The Instigator
luxx
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
alto2osu
Con (against)
Winning
35 Points

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2009 Category: Education
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,683 times Debate No: 8403
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (5)

 

luxx

Pro

Hi this was an interesting topic I found from Britannica.com.
This is also my first debate so wish me luck :).

First off I am sure everybody knows what Google is, but just for clarification Google.com is an online search engine. Nowadays too many people rely on Google to search for information for their term papers, work, etc. People could find whatever they need instantly. It has become so instantaneous that we are becoming lazy. Books are becoming obsolete. Yes it is more convenient to just type in a couple keywords and finding the information that you need, but it is certainly setting up bad habits of laziness. Pretend that there is a 15 year old boy named Henry and there is another 15 year old boy named Jack. Now Jack and Henry are both given the same science project about ants. Henry uses Google.com as his main source of finding information, while Jack uses the web only to go on news and science websites that were recommended by his teacher as well as using books. Henry finds an abundance of facts about ants and proceeds to write them down. Jack also does the same only he actually reads through articles/books. Now on the day of their science presentation, who will know more information? The boy who actually read books to find his facts, or the boy who jotted down the list of facts from the first link he found when he typed in "ants"? I'm not trying to say that Google.com is bad, but it has become too convenient that people are developing habits of laziness, thus our literary culture is becoming lost which then means that our literacy rates is declining, which means that we're becoming stupider. ):
alto2osu

Con

I thank my opponent for proposing this topic, and hope we have a wonderful debate!

Firstly, I'll present my advocacy, which seeks to affirm that Google is not making humanity less intelligent. Secondly, I will refute what I feel are my opponent's main arguments.
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1. Blaming technology for the decline in motivation or any perceived decline in human intelligence is irresponsible, as it seeks to scapegoat more systemic problems within a society. While we may be able to conclude that collective humanity is becoming more lazy or more inept, it would be a disservice to humanity to blame those declines on technological advancement. Google in and of itself is not acting upon us; as societies, we have the obligation to transmit crucial information about appropriate uses of technology to future generations. When we foist the responsibility of education off onto technological advancements, we rob people of their agency and their accountability.

"The Google made me dumber" does not seek to solve problems or progress our understanding of our own metacognition, or what draws us to this technology more than, say, a hard copy encyclopedia.

2. Freer access to information inherently leads to an increase in size of the marketplace of ideas, which must be deemed an overall benefit for humankind. Communication-based technology has led to the connection of world societies in ways unprecedented in human history. We have gone from singular, isolated, nomadic pre-humans to a globally interconnected community of rational human beings at mach speed (relatively speaking), and this generations' connectivity to a world of information can be entirely attributed to internet access.

However, we require tools like search engines to categorize and prioritize millions upon millions of pages of information. Without Google and other search engines like it, the internet would be virtually untranslatable and completely enigmatic.

Free access to information spurs invention, creativity, diplomacy, and all other forms of positive communication.

It can also be said to combat intolerance and ignorance, as it has the ability to expose people to cultures that they normally would have no access to. It can teach diversity and understanding by exposing humans to both the best and worst of its species. For example, it can reveal that racism is alive and well in the United States, despite the advancements of the last 50 years involving the Civil Rights Movement. Free information means more transparent information, and it means more access to information that can help us solve internationally critical problems.

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Now, to respond to my opponent's advocacy:

1. I accept my opponent's definition of Google.com. We're all set there.

2. Spontaneity and convenience means laziness: again, this is a problem that can only be solved via education. Taking away Google or blaming Google for laziness is like blaming McDonalds for obesity. It takes away the individual's agency, and scapegoats a problem that originates with the user, not the product. People cannot continue to claim ignorance and then expect the problems of the world to be solved without their decisive action.

3. Books are becoming obsolete: first of all, this is categorically untrue, and I'd like my opponent to provide a warrant for "books" becoming obsolete. I would like to recharacterize books as sources of hard copy information, such as those that are considered more "reliable" than many internet sources, like peer-reviewed and edited books, journals, newspapers, magazines, etc. I have two more responses to this argument, though:

a. If hard copy sources are becoming obsolete, it is more likely that they are becoming thus because those sources are being shared and transmitted electronically, rather than being printed on paper. The move toward a paperless world is both environmentally and fiscally sound, and will allow more access to the best print sources produced by the human culture.

b. Something being in hard copy doesn't inherently make it more reliable or trustworthy than a webpage. Not all hard copy sources are reliable. In fact, because all books, magazines, journals, webpages, etc. are human creations, they are all subject to bias and fallibility. Sources should be questioned based on their authors, not their copy form (i.e. on the internet, in print, etc.).

4. On little Jack & Henry: This is not the fault of Google in any way. Henry should have listened to his teacher, and Jack did. Google didn't beckon Henry to itself. Henry made a choice of free will to not only use Google, but to use it against his teacher's instructions. By blaming Google, did we fix Henry's misconceptions? Henry needs to be re-taught how to use Google properly, and how to evaluate sources of information for accuracy and validity.

Not only that, but what if Henry does know how to evaluate sources, which is a skill that we cover in-depth as a part of my state's educational standards? The use of Google does not inherently apply that Henry will default to his first link. My opponent assumes that all Google users will have no ability to sift through results as needed.

5. A culture of literacy lost: this is also an unwarranted claim. Allow me to provide a brief anecdote: I teach 9th grade English. I wanted my students to read HG Wells "War of the Worlds," but we had no hard copies. So, I used Google.com to find a wonderful educational website that had posted the book online, a study guide for the students to complete, and an audio file of the original, 1938 Orson Welles broadcast of "War of the Worlds." My students would have absolutely no experience whatsoever with what is considered to be the first true science fiction novel to come out of the UK had it not been for my ability to find the book online. Note what I said about hard copy sources being transferred to online venues: we actually *increase* access to the world's most intelligent and insightful literature through the internet, and the internet is only navigable by applications like Google.

What separates this experience from Henry's is my application of my searching skills, and has nothing to do with Google's accessibility. Clearly, Henry could be trained to do what I did. He simply hasn't been yet.

I thank my opponent again for the debate, and look forward to her response!
Debate Round No. 1
luxx

Pro

I thank my opponent for taking the time to debate with me, on with the discussion!

1.You are right, I can't blame technology. But research shows that technology is responsible for the decline of reading. It isn't necessarily saying technology itself is the primary reason for the degradation of literacy rates, but what and how we use it. Google is the medium for people to get their information off of. It isn't bad if you use it moderately to find certain information as a last resort, but our reliance on Google and using it as a first resort causes us to shift our habits.

2.Free access to information is great, but all that is free isn't necessarily all note-worthy. All Google does is pile up links whether it is spam or not. It categorizes, but doesn't sift through all the useful and useless links. I think it is a questionable statement (and a bit far stretched) to say that Google could potentially solve international problems. But that's another topic.

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1.I am glad we agree on one point ☺

2.My point isn't saying that we should take away Google, but it simply stupefies our brain. The way our brain is adapted to finding information quicker than finding information from books and such. We don't need to read through paragraphs and countless articles to find anything anymore and this causes our brain to become more dormant.

3.Books are definitely becoming obsolete. Whether or not being shared, environmentally helpful, etc. "Best" is a relative statement. Your opinion on the "best" book, may be someone else's "worst" book. Something made in a hard copy may not be reliable, but it is more guaranteed, because it takes more time, effort and money to produce a book than to make a blog and write some information down.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

4.Google doesn't beckon anyone, but neither do books. It is our free will to decide, but apparently most people choose Google. No one can teach someone how to use Google properly, moderation is the key. I don't think any state requires their educators to use Google, or as a standard of learning. Learning to use the internet is essential, but even that is not a standard of learning. When using Google, most people are more susceptible to click on the first, second, or third link. How many times have you used Google and clicked on the second page and down to the 8th link without clicking on the first few links beforehand?

5.I applaud you for being an educator ☺, however I never claimed that the content of Google is making us stupider, it is the fact that because our accessibility to information can be found so quickly, that people don't read as much anymore. Your use of using worksheets from websites emphasizes your reliance on Google. If Google were not there, you would have had to actually create your own worksheets. Your knowledge of War of the Worlds would have been more in depth if you made the worksheet yourself as you would have had to make an effort to. (Ps: I'm not trying to say anything bad about your teaching skills, just trying to state a point so please don't take it the wrong way). If you wanted to increase your knowledge as well as your student's knowledge of the book, there are many books and other teaching materials that could have complimented with your book and you could have ordered them through catalog.

I look forward to my opponent's response.
alto2osu

Con

I will respond as my opponent has: to the neg, then the aff.

But, a brief overview: I want to make sure that the debate stays focused on Google, as we seem to be digressing into whether books are becoming obsolete, etc. I will respond to my opponent's RD 2 posting according to her refutations, but we should both keep this in mind for round 3. Her job is to prove that Google is making people stupider. My job is to cast doubt on her advocacy of this concept.

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Neg Advocacy:

1. I have two responses:

The resolution inherently blames technology, which is the position that my opponent must defend. The resolution reads "Is Google making us stupider?". Hence, Google is clearly given agency in this resolution. The affirmative's job is to prove that Google is responsible for increased stupidity. If anything, my opponent's response furthers my own position, which is that people must be accountable for their own choices. Blaming Google for our stupidity is illogical and irresponsible. Technology isn't responsible for anything—our practices are. If we blame technology, we get no closer to a solution.

TURN: Technology, when used correctly, actually increases our literacy rate. See my anecdote about War of the Worlds and the fact that all manner of texts can be made available to vast numbers of people who couldn't access them before.

2. Bad internet contents can be sorted through by human beings, and Google actually seeks to prioritize results, as well, which means that bad results are not a reason to vote Pro. Google actually eliminates more bad results that provides them.
The pro misinterprets my statements here. Google doesn't solve international problems. It does, however, serve as a means to this end. Access to the internet, and efficient access, is the fastest mode of communication for distant societies on the planet. Google, as a tool of efficiency (that is, after all, its original intention), helps the internet to do its job. Hence, it has its piece in a global form of communication that has brought the world in community.

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Aff Advocacy:

Looks like we'll be sticking with how I numbered her arguments in RD 1

2. If something is bad, why would it be unrealistic to mitigate the bad thing by getting rid of it? Where is the advocacy, here?
More than that: my opponent failed to address the actual point made, so extend that: scapegoating Google for our own laziness removes responsibility and agency from human decision making. It places blame on an inanimate object, rather than where it belongs, and leads to no positive change.

3. My argument isn't in the business of censorship. The point is still carried through- we are putting more hard copy sources on the internet, which is still increasing education, even if we don't all agree on good or bad books. The point is that hard copy sources are still being put online, plain and simple. Hence, said books, bad or good, are still available. The internet has the ability to provide those hard copy resources to more people in more places than simple hard copies.

My opponent's source also only discusses that adults are reading less, but it is due to busy schedules and television. Google can't be deemed to be at fault here, not even by the article my opponent cites.

Lastly, my opponent doesn't give us a good reason to inherently trust books and distrust the internet. Sure, books have to be published. For example, the KKK manifesto. That was a published, hard copy source. It is purely naivete to believe that any source should go unquestioned.

4. My opponent hasn't warranted that most people choose Google.

I teach people how to use Google correctly every day. It's a part of my curriculum, and technology is a state standard in all 50 states for education. Google and other search engines are considered foundational to internet lesson plans and research lesson plans. My opponent has warranted her doubts about state curriculum. While I can't find the magical "Google education" standard, I can show you tens of lesson plans on how to use Google to perform research tasks, taught across states and grade levels.

The first, second, and third links are not inherently bad links. No warrant.

5. This is nonresponsive. My opponent is required to blame the content of Google for stupidity, as Google's only content is the links it provides within its searches. Internet pages are not "on Google." Their links are, prioritized by a number of intricate procedures. Hence, she is required to prove that the content of Google leads to stupidity.

Worksheets from Google are not inherently bad. Although, I never used worksheets from Google. This is an assumption made by my opponent. There's little other way to take it other than my opponent is questioning my knowledge of my own content area, but that aside, no mention of worksheets was made in my round 1 post, so disregard as irrelevant.

TURN: As a side note, the study guide questions that I consulted on the book were pulled directly from a professor's hand-written lesson plans on the book. Hence, they began as a print source, which he chose to share with other teachers via the internet. Hence, I would not have had access to those questions (which I did modify to fit my own knowledge of the text as well as my students) without them being on the internet, and without a search engine to locate them.
Debate Round No. 2
luxx

Pro

luxx forfeited this round.
alto2osu

Con

Bummer on the forfeit. Extend all of my arguments, please.
Debate Round No. 3
luxx

Pro

luxx forfeited this round.
alto2osu

Con

Please extend my arguments once again and vote Con. Hopefully, my opponent is safe wherever she is, and will have time during her next topic to devote to argumentation.
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 11 through 19 records.
Posted by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
It's a tool, but it's a neutral. Like, it's an inanimate object. I can't have the same agency as a person using it does. Hence, any blame laid for laziness or stupidity must be laid on the user, not the tool.
Posted by TheSkeptic 5 years ago
TheSkeptic
True, alto2osu, but you'll find that technology helps the process for both ways ;). It can help spur intellectual growth, or help make you into a blooming dimwit.
Posted by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
Which, to those who've posted below, is exactly why it isn't Google that is actually making people stupider :) People make people stupider. Specifically, we make ourselves stupider.
Posted by s0m31john 5 years ago
s0m31john
Most people don't even know how to use Google. Just like Nail_Bat said, a simple Google search will solve most problems, but you have to know 'how' to search. I can't really explain it, it just come from experience. People ask me questions all the time and I tell them to 'Google it', they then tell me that they already did and that they couldn't find the answer. Then it takes me literally 10 seconds to do a search and I have what they need.
Posted by Nail_Bat 5 years ago
Nail_Bat
I sure hope nobody figures out that any time I'm asked to fix somebody's computer, all I do is google search for the error message...
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
It's clear that Pro is arguing that Google has a negative impact on students, at least concerning their study habits. I'm just curious as to what is the crux of her case.
Posted by anotherkid 5 years ago
anotherkid
I think dumb and lazy are just subcatagories of what pro's trying to explain.
Posted by anotherkid 5 years ago
anotherkid
I completely agree, though you may have exagerated just a little bit. I wouldn't have noticed, but now that you mention it, every kid in my class was using google to find stuff last time we were in the computer lab...
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
Is your main argument that Google makes users dumb or lazy? You seem to go back and forth on the two.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by thisoneguy 5 years ago
thisoneguy
luxxalto2osuTied
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Vote Placed by alto2osu 5 years ago
alto2osu
luxxalto2osuTied
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philosphical
luxxalto2osuTied
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Maikuru
luxxalto2osuTied
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wjmelements
luxxalto2osuTied
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