The world is a complex place. A very, very complex place. People like to simplify it, and indeed there are dolts out there insisting that the opposite is true: that reality by its very nature is simple, and that humans complicate it.
Unfortunately, that's completely untrue. The world is extremely complicated, and small minds that can't comprehend this merely try very hard to convince themselves otherwise. But this is why we have experts. Folks who dedicated the time and energy to truly understanding a specific field.
But does that mean they're always right? They're experts, aren't they?
Hell no, it doesn't mean that... that'd be, guess what, a simplification.
Consider the psychologist who recently repeated a claim that video games are "like cocaine." He advised parents to go to their child and snatch their controllers from their hands, and see how they react. He said they'd react violently, and that "it's scary."
The massive flaw here is that you don't need to be a psychologist to realize the man is talking utter bullshit. Gaming is nothing like snorting a line of coke, and what sort of recommendation is that? Go up to someone reading a book and snatch it from their hands. Take away someone's dinner while they're eating it. Turn off their television while they're watching it.
On a side-note, notice this sort of thing always crop up with regards to children? If it isn't a dickhead senator urging parents to ransack their kids' rooms because they're likely to be hoarding weapons and drugs, it's telling parents to snatch controllers out of their children's very hands. Both cases are rude, disrespectful, damaging to relationships and utterly unnecessary, not to mention based on lies.
But herein lies the problem. It's not that you shouldn't listen to experts, after all mankind only got as far as it has thanks to them. Yet, a layperson is very vulnerable to being bullshitted by "experts." Especially in such an emotionally taxing subject as parenting.
It's hideously plain that gaming is not equivalent to snorting cocaine. If anything, it's like eating some chocolate: not too good for you in large doses, causes endorphin rushes, bad before bed. To conflate gaming with taking a dangerous hard drug is dishonest, and the only reason for it is to panic parents. To give the anti-gaming crusaders another party-line to parrot without actually checking the evidence. This was a brazen lie, and following the lie the therapist goes on to suggest that parents rudely attack how a child chooses to spend what little free time he or she has.
Clearly if gaming was a genuine concern, if it was a truly deleterious practice similar to snorting coke, multiple psychologists, neurologists and so on would've made comprehensive reports and submitted them to the government. It wouldn't be one therapist, but literally ALL of them and ALL representatives of related fields of study. The scientific community having reached a consensus. This is how it works. Peer-review and such. It's not like they haven't been trying, anti-game crusaders have spurred researchers into dozens and dozens of experiments on the matter; the problem is, they've researched the shit out of it and they DID reach a consensus on a few points.
For one: we know, having scientifically proved it many times, that video games do not cause violence in children. But ask a typical parent and you might be surprised when he or she professes to believe the opposite. Why?
Because shit is complex. Things are complicated and the typical layperson has NO CLUE about how everything works. For instance, the sheer ignorance laypeople have towards the scientific method.
Let's see. Every time a study came out that "showed" violence could possibly be caused by video games, the anti-game advocacy groups would pounce on it. The media would word the study poorly, giving people a skewed understanding of it. Consider the study that showed children having played a video game were more likely to punish subjects in a sound booth by playing an annoying noise; media jumped on it, declaring the long-desired proof of gaming's evil was here...
Except that study didn't show the children were more violent. Just that they'd play an annoying sound more frequently. The sample size of children involved was small, and it contrasted to other similar studies. The study was criticized and analyzed by other researchers. It's called peer-review. Entire studies can be done "proving" something to be true, only for it to be revealed as bullshit later -- but the media often fails to report follow up studies, or excerpts from peer-review reports and rebuttals. As such, a lot of people don't even know it happens! MANY experiments and studies are exposed as incorrect or have their method questioned.
The end of the matter is that the scientific community holds that gaming in and of itself is not a bad thing.
Just because one dickhead says otherwise doesn't make it true, regardless of how many letters he has after his name.
And just because someone has letters after his name, if what he says sounds like bullshit, it probably is.
It almost certainly is when other lettered folks are telling him he's full of it.
But you never know. No mere heuristic is going to make it easy to discern the truth from the detritus of lies and misunderstanding.
The world is too complex for that.
7 years, 6 months ago
12 Mar 2011 19:34 CET