Keep Trying

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Echo Chambers

In this post, David Weinberger redefines Echo Chamber to mean a gathering of people with common interests, which of course is a good thing. But is that what people are referring to when they use the term Echo Chamber - I don't think so.

It seems to me that an Echo Chamber is a group that ignores other opinions to their own detriment. I keep on thinking that David's defense of the EC is rooted in an idea from Arnold Kling's Downfall of the Annointed post in which he pointed out that some feel that trying to change people's minds is a waste of time. Instead they just rally their supporters and wait for those who disagree to see the light.

Kling feels that changing people's minds is one of the noblest efforts that one can make. He points to education, as a noble cause which serves to change people's minds. He also argues that attempting to change someone's mind demonstrates respect for that person.

So while everyone would agree that there are times in which it makes sense to exclude the naysayers, it seems that our general philosophy should be more inclusive. So David, please give me your position one more time, maybe some different words, a different nuance, possibly building from common ground - who knows, maybe some minds would be changed.