Is The Internet Making Us Dumber By Nicholas Carr Analysis

1055 Words 4 Pages
As technology develops, some people worry about the effects of those changes upon our society. Mr. Nicholas Carr, the author of “Is the Internet Making Us Dumber?” (Wall Street Journal) claims that the internet as a medium for information is having a detrimental effect upon the human brain and changing the way we think in a negative way. He claims that the internet has an excess of information and distractors that detract from our ability to focus, concentrate, and consolidate memory properly.
While some of the arguments and references he makes are well supported, there are a lot of red flags that anyone reading with an academic perspective would immediately question. Ultimately, the arguments he makes successfully actually detract from his
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Carr begins his essay (Does the Internet Make Us Dumber?) admitting that we have access to more information than ever before with the use of the internet, but states that it is causing a “scattered” effect on the brain. He goes further to express his concern regarding this development, and makes an effort to legitimize his concerns by stating that anyone valuing the depth of thought, rather than just the velocity, would also be concerned.
He references unnamed research and studies, and makes no attempt to qualify his description of the “Internet”, which might serve to validate his arguments to some degree. If, while making these claims, he were to state that “LolCats” or Facebook could be a distraction if browsed during business hours, his statement could be easily supported. With his general blanket term of “Internet” he by default includes encyclopedias, academic journals, classic literature, world news, and a number of other tools that today’s internet users utilize to deepen their knowledge, inspire, or educate.
Mr. Carr refers to a study that texts read on the internet that have links included in them are actually harmful to our ability to understand the texts, as opposed to texts read from a paper. “People who read text studded with links, the studies show, comprehends less than those who take in information in a more sedate and focused manner.”
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Carr continues to make allusions to constant disruptions of concentration involved with the internet, and as he never specifies what area of the internet is so disruptive, he causes the readers to assume that he means all internet activities are equally detrimental to one’s mental acuity. While some of what he states about neural pathways being formed and re-formed constantly to adapt to a changing environment (evolution and adaptability spring to mind, not a “deadly” devolution of human intellect that he warns of) can be easily agreed with, he fails to successfully leap from this point to a connection with his argument that the internet is causing harm in the formation of these neural pathways. The studies he references throughout the last half the article are indicators of personality types and levels of maturity, making it clear that he does not make a distinction between causation and correlation. Furthermore, he contradicts his point about adaptability when he concludes with the concept that we are naturally distractible and that we have evolved to have focus. The point he was making in a previous argument was that our natural focus was being worn away by new factors causing distractibility. Which is it, Mr.

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