Tag Archives: Steven Pinker

The Science Network: The Great Debate

From the web site of The Science Network:TSN: The Great Debate

On November 6th, 2010 a panel of renowned scientists, philosophers, and public intellectuals gathered to discuss what impact evolutionary theory and advances in neuroscience might have on traditional concepts of morality. If human morality is an evolutionary adaptation and if neuroscientists can identify specific brain circuitry governing moral judgment, can scientists determine what is, in fact, right and wrong?

The panelists were psychologist Steven Pinker, author Sam Harris, philosopher Patricia Churchland, physicist Lawrence Krauss, philosopher Simon Blackburn, bioethicist Peter Singer and The Science Network’s Roger Bingham.

Recorded live at the Arizona State University Gammage auditorium.

Below is the panel discussion that followed the individual presentations/talks by the participants. You can get to each of those by clicking on their names above.

Nicholas Carr – What’s the Internet Doing to Our Brains?

Via the Commonwealth Club:

Nicholas Carr, Author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains in conversation with Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google

“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” Carr uses this allegory in his Atlantic Monthly cover story “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and makes the case that the Internet has diminished our ability to think deeply. Carr, an outspoken anti-Wikipedia activist, will share his theory on the Internet as the culprit against civilization’s progress. Are our brains re-routed? What is the cost of information efficiency? Join us as this best-selling author presents his perspective on the side effects of the World Wide Web.

The original article prompted quite a few direct or indirect responses, and the book did the same:

An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness (NY Times)
Your Brain on Computers: Hooked on gadgets and paying the price (NY Times)
Your Brain on Computers: More Americans Sense a Downside to an Always Plugged-In Existence (NY Times)
Steven Pinker: Mind over Mass Media (NY Times)
Carr in turn responded to Pinker, as did Douglas Rushkoff and Evgeny Morozov on Edge

Update 20100819: The art of slow reading (Guardian)
Has endlessly skimming short texts on the internet made us stupider? An increasing number of experts think so – and say it’s time to slow down . . .