contention

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

Friday, January 14, 2022

Burden of deciding

A thoughtful piece in the Wall St. Journal discussed the burden of deciding. The context was the conflicting expert advice about covid about which the Washington Post says: "A strange unity of confusion is emerging."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/experts-disagree-and-so-should-you-media-washington-post-fauci-covid-response-test-omicron-11642111728?mod=opinion_lead_pos7

We see the same situation among modern LDS intellectuals, particularly those who have set themselves up as "experts" and who have thereby justified their repudiation of what the prophets have taught about Cumorah and the translation of the Book of Mormon.

Engaged learners don't depend on experts to tell them whether or not to accept the teachings of the prophets.

Excerpt:

It is bewildering to receive changing and conflicting information from experts. But it also shows some things about our fundamental situation as creatures that have to believe and act without omniscience. Nothing, not even the experts, can relieve you of the burden of deciding what to believe. Even if all you want to do is believe whatever the experts say, that is itself a decision. Then you’ve got to decide who is an expert and which experts to believe.

Consider a hypothetical person who was born in 1922 and has resolved for the past century to believe all and only what the experts said. On topics such as race and sex, economics and law, astronomy and physics, psychology and medicine, our centenarian would have beliefs now entirely incompatible with those he had at the beginning. If he were to reflect on these changing beliefs, he’d have to conclude that most of the things most of the experts in most areas had said for most of the past 100 years were false. He’d do well to assume that most of what they’re saying now is false as well.

... Sheer deference [to experts] would fetch you up in complete incoherence. And experts are people too. They’re muddling through like we are; they are confused too; they forget a key detail; they see what they expect or want to see.


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