The Instigator
syreandra
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
cschwaigert
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Are people getting dumber?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 994 times Debate No: 28226
Debate Rounds (4)
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syreandra

Con

We will be arguing whether or not people are getting dumber due to the use of technology.
As my opponent is pro, she can argue first. :)
cschwaigert

Pro

People are getting dumber because society is becomeing self reliant on technology .With the developments in technology
our educational skills that have been used in the past are now becomeing perishable.
Debate Round No. 1
syreandra

Con

According to Joe McKendrick (smartplanet.com), a study found that there was no difference in the processing skills of frequent and infrequent internet users, but that in the frequent internet users, the tests taken for both planning and attention had higher scores than those achieved by the infrequent internet users. This suggests that perhaps the internet stimulates the mind. Now why would something that stimulates the mind be falsely accused of making people dumber? " 'People who have better attention and planning skills might use the Internet more often". Maybe people with poor attention and planning skills just get fed up with the internet more easily and so don"t use it as much.' " (McKendrick)

As for Google, well, a brain scan was run on people who used it. "'For those with internet experience, using Google to search actually produced higher levels of activation in the parts of the brain associated with complex reasoning and decision-making. '" (McKendrick) This also proves that technology doesn't really make people dumber, because the only people reporting negativity are ones who cannot figure out what to do with it.

What people seem to miss "is that the research focused on either unusually enthusiastic multitaskers or people who were in the midst of web activity. That"s unrealistic." People typically don't spend that much time on the internet (minus the collection of social-media addicted teenagers), and they don't use technology during the more important times in life like business meetings.

To even begin to understand technology takes a set of skills, the most basic and most important of which is being able to process the information given. "Children are frighteningly good at [processing]. They have no difficulty sorting through complex arrays of information and graphics. It feels like they read the patterns of the computer interfaces like native speakers. It"s not for nothing that we call children growing up today digital natives." (psyches circuitry) This proves that technology isn't making people dumber. It is instead making people, children in particular, evolve to fit in with the more technologically-based world of today.

As for GPS's and cell phones, well, consider it like this. Back in the day, it was far easier to remember the different directions to all the places in town and numbers of people you knew. Today, population growth has run rampant. Towns continue to expand and new couples continue to have children. Take for example, the women who have at least six children. They have increased the population immensely. It is no wonder that people need to rely on GPS's and cell phones; now there is no telling how many different places you may need to get to or how many important numbers there are in your life.
cschwaigert

Pro

Society is so dependent on machines that people forget that technology can be harmful to some ways of life and social skills that are gained through out timeout is concerning in the way that people have forgotten how to use maps and compute basic math problems and it is resulting in an inability to discern nuance,interpret social cues or take a joke. (Jackson,2012) If technology for some reason went out life as we know it would be at standstill because if people need a machine to tell them how much money to give back don't expect them to even begin to know how much change they need to give you if forced to do it manually.

As for things such as GPS they also can have negative effects instead of being helpful tools such as in 2010,the department of Justice estimated that 25,000 Americans are victimized each year because abusers are using GPS tracking technology to trace the movements and pinpoint the location of their targets.(Fear of Technology)Not to mention GPS can not always help when in a area that is not known to many only certain places and routes are placed on GPS and that GPS can not even begin to determine if a train is coming or if a road has been closed.
Debate Round No. 2
syreandra

Con

My opponent argues that people lose social skills through technology. On the contrary, as through technology (texting, social media sites, ect.) people can more easily get ahold of each other, thus enabling more relationships. Relationships boost social skills.

While some people are unable to make change without a computer, this should originally stem from the way the person was taught. Many people find it easy to make change without a computer, counting back in their mind. While others rely more on the machine. Just because they look at the machine, which is more convenient, doesn't mean that they are unable to make the change themselves.

While some people are victimized by being tracked down due to GPS, think of the amount of criminals that have been also tracked down and brought in, saving countless lives and protecting the citizens. GPS maps are being updated daily, with more and more ability to look at the world. An example of this is Google Earth, which allows the user to scan over unknown areas and street-view maps taken from the satellite. Surveyors also have access to maps of remote places, and are continually drawing up new ones. They do this using computers.

Thus, technology is making people smarter, not dumber.
cschwaigert

Pro

It is a valid point that society now has an easier way to access each other, however the problem with using technology is a person should at least contain an ounce of common sense when using it. Sadly common sense in our world today is not so common and the next technology reliant generation will have to do a Google search on what common sense is to even comprehend what the word means. It would be in my opinion common sense not to use certain technology while driving a vehicle and yet it happens everyday. A California woman was sentences to 6 years who while texting rammed a line of vehicles and killed an occupant.(Fear of Technology)And according to National safety council in 2010, 1.6 million car crashes yearly are caused by cell phone users(Fear of Technology)

Also technology is contributing in a big problem with children and young adults such as there is a decrease in patience. When everything is already at your fingertips their is a want for everything fast pace. As said best by Queen they want it all and they want it now. They don't want any slow or simple task anymore. The days of sit down restaurants and reading countless hours for fun will become a thing of the past. Reading has declined not only among the poorly educated,according to a report last year by the National endowment for the Arts of 17-year old who read nothing unless required to do so for school has more than doubled between 1984-2004.(Jacoby,2008) And where is this time spent might you ask? Why watching T.V of course. In the course of 65 years an average American will have spent 9 years glued to the T.V(The dumbing of America). On top of that by age 18 people have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence and each year they have watched approximately 20,000 commercials.(The Dumbing of America) But that's not all folks. By the time the average child has completed elementary school he or she has seen 8,000 murders.(The Dumbing of America)The harmful effect that this has on a child is that they are immune to violence that is seen on T.V and on the movie screens. Values are being compromised and it is the elementary and high school levels that are taking the toll for it.

I think that the main concept of this problem with technology and mankind is best demonstrated in the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. He said and I quote "The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects,eats upon itself."(Jacoby,2008) Emerson is completely right and that is what are nation is doing right now we are aiming low and it is resulting in a down fall. Currently everything is handed to us with the touch of a button. When a student needs to look up a word for a vo-cab test they no longer need to pick up that big fat dictionary the can just go to dictionary.com and type it in. Does this help them? Maybe some but the majority of people would most likely remember it more so if they had used the book because they are going to be tired of flipping through the pages and they have to work for it. Even on test technology is used to simplify it. In most high school test you can use a calculator this is a terrible choice in my mind because now that they have been given the easy way out what happens if this young adult wants to take a test such as the ASVAB? On the ASVAB you can not use a calculator and there are several other test out there that are in similar agreement. As I have often been told through out my life you can give a man a fish and he will eat for a day but if you teach a man to fish he will eat for the rest of his life.
Debate Round No. 3
syreandra

Con

Our teacher said that depending on what happened over the debate, we could choose to decline our final round. So I'm declining. I believe she won. And since I do agree with her points entirely and not my own. This debate it over :)
Debate Round No. 4
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