It’s Always More Complicated Than We Think

These days, there’s a cottage industry around heralding the decline of Western culture and the end of civilization as we know it.  We regularly see news stories about stupid people doing stupid things, and each election season brings books about how this political party or that is causing the end of America.

The other popular version of this motif is the “technology is the end of the world” perspective, as seen in books like The Shallows and The Dumbest Generation. Often, these sorts of books bring in in “objective scientific data” about brain function, but rarely discuss it in its full complexity.  As a result, they end up only telling part of the story—the bad part.

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