susan greenfield gets the treatment she deserves

September 17, 2012 — 1 Comment

And the treatment she deserves is mockery. You may remember some of Greenfield’s greatest hits in being a self-important dolt such as declaring that Hawking’s unapologetic pronouncement doubting the existence of a deity is just as radical as the Taliban’s imposition of their religion by violence and terror, and claiming that the internet is dangerous for kids and young adults since it rewires their brains, going as far as to claim that web surfing can cause autism. We can call the Baroness many things but really, none of them should imply expertise or intelligence if we really wanted to be honest. It doesn’t take a neuroscientist to see the problem with her claim that kids’ brains being rewired as they browse the web must be dangerous. After all, if you managed to stay awake in your freshman biology class in high school, you’ll nod along with this snarky little snippet from The Guardian’s post about Greenfield’s technophobic nonsense…

Partially respected neuroscientist Dr. Dean Burnett has called for an outright ban on this post, amid fears that it could cause untold damage to younger, impressionable people. “If people read this blogpost, they run the risk of remembering it for more than a few seconds. This means they have formed long-term memories, which are supported by synaptic changes. Ergo, reading this online blog has caused physical changes in the brain. And that’s bad, right? The brain undergoing physical changes is essentially what supports our ability to learn pretty much anything , which is crucial for our survival, but this must be a bad … because it involves the internet.”

Just like anti-vaccine activists rebel at the notion of inoculating children with antigens to trigger an immune response to prepare the body to fight a real pathogen but sing praises to exposing their kids to mumps and chicken pox to give them "natural immunity" — despite the fact that the chicken pox you had as a kid can turn into shingles when you’re an adult — so do technophobes like Greenfield shudder at horror when those newfangled computer thingies are the vehicle for a wiring change in a kid’s brain rather than a book. But rather than just come out and say that it’s new and they don’t know it, and hence, don’t like it, they’re busy creating doomsday scenarios in which we’re all turning into idiots and telling us that e-books will destroy the world. Mocking their bad science and questionable logic when it crosses into absurdity isn’t just a fun thing to do, it’s basically our duty as non-Luddites, and I’m happy to see that The Guardian took on this task.

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  • ajollynerd

    Am I the only one who thinks “partially respected neuroscientist” is one of the most awesome things ever written by an official publication?