Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Monday, August 12, 2019

Neville reads minds, just not his own

On August 12, 2019, Jonathan Neville blogged about “Why facts don’t change our minds.” In it he tells us:
For those who wonder why M2C* continues to be taught, consider these two sentences:

[“]We don’t always believe things because they are correct. Sometimes we believe things because they make us look good to the people we care about.[”] [source]

There are few more obvious examples than M2C. Employees at Book of Mormon Central, for example, are unusually concerned with what their bosses and mentors think.
Neville’s talent for mindreading is quite exceptional: He claims to know the thoughts and motivations of employees at Book of Mormon Central!

How he knows what they’re thinking he doesn’t tell us. In the absence of any confirmed evidence of human telepathy, the most obvious answer would be that he doesn’t understand why any intelligent person would think or believe differently than he does, so he assumes that the employees at Book of Mormon Central must simply be hirelings who are paid to do a job.

In other words, Jonathan Neville is confirming his own biases.

What’s astonishing about this is that Neville is apparently unable to see the very same flaws within himself that he ascribes to others: Bias confirmation and the possibility that he believes things because they make him look good to the people he cares about (namely, other Heartlanders).

—Peter Pan

* “M2C” is Jonathan Neville’s acronym for the theory that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica and that the hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon is not the same hill in New York where Joseph Smith received the plates of Mormon.

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