long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Higher Education’s Deeper Sickness

Today's WSJ contains an editorial titled

"Higher Education’s Deeper Sickness"

The article focuses on the domination of leftist ideas at major universities.

"In 1969 the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education found that there were overall about twice as many left-of-center as right-of-center faculty. Various studies document the rise of that ratio to 5 to 1 at the century’s end, and to 8 to 1 a decade later, until in 2016 Mitchell Langbert, Dan Klein, and Tony Quain find it in the region of 10 to 1 and still rising.

"Even these figures understate the matter. The overall campus figures include professional schools and science, technology, business and mathematics departments. In most humanities and social-science departments—especially those central to a liberal education, such as history, English and political science—the share of left-of-center faculty already approaches 100%."

Substitute "proponents of the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory" for "left-of-center faculty" and you have the situation at BYU's religion department.

This passage applies:

The imbalance is not only a question of numbers. Well-balanced opposing views act as a corrective for each other: The weaker arguments of one side are pounced on and picked off by the other. Both remain consequently healthier and more intellectually viable. But intellectual dominance promotes stupidity. As one side becomes numerically stronger, its discipline weakens. The greater the imbalance between the two sides, the more incoherent and irrational the majority will become.
What we are now seeing on the campuses illustrates this general principle perfectly. The nearly complete exclusion of one side has led to complete irrationality on the other. With almost no intellectual opponents remaining, campus radicals have lost the ability to engage with arguments and resort instead to the lazy alternative of name-calling: Opponents are all “fascists,” “racists” or “white supremacists.”
In a state of balance between the two sides, leadership flows naturally to those better able to make the case for their side against the other. That takes knowledge and skill. But when one side has the field to itself, leadership flows instead to those who make the most uncompromising and therefore intellectually least defensible case, one that rouses followers to enthusiasm but can’t stand up to scrutiny. Extremism and demagoguery win out. 

This is how we end up with a fantasy map of Book of Mormon geography, based on the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs interpretation of the text, being taught to BYU students.

This is how we end up with an "independent" organization called Book of Mormon Central America that is funded, staffed, and promoted exclusively by supporters of the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory, including BYU professors.

This is how we end up with BYU Studies promoting exclusively the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory on its home web page.

This is how we end up with BYU faculty repudiating what the prophets and apostles have taught about the Hill Cumorah being in New York.

And so forth...

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