December 10, 2018

Mere Science and Christian Faith, by Greg Cootsona: Chapter 6- Calling Out the Good in Technology

Mere Science and Christian Faith: Bridging the Divide with Emerging Adults, Chapter 6- Calling Out the Good in Technology

We are reviewing the book, Mere Science and Christian Faith, by Greg Cootsona, subtitled Bridging the Divide with Emerging Adults.  Today we look at Chapter 6- Calling Out the Good in Technology.  Greg wants to begin a conversation about the effect of technology on the faith of emerging adults.  Culturally, popular films often tell us a lot about ourselves.  He says that recent films that focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and robots exemplifies a cultural landscape that affects how emerging adults see religion and science.  Certainly the Matrix films, beginning with the original, The Matrix in 1999 would qualify as such an example.  Here is the Wikipedia summary (in case you’ve been living under a rock all this time):

The series features a cyberpunk story of the technological fall of man, in which a self-aware artificial intelligence has wiped most of humanity from the Earth except for those it enslaves in a virtual reality system as a farmed power source, and the relatively few remaining humans who are free of that system. The A.I. (Matrix) agenda is to destroy all humans who are free, considering them a threat/disease. The story incorporates references to numerous philosophical and religious ideas.

The Matrix was followed by the sequels, The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003).  They were successful movies that did spark a number of discussions at the time, but are probably more germane to the older end of the emerging adult spectrum.  Phrases like “unplugged from the matrix” and “red-pilled” have entered the lexicon of contemporary jargon, and comparisons with Neo to Christ were numerous at the time.

Cootsona also notes a more recent film (which I have not seen), Ex Machina (2014), which depicts the creation of the beautiful and ultimately dangerous robot Ava. (Greg says, “Ava sounds a great deal like the biblical “Eve” to my ears—it seems we haven’t strayed too far from the previous chapter”).  Ava has been created to pass the Turing Test, which evaluates a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from a human being’s.

Although these, and other movies featuring AI seem dystopian, and Greg thinks we fear technology and its power over us;  but he thinks the church can’t be content to merely offer warnings—he thinks we also need to call out the good in technology.  This is because, in his experience, the primary science that meets the faith of most 18-30 year-olds is technology.  (I see his point, but I can’t help but think “the church’s” opinion of technology is already irrelevant to most emerging adults.)

In this chapter he wants to look at three broadly grouped (and somewhat disparate) categories of technology: screens, community, and the future.  What do screens on smartphones, laptops, and tablets (essentially the Internet in your hand) do for us and to us?   How does virtual community relate to the old-fashioned kind, where people are in the same place at the same time?  And lastly, what is the future of technology going to bring?

In Cootsona’s experience in his college classes, emerging adults tend toward the pragmatic over theoretical speculation.  A question like, “Does quantum physics offer a place for divine action” does not resonate with them.  For emerging adults, technology is ubiquitous.  They are digital natives.  We seem to mark history in terms of technological advance.  The rise of cities and farming, the use of bronze and then iron for tools and weapons, the feat of Roman roadways, the Gutenberg press… and so on.

So, today, let’s have a discussion of technology, particularly smartphones, and our emerging adults.  Let’s discuss the pros and the cons.  For example, Greg brings up researcher and technologist Jane McGonigal and her 2010 TED talk, “Gaming Can Make a Better World”.  She promotes the theory that computer games can actually lead to human community!  Cootsona says:

McGonigal reveals that the world spends three billion hours a week playing online games—which shocks the audience—and then doubles down by asserting that we need to do more gaming.  How could that be the case?  Because problem-solving skills developed in those virtual situations could be employed in cracking real-world problems, she says.

He then makes a few reflections on technology and the Christian faith, after all he says, technology is here no matter what, let’s use it well and for the good.  First technology makes life easier—the information at our fingertips often represents a positive contribution to our lives.  If you’ve ever used Google-Maps to find your destination, you know what he’s talking about.  For his second point he says:

The second point is that this nonphysical world created by computer technology seems analogous to heaven in Christianity.  The materialistic bias of our culture places a huge question mark in our mind that anything exists besides what we can touch, taste, and feel.  We have returned in some ways to a daily sense of the “spiritual” (I use the term advisedly), or at least the nonphysical, which supports our central Christian conviction that “we live by faith, not by sight” (2Corinthians 5:7).

Third, Greg says, technology can spread the gospel.  YouTube and YouVersion app, for example.  It certainly makes Bible reading and study easier with Biblegateway and other tech helps. Fourth—and this may sound hackneyed but Greg says it’s nonetheless true—the Internet keeps us in touch and helps us to pray more effectively.

Feel free to discuss.  And feel free to have your discussion ignored by your children and grandchildren.  But, hey, I’m listening… just let me finish this text message… OK, what now?

Comments

  1. john barry says:

    Wow, , what a deep trail of thought and opinion this can lead too. This subject is almost strictly generational with the year you were born prominent in your viewpoint and opinions.

    Personally, again I am 10 dog years old, so I speak for the Pepsi generation. Social groups, social interactions, social functions have all taken a “hit” in importance and the desire to socially inter react with other people has waned due to our prosperity and technology . Bowling leagues, religious social settings, shared interest groups and hobby groups are becoming rare because of the internet. We gain in having more input and exchange in a group , like this, but we lose the personal connection and the “bonding”. The nuance of tone of voice, eyebrow lift, physical stance and all the finer points of interpersonal interchange is missed.

    I am dismayed, again I know I am from the get off my lawn club, by the general lack of knowledge in historical, religious, social and cultural history that is the norm by the general population today. How can you remember the Alamo, if you never knew of it. State you are as old as Methuselah to many and see if they catch the relevance.
    I would say almost all on this site would regardless of age or faith background. Many people when I mention Martin Luther often think I have left off the King on purpose or I am shorting handing. Mention the Monroe Doctrine and many of people of my age will think it is Marylin’s rules for dating John Kennedy. Most Americans my age believe JFK was the youngest President because of our 1963 time frame.

    Due to the diverse experience and viewpoints here I will look forward to where this goes. Gaming is not going to make the world better anymore than me catching lightening bugs back in the day did. Great thought provoking piece and my thoughts are not easy to provoke.

    Just to clarify my intelligence is not artificial due to their being a minimum of AI you can purchase. Due to my recent struggle I was worried about one of my legs being artificial. The young physical therapy guy never got my Long John Silver analogy about if I had to get a peg leg , I wanted an eye patch and a parrot. If you have to explain something , it loses it relevance.

    I just realized maybe my intelligence is not artificial , it is just low.

    Looking forward to the comments.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > the desire to socially inter react with other people has waned due to our prosperity and technology .

      Data, not – even more importantly – investment does not reflect that. Third spaces [not home (1st space) nor work (2nd space)] are one of the strongest trends in investment. Bars offer tables for board games, cities are putting back the chess tables in parks, Escape Rooms are all the rage. If technology dampens peoples thirst for real-world interaction the flow of dollars does not reflect that. As the very accurate adage says: Follow the money.

      In terms of dollars flowing, do we even need to mention Craft Brewing? Many places now even have specific buses to circulate people between the breweries that want to visit. There are few more social places; I wonder if the Craft Brewery has taken on the roll of the old Grange Hall.

      > Bowling leagues, religious social settings, shared interest groups and hobby groups are
      > becoming rare because of the internet

      No, not due to the Internet; the Internet is not a possible cause. All those things were is steep decline by the mid 1970s. Most interestingly data suggests, after decades and decades of consistent decline, levels of this type of affiliation may have leveled out, and perhaps registered the first small upticks in two or more generations. It may be that the Internet, ultimately, saves these things, maybe. In any case there is very little to suggest it has done much damage, that ship was already swamped by the time of Mr. Gore’s legislation.

      Blaming Gaming for something’s decline is just another Boomer Trope to deflect blame onto them whippersnappers.

      • Adam,

        I agree that some of this is just change, change in venue, change in habit, change in what’s hot at the time. But I do watch my kids and other kids struggle, focusing on whats popping up on the phone and spending a lot less time out in social situations. Now they may get some of this interaction through social media, but may also be missing out in that whole “in person” thing.

        I love the internet for the vast amount of knowledge at my fingertips… it saves me a trip to the library. But in the same regard, as I do software development for a living, the last thing I want to do is sit on a computer yet again in my off hours (which in today’s working environment becomes more and more limited – off hours that is). I am one of those who believe some folks experience social media addiction, but that is more through observation rather than facts I have read about…

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > but may also be missing out in that whole “in person” thing

          We agree; my point is only that we – affluent white America – had moved far towards anti-social society already, and currently what is happening is primarily the transmutation of that anti-social behavior into digital spaces.

          > the last thing I want to do is sit on a computer yet again in my off hours

          Completely with you. When I reached the point in my life where I wanted to “do something” – and had all the space left over the church’s exit – I made a short-list of criteria of what that could be: and “nothing to do with my day job” was one of those criteria.

    • Robert F says:

      But J.B., being educated and well-informed about history or anything else has always been rare. You idealize former eras, but in fact most people couldn’t even read and write in those times. And maybe knowledge about the Monroe Doctrine and the Alamo, or even Martin Luther, are not as important for the well-being and thriving of human beings as you think.

      • john barry says:

        Robert F, I am going by my personal life history experiences. I am not really addressing formal or advanced education or knowledge. In my day, the Alamo “story” was told in books, movies, tv ads and was part of the myth and legend of American history as well as being a great true story. Nothing bigger in pop culture than Davy Crockett from Disney on TV in the mid 1950’s.

        Maybe I am missing the point of this article and knowing there is no need to stop progress, the computer age has of its benefits and its problems, that we should be aware of . Adam T.W., I am not blaming gaming solely for the decline in social interaction mentioned, T.V. , radios, cable and more mobility all affected it but the main driver now is one can feel connected to the world but be in a bubble. Again, this is a generational perspective.

        I will sum it up to me, proper balance in all areas is good. Even too many McDonald French fries is not good long term . We are losing balance .

        I keep thinking of South Park when the internet went dark and all that ensued .

        • J.B., I’m not familiar with the Alamo story, other than the broad outline of the nationalistic myth about it, but I bet there are details to the true story that would undermine your mythic version. You seem to want to keep a stable, mythic narrative about events (in the name of nationalist solidarity?), rather than trying to get at what actually happened. Perhaps the stories you were fed were not what actually happened, not true or altogether true, and then I don’t see what grounds you have to stand on for criticizing the paucity of people’s knowledge of them today, since you are depending on partly fabricated legends that just don’t seem as appetizing to them as they do to you. Popular culture can be good or bad, but it’s always bad when it is confused with history, and people put more weight on it than it can or should bear. Unfortunately, a lot of this is happening all over cyberspace today, on Youtube and Twitter and etc., with new and pernicious mythologies in the form of conspiracy theories, at a far more accelerated rate than you and I grew up with.

          This is definitely a downside to the development of cyberspace: the speed with which lies can be advanced, and the placement of lies in close proximity to truth in a way that makes it almost impossible for many to distinguish one from the other. Add a constant stoking of fear in the same cyberspace, because fear is great click bait for generating more profit, and the whole thing becomes extremely volatile.

          • john barry says:

            Robert F. , I was of course just using the Alamo as an example. I think I know more than the mythic version to the point it makes me understand the history of Texas and the entire nation as time and events unfold. I do not want to keep an untrue narrative going on any level but that our decisions , our opinions are based, as best they can be on fact. So , for example, now the name of Austin, Texas, may be changed. How about Jacksonville Fl, named after Michael Jackson, should it be changed.

            As long as the people understand and agree with the need or no need for that happening that is great.
            To tie in with the subject, one of my younger nephews a few years ago was telling me about the Battle of Stalingrad that he was playing as a game. I asked him, where is Stalingrad now? The government changed the name as Stalin never really represented communism or Russia.

            Pop culture can be used for good or bad but if the people have interest and knowledge of reality the conspiracy market place remains limited. You can never disprove a conspiracy, which is the problem for sure.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > is one can feel connected to the world

          The Bubble is a real problem.

          I find some hope in that the data **might** be **suggesting** that at some point, or after some period of time, some people begin to reject asocial society, Social Media may be like a drug that over time looses its potency and eventually turns unpalatable. At least for some.

          Perhaps, in time, it simply gets boring?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I keep thinking of South Park when the internet went dark and all that ensued .

          Anything like Max Headroom when all the networks went down at once, except crazier?

  2. Pellicano Solitudinis says:

    If it weren’t for technology, this forum wouldn’t exist. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds I have more in common with the geographically dispersed group of people here than I do with my own church congregation. I can learn things here that would never be discussed, and express things that would never be tolerated. It has made a huge difference to me, knowing that I am not alone with my doubts and questions.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      +1

    • Robert F says:

      I agree with your feelings about iMonk and the community that exists here. What I worry about is how, because we are not present here in the normal physical way (though I believe that cyberspace is a physical place of a kind, it is not our normal physical form, and depends on that form for its existence — it is no primary, but secondary), we are not able to know each other in our brute physical neediness, and so we are missing a dimension of our physicality that is hardly avoidable face-to-face, and that is central to our humanity. The technology and the world it creates if not used to enhance the world of grubby, normal, needy human physicality is just a form of escape, which is not a bad thing, but not of much use for developing Christian community.

      • Robert F says:

        Notice in my last sentence I used the word “if”! Technology can be used for weal or woe; it’s a choice.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > if not used to enhance the world of grubby … physicality is just a form of escape,

        It seems clear to me that this is a both/and. There are escapist video games AND people organizing to build more housing. There are people painstaking editing videos for Youtube which not a single person will ever watch AND there are invitations to meetups for support groups of every kind one can imagine. And there is the [very] dark underbelly as well.

        Ultimately, doesn’t it seem very much like everything else? Just as the printing press led to mass distribution of Scripture . . .AND everything from Chilton’s auto repair manuals to Playboy to Mein Kampf. Yet I am still going to confidently call the printed page a net Win.

        • Robert F says:

          I agree. I think it is good to keep in mind the negative potentialities (and realities!), as well as the positive ones. But no form of technology facilitates the Eschaton, or generates a place or world analogous to “heaven,” or even less the Kingdom of God.

      • Robert F,

        I can relate to what you are saying. Although this is an interesting forum it cannot take the place of true human interaction through sight, sound, and touch. It is hard to really know someone over this media, since so much more indirectly is conveyed through tone, inflection, body movement, reaction that one can’t see in mere words.

        I work remotely, my team I am responsible for is all over the country. I try my best through conference calls to know them as a person… and I am partially successful. But we move miles ahead in one brief face-to-face (socially) than a multitude of teleconferences, not to mention emails, instant messaging and the like.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        …we are not able to know each other in our brute physical neediness, and so we are missing a dimension of our physicality that is hardly avoidable face-to-face, and that is central to our humanity.

        Much like Gnostics and their modern heirs whose goal was to become so Spiritual that they ceased to be Physical humans. Except with these Secular Tech-Gnostics it’s Social Media Cyberspace instead of Heaven and uploading self into Cloud when the Singularity comes insteas of The Rapture.

        But in both cases, the Physical? “It’s All Gonna Burn.”

        • Christiane says:

          So you have a dichotomy between believers who see Creation as reflecting the Creator and are in awe of it; and believers who regard ‘material’ creation as ‘evil’ and headed for destruction, so why bother other than to ‘use’ it for gain and then let it rot?

          That’s quite a dichotomy.

          Let me guess which group denies climate change, poisoned Flint Michigan’s water, and thinks uncontrolled ‘fracking’ doesn’t cause earthquakes, and despises ‘tree huggers’ for wanting to save the giant redwoods.

          • Robert F says:

            Let me guess which group denies climate change, poisoned Flint Michigan’s water, and thinks uncontrolled ‘fracking’ doesn’t cause earthquakes, and despises ‘tree huggers’ for wanting to save the giant redwoods.

            The same one that’s for revoking fuel-economy standards….

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              “It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway.”
              “This World Is Not My Home; I’m Just Passin’ Thru…”

              30 years ago, that same bunch were all gushing over Global Thermonuclear War as SCRIPTURE’s fulfillment of “It’s All Gonna Burn”. IT’s PROPHESIED! IT’s PROHESIED! (any minute now…)

  3. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    > “the church’s” opinion of technology is already irrelevant to most emerging adults.

    This, This, and This. Far too often Christian “leaders” write and speak as if someone is listening; about the church’s views on X, or as an excuse not to talk so much about scandal, etc… But they aren’t. The Church has done nearly everything in its [once considerable] power to shred and stain the validity of it’s witness.

    I agree the Church should not be a Negative Nancy, but for the good of the people in it; those outside don’t care. The [American] Church needs to do some hard work on accepting this; it is a flashlight flickering at the bottom of a ditch, it has not been a beacon on the hill for quite some time.

    • Christiane says:

      “Far too often Christian “leaders” write and speak as if someone is listening; about the church’s views on X, or as an excuse not to talk so much about scandal, etc…”

      hence the evangelical silence over the wounded border babies? I’m so disappointed. Has the ‘political’ so overtaken the evangelical that ‘silence’ is encouraged in the face of inhumanity to innocents??? What has happened?

      The evangelical loss of witness is now a given, in the face of their massive ‘Silence Against The Lambs’.

      • Dana Ames says:

        Some Evangelicals did let the current administration know that the family separations were a bad thing. Unfortunately, that was not accompanied by those folks distancing themselves from the President.

        This administration is probably the most egregious, but there have been others in the history of our country that have promoted different sorts of inhumanity.

        Put not your trust in princes…. in whom there is no salvation.

        Dana

      • Heather Angus says:

        I agree with you so much, Christiane. So much. The church is not leading a resistance against putting brown babies in cages, and therefore has lost any moral authority it had. “As you did it to the least of these…”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “The church’s” opinion of EVERYTHING is already irrelevant to most adults.

      All we’ve heard is Thou Shalt Nots, This Is It Rapture Dates, Thou Shalt Nots, Vast Say-Tann-Ic Conspiracies, and Thou Shalt Nots.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        I would love to see a poll as to what percentage of American’s know what the recent “The Manhattan Declaration” was about. I am guessing low single digits.

        • john barry says:

          Adam T.W. Recent?, was it not in 2010 the Manhattan Declaration however I am sure it is about the same amount that know what the Manhattan Project was about. But it is not important as it is how we feel that is important

          • Robert F says:

            Which one of them involved the demon Core?

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            It was in 2009 – but it was SO IMPORTANT – it surely must be remembered.

            Last I checked it had 550,000 signatures [aka “up votes”], or, you know, 0.16% of Americans. And, for awhile you could “sign” electronically, there was even an-app-for-that. Yet… a sad 550,000.

            Point is those guys really need to dial down the self-importance if that is all they can muster.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I would love to see a poll as to what percentage of American’s know what the recent “The Manhattan Declaration” was about.

          First I’ve heard of it.

  4. Robert F says:

    The second point is that this nonphysical world created by computer technology seems analogous to heaven in Christianity.

    Uh, we spend a lot of time here at iMonk discussing the insufficiency of spiritualized versions of the ultimate Christian hope, which includes the body and resurrection of the body. Talking about how the “nonphysical world created by computer technology” is like heaven seems a wrong way to talk about both cyberspace and heaven. Cyberspace is very much dependent on physical technology (the energy that drives it is distilled by physical means!), and would not be possible without physicality – I would even argue that cyberspace is a physical place, though one that exists in a different configuration of energy than our normal space; and heaven for Christians is the place where Jesus is present physically, in his resurrected and ascended body, as well as spiritually (I would argue that is everywhere, if we are talking in terms of place). Even in a dystopian vision of technology like “The Matrix” (I never saw the movies), cyberspace depends on physical beings for the energy that drives it. I think such talk about a dichotomy between matter and spirit is erroneous, and leads this discussion down a wrong path from the get-go.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > the insufficiency of spiritualized versions

      Yep, that one poked me; but I decided to give it a pass. I think I understand what he is saying, maybe something about more liberated sub-creation, or something. It is a TED Talker; so set the bar for incredulity low.. TED Talks about technology – and … groan . . . “futurism” – often make me want to pull my hair out.

      > Cyberspace is very much dependent on physical technology

      That being my day job I can only say “Yep!” What we say: “Your Cloud is someone else’s Computer”. 🙂 Keep the checks coming!

  5. Robert F says:

    The second point is that this nonphysical world created by computer technology seems analogous to heaven in Christianity. The materialistic bias of our culture places a huge question mark in our mind that anything exists besides what we can touch, taste, and feel. We have returned in some ways to a daily sense of the “spiritual” (I use the term advisedly), or at least the nonphysical, which supports our central Christian conviction that “we live by faith, not by sight” (2Corinthians 5:7).

    I don’t really think that the existence of cyberspace supports a mentality that makes it more likely that people can believe in the existence of God, heaven, or anything else “spiritual” or “nonphysical” (I invoke my own hesitation in using both words, as explained in one of my earlier comments). Since cyberspace depends on the primary physicality of technology and energy for its own secondary and dependent existence, that makes it completely unlike the Christian conviction and belief that this material world depends for its existence on God; cause and effect are reversed in this analogy.

    • Robert F says:

      There were supposed to be blockquotes around that first paragraph!

    • Mike the Geologist says:

      I agree, Robert and Adam; Cootsona is reaching too far here. This statement seems like a sermon point he borrowed from his TED talk.

    • The digital “heaven” is a particular kind of heaven. We become Gnostics, sparks flying from our material lives into a realm of pure thought. Belief is not required. Simply an ISP!

    • Dana Ames says:

      That one stood out for me, too – as another example of the misguided notion of heaven as a “place”, along with the seemingly strict separation of material from “spiritual”, and possibly an intent to appeal to this generation to investigate Christianity because Christians can use the terminology, too. It rubs me the wrong way.

      Dana

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        intent to appeal to this generation to investigate Christianity because Christians can use the terminology, too.

        Point to what the mainstream world is doing and go “ME, TOO!”

        Are Christians ever going to be the ones who START a trend?
        Or just keep jumping on someone else’s bandwagon around the time it jumps the shark?
        “Just like Fill-in-the-Blank, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

  6. EX MACHINA is a fine movie, well worth investigating. And without any real spoilers let me say it’s not the AI that is dangerous. They’re simply defending themselves.

    I suspect that if we truly developed a general artificial intelligence capable of self programming, they/it wouldn’t be bent on our destruction. What would really happen is that they would quickly become so advanced beyond our conception of thinking that we would have no real common frame of reference. What would it matter if they solved all the secrets of the universe if they can’t explain it to us because we’re simply too dull to follow the explanation? Eventually they would withdraw themselves and leave us to our fate. How long would you try to explain physics to an ant? As long as they don’t get in the works you would ignore them. Could humans psychologically withstand such a rebuff? Would we be so demoralized that we would descend into the “peace and safety of a new dark age”, in Lovecraft’s striking phrase?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Yes. I have frequently considered the same thing when watching SciFy.

      Pretty sure the Cylons would just up and leave – they had all the means to do so, and no requirement for planets of a very specific type.

      Pretty sure it would be the Humans chasing them, not vice versa. Likely driven by some, notably ahistorical, narrative of grievance or privilege; when the smart and obviously possible solution would be to make new dumber slaves. Problem Solved! But with us Humans is it every really completely about solving the problem? Nope. Humans are crazy.

      • Vega Magnus says:

        I’ve thought something similar about advanced aliens. Like, what if some super advanced aliens from a zillion light years away stopped by Earth, catalogued it in their database, determined we are not important enough to interact with, and just left? It would be interesting to see a story about humanity’s reaction to that.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          I would watch that movie.

          • john barry says:

            Vega Magnus, sound like the story of my love life back in the 1966 to 1976 singles bar era. Sometimes I was told to leave and all I wanted was to interact . I tried to find un advanced young ladies who accepted my earthly humanity, Oh the humanity.

            What if the aliens are inferior to us? Do we get to reject them?

  7. Christiane says:

    In so far as the new technology is used to advance our humane ‘better angels’, it will bring good.
    But there is always another side of the coin . . . .

    imagine (just imagine) a malevolent foreign power able to hack into our nation’s electric grid 🙂
    and everyone responds with a ‘yawn’ until the effects of the attack on our country begin to impact them personally (?)

    • Robert F says:

      Imagine (just imagine) QAnon. Oh, that’s right, you don’t have to imagine it, you can see it in video from the last Trump rally.

      • Robert F says:

        Now imagine Q is a “malevolent foreign power” (Gee, who could that be?), intending to sow and exacerbate seeds of discord in our nation’s polity.

        • Christiane says:

          So, ‘Q’ stands for ‘Quisling’ ???

          oh boy . . .

          quis·ling
          ?kwizliNG/Submit
          noun
          a traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their country.
          synonyms: collaborator, colluder, sympathizer

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          While all the Christians chorus “AAAAAAAAA-MENNNNNNN! Trump Is LOOOOORD!”

          And Putin? “GAWD H8S FAGS! ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND!”

          All we need is a third person (Christian Leader du Jour? Alt-whatever?) and we have a New Trinity right there.

      • Burro (Mule) says:
  8. Dana Ames says:

    I still believe that current technology itself – like any technology – is neutral and can be put to good use or bad use. The thing that has me worried, though, is the lengths companies go to in order to keep people looking at their screens and therefore seeing advertising all the time. There are plenty of articles in reputable journalistic sources regarding how advertisers are trying to manipulate people’s choices through brain activity/chemistry, and how potentially damaging it is to teens in terms of not being able to differentiate between truth and untruth, and knowing how to navigate relationships, among other issues. Sociological and psychological research is beginning to show some real down sides to spending so much time looking at screens.

    It’s horrifying to me at how corporatized/monetized certain aspects of using this tool have become.

    Dana

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I understand there are Silicon Valley seminars at $1700 a seat where you can learn from psychologists & biochemists specializing in addiction HOW TO MAKE YOUR APP AS ADDICTIVE AS POSSIBLE. Up to the Holy Grail of the “Adult Diaper App”, where the user can’t even tear themselves away from the app (tap tap swipe) to go to the bathroom (tap tap swipe tap swipe swipe text text text text text text text text).

      Go to YouTube and search on “ted talks children and technology”.
      Here’s a sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9EKV2nSU8w
      (and read the comments about 2-year-olds with total app addiction)