‘Delusions of the digital age’ still stupid, still based on science

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If you haven’t been following, Tell has been heating up with a lively debate between myself and Oldass Scott Wikander. We’re super sophisticatedly discussing the pros and cons of the Internet and whether or not technology is bad, fire is scary, and Thomas Edison was a witch.

Here are the articles in chronological order: MeCranky PantsMeCranky Pants.

In my original article, I attempt to (and badassedly succeed at) debunk the assumptions that the Internet is making people stupid, dulling our creativity, and forcing the masses into the servitude of Satan’s sentient grundle.

Most recently, Oldass wrote that I did not, in fact, debunk his stupidity argument using true science, so I guess now I have to spend my valuable time explaining why it’s science. *sigh*

So, here we go. If you empirically study the mental capacity of humans you must initially separate intelligence from education, as both Oldass and I mention in our initial articles. I shared statistics that people were quantifiably more educated than ever before and Oldass shared his unfounded opinion that just because people know trivia, that doesn’t make them smart. He hasn’t actually researched any linear studies that measure intelligence and, regardless, whether or not people are intelligent isn’t relevant since we don’t know yet whether or not intelligence can be learned, Internet or no Internet.

So, yes, the objective distinction and analysis of formal and informal education rates is empirical and scientific; it’s also proven to be the case that people are more educated in chronological correlation to the advancing of this technology, as I noted in my initial article. And those Doctor Who GIFS were phenomenal, you uncultured swine.

You can also empirically study the amount of productive time people spend on the internet. Spoiler alert, it’s a lot. If a website devoted to artists sharing and discussing their work isn’t something you consider productive, that’s your problem. Society and the Pope would disagree with you.

If you’ll throw around viewer rates of Internet porn then you’ll also have to acknowledge that fact that porn is the instigator of most modern technological advancement. But then you’ll also acknowledge that people watching porn online is irrelevant to online productivity; People watch porn IRL too but you don’t see anyone running around trying to discredit human existence in the three-dimensional world.

Luddite1There’s the Millennials-are-told-we’re-special-snowflakes thing and this is another one of those longstanding weird, assumptive comparisons. Are you saying your parents were emotionally abusive and taught you that you’re worthless? Are you ok? Wait, who let you spy on my parents while they were raising me? Jesus, someone call the cops! First the cell phone girl and now my parents?!

Also, “rose-colored glasses” is a term usually used to describe nostalgia, kind of like the kind Oldasses see through as they remember a “simpler time” when they couldn’t Google a Kurt Vonnegut story.

Speaking of which! Scott told me, and Millennials-at-large, to Google Harrison Bergeron, because he assumes we wouldn’t be aware of the most famous Sci-Fi author ever nor his most popular short story, nor books and culture in general. Glossing over the outrageously perfect irony of that, I’ll leave it up to you to decide if we’re over the whole debate-with-unfounded-assumption thing yet.

In a rare moment of vulnerability, Scott said he has things like a spouse, children and a mortgage keeping him from devoting free time to things like simple research, so I’m going to pause my hatefire to tell him we’re really sorry and we’re with him in solidarity. That really sucks, I wish we could help you, but there is no sending the kid back, erasing the history between you and your spouse, or convincing the banks to forgive your soul-crushing debt. Looks like you’re forever a slave to something a little more sinister than the Internet:

Not long ago I noticed a man repeatedly take out his checkbook and send away half his income for the privilege to live on the Earth on which he was born. He did it so frequently I became fascinated by his behavior. The checkbook would come out, he’d give it a quick flick of his pen, and then put it away – repeat, repeat, repeat. This went on for easily 30 years. I started timing the intervals when the checkbook was in his pocket. The longest – repeat, longest – stretch was 30 days. 30 days. That doesn’t leave much time for creativity. Now you could infer that he was making a life for his family or basically surviving, yet if he was expecting another bill, why did he keep putting the checkbook away? I suspect he was paying an unnecessarily inflated price that was inconsistent with the average salary of an average man, and I suspect people do this all the time. 

I mean hey, I have relationships and bills too, buddy, but I’m not saying they’re more valid or time consuming than yours, am I? Roll back your haze of arrogant self-importance, please. I digress…

A “haze of arrogant self-importance” is what Scott says is the reason I assume humanity is both diverse in its intelligence and inherently good enough to participate in charity efforts. I’m not going to waste time diving into this blatantly paradoxical argument because frankly, it is embarrassing us both in front of an audience who expects a constructive discussion. Also, he disagrees with Einstein on how intelligence works, so now who’s arrogant?

What am I forgetting… Oh, yeah! He thinks Kickstarter isn’t doing well enough to warrant its existence, but I’m sure I don’t need to go into the beauty of the virtually infinite space of the Internet. I’m actually really unclear as to why Kickstarter’s failed projects are evidence to the Internet’s value so I’m going to assume he’s saying some things fail??? Yeah. And water is wet.

Whether or not each and every connected individual is using the web to “advance society” is irrelevant to whether the Internet is advancing society. Trends control themselves and if the trends of communication, education, social justice, etc is headed in a positive direction, then I don’t see why Scott can’t have his precious porn.


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