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The Cult of the Amateur: How today's internet is killing our culture

  1. Sep 19, 2007 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    "The Cult of the Amateur: How today's internet is killing our culture"

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/july-dec07/internet_09-17.html

    streaming
    http://pbs-newshour.onstreammedia.c...35093&videoId=pbsnh091707&query=*&filter=null
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2007 #2

    J77

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    The internet's full of "pub experts" :biggrin:
    Isn't it obvious that one shouldn't go looking for proper experts on the internet; eg. purely through contact on, say, a message board?

    Exceptions being those who give up their anonymity via their websites.
     
  4. Sep 19, 2007 #3

    DaveC426913

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    "...The key argument is that the so-called "democratization" of the Internet is actually undermining reliable information and high-quality entertainment. By replacing mainstream media content, high-quality radio, television, newspapers, publishing, music, with user-generated content..."

    Loaded statement.

    Who says we're replacing mainstream content? Who says it's a zero-sum game? The whole point of progress is that we have more options available.

    Maybe Andrew Keen should log off the internets once in a while and look around. He might trip over a forgotten book or newspaper.
     
  5. Sep 19, 2007 #4
    Anyway it's up to the user to decide what he wants to see, read or listen, hey even the mainstream channels/radios/etc, has their places in Internet.

    And who says that mainstream media content, is better that others? I prefer Internet that fox news!

    This guys has no arguments! Just a silly point of view.

    Edit: His blog: http://andrewkeen.typepad.com/the_great_seduction/ is full of strawman arguments and stereotypes, and a tendency to maintain an elite that rules and educates the "Ignorant" masses.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  6. Sep 19, 2007 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    I disagree with much of what he said, but I agree with some of it as well. For one, most older people would probably agree that people on the internet are often mean and disrespectful; on the average, more so that we have ever seen in past decades. There was once a basic niceness about people that seems to be rare on the internet. And I do like the idea that it is a world of pre-social contract. When I first started visiting message boards, I was shocked at the level of animal behavior that seemed to define this new world.

    I also think he make as good point about sources - I have to wonder if the internet didn't get Bush elected, but I think that was mainly the fault of hate radio. And there is certainly a problem of information entropy - more and more useless and/or incorrect information. But the idea that other information sources provide quality information is absolutely laughable, and Fox News is a great example. There are quality information sources, but even in the mainstream media they are few and far between. And without the internet, we never would have had a macaca moment, and Allen would probably still be a Senator.

    But he misses many very important points. For one, people from all over the world are talking, which has never happened before in all of human history. IMO, this is a fundamentally revolutionary event that will change humankind for the better, forever. And for all of the animosity that internet discussions can generate, I believe that talk is better than silence. It is much easier to hate a ghost - a simplistic mental construct that represents "them" - than it is to hate a real person with whom you've talked. For example, I can’t help but feel a basic fondness for most people here, even if their statements make me want to beat them silly with a Bush stick.

    He also ignores the efforts and dedication of the many high quality people [like the people at PF] who are trying to make the world a better place, and the internet a force for good. Many of the problems that he mentions are the same ones that we try to solve or address here on a daily basis. And I have never seen so many give so much for so little. The amount of time donated here by professionals is amazing to me.

    Remember that kids. No one here is getting paid to help you. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts and their commitment to education.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2007
  7. Sep 24, 2007 #6
    Thank you Mentors for keeping PF high quality.
     
  8. Oct 8, 2007 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    The Braindead Megaphone

    http://www.kottke.org/07/09/the-braindead-megaphone
     
  9. Oct 8, 2007 #8

    D H

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  10. Oct 18, 2007 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    One example of a negative is something that we deal with here all the time. We have many people show up who have little to no scientific training, but who nonetheless will argue with Ph.D. physicists about physics; or biologists about biology; or engineers about engineering, right up until they get banned. We try to run a tight ship here, however, as you probably know, to a large extent the internet effectively democratizes science. Those who frequent unmoderated or badly moderated sites are often taught complete rubbish.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  11. Oct 20, 2007 #10

    SF

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    their fears are unfounded. The internet does not take anything away from culture, it only adds to it.

    Those who are now looking for answers on "google" probably wouldn't even have looked for answers anywhere before.
     
  12. Oct 20, 2007 #11

    Evo

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    And wrong information can be much worse than no information. The internet deals out ignorance, fear and in some cases deadly misinformation to masses of people that would otherwise have been spared. It's frightening to think of the consequences as more and more clueless people are fed bad information. There is so much misinformation being repeated on the internet that myth and rumors are being universally accepted as the truth.

    There are fewer and fewer people left trying to dispel the misinformation. The preponderance of garbage being spewed out on TV channels like the History Channel, The Learning Channel, etc... just makes it worse.
     
  13. Oct 20, 2007 #12
    But is it the quality or the quantity of the misinformation. Isn't that the core problem of humanity troughout the ages? People want to know what is going on and others more than happy to tell anything that is attractive to believe.

    In the old days that happened on the market place, in the religious centres, etc. Today we have CNN and internet. Biasing and spinning information to fit the needs, or better, instincts of groupthink is of all times.
     
  14. Oct 20, 2007 #13

    DaveC426913

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    Andre's got a point, Evo. The same could be said for any advance in communications in history - "a little information is worse than none".

    Yet if that were true, our civilisation and our quality of life would be ever deteriorating. And I'm pretty confident our quality of life, on average, gets better as generations pass.
     
  15. Oct 20, 2007 #14

    Evo

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    Ah, but this is the FIRST time that any idiot can reach the entire world in the blink of an eye. The damage done in the past was limited. Have you seen how quickly misinformation is copied across the internet? I've seen news articles (that were later retracted) appear on thousands of websites within minutes. Unfortunately retractions don't seem to propagate as quickly, if ever, on those same sites.

    We are, for the first time in history, dealing with a media that has virtually no limits and no controls.
     
  16. Oct 20, 2007 #15
    I would agree with Evo completely on this. It is my opinion that there are individuals that have become very wealthy because of the internet only because they are in some way involved with a message board or newsgroup and their opinion is highly regarded within these boards which usually have to do with hobbies and things of this nature. Little do the members of these boards realize that it isn't just advice they are getting. What is actually happening is the member who seems to be so helpful in handing out advice is cashing in on the back side by recommending some product or service or indirectly generating the sale of a certain product or service by manipulation. The advice handed out probably is worthless and quite likely hard to prove or disprove. Most of the members of the particular board are gullible enough to fall for this. The generously helpful member always seems to develop the sort of keyboard personality that the majority of the people within a group have in order to gain acceptance. I'd like to elaborate but I really don't think it is appropriate.
    -
    Yes, there have been snake oil scams for years. But as Evo has said, there are no limits or controls and it all happens in an eyeblink.
     
  17. Oct 21, 2007 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think it can be argued that PF is an example of a new kind of information filter.
     
  18. Oct 21, 2007 #17
    I think misuse of the internet can kill society. But like PF for instance brings society together. I think the internet made the world smaller, and thus is not killing our culture but rather makes our culture and society blossom.
     
  19. Oct 25, 2007 #18

    jim mcnamara

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    This is the main reason I back out of posting. Any quarrel with an idiot means I lose. And a lot of it in Biology is Religion motivated. Sometimes I post a statement, I always put the poster into my kill filter and let it go.

    Evo/Monique then usually end up closing the thread.

    I'd like to complain that Science should not have to fight Religious views, but I'd be wrong. I don't think there ever will be any reconciliation between Christian Fundamentalists and evolutionary Biologists, for example. So it's a no-win deal. But correct information has to go out there somewhere.

    To the point: The internet gives oddball views more than their fair share of exposure. IMO.
    The "inumerati" (innumerate ones) out there seem to outnumber the rest of us, if the internet represents any kind of reasonable sample space. Otherwise the inumerati try to outshout those of us who can count to ten.

    I cannot tell which. I am hopin' for number two.
     
  20. Oct 26, 2007 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    By definition, there is no argument against faith in the omnipotent because there is always an escape clause. However, in the end, borrowing from the movie Contact, science and religion both seek truth, and we see how over time science wins out when conflicts arise. For example, even if one believes that God is punishing him with a water-born parasite, he doesn't call the parasite "evil spirits" any longer. Now that's progress!!! :biggrin:

    "inumerati", I love it! :biggrin:

    On the average, isn't PF a pretty high-end crowd, intellectually speaking? I would expect this group to be in the minority as compared to the norm.

    I think both... it will be interesting to see what becomes of the internet in the future. And who knows; perhaps here we are seeing the real battle for hearts and minds? Will the internet be a source of useful information, learned insights, and even a place to find wisdom, [perhaps even the road to global peace] or will it degenerate into intellectual chaos [and a weaspon of war]? Will good and bad information become indistinguishable, or will sanity prove an emergent phenomenon?

    Given that the internet was originally ruled by thirteen year old boys and was powered by porno sites, I don't think we can say yet how this will go.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2007
  21. Oct 26, 2007 #20

    jim mcnamara

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    Ivan quote:
    I'm not sure what end we correctly represent here. Maybe the middle?

    That and the infallibility of scripture is the main reason why even debating is kinda pointless, IMO. We get those folks posting, trying to "disprove" something, usually evolution and Natural selection. I usualy try one post an bail out.
     
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