A few years ago, The Atlantic ran a controversial article entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Nicholas Carr, the author of the article, argued that the type of reading and thinking used on the Internet actually harms our ability to do deep, meditative reading and thinking. Personally, I think Carr makes a persuasive point: I have found in my own life that the more I surf the Internet, the less able I am to concentrate on deeper reading/thinking. I was able to write my own book by giving myself disciplined times in which I avoided the Internet; it was the only way I could focus and concentrate on the subject at hand. I have written here about my fears of (especially Internet-enabled) e-books harming our ability to understand the Bible (and I was also interviewed on Son Rise Morning Show about this topic).
But I recently saw a headline entitled “Google Probably Not Making Us Stupid, Pew Study Says” and I was very interested to see what the study results were. In fact, I was prepared to admit that perhaps my (and Carr’s) anecdotal evidence would prove to be wrong in light of the cold, hard facts. However, after reading the article, I’ll stick to my original agreement with Carr that Google IS making us stupid. Basically, here are the results of the study:
The organization interviewed 895 technology stakeholders and critics via online survey about their expectations of social, political, and economic change by 2020, and one of those questions dealt with the effect of search engines like Google.
About 76 percent of respondents said that Google will not make us stupid.
In other words, they asked a bunch of experts their opinion and most of them disagreed with Carr. But there was absolutely no actual study done on the effects on the brain by these new ways to access information. It ended up just being their opinion based on their own anecdotal evidence. If anyone thinks that this “study” actually proves anything, I’d say they have been on Google too long.