Comments about ‘DNA claims rebutted on Book of Mormon’

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Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24 2007 10:37 a.m. MDT

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Todd

Let me get this straight, a software consultant, with SOME training in Mesoamerican studies and anthropology, is able to rebut a molecular biologist such as Dr. Southerton? (a former Bishop, no less) He attempts to make his point by using scientific sounding non-conclusions and throwing a few red herrings into the mix to sound knowledgeable enough on the subject. This serves no other pupose than to confuse his audience into believing that HE is the true expert on the subject while minimizing and ignoring the full breadth of work done by Dr. Southerton on this.

The ultimate hypcracy here is that he throws out personal speculation (as fact) that Thomas Murphy had already decided the Book of Mormon was fiction and was merely making conclusions to support this already decided belief. Then, only a few paragraphs later, Mr. Gardner professes that no study can 'change the truthfulness of the book.' Who is it that is making conclusions to support a preconceived belief here?

And Don't forget, the title page of the Book of Mormon, still, to this day, states that it is a record of the ancestors of the American Indian as was taught by Joseph Smith himself.

Paula

Did he really say that the DNA research only involves mitochondrial DNA? If so, he is greatly mistaken. The Y chromosome is also very important in DNA research. I'm not sure why we'd want to take the word of a software consultant when the subject is DNA.

kodos

Gardner talks as if Murphy and Southerton simply made up the idea that the American Indians are primarily descended from BOM peoples out of whole cloth. They didn't. That idea has been taught by prophets since Joseph Smith, and is still claimed in the introduction the Book of Mormon published by the church. Is Gardner also ready to criticize the church and its leaders for these teachings?

Fan of Science

First, Jaredites referred to in the Book of Mormon as early inhabitants of the Americas were likely from Asia. The number of Jaredite names used by the Nephites indicate extensive interaction between these groups. Therefore, those who claim the presence or even predominance of Asiatic DNA in the ancient inhabitants of America refutes the Book of Mormon haven't really studied the record closely enough or don't understand what they have read.

Second, there are no specific DNA markers that are exclusive to all Hebrews. The most common DNA marker for Jewish ancestry is only present in 2% of modern Jews. Thus, DNA evidence cannot exclude someone as a Jew, even if they lack some specific Jewish markers.

Finally, European DNA markers (indicating, for example Finnish ancestry) found in pre-Columbian remains are usually discounted as evidence of sample contamination. Preconceived notions of some researchers has thus resulted in some interesting data being discarded.

DNA evidence, therefore, has certainly not disproved the Book of Mormon.

Falcon

Is there anyone outside of LDS circles that believe the Book of Mormon is a factual history of a real people?

ma`at

Nowhere does the Book of Mormon state or even imply that the Lehites came to an empty continent. As Nibley pointed out long ago, the Jaredites appear to have been Asian, and colonizers would have disseminated from their civilization throughout its long history. Also, their "war of extinction" almost certainly left any number of stragglers. In fact, there is nothing in the Book of Mormon to indicate that the Jaredites came to an empty conduct. This is to say nothing of other trans-oceaning migrations, none of which are precluded by the Book of Mormon. How would one even begin to attempt to get a "Nephite" genetic signature? It's high time that provocateurs Southerton and Murphy got over themselves, and their irrelevant research.
A note to Anti-Mormon, biblical literalists: lest you overlook the fact, studies suggesting that N. America was populated 10,000+ years ago from Asia, are even more damaging to your theology.

Mark

It is impossible to "prove" the Book of Mormon true or false on the basis of scientific evidence. All we know for sure is those that hate the LDS Church will use any and all means possible in their attempts to destroy it.

I'm no scientist...

But it doesn't take a genius to know that you can't trace DNA to a group of people that originated in 600 BC from a tribe that no longer exists (Joseph). What "Hebrews" would we be sourcing as the original DNA pool?? The only ones we have today are Jews (only one tribe) who come from all kinds of countries around Europe. So, no DNA source to compare with.

Secondly, even if they were the original source, we are comparing a pool with 2,600 years of new genes introduced into the DNA within the eastern hemisphere, compared to a pool with 2,600 years of new genes introduced to the DNA in the Western hemisphere.

A good test would be if we could confirm that Jews from Iraq compare favorably in DNA to Jews from Russia. Can anyone say if that has been done?



Anonymous

Am I supposed to believe in a software engineer over the word of DNA/Genetic scientist? That's an intellectual mis match. I am a mechanic, maybe I can try and become a key note speaker at an Economics seminar.

Clark Roger

From my point of view, the whole issue about the Book of Mormon and DNA sounds a lot like the debates different "experts" have about 9/11 conspiracies, or whether or not The Holocaust occured. In a nutshell, no matter what your opinion is, anyone can find a so-called expert to agree with them on anything.

The Book of Mormon is just over 500 pages and covers a time period of about 2,000 years (Including the Jaredites). From that perspective, I don't believe anyone can totally prove or disprove it using DNA or archeological evidence. We simply don't have enough of the record to make of definitive conclusions.

The real test of the Book of Mormon comes from the spiritual mainifestation one can receive when they read it. It's more than just a warm fuzzy, as some people claim. I'm talking about reading the Book of Mormon to the point that it changes your whole life. The Holy Ghost can have that type of influence, if you're willing to read the Christ-centered and beautiful messages contained in the Book of Mormon.

Ryan

People have devoted their entire lives to trying to disprove the Book of Mormon, and it is ever a tragic waste that has availed them nothing (in nearly 200 years of trying).

I would submit that their fervor against the book is almost more of a confirmation of its truthfulness than anything I've ever heard in favor of it.

They just have it in their heads that it's wrong and must be stopped at all costs, but I'm not sure even they know exactly why. They might divert all of that energy into something more useful (like, say, actually READING it with an open mind), rather than relying on prejudice, fallacious logic, inconclusive evidence, and limited understanding to disprove its worth entirely with one dismissive wave of the hand.

Evidence

Are you kidding me??? If Joseph Smith wanted to write a book to start his new religion, he could have clearly chosen a much simpler way of doing things. Instead, he produced a book, at 23 years old, that has 1,000 years plus of history, culture, systems of worship, military strategy, philosophy, argumentation, economics, literary forms, criminology, sociology, etc., etc.

There is no other book out there with these characteristics that claims to be from an actual ancient civilization, through a modern source. It successfully attempts to be so many things and is just too complex to be lightly written off, especially with bad science.

So someone with an axe to grind has 'disproven' the anthropological roots. There are all these other aspects that still support it.

Oh, and add to all these other things, that it supports and interacts with both the Old and New Testament. The Book of Mormon is the ultimate "Inconvenient Truth".

Evidence

The scientific and historical evidence regarding the mortal origins of the Book of Mormon is vast and growing every day. However, does that make the church vanish? Of course not. For millions of faithful members, science and history are no substitute for the positive feelings they experience from their beliefs. People don't embrace their religious beliefs because the scientific data support their decision, they embrace their religion because it helps them manage the vicissitudes of life.

Religion is a state of mind completely removed from objective investigation, and the church only opens itself to trouble and pain by attempting to reconcile scientific data with its scripture.

Andino

Carrie Moore needs to do a little more research into the Book of Mormon (printed by the newspaper's owner), given her comment that "LDS members have grown up believing that the only people who ever migrated to the Americas descended from Lehi's family in the Book of Mormon."

Latter-day Saints who don't read past the first couple of chapters in First Nephi will believe as Carrie stated.

However, later in that same book one can read that Ishmael's family and Zoram also migrated with Lehi (& family) to the Americas. Zoram married one of Ishmael's daughters.

In addition, the Book of Mormon states that Mulekites had migrated to the Americas separately. These people could have mixed with the existing Nephites and Lamanites.

And the Book of Ether states that Jaredites travelled to the Americas not long after the Tower of Babel.

Iluminar

I have not read any of the studies mentioned here, but I find it interesting that they talk about the "American Indians" as if they were descendants of one single group. It is an accepted fact that groups such as the Vikings, among others, lived in some areas of the Americas. With Ra II, Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated how people from the Ancient world could have traveled from Africa to the Americas.

Furthermore, many LDS authors have pointed out that the Book of Mormon is NOT the history of ALL the inhabitants of the Americas.

I am from Mexico and I am quite surprised at the differences in features of the extant inhabitants that have remained separate from the mainstream of the Mexican nation.

You can do a Google image search for "Olmec head" and compare them with those of Mayan faces; you will be surprised at the differences, even though they lived in such close proximity.

Undoubtedly more research needs to be done before jumping to any conclusions; particularly to lumping "American Indians" as descendants from one single group of peoples.

Camille

I will never look at a scientists "findings" as fact. They can say what they want, but I for one will believe what I feel in my heart where the Book of Mormon is true or not. I have read it and I believe it to be true. A scientist can print anything he/she wants but it won't make me believe any other way nor can anyone else.

j

The American Continent was already inhabited before Lehi - The Jaredites - and inhabited by others shortly after Lehi elsewhere unbeknownst to them - the Mulekites- who is to say that there weren't other people from other lands who migrated here. Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it say that only a select group of people lived here. In fact, it states that others would be led to this continent throughout history. The American Indians could have genetic traces to anyone.

Hmmm

There is more proof that the book is a work of fiction than a true book. Some of the principles in the book are great (like the Bible) and that is where the idea of the book came from.
Why doesn't someone dig up the Hill Cumorah? It's because they are afraid of what they'll find (or lack thereof). I'm sure there might be some lively debates to this post....but no proof.
Enjoy this wonderful book and then start thinking that many wonderful books we enjoy are just fiction. Of course, the difference is that we know they are.

Lame

The only way this experiment would work is if you could do some sort of Jurassic Park analysis and find the actual remains of someone who we know for sure was a person in that book. Do a bone analysis or test blood in clothing, or whatever they do. The problem is finding someone you know lived during that time. There is no way in this world you can do DNA samples on descendants hundreds and thousands years later to find the DNA that matched those in Jerusulem...no way at all. If they can, you have to wonder what unaccredited junior college these "scientists" attended.

Henry Drummond

I'm not sure why the Church is so concerned about DNA evidence. Scientists have pointed to numerous pieces of evidence that point to Asia as the origin of Native Americans. This includes language, archeology, and customs. Meanwhile the Book of Mormon contains many references to an Iron age culture in North America for which there is no evidence. It also contains many anachronisms including references to Cyrus the Great who wasn't even born when the Book of Mormon peoples left Palestine. Science has always been at odds with this and other religious beliefs. Why not just leave belief in the Book of Mormon in the arena of faith and not try to contort science in an attempt to make it fit. A man can't serve two masters.

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