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Many Muslims read and study the Koran in translation.  I know for a fact that it's available in Farsi, which is at least similar to one of the Afghan languages and uses almost the same alphabet as Arabic.  I think it's true that there is some expectation that all Muslims will learn some Arabic and be able to recite some of the Koran in Arabic, just as it is expected that all Muslims, if financially feasible, will make a pilgrimage to Mecca sometime during their lives.  Do you know for certain that it's only available in Arabic at the Afghan Taliban madrasas?  I would be surprised if that were the case.  Perhaps the most fundamentalist Muslims insist on it.

Just curious:  would it be considered bad form for an Orthodox Jew to read the Talmud or Midrash or other scripture in translation?

Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2011 20:54:27 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Google Effects on Memory
To: [log in to unmask]

Good question, Charlie. I'd say bad for humanity as a whole and the planet. Many of the memorizers are only semi-literate if that, like the students at Afghan Taliban madrasas who are encouraged to memorize the Koran, available to them only in Arabic, a language they are not taught.In. View full literacy includes understanding that writing is no divne act; anyone can spit, so the written or printed word - or the memorized and recited verse - has no more me essay authority than anything one produces oneself.

Best,Michael
Sent from my iPad
On Aug 13, 2011, at 4:27 PM, Charles Schwartz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



    Michael;

    

    Good thoughts.

    

    But if you ask, "Who today memorizes epic verse", I might answer:
    religious fundamentalists.

    Is that good or bad (and for whom)?

    

    Charlie

    

    On 8/13/11 1:01 PM, Michael H Goldhaber wrote:
    
      Socrates notably feared that writing would destroy the
        ability to hold things in memory, and it certainly did. Who
        today memorizes epic verse or a list of (male) ancestors going
        back dozens of generations? As I believe Einstein said, why
        memorize an equation when you can easily look it up? Certainly
        the advent of Google, Wikipedia, etc., changes potential
        strategies for learning, perhaps in profound ways we can only
        guess at crudely. 

        

        Best,
        Michael
        

        
        

        
      
      

        On Aug 13, 2011, at 10:19 AM, Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
        wrote:

        

      
      
        I agree with Eric, and posted this for discussion. The
          ability to store information (and symbolic expression)
          externally was probably one of the major advances in the
          evolution of human cognition. A key tome on this is Merlin
          Donald's book "Origins of the Modern Mind".
          
            

          
          MB

            

            On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 7:07 PM,
              Eric Entemann <[log in to unmask]>
              wrote:

              
                
                  
                    I find the stated conclusions to be extremely
                    dubious, since they contrast so sharply with my
                    personal experience.  I think the easy access to
                    information is one of the greatest boons of the
                    "computer age", and indeed find that looking up
                    information combined with the ease with which one
                    can follow hyperlinks to go into greater depth is a
                    fabulous aid toward deeper understanding, and, of
                    course, greater retention of the basic factual
                    information.

                    

                    
                      Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2011 12:36:52 +0000

                      From: [log in to unmask]

                      Subject: Google Effects on Memory

                      To: [log in to unmask]

                      

                       
                       
                      
                        Sent to you
                          by Michael via Google Reader:
                      
                       
                       
                      
                        
                          Google Effects on Memory
                        
                        via International Cognition and
                            Culture Institute by [log in to unmask]
                          (Nicolas Claidière) on 8/5/11
                        

                        

                        A new article entitled "Google Effects on Memory:
                          Cognitive Consequences of Having Information
                          at Our Fingertips" by Sparrow, Liu &
                        Wegner should be of interest to scholars
                        interested in the effect of culture on
                        cognition. It documents the effect of having
                        access to online ressources of information on
                        the way in which people look for answers (Exp.
                        1), remember things (Exp. 2), remember where to
                        find information (Exp. 3) and whether they are
                        more likely to memorize where to find some
                        information rather than the information itself
                        (Exp. 4).

                        Abstract: "The advent of the
                        Internet, with sophisticated algorithmic search
                        engines, has made accessing information as easy
                        as lifting a finger. No longer do we have to
                        make costly efforts to find the things we want.
                        We can “Google” the old classmate, find articles
                        online, or look up the actor who was on the tip
                        of our tongue. The results of four studies
                        suggest that when faced with difficult
                        questions, people are primed to think about
                        computers and that when people expect to have
                        future access to information, they have lower
                        rates of recall of the information itself and
                        enhanced recall instead for where to access it.
                        The Internet has become a primary form of
                        external or transactive memory, where
                        information is stored collectively outside
                        ourselves."

                      
                      

                       
                       
                      
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            -- 

            ******************************************

            Michael Balter

            Contributing Correspondent, Science

            Adjunct Professor of Journalism,

            New York University

            

            Email:  [log in to unmask]

            Web:    michaelbalter.com

            NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/

            ****************************************** 

            

                
            
              “Faced with the choice between
                  changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need
                  to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                         
                                      --John Kenneth Galbraith