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 12, 2019

Loserthink and M2C - part 2

The subtitle of Scott Adams' book* is "How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America." That seems far more negative than the book itself, however. A more accurate subtitle might be "How Untrained Brains Are Postponing the Golden Age."

(You need to read the book to see how Scott describes the Golden Age. It's one of the best parts of the book and should be especially interesting to Latter-day Saints who still aspire to establishing Zion.)

Loserthink is ubiquitous among humans, but there are special applications for particular groups. I discuss this briefly in a chapter in my upcoming book. The chapter is titled "Loserthink for Latter-day Saints."

Loserthink is postponing progress in many areas. If members of the Church can learn to identify Loserthink and apply it, we'll all be able to think more clearly, make informed decisions, and focus on the things that matter most.

Loserthink is not limited to M2C, but the way M2C intellectuals promote and enforce M2C is a prime example of Loserthink.

A good example is the section in the book titled "Compared to Nothing."

Scott writes, "People also make the mistake of not comparing proposed plans to the next best alternative. Sometimes the best plan has big problems, but not as big as the next best plan. If you are not explicitly comparing your preferred plan to the next best alternative, you are not involved in rational thinking. But it might feel as if you are."

The accompanying illustration is a Sunday cartoon from about a year ago that shows the CEO taking credit for success because he picked the best plan from among the choices provided by the employees. Of course, the employees manipulated the CEO by offering the plan they wanted, giving as options only the worst plans they could think of, which caused the CEO to pick the plan the employees wanted.

One of my more popular and controversial blog posts addressed this cartoon.


The Loserthink element is believing something is the best alternative when you haven't really compared it with anything. 

That's a key strategy of the M2C intellectuals.

The corollary, as shown in the cartoon, is keeping critical information away from decision makers.

If you read the material on Book of Mormon Central's web page, you'll notice that they promote M2C without any mention of alternative views about Book of Mormon geography.

This is by design.

Some years ago we proposed working with them to develop a comparison matrix that would allow members of the Church (and friends) to compare M2C with other ideas. Some in the organization were enthusiastic, but ultimately the leaders vetoed the idea.

This is classic Loserthink.

Many members of the Church accept M2C because they assume the intellectuals have actually done a comparison of all the alternatives, but that's not the case.

Loserthink fantasy map
You can ask your CES or BYU teacher if he/she has ever compared the alternative ideas. They'll admit they haven't, and they'll say the geography doesn't matter anyway. (Of course, maybe it doesn't matter to them, but that has nothing to do with whether it matters to other people--like the vast majority of people in the world.)

If pressed, they'll say someone else has done the comparison and concluded that M2C is the best approach.

That's how we ended up with the fantasy maps from CES and BYU. It's pretty amazing, actually.

The teachers might cite the work of John Sorenson, such as Mormon's Codex, or the work of another M2C promoter. As we've discussed on this blog, that book is based on a mistaken premise that it doesn't explain and consists of a series of cascading assumptions and "correspondences" that require people to repudiate the teachings of the prophets and essentially rewrite key parts of the Book of Mormon to make it fit in Mesoamerica.

What you'll never see from Book of Mormon Central is a comparison chart.

That's because M2C is based on the Loserthink principle of comparison to nothing.

By now, readers here know why. The M2C scholars know that, in most cases, once members of the Church learn what the prophets have actually taught, they usually chose the prophets over the M2C scholars.

Of course, everyone is free to chose the scholars instead of the prophets. We don't mind if people make an informed decision to follow the scholars and repudiate the prophets.

But when there is no basis for comparison, it is Loserthink to chose the scholars by default.

I created some comparison charts a few years ago and invited others, including the M2C scholars, to make comments or corrections if I misstated anything.

You can see the results in this post:


I continue to welcome comments and suggestions for improvement. I'll probably make some myself soon.

*Apparently the title page on the print version says "How Untrained Brains are Ruining the World," which is a better subtitle because America has no monopoly on untrained brains.

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