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June 29, 2008

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Thou shalt keep the pages you view text heavy.

Thou shalt not skim.

Thou shalt read many long articles, not only blog posts (sorry, Melinda).

Thou shalt read prolifically, not just in your "comfort zone."

First the Internet has it's value, but never forget about books. It is easy to make almost any subject look good in a short article, but if you read a book on the subject the problems become more apparent.

I like to read both articles by conservatives and liberals, where the articles disagree is where I try to center my studies on that subject, and reading the liberal articles helps me predict what type of arguments I might face in the future.

I forgot to mention I am also reading up on the art of rhetoric, so I can be more convincing to the people I talk to on-line and it is teaching me the dirty tricks of rhetoric as well so I can spot them when I see them.

It is also important to remember even the most intelligent and honest people on the net are still human and can make mistakes. If you are going to build any argument from something you read on the net always look for primary source documents, it it is a primary source double check it's validity if you can. When you are discussing controversial subjects many people will throw out every good argument you make if they discover one error in what you say.

If you can't read a book anymore, it's because you're out of practice. Practice!

I, too, have found it hard to concentrate on a book -- or even long articles. Grit your teeth and get through it, and next time it'll be easier.

Now make a habit of getting some books in.

After skimming the unbearably long and in-depth article in question, I have come to the conclusion that this point has no merit.
I apologize for the length of this comment.

“Still, their easy assumption that we’d all ‘be better off’ if our brains were supplemented, or even replaced, by an artificial intelligence is unsettling. It suggests a belief that intelligence is the output of a mechanical process, a series of discrete steps that can be isolated, measured, and optimized. In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation. Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.”

I too find their assumption disturbing but not surprising. The belief, supported by strong scientism, that all that exists is merely matter and particle interaction has all but taken over mass media.

By the way, this belief of behaviorism has been tried and failed miserably within our education system. Skinner thought a valid teaching process was to break down information into discrete bits and that once each piece is taught, the whole would be realized by the learner. Generally speaking however, the human mind does not learn that way because the whole of significant and valuable information is more than the sum of its parts in the same way that a meaningful sentence is more than the mere juxtaposition of symbols.

For that reason and others, I think efforts to replicate the human mind with silicon will fail and my even speed the collapse of materialism. For when they are unable to accomplish the human mind’s inexplicable essence – its capability to integrate experience, thought, memory, relation, and emotion – we may be that much closer to proof that transcendent intelligence is behind the design of the human “machine” after all.

I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm ... afraid.

Cute try. Unfortunately for the materialist, an illustration from a movie demonstrates nothing about reality.

Take a vacation from the web. Hop on a bike or put on your running shoes and go for a run or a long ride. Drink in the wonders of God's creation and feed the ducks. A mind needs a vacation sometimes too. Sometimes you just need to get out of the stagnant waters of the web to a refreshing cold and crystal clear brook of real life.

I think you're right, Mike. It was nothing but a "cute try."

The movie quote was actually the thoughts of a computer as a human was shutting it down.

The article being discussed here puts forward the idea that it's our modern computer-based information distribution system that is shutting down our human minds. Many of us are feeling no pain at all.

Sorry 'bout that Mike. I took your post as direct response to my argument rather than the overall point of the article. The article's point and your comment are profound and should cause everyone to pause and think, but of course, that may mean being labeled anti-science or anti-progress by those who, following the internet formation of their thinking patterns, prefer not to think deeply at all.

Here's how I refined my thinking process. I grew up on the web from about my freshman year in highschool onward.

I started with Coast to Coast AM and ended up years later on this site via Reasons to Believe. (It's funny, I know, but an answer to prayer).

Then I started debating people. The same few people, but about a lot of subjects. It forced me to do research. Most of them still disagree with me, but I find I can formulate arguments much more quickly and _nicely_, and be clearer in my presentation. And I now have the confidence and know-how to do it person to person instead of over the web.

I didn't know I had a passion for this stuff until I learned that there was more than just the Bible to refer skeptics to.

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