Benjamin Geer on Thu, 23 Aug 2007 17:50:17 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Weizenbaum and the Society of the Query

On 23/08/07, Geert Lovink <> wrote:
> For a critical
> understanding we first have to sit down and listen. Then we also need
> to read, not just decipher, and learn to interpret and understand. [...]
> For the time being we remain obsessed with
> the increase in quality of the answer to our queries?and not with the
> underlying problem, namely the poor quality of our education and the
> diminishing ability to think in a critical way.

People do learn to interpret and understand the world critically.
They do pay attention to writers and speakers that they consider
to be authorities: newspaper columnists, radio talk show hosts, TV
preachers, bloggers. There's no such thing as a naive audience:
everyone always already has an ideology that enables them to evaluate
what they read and hear. However, many of the people who are regarded
as authorities are not at all concerned with logical consistency,
empirical evidence, or any of the critical standards that you and
I take for granted. Instead, they critique everything according to
nationalist, sectarian and racist criteria, which (it seems to me) are
now widely accepted (with local variations) all over the world.

Thus everyone thinks that they're media-savvy, that they can't be
taken in, and that if you disagree with them, you're the one who's
been fooled. What I'm finding increasingly difficult is not persuading
people to read or listen critically, but rather persuading them to
apply critical standards based on logical and empirical rigour, and to
listen to knowledge producers who do the same.


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