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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

When ignorance is bliss...

Today I'm making a comparison between the debates about future climate and the debates about Book of Mormon geography. In my view, we can see which side of the debates is most credible by looking at which side seeks to keep its followers ignorant.

If you're among the declining number of people who still believe in the Mesoamerican theory, and you want to retain those beliefs for whatever reason, you probably don't want to read this post.

I have always encouraged people interested in these issues to read everything they can from both sides and make up their own minds. I think when people study both sides, they reach valid conclusions that work for them. When they make up their minds without studying both sides, they may also be satisfied with their choice. That's when ignorance is bliss.

In terms of Book of Mormon issues, I want people to read the publications from the LDS scholarly community that promote Mesoamerica because it is so obvious what they are doing. In my view, their own publications refute the premise for their theory because they are trying to persuade people to reject what Joseph and Oliver said about the Hill Cumorah.

Yesterday, Slate published an article titled "Scientists, Stop Thinking Explaining Science Will Fix Things." You can see it here.

The author, Tim Requarth, thinks people are not persuaded by facts and logic, but instead by emotion. That may be an accurate generalization, but I think it's more a reflection of his frustration that people who do consider facts and logic don't agree with him.

In fact, his strong belief in climate change has blinded him to a reality he apparently hasn't even considered.

In the climate change debates, the so-called "consensus" that promotes future disaster due to anthropogenic climate change relies on complex computer modeling, which in turn relies on adjusted historical data. If you accept the assumptions, you probably also accept the conclusions.

But a major assumption is the credibility and reliability of the models, none of which have accurately projected even a few years (let alone decades) into the future. (Occasionally climate change activists will claim a particular model has proven accurate, but they don't tell you it was one out of dozens or hundreds of such models and they had no way to tell you, in advance, which model was going to be accurate. It's a classic scam technique.)

In the Slate article, Tim points out that increased scientific literacy has a "negative" effect; "The conservative-leaning respondents who knew the most about science thought climate change posed the least risk. Scientific literacy, it seemed, increased polarization." He noted that those with highest scientific literacy could best identify the "scientific consensus," but they also were more likely to reject it.

Tim concludes that greater knowledge about science causes more polarization, so science education is not the answer. Instead, he tells scientists this: "Don’t just keep explaining why climate change is real—explain how climate change will hurt public health or the local economy. Communication that appeals to values, not just intellect, research shows, can be far more effective."

Tim's own beliefs blind him to an alternate reality. People who know more about science also know that complex climate predictions models are not credible science.

Climate scientists are unable to know which of the many models they produce will be accurate, if any. In the past, climate predictions have been notoriously inaccurate.

The great irony of Tim's article is that climate alarmism is based on fear. What he's really saying is that the model-driven consensus isn't making people afraid enough, so scientists need to figure out how to use values to get people more afraid.

What he refuses to acknowledge is that the more people learn about science, the more they question the models in the first place, so the less they fear the future.

In climate issues, the "consensus" refuses to debate the issues with those who disagree and refuses to give critics a forum in journals, conferences, etc. The media generally collaborates with the "consensus." As much as possible, the "consensus" seeks to keep people ignorant of contrary data and arguments.

We see the same thing happening in the discussion about Book of Mormon geography.

Regarding Book of Mormon geography, the "consensus" accepts Mesoamerica and excludes alternative ideas from its journals, conferences, etc. The media collaborates with the "consensus." (A good example is Mesomania Magazine, aka Meridian Magazine.) As much as possible, the "consensus" seeks to keep people ignorant of contrary data and arguments. When people insist on a comparison, they resort to red herrings and 2D debates about snow and which way Sidon flows.

A case in point is Letter VII. Nearly every time I discuss these issues with a Mesoamerican advocate, when I ask about Letter VII, they have never heard of it. You don't see it even mentioned, let alone quoted, by the citation cartel. 

Usually, when people read Letter VII for the first time, they are astonished that they have never seen it before. When they find out Joseph Smith had his scribes copy it into his history, encouraged Benjamin Winchester to reprint it in the Gospel Reflector, and gave copies to Don Carlos to publish in the Times and Seasons, they are even more surprised they had never heard of it.

But it's really not a surprise when we realize that Letter VII directly contradicts and refutes the "Two Cumorahs" theory that the Mesoamerican scholars embrace.

As I've discussed here, there is an ongoing effort on the part of Mesoamerican advocates and anti-Mormons to cast doubt on the credibility of Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith. But I trust people to make their own decisions based on all the available information.

I don't think ignorance is bliss. A few scriptures about this come to mind, starting with D&C 93 and 130.

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