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Thursday, August 16, 2012

R. Elsiabeth Cornwell Talks About Social Networks

R. Elisabeth Cornwell is Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation (US). She has a Ph.D. in psychology and her day job is Professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Here's Cornwell giving a talk at TAM2012. It makes me cringe but is it just me? Apparently not if you read the comments at YouTube.

She talks a lot about bullies and their presumed psychiatric problems but she doesn't give any examples. Who is she thinking about? Jonathan Wells? PZ Myers? Margaret Thatcher? Rush Limaugh? Stephen Jay Gould? Jerry Falwell? Ken Miller? Ann Coulter? Christopher Hitchens? Thomas Huxley? Rachel Maddow? Richard Dawkins?

It would have been nice to see the difference between pre-internet "bullies" and those on the internet. Are there any example of people who were "civilized" before they got on the internet but became bullies once they started a blog?


  1. That was boring and not informative or entertaining. It was the Don't be a dick talk but more stilted.

  2. Cornwell's talk make me cringe as well. Part of what makes me cringe is her use of the word "communications"(plural) instead of "communication" (singular mass noun).

    Internet communication seems to be a hot topic; Scientific American Mind has an article "Rudeness on the Internet" that claims "Mean comments arise from a lack of eye contact more than from anonymity." Does this mean that no one ever wrote or typed a mean or bullying letter? Collection letters or letters of complaint tend to bullying and nastiness. Cornwell mentions the printing press; the printing press and the telephone made it possible to avoid eye contact.

  3. I didn't have the same strong reaction. To me it just seemed like a long-winded post-hoc justification of their web-site's moderation policy. A little boring, but not controversial IMO.

    -The Other Jim