July 26, 2007

"The Internet has become the modern equivalent of the Protestant reformation."

A quote from the comments.


Kirby Olson said...

Actually there are still Protestant priests and they can't be bypassed. That is, they still set standards in most mainstream Protestant churches.

And you must be ordained to be a priest.

I think that metaphor is a mess.

John Kindley said...

With all the information available on the web, allowing the possibility of valuable self-directed research on just about every topic imaginable, my hope is that the perceived need for formal education as we know it will diminish. We don't need no education! It's an enormous drain in time and money on the economy and people lives. Certain credentials, like B.A.'s and B.S.'s and J.D.'s, could be more efficiently and justly obtained by writing papers and taking tests, without sitting through years of lectures. Formal schooling should be about learning specific skills rather than mastering academic material, and even a whole lot of skill-teaching would more sensibly be conducted through apprenticeships, internships and OJT.

KCFleming said...

Re; "And you must be ordained to be a priest."
You missed the point. You no longer need the priest to be saved. And quite often you don't need a doctor to find out what's wrong with you.

just like the Guttenberg Bible permitted individual readers to decide for themselves what the passages meant, medical information on the internet can be quite liberating.

Part of the medical priesthood appears to be dissolving, at least the general practice stuff. The highly technical practices will remain for years and years (just try to replace your own hip!).

But the magical separation is gone. Not gods or priests, just specialists with advice. And I think it wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Good points, John. Self-study and test-taking is more purely merit-based than subjecting oneself to the admissions process of medical and law school. But professions have their interests in limiting numbers---

Anyway, Kirby, Pogo's metaphor is a perfect characterization of the changes we’re experiencing with the “democratization” of information access via the net and also through the proliferation of publications on topics put into layman’s terms. This Reformation or Gutenberg press kind of advancement also affects law practitioners, financial advisors and traders, architects, real estate and other professionals.

Still, when it comes to medicine and the law, while people can do independent research, they often want a hands-on reassurance from a physician or attorney, and certainly need their letterheads on prescriptions and important legal correspondence. The law sees to that, to regularize remedy within the system, to protect people from quackery, and, golly, to protect the professions and their purses.

Laura Reynolds said...

Its a good observation. I deal with a relatively mild case of MS and the internet has been an enourmous help to me. It has made me a better patient and allowed my doctors to deal with me more efficiently. As far as the type of transformation John Kindley describes, I think its inevitable and fast approaching if not already well underway.

Anonymous said...

Oops, simultaneous postings on the GP (Gutenberg).

PeterP said...

On the whole, taking it all into consideration - i.e about 90%+ at a reasonable guess of Net content and traffic is pornography and x [pretty large per cent] of that being child pornography - I'd liken it more to the Jonestown massacre.

Whether there is a direct connection between Martin Luther's constipation, without which the Reformation may not have occurred, and the 'Rev' Jim Jones's mad, bad ways I'm not entirely unconvinced.

I am, however, always minded of G K Chesterton's assertion that if there is one thing worse than organised religion it is disorganised religion.

TMink said...

Kirby wrote: "That is, they still set standards in most mainstream Protestant churches."

Not sure what you mean here. Baptists, Church of Christ, Presbyterians (all three major kinds,) Assemblies of God, no priests.

Methodists have Bishops, but no priests.

I understand the metaphor differently. Prior to the reformation, only the priest took communion, only the priest could read (and he read in a language that nobody else understood) and it took a priest to forgive sins.

Protestants take communion as they please, speak in English (or in tongues heh heh) and have no confession. It is us and God, only Jesus is the mediator.

In those terms, the internet has given people more and faster access to the truth, and the truth has set them free.

Well, as if! It has given us more and faster access to lots of stuff and there is more need to caveat emptor than ever before, but if you can tell the wheat from the chaff, you can learn a lot and do not have to go through your doctor to do it.

My take anyway.