The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards “The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"Consensus science"

Yesterday John R. Christy, a Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. His testimony is here.

He suggested that Congress organize "Red Teams" to consider the problem of climate science "because Consensus Science is not Science." Below is an excerpt of his testimony that explains what I've been trying to say about the citation cartel of LDS scholars who promote the "two Cumorahs" and Mesoamerican theories of Book of Mormon geography.

See what you think.

John Christy excerpt: The term “consensus science” will often be appealed to regarding arguments about climate change to bolster an assertion. This is a form of “argument from authority.” 

Consensus, however, is a political notion, not a scientific notion. 

As I testified to the Inter-Academy Council in June 2010, wrote in Nature that same year (Christy 2010), and documented in my written House Testimony last year (House Space, Science and
Technology, 31 Mar 2011) the IPCC and other similar Assessments do not represent for me a consensus of much more than the consensus of those selected to agree with a particular consensus. 

The content of these climate reports is actually under the control of a relatively small number of individuals - I often refer to them as the “climate establishment” – who through the years, in my opinion, came to act as gatekeepers of scientific opinion and information, rather than brokers. The voices of those of us who object to various statements and emphases in these assessments are by-in-large dismissed rather than accommodated. 

This establishment includes the same individuals who become the “experts” called on to promote IPCC claims in government reports such as the Endangerment Finding by the Environmental Protection Agency. As outlined in my [31 Mar 2011] House Testimony, these “experts” become the authors and evaluators of their own research relative to research which challenges their work. 

But with the luxury of having the “last word” as “expert” authors of the reports, alternative views vanish.

I’ve often stated that climate science is a “murky” science. We do not have laboratory methods of testing our hypotheses as many other sciences do. As a result what passes for science includes, opinion, arguments-from-authority, dramatic press releases, and fuzzy notions of consensus generated by preselected groups. This is not science.


My comments: The debates in climate science differ in many respects from the debates about Book of Mormon geography and historicity, but in this respect they are the same. A small group of LDS scholars and educators has co-opted the narrative and trained thousands of Latter-day Saints to believe in a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon.

These scholars and educators know their theory relies on the "two-Cumorahs" theory, but they don't publicize that much. In promoting the two-Cumorahs theory, they openly repudiate the words of the modern prophets and apostles, expressed in General Conference, as well as the teachings of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery about Cumorah.

As long as the two-Cumorahs theory is actively promoted and taught, members of the Church and investigators will remain "confused and disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon," as Joseph Fielding Smith put it.

We're not in a scientific endeavor here. Archaeology is more an art than a science, as is interpreting the text and the words of the modern prophets and apostles. But the analogy to science is useful because, ultimately, whatever consensus we reach needs to take into account all the relevant data. The current so-called consensus, contrived by the handful of LDS scholars and educators who promote the Mesoamerican and two-Cumorahs theories, is a huge mistake.

It is important to reach consensus among Church members regarding the location of Cumorah, at least, if for no other reason than to stop casting doubt on Joseph and Oliver and their successors.

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