps mental discipline. Carr...
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