Another reprint from Mormon Matters. I never did finish this series on history and narrative fallacy.
In my past posts I discussed the impossibility of knowing what really happened in history as well as the problem that, believe or disbelieve, we all have much riding on how Mormon history is interpreted. Either way, it’s your personal religion at stake.
The problem with me saying that is that, well, we all know it’s true — for other people. But due to the narrative fallacy, we think we’re the exception not the rule.
To prove that, at times, we’re all the rule, I am forced to start with a fake example because it is the only way to not derail the conversation immediately. Continue reading
Another reprint from Mormon Matters. I confess I’ve partially changed my mind on one small part of this, namely the use of the word “defective” when refering to our minds. More on that at a later date. But it still gets the point across.
History is opaque. You see what comes out, not the script that produces events, the generator of history. There is a fundamental incompleteness in your grasp of such events, since you do not see what’s inside the box, how the mechanisms work. …the minds of the gods cannot be read just by witnessing their deeds. You are very likely to be fooled about their intentions. (The Black Swan, P. 8 )
In a previous post I discussed the realities of The Black Swan, those improbable events that rule our lives but we pretend don’t and can’t happen. I also discussed how in actuality “randomness” is really just incomplete information. And finally I discussed how we feel the need to reverse engineer explanation for historical events — even though it’s impossible — and how, once we do, we have a really hard time realizing that there is more than one viable explanation for the same event. 
Which brings me to how this all directly relates to the LDS Church and specifically to the intolerance we show each other on the Bloggernacle at times. It is all directly related to two facts:
- History is a collection of facts demanding interpretation before we can process them.
- Thus all history is mostly narrative fallacy.
This means that two people can and will interpret it differently and both will have been fooled by their brains to believe that theirs is the one best way to explain those facts and only an idiot or liar would think otherwise. Continue reading