Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Another Scientist Takes on Southerton's Inadequate Science

A new edition of FARMS Review of Books is out. If you are a subscriber, you can read an article of great value in the current DNA debates: "Missing the Boat to Ancient America . . . Just Plain Missing the Boat " by Ryan Parr. This is a review of Simon Southerton's Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church.

Dr. Parr has a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Utah and is currently vice president of Research and Development at Genesis Genomics, a Canadian biotech company exploring the use of mitochondrial DNA for the early detection of prostate and breast cancer. He has authored and coauthored mitochondrial DNA studies of Native Americans, specializing in ancient DNA.

Dr. Parr clearly shows the inadequacy of Southerton's attacks on the Book of Mormon and the scientific likelihood that genetic traces of an individual or small group will be lost in time when there are larger population groups present. See a simulation of the propagation of genes in his Figure 3: "In general, if eighteen unique mtDNA, or Y chromosome 'names' are followed through time, by the twentieth generation, only two names will have survived. John C. Avise, Molecular Markers, Natural History, and Evolution, 2nd ed. (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer, 2004), 144 fig. 4.9." He also discusses some of the scientific evidence of ancient sailing and transoceanic contact that Southerton overlooks in his efforts to assign the origins of all ancient Americans to Bering Strait migrations.

Parr suggests that Southerton would do well to consider Henry Eyring's perspective:
I have trouble understanding why people drift away from the Church. . . . There are all kinds of contradictions that I don't understand, but I find the same kind of contradictions in science, and I haven't decided to apostatize from science.
Here is Parr's conclusion:
Nothing within the Book of Mormon precludes an Asian ancestry for Native Americans, nor is there any reason to believe that these same people, given geographic constraints, were not part of the events described therein. There are no "chapter-and-verse" genetic requirements for any of these groups, nor should we expect any. This does not mean that genetic markers of an ancient Near Eastern origin will never be found in the genetic record of Native Americans; however, there are compelling reasons to accept their absence. There will always be those who must have every detail before them prior to any acceptance of truth. This view always generates a cascade of doubt that ends in an appeal to the secular judge of science; however, in this particular instance, the insistence that the presence of small groups from the ancient Near East must absolutely be present in the current genetic record of Native Americans, as a means of testing the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, is an unrealistic expectation.

122 comments:

Anonymous said...

" Nothing within the Book of Mormon precludes an Asian ancestry for Native Americans, nor is there any reason to believe that these same people, given geographic constraints, were not part of the events described therein. "
This reminds me of what the FAIR site has in answer to what Joseph taught about people living on the moon.
Here it is. It says so much about Mormon apologists and the one sided way they view any material presented that might shatter that fact proof screen they have in front of their faces. It's like they are screaming, Please don't challenge my world view and belief system. It is all I have and I am just so happy to be living the life I have. Don't ruin it for me.
Anyway, Here it is. It is so lovely I had to share it with you.
Enjoy, Tom

Another aspect of the matter needs to be considered. At the present time, man has no scientific or revealed knowledge of whether or not there are inhabitants on the earth's moon. The fact that a handful of astronauts didn't see any inhabitants in the tiny area they viewed when they landed on the moon decades ago certainly gives no definitive information, any more than visitors to earth who might land in barren Death Valley would have any idea of the billions of inhabitants elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to be a subscriber to read the review. The site lets anyone read it.

Raymond said...

"...there are compelling reasons to accept their (genetic markers) absence..."

Nobody begrudges the Mormon view of the BofM as a document that offers spiritual guidance; but this insistence on validation from the historical and scientific spheres leads to concessions such as this.

The backdrop of the BofM is a narrative of pre-Columbian native Americans; what bothers me about these apologetic attempts is that they attempt to obscure the historical record that is enfolding before our eyes - a record that is infinitely more interesting, complex, dynamic, evidence-rich, and life-affirming than JS' story.

From Monte Verde, to Clovis, through the Wari, Tiwanaku, Beni, Incas, Mayans, Olmecs, Toltecs, Aztecs, - linguists, archaeologists, botanists, biologistics and cultural anthropologists are studying these cultures, piling up evidences, and piecing together an incredible story arc that doesn't seem to include Semites, horses, chariots, steel, etc. Why insist on twisting what God is revealing to us through this work - the spiritual power of history is there for the taking.

Bookslinger said...

Tom,
Nice job of selective quoting. Joseph Smtih never taught of moon-men. The entire response from Stephen R. Gibson can be found here:
http://www.lightplanet.com/response/answers/moon.htm

Bookslinger said...

Raymond at 8:15: The proper rejoinder is "So?"

As you admit, the unfolding story isn't completed yet. No one knows how it's all going to piece together.

No one is saying not to do, or to ignore, archaelogical research. Mormons welcome it and embrace it. But please don't wag the finger at us until everything is discovered.

And of course it's going to be more complex and detailed than the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon doesn't purport to be a complete historical record. Over and over the authors said they put in less than the hundredth part of what happened. And there are the glaring holes of where the BoM is silent. Were there other inhabitants besides the Mulekites when the Lehites arrived? Did other migration groups mix with the Nephites and Lamanites? Were there any Jaredite stragglers besides Ether and Coriantumr?

As I kid I was fascinated by the mysterious "Mound Builders." Were the "Mound Builders" of the Ohio to New York area of the Jaredite or the Lehite dynasties or neither?

Hey, I would like to know what happened to the steel Jaredite swords and the horse bones too. But I'm not going to let it affect my faith. Because the absence of steel objects in Iceland's archaelogical record was finally reconciled with an acceptance that they still had and used steel objects, but they just didn't abandon them or lose them so they could be preserved for us to find in the digs. They were handed down, reused, recycled, and kept in "real time."

Similar thing with horses in the Hun empire. Historians accept that the Huns had plenty of horses. But archaelogists haven't found horse bones in any digs in the Hun geography.

raymond said...

Bookslinger said:

"But please don't wag the finger at us until everything is discovered."

Translation: "I don't ever want to know."

Walker said...

I would invite anyone to find any historical document, even a purpoted complete history as the BOM, that accounts for every nook and cranny of its setting in the manner that critics ask it to. It is humanly impossible. The Pentagon Papers didn't do it (there are gaping holes concerning the U.S. covert operations there). The Popol Vuh didn't do (it is largely a lineage history, much like the Book of Mormon claims to be).

This ought to leave us wondering: why would the Book of Mormon be anomalous to its purported setting? We should, instead, examine it next to its self-proclaimed context instead bemoaning how it doesn't describe the things we want it to describe.

Sister in Indy said...

"He also discusses some of the scientific evidence of ancient sailing and transoceanic contact that Southerton overlooks in his efforts to assign the origins of all ancient Americans to Bering Strait migrations."

What's funny is that 4 years ago, at a university in the midwest, I was taught in anthropology class that the Bering Strait theory isn't a good fit, and that it is more probable that many Native Americans arrived by boat by following the coast. Since water levels were much lower at the proposed time that this occurred, archaeological digs were starting to be done underwater near the coastline.

I don't worry much about missing swords and animal bones. After all, we still haven't dug up every square inch of earth, and we especially haven't dug up every square inch of underwater coastline. So I think it's a bit preposterous to assert that those "missing" items don't exist.

Besides, there are much better things to hinge a testimony on than archaeology.

Anonymous said...

Walker:

Nice strawman.

"...that accounts for every nook and cranny of its setting in the manner that critics ask it to." -

Whole civilizations, hundreds of thousands if not millions, disappear without a trace, and this just a few hundred years pre-Christ and then after Christ.

That LGT setting will soon become a sandbar off the coast of Guatemala.

Meanwhile the archaeological record in the Americas is filling out nicely, thank you, and it doesn't include Semites on tapirs dragging chariots.

Clark Goble said...

I see no evidence that apologists are attempting to obscure or distort the record that is unfolding. Indeed I think almost all apologists would love people to become better informed in history and science.

Don't confuse discussing one small issue with the suggestion that it is *all* that ought be discussed.

Further, it seems that cries of "look at the big picture, look at the big picture, don't look in that corner" are themselves distorting in that they strongly suggest that inquiring after BoM origins is wrong and shouldn't be done. It's akin to saying that if one studies physics one can't study cognitive science.

Bookslinger said...

Raymond,
If you believe that the present state of known archealogical evidence trumps faith, then please inform the Jews that their ancestors were never in Egypt, because there is absolutely no archeological evidence of it. Without archealogical evidence to support him, Moses must have been a liar, and his religion must be a fraud.

And if Moses' religion was a fraud, then the one who claimed to fulfill the Law of Moses would be a fraud to.

Your weapon that you claim cuts down the Book of Mormon and LDS, would also cut down the Bible, and hence all Jews and Christians.

So why pick on us? Is it that Judaism and mainstream Christianity are acceptable delusions, but those dang Mormons just go too far?

What about the lack of scientific backing for non-Judeo-Christian religions? Do you also do them the favor of visiting their web sites and blogs and pointing out where they are wrong?

Daniel Peterson said...

Raymond: "a record that is infinitely more interesting, complex, dynamic, evidence-rich, and life-affirming than JS' story."

(1)

I'm not sure how the history of the Americas becomes more complex with the subtraction of potential peoples and events. That needs some explaining, I think.

(2)

Also, regarding "life-affirmation": I suppose it's a matter of taste, but the appearance of Christ among the Nephites seems somewhat more "life-affirming," to me at least, than does ancient Mayan ritual bloodletting or the Aztec cult of human sacrifice, which was carried out, one can justly say, on a virtually industrial scale. And I suspect that the Aztecs' prisoners, lined up by the hundreds waiting for their hearts to be torn out of their chests, might have been sympathetic to my point of view.

(3)

Acceptance of the Book of Mormon story by no means precludes acceptance of Toltecs, Olmecs, Zapotecs, or the Clovis culture. It's not a matter of believing in either one or the other.

(4)

And nobody seriously claims that the peoples of the Book of Mormon disappeared "without a trace." They undoubtedly left "traces." The question is whether those traces can be recognized as what they are. Such identification, even apart from the Book of Mormon, is not unproblematic, archaologically -- particularly in the Americas, and particularly in the relevant period of the Pre-Classic. (Bill Hamblin's early article in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, on "Methodological Problems in the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Archaeology and Geography of the Book of Mormon" is excellent on this and related points.)

Bookslinger said...

(Sheesh, I just realized I've been spelling archaeology wrong.)

Things like missing swords and horse bones and unexplainable DNA are mere pittance.

Let's not forget the center of our beliefs. The Book of Mormon is not the object of our worship. We're talking about a God, the Son of God, who in outward acts healed lepers on the spot, walked on water, raised others from the dead, and rose from the dead himself. (Leaving aside the really big intangible thing like the Atonement for just a moment.) I have never heard anyone, not any preacher of any religion, adequately explain those things, especially to the satisfaction of someone outside of the Judeo-Christian belief system.

Yet I believe those things on faith in spite of the fact that no one can explain how they happened.

Therefore, I don't have to have physical evidence of steel swords or horse bones or DNA in order to have equal faith in the Book of Mormon.

Your whole "You can't believe the Book of Mormon because there's no scientific evidence of steel swords or horse bones, etc.!" accusation is silly. I believe in miraculous healings, walking on water, and resurrection without scientific evidence too.

So if you're going to stand on the soapbox of science and archaeology to ridicule Mormons for believing the Book of Mormon, please go ahead and show your true colors, and ridicule ALL Christians for believing the Bible, too.

Bookslinger said...

There's one more aspect to the illustrated anti-Mormon attacks on our faith that is disingenuous.

It is the false accusation that apologists are trying to prove that the Book of Mormon is true.

The apologetics displayed on this blog are given as evidences of plausibility, not proof, but more specifically as counters to the incorrect or unfounded interpretations and presentations of the archaeological and secular historical records.

Walker said...

Anon @10:51:

"Meanwhile the archaeological record in the Americas is filling out nicely, thank you, and it doesn't include Semites on tapirs dragging chariots."


Incidentally, my "strawman arguments" are created in the image of their opposition. :)

Your generalizations/simplifications about Mesoamerica's geography and Book of Mormon scholarship are largely unjustified. First of all, you assume that the entire Nephite people maintained their Hebraic culture throughout the chronology. Hardly. It was almost the wholly the intelligensia of the Nephites who kept the records and, of consequence, the culture. That the masses would adopt and assimilate (mostly) into the dominant cultures is expected (gradual language death, what is happening even now amongst the Hmong people of San Diego), hence eradicating any real possibility of seeing evidence of "Hebrews riding tapirs." Indeed, it is apparent that both the Nephites and the Lamanites (both of which were by no means homogenous as seen by the references in which Lamanites were numbered among the Nephites) had a cultural interchange of customs (as seen in Alma 47 where the Lamanites borrow a Nephite rite). Nephites do likewise in Mormon's letter (Moroni 9) where his soldiers have taken up pagan practices of cannibalism. More references are available.

But evidence like this will hardly satisfy those who do not hunger for it. If you expect definitive evidence millenia-old artifacts with multi-lingual barriers, you will be sorely disappointed. Even famed Mt. Sinai has more than twenty candidates vying for the honor (see Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems...)

If you wish to continue attempts at proving a negative, please feel free. However, anyone (even non-specialists like myself) who is generally conversant with the discipline of ancient history will be able to point out the holes in your argument.

Daniel Peterson said...

Incidentally, Dr. Parr is, I'm told by absolutely trustworthy authorities, just another one of the run-of-the-mill FARMS DNA reviewers. They're no more than Utah hick seminary teachers, lacking even the slightest background in science.

By sheer good luck, I've run into John Butler, the prominent human-DNA researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology who wrote one of the early responses to the topic that appeared in the FARMS Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, twice during the past few weeks, once in Provo and once, on Wednesday night, back near his home in Washington DC. I informed him during one of those encounters that, since (as I've been reliably informed) he's merely a seminary teacher with no scientific training, all those years he wasted on his Ph.D. in biochemistry and on internationally recognized research into forensic applications of DNA were a completely irrelevant waste of time.

We both enjoyed a hearty laugh at that one. By the way, he doesn't teach seminary.

Raymond said...

Bookslinger said:

"I believe in miraculous healings, walking on water, and resurrection without scientific evidence too."

And

"I don't have to have physical evidence of steel swords or horse bones or DNA in order to have equal faith in the Book of Mormon."

I can respect both comments. As I initially posted, spiritual belief is not begrudged, nor is it ridiculed.

So we are in agreement that the scientific or archaeological evidence for BofM historicity is wanting. I draw a different conclusion than you as to what that means.

myzjay said...

A quick musing: Reading this stuff from the anti-Mormon folks begs the question: How does our (meaning the many hundreds of thousands of faithful Latter-day Saints who have firm testimonies of the BOM)--how do our firm testimonies harm you guys? It's as if our beliefs were depriving you of something, giving you a pain that requires you to whine while coughing up old, outdated accusations. If you could come up with something original, it would be a blessing.

Daniel Peterson said...

Raymond: "So we are in agreement that the scientific or archaeological evidence for BofM historicity is wanting."

Proof is lacking. Evidence is not. We can debate about how strong or weak that evidence is, but it's simply false to suggest that there is none.

Incidentally, Raymond, do you have any response to my four points above?

Raymond said...

Daniel Peterson asks:

"do you have any response to my four points above"

I didn't read them as requiring a response. But to keep the thread going a little longer -

1)

Regarding the subtraction of "potential" peoples, I prefer to use the additive property of real cultures with a record.

2)

Do you really want to suggest that the magnitude of BofM violence compared with the Mayans and Aztecs gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling?

3)

When we can find intact four thousand year old textiles in Peru, and evidence of coastal habitation in Chile from over 13,000 yrs ago, and can piece together a metallurgical progression through the Incas, precluding millions of "potential" peoples becomes more reasonable.

4)

There's a point here that's trying to gestate. Pls give it birth.

Bookslinger said...

Raymond: "So we are in agreement that the scientific or archaeological evidence for BofM historicity is wanting."

Not quite. We agree there is no smoking-gun proof of the BoM.

"I draw a different conclusion than you as to what that means."

Yes. We disagree on how to interpret some of the evidence. And we likely disagree on what evidence the Book of Mormon demands in order to satisfy historic compliance with what is written therein.

And though I'm unsure which poster you've been through the many threads on this blog, most of those taking a stand contrary to the Book of Mormon tend to not just disagree on the interpretation of some evidence, they tend to outright ignore some.

I'm still curious as to how you apply archaeological evidence to Bible history and relate that to modern Jews and Christians.

Anonymous said...

Raymond: "1) Regarding the subtraction of 'potential' peoples, I prefer to use the additive property of real cultures with a record."

You're shifting ground. You haven't shown how lowering the number of peoples, events, and objects potentially present in a region makes the potential history of that region more complex. But, in fact, precisely that was your claim. I take it that you would now prefer not to have made it. If so, I can sympathize, and will happily let you retreat on that point.

Raymond: "2) Do you really want to suggest that the magnitude of BofM violence compared with the Mayans and Aztecs gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling?

I said nothing about warm and fuzzy feelings. Would you care to address the point I actually did make?

Any way we look at it, there were a great many wars and much destruction in the pre-Columbian Americas. The Book of Mormon, however, affirms belief in a benevolent God, in an atoning Savior, and in that Savior's visit to the New World. The pantheons of the Aztecs and the Maya and the other groups in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica seem, from my perspective, on the whole distinctly less palatable.

What do you find that is more "life-affirming" in the fragmentary narratives available to us of Toltec, Maya, Aztec, Zapotec, and Olmec history -- to the extent that such narratives even exist -- than in what the Book of Mormon gives us? You claim to see in the Book of Mormon (or, at least, to allow that others might see) some sort of spiritual value. Yet you seem to attribute superior spiritual value to the world disclosed by secular Mesoamerican archaeology. Please indicate where you find it.

Raymond: "3)When we can find intact four thousand year old textiles in Peru, and evidence of coastal habitation in Chile from over 13,000 yrs ago, and can piece together a metallurgical progression through the Incas, precluding millions of 'potential' peoples becomes more reasonable."

Perhaps. Would you have precluded the discovery of the Olmec only a few decades ago? Do you preclude the discovery of any additional peoples beyond those already in the survey texts? Do you intend to assert that Mesoamerican archaeology has matured to the point of equilibrium, and that no paradigm-altering discoveries remain to be made? On what basis do you do so?

Raymond: "4) There's a point here that's trying to gestate. Pls give it birth."

I thought I was quite clear. But I'll try again.

The Olmec didn't vanish without a trace, but it was only relatively recently that the ruins and artifacts that they left behind were recognized as "Olmec." And, of course, the term Olmec is a modern one. We created it; we don't know what they called themselves, and we don't know whether they were a simple unitary ethnicity or, as seems more likely, a conglomeration of various ethnicities. Did they not exist before their artifacts and ruins were distinctively identified? Did they only flare into existence when that identification was made? What if we eventually decide to distinguish between different kinds of "Olmecs"? Will that have any impact on the ancient people or peoples that we're studying?

How do you know that we have not already found many Nephite and Lamanite artifacts? How would you distinguish a Nephite potsherd from anybody else's pre-Classic potsherd? Does current Mesoamericanist nomenclature exhaustively cover everything that we've found? If you think so, on what basis do you think so? Have we found everything that's going to be found? Or even the majority? Please justify your answer.

Thanks in advance for your patience in explaining your thought on these matters.
 

Daniel Peterson said...

Whoops. Sorry. The "Anonymous" above was not the usual Anonymous, nor even one of the various other Anonymice.

'Twas I.

-dcp

Bookslinger said...

mzjay: "how do our firm testimonies harm you guys? It's as if our beliefs were depriving you of something, giving you a pain that requires you to whine while coughing up old, outdated accusations."

The whiney kind of antis are usually inactive or former members. It's my opinion that most of them were harmed in some way in the church.

Some people do get hurt in the church, either by people who mean well but just don't know better, or by real clods like me, or worse, by self-admittedly evil BYU professors like Dan Peterson.

If even a small portion of the stories on the RfM web site are true, there have been some real tragedies in the church, Slave-driving mission presidents and senior companions, withholding of needed medical attention, emotional abuse, manipulation and coercion, leaders misunderstanding and incorrectly reacting to the mental illnesses of suffering members.

Jeff Lindsay wrote a good post recently about how even the best of intentions and doing things by the book sometimes fails to serve the needs of all members.

It's a rude awakening when you realize the church and its members aren't perfect. It's hard to reconcile when bad things happen to you in God's official church.

One bad thing I've occasionally seen is emotionally abusive parents in the church. (Gee, Mormon parents aren't perfect, wow.) Sometimes parents use the church and its teachings as a weapon on the kids. I've read some RfM stuff about that, and they sometimes blame the church for their parents abusing them.

It's also hard to reconcile the many challenges to our faith, especially when the pace of accusations against faith is faster than the defenders can come up with answers. If it's the true church, all the answers should be slam dunk, right?

It hurts worse when one doesn't understand the true nature of FAITH to start with, or perhaps confuses current scientific beliefs with absolutes.

One possible way to reconcile things is to believe that it isn't really God's true church, and then it's easy to grab onto "proof" that it isn't.

Another possible way to reconcile things is to realize that humans aren't perfect, even when they are members or even leaders of God's true church, and to forgive them.

Another possible way to reconcile things is for one to realize he isn't perfect himself, doesn't know all things, and maybe misunderstood some things, or maybe needs to repent.

As one who joined the church as a convert, got hurt, left, and came back, I know people in the church can be offensive and hurt you in the name of the gospel. I had my own problems, and I gave much offense to others too. And when your offender holds a leadership position in the church, it's easy to blame the church for the human failings of the offender.

There are some devout Christians of other faiths who do sincerely disagree with us, are concerned for our eternal welfare, and earnestly want to convert us to their beliefs. But they aren't the whiney ones. When they try to tear down our beliefs, they have something ready to replace them. They appear as if they are trying to lift us up to their level. And I can respect that. Afterall, we're trying to convert and lift up people to our religion too.

But the whiney anti's generally don't have anything to give us after tearing down what we believe. Most of them are atheist or agnostic.

With the whiney ones there are behind-the-scenes issues, and it's not really about steel swords, horse bones, and DNA.

It's about getting back at the group of people who hurt them, or at least reconciling the rude awakenings.

Anonymous said...

I see absolutely no proof that Daniel Peterson was the anonymous poster above. In fact, I have no proof that he or any of you exist other than the appearance of text. Not very convincing.

Bookslinger said...

Excuse me. I left my last message on a bad note. I don't want to ascribe revenge as a motive to the majority of the whiney antis.

I think some of them sincerely don't want others to get hurt in the LDS church like they did, and want to warn others.

Sure, there are things you can do to help prevent getting hurt, but life is a contact-sport. Adversity comes from all directions. I admit that we sometimes have adversity within the church. I wasn't ready for it the first time around, and hopefully I'll do better this time.

Raymond said...

Daniel Peterson:

1) The BofM provided an explanation for years as to the origins of the American Indians; I think it's safe to say that that explanation is now best described as simplistic. Show me how that teaching is more complex than what the historical record has opened up to us?

2) I'll let you continue to backtrack from citing Mayan and Aztec levels of violence as being non-life-affirming vs. the BofM, after all, don't two civilizations annihilate each other?

3) I'm prepared to assert that we won't find Semitic warriors with steel swords riding atop tapirs pulling chariots. Nor dead warriors under Cumorah. I'm also prepared to say that Erik Van Daniken's theories about ancient America are bunk. Can you join me in that? Isn't there as much evidence for Van Daniken as there is for the BofM?

4) No one said that the record won't continue to grow. But my understanding of BofM periods (600 BC to a few hundred A.D.?) coincides with much evidence, both archaeological, linguistic, botanical, etc...and the anachronisms, which we needn't rehash, abound.

But I respect your spiritual witness of the BofM; I'm less accepting of those that won't acknowledge what the current record is telling us.

Daniel Peterson said...

Raymond: "1) The BofM provided an explanation for years as to the origins of the American Indians; I think it's safe to say that that explanation is now best described as simplistic. Show me how that teaching is more complex than what the historical record has opened up to us?"

It's very likely that many Latter-day Saints (virtually all until recent years) have historically regarded the Book of Mormon as the account of the origin of all American Indians. The book does not require that, however, and that is not how I or most other serious historically and archaeologically minded students of the Book of Mormon have read it over at least the past fifty years.

Thus, I am able to accept both the Book of Mormon's account and the accounts offered by secular archaeology, which yields a more complex story than does accepting only one of those strands. Thus, my account of the Americas is more complex than yours, proving your claim false.

Raymond: "2) I'll let you continue to backtrack from citing Mayan and Aztec levels of violence as being non-life-affirming vs. the BofM, after all, don't two civilizations annihilate each other?"

How have I backtracked? I'm perfectly willing to acknowledge the presence of massively destructive bloody wars in both the Book of Mormon and in the secular record. But the Book of Mormon contains "life-affirming" elements that I, at least, cannot see in the extant records or artifacts of any ancient Amerindian people. You, however, claim to see superior "life-affirmation" in the Toltecs, Aztecs, Maya, Olmecs, Inca, and/or Zapotecs. I ask you again: Where? The ritual shedding of blood was fundamental to Maya cosmology. Massive offerings of human hearts were essential to Aztec spirituality. The Sermon at the Temple is fundamental to Nephite spirituality. Admittedly, I prefer the latter. Why should I not?

Raymond: "3) I'm prepared to assert that we won't find Semitic warriors with steel swords riding atop tapirs pulling chariots. Nor dead warriors under Cumorah."

On the whole, I'm inclined to agree with you. So would my colleagues. There can't be much satisfaction in pretending to duel with caricatures of our position.

Raymond: "I'm also prepared to say that Erik Van Daniken's theories about ancient America are bunk. Can you join me in that? Isn't there as much evidence for Van Daniken as there is for the BofM?"

No.

Raymond: "4) No one said that the record won't continue to grow. But my understanding of BofM periods (600 BC to a few hundred A.D.?) coincides with much evidence, both archaeological, linguistic, botanical, etc...and the anachronisms, which we needn't rehash, abound."

So does mine. So does John Sorenson's. So does John Clark's. Let's not deal in cartoons.

Raymond: "But I respect your spiritual witness of the BofM"

If only I could rise to the superior and more life-affirming spirituality of those Aztec sacrifices!

Walker said...

Raymond (perhaps Anon@10:51, given the similarities in your approach):

At what point have you actually offered evidence for these suppositions (evidence which seemingly "abounds")? Since the ultimate purpose here IS to get at the truth, why not bring the evidence for it instead of throwing out terms (i.e. "archaeological, linguistic, etc."). Mere rhetorical rehashing amounts to little more than fried froth, the political games that postmodernists love to hammer historians for playing.

As to evidence, I, for one have yet to see a theory that accounts for the BOM as comprehensively and as plausibly as the one propounded by Joseph Smith (and I have seen my lion's share of theories).

All I have seen thus far are attemtps by critics to prove a negative (there were no horses in America, there were no Hebrews, etc.). Surely you know that claiming such a thing does not translate into truth.

Samuel said...

"Surely you know that claiming such a thing does not translate into truth."

Well said. And it seems to me that calling on us to prove a negative (or rather, prove a negative wrong) is far easier for them than having to answer the many positive evidences for the Book of Mormon. chiasmus, King Benjamin's speech, Nahom, Jershon, etc etc.

We didn't know even there was barley in the New World pre-Columbus until just a few years ago. Rather than that being a now proved negative that the anti-Mormons used to criticize the BoM, it is forgotten and the attacks continue. Even finding two possible sites for Bountiful when no place like it was supposed to exist is ignored. And the same old "no historical or archaeological evidence for the BoM" statements keep getting resurrected.

Even if all the supposed problems with the BoM are solved, there is still the idea that it is a religious work, or that God and Jesus appeared to a young Joseph Smith, etc etc. It is a never ending series of arguments.

Bookslinger said...

I wonder how many people abandon Judaism when they learn there is no archaeological evidence of the Israelite captivity in Egypt or the Exodus?

I think our worthy opponents in this discussion ought to explain to the millions of Jewish Americans the importance, indeed the necessity, of archaeological evidence to back up faith.

Then perhaps they could help set up an RfJ board.

Anonymous said...

This is of course selective quoting.

"Another aspect of the matter needs to be considered. At the present time, man has no scientific or revealed knowledge of whether or not there are inhabitants on the earth's moon. The fact that a handful of astronauts didn't see any inhabitants in the tiny area they viewed when they landed on the moon decades ago certainly gives no definitive information, any more than visitors to earth who might land in barren Death Valley would have any idea of the billions of inhabitants elsewhere."

I didn't copy/paste every thing he said. But as usual, you mischarecterize and don't want to deal with the issue I raise. If the Prophet did teach about men on the moon is not clear. Not that I care. Not the issue I raised. But you go ahead and say that he didn't teach it. Also please show me how you KNOW he did not.

But anway, That was not the point. It was the stupidity of the arguement. It is one apologists lame attempt at defending JS if he indeed did teach that there were men on the moon. I could care less if he did, it doesn't phase me. What does bother me is the apologists lame excuse. Let's hear yours,I'm sure you have plenty.
Tom

Bookslinger said...

Tom,

1. It looks stupid mainly because it's taken out of context.

2. You expect to phase ME with stupid things that Mormons say? I got over that 3 years ago. I decided to come back to church no matter what some of the idiots in it said or did.

It was hard, but with the help of the Lord and others I've finally reconciled the fact that there are idiots in the church (and non-idiots who say/do stupid things anyway) with the fact that it's still God's official church.

Some may even put me at the head of the stupid idiot list. Fine. I belong on it somewhere. Finally realizing my own sins and stupidity made it a LITTLE easier for me to forgive others their sins and stupidity.

3. If one Mormon apologist is stupid, I don't think you meant to imply that all Mormon apologists are stupid. They gots sum reel smarty pants with lots of initials after their names over thar at Bee-Why-Yew.

4. You're asking me to prove a negative, that Joseph Smith did NOT teach something. Then you say you don't care if he taught it or not. And then whether or not he taught it wasn't your real point anyway. Okay, so I'll drop the topic of moon-men that you brought up.

5. Now that I know that people saying stupid things bothers you, I'll try to come up with some more. Did you catch my "God recycled an old planet (that already had fossils) into our Earth" theory? How did you like my "God divided the continents, made the oceans deeper, and the mountains higher during Noah's flood" theory?

Then there's my "Maybe God restored to life, a la Lazarus, any plants and animals that didn't make it onto the ark" theory. Or, maybe in order to get all animals on the Ark, God turned it into a multidimensial vehicle like Dr. Who's Tardis that looked like a phone booth, but was actually huge on the inside.

Then there is my "God changed the Lamanites' DNA when he put 'The Skin of Darkness' on them." And its corrolary, the "Maybe Asians are of the house of Israel too, dwindled in unbelief, and had a similar but not identical mark with DNA change put on them too" theory.

We just don't know. The scriptures promise us that the records of lost peoples will some day be revealed.

And finally there's my "God made the steel swords and horse bones disintegrate just to put a stumbling block in the way of non-believers" theory.

Those are just theories. I don't put them forth as fact. I'm not sure I believe in them, but I think they are possibilities.

Here's a belief that I do hold to, and I've been told by some fellow church members that it is stupid: I believe that the Holy Ghost literally picked up Nephi and flew him (kind of like Superman) to mountain tops, as described in 2 Nephi 4: 25 and 1 Nephi 11:1. The crux of the latter is the phrase "upon which I never had before set my foot" but now he had. Italics mine.

This is great. I no longer go to bars, get drunk, and have wildly speculative conversations. Now I can blog, and do it entirely sober.

Daniel Peterson said...

I agree with a point that Walker makes.

I've seen many attempted explanations for this or that particular aspect of the Book of Mormon. Some are even fairly plausible. But I've yet to see a comprehensive counterexplanation of the Book that takes all of the data into genuine consideration. Which means that, pending the arrival of a serious alternative account -- as opposed to various often mutually contradictory partial explanations -- Joseph Smith's account owns the field by default.

BYU alter ego said...

Trying to bring this thread back on subject, I have a couple of things to add:

Some comments on Parr's summation that Jeff mentioned.

"Nothing within the Book of Mormon precludes an Asian ancestry for Native Americans, nor is there any reason to believe that these same people, given geographic constraints, were not part of the events described therein. "

The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants require the seed of Lehi to survive until the advent of the Book of Mormon. Are we really to believe that all trace, both maternal and paternal was lost? No, more likely is that there was only one population origin the whole time.

On the science end see:

High-resolution SNPs and microsatellite haplotypes point to a single, recent entry of Native American Y chromosomes into theAmericas

Detecting Traces of Prehistoric Human Migrations by Geographic Synthetic Maps of Polyomavirus JC

Polymorphic Alu insertions and the Asian origin of Native American populations

Distribution of sequence variation in the mtDNA control region of Native North Americans

Distribution of the four founding lineage haplotypes in Native Americans suggests a single wave of migration for the New World

On the Gospel end See:

Enos 1
2Nephi29
Scripture guide on ENOS
DC49
DC19
2Nephi30

"There are no 'chapter-and-verse' genetic requirements for any of these groups, nor should we expect any."

Actually there is at least one:
DC19

"This does not mean that genetic markers of an ancient Near Eastern origin will never be found in the genetic record of Native Americans;"

Actually, there's much reason to believe a Near Eastern marker will never be found. The size and diversity of the samples taken thus far really make the odds of that happened beyond remote.

"however, there are compelling reasons to accept their absence."

Such as perhaps they never existed?

I also wanted to make some comments on his characterization of the science in his review.

First, I want to go on the record and say that, Dr. Parr, and Dr. Butler for that matter do indeed have expertise in the relevant methodology. I say that assuming that published research is an indication of expertise, which it usually is.

However, Parr tends to mislead on a few very important points:

1. mtDNA sequence diversity

Parr describes a scenario where in the beginning of the American colonization there were a wide variety of mtDNA profiles which were subsequently lost.

That is not the case.

In the beginning the genetic profile of the inhabitants would be very, very closely related. There would be little variety. As we see, we only have roughly 5 markers.

See the links to the articles I left in the beginning if you want to understand what sequence diversity tells us about the genetic record. The indication is one origin only.

2.He also leads us to believe that it's easy to lose trace of a marker alltogether.

This also is not the case.

The 5 markers we know of go back thousands of years. (again, remember the closely related founders)

3.Parr illustrates scenarios that make it seem like anything is possible with the genetic record.

For example Parr states, "In
fact, a maternal mtDNA name may retain the same [sequence] for as many as 33 generations or 825 years; however, it is also important to realize that this [sequence] can change through mutation within as little as one generation."


Um...by one base (on average at least... :P)...lol. In fact it's the changes that occur that give us the ability to trace the lineages and date them.

4. Another misleading characterization he uses is the Chromosomal DNA being likened to 50 something encyclopedias and mtDNA as 10 pages. This gives the impression that mtDNA is limited and inconclusive.

It's true that mtDNA only has roughly 16000 bases compared to the roughly 3 billion of Chromosomal DNA. Generally, we only sequence 400 of the 16000 mtDNA bases. What he doesn't tell you is that markers on the Chromosomal DNA are often even smaller and often aren't even sequenced.

MtDNA and Y Chromosome markers have the same signifigance as any other marker...period.

For those interested, read page 2 of the review to see what I mean.

Overall, Parr uses age old arguments that don't require his expertise for anything other than percieved credibility.

1. You can't DISprove the Lamanites existence.
2. The data are inconclusive.
3. ad hominem/discredit the critic

"Two tragedies are woven between the lines of this
book—Southerton’s bitter estrangement from a religion that he cannot leave alone and the fact that many will believe what he has written as accurate background information on the Church of Jesus Christ but are unwittingly “studying the Church only through the eyes of its defectors—like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus."


It's relevant to note that the one BYU professor who perhaps has the most expertise in interpreting this kind of data, Dr. Keith Crandall has never written for FARMS.

Daniel of course wouldn't rule it out, but I would. I was a student of Crandall's and interacted with him over a 2 year period. I think he's far too objective for that sort of thing.

What Crandall has contributed in writing to the discussion takes a far different tone.

See: Dialogue Article

The dialogue article is a singularity of honesty and objectivity from LDS scholarship. I would highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
"Joseph Smtih never taught of moon-men."

I wrote:
"If the Prophet did teach about men on the moon is not clear. Not that I care. Not the issue I raised. But you go ahead and say that he didn't teach it. Also please show me how you KNOW he did not."


Nice try, I am not asking you to prove a negative. I am asking you to show me how you know he did not teach it. Or do you often make assertions you can not back up? I think you should look up what prove a negative means.
I find myself having to cut and paste past conversations a lot on this site. Do you not read well? BYU educated? What?
TOM

Samuel said...

"Also please show me how you KNOW he did not."

We may not be able to KNOW conclusively (just like with many things in the world), but the weight of the evidence persuades me to believe that this is a false accusation. Its source is one man (Mr. Huntington,) who is writing many years after the fact (nearly 50.) He was wrong in the details of his patriarchial blessing (namely who blessed him), so it is plausible he is wrong in other particulars. His own writing makes it clear this is not his own recollection (nor one from his blessing as I understand it,) but the recollection of another man, Philo Dibble (we call this hearsay and in most cases it is inadmissable in courts of law.) There is no other evidence to support his story, no documentation of this teaching by the Prophet Joseph Smith. In short, it is a typical anti-Mormon attack.

Long on shock, short on substance.

Daniel Peterson said...

BYU AE, you should publish an article detailing your arguments.

That way, the various DNA specialists whom you routinely accuse of incompetence and of misleading their audience on this matter would be able to critique your position.

They have been willing to go public on this. You should be, too.

Incidentally, your prediction that Professor Crandall would never write for FARMS bears all the current evidentiary weight that such predictions typically do: none. (For what it's worth, Dr. Crandall and I appeared on the panel, personally selected by Mike Whiting, when Dr. Whiting first went public with his comments on the Amerindian DNA issue. These comments eventually appeared in the FARMS Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. You pronounced them incompetent and dishonest, as I recall, but Dr. Crandall appeared to have no such reservations.)

BYU alter ego said...

To Daniel:

Is this not a public forum? My arguments can be linked to, email, dissected ad nauseum.

By the way, remember the review I wrote about Dr. Whiting article that I emailed to him over a month and a half ago? Ya...still no response.

So why don't you go ahead and email this to Dr. Parr for me, see if he'll respond for you.

Your lazy argument about not exposing my arguments to criticism is flawed.

My choice to remain anonymous has nothing to do with the debate. I remain anonymous for family reasons at this point.

You said: "Incidentally, your prediction that Professor Crandall would never write for FARMS bears all the current evidentiary weight that such predictions typically do: none."

LOL Daniel. Come on. I took a 10 person graduate class from him. I collaborated on research with the guy for 2 years. For a time we had even talked about me coming back to BYU to be a graduate student of his. He has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation.

I know the guy.

How typical of you to dismiss what you don't even understand. How ironic that you accuse me of unjustified predictions as you yourself lob conjecture blindly.

BYU alter ego said...

By the way, what Crandall say's in that panel is interesting:

Example 1.

Q: (unknown person) We talked about how complicated it would be to get together a provable scientific structure. What I’m wondering is has it ever successfully been done? Where you’re dealing with source population from the past, colonization group from the past and you’re trying to describe what happens in the present. Has it every successfully been done?

A: Dr. Crandall: Yes, we do that all of the time, through genes.

Q: (unknown person) So, what was the question?

A: Dr. Crandall: The question is, as Dr. Whiting presented at the end of the talk, the difficulty of reconstructing the evolutionary history of a bunch of DNA sequences inferring for example a colonization of where these colonizers actually come from and the question is, “Has that successfully been done?” And indeed it has. We do that all of the time, that’s what we do in our labs. We explore the evolutionary histories of various organisms trying to reconstruct those, part of which has a geographic component of where these things come from, where is their source. We do that in my lab with particular infectious diseases. Where do these diseases come from?

For example, the hot one these days is the West Nile Virus. When it was first introduced in New York it killed a number of people. They mis-diagnosed it. It wasn’t until they sequenced DNA and did an evolutionary analysis to compare to other sequences out there that they identified it as West Nile Virus. So, yeah, we do that all the time.


Crandall makes it clear that a scientific structure for the question at hand is not only possible, but has already been done. He says the same of reconstructing an evolutionary history.

Parr on the other hand, argues that because of the infinite unknown possibities in the evolutionary record, we can't rule certain alternate histories.

That assertion is false.

You can read the transcript of the discussion HERE.

I think the video stream of the discussion is no longer active on the FARMS site.

Bookslinger said...

Tom,
Why do you want me to continue discussing a point that you said you don't care about?

I think you already know the answer, because it's in the rest of the Gibson snippet that you didn't quote.

The one and only source of the alleged Joseph Smith and moon-men connection (quoted by either pro-Mormons or anti-Mormons) comes from unreliable hear-say evidence, in which the man got other pertinent facts wrong.

You're asking me to prove he didn't say it, but the burden of proof is on those who assert that he did.

But back to your point that you said does concern you, that you were bothered because Gibson used an inellegant (or stupid) argument against an accusation that was baseless to begin with. So what?

Let's try to get back on topic. What do you think of the DNA issue?

Bookslinger said...

BYU-AE:
The Book of Mormon and D&C does not require the descendants of Lehi to be pure-blooded male-line descendents.

Female-line descendants, and those descendants whose parentage crosses back and forth through male and female lines would still literally be his descendants.

With enough criss-crossing back and forth between Lehites marrying Asian-origin inhabitants, both the Y-chromosome and the mtDNA from Lehi and Sariah could have disappeared.

Daniel Peterson said...

BYU AE: "Is this not a public forum? My arguments can be linked to, email, dissected ad nauseum."

Opining on a blog doesn't count as a publication. Surely you can tell the difference.

I doubt that Dr. Whiting or even Dr. Crandall frequents this forum.

BYU AE: "By the way, remember the review I wrote about Dr. Whiting article that I emailed to him over a month and a half ago? Ya...still no response."

Let me be candid with you. Dr. Whiting didn't take you seriously -- as the saying goes (meaning no necessary personal application), he doesn't suffer fools gladly -- and he didn't think your allegations merited getting into an interminable internet slugfest. He wrote a brief response, shared it with me, then decided, on second thought, that he wouldn't bother. He passionately loves working in the lab; he doesn't see much point in this kind of thing. (I had to pester him for months to get him to comment on the Amerindian DNA issue in the first place; he thought it asinine.) Frankly, I admire his discipline. It's why he gets so much done, and it's one of the reasons why he's developed the international scientific reputation that he has (though you evidently regard it as unearned).

If you actually write up a disciplined scientific attack on his position and publish it somewhere, perhaps he'll feel that he needs to reply. Until then . . . well, he doesn't.

BYU AE: "So why don't you go ahead and email this to Dr. Parr for me, see if he'll respond for you."

Why don't you? I'm not your personal assistant. Dr. Parr is findable via Google, and I suspect that you have access to a computer.

BYU AE: "Your lazy argument about not exposing my arguments to criticism is flawed."

It requires a distinct obliviousness to irony for you to accuse me of "laziness" immediately after requesting that I submit your complaints about his article to Dr. Parr.

BYU AE: "My choice to remain anonymous has nothing to do with the debate. I remain anonymous for family reasons at this point."

I said nothing about your anonymity, and, candidly, am not interested in it. I simply think that you ought to put your criticisms into a forum where they draw the critical attention of the scientists whose work you profess to disdain. If you want to submit your critique under a pseudonym, that's perfectly fine with me.

BYU AE: "You said: 'Incidentally, your prediction that Professor Crandall would never write for FARMS bears all the current evidentiary weight that such predictions typically do: none.'
LOL Daniel. Come on. I took a 10 person graduate class from him. I collaborated on research with the guy for 2 years. For a time we had even talked about me coming back to BYU to be a graduate student of his. He has agreed to write me a letter of recommendation.
I know the guy."


And that proves that he would never involve himself with FARMS . . . how, exactly? (As a matter of fact, he has served as a peer reviewer for at least one or two of the published FARMS articles, etc.)

BYU AE: "How typical of you to dismiss what you don't even understand."

I may indeed be a moronic fool, precisely as you would like to believe. (Charming touch, that.) But that wouldn't alter the fact that your use of hypothetical stipulated evidence derived from your subjective intuitions about how somebody might behave in the future doesn't prove anything at all. Even a fool like me can see that.

BYU AE: "How ironic that you accuse me of unjustified predictions as you yourself lob conjecture blindly."

"Blindly"? I was on the panel with Drs. Whiting and Crandall, and I know what went into the process whereby Dr. Whiting formulated his article (e.g., having consulted with his colleagues) and invited his colleague to serve on that panel. That's scarcely "blind."

If you think that Dr. Crandall shares your view that Dr. Whiting's presentation and article were incompetent and dishonest, get him to say so. He had abundant opportunity to say just that, both privately and publicly, and apparently didn't. Why not?
 

BYU alter ego said...

Perhaps I'll put together a formal critique under a pseudonym. But it begs the question though, who would publish it?

Would FARMS Daniel? Any major journal would fail to see the relevance of the debate. Would BYU? Doubt it. I could publish a book, but that's been done.

I could formalize my critique and resend it to both Parr and Whiting. Perhaps that would work. But my very subjective, intuition based guess is that will still not generate a response.

I open to your suggestions Daniel.

Also, may I see the response Whiting was going to offer. How nice that he doesn't suffer fools, and yet won't grace us with his reasons.


By they way, nice of you to counter my posts with arguments completely out of context.

1. Your Blind to what I know of Dr. Crandall
2. I asked you to email Parr in order to generate a response...lol. I don't need an assistant.
3. Crandall won't publish for FARMS because of discipline, something Whiting supposedly has, but I doubt really exists. Just watching Whiting's video lecture on the DNA issue reveals much.
4. Um...you said fool, not me.
5. The anonomynity issue asside, you obviously are calling me to "put up or shut up." I've put up to the length of my influence. How about some responses to the core arguments next time instead the smoke screen.

Walker said...

I am certainly no expert (nor even mildly conversant) in the intracacies of the DNA debate. Consequently, I am in no position to critique arguments on the grounds of science.

However, I would pose one alternative explanation to the theory that Joseph Smith's "Lamanites" are necessarily linked to Laman's "Lamanites" in any substantive way. I would suggest (as John Sorenson has done) that the answer is more readily found in the theological principle of adoption into the house of Israel, which not require any genetic likeness to the Native American tribes. This is internally consistent throughout the BOM, wherein the Lamanites are numbered among the Nephites. Additionally, evidence supports this when Lehi notes that the promised land was exculsively for his seed--a plausible statement in light of an adoption into the covenant of the house of Israel, just as is taught in the Church today (how each of us become an Israelite when we accept covenants).

Scientifically, this is not a provable thesis. But if one is willing to utilize all the tools and nuances of Mormonism, it is certainly a plausible one.

Mike Parker said...

Bookslinger and Walker are both on the right track. The BofM and D&C's usage of "Lamanites" is not tied to genetically-identifiable ancestry. It is tied to both actual descendants (identifiable via DNA or not) and those adopted into the covenant.

Mike Parker said...

Criticism has been made of Stephen Gibson's apologetic on Joseph Smith and moonmen.

The article in question actually does a very good job of giving reasons to believe Joseph Smith never said any such thing. It's only in the penultimate paragraph that Gibson goes off the deep end by claiming that it just may be possible that the moon is inhabited. This unfortunate comment should not destroy the coherency of the preceding analysis.

Mike Parker said...

Bookslinger, are you the same as Books of Mormon in Indy?

Daniel Peterson said...

BYU AE: "Perhaps I'll put together a formal critique under a pseudonym. But it begs the question though, who would publish it? . . . I open to your suggestions Daniel."

Dialogue? Sunstone? Some evangelical anti-Mormon ministry or other? There is no shortage of possible venues.

BYU AE: "Also, may I see the response Whiting was going to offer."

I don't feel that it's my right to share with you, privately or publicly, a response that Professor Whiting decided not to send to you.

BYU AE: "How nice that he doesn't suffer fools, and yet won't grace us with his reasons."

I offered a general description of him as not suffering fools gladly. Anybody who knows him well will know precisely what I mean. He is very focused on his (internationally recognized) research, and very productive. He doesn't waste a lot of time, and he has a low tolerance for what he regards as useless nonsense.

He is under no obligation, so far as I can see, to respond to every internet critic who chooses to call him dishonest and incompetent. I'll admit that your anonymity rubbed him the wrong way, too. He prefers forthrightness. You may not like that, but I don't know that he's obliged to feel otherwise.

BYU AE: "By they way, nice of you to counter my posts with arguments completely out of context."

Happy to do it, if indeed I did. I'm glad you liked it.

BYU AE: "1. Your Blind to what I know of Dr. Crandall"

Of course. As you are blind to what I know.

BYU AE: "2. I asked you to email Parr in order to generate a response...lol. I don't need an assistant."

In that case, then, I'll bet that you'll be able to e-mail him yourself.

BYU AE: "3. Crandall won't publish for FARMS because of discipline, something Whiting supposedly has, but I doubt really exists. Just watching Whiting's video lecture on the DNA issue reveals much."

I'm sure that I ought to be deeply impressed by your magisterial intuitive judgments of these two faculty colleagues of mine, but, somehow, I'm just not. That's clearly another of my many areas of inadequacy.

BYU AE: "4. Um...you said fool, not me."

Translation is one of my principal professional activities.

BYU AE: "5. The anonomynity issue asside, you obviously are calling me to 'put up or shut up.' I've put up to the length of my influence. How about some responses to the core arguments next time instead the smoke screen."

I don't claim to be a professional geneticist. In fact, truth be told, among the many disciplines and subjects out there, genetics doesn't interest me particularly much. However, I do know a number of geneticists (e.g., Drs. Parr, Whiting, Butler, and McClellan), and it so happens both (1) that their academic credentials, experience, professional records, and international reputations appear to far exceed yours and (2) that they disagree with you. I realize, of course, that you tend to regard them as dishonest and/or incompetent, but . . . well, that just doesn't seem to me a very plausible claim, and I haven't been able to convince myself to accept your judgment over theirs. Sorry.
 

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't FARMS publish it?

Walker said...

A related, but tangential thought:

Consider the accusations of racism in the BOM. This is entirely consistent with the possibility of genetic mixing between Lamanites and native tribes. If the Lamanites intermarried with the natives(as is most likely to happen, given that the Nephites generally viewed the dark skin as a curse), the Lamanites would no longer be a self-contained group in the paradigm of Nephite racial thought. Rather, they would be absorbed by what was perceived by the Nephites as the dominant culture (certainly, the natives were a diverse group; but in the view of the Nephites, they were all simply pagans).

Indeed, I would be quite comfortable in saying that the Nephites likely held some racist attitudes (Jacob states as much in Jacob 2). With the Nephites developing a sense of "otherness" toward the Lamanites, it would be quite easy to lump Lamanites and indigenous peoples together (those dark-skinned peoples, they're always running around naked killing things, so a racist Nephite might say)

I credit Sorenson for this insight.

Daniel Peterson said...

anonymous: "Why doesn't FARMS publish it?"

Such a course is conceivable, but unlikely. FARMS has, on rather rare occasions, published items critical of Latter-day Saint belief (e.g., perhaps most notably, a roughly 100-page critique of Mormon doctrines written by the evangelical scholars Paul Owen and Carl Mosser). If BYU AE wants to write up a critique of the articles published on the Amerindian DNA issue thus far by FARMS, he is welcome to do so and to submit it for review. If there is any interest in it among the principals at FARMS (which I cannot guarantee), it would then be sent out for peer review. And then, who knows? (It's possible that some might find BYU AE's insistence on anonymity problematic; many academic journals probably would.)

But FARMS was founded by a group of Latter-day Saint scholars who were frustrated at the lack of adequate venues to publish the kind of work they wanted to do in support of Mormon belief, and especially of the Book of Mormon. To this end, they sacrificed (and continue to sacrifice) a great deal of uncompensated time and effort to establish an organization, raise money, hire editors, set up ordering and shipping mechanisms, recruit authors, and etc., on top of the academic and editorial work they themselves do (both in Mormon studies and in their own professional fields).

Plenty of venues are open to those who are critical of traditional Latter-day Saint belief, and, moreover, critics are free at any time to go out and establish their own equivalent of FARMS. But those who worked to create FARMS and to bring it to its current status feel no driving compulsion to now turn its slowly and painfully acquired resources over to critics.

Anonymous said...

This may be relevant here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051112125213.htm

Anonymous said...

"You're asking me to prove he didn't say it, but the burden of proof is on those who assert that he did."

Still having reading problems I see. I asked you to show me how you know he did not teach it.
I never asked you to "prove he didn't say it"
Do you not understand?
I do not know how I can write more clear. Maybe if I typed slow, would help you? LOL JK
No but seriously, you need to work on your reading skills.

I said it was unclear if he did or did not. Gibson says he thinks it unlikely. But he does not say, unlike you, that he didn't teach it. But you continue on saying he did not. I ask you how you KNOW this, and you go on about burden of proof for those that assert he did. No one is asserting that he did. But if that helps you divert the discussion from your initial claims that you can now not back up, fine.

"But back to your point that you said does concern you, that you were bothered because Gibson used an inellegant (or stupid) argument against an accusation that was baseless to begin with. So what?"

OK, that is fine. Then why post anything about it? I was not addressing you. I did not speak to you. If you feel it is a "So what" issue. Then please, just say.
" I can not back up my initial claims. I do not know what prove a negative means. I make stupid claims all the time. I said you called Gibson stupid when you did not. I don't read that well. I like to say "out of context" but don't really know what it means"

TY, Tom
btw, you better look up "out of context" while you are looking up "prove a negtative". Looks like you don't know what either mean.

Walker said...

Anon@8:58-

If you would like, I'm sure we could have a rousing round of semantical games (such what "proving a negative", "out of context" mean, etc.). That is a very effective way of diverting attention away from the substance of an argument (or lack thereof).

Fact is, historical inquiry requires that you substantiate anything (especially quotations that are out of character for the subject) with other sources. Was it in Joseph's character to discuss life on the cosmos (at least in any detail, beyond the "worlds without number" type comments in Moses and Abraham). There are no such sources. Unfortunately for your case, Huntington is it. That is a very shaky foundation upon which to build a claim. And to state that the weakness of a case does not preclude its being true is akin to claiming that evidence is secondary to ideology and truth to agendas.

If we do not look at these other sources, we can talk all day about how we don't know that Joseph NEVER taught there were moonmen. That, however, would be utterly impractical as a method of investigation, leaving us no more enlightened than we began. Indeed, most honest historical inquiry would come to a screeching halt if we took such an approach. We might as well run around a track and call it a cross-country race.

Samuel said...

"I asked you to show me how you know he did not teach it."

Tom,

It does not appear in any discourse, sermon, paper, or publication of Joseph Smith's teachings. Its only basis is on a hearsay account by Oliver Huntington (and on a second double hearsay account by the same man citing Philo Dibble.) Surely more than one person would have heard and commented on it. Or it would have been written down somewhere. And obviously the Church did not redact it from somewhere, because such a belief is found in Brigham Young's discourses.

Philo Dibble, on the other hand, in his own writings, never mentions such a thing:

http://www.sedgwickresearch.com/philo/narrative.html

All of this likely came from a non-Mormon paper commonly read in Kirtland which hoaxed an article about moonmen. That morphed over the (50!!!) years into the Prophet taught this.

Silly, silly argument.

Bookslinger said...

Same game, different name.

Tom = Chris = CB = Andy.

The real you shines through.

If you want to comment and engage in discussion, fine. But the manipulation games have gotten tiring and distasteful.

If you don't like to be manipulated, then please stop trying to manipulate others.

Anonymous said...

Typical from you. You make claims you can't back up and then run away. You refuse to answer direct questions asked about statements you make. You mis-quote over and over again. And when you can't answer to the lame assertions you make, you just think of some names of some Antis and call me them.

Not man enough to say you don't know what you are talking about? Face it. You said you knew something that can not be proven. Put up all the smoke and mirrors you want. But you made an assertion that you can not back up.

Gibson made a strong argument about what you have called "moonmen". Not only was it rational, it was well thought out and researched and it made perfect sense to me. And then he goes and ruins it with this stupid argument.
" Another aspect of the matter needs to be considered. At the present time, man has no scientific or revealed knowledge of whether or not there are inhabitants on the earth's moon. The fact that a handful of astronauts didn't see any inhabitants in the tiny area they viewed when they landed on the moon decades ago certainly gives no definitive information, any more than visitors to earth who might land in barren Death Valley would have any idea of the billions of inhabitants elsewhere."

My problem was not with the moonmen, it was with the lame argument that followed. If you could read, you would have seen that. I stated it quite clearly. I said it was a stupid argument. You said I called Gibson stupid. I did not. You said I quoted out of context, I did not. Funny how you never once showed me where I said he was stupid. Nor how I quoted out of context. You do that a lot, say things without any justification?

What is tiring and distasteful is your dishonesty. Although it could be stupidity. But I would prefer not to think either of those about another LDS member. Although as you point out, quite rightly I think, you are certainly in line somewhere on the stupid idiot list.

Now you make an assertion that I am trying to manipulate others. Please show me how I am trying to manipulate others? Feel free to cut and paste anything I have said that shows I am trying to manipulate others. Others being who I am not sure, but it will be fun to see who you come up with.
Oh maybe Chris CB or Andy. You think about those people alot? You mentioned them several times when responding to me. I am just one person, and my name is Tom. Guess, that is too hard for you to comprehend.
Tom

Daniel Peterson said...

I'm sorry that I don't understand the need for personal insults here. But several others apparently see it clearly, and act accordingly. I need to work on that, I guess.

John said...

Tom,

One thing that works well for me-- deep breathing exercises.

One other thing, "But I would prefer not to think either of those about another LDS member."

You aren't fooling anyone.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John, Deep breating, got it. It helps you say?
This happen to you too? People commenting on what you say and then when you question them about it they run?
Slinger told me I was 3 people. Someone is fooling him.
Tom

Walker said...

I agree with Dan on this one. Rigorous debate and discussion are welcome. However, it seems like the discussion has been reduced to a back-alley brawl with theological guns and knives. As important as Joseph's lunar theology is (?), if historical knowledge of any kind is being used as a standard for manliness, we have some serious problems, far more serious than what anyone said on an amateur website (which is what Gibson's website is, as qualified as he may be at LDS PR).

Bookslinger said...

Let's not forget that this is an amateur website too.

But since Chris/Tom/Andy/CB and Bill get paid for their anti-mormon comic strip, they might qualify as professional anti-mormons.

Is anyone still doing the anti-mormon lecture circuit these days? Or has that died out?

BYU alter ego said...

Daniel Peterson: "I don't claim to be a professional geneticist. In fact, truth be told, among the many disciplines and subjects out there, genetics doesn't interest me particularly much. However, I do know a number of geneticists (e.g., Drs. Parr, Whiting, Butler, and McClellan), and it so happens both (1) that their academic credentials, experience, professional records, and international reputations appear to far exceed yours and (2) that they disagree with you. I realize, of course, that you tend to regard them as dishonest and/or incompetent, but . . . well, that just doesn't seem to me a very plausible claim, and I haven't been able to convince myself to accept your judgment over theirs. Sorry.
"


What geneticist, scientist or other cognecenti that disagree with me do you know that are not Mormon?

Two of the scientist's you mentioned, and yourself of course, work directly for the Church. (Please spare me any BYU autonomy argument...I won't buy it.)

Any academic who purposely allows a non-scientific bias into a scientific debate is being very much dishonest.

The Discovery Institute (Intelligent Design)comes to mind as an example.

As to my credentials, I think you ought to try and dismiss the paltry 5 papers I referenced first.(There are hundreds btw.) They are credited to those vastly more qualified than I.

So worry about them before you even begin to worry about mine.

Of course, you can't. And I'm willing to bet that neither Parr, Whiting, Butler or McClellin will go on the record against them either.

Never mind that the implication that your cadre of "heavyweights" being something special is baseless.

Only Parr has ever published work in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. And of the two papers published in that forum, neither deviates from the common four Asian origin marker paradigm.

Butler has worked with mtDNA, but only in a Forensic application. Which get's limited use actually in that field.

Whiting only publishes on Flies and Fleas. How is that related? So he's created phylogenies for them? So what?

McClellan has done one paper on Polyomaviruses that could give him relevant expertise, Dr. Crandall was last name author...btw. However, using virus evolution to trace migration is a whole other issue than the mtDNA/Y Chromosome. The arguments put forth by McClellan thus far have nothing to do with this other technique.

There are many other scientist's who make this issue their speciality who I believe would take issue with the assertions of your "faithful four."

How about Michael Hammer from the University of Arizona who's work focuses almost exclusively on the Y Chromosome and the Anthropological questions it answers. He's done work on Hebrew DNA btw. A summary of his work can be found HERE.

From the Hammer paper I cited earlier:

"In conclusion, like recent mtDNA studies, we find Y chromosome support for a single-migration model, with a potential common source for all major Native American Y chromosome and mtDNA founding lineages in the Altai Mountains of Southwest Siberia. Unlike the majority of these mtDNA studies, however, because none of our population divergence date estimates exceed 17, 200 years, we favor a late entry model (i.e., <20,000 BP) that post-dates the Last Glacial Maximum (now calibrated at 21,000–25,000 calendar years BP). Finally, it has primarily been the interaction of genetic drift and gene flow both on Beringia and in the Americas that has produced the suite of contemporary Native American Y chromosome haplogroup frequencies that we found in our survey. "

Or perhaps Andres Ruiz-Linares who focuses his work on Latin American Human Genetics? A summary of his work can be found HERE.

He's quoted as:

"The distribution, relatedness, and diversity of Y lineages in Native Americans indicate a differentiated male ancestry
for populations from North and South America, strongly supporting a diverse demographic history for populations
from these areas. These data are consistent with the occurrence of two major male migrations from southern/
central Siberia to the Americas
(with the second migration being restricted to North America)"


I could go on, but it's getting late.

Audi alteram partem Daniel.

Daniel Peterson said...

BYU AE: "What geneticist, scientist or other cognecenti that disagree with me do you know that are not Mormon?"

What geneticist, scientist, or other member of the cognoscenti has commented on the topic of Amerindian DNA and the Book of Mormon who isn't a Mormon, an ex-Mormon, or an anti-Mormon, or doing a favor for one of the latter two?

BYU AE: Two of the scientist's you mentioned, and yourself of course, work directly for the Church. (Please spare me any BYU autonomy argument...I won't buy it.)

Don't worry. I promise never to trouble you with any facts that you don't want to hear. Perhaps you should give me a list in advance of subjects of which you don't want to be reminded.

Still, my contract with BYU doesn't require me ever to write, edit, speak, or publish a word in defense of Mormonism, and my salary would be utterly unchanged if I had never done so or if I were never to do so again. Silence is always a perfectly acceptable professional option for me. I presume that the same is true with regard to Dr. McLellan and Dr. Whiting, as well.

But Dr. Parr doesn't even work for BYU, or the Church. He is the vice president for research and development at a genetics firm in Ontario, Canada.

And, of course, Dr. Butler works for the United States federal government, which, I'm guessing, offers him no more incentives for engaging in Mormon apologetics than Genesis Genomics offers to Dr. Parr.

Incidentally, I just came across a nice little item about John Butler at

http://www.ourpublicservice.org/staff_name3761/staff_name_show.htm?doc_id=228726

Thus, if you intend to proceed with your attempted poisoning of the well of discourse -- that's a specific logical sin, incidentally, discussed in most handbooks of logical fallacies -- you'll have to base your attempted ad hominem on a firmer foundation than merely alluding to our places of employment and hinting that we're unscrupulous mercenary hacks (endearing though that response certainly is).

BYU AE: "Any academic who purposely allows a non-scientific bias into a scientific debate is being very much dishonest.

You don't state your point very clearly, so let me see if I have it straight: You're insinuating that Drs. McClellan, Whiting, Parr, and I, along with the others who have written on this topic and dared to disagree with you, have "purposely allowed a non-scientific bias into a scientific debate" and, thus, are "being very much dishonest."

Have I got it right?

If that is what you're trying to say, I have to give you credit for, in this case, having constructed a much broader well-poisoning strategy that is capable of discrediting all believing Latter-day Saints who dissent from your viewpoint in advance, without requiring that they work for BYU. That must give you a real sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

BYU AE: "As to my credentials, I think you ought to try and dismiss the paltry 5 papers I referenced first.(There are hundreds btw.) They are credited to those vastly more qualified than I."

I don't doubt for a moment that they're vastly more qualified than you are.

But that's not the point. I would imagine that Drs. Parr, Whiting, McClellan, and Butler are fairly familiar with the articles and/or the arguments that you cite. (I seem to recall that Dr. Butler knows Dr. Hammer personally, for that matter.) However, they don't appear to think that those arguments mandate the conclusion that you draw. So we're right back to the question of whether those who disagree with you on this point are, by definition, dishonest and incompetent.

You can best demonstrate that they are bungling and ignorant frauds by confronting them directly and demonstrating their craven ineptitude. Boasting and strutting on a blog to which none of them pays any attention and where you, with your undergraduate degree, reign as the foremost participating geneticist doesn't really seem likely to accomplish your ambitious goal in this matter. (Just a bit of friendly advice.)

Samuel said...

AE, thanks for your responses. I still do not see any of this proves that limited migration from the Near East could not have occurred. Of course, I was a history major in college, and am not very good at science.

However, I appreciate your sincerity in your belief. I wonder how many people who have left over this issue would jump back over to the Church if they found a group of Native Americans with Jewish DNA. Not too many, I suspect. They have already lost their testimony because of an overemphasis on man and his teachings rather than God's.

The foundation of my belief in the BoM is the spiritual certainty (from the Holy Spirit) I have to its divinity. I find the many other evidences fascinating and helpful to that testimony but not something that strengthens my spiritual testimony. Nor does any supposed 'anachronisms' or 'problems' including this one detract from that spiritual witness. It is what it is.

BYU alter ego said...

To Daniel:

BYU AE says, "You should think about x, y and z arguments."

DP says, "Why not publish?"

BYU AE says, "Publishing would be tough, how about those arguments?"

DP says, "I have friends with PhDs who could take you in an academic arm wrestle."

BYU AE says, "Um, only one of your friends is especially qualified, could you have him counter the quoted statements from the specialists please? Your buddies won't talk to me directly."

DP says, "Um...I once heard, from a friend of a friend that my friend knows your guy. Besides, just because you're the big fish in our lil pond doesn't give you the right to present your arguments here. That's not fair! Oh, and because you accused my buddies of bias, you're getting ad hominem. Don't you know your logical fallacies? Oh...and I spit on your paltry Micro/Molecular bachelors, and your research, and your years of industry experience...(pahtoo!)"

BYU AE (wipes face) and then says, "Um, isn't argumentum ad ignorantiam(LINK), a classic fallacy of distraction, the very motto of FARMS? Don't preach logical fallacies Daniel, please.

Also, you can bring up ad hominem once you fire Midgley. Then you could talk."

DP, "Just a bit of friendly advice."

Daniel, on this blog at least, you are anything but "friendly."

Oh, and I still want to know how you think Hammer's assertion that the data show a single migration event of Asian origin that dates at least to 17,000 years ago can be reconciled because Butler might have met the guy?

Tick, tock Daniel... :P

BYU alter ego said...

To Samuel,

Thanks for your admirable civility. The near Eastern issue and the odd's of being connected with the far east can be explained for the following reasons.

First, the data have actually allowed us to trace migration back to Africa. The tracing is fairly unbroken. So any new migrations would have to come from a population thus unsampled. That's a big problem, because all the major lineages have been sampled.

Second time, time, time. If there was an "admixture," between Near Eastern and Far Eastern, it would have happened over 20,000 years ago at least.

So even if it did happen, it happend long, long, long before Lehi was born.

Daniel Peterson said...

BYU AE (latest):
BYU AE says, "You should think about x, y and z arguments."
DP says, "Why not publish?"
BYU AE says, "Publishing would be tough, how about those arguments?"
DP says, "I have friends with PhDs who could take you in an academic arm wrestle."


That's a pretty self-serving caricature of our exchange. Here's how it really goes:

BYU AE: Consider arguments x, y, and z.

Evil Peterson: I'm aware of arguments x, y, and z, and don't find them particularly relevant to the case at hand. More importantly, I have colleagues who have already considered arguments x, y, and z, and whose credentials in the relevant disciplines are far superior to my nonexistent credentials and, in fact, considerably superior, so far as I can tell, to yours. They find arguments x, y, and z -- which were never designed actually to address topic A, which is the subject of our discussion -- neither relevant nor conclusive as regards A. I've read what my colleagues have written, and find it persuasive.
However, if you think that my colleagues have not really confronted the full force of arguments x, y, and z, or if you intend to continue suggesting that my colleagues are incompetent and mendacious buffoons, you should make your case in a forum to which they pay attention, and in which there are people who possess the specific expertise to judge whether your rather free-wheeling accusations against people with solid credentials and reputations are justified.

BYU AE: You're a dishonest mercenary just like they are, and so are all your friends.

BYU AE (latest):
BYU AE says, "Um, only one of your friends is especially qualified, could you have him counter the quoted statements from the specialists please?"


My friends don't seem to realize that they're unqualified to speak on this topic. Poor Ryan Parr even did his Ph.D. on Amerindian genetics. Perhaps you should summon up the full force of your B.S. and inform them that, unlike you, they have no standing in the matter and are unqualified to evaluate arguments x, y, and z. Tell them! The poor fools really don't appear to know.

BYU AE (latest):
BYU AE says, "Your buddies won't talk to me directly."


Can you be certain? Have you written to Dr. Parr? Have you written to Dr. Butler? Have you written to Dr. McClellan? Do they even know that you exist?

BYU AE (latest):
BYU AE (wipes face) and then says, "Um, isn't argumentum ad ignorantiam(LINK), a classic fallacy of distraction, the very motto of FARMS?"


No. I'm unaware of any FARMS publication that makes such an argument, though I'm aware that certain critics (yourself now included in that undistinguished number) like to claim that such arguments are a FARMS staple. If you disagree with me, please provide a specific example, accompanied by specific references. Talk is cheap.

BYU AE (latest):
"Don't preach logical fallacies Daniel, please."


Thanks. I'm glad that you've taken me up on the invitation to provide a list of facts that you don't wish to face. That's a start. Your logical fallacies are not to be identified.

BYU AE (latest): "Also, you can bring up ad hominem once you fire Midgley. Then you could talk."

Please offer a specific example of an ad hominem logical fallacy committed by Professor Midgley. (And don't forget, while you're assembling your data, to adhere to the actual definition of the fallacious ad hominem. It's widely available.)

And please explain, while you're at it, how somebody can be "fired" who retired about a decade ago and draws no salary.

BYU AE (latest):
DP, "Just a bit of friendly advice."
Daniel, on this blog at least, you are anything but "friendly."


Nowhere have I insinuated that you're a dishonest mercenary hack. How many times, though, have you insinuated precisely that with regard to me, Dr. Whiting, and, recently, an ever-widening collection of scientists and scholars? And that's just one item from the litany. Listen to yourself, BYU AE. It hasn't been pretty.

BYU AE (latest): "Oh, and I still want to know how you think Hammer's assertion that the data show a single migration event of Asian origin that dates at least to 17,000 years ago can be reconciled because Butler might have met the guy?"

As I'm sure you realize, I made no such argument. Offering up such cartoonish challenges is easy. But I won't dignify them with a response.

Walker said...

While watching this exchange certainly is entertaining (in the same way that WWF is entertaining), I think that we have all heard enough rhetorical jousting ad nauseum. I'm as much for some good old fashioned debate as the next guy. Indeed, I am impressed with the debating and/or cartooning skill of both of you. But no new knowledge has been added to this blog. Can we move on?

Daniel Peterson said...

I absolutely agree. That's why I've been suggesting that, if BYU AE really wants to debate genetics, he do so with geneticists.

I don't even play one on TV. All I'm in a position to do is to cite authorities, and the authority of those that I've cited outweighs the authority of BYU AE.

Mike Parker said...

I think Dan has come to the point in that last message, it being:

1) Several well-known and internationally-respected LDS geneticists claim that the evidence does not discount the possibility of a limited incursion by a small group of Hebrews into the western hemisphere 2600 years ago.

2) One unknown, anonymous, disbelieving Mormon on a blog who claims to have an undergraduate degree in genetics says group 1 is either lying or incompetent.

So, for the majority of us who don't have a background in genetics, we're basically down to whom we trust.

Personally I see many reasons to believe group 1, and many, many fewer reasons to believe person 2.

The only possible solution is for person 2 to bring up his arguments in a forum where people in group 1 will listen and respond. And I suspect that forum isn't Mormanity.

Anonymous said...

I thought that Mormanity was the one posting about the inadequate science of Southerton.

When someone comes along and talks about the subject of the post, they are told they should post their comments on another blog? Are we not supposed to comment on the topic? You want it both ways?

I think I am leaning towards believing group 2. You do put a nice spin to the whole discussion though Mike.

BYU alter ego said...

Dear God, thank you anonymous, I was beginning to think I must have been taking crazy pills.

I didn't ask you to engage Daniel. Maybe next time you encounter a subject you don't have expertise in you should leave it alone.

You offered what I consider a silly argument to publish my criticisms of the subject brought up by Jeff. From there it got stupid.

Regardless of the superfluousness of much of the banter, I feel that the research I've pointed to ought to be thought about.

The research isn't mine. No, I don't pretend to have the expertise in Anthropology that many of your cadre do.

But the points held by the "specialists" as we've been calling them remained unchallenged thus far.

That should tell you something.

Daniel Peterson said...

Nobody has suggested that BYU AE post on some other blog. I, however, have suggested that, if BYU AE wants to challenge a number of highly respected and solidly credentialed DNA specialists regarding their comments about Amerindian DNA and the Book of Mormon, he make his pitch to them directly and/or, at the least, before an audience knowledgeable about genetics (and, ideally but improbably, with a pretty good knowledge of the Book of Mormon).

BYU AE: "I didn't ask you to engage[,] Daniel. Maybe next time you encounter a subject you don't have expertise in you should leave it alone."

To the extent that your topic has touched on the integrity and the reputation for scientific competence of Dr. Michael Whiting, Dr. Ryan Parr, Dr. John Butler, and Dr. David McClellan -- to say nothing of the several hundred other authors who have contributed to the many thousands of pages published by FARMS over the past two decades -- and to the extent that your arguments have involved several egregious logical fallacies, I'm well within my ability to comment, and feel entirely comfortable doing so.

BYU AE: "You offered what I consider a silly argument to publish my criticisms of the subject brought up by Jeff. From there it got stupid."

I'm afraid that I still can't quite grasp how it's "silly" to suggest that somebody bring his criticisms of another person's writing to the attention of that person, preferably (if it's going to be public at all) before an audience competent to judge those criticisms on their merits.

BYU AE: "But the points held by the 'specialists' as we've been calling them remained unchallenged thus far.
That should tell you something.


What it tells me is what my colleagues have already told me personally and what they have published -- namely, that the points you raise from your "specialists" are almost certainly true and almost certainly of no particular relevance to the claims of the Book of Mormon, and that, accordingly, there is no need to challenge those points. As I understand the arguments, I agree entirely.

JB said...

Great tantrum, BYU AE!

Walker said...

I must say that your determination to carry on this debate is astonishing. Since none of us save AE have any expertise in genetics, the debate basically gives AE a platform from which he can hit us over the head with his bachelor's degree.

It is Jeff's blog, and if wants to let it go in, that's his decision. But, in at least one regard, I agree with Dan. None of us can really undertand the language of genetics, so AE has a corner on the discourse. This doesn't indicate correctness as much as it demonstrates the "golden rule of discourse" (he who controls the language makes the rules).

For everyone else who actually wants to participate in the discussion, it might be nice to tone down the discussion. I'm not asking for unilateral disarmament. I'm asking for a full out truce. BYU AE, Dan: Can we please give it a rest?

Bookslinger said...

The concepts of genetic markers and names in mtDNA and Y Chromosome DNA are not that hard to grasp. The essentials are covered in high school biology.

It's all the extrapolations, interpretations and "What does this mean?" questions that really matter.

Or as I likes to say, "There's evidence, there's all the evidence, and there's interpretation of evidence."

As CSI fans know, you have to have all the relevant evidence, and you have to interpret it correctly.

Daniel Peterson said...

I'm leaving for the east coast on Friday morning, so I've known all along that my participation on this thread will necessarily come to an end in what is now only a few hours.

I'm happy to bow out. I've simply not wanted to allow BYU AE to impugn the integrity and competence of several otherwise legitimate and widely respected scientists without a challenge. I react viscerally to efforts to poison the well of discourse. I always have. I probably always will. And I don't feel particularly bad about it, either.

Even prior my departure, though, anybody who wants to discuss anything at all on this thread is perfectly free to discuss anything at all, and anybody who doesn't want to read my posts is free not to read them. Following my departure, of course, BYU AE and everybody else will be free to post without having to dread comments from me.

John said...

Dan,

For what it's worth, I don't think you've overstepped any bounds. AE attacked the credibility and integrity of established and respected men. If I were in your unique position, knowing many of them personally, I would defend them as well.

However, I can't say I'm sad that the genetics discussion is going to die.

Walker said...

For the record, I was directing my frustration more at AE's caricatures than at you. My guess is that AE will make some wise crack about how you buckled under the weight of his superior scholarship (or some gibberish like that). I just knew if I read one more jab about FARMS, genetics, or credentials, I would throw up.

Look forward to future posts from you.

BYU alter ego said...

For what it's worth, I'm sorry if I have come off as "visceral" as Daniel put it.

Please try to remember that the title of this thread however was "Another Scientist takes on Southerton's inadequate science."

So I don't see the problem actually discussing the science.

Although I regret diving into slugfest with Daniel, I want to point out to those who obviously haven't read the entirety of what I've written, that the majority of what I have posted is all reference material.

Is it so inflammatory to reference transcripts, and pull quotes from professional journals that support my point of view? The vast majority of my posting deals with that type of material. Please, please, read it first and save us all more grief.

Is it gibberish to expect that those who call foul give a reason that pertains to the argument.

I asserted that Dr. Parr's essay is misleading, which it is. I also asserted that out of all the people Daniel loves to name drop, Parr is the only one with any real credentials in Anthropology.

Saying such is certainly not slander, because it's true and easily verifiable btw. Nor is it ad hominem btw, I'm not calling the LDS scientists Daniel mentioned stupid, I'm just calling them biased. Huge difference.

Whiting knows a lot about the evolution of flies and fleas. If the discussion turned that direction, he'd be qualified as an authority.

I see nothing wrong with pointing out that in discussions of Anthropology, Whiting, Butler, and McClellan aren't qualified as authorities.

Go to www.pubmed.com and do an author search. It will show you, within the realm of the life sciences, what an author has published and it what journals.

I also haven't intended to bash anyone's head with my degree. But it's certainly fair to take the discussion into the technical realm when Jeff asserts that, based on Parr's writing, "Inadequate Science" plagues Southerton's assertions.

Flame away, I'm used to it by now.

Night... :P

Walker said...

Your response is appreciated AE. Serious.

It was just getting too down and dirty for my tastes (mostly because I couldn't get involved due to lack of expertise). I don't know jack about most of these guys or their work (I wish I did). I can give the rote answer, but I admit, historical genetics is not my cup o' tea.

Ah well. I, for one, have said my two bits on this thread. And don't be too upset, AE. That last post was unusually nasty on my part. There won't be more flames coming from me.

Mormontramper said...

I don’t see any reasons that BYU Alter Ego should be regarded as an expert in this field. I’ve studied a lot of material in this area myself and it has led me to the following conclusion. I think that nearly everyone engaged in the debate professionally do agree on the scientific issue. What they do not agree on is how the BofM should be interpreted and whether or not the book presents a testable hypothesis. The Mormon scientists describe very well the present understanding in the fields of mtDNA and Y-chromosome research. So do Southerton as well. Btw I appreciate his book!

Southerton even admits that if a few persons entered a continent peopled by millions it would be almost impossible to detect them today using the tools of mtDNA and Y-chromosomes. The disagreement comes down to one point. Were there people numbering millions in America when Lehi came here or was it an empty continent? In the first case all seems to agree that it would be a lucky shot if a lineage would have survived. On the other hand if Lehi and his company indeed came to an empty continent we should easily be able to connect the mtDNA and Y-chromosomes to the Near East.

So basically it’s about interpreting the BofM. I think that the Mormon apologists have done a good job, even long before the DNA became an issue, to explain for us how we should and could interpret the BofM. Personally I don’t even have a problem with D&C 19:27. The scripture doesn’t say that the Lamanites are exclusively of Jewish origin, only that they are related in some ways. Since the covenant with Abraham is the only covenant God works through, the BofM – as the only book - serves an important purpose, that world science never could be able to, to establish that important connection.

BYU Alter Egos latest comment is pathetic at the best and it shows no sign of being written by a professional scientist. I share with you here below the comments from Southerton himself. I took it from Signature Books homepage, se this link http://www.signaturebooks.com/excerpts/Losing2.htm. In his comments Southerton is correct when it comes to the question of science, but his viewpoints on the BofM and on what Mormon prophets have taught are only his own interpretations.

Here are Southerton’s comments. It would be nice if BYU Alter Ego could explain why Southerton are wrong on the possibilities of science here. BYU Alter Ego claimed that it would be very, very easy to establish a genetic connection even if a small group entered a great and fully peopled continent. Southerton seems to disagree.
“7. The bottleneck effect, genetic drift, and other technical problems would prevent us from detecting Israelite genes.
In 600 BC there were probably several million American Indians living in the Americas. If a small group of Israelites, say less than thirty, entered such a massive native population, it would be very hard to detect their genes today. However, such a scenario does not square with what the Book of Mormon plainly states and with what the prophets have taught for 175 years.”

John said...

. . . - sigh - . . .

BYU alter ego said...

Mormontramper,

lol...haven't we had enough yet??

I never claimed to be an expert in Anthropology. I have brought up papers and comments by Anthropologists however.

Since I work in a reference lab, and my "day to day" as it were are DNA sequencing and fragment analysis, I think I'm at least qualified to comment.

Also, since I'm a BYU grad and know a little more about the backgrounds of the scientists Daniel brings up, I feel it appropriate to point out the relevant inconsistencies.

The issue with the Lehite/Mongoloid admixture is not a 30 colonizers to millions issue. Remember that Lehi's descendants got into the millions at one point(according to the BOM). The real issue is whether two populations (Lehite and Mongoloid)of such size could coexist on the Continent without bilateral admixing.

So you're right partially about the debate being about BOM interpretation. But the arguments of apologists do indeed go beyond that.

Never mind that the whole thread was dedicated to Dr. Parr's writings. Parr asserts there is still room for other lineages in the genetic record. Hammer and Luiz-Linares assert a contradictory opinion.

Do you have something to add to that? If not, let's let this thread retire peacefully.

Perhaps you should actually read the articles I referenced. They are available for free.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you BYU AE.
I think we should P A R T Y
now that Dan is not here.

Mormontramper said...

Well, I thought that the admixing really took place. ;-)

Btw. What are your comments on Southerton's statement? The statement was built upon a possible mixing.... You can show the level of your academic skills here. C’mon….. :-)

BYU AE wrote "So you're right partially about the debate being about BOM interpretation. But the arguments of apologists do indeed go beyond that." Well in fact that is true! At least in some cases. Sadly it is true for Anti-mormons as well.

Party, now? The party was when Dan was here.... I will miss him!

From Sweden with love....

Daniel Peterson said...

With such elementary errors in reading so readily abundant here, it's no wonder that certain people so consistently get things wrong:

(1) For anonymous@7:22AM: As I said, Evil Peterson leaves on Friday. Today is Thursday. Ergo, Evil Peterson hasn't left yet. (Simple syllogistic logic.) Which means that utopia hasn't arrived quite yet.

(2) For BYU AE: Evil Peterson didn't say that BYU AE "comes off as 'visceral.'" Evil Peterson's "visceral" remark was about Evil Peterson himself.

Amusing that, when BYU AE mentions papers, and when he suggests that certain authors are dishonest and incompetent, that's "giving references," but that, when Evil Peterson mentions authors who disagree with BYU AE's opinions and denies that those scientist-authors are dishonest and incompetent, that's nothing but a demonstration that, among Evil Peterson's many other character flaws, "Daniel loves to name drop." And, of course, when BYU AE insinuates mercenary motives for those at BYU who dissent from his opinion, when he suggests that those and all others who differ from him are dishonest, incompetent, and/or simply (unlike himself) biased, and when he proposes that all of the many thousands of pages by hundreds of authors published by FARMS over the past twenty years or so are to be dismissed as nothing more than repetitious exemplars of a single elementary logical fallacy, that's a substantive contribution. But objecting to such responsible argumentation is "flaming."

On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

Bookslinger said...

BYU-AE: Remember that Lehi's descendants got into the millions at one point(according to the BOM).

No, that's not what the BoM says. It says that the Nephites and the Lamanites got into the big numbers.

The BoM definition of a Nephite is not "those of the Lehite party who sided with Nephi," it was "those who sided with Nephi."

The BoM definition of a Lamanite is not "those of the Lehite party who sided with Laman," it was "those who sided with Laman."

The Mulekites sided with the Nephites and were therefore counted among the Nephites.

Suppose there were pre-existing indigenous populations at the time of the arrival of the Lehites, or some Asians immigrated and took sides prior to the Nephites/Lamanites becoming numerous.

If those people came to side with Nephi or Laman, then they would have been called Nephites or Lamanites, and would have been entitled to the designation according to the BoM's definition.

Mike Parker said...

Admixing is simply unavoidable in any careful reading of the Book of Mormon. The population sizes are simply too big, and it starts one generation from Lehi, when the people of Jacob (son of Lehi) are having problems with unauthorized polygamy. Only one generation before, the sons of Lehi married the daughters of Ishmael. Now their own sons are rampantly practicing plural marriage. How? The only possible conclusion is with outsiders.

All of this, and more, is examined in John Sorenson's article, "When Lehi's Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?" (which, BTW, was published in 1992, about eight years before DNA was used to attack the BofM, so it's not a knee-jerk reaction by any means).

Walker said...

Thank you Bookslinger. I feel vindicated. Since the genetics debate is not retiring in peace, I'll at least jump in now that the debate is focusing more on the BOM than on the intricacies of genetics (the former of which I knew a lot more about).

The assumption that the Mesoamerican world was divided into Lehites and indigenous populations is not likely. Rather, since the BOM was written from a NEPHITE point of view (like a typical lineage history from that area--See Sorenson's "Ancient American Setting..."), it is only natural that the history should be Nephi-centric.

The genetics point is largely moot, as Mormontramper noted. The Lehites were indeed a small group, and once Lamanites began intermixing with them (which they did almost from the beginning), the gene pool would have almost certainly been diluted. Indeed, the "curse" of the Lamanites, I believe, did not come through some mystical DNA change (though it certainly could have), but through their failure to marry within their own people. This would explain Nephi's comments about how the Lamanites brought upon themselves the curse (and if anyone wants to play the race card, let's save it for another thread--I'm just positing an explanation as to how the Nephites would have viewed the situation).

BYU alter ego said...

Wow...an agreement, an actual agreement on this thread lol.

I agree completely that admixing would have occurred without exception under the conditions the BOM describes.

Which is why it's problematic to not find alternate lineages other than Mongoloid.

One might argue that the interbreeding was one sided, ie; The Nephites/Lamanites only brought in indigenous individuals and the flow didn't go the other way. I'm of the opinion that a scenario like that is unlikely.

BTW, thanks Bookslinger for pointing out the distinction between Nephites and descendants of Lehi, it's a good point, really. But it's a moot point if we all agree that the mixing was two way.

Now Walker, are you suggesting then that only the Lamanites mixed, because of the dark skin issue? And then the Lehi/Mulekite component was diluted?

An example of how that would be problematic is that the Lamanite Kings 500 years down the road certainly identified with Lehi and Jerusalem. They at least believe that they were descendants of members of Lehi's party and also that they had the right to govern.

Remember King Lamoni? Alma 22:9 says:

"And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem?" (90-77 BC)

How about Ammoron? His brother Amalickiah and himself were originally Nephites who crossed over to the Lamanite side and both became king. Alma 54:23-24 says:
"23. I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem.

24. And behold now, I am a bold Lamanite; behold, this war hath been waged to avenge their wrongs, and to maintain and to obtain their rights to the government; and I close my epistle to Moroni."
(about 63 BC)

I don't know if you can argue that there was too little mixing of the Lamanites/Nephites populations to leave the Lamanite side as predominantly Mongoloid.

After Christ's appearance we know of course that for 400 years the Lamanites and Nephites became one.

After such time Mormon gives an indication that lineage was still being recorded, he states in 3 Nephi 5:20:

"I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi."

So no matter how much mixing occured throughout the first 1000 years, Mormon believes at least that he's still a pure descendant of Lehi.

Is it really that hard then to believe that the dilution of Near Eastern DNA is a bad argument?

Unless you believe Mormon was the only left remaining pure descendant of Lehi of course, or that the pure descendants decided to not mix. However everyone was supposed to be the same after Christ came right?

So now to shift and come to your previous point Mormontramper.

I agree with what Southerton says. Thirty in a million is not enough to be detectable, at least, it's very highly improbable. It could happen, and I could also win the lottery...:P

Just for the record I never insinuated that the above was likely.

What I do argue is that the BOM gives us indication that Hebrew DNA was well represented until the very end of the record. This of course would be long after their numbers had inceased past thirty.

According to Mormon's statement, Moroni would have to be at least half Lehite.

The argument that the BOM supports the idea that the Mulekite/Lehite genetic contribution ended at thirty, a hundred or even 10,000 people is wrong.

At best you have to take endless extrapolations from the book actually says and even then you would have conflicts.

So, no, the Hebrew genetic influence wasn't diluted to undetectability before a signifigant contribution was made.

Daniel Peterson said...

Even Lehi's children were only 50% descended from Lehi. They were descended from Lehi and another.

And, unless his children married siblings, his grandchildren were only 25% descended from him. They were descended from Lehi and three others, at that level of their genealogy, plus their two parents (which yields Lehi and five others). And it doesn't take very long for there to be thousands of others between Lehi and any of his descendants. From Lehi to Moroni, there were something on the order of forty generations. Two to the fortieth power is a very, very large number.

So what does "pure descendent of Lehi" mean, actually? Does it mean descended through an uninterrupted sequence of daughters of Lehi and Sariah? If not, what does it mean, and what impact would possible variation have on, say, mtDNA? How well would, umm, Lehi's mtDNA be transmitted through, say, an unbroken sequence of sons?

Whatever Mormon's precise genetic makeup may have been, his descent from Lehi may well have been something unusual, since he mentions it. It wouldn't be at all surprising, as a matter of fact, to learn that his elite status played a role in his being chosen as the leader of the Nephite armies (and very possibly, in the early years, that meant "ceremonial leader") at the age of fifteen. In other words, it's probably dangerous to generalize from the unclear case of Mormon to many conclusions about the DNA makeup of millions of others.

Walker said...

AE:

I'm not sure I was understood correctly. Nor am I sure I understand you correctly. Are you saying that because Lamanite Kings claimed Lehite lineage that they couldn't have had indigenous influence? I would argue that it is entirely possible to have maintain an "elite" culture among kings. In Ammoron's case, it is most telling, as he clearly views the Lehi myth (myth meaning account rather fiction) as a political tool for gaining power. Did this legend fit the masses beliefs? Probably not, at least not immdediately (he may have later through oppression and destruction of their sacred shrines and stellaes). Rather, Ammoron had juxtaposed an alternative history on the local pagan religions. This is also revealed by Mormon's statement in chapter 1. Why else would he describe himself as "pure" unless there were those among his people who were mixed? Certainly Mormon was not alone. But he was certainly among the educated elite in power. By establishing his lineage to Lehi, he validates his account as a true lineage history.

Also, religious beliefs are often disparate from cultural assimilation to a certain degree. Also, kings have a tremendous influence on religion. So it was with Lamoni. If he inherited a certain legend from his Nephite heritage and if the kings were largely of Lamanite descent (an internally consistent claim with other cases of kingship in the BOM, such as the Mulekites where only a pure descendant of Mulek was king or with every other writer who claims lineage to Lehi and others), it would be plausible for Lamoni to retain his basic belief in his origins. It is also possible that his Jerusalem myth was merged with a "Great Spirit" myth of the local populations. Regardless, there are certainly plausible explanations for the carryover.

BYU alter ego said...

To Walker,

I'm sorry if I've misunderstood. The majority of my post was based on what I thought your argument was.

I agree that the "divine right" card, or something akin to it could have been played Amalikiah and thus Ammoron in the Alma account. This is all hypothetical of course.

I also agree with you that there is a large amount of room for ambiguity here. Indeed much can be "lost in translation."

If Mormon says he's a pure descendant we'll have to take him at his word.

If the Lamanites claim Lehi as their father and therefore claim Lehi's birthright, we'll have to take them at their word as well.

We really have no way of knowing.

So since we only have what is in front of us, the BOM text. Debating whether the BOM is true or not is going to have to at least require us to try out the option where the text is accurate at least once.

From the text, I believe it's safe to say that a direct line of descendants from Lehi (and Sariah too of course) survived to the very end of the record.

It's my opinion, (and we're still talking in the hypothetical of course)that this weighs against the idea that the Near Eastern genetic influence was diluted before incorporation with the rest of the Amerinds.

Walker said...

You bring up a valid point. However, I would have to agree with Dan as to the ambiguity of the Mormon example. One line (I would imagine) out of millions of people is not an enormous genetic influence. As I noted, since Mormon paid special attention to his role as a Lehite descendant, I would posit that he was trying to distinguish himself from other Nephite-indigenous peoples who were claiming authority (much like Luke in the NT).

With so much cross-cultural exchange and dilution (arguably in Moroni 9, where the Nephites arguably have acquired outside rituals for prisoners of war) and the numerous cases where the Lamanites and Nephites exchange positions as to their political affiliations, I just can't see how we, at any time from Jacob on, can assume that either group is even close to being a gentically homogenous group. Again, I don't much about genetics or its authorities. So I could be wrong about the science. But to me, the mere fact that we can have this kind of conversation about a "frontier mishmash" says something about the complexity of the BOM.

BTW, thanks for the civil dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that Walker. And you too BYU AE, it says a lot that some people on this blog can discuss and dialogue without being so condescending. It certainly says something about class and maturity.

BYU alter ego said...

To Daniel:

What I'm about to say contains no "loaded" message or mal intent. I'm going to try and just answer your questions all in good faith.

Your description of the number of Lehi's descendants is large indeed. Two to the fourtieth is roughly a trillion. 1.09X10^12 for all us nerds.

That of course is overstating reality, but I believe your point was how could that large distance impact our ability to measure the Near Eastern connection correct?

First off, mtDNA taken from anyone but in Lehi's troop would most likey not match Lehi's himself. mtDNA is maternal only of course so it's Sariah that's important. Of course, this discussion could segway into who is Sariah, but is it reasonable to assume she was Near Eastern?

Y Chromosome DNA of course covers the paternal descendency. You mention Lehi's mtDNA, but I'm sure you meant Y Chromosome. It doesn't matter. If it's true that Mormon had an unbroken paternal line from Lehi, yes, his Y chromosome DNA would be very, very similar to Lehi's.

If the line was maternal he would match his mother roughly to the same degree of accuracy.

Over 1000 years, by best estimates it might be have one or two nucleotides that differed out of those measured.

The mtDNA markers are 400 nucleotides long roughly, and I don't remember the lenght of the Y Chromosome markers off the top of my head.

But sequencing beyond a few hundred bases get's time consuming and difficult.

Since there are 4 bases available to fill a spot, think of DNA as a "base 4" number. So a marker 400 bases long, can have 4^400 variations. Not THAT's a big number.(6.6X10^240 to be exact)

So in our example the odds of Mormon and Lehi, in a worst case scencario, randomly having 398 of the same bases are extremly low, As in, if the odds of winning the lottery are one in a billion, I'd win it 26 times roughly before I found a random Mormon/Lehi connection.

The crazy thing is, that Mormon could have been morphologically drastically different than Lehi. The Lemba tribe in Africa, are well, quite African looking. But their connection to Hebrew Cohanim ancestors is clear.

The rest of Mormon's DNA that dictated hair color, eyes, height, etc... could all have differed, but a certain portion of his Y Chromosome would be next to identical.

This is why this methodology is quite powerful.

So even though Mormon conceivably had, let's just call it a "large number," of Lehite cousins, (up to a trillionth removed...lol), a hypothetical geneticist who snuck a cheek swab from him and who also had in his possession a sample from middle eastern cousin of Mormon, (let's assume Lehi had a brother or something) could immediately see that they had a common male ancestor.

I hope it's agreed that the Hebrews have a thing for genealogies. I think it took me almost 2 months on my mission to make it through Chronicles.. :).

If the Nephites continued that tradition than Mormon's assertion I think becomes quite believable.

As to whether Mormon was unique or not, I actually do tend to believe such a thing would be very unique.

All I'm arguing for though is Near Eastern influence at a measurable level, not pure descendancy.

The fact that the Mormon claims pure descent at least shows that Lehi's "line" dying out, however it's defined, should be less believable.

(How'd we do? Better? I really do want to go back to being civil if we can. Truce?)

To Walker,

Perhaps the above will explain the genetic homogeny thing a little for ya.

BYU alter ego said...

earlier I meant to say "anyone from Lehi's troop except Lehi himself."

My bad.

BYU alter ego said...

oh...and by "mother," regarding Mormon I meant Sariah, however many greats that is.

k...no more typos

Daniel Peterson said...

I actually have no time at all for this. I need to pack.

But have you considered just how complex the concept even of an "Israelite" is? Matt Roper's recent FARMS Review article on this (listed under "DNA" on the FARMS website) surveys some of the problems with trying to view Israelite as solely or even largely a term for biological descent.

And it's those genetically ambiguous Israelites of 2600 years ago that you're attempting to compare to today's Amerindians.

Incidentally, I know that "Lehi's mtDNA" is a kind of category mistake. That was the point of the umm. And I know that the actual number of anybody's forty generations of ancestors is unlikely to really be two to the fortieth power. But it would be a large number, nonetheless. And if it was forty generations or so from Lehi to Moroni, it's roughly another sixty four generations from Moroni to today's Amerindians -- for a total, thus, of approximately 104 generations from Lehi to contemporary DNA sampling. In the course of that many generations, lots of things can happen.

Bookslinger said...

BYU-AE: BTW, thanks Bookslinger for pointing out the distinction between Nephites and descendants of Lehi, it's a good point, really. But it's a moot point if we all agree that the mixing was two way.

I don't see a logical connection there. Two-way mixing between Nephites and indigenous Asian-origin peoples can still happen, and Hebrew DNA have been diluted and bottlenecked, and this after the mixing. All it takes is one back-and-forth in a line: Lehite man marrying non-Lehite woman, thereby losing Lehite mtDNA in that line, and then a female descendent in that line marrying a non-Lehite man, thereby losing the Lehite Y-chromosome in that line. However, all further descendents in that line still can claim Lehi as one of their ancestors even though they have bred out the Lehite mtDNA and the Y-chromosome.

Bookslinger said...

BYU-AE: "So no matter how much mixing occured throughout the first 1000 years, Mormon believes at least that he's still a pure descendant of Lehi.

Is it really that hard then to believe that the dilution of Near Eastern DNA is a bad argument?"


Again, there's no logical connection there or to your ultimate conclusion of the BoM being false.

So there were identifiable direct male line descendents of Lehi at the time of Mormon? So what? They could have been a minority, and even if they weren't the loss of Lehi's Y chromosome could have been finally bred out post 421 AD.

After all, the Nephites were largely destroyed, with likely only a small fraction being assimilated by surrender to the Lamanites.

The bottlenecking and loss of Lehite Y-chromosome and mtDNA could have occurred (pre or post 421 Ad) regardless of whether the Nephites had diluted their Lehite DNA with mixing.

Bookslinger said...

BYU-AE Unless you believe Mormon was the only left remaining pure descendant of Lehi of course, or that the pure descendants decided to not mix. However everyone was supposed to be the same after Christ came right?

I don't see your reasoning. You seem to be assuming things from the BoM record that you're not articulating, and then assuming we have the same assumptions you do.

The claim that Mormon was a pure descendent of Lehi, regardless of how one defines that (though I think he meant it as to direct male lineage, and may or may not have had any female ancestors from outside the Lehite party), has no bearing on the genetic makeup of his contemporaries.

Mixing of Nephites with Asian DNA could have happened pre or post 421.

All Mormon's statement tells us is (assuming he meant direct male line) that Lehi's Y-chromosome had not entirely disappeared. We still don't know how prevalent it was. It may have been common, it may have been rare, or, less likely, he and his sons may have been the only one.

Regardles of those last three scenarios, there was still 1100 years from Moroni to Columbus for Lehi's Y-chromosome to disappear.

Bookslinger said...

BYU-AE: What I do argue is that the BOM gives us indication that Hebrew DNA was well represented until the very end of the record. This of course would be long after their numbers had inceased past thirty.

No, it doesn't indicate that at all. Mormon's claim to be a pure descendent of Lehi doesn't require that.

Through mixing with Asian-origin peoples, the Lamanites may have bred out Lehi's Y-chromosome and Sariah's and Mrs. Ishmael's mtDNA. That may have happened in the 1000 years from 600 BC to 421 AD, or it may have happened post 421 AD.

But even supposing that the Nephites (those who were on the side of Mormon in 421 AD) still had a significant portion of their population carrying Hebrew Y-chromosome and mtDNA, they were wiped out, and only a small portion survived by submitting to and joining the Lamanites. Thus it was further diluted, and increased the chance of bottlenecks and dead-ends.

BYU alter ego said...

DP, "...for a total, thus, of approximately 104 generations from Lehi to contemporary DNA sampling. In the course of that many generations, lots of things can happen."

Bookslinger,"Regardles of those last three scenarios, there was still 1100 years from Moroni to Columbus for Lehi's Y-chromosome to disappear"

I would just refer you both back to my most recent post. A "lot" of things actually don't happen. 2600 years might get you 3-5 base changes out of 400. Remember the lottery example?? Also, 3-5 changes out of 400 is far from disappearing.

Anyways...have a good trip Daniel, Bookslinger, keep up the "slanging" and goodnight to everyone else.

Bookslinger said...

BYU-AE: I would just refer you both back to my most recent post. A "lot" of things actually don't happen. 2600 years might get you 3-5 base changes out of 400. Remember the lottery example?? Also, 3-5 changes out of 400 is far from disappearing.

I'm going to refer to Sariah's and Mrs. Ishmael's mtDNA as "Lehite mtDNA" for brevity.

I'm not talking about random base changes. I'm talking about the scenario of Lehite boy marrying non-Lehite girl, then their daughters(A) marrying non-Lehite boys, then those daughters' children can have neither Lehite Y's nor mtDNA. Evidence of traceable Hebrew DNA is gone in all the descendants of A, even though they can rightfully claim Lehi as an ancestor.

Then if Lehite girls marry non-Lehite boys, and their sons(B) marry non-Lehite girls, then those son's children can have neither Lehite Y's or mtDNA. All of B's descendants have no traceable Hebrew DNA, though they can rightfully claim Lehi as an ancestor.

And if A's children marry B's children, their children still have no traceable Hebrew DNA, but can rightfully claim Lehi as an ancestor.

This criss-crossing of male/female Lehite with female/male non-Lehite across subsequent generations only has to happen ONCE in each line of descendancy for both the Lehite Y-chromosome to be lost and the Lehite mtDNA to be lost.

And it doesn't have to happen in contiguous generations, the grandparents can "criss," and if all the grandchildren "cross", the results are the same.

And if it started to happen among the generation of Laman and Lemuel's immediate children, and if the Lamanite faction was small compared to a larger Asian-origined indigenous group, then loss of Lehite Y-chromosome/mtDNA among the Lamanite faction seems rather likely to me, and very likely it was lost among the Lamanite faction well prior to 1 AD.

Then whether or not that scenario
(Llehite marries non-Lehite, then their children marry non-Lehites) happened among the Nephites prior to 421 AD is moot, because in 421 AD the Nephites were largely wiped out with the remainders being absorbed into the surviving Lamanite population.

So whether the Nephites had significant detectable Hebrew DNA in 421 AD is moot, thought I don't think a strict reading of the text requires it.

Mormontramper said...

Sometimes this DNA-discussion gets very confused. Sometimes so much that I get amused!

I agree with BYU AE when it comes to question whether many things happen in the genes (mtDNA and Y) or not in 2.600 years. The answer is definitely NO! To follow the mtDNA and Y-chromosomes back in time is not that difficult at all. It is a rather effective tool for making a pattern all over the earth.

More curious is this. And I would like to have BYU AE:s opinion on this one. I listened to a lecture by a professor here in Sweden not that long ago. He showed some interesting results. The latest known mutation in Homo sapiens occurred some 6.000 years ago. This mutation took place in one sole individual. Now, not that much later in this earths history, this very mutation (in the brain) in one particular gene (note that we are not talking about mtDNA or Y-chromosomes here) is rather well spread all over the Globe. The conclusion is this. 1) Evolution still happens and 2) and the results of evolution continue to spread. The mutation in question is well represented among all countries and people with some exceptions in Africa; within local and isolated tribes. Can we trace the ways this mutation has taken all over the globe with the help of mtDNA and Y-chromosome research? Not at all. The mixing that must have taken place – otherwise the mutation couldn’t have being spread – could not be expected to be traceable through mtDNA lineages for example. What the mtDNA research can do is that we can follow the great movements of people in history and especially their separation and connect them together as a whole. Small migrations that actually do occur tend to disappear. The small migrations however can transport important mutations over a great sea and in a couple thousand years we can see them here and there and everywhere.

This leads to the word seed. How would you BYU AE categorize the word seed and maybe “pure” seed? We all know that we carries a lot of what we can call mixed heritage, but that mix will not show up in an mtDNA test would it? Take myself for example. I am a Swedish citizen. My family research goes back to late 1500 AD. (That’s not bad!). However I have found – actually my father – that we have some very important influences from Holland, Denmark and Belgium. Well, when I watch the Olympic Games I consider myself to be a “pure” Swede. On the other hand. One man came from Holland for 200 years ago and became a preacher here in Sweden. He is in my family tree. Now, what would you say BYU AE if I called myself a “pure” Dutchmen or maybe or pure “Johannesite” (his name was Johannes btw). Would it be possible for me to draw that kind of conclusion? And take this example instead. You meet a man calling himself a “pure” Swede. Would you come to the conclusion that the man in question probably would know his family record back to at least year 1523 AD, the very year Sweden broke free from the evil Danish and were established as a nation, and that he would know for sure that there were no foreigner at all in that family tree? Of course it is impossible.

The fact is this. The separation of people (Near East and Amerinds) took place many years ago, long, long before the BofM timeframe. On the other hand. The separation of mtDNA lineages – the lineages is the results of changes in those genes - is not a very good tool for saying how close we all are related. The separation of the A, B, C, D and X mtDNA lineages from the lineages in Near East took place many thousand years before the BofM timeframe. It is bad science to claim otherwise. On the other hand it is equally wrong to claim that the divisions of those major mtDNA lineages are the tool by which we can examine how closely we are all related. Small migrations happen all the time. We all have closer ancestors than we ever can imagine. My mtDNA may differ from BYU AE with thousands of years, still maybe we can have a common relative that lived only a couple of hundred years ago. This confusion lives in this debate on the internet. It is amusing to watch however.

What do I want to say with this? Hmmmmm…. Just that I think that BYU AE and Daniel C Peterson are more closely related than we know… and more closely related than they themselves want. 

From Sweden with peace and love… Excuse me for my poor English…

BYU alter ego said...

Lol...interesting post Mormontramper. Let me see if I can cover them all.

1. About evolution and human mutation.

I wouldn't be too quick to accept the last human mutation as being 6000 years ago, I think it's even more recent than that.

For example "delta32" is a mutation that prevents HIV virus from entering T cells. It also has been statistically correlated with Y. Pestis (Black Plague) resistance.

So now a human population exists that CANNOT develop AIDS. It's small and concentrated in Europe, but it exists.

The question would be has this mutation been around lying useless till now, or has it recently developed. It's frankly hard to say. DNA taken from plague victims going back to the 12th century show it's existence, but how much further back could it go? My guess is it would have started when people first ran into the plague. It's not unreasonable to assert that many human/parasite relationships are relatively recent. HIV of course at most goes back only 70 years.

It would interesting to know more.

Either way evolution occurs all around us, even today. I wholeheartedly agree.

Also, speaking of evolution and the spreading of benefitial adaptations, I want to point out that there are TONS of examples of simultaneous and independent evolutionary saltations.

What matters in evolution is environment. If there's great, generalized benefit for humans to develop a more complex neuronal structure, then ANYWHERE you find humans that mutation will be favored.

They wouldn't necessarily have to be connected or spread the benefit through breeding.

So it wouldn't surprise me in the least, if a condition common the whole world, started to favor a particular mutation event that was universally found.

I would love btw to have any lecture notes you might still have in your possession. I'm at byugestapo@gmail.com.

2. About being related.

Your right that mtDNA would be less efficient for measuring relation.

Microsatellite analysis or STRs is a much better way of measure immediate relations. However any farther than a couple generations and it get's tough.

But let's make sure to define relation properly.

Bioinformatic theory defines relation with a different word, "distance." Distance is the number of permutations that have to occur between one sample to another.

For example,

if Sample 1 was:

ATTCCGGCTAAAT

and Sample 2 was:

ATTTCCGGCTAGAT

Then we would have a distance of 2. Sample two had a T inserted and changed an A for a G.

How much distance lies between two people show's how genetically similar they are.

So if you say that relation is defined as being genetically similar then I'd agree with you. Of course, like I mentioned above, there can be large genetic difference while having similar mtDNA/Ychromosome profiles.

The Lemba in Afican are very dark skinned, whereas the surviving Hebrews have olive complexions. Yet we see a solid connection in the Lemba Y chromosome.

mtDNA shows us points of origin, and traces migration patterns from which relation is inferred.

Can I say that thus far there is no evidence for any recent Near Eastern origin of Amerinds in the genetic record? Yes.

Do I believe that any will be found? No. But that is a professional opinion only.

Since the story of the Book of Mormon begins with a signifigant migration I think it's a good argument that the mtDNA/Y Chromosome are an appropriate means to confirm whether or not the BOM account is consistent with what we know of Ancient America.

Can I tell you with precision how closely related (remember how we're defining it) Lehi and Mormon were? No.

Could I tell you if they had a similar point of origin or a common ancestor? Absolutely.

Remember that earlier we were discussing Mormon's statement that he was a pure descendant. I believe it's reasonable to assume he means a direct descendant.

If that is the case, then Y Chromosome DNA could be used to confirm Mormon's tie to Lehi.

As far as what pure means, well I think the term pure is quite subjective and should only be applied where the parameters are easily defined.

Am I pure American? I'd say yes, because American can mean any ethnic group that lives in America. Do you see how that's a slippery slope?

As an aside, a couple of quick anecdotes about Sweden.

1. I recently watched the "The Seven Seal" by Ingmar Bergman. What a great movie!! So many symbolic layers.

2. Also, I just bought a Hilleberg tent. Expensive, but so damn nice!I'm going to brave the -35 C (-30F) weather in Yellowstone this January with it. Leave to the Swedes to know something about the cold...hehe.

Do you know anything about either of those two things? They both speak highly of Sweden... :)

Bookslinger said...

BYU: Since the story of the Book of Mormon begins with a signifigant migration...

Upon what do you base that statement? The Book of Mormon begins with two families, Lehi's and Ishmael's, plus Zoram. It's reasonable to infer up to 20 people for those two families, or 30 if you include servants.

If the western hemisphere already had communities of indigenous people how is 30 immigrants "significant"?

Mormontramper said...

BYU AE I will answer your comments more extensively later, perhaps. I just want to mention that changes in the human defence system and among viruses happen all the time at a rather frantic rate. I was discussing another type of evolution; that of human organs, see the links below.

You can also read here....

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/2005/09/08#lahn_2005_aspm_microcephalin_science

And here you will find more info and even some of the pictures that were used during the lecture...

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2005/09/stop-presses-huge-papers-on-brain.html

People are often confused. Many persons I know here in Sweden (not Mormons btw) thinks that our common ancestor lived some 300.000 years ago or maybe 1.500.000 years ago or even further back in time than that. In a way that's correct. But that does not mean that we – all living humans today - don't have a closer common ancestor's in our family trees than that. For different reasons those kind of connection cannot be established with the scientific tools we have today. We need to check in to ntDNA and that's a different story. Things get confused and the analysis becomes almost impossible if we go back, say thirty generations.

The bottom line is this. mtDNA and Y-chromosome research is working on the macro level, but says nothing – or almost nothing – about smaller inclusions in to greater clusters.

Finally.

1) Ingmar Bergman – I don’t like him. I have seen the movie The Seven Seal (Det sjunde inseglet – on Swedish) many times. My school teacher once forced me to. I wrote an essay about it and the teacher never spoke to me again… Maybe I was too young back then… I didn’t like the b/w when there are possibilities to have it in colour…. Maybe I will watch again….

2) Tents? Never use them. Especially not during the winter time. Not an expert in that field I’m afraid. I have however an advise for you. If you will spend a freezing night there in January cold why don’t bring Daniel C Peterson with you. Things will certainly heat up then and the snow will smelt.… Who knows? You both can be lovers in the forthcoming Ingmar Bergman movie. Lol….. Actually I want money for bringing up this excellent idea.


Peace and love from the Viking horizon…. Yeah! I am a “pure” Viking.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Great Idea Mormontramper!
BYU AE, sounds like you got yourself a date.
You get to snuggle up next to Dan in your little tent to stay warm. Boy does that sound fun.
Bet you he hogs all the covers.
Someone pay Mormontramper for the great idea.

Daniel Peterson said...

Knowing that I was going to be in airports and on airplanes and in distant cities away from my computer for the better part of three weeks, I invited a friend to comment on BYU AE's then-recent post. Here is his response to BYU AE's comments (which are italicized):


Your description of the number of Lehi's descendants is large indeed. Two to the fourtieth is roughly a trillion. 1.09X10^12 for all us nerds.

That of course is overstating reality, but I believe your point was how could that large distance impact our ability to measure the Near Eastern connection correct?
.

Most estimates of Nephite/Lamanite population sizes are, in my opinion, based on a number of misconceptions. We do not know how many people came on the ship, nor do we know how many children they had (that includes Lehi and Sariah, who had some unnamed daughters). On several occasions, the Book of Mormon tells us that the Lamanites outnumbered the Nephites, which may suggest that they merged with indigenous groups. Mosiah 25:3 informs us that the Nephites and Mulekites together were not half as numerous as the Lamanites.

The size of the armies may be a better clue. The earliest records give us little data of value, but we do find some interesting information from troop strength and casualty figures during the great Nephite/Lamanite war that overlapped the 8th and 7th decades of the first century B.C. For example:

Helaman brought 2,000 young warriors and merged his force with that of Antipus (Alma 56:9-10). Subsequently, they received reinforcements to the number of 2,000, bringing their total strength to 10,000 (Alma 56:27-28). Another group of 6,060 were later added, prompting Helaman to say that then “we were strong” (Alma 57:6). We do not know how large Antipus’s force was before Helaman arrived nor how many soldiers died in the battle in which Antipus fell, but in a subsequent battle, “a thousand” were lost (Alma 57:26). Another 2,000 replacements then arrived (Alma 58:8). Moroni subsequently sent 6,000 men to Helaman’s assistance. From these figures, we can reasonably assume that the maximum number of soldiers serving under Helaman at any given time was 17,000 (10000 + 6060 + 2000 – 1000 + 6000).

I do not find troop strength greater than this until the time of Mormon. As a child, he noted that the Nephites were able to assemble an army of 30,000 men to fight the Lamanites (Mormon 1:11). When Mormon became a military leader, he led an army of 42,000 Nephites against 44,000 Lamanites (Mormon 2:9). Later, he led a force of 30,000 Nephites against an army of 50,000 Lamanites (Mormon 2:25). If one considers that Nephite armies were comprised of part-time soldiers who had left their normal work to defend their land (as was common in their ancient Near Eastern homeland and as suggested by the men Moroni assembled in Alma 46 and those gathered by Moroni and Lachoneus in Alma 62), these numbers do not suggest a gigantic population.

Now let’s come to the largest number of combatants recorded in Nephite history, the number who perished at the last battle led by Mormon. In Mormon 6, we learn that there were 23 Nephite leaders, each commanding “ten thousand,” all of whom perished except 24 people. If we take this literally, that means there were 230,000 Neplhites who died in that battle. Assuming this to be a war of extermination (as Mormon depicts it), it is reasonable to assume that the 230,000 included women and children, along with the men, so this may be the total Nephite population at that time. To be sure, some had dissented to the Lamanites in earlier times and even in Mormon’s day, while others, we learn, fled to the south. The actual number of Nephites slain in the last battle may, in fact, be fewer than 230,000 if the term “ten thousand” denotes a specific military unit rather than a precise number of people. Its size suggests something akin to modern military divisions, which can vary considerably in size. Indeed, in the Bible, some scholars read the Hebrew term ‘eleph not as “thousand” in the lists of available draftees for war, but as “clan” or a military unit of roughly 1,000.

In addition, one must take into account the fact that war removed many people from the gene pool.

First off, mtDNA taken from anyone but in Lehi's troop would most likey not match Lehi's himself. mtDNA is maternal only of course so it's Sariah that's important. Of course, this discussion could segway into who is Sariah, but is it reasonable to assume she was Near Eastern?

Only Sariah’s daughters would have passed their mtDNA to their offspring. We know from 2 Nephi 5:6 that Nephi had at least two “sisters” and that the others who followed him (same verse) may have been indigenous people. The mtDNA of the descendants of Lehi’s sons would have come from the daughters of Ishmael, whom they married. As time passed, however, it is likely that other native mtDNA haplotypes were introduced into the Nephite and Lamanite (and Mulekite) gene pools.

Y Chromosome DNA of course covers the paternal descendency. You mention Lehi's mtDNA, but I'm sure you meant Y Chromosome. It doesn't matter. If it's true that Mormon had an unbroken paternal line from Lehi, yes, his Y chromosome DNA would be very, very similar to Lehi's.

If the line was maternal he would match his mother roughly to the same degree of accuracy.

Over 1000 years, by best estimates it might be have one or two nucleotides that differed out of those measured.

The mtDNA markers are 400 nucleotides long roughly, and I don't remember the lenght of the Y Chromosome markers off the top of my head.

But sequencing beyond a few hundred bases get's time consuming and difficult.

Since there are 4 bases available to fill a spot, think of DNA as a "base 4" number. So a marker 400 bases long, can have 4^400 variations. Not THAT's a big number.(6.6X10^240 to be exact)

So in our example the odds of Mormon and Lehi, in a worst case scencario, randomly having 398 of the same bases are extremly low, As in, if the odds of winning the lottery are one in a billion, I'd win it 26 times roughly before I found a random Mormon/Lehi connection.


Since we don’t know what Mormon meant by saying that he was “a pure descendant of Lehi” (3 Nephi 5:20), there is no real basis for discussion. Mormon could not have known about DNA, so his comment cannot be considered in that arena. Most Americans still speak of genetic inheritance being in the blood, despite all that has been discovered in the realm of DNA. During the 19th century, people spoke of “pure-blooded Indians” and those who are “half-breeds,” but neither statement can be taken as a scientific fact. Today, Native Americans who have mtDNA screening performed to determine their tribal affiliation are sometimes disappointed to find that the female ancestor whose mtDNA they carry was not native at all, but from Ireland or some other place.

The crazy thing is, that Mormon could have been morphologically drastically different than Lehi. The Lemba tribe in Africa, are well, quite African looking. But their connection to Hebrew Cohanim ancestors is clear.

The connection is clear, but the means of transmission is still in dispute. Some researchers think that the Lemba cohen gene was the contribution of one or more Portuguese sailors.

The rest of Mormon's DNA that dictated hair color, eyes, height, etc... could all have differed, but a certain portion of his Y Chromosome would be next to identical.

This is why this methodology is quite powerful.

So even though Mormon conceivably had, let's just call it a "large number," of Lehite cousins, (up to a trillionth removed...lol), a hypothetical geneticist who snuck a cheek swab from him and who also had in his possession a sample from middle eastern cousin of Mormon, (let's assume Lehi had a brother or something) could immediately see that they had a common male ancestor.


Only if Mormon was “a pure descendant of Lehi” in terms of his Y-chromosome lineage, which is far from certain.

I hope it's agreed that the Hebrews have a thing for genealogies. I think it took me almost 2 months on my mission to make it through Chronicles.. :).

Ezra 2:62-63 informs us that a certain group of priests returning from Babylon to Jerusalem could not prove their patrilineage from the records and were not allowed to function as priests. Today’s cohanim rely on family tradition alone, with no records proving their descent from Aaron.

If the Nephites continued that tradition than Mormon's assertion I think becomes quite believable.

As to whether Mormon was unique or not, I actually do tend to believe such a thing would be very unique.

All I'm arguing for though is Near Eastern influence at a measurable level, not pure descendancy.

The fact that the Mormon claims pure descent at least shows that Lehi's "line" dying out, however it's defined, should be less believable.


See my earlier comments.

I cannot overstress the importance of considering my three-part article on DNA and the Book of Mormon posted on the Meridian web site. It describes how critics of the Book of Mormon have misused the DNA studies, and it deals mostly with mtDNA and Y-chromosome DNA. I deal with some of the problems in some of the studies and also draw on studies that clearly suggest genetic ties between some Native Americans and Near Eastern peoples. The URLs for the article are:

http://www.meridianmagazine.com/ancients/050711dna.html
http://www.meridianmagazine.com/ancients/050712dna2.html
http://www.meridianmagazine.com/ancients/050713dna3.html

I hope this helps.

John Tvedtnes

BYU alter ego said...

I was quoted as:
"Your description of the number of Lehi's descendants is large indeed. Two to the fourtieth is roughly a trillion. 1.09X10^12 for all us nerds.

That of course is overstating reality, but I believe your point was how could that large distance impact our ability to measure the Near Eastern connection correct?"


Mr. Tvedtnes then proceeds to explain his logic as to why the max Nephite population according to the BOM would have been in the range of 230,000.

Mr. Tvedtnes first, answers the wrong question, something I wasn't asking. I was discussing with Daniel how 40 generations of distance affects the mtDNA/Y-Chrom analysis.

I have no problem with Mr. Tvedtnes' analysis on the population sizes, because I can't. It's quite close to conjecture really for anyone to pin an exact number. So anything I said pertaining population size would be equally flimsy.

The only point relevant to the discussion here is that there certainly would have been enough people for admixing to occur. Dance around the issue all you want, but the case for a genetically (and geographically for that matter)isolated BOM civilization is non-existent.

I'm quoted as:

" First off, mtDNA taken from anyone but in Lehi's troop would most likey not match Lehi's himself. mtDNA is maternal only of course so it's Sariah that's important. Of course, this discussion could segway into who is Sariah, but is it reasonable to assume she was Near Eastern?"

Mr. Tvedtnes comment was:

"Only Sariah’s daughters would have passed their mtDNA to their offspring. We know from 2 Nephi 5:6 that Nephi had at least two “sisters” and that the others who followed him (same verse) may have been indigenous people. The mtDNA of the descendants of Lehi’s sons would have come from the daughters of Ishmael, whom they married. As time passed, however, it is likely that other native mtDNA haplotypes were introduced into the Nephite and Lamanite (and Mulekite) gene pools."

First, the 2Nephi5:6 talks about those already in the Lehite party before the initial separation. It's laughable to accept this as indication that Amerind wives were taken when there is no mention of the unions anywhere.

Nevermind that a problem to that idea is found in Jacob 7:26 (link). Jacob describes his people as "lonesome" and "wanderers." So at that early stage, the record is contradictory. Not the picture of a people marrying, mixing and multiplying with indigent peoples.

If having a statement from Mormon himself about his lineage is inconclusive, than Mr. Tvedtnes' words here border on fantasy literature.

Mr. Tvedtnes doesn't apparently object to Near Eastern genetic origins before the ocean voyage so I guess I have the answer to my original question.

After I discussed probabilities a bit Mr. Tvedtnes commented the following:

"Since we don’t know what Mormon meant by saying that he was “a pure descendant of Lehi” (3 Nephi 5:20), there is no real basis for discussion. Mormon could not have known about DNA, so his comment cannot be considered in that arena. Most Americans still speak of genetic inheritance being in the blood, despite all that has been discovered in the realm of DNA. During the 19th century, people spoke of “pure-blooded Indians” and those who are “half-breeds,” but neither statement can be taken as a scientific fact. Today, Native Americans who have mtDNA screening performed to determine their tribal affiliation are sometimes disappointed to find that the female ancestor whose mtDNA they carry was not native at all, but from Ireland or some other place."

First, you cannot dismiss Mormon's comment with, "well...he didn't know about DNA."

Hebrew's liked lineages, they were important. By your same logic are we to believe that we can't be sure that Christ came from David? Was Matthew mistaken to trace a direct paternal line?? Both the BOM and NT are canon right?

Your logic is a logic of convenience and doesn't transcend even this discussion.

Second, DNA is found in the blood. In my lab we use white blood cells all the time for our analysis, also, although red blood cells are indeed enucleated, they still have mitochondria.

Also, a Microsatellite(STR) analysis does actually show us wether someone is a "half breed" or not. Even single gene analysis can indicate ethnicity. Cystic Fibrosis is a good example. Nevermind that with autosomal DNA analysis you can generate a percentage of a person's various origins.

For roughly $600 you can get a full report on your materal/paternal lineage and migration history as well as continental origin. See: LINK

You actually can take that as scientific fact.

I think it's fair to say at this point that "despite all that has been discoverd on DNA" it's you sir who show a great deal of ignorance about this subject.

I was quoted as:

" The crazy thing is, that Mormon could have been morphologically drastically different than Lehi. The Lemba tribe in Africa, are well, quite African looking. But their connection to Hebrew Cohanim ancestors is clear."

Mr. Tvedtnes wrote:

"The connection is clear, but the means of transmission is still in dispute. Some researchers think that the Lemba cohen gene was the contribution of one or more Portuguese sailors."

With a masters in Middle East Studies surely you recognize the Sephardi Jewish element to Portuguese society.

Besides, what does the path matter if the connection is there? The point is that a connection should be equally, if not more readily apparent with the Native Americans. The Lemba show precedent for this.

Mr. Tvedtnes you, like Daniel, Jeff, and the others still haven't commented on the articles I cited above. These genetic anthropologists all assert that there was a single genetic contribution to the Amerind record. Until you can comment on their words I see no point in wasting any more time with this.

For your convenience here are the links again:

High-resolution SNPs and microsatellite haplotypes point to a single, recent entry of Native American Y chromosomes into theAmericas

Detecting Traces of Prehistoric Human Migrations by Geographic Synthetic Maps of Polyomavirus JC

Polymorphic Alu insertions and the Asian origin of Native American populations

Distribution of sequence variation in the mtDNA control region of Native North Americans

Distribution of the four founding lineage haplotypes in Native Americans suggests a single wave of migration for the New World

Daniel Peterson said...

I trust, BYU AE, that you sent this response, which is addressed to him, directly to Mr. Tvedtnes. He doesn't follow this blog. In fact, I have no reason to believe that he knows it exists.

That, incidentally, is very likely the reason why (along with Dr. Whiting, Dr. McClellan, Dr. Sorenson, Dr. Butler, Dr. Woodward, and others) he has not responded to your citation of four articles here.

BYU alter ego said...

I sent him the email before I posted here... :)

Daniel Peterson said...

Good.

Please let us know if and how he responds.

Daniel Peterson said...

BYU AE:

I got a kick out of your reference to me as "Danny Boy" over at your dissent-protected home message board. You're cute when you feel safe enough to condescend.

Anonymous said...

"You're cute ..."
Wow Dan, don't you wish someone could say the same about you?

Daniel Peterson said...

Good grief, no!

BYU alter ego said...

ROFL Dan, you just can't stay away from the "compound" can you? I guess getting "light minded" over there and giving you a nickname marks me as a cackling ghoul as you've put it in the past.

You on the other hand are condescending regardless of forum or audience. So who cares?