Reading Susan Greenfield

Susan Greenfield’s latest book is interesting, but it’s jam-packed with assumptions that I can’t agree with. As I follow each chain of logic based on an unsupported premise, I become more and more exhausted. So I’m afraid I’ve only read halfway through the book so far. I suppose that she might blame this on my short attention span, caused by too much time in front of the Commodore 64 in my childhood. Nonetheless – I can’t quite accept that someone so accomplished and brilliant could write an entire book without something of value in it, so I shall persist.

Meanwhile the press has got hold of the Cliff’s notes. I fully expect that we will now be witness to a “debate” in our own (Australian) media between various people whose entire understanding of this issue is gleaned from the British press’ misreporting of half-understood press releases containing excerpts from speeches made about a book that obliquely references actual research.
So below is my response to the Daily Mail’s scintillating ‘Social websites harm children’s brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist‘.

I’m halfway through Susan Greenfield’s book; and although she’s a scientist I’m still waiting for her to introduce some science to support her assertions. It’s full of sentences that begin along the lines of “I often wonder whether” and “It is hard to see how […] this […] will not result in” (both of those examples are from your article above).

Baroness Greenfield’s stature as a scientist and public intellectual make her comments worth considering. However if I may put this the way that she seems to prefer: I often wonder whether assertions of correlation made without evidence of causation might perhaps be claptrap.


4 Responses to “Reading Susan Greenfield”

  1. Mark says:

    I distrust Life Peers. There, I said it. Does that make me a bad member of the Commonwealth?

  2. viveka says:

    My grandfather (the Country Party’s Member for Clarence) always said he preferred it when Australia had knighthoods, as that way you could tell who the crooks were. And he was a fine upstanding member of the Commonwealth, dammit.

  3. Dean Groom says:

    I’m not a scientist or any other form of Illuminati. But I do see kids doing amazing things with technology. Like all debates, there are experts with evidence on both sides – somewhere in the middle is the rise of humanity.

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