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  #1    
Old January 28th, 2013 (10:40 AM).
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It's all there in the title. Are people not learning things as often or as well because they can just find the answers to things on the internet? Are we not bothering to remember things that we have stored on Wikipedia/our Facebook accounts/other website of choice? Or are we learning a different kind of intelligence that's more about collecting and arranging knowledge, a kind of collage intelligence in contrast to the kind of intelligence that revolves around memorization? Or is the internet making us smarter?

Not specifically asking if people on the internet are dumb or act dumb, though that's clearly a related topic, but whether the presence of the internet keeps us from learning or getting smarter.

Maybe this is better off in the other forum, but it seems just as appropriate to be here because of the social aspect I'm asking about.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (11:18 AM).
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I think it's in the eye of the beholder. The internet is a fantastic tool that quite often gets misused or, rather, not taken advantage of. It can make us lazy because instead of solving a problem by ourselves, we might end up searching for the easy way out i.e. math problems.

It's a great medium for research and expanding our knowledge with a massive amount of data but like I said before, it gets misused.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (11:38 AM).
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No its not. Its a great tool for learning, and I believe its also a way for a more open world. Meaning media restraint and conformity is a less common thing thanks to it. As for if the internet has dumb people, its no more then the real world, but here they're just more obvious. And vocal.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (12:28 PM).
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I don't really think that's true; I'd actually attribute the 'unintelligent internet-user' phenomenon to the fact that the internet artificially boosts one's currently available pool of information. Without the internet, I doubt the people who tout the knowledge they receive from it (but do not internalize) would have spent the effort to learn as much in the first place, but those who want to utilize the internet as an educational tool would probably still be as erudite as they are now even if the internet didn't exist (substituting libraries and such as their learning medium instead).
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Old January 28th, 2013 (12:38 PM).
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The internet can be a good resource for information, and is very useful to look up pretty much anything you want to

That being said, I do think that with all of this knowledge what you say is partially true - people are getting dumber because of the internet.
For eg., when I go on Yahoo! Answers, there are so many questions about homework problems. But the problems are simple, so if the people spent time thinking about the stuff they were supposed to have learnt, then they would easily know this. But because they have access to websites like Yahoo! Answers, they don't need to think as hard.
That's what I think anyway
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Old January 28th, 2013 (01:37 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Evanlyn:
For eg., when I go on Yahoo! Answers, there are so many questions about homework problems. But the problems are simple, so if the people spent time thinking about the stuff they were supposed to have learnt, then they would easily know this. But because they have access to websites like Yahoo! Answers, they don't need to think as hard.
That's what I think anyway
See I think people like that wouldn't make the effort to figure it out in any case. They'd probably relentlessly harass their smarter friends into giving them the answers, or whatever. I do agree that YA is a bad idea for students though - you can so easily research these things yourself on the internet and these people need to improve on their ability to research information if they're going to make it through university.

Anyway, to answer the question: I don't think the internet is making us dumber, no. The amount of information available on it is so fantastic, I don't think I'd know half of what I do today without it. It's so quick and handy, it's like having a million (extremely organised) libraries in your own home. Not to mention discussion boards like this are a great way to get you to really think about things too, but admittedly only a fraction of the people who use the internet browse forums.

If there's any theory about the internet I believe, it's that it lowers our attention spans. I know when I'm on the internet I generally have several tabs open and won't spend all that long on one tab (unless I'm writing a really long post, or something) before I need a break and switch to another one. However, I can't say I've noticed my inability to focus on one tab for an extended period of time having any effect on my attention span in "real life" so I don't really see it as a problem. Ultimately I'd rather have the internet as a knowledge bank than resort to using libraries and the like.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (01:46 PM).
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I don't see it making us dumber. Maybe it seems like that because since the internet is open to the world, you see more dumb people than you would by just going about your daily routine without internet. There are dumb people all over the world and along with the other smart people, we meet the other dumb people the world has to offer.

I personally find that the internet has helped me gain knowledge. I get to interact with so many differently minded people than I would in person and I get to experience their ideas as well as mine and it's shaped me as a person today. Not saying my brain is that malleable, but when you live in the Bible Belt, it's good to get online and see corners of the world that are more progressive thinkers. I'm not saying we're all bad in the Bible Belt of course, but majority of it pretty much sucks. And I find out most of my news through OC&D, actually. You get to learn more about your world rather than just your city, state, and/or country than you would if we didn't have the internet. That's just how I feel on the matter, though.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (04:18 PM).
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I actually learned more stuffs by TV and the internet than I did at school. And you think the internet is making people more dumb because of how much people you see on the internet than your daily life.

Like example, you see pictures of people that thinks the sun is a planet that turns into the moon at night.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (05:16 PM).
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In an age where information is available so readily at your fingertips, ignorance and stupidity are lifestyle choices.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (05:30 PM).
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As what everyone is saying, the internet isn't making us dumber; it's only making the less intelligence more common to everyone outside of the ones from their own residence. Just because you're more dumb people than usual doesn't mean our race is getting dumber every year.
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Old January 28th, 2013 (05:57 PM). Edited January 30th, 2013 by twocows.
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"X, but on the internet" has been this thing since the internet became popular. The answer to any of these questions about whether it makes a difference is almost always "no." "The internet" is as varied as the people who make use of it. And much like it is offline, who you choose to surround yourself with plays a large part in your thought process. And when you're talking about any gathering of people, online or otherwise, there's always one thing you must remember about those people: "its just like it is with the stars: there are bright ones and there are those that are dim."

Edit: I guess I should actually bother reading the first post. Having access to more information doesn't make us dumber, it just makes us smarter in different ways.
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Old January 29th, 2013 (09:25 AM).
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I guess I'm in the minority in thinking that the internet can be a bit of a crutch sometimes. I kind of liken it to using a calculator to do math problems. Yes, you have to have some understanding of the subject to use one, but it can do a lot of it for you, and if you know how to use one well you don't necessarily have to understand the underlying principles.

To me, attention span is a component of intelligence as a person without a long one isn't going to be able to handle things that require sustained thinking.

Personally, I'm most convinced that the internet isn't all positive by its effect on me. When I was in school I did spend a fair amount of time on the internet, but I spend more now than I did and I find that I'm not as quick as I was and that I'm more likely to jump to searching google than I am to searching my memory.
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Old January 30th, 2013 (07:53 AM).
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Nah man the internet got me a lot smarter by looking up good stuff which I will tell you some day it got me to this site and you meet great people sure you meet dumb people as well but that is life right?
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Old February 8th, 2013 (03:43 PM).
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Nah! The internet isn't making us more dumb, it's making us more lazy.

The way I look at it, the internet is home to a vast amount of information and therefore knowledge. It's how we choose to use the internet that determines whether we're using the information we look up efficiently. Similar to the calculator reference, if we use the internet as a means of getting an answer, then the detail as to how that answer is found remains blank to us. Our brain is less likely to register what we just found important enough for long term memory. We're not getting dumber, we're just not choosing to actually learn the material. Essentially, we're taking the hard work out of the process and using the easy way out. It's lazy behavior at its finest.

I actually think the internet can be quite beneficial and is a great source of learning new things, but it's how we choose to use that new found knowledge and how far we go with it beyond the computer that affects just how much we truly learn from it and keep locked in memory.
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Old February 11th, 2013 (12:11 PM).
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I think it is partially true; While the Internet doesn't make us necessarily dumber, it does make a significant part of it's users lazier. "Why bother learning something when I can just [insert favourite search engine here] it?" is an argument I've heard a few times. On the other hand, motivated people might learn quite a lot from websites like Wikipedia. I've found myself browsing Wikipedia quite often.
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Old February 12th, 2013 (05:32 PM).
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Maybe. I got dumber after spending too much time on Landover Baptist reading about the Devil's cotton fingers.
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Old February 12th, 2013 (06:30 PM).
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No not necessarily. But, it's how people get a lot of they're answers, it's teaching people how to get answers instead of thinking. Put it this way. If we didn't have internet 99% of this generation and the last generation would be lost, they wouldn't have a clue what's going on.

The main reason for why we're dumber is the lacking of school education. Back in my parents day they actually "taught" you how to figure out the answer using your "brain", now they just give you the answer or show you how to get the answer but you're no learning a thing. Your just learning to get the answer, now learning how you GOT the answer. A calculator in math doesn't mean you "learned" to do the problem because you aren't doing a lot of thinking, the calculator's doing everything for you. In they're day, they didn't have calculators, it's the media and our generations that's it.

We don't have any leaders anymore, no real inspiration no idols, just a bunch of followers because they don't know how to lead or know what they're doing. They're all following hoping that someone down the chain knows the answer or of what's really going on. Everyone's just saying the same thing because they "think" it's the answer, they're too lazy to figure out the answer. In other words, people are incapable of using they're brain anymore.
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Old February 12th, 2013 (07:18 PM).
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I think the internet is wonderful. It's basically an infinite amount of knowledge at your disposal. So what if you aren't acquiring those means through other, more "difficult" means - knowledge is knowledge no matter where it's coming from. The internet is also a great way to share ideas - even just posting on this forum is a form of information exchange. Here we are, being introduced to opposing viewpoints in this thread that we otherwise would not be discussing IRL. Being exposed to different ways of thinking is beneficial and essential for the development of balanced views and reasoning. Typing out our thoughts like this is meaningful, in that it helps us learn to express ourselves and forces us to examine our knowledge to make our arguments.
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Old February 13th, 2013 (10:57 AM).
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I don't really think the Internet makes you dumber per se, but if you read too many biased websites with "facts" that are unsubstantiated or taken out of context, then I do see a problem. For example, you can seem ignorant if you get your facts from something like a tabloid. Also see if the site is respected by people doing research. For example, the various anti-Muslim websites on the Internet are not considered reputable, and it's made worse by the fact that they play into stereotypes.

Analyze a page to see if there's something that doesn't seem right. For example, Conservapedia assumes that socialism and communism are the same thing, when in fact they are two separate ideologies. The same article has a picture of Adolf Hitler, which is not appropriate for an article on socialism (after all, Hitler opposed socialism). If an article includes bits of information that aren't necessary, then it's probably not good. The aformentioned site talks about creationism and Noah's Ark in an article about kangaroos. Keep in mind that I can't think of anything religious about kangaroos. It's like if someone was writing an article on a discovery in geology and they felt the need to insert comments about abortion. I liken it to getting a grade for a school report - you can lose points if you include irrelevant information. Also, do not buy into websites that promote conspiracy theories, such as claims that Barack Obama is a Muslim or that 9/11 was an inside job. If the writer of an article expresses sympathy for conspiracies, then they are probably a quack.

If you're looking up information, you should be careful as to whether the site is a reputable source or not. Even Wikipedia can be inaccurate due to the editing nature.
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Old February 13th, 2013 (11:30 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Magic Christmas Lights:
I think the internet is wonderful. It's basically an infinite amount of knowledge at your disposal. So what if you aren't acquiring those means through other, more "difficult" means - knowledge is knowledge no matter where it's coming from. The internet is also a great way to share ideas - even just posting on this forum is a form of information exchange. Here we are, being introduced to opposing viewpoints in this thread that we otherwise would not be discussing IRL. Being exposed to different ways of thinking is beneficial and essential for the development of balanced views and reasoning. Typing out our thoughts like this is meaningful, in that it helps us learn to express ourselves and forces us to examine our knowledge to make our arguments.
This. Regardless of the medium it's presented in, knowledge is knowledge either way. Yes, I'd rather hold Da Vinci's, Einstein's, Locke's, etc, journals or works in my hands and read them that way, but what they convey and what they mean isn't just bound to the paper it was written on.
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Old February 13th, 2013 (12:45 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Livewire:
This. Regardless of the medium it's presented in, knowledge is knowledge either way. Yes, I'd rather hold Da Vinci's, Einstein's, Locke's, etc, journals or works in my hands and read them that way, but what they convey and what they mean isn't just bound to the paper it was written on.
Certainly the format of knowledge (whether you read something in a book or the same thing from a website) has little or no influence on how well the knowledge gets across, but the internet is not just a different medium. The internet has everything. Compare that to a library A library is more limited in what it provides, and that's a drawback, but haven't everything available to you can be a drawback as well. You need to be more self-reliant on the internet, able to find the good information in a sea of unverified information. I'm not saying libraries are infallible, but you have to admit you're more likely to get accurate information more often in a library than from the internet. Anything can end up on the internet and pose as something of equal value to anything else on the internet.
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Old February 13th, 2013 (01:20 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Livewire:
This. Regardless of the medium it's presented in, knowledge is knowledge either way. Yes, I'd rather hold Da Vinci's, Einstein's, Locke's, etc, journals or works in my hands and read them that way, but what they convey and what they mean isn't just bound to the paper it was written on.
But what is knowledge if we can't remember it?

The internet is such a wonderful thing, but besides making us lazy, it also keeps us dependent upon it. Compared to doing the hard work or experiencing something for ourselves, I personally think we as people remember less of what we find on the internet than what we acquire outside or from doing the work that the internet would usually just do for us. I'll admit, I know I'm guilty of this myself.

For example, I could read about camping and the different techniques of how to tie a rope or build a tent online, but that doesn't mean I'll remember it once I'm out there doing it on my own. I think while the internet is a great source for information, it doesn't compare to the knowledge we gain from doing the hard work on our own.

Having said that, I don't think it's impossible to at least use the internet to its full potential so we can still retain that knowledge and use it outside of a computer. Use it like a calculotor though, and we're probably going to forget what we learned by tomorrow.
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Old February 14th, 2013 (11:27 PM).
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I would argue that the internet is now the ultimate tool for learning. The theory that the internet is "dumbing us down" is pure hokum. Much in the same way that books have beneficial and pointless reading material, so too does the internet. One can either pick up a physics book or 50 shades of grey. One can go to Icanhazcheezburger or they can take online classes. I think tools are what you make of them. So I think that the internet being the ultime communication asset, it is our responsibility to make the most of it.
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Old February 15th, 2013 (01:55 AM).
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To some extent I would say the Internet is a very great and extensive 'library' of information. It honestly depends on the activities one person uses the internet for, and for many it's a resource. It wouldn't hurt to pick up a book or two though with internet usage.

I think the amount of time spent on the internet should be more controlled though especially at a young age otherwise it could make them depend on it too much in terms of learning.
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Old February 15th, 2013 (02:19 PM).
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If anything, I think the internet is actually making us smarter. Depending on how you use it, of course.
With the internet, we have access to so much information that wouldn't be accessible by normal means. Although, I would say that through school I learn more vital skills, and through the internet I learn more...miscellaneous skills and knowledge. Although, like I said, it depends on how you use it.
I don't think it's good when you start to RELY on the internet for information and what not.
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