Author Topic: Carl Sagan getting it right...  (Read 3755 times)

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Online aargee

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Carl Sagan getting it right...
« on: January 25, 2017, 07:49:29 pm »
You can substitute most first world states in this quote by Carl...

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”


? Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 
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Offline mtdoc

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2017, 08:23:18 pm »
Yes, very prescient. I think this applies to more than just the USA - though we're probably responsible for more than our share of it.

Carl Sagan is missed.
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2017, 08:24:28 pm »
It sounds like a continuous descent.  But nothing's changed, from his day, to today, or from a century ago, or two centuries.  We've always had "fake news", or tabloids, or whatever they were called at the time.  We've always had headlines, or sound bites, or talking points, or "narratives".  And we'll always have that same in-group vs. out-group dynamic that we've had for the last 100,000 years.

It's the social equivalent of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepard_tone

The baseline hasn't changed, indeed it's risen if anything.  But perhaps not proportional to the rise in overall education, which makes the average ratio worse.  (Indeed, in a highly educated society where the baseline is always set by those who are unable to benefit from that education, should we not expect the inequality to increase?)

Tim
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Online Mr.B

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 08:30:55 pm »
Agree with you Tim.
However, I think the biggest influencing factor in the last 100,000 years (as you put it) is Telecommunications.
Rather than 100 years ago when the crap tabloid was only delivered to the village down the road, we can now deliver bucket loads of crap to every country on the planet in a fraction of a second.
Time is the overseer of all things.
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 09:21:18 pm »
The thing that really scares me is that ~90% of the American public still believes in the supernatural (gods and all that stuff). You'd think it was still the Middle Ages rather than the 21st century.
 

Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 09:55:58 pm »
The thing that really scares me is that ~90% of the American public still believes in the supernatural (gods and all that stuff).
Technically, if God exists, He wouldn't be supernatural now would He?. I have yet to see any conclusive evidence of His non-existence.

Since this is a thread about Carl Sagan, I'll quote him: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". We don't have to prove the non-existence of god, those that claim he exists have to provide the proof.
 
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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 11:45:00 pm »
Religion?  ::) ::) ::)

Can we please not let this thread devolve and get it back on topic to politics!

...Well, fuck.  :box:

(Thread closing in 10, 9, ...)  :-DD

Tim
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Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2017, 12:09:06 am »
Agree with you Tim.
However, I think the biggest influencing factor in the last 100,000 years (as you put it) is Telecommunications.
Rather than 100 years ago when the crap tabloid was only delivered to the village down the road, we can now deliver bucket loads of crap to every country on the planet in a fraction of a second.

Worse than that, right into people faces via their smartphone.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2017, 12:16:38 am »
 

Offline nidlaX

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2017, 12:48:19 am »
Social media, and the proliferation of information networks via the internet in general, has had a very large impact on this "dumbing down" you speak of. Online social networking is causing groupthink reinforcement and driving people to isolate themselves within networks of similar information via positive feedback. It's easy for you to go online and surround yourself with a vast sea of opinions with which you agree and block out anything you find disagreeable. This applies to and affects everyone along any portion of the political, educational, and socioeconomic spectra. It also forces the "traditional media" to become more contentious and extreme in their reporting in order to remain relevant / profitable, which reinforces divisions for people who aren't tapped into social / online media as well.

It is likely an inevitable outcome of technological advancement outpacing our neurological / cognitive evolution. We'll just have to "deal with it". 8)
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2017, 01:32:01 am »
Agree with you Tim.
However, I think the biggest influencing factor in the last 100,000 years (as you put it) is Telecommunications.
I don't think so. IMHO (book) printing has been crucial to spreading and retaining knowledge for the past couple of centuries. Only since recently internet is doing a better job at bringing knowledge to the people. If I need to do/make something I know nothing about I can look it up on internet almost instantly and read/watch how it is (not) done. Maybe we could say that we don't need to know a lot nowadays since we all have the information available when needed.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online aargee

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2017, 02:24:06 am »
The trouble is, that any knowledge of worth is buried in the mud that comes flooding through.
People with poor abilities to discriminate between true and false or believable and not have little chance.

Critical thinking is not common. When the internet first started to give access to information on a large scale, say five years after the WWW came into existence, it was relatively easy to get good solid information, easily. Maybe that was the audience back then and how it meant sitting at a PC hard wired to the wall and be nerdy and stuff, I don't know.

Do a Google search now and it, more often than not, shows up tonnes of crap you have to sift through to find what you really need to know.
Not easy, not hard, just need to be incentivised.
 

Offline tronde

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2017, 05:06:43 pm »
Maybe we could say that we don't need to know a lot nowadays since we all have the information available when needed.

Works OK as long as you know what to ask google about.
Really dangerous when you don't know (or understand) you should ask a question.
 

Offline rollatorwieltje

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Re: Carl Sagan getting it right...
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2017, 06:55:36 pm »
I'm slightly more optimistic, although I'm obviously looking from a Dutch perspective. Never in history have people demanded more reliability from their governments. History books are full of leaders who ruled however they wanted. Just looking at here in the Netherlands, up until the 1970's not a single journalist even dared to ask difficult questions to politicians, the media was purely repeating what the politicians had to say. That situation was far worse than today. It wasn't just "fake news", it was the only news you were able to get.

Edit: speaking about the devil, right now our minister of Justice resigned, because a journalist revealed he was intentionally misinforming the government.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 07:31:44 pm by rollatorwieltje »
 


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