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.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

M2C citation cartel vs free speech

This weekend's interview on the Wall St. Journal involves the President of Bard College who still protects and encourages free speech.

I found the following comment interesting because some time ago, I asked Book of Mormon Central why they don't invite me to speak at their conferences. (They host a mediocre conference with a handful of M2C proponents and just a couple of hundred attendees. If you ever get a chance to attend, you ought to just to see it for yourselves.)

The answer I got: "We don't agree with you."

That's precisely the approach taken by leftists on college campuses everywhere.

This occurred about the time when Book of Mormon Central censored my Letter VII book from their archive.

Here's how the President of Bard College explained the problem of the doctrinaire approach, which is the approach taken by the M2C citation cartel.

What does distress Mr. Botstein is the absolutism of the doctrinaire. The doctrine Bard subscribes to, he says, “is the power of reason, the power of argument, the power of language, the power of critical inquiry, and the willingness to try stuff out, and to revise one’s point of view. It would be horrifying to think that I think exactly the same thing that I thought 20 years ago, or that one doesn’t consistently learn.”

One of the fundamental principles of M2C is that they already have the answers and they don't want to learn new things that corroborate the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah.

Botstein also said this:

Mr. Botstein agrees. “I think that we live in a time when people are extremely intolerant of listening to things they don’t agree with,” he says. “There is the argument that allowing things you don’t believe in to be said is somehow legitimating it. I don’t believe that to be right, because in an academic community there’s no such thing as free speech without response. I can’t give a lecture at an academic institution and walk away and take no questions. I can’t present a scientific paper and not have someone get up and say, ‘Well how do you know that? And maybe you’re wrong. And what about this evidence?’ ”
The process of gathering evidence and formulating arguments, he says, is “the fundamental enterprise of the pursuit of knowledge.” A scholar must recognize “the fallibility of one’s own point of view. And one has to respect the ability of people to change their minds. It would be hard to teach and do research if there weren’t the ability to put ideas out there and have them scrutinized, and criticized.
This last statement, unfortunately, is partly a mistake. It's actually much easier to teach when there is no ability to have ideas scrutinized and criticized. Employees at BYU, CES, and COB, especially participants in the M2C citation cartel, know this. They depend on it.

At BYU, they teach M2C exclusively by teaching students that the prophet are wrong about the New York Cumorah. They handle potential scrutiny and criticism by simply censoring alternative views, especially including the teachings of the prophets.

BTW, when people ask me what I think of BYU, I explain that if they still believe the scriptures (including the Bible) and the prophets, they should probably not send their children to BYU. I think it's far more damaging to faith to be taught that the prophets are wrong at a university sponsored by the Church than to be taught that at a secular university.

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