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apologetics, Mormonism

Genetic Evidence and the Book of Mormon: Did any Native Americans come from the Middle East?

The Book of Mormon’s veracity hinges on the claim that the lost tribes of Israel came to America, settled there, and wrote their history on gold plates which Joseph Smith later translated. Such claims at the time of Joseph Smith seemed irrefutable; they simply couldn’t conceive of technology which could test these propositions. Today, however, such technology is available. Unfortunately for Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church, the evidence runs contrary to what the Book of Mormon claims.

Archaeological evidence has long favored the hypothesis that Native Americans crossed into the Americas during the Ice Age from Siberia across a frozen Bering Strait.[1] The Book of Mormon, by contrast, asserts that “…Israelites accomplished at least two marathon oceanic voyages to the New World in approximately 600 B.C… By about AD 400, the descendants of these lost Israelites had multiplied into million-strong civilizations and spawned other migratory groups that went on to colonize additional territory in the Americas…”[2] The Latter Day Saints’ introduction to the Book of Mormon states that:

[t]he record [in the Book of Mormon] gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.[3]

These claims can now be analyzed utilizing DNA evidence. Contrary to the claims of the Book of Mormon, this evidence has shown that there are four major genetic lineages for the peoples of the Americas which are of Eastern Asiatic origin, along with a fifth that is possibly Caucasian.[4]

In order to support the claim that Israelites came to America, the DNA evidence would have to reflect their Israeli genetic lineage, which “resemble[s that] of Europeans.”[5] The only European genetic heritage in America, however, came with Columbus and the European settlers who followed him.[6] Furthermore, Mormons frequently assert that it was the Mayans and Olmecs who parallel the civilizations of Nephi and the Jaredites.[7] This evidence simply doesn’t match the genetic history, which demonstrates that traces of European (and therefore possibly Israelite) origins have been found in the North American peoples and not with the Mesoamerican Olmecs and Mayans—as would be necessary to support this Mormon theory.[8] The assertion that Native Americans descended from the lost tribes of Israel is groundless. The Smithsonian Institute wrote that “The physical type of the Native Americans is basically Mongoloid, being most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central and northeastern Asia.”[9] This evidence leads Simon Southerton to conclude that “The ancestors of Native Americans were Asians who unknowingly became the first Americans as they walked across Beringia over 14,000 years ago… Regardless of coincidental cultural, linguistic, or morphological parallels with the Old World, the peoples of the Pacific Rim who met Columbus and Cook were not Israelites.”[10] Native Americans descend from Asia, not Israel. Therefore, the Book of Mormon is strongly undercut by prevailing scientific evidence and genetic data.

Mormonism’s response to this DNA evidence has been threefold. The Mormon apologist counters by arguing that Christianity is undercut by scientific evidence,[11] that science can’t disprove the Book of Mormon anyway,[12] or that the conclusions drawn from the DNA evidence are stronger than such studies warrant.[13] There is little need to argue against the first rebuttal, as it amounts to little more than a tu quoque. It serves only to try to push the burden of proof off the Mormon apologist. Furthermore, it seems very strange, considering the lengths to which many have gone to argue that Mormons are Christians.[14] The second response also has little to recommend it. In an article curiously titled “BYU professor refutes Book of Mormon DNA Claims,”[15] Mark Nolte writes “[Michael] Whiting [a BYU scientist] said the Book of Mormon was not written as a scientific book, and therefore cannot be wholly proved or disproved using scientific methods… it is no surprise that DNA analysis could not find a genetic marker that links American Indians to a Middle-Eastern population.  [Whiting said,]‘I would be skeptical of someone standing up and saying, ‘I have DNA evidence that the Book of Mormon is true.’”[16] The assertion seems to be that the Book of Mormon is theology, not science, and therefore cannot be evaluated scientifically. Examining such claims fully is beyond the scope of this work, but it seems like this whole response is glaringly dismissive. The Book of Mormon does claim that the Native Americans are descendants of the Israelites, as Whiting acknowledges,[17] so evidence which demonstrates they are not disconfirms the Book of Mormon.

The third claim warrants further examination. Essentially, Mormon apologists argue that we simply can’t know enough to determine whether or not Israelite DNA is present in Native Americans.[18] The problem with this claim is that the evidence is not at all inconclusive. In fact, the evidence demonstrates that 99.6% of Native Americans are of Asian descent. The .4% of non-Asian Native American lineage is found in those genetic pools which interacted with the early colonizers.[19] Not only that, but even if the .4% of non-Asian genetic lineage could be Israelite (which it is not), the Book of Mormon claims that the Israelites in America were huge civilizations.[20] Why, then, would their genetic footprint be so small? Furthermore, the claims that such methodology is problematic or that we have limited data[21] is also demonstrably false. The genetic data is conclusive, and studies which utilize other methods for determining heritage (such as dental, osteological [study of bones], and molecular studies) confirm that the descent of the Native American is Asian, not Israelite.[22] According to Stephen Whittington, “Archaeologists and physical anthropologists have not found any evidence of Hebrew origins for the people of North, South and Central America.”[23] Genetic evidence therefore provides a strong defeater for the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

We have seen that the Book of Mormon is integral to the faith of Mormonism. If this book is factually incorrect, then there is no reason to suppose its theological message is true. Joseph Smith once said, “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” I hope that Mormons will indeed receive the truths found in genetic and archaeological evidence.


[1] Simon Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church, (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature, 2004), 73.

[2] Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 117-118.

[3] The Mormon Church, “Introduction to the Book of Mormon”, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/introduction?lang=eng (accessed February 1, 2011).

[4] Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 89-90.

[5] Ibid, 129.

[6] Ibid, 129.

[7] Ibid, 83.

[8] Ibid, 129.

[9] Quoted in Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, 215 and  Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? 97.

[10] Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 130.

[11] David Stewart, “DNA and the Book of Mormon.” The Latter-Day Saints Foundation for Apologetics Information and Research. http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/DNA_and_the_Book_of_Mormon_2.html (accessed October 29, 2010.

[12] Mark Nolte, “BYU Professor refutes Book of Mormon DNA claims.” Brigham Young University. http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/41852/ (accessed October 29, 2010).

[13] Stewart, “DNA and the Book of Mormon”; see also, Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 184f.

[14] A simple search on google for “Are Mormons Christians” turns up 610,000 results (at the time of this writing), many of which argue the affirmative, from a Mormon perspective.

[15] Emphasis mine.

[16] Nolte, “BYU Professor…”

[17] Ibid.

[18] Stewart, “DNA and the Book of Mormon”; see also Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 188.

[19] Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 187, 192.

[20] Ibid, 117-118. For just one example within the Book of Mormon itself, see the Book of Alma [one of the books in the Book of Mormon] 51:27, which states “And thus had the Lamanites obtained, by the cunning of Amalickiah, so many cities, by their numberless hosts, all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni; all of which afforded strongholds for the Lamanites.” The language suggests huge civilizations: “many cities”; “numberless hosts”.

[21] Stewart, “DNA and the Book of Mormon.”

[22] Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 191.

[23] Quoted in Ibid, 191.

This post was derived from an essay I wrote for my graduate studies at Biola University. 

SDG.

——

The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from citations, which are the property of their respective owners) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

45 thoughts on “Genetic Evidence and the Book of Mormon: Did any Native Americans come from the Middle East?

  1. It’s amazing how you can apply real rationality to the Mormon faith, but when it comes to your own faith, you forget this rationality and hide in the comfort of shadows of falsities.

    Posted by Charles Wentling | November 1, 2011, 9:32 AM
    • Fortunately for me, there is philosophical, scientific, and experiential evidence for Christianity. I don’t see the comparison. I also don’t hide behind insults.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 1, 2011, 4:23 PM
      • “scientific, and experiential evidence for Christianity”

        Only if you twist and turn the facts to confirm your bias. This is the only way for Christianity and science to be accomidated. Evolution is a fact, and is the very basis of DNA evidence. (Something that Mormons even believe in, btw.) Evolution is also the basis of biology, and every doctor that you’ve ever been to–pediatricians; ear, nose, and throat; orthodontist; optomotrist, etc.–all have studied evolution in order to do their job. If you take away evolution, and introduce intelligent design, you get absolutely no where.

        ” I don’t see the comparison. I also don’t hide behind insults.”
        It’s not an insult. It’s a comment. But everything that doesn’t make you feel all peachy inside is an insult, I suppose. The comparison is this, succintly: you can recognize that Mormonism is founded on an idea of flimsy archaeological “evidence”, but you can’t recognize that Christianity and even Judaism is founded on flimsy archaeological “evidence”, as well. You know that Judaism wasn’t the first religion, right? The temple of Göbekli Tepe was recently found to be the temple of the first religion. Most anthropologists believe, with good reason, that religion arose out of agriculture (the birth of social inequality, surprise, surprise). When it comes to science, philosophy is rarely used anymore. Ethics, logic, these are about it. You know logic, you were a philosophy major. Recognize that religion doesn’t rely on the rules of logic, and you’ll know why the atheist doesn’t believe.

        Posted by Charles Wentling | November 2, 2011, 3:57 PM
      • Sadly for Mr. Wentling, archeological evidence consistently backs what is stated in the Bible. There was a time when skeptics confidently asserteted Pilate was a fictional character until a two thousand year old chunk of marble bearing his name and title was discovered 50 years ago in Caesarea. Similarly, King David had also been dismissed as a mythological hero for the Jews (much like King Arthur for our British cousins) until ancient inscriptions bearing his name and title showed up 18 years ago in northern Israel. And whereas the Bible describes an organized civilization known as Edom which flourished during the Early Iron Age, for over a hundred years archeologists who specialized in the Ancient Near East confidently stated that was not correct (and prior to that, they’d claimed there was no evidence Edom even existed at all). But recent excavations over the past three decades have verified that the biblical account of Edom is indeed accurate.

        Just for fun, here’s a list of confirmed facts from the latter half of Acts that could not have been known hundreds of years later (when critics like to believe it was written): http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2012/01/84-confirmed-facts-in-last-16-chapters.html

        Does all this prove God exists, or that Jesus is Savior? Of course not. But it does beyond doubt prove the Bible is accurate in its depiction of history. This is how to compare apples to apples when looking at it and the Book of Mormon.

        Posted by Keith | January 17, 2012, 8:57 PM
  2. “It’s amazing how you can apply real rationality to the Mormon faith, but when it comes to your own faith, you forget this rationality and hide in the comfort of shadows of falsities.”

    Applying real rationality to Christianity is what brings forth reason when done correctly.

    Applying real rationality to naturalism is what brings forth the faith of a person to believe that unconsciousness brings forth conscious, dead matter creates life, valuess matter creates value in ones life. blueprints come from itself as so do Universes. It’s a shame that grown men actually believe in this fairy tale of naturalism. Perhaps you should stop and think that it’s possible “naturalism of the gaps” might have a dead end.

    Charles I advise you to open your mind and be skeptical of skepticism

    Posted by TimelessAwakening | November 1, 2011, 7:00 PM
    • Thanks for the response, Timeless. I think you really pointed out a critical fallacy atheists often bring onto the table–that their own view is neutral.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 2, 2011, 11:08 AM
      • The atheist does indeed have a neutral view. When I say “I know God doesn’t exists”, I’m using inductive logic. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, etc. don’t exist. They’re fairy tails. The same with God. No evidence of scientific credibility, no belief from me.

        Posted by Charles Wentling | November 2, 2011, 3:59 PM
  3. I personally do not know factually enough about the Mormon religion to conclusively say they are not Christian. It is my limited understanding that they accept that Jesus is the son of God who died for our sins and without him we can’t be saved?? I have found having grown up in the Seventh-Day Adventist church that it makes a difference if the “prophet” works are regarded as factual evidence like the Bible. It is because of this that I no longer believe in “Adventism”. What makes it so confusing to someone within these factions is there is truth mixed in with lies… which makes the best lie. You could read something from the book of Mormon you would agree with I gaurantee it. I wish your article would include the commonality as a basis for growth instead of the wrongs of Mormonism, I say that not in criticism but because I would like to know! Thanks!

    Posted by dmaizers | November 2, 2011, 5:31 PM
    • One difficulty is that Mormon beliefs may be across the board. However, the general doctrine is definitely not Christian. First of all, Paul specifically says that if anyone preaches a different Gospel, it is false. Yet the Book of Mormon is “another testament” and Mormonism preaches doctrines contrary to God’s word. For example, the belief is that God the Father literally impregnated Mary and that Jesus is physically the son of god who ascended to godhood, something to which we can all strive. That’s just two points of doctrine, and they are wildly different from Christianity and indeed contrary to Christianity. Yet note that Mormons can still say they believe Jesus is [a] god and that he is the son of [a] god. They simply redefine what these terms mean into decidedly non-Christian terminology.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 3, 2011, 10:55 AM
      • “the belief is that God the Father literally impregnated Mary”

        That is absolutely false, blasphemous, and utterly insulting. No Mormon believes this.

        We always refer to Mary, both pre- and post-partum, as the Virgin Mary.

        Here’s an article that adequately describes LDS and Christian teachings on the subject.

        A Passion for Faultfinding – http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=13&num=2&id=396

        And here’s a book you need to read. It’s all online, so no purchase necessary.

        Offenders for a Word – http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=58

        Posted by American Testament (@atbom) | November 6, 2011, 10:09 PM
      • It seems to me there is a serious dichotomy in Mormonism between the beliefs of Mormonism that the apologists try to perpetuate (which are made to be as close to evangelicalism as can be done) and the beliefs of Mormonism in general. For example: Do you believe that we can become gods?

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 6, 2011, 10:15 PM
      • Or that God the Father sinned? That’s another common Mormon belief.

        These beliefs are clearly irreconcilable with Christianity.

        The Mormon concept of God[s] is also disproven through natural theology. It seems to me that the heretical beliefs of Mormonism, combined with the insubstantial evidential base (i.e. positive genetic evidence against the central book of the Mormon faith) really undermines Mormonism’s claims to truth.

        Further, I put it to the test in the way I am supposed to. With the Book of Mormon in hand, I prayed to Jesus to tell me whether it was true. Rather than a burning in my chest I felt an overwhelming sense of incredulity. Clearly, God would not present a book which not only goes against those books He previously inspired, but is also simply false.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 6, 2011, 10:44 PM
      • There’s no dichotomy at all. If you’re actually reading the links I’m posting, you’ll notice that where the prophets or scriptures are silent, they are also silent, or at least go to great pains to express how much of what they’re saying is their own opinion or speculations. The rest is solidly footnoted. Whether you agree is another matter.

        “Do you believe that we can become gods?”

        Don’t you? Christ Himself stated in John 10:32-35:
        32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

        33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

        34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

        35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

        It’s in the Old Testament as well in Psalm 82:6
        6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

        The logic of it is striking as well, if one doesn’t wrest the scriptures. Romans 8:16-19 says:
        16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

        17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

        18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

        19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

        Christ commanded us to be perfect, “even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”. Did He lie to us? Was that some sort of sick prank? No, no it was not. It was exactly what will be expected of us, through Christ who saves us. If we are then perfect like our Father in Heaven is perfect, will we be denied godhood, or the type of existence that God has? It cannot follow that we would be denied that or Christ would have lied. And He did not.

        What isn’t plain about that? What isn’t plain about the pattern of life that God has placed us in being a pattern for the eternities? Why do you think God gives us families and children and put us through the hell and joy of family life? It is a way to draw us closer to each other and, in turn, to teach us of our relationship to God. The scriptures are full of references of us being children, sons and daughters, of God. We’re promised “everything the father hath”. Doesn’t that mean “everything”? Or was Christ misspeaking or equivocating? Was he withholding information? Are we going to get to Heaven and hear that all those promises were a practical joke of some kind? What is to be our sociality in the great beyond? If we were families in this life, why are those bonds broken in Heaven? They aren’t. See Mark 10:9 and Matthew 16:19.

        Think of an infant cradled by its parent. The infant and the parent are both human beings. Yet, from observation alone, apart from any other knowledge or experience, one would be hard-pressed if asked to prove this assertion. The infant and its parent look different, sound different, are amazingly unequal as to their abilities or actual capacities. Apart from some knowledge and experience, one could never guess that the infant has already the inborn capacity to grow and develop into the maturity and capacity of the adult parent. And although the child possesses, as a fact of its being, this innate capacity to grow up and thus possess for itself the already-possessed maturity of its parent, it is, nevertheless, utterly dependent on the love and providence of its parent for the realization of this potential.

        In a similar way, the LDS doctrine of exaltation explains human salvation as being fundamentally about a process of human growth and progress. Being literal spirit children of divine parentage, all persons who come into this world possess already the capacity to grow up and become just like their Heavenly Parents—with all the same powers and abilities. But, as with the children we see every day, this growth and progress can only take place in radical dependence on the love and grace of God the Father, by freely accepting his “great plan of happiness,” a plan whose heart and center is the person of Jesus Christ, whose atonement then enables us to attain the full measure of our existence—to become a god. (lower-case “g”)

        At no point do we ever think or claim in our spiritual progression towards being like Father in Heaven we will somehow dethrone or replace or outgrow our need for God the Father. Never in all eternity. That was Satan’s clever lie to the 1/3 that followed him…that he could dethrone and replace God the Father. That is why Satan’s kingdom will have an end and ours, under God, will not.

        Posted by American Testament (@atbom) | November 7, 2011, 12:16 AM
      • Here’s another huge problem I see when I interact with Mormonism- superficial reading of the text as opposed to serious exegesis. The passage you try to draw out to show that we can become gods is taken out of context, and out of its historical context as well. Proper exegesis demands a careful attention to the languages and words used in the text. For example, the comments on this passage here draw out the historical and linguistic meaning of the text–something I’ve found Mormons ignore. To whit:

        10:34 The problem in this verse concerns Jesus’ quote from Psalm 82:6. It is important to look at the Old Testament context: the whole line reads, “I say, you are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.? Jesus will pick up on the term ?sons of the most high? in 10:36, where he refers to himself as the Son of God. The psalm was understood in rabbinic circles as an attack on unjust judges, who, though they have been given the title ?gods? because of their quasi-divine function of exercising judgment, they will die just like other men.

        What is the argument here? It is often thought to be as follows: if it was an Old Testament practice to refer to men like the judges as gods, and not blasphemy, why do the Jews object when this term is applied to Jesus” This really doesn’t seem to fit, since if that were the case, Jesus would not be making any claim for ‘divinity’ for himself over and above any other man. It seems more likely that this is a case of arguing from the lesser to the greater. The reason the Old Testament judges could be called gods is because they were vehicles of the word of God (cf. 10:35). But granting that premise, Jesus deserves much more than they to be called God. He is the Word incarnate, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world to save the world (10:36). In light of the prologue to the Gospel of John, it seems this interpretation would have been most natural for the Evangelist. If it is permissable to call men ‘gods’ because they were the vehicles of the word of God, how much more permissable is it to use the word ‘god’ of him who is the Word of God? This type of argument from the lesser to the greater was a common form of rabbinic argument.

        And this text doesn’t even mention the radical monotheism to which Judaism subscribed. The argument you make simply washes over the historical and linguistic context of the text.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 7, 2011, 7:12 PM
      • So, then, what is the exception in Romans 8:16-19? Or in Matthew 5:48? And why is it that “the Bible” (no translation specified) is literal and inerrant in all ways, shapes and forms until Mormons begin to quote the plain text of the scriptures? Then, when we try to defend our exegesis using original translations, as anti-Mormons also do to defend their points, our interpretations–however lexically and contextually correct they may be–just don’t pass muster. I find that quite curious indeed, especially in my own conversations with anti-Mormons. Suddenly, the scriptures aren’t as plain as I was told they were.

        Anti-Mormons keep coming at Mormons with the same flawed premise. Every conversation between a Mormon and a pamphlet witnesser can be summed up thusly:

        Anti-Mormon: “Hi, I’m a Christian. You must believe in Jesus to be saved.”
        Mormon: “Hi, I’m a Mormon…a Christian, like you. I believe in Jesus, so I am saved.”
        A-M: “No, you’re not like me. You’re definitely not saved, nor are you a Christian.”
        M: “Wait, what do you mean? I believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who, as God, took the form of man, taught His Gospel, raised the dead, healed the sick, made the blind to see, suffered for our sins and died on the cross, and was resurrected on the third day.”
        A-M: “No, no. You believe in a _different_ Jesus. And you don’t accept the Bible as the one and only word of God.”
        M: “I just told you that I believe in the Christian Jesus, the Son of God, who–”
        A-M: “No, see, you believe .”
        M: “Wait, and now I have to believe in the Bible to be saved as well? Where is that written? Didn’t the Bible as we have it today come about centuries after Christ? So what about those poor Christians who didn’t have access to today’s accepted canon?”
        A-M: “Your church is a cult because–”
        M: “Wait, you’re moving the goalposts, aren’t you? You said I must believe in Jesus to be saved. You didn’t say I had to have a perfect knowledge of him and what he did or didn’t say or do. Even the Bible omits what happened between when he was 12 and 30, but he must have said and done many things of value and worth if only they had been written?”
        A-M: “But you still believe in a different Jesus, so you’re not saved. In fact, you’re probably going to hell no matter what you do.”
        M: “Ok, that was uncalled for, but I don’t think you’re listening, or even understanding your own denomination’s history. There are lots of denominations today because they all believe something different about Christ. Some that have been outcasts for centuries because of their supposed heresy are now welcome in the Christian fold. Others who have split off from their previous ‘acceptable’ doctrines of Christ are still considered Christian as well.”
        A-M: “That’s because they’re all in agreement on core fundamentals, like the Nicean Creed.”
        M: “Oh, the Nicean Creed? You mean the one that was written hundreds of years after Christ? The one in which not one phrase of it appears in the actual Bible? The one that would, by comparison of what it states vs. what the primitive church practiced and believed would both confuse and exclude the very Apostles who walked with Christ as well as most Christians who joined while Jesus was still among them? That creed?”
        A-M: “It’s Biblical. Who says it isn’t?”
        M: “When I open my Bible, the same KJV you have in your hand that is supposed to be sufficient for all authority to preach Christ, it’s not there.”
        A-M: “It’s right here in mine! I have the edition! The Creed is in there!”
        M: “But it’s not in that denomination’s, or that one’s, and this third denomination actually altered it for their own purposes, yet they’re still Christian in your eyes. And this fourth denomination translated the Bible into street talk to try to persuade gangs to become saved. What happens when they get around to reading the NIV or KJV? Won’t they be really confused?”
        A-M: “Sorry, you’re still going to hell if you don’t join my cottage congregation by saying you’re saved right now!”
        M: “But didn’t Jesus teach John 3:5, and his apostles later, that we all have to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost to be saved?”
        A-M: “And you ALSO believe that you can become GODS and RULE over your own PLANET!!!”

        and on and on, ad nauseum. The outcome is always the same. I’m not asking them to change their beliefs and I’m not attacking their beliefs. I actually believe we have the _same_ beliefs, but that we just use different words to describe the same things in a lot of cases. Yet, my opposition seems intent on ridiculing my beliefs. Out of the Mormons who fall prey to an anti-Mormon’s attacks and leave the Church, I’ve actually seen more of them turn to atheism than to Christianity. What exactly, then, is the true purpose of a person witnessing to a Mormon? It doesn’t look like it’s to bring him to Christ from where I sit.

        If you want to have a real, mature conversation, you’ll need to read the links I’ve given you. You don’t have to believe them. Just read them. The very least one can do in an honest-to-goodness debate on _anything_ is know what the opposition actually _says_ and _believes_, not what one’s pastor or a pamphlet _accuses_ them of saying or believing. I already _know_ your objections to LDS beliefs. I’ve been over them and over them for 20+ years with all kinds of Christians trying to convince me of what I believe. I engaged with you on your blog because you showed some promise of being an active reader who actually digs into your topic from both points of view and I was hoping that maybe some gaps in understanding could be bridged. Maybe you’re only interested in doing that if the subject _isn’t_ Mormonism?

        Posted by American Testament (@atbom) | November 8, 2011, 12:26 AM
      • I appreciate the candor. Allow me to clarify something, though. You’re claiming we believe the same thing. In what sense?

        It seems to me our beliefs are indeed wildly divergent. If we believed the same thing, then I would be a Mormon, or you would not. I would believe the Book of Mormon, or you would not, etc. How are our beliefs the same?

        Also, regarding inerrancy. I’m glad you wrote, “So, then, what is the exception in Romans 8:16-19? Or in Matthew 5:48? And why is it that “the Bible” (no translation specified) is literal and inerrant in all ways, shapes and forms until Mormons begin to quote the plain text of the scriptures?”

        I absolutely do not believe that. I believe the Bible is inerrant in the autographs. So I definitely believe there are some pretty serious flaws in many translations. Some of which I’ve already pointed out to you.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 8, 2011, 6:16 PM
      • Another thing I would like to comment upon is the conversation you put up there. I don’t recall our conversation going like this. I have raised factual arguments against Mormonism and commented on its derth of positive evidence. I will not go off that path onto a different debate such as the Creeds. What I am arguing is that the Book of Mormon is simply false. Presumably, Mormonism stands and falls with that Book (though I’d be open to hearing arguments to the contrary), so if the Book is false, Mormonism is false.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | November 8, 2011, 6:20 PM
  4. In 1996, Peter Underhill calculated that most Native Americans descend from a guy who lived in 151 BC. Underhill used an observed Y-chromosome mutation rate of 21 per 10,000 (Weber & Wong) and a generation length of 27 years.

    Posted by Dougtheavenger | November 3, 2011, 5:33 PM
  5. “The atheist does indeed have a neutral view. When I say “I know God doesn’t exists”, I’m using inductive logic. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, etc. don’t exist. They’re fairy tails.”

    *Fairy Tales*

    Your analogy is not analogous, so by comparing Santa to God fails right off the bat, and it shows that you don’t understand metaphysics at all.

    The Easter bunny is Physical, now since no one is claiming a physical cause created the Universe you are entailing a false analogy to God. For one to even think that a physical being created it all is question begging. So your argument is invalid, because it is a false analogy. For an analogy to be consider credible it must be analogous.

    David Hume warned laymen pop philosophers to try and stay away from analogies in the first place, do you understand why?

    “No evidence of scientific credibility, no belief from me.”

    That’s great, but the question of the existence of God is a “philosophical” question. You have now exposed your village atheism and now I understand why you think dead matter from an unknown blueprint created life billions of years ago.

    Posted by TimelessAwakening | November 3, 2011, 5:48 PM
    • I do understand metaphysics. I’m a sociologist, and as such, I need to know what it is, in order to better understand where Comte was coming from.

      “God is a ‘philosophical’ question.”

      I just gave a philosophical answer to why atheists don’t believe in God. Because of inductive logic. But no, God is clearly not a philosophical question. When you have those such as Craig attempting to scientifically prove that God exists, it clearly isn’t just a philosophical question anymore. Is evolution simply a philosophical question? No, you demand evidence. And the same with God.

      Posted by Charles Wentling | November 7, 2011, 11:51 AM
  6. American Testament. Do we differ from God by just degree or also by kind?

    Posted by apologianick | November 7, 2011, 7:46 PM
  7. @American Testament.

    So, then, what is the exception in Romans 8:16-19? Or in Matthew 5:48?

    Reply: Those are speaking about moral perfection and not ontological perfection. No one who is not ontologically perfect can ever achieve such due to transversing the infinite being impossible.

    AT: And why is it that “the Bible” (no translation specified) is literal and inerrant in all ways, shapes and forms until Mormons begin to quote the plain text of the scriptures?

    Reply: It is? To begin with, it is not always literal. That’s just a straw man. Second, the Bible is inerrant, but that does not tell us that our interpretations are inerrant. You cannot say the Bible is Inerrant, therefore my interpretation is valid. Whether your interpretation is valid or invalid really has nothing to do with the text being Inerrant.

    AT:Then, when we try to defend our exegesis using original translations, as anti-Mormons also do to defend their points, our interpretations–however lexically and contextually correct they may be–just don’t pass muster. I find that quite curious indeed, especially in my own conversations with anti-Mormons. Suddenly, the scriptures aren’t as plain as I was told they were.

    Reply: I’m not defending the plain idea. I believe the Bible was written in a high context society and most people don’t study to get the necessary background knowledge. As for the problem with exegesis, present your case and let it be discussed.

    AT:Anti-Mormons keep coming at Mormons with the same flawed premise. Every conversation between a Mormon and a pamphlet witnesser can be summed up thusly:

    Reply: Pamphlet Witnesser. That’s cute.

    AT: Anti-Mormon: “Hi, I’m a Christian. You must believe in Jesus to be saved.”
    Mormon: “Hi, I’m a Mormon…a Christian, like you. I believe in Jesus, so I am saved.”
    A-M: “No, you’re not like me. You’re definitely not saved, nor are you a Christian.”
    M: “Wait, what do you mean? I believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who, as God, took the form of man, taught His Gospel, raised the dead, healed the sick, made the blind to see, suffered for our sins and died on the cross, and was resurrected on the third day.”

    Reply: Your Jesus is also the spirit-brother of Lucifer and is a separate being from the Father. It’s a form of tri-theism. The Jesus of Mormonism also could not have always been God due to the doctrine of eternal progression.

    AT: A-M: “No, no. You believe in a _different_ Jesus. And you don’t accept the Bible as the one and only word of God.”
    M: “I just told you that I believe in the Christian Jesus, the Son of God, who–”
    A-M: “No, see, you believe .”
    M: “Wait, and now I have to believe in the Bible to be saved as well? Where is that written? Didn’t the Bible as we have it today come about centuries after Christ? So what about those poor Christians who didn’t have access to today’s accepted canon?”

    Reply: Um. No. To begin with, before the canon there was the Jesus tradition of the apostles which is the background of much of the epistles. Second, what is your source on the history of the BIble?

    AT:A-M: “Your church is a cult because–”
    M: “Wait, you’re moving the goalposts, aren’t you? You said I must believe in Jesus to be saved. You didn’t say I had to have a perfect knowledge of him and what he did or didn’t say or do. Even the Bible omits what happened between when he was 12 and 30, but he must have said and done many things of value and worth if only they had been written?”

    Reply: Ancient writers didn’t give a darn about what happened in someone’s life unless it was directly relevant to what that person did. Just read Plutarch to figure this out.

    AT: A-M: “But you still believe in a different Jesus, so you’re not saved. In fact, you’re probably going to hell no matter what you do.”
    M: “Ok, that was uncalled for, but I don’t think you’re listening, or even understanding your own denomination’s history. There are lots of denominations today because they all believe something different about Christ. Some that have been outcasts for centuries because of their supposed heresy are now welcome in the Christian fold. Others who have split off from their previous ‘acceptable’ doctrines of Christ are still considered Christian as well.”

    Reply: I’d like to see examples of this. I happen to have great fellowship with Christians from many denominations and we all agree on who Jesus is. We don’t always agree on the outworkings of that, but we all agree with the first four creeds of the Christian church.

    AT:A-M: “That’s because they’re all in agreement on core fundamentals, like the Nicean Creed.”
    M: “Oh, the Nicean Creed? You mean the one that was written hundreds of years after Christ? The one in which not one phrase of it appears in the actual Bible? The one that would, by comparison of what it states vs. what the primitive church practiced and believed would both confuse and exclude the very Apostles who walked with Christ as well as most Christians who joined while Jesus was still among them? That creed?”

    Reply: That’s “Nicene” Creed. Yes. That one. Have you ever read the ECF? They taught the full deity of Jesus and would not have had a problem with the Creed. Also, they used non-biblical language due to the constant twisting of Arius with what he said. Now would you mind showing how it would exclude the apostles?

    AT:A-M: “It’s Biblical. Who says it isn’t?”
    M: “When I open my Bible, the same KJV you have in your hand that is supposed to be sufficient for all authority to preach Christ, it’s not there.”

    Reply: Saying something is biblical does not mean it’s explicitly in the Bible. High-context societies don’t need that.

    AT:A-M: “It’s right here in mine! I have the edition! The Creed is in there!”
    M: “But it’s not in that denomination’s, or that one’s, and this third denomination actually altered it for their own purposes, yet they’re still Christian in your eyes. And this fourth denomination translated the Bible into street talk to try to persuade gangs to become saved. What happens when they get around to reading the NIV or KJV? Won’t they be really confused?”

    Reply: Sounds like you’re already confused to begin with. I don’t know any Christian who argues the Nicene Creed is in the Bible. Frankly, I think most have sadly never heard of it.

    AT: A-M: “Sorry, you’re still going to hell if you don’t join my cottage congregation by saying you’re saved right now!”
    M: “But didn’t Jesus teach John 3:5, and his apostles later, that we all have to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost to be saved?”

    Reply: Um. No. He said born of water and born of spirit and the Christian rite of baptism was not around. John the Baptist’s was, but not as a Christian rite. Most likely Jesus has in mind Ezekiel and a spiritual washing.

    AT:A-M: “And you ALSO believe that you can become GODS and RULE over your own PLANET!!!”

    Reply: Which is problematic in itself.

    AT:and on and on, ad nauseum. The outcome is always the same. I’m not asking them to change their beliefs and I’m not attacking their beliefs.

    Reply: Yeah you are. Why would you evangelize to someone who believed exactly like you do?

    AT:I actually believe we have the _same_ beliefs, but that we just use different words to describe the same things in a lot of cases. Yet, my opposition seems intent on ridiculing my beliefs. Out of the Mormons who fall prey to an anti-Mormon’s attacks and leave the Church, I’ve actually seen more of them turn to atheism than to Christianity. What exactly, then, is the true purpose of a person witnessing to a Mormon? It doesn’t look like it’s to bring him to Christ from where I sit.

    Reply: That they do it wrong does not go against their purpose. My method is to back the Bible first and show how the writings of the Mormon church, mainly in the D&C and other later writings, disagree.

    AT:If you want to have a real, mature conversation, you’ll need to read the links I’ve given you. You don’t have to believe them. Just read them. The very least one can do in an honest-to-goodness debate on _anything_ is know what the opposition actually _says_ and _believes_, not what one’s pastor or a pamphlet _accuses_ them of saying or believing. I already _know_ your objections to LDS beliefs. I’ve been over them and over them for 20+ years with all kinds of Christians trying to convince me of what I believe. I engaged with you on your blog because you showed some promise of being an active reader who actually digs into your topic from both points of vi ew and I was hoping that maybe some gaps in understanding could be bridged. Maybe you’re only interested in doing that if the subject _isn’t_ Mormonism?

    Reply: I’ve read all of the Mormon sacred literature, Mormon Doctrine, and the Teachings of the presidents Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

    Now my question. Do we differ from God by just degree or also kind?

    Posted by apologianick | November 8, 2011, 6:27 PM
  8. “That is absolutely false, blasphemous, and utterly insulting. No Mormon believes this.”

    I must say, it never ceases to amaze me how LDS apologists will throw the prophets under the bus. Perhaps the words of another LDS will better drive home the point:
    “There is no doubt that the idea of physical relations between God and Mary has been clearly advocated in the Church by such authorities as Brigham Young [1], Orson Pratt [2], Heber C. Kimball [3], Joseph F. Smith, [4], Joseph Fielding Smith [5], James E. Talmage [6], Melvin J. Ballard [7], J. Reuben Clark [8], Bruce R. McConkie [9], and Ezra Taft Benson [10]. Mormons believe that Christ was literally the Son of God in the flesh, and he was conceived in a natural, physical way according to eternal law. In explaining this, the aforementioned leaders gave their views on how it was accomplished.” (http://mormonmatters.org/2009/12/10/like-a-virgin/)

    Suffice it to say that she did her homework on referencing where each of these individuals claims exactly what American Testament doesn’t. So…exactly who is being blasphemous? You, or the LDS Prophets and Apostles?

    Posted by Rayado | November 8, 2011, 7:57 PM
  9. Hi J.W. I agree with everything you said except your final conclusion:

    “We have seen that the Book of Mormon is integral to the faith of Mormonism. If this book is factually incorrect, then there is no reason to suppose its theological message is true”

    Is the truth of theology in a book necessarily dependent on the truth of its scientific claims? Let’s assume for a moment that the Christian scripture teaches the geocentric view of the universe . Does that imply all theological teachings in the scripture is false? Perhaps the strongest conclusion you can draw is that the Mormon should give up the inerrancy of their scripture?

    Posted by mark | December 26, 2011, 7:07 PM
    • It is integral to the message of Mormonism that there were Israelites among the Native Americans. The entire book is about these supposed Israelites and their activities in America. It’s hard to see how geocentrism–a background belief which the authors of the Bible brought along–is analogous to the core of the book of Mormon. It really is just skirting around the issue. Literally the whole book is to be an account of Israelite-descended Native Americans. If there were no such people, then its entire account is false.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | December 26, 2011, 7:27 PM
  10. Hi,
    I wonder whether attacking genetic evidence for the Book of Mormon is the thing. Here is your argument:

    “In fact, the evidence demonstrates that 99.6% of Native Americans are of Asian descent. The .4% of non-Asian Native American lineage is found in those genetic pools which interacted with the early colonizers.”

    Okay, my problem w/this: Few criticisms of the Church have received as much media attention as this criticism, with so little thought and science being applied to the question. Which is to say, I don’t think that Mormonism is riding on this, I’m not a believer. I don’t accept any archeological evidence, whatsoever, for the Book of Mormon. My problem is specifically, with whether this DNA issue serves as the ‘smoking gun’ disproof, empirically, of the Book of Mormon’s claims. There is no evidence *for* the Book of Mormon, that I can see, so dropping this DNA argument wouldn’t be momentous, as I see it.

    I’m not, again, trying to rattle you, about the Book of Mormon, I’m not trying to convert you. But, DNA issues can be complex for the non-specialist. You are supposing that the feasibility of testing various hypotheses using the Book of Mormon and DNA, is not an issue, the problem has been solved.

    In your words: ‘Furthermore, the claims that such methodology is problematic or that we have limited data[21] is also demonstrably false. The genetic data is conclusive..’ Okay, are there, then, no bounds and limits to how this tool is applied and what questions it can adequately address? If course there are, as with any scientific tool.

    DNA sequence information is useful for only certain classes of scientific questions that need to be properly formulated and carefully evaluated before the validity of the results can be accepted. So, on what basis can you claim that your conclusions are thoroughly scientific? I myself, suspect that these conclusions are correct. But I don’t like you offering them, you’re not a scientist.

    You have performed no genetic research.

    You can cite whomever, is I suppose your response, but I incline to doubt that any reputable researcher is specifically attempting to test the authenticity of the Book of Mormon with DNA evidence. I suspect, that no research program thus far has been designed to specifically test the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

    I hope my meaning is clear, there are some nuances here, I’m inclined to assume your conclusions, I don’t believe in the Book of Mormon either. But, would a proposal to test the validity of the Book of Mormon by means of DNA sequence information have a sufficiently solid base in science to ever be competitive in receiving funding from a nationally peer-reviewed scientific funding agency such as the NSF?

    In any case you don’t want to answer questions like what is DNA. I mean, if you do, then great, sounds like a great career, to pursue. But how much do you know about how are DNA ancestry studies are performed? Do you know more than somebody who maybe nevertheless believe in the Book of Mormon. I know that almost all Native Americans tested thus far possess genetic signatures closely resembling modern-day Asian. And, that conclusions are usually drawn that these populations are related to one another. And, I’ll stipulate, that no Israelite genetic connection has yet been made with Native Americans. But you seem impatient, to me, do you want quick and easy answers to everything. If I were an active DNA researcher, what would I make of your assertions? You are not one.

    Posted by danlanglois | January 18, 2013, 4:51 AM
    • I unfortunately see this as largely ad hominem. Of course I know I’m not a scientist. Thanks for pointing it out. But that doesn’t mean I am incapable of reporting the results of others. Namely, Simon Southerton’s book, Losing a Lost Tribe. Southerton is an expert in plant genetics, and the research has already been done.

      I also reject your false dichotomy of: either the research has to be done directly related to the book of Mormon or it can’t be used in that fashion. That simply does not follow in any way.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 18, 2013, 10:01 AM
    • I just realized two of your comments went into my spam filter. I pretty much never check the comments and just hit empty spam. I hit stop before they were gone, but unfortunately it was already gone in the sense of being able to approve it. I was able to read it, however. One thing that struck me was that you said you’d prefer a Unitarian to do the DNA research and said “You know, a real intellectual.”

      What? Now I really have to doubt your objectivity. These unfortunate ad hominems really undermine your points.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 18, 2013, 11:27 AM
  11. Simon Southerton is an excommunicated Mormon. Under the circumstances, merely citing him as an ‘expert in plant genetics’ seems a bit like you didn’t know. His book may be academically sound and worthy of reading, I haven’t read it. This is still a very complex field, what if somebody disagrees w/him? Then nothing has been resolved. I like your use of the term ‘ad hominem’ and ‘false dichotomy’, have you taken a philosophy class. I’m not trying to win a debate, my point is that the debate is irrelevant. If you read the Book of Mormon, and you don’t convert, then you have no faith in Mormonism, Q.E.D. This is not a scientific matter, and you’re oversimplifying the scientific issues if you think that religious matters can be settled this way. Does god exist you read the answer in a scientific book? Ludicrous. This is my opinion, about a whole battery of analogous debates. Are they really scientific issues, I mean what chuch you join, you belong to the intellectually respectable church?

    I don’t mean to be insulting, bringing up your scientific credentials, I sympathize, but I think the real questions here are metaphysical, in the end, we’re trying to settle religious matters this way? Good luck w/that. It just hasn’t been settled yet, on your blog. That’s because I’m not objective, eh?

    Posted by danlanglois | January 18, 2013, 12:47 PM
    • Okay, I now grasp where this conversation is going and I’m afraid you’re getting cut off until you can use a bit less bluster and a bit less ad hominem. I appreciate your attempts to engage in dialogue, but your tone needs to change.

      Regarding the points you’ve listed: again, all you’re doing is saying you doubt people’s credentials. I don’t find that very convincing.

      Regarding metaphysics vs. science: surely science has something to say about metaphysics and vice versa. There is no, again, dichotomy between the two. There is much overlap.

      Anyway, I appreciated the brief discussion, but I expect you to be more respectful and less ad hominem in the future, if you want the conversation to continue.

      I realize you are excited about the topic, but that doesn’t give you license to insult everyone you disagree with.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 18, 2013, 1:44 PM
  12. Seeing as how you don’t believe in Mormonism and you don’t believe that Indians are descended from Hebrews, I hope we keep in mind that our disagreement is about philosophy of science. This is the topic about which I am excited.

    ‘surely science has something to say about metaphysics and vice versa’

    No I wouldn’t actually say this. And I don’t really care for deploying ‘science’ as a repository of truth, scientific opinions strike me as being subject to revision. A milder way of putting this, is I am wary of ‘easy’ scientific questions, and if there were any, I doubt that it’s late-breaking DNA research. I guess I’ve tried to air this point.

    You have made quite a number of complaints about my tone, which normally I’d be concerned, but for example I don’t know how I am supposed to have accused you of hiding your source. It seems to me, that you, are touchy. However, I’m willing to meditate on this, after all I’m trying to convince you..

    Posted by danlanglois | January 18, 2013, 6:16 PM
    • Alright, so are you claiming that this truth claim:

      “At least one people group in the Americas descended from the Israelites”

      has no empirical truth value?

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 19, 2013, 1:34 AM
      • JW. I do have to say that with regards to what Dan is saying that when you say

        “‘surely science has something to say about metaphysics and vice versa’”

        I have to agree with Dan. I wouldn’t say so. I think there is a relationship, but they are also separate scientia (Bodies of knowledge) and each speaks to its own area. For instance, I meet people who say “The Five ways of Aquinas are refuted by modern science.” No they’re not. They’re metaphysical and they are to fall on metaphysical grounds. In the same way, I think science does have a metaphysical foundation, but it is wrong to do metaphysics to do science. For instance, as a Christian as you well know, I hold that science has a theological foundation, but studying theology is not studying science.

        Posted by apologianick | January 19, 2013, 10:45 AM
      • This sounds to me very much like “non-overlapping magisteria” and I just can’t buy into it. When doing metaphysics, we often make claims which can either be investigated empirically or at least given evidence for or against empirically. When doing science, metaphysical claims are often made. They intertwine.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 19, 2013, 11:02 AM
      • Hence, I said there is a relationship but I don’t think one overrules the other necessarily. If I had to say that, I’d say metaphysics wins more often since I consider it a greater science. The bodies of knowledge can inform each other and as a good Thomist, I believe in empirical evidence, but each body of knowledge also has its own area. To do science, one needs to do experiments. To do metaphysics, one needs to be a good philosopher. It is not that never the twain shall meet.

        Posted by apologianick | January 19, 2013, 11:05 AM
  13. In other words, is my position something like this: ‘Hey, you still can’t absolutely prove that some group did not come from the Middle East during the timeframe indicated in the Book of Mormon!’

    As far as I’m concerned, the “theory” that there was a large, steel-smelting, horse-riding, Hebrew/Egyptian-speaking, Jesus-worshipping civilization filling the land in the Americas and lasting a thousand years has been disproven rather conclusively. No trace of it in archeology or DNA.

    It is my understanding, that DNA tests have been carried out on Native Americans and about 99+% of their DNA is most closely related to Asian DNA. That is, most living Native Americans carry DNA markers that link them unequivocally to Asia. Also, in any case, most scientists agree that today’s Native Americans descend from ancient Asians who crossed Siberia to Alaska in the last ice age.

    I’m not eager to dispute this, but I’m eager to dispute your notion that DNA research has destroyed the keystone of the LDS religion, that the arch of Mormon faith has collapsed. I don’t even expect an official retraction, or official correction of incorrect doctrine. Why not? Because all this amounts to, is that for the Mormon intellectual, his is the problem of religious intellectuals generally. Do you notice, that Galileo did not end Christianity? I don’t understand how that’s different, except that you comfortably assume Mormons to be especially misguided and credulous.

    It’s not an issue, if you don’t care for the content of the Book of Mormon (or whathaveyou, your scriptures), then that’s an issue. Why are we worried about whether it’s ‘true’. The devil knows that it’s true, he doesn’t worry about it. The Book of Mormon is scriptures, this is religion. There is an organization, a lifestyle, a social experience. Do you approve of the SNL skit where William Shatner playing Captain Kirk, beams down and says ‘there is no intelligent life here’, then shouts ‘your Bible is a LIE!! RUN!!’ 🙂

    Good luck w/that, you hope to produce Christians that way? What that produces is me.

    Posted by danlanglois | January 19, 2013, 2:22 AM
    • There’s a huge gap between a correction of a presupposed geocentrism read onto a text being shown wrong and the entire text being shown wrong. If there was no ancient civilization in the Americas which was composed of the Israelites, then the Book of Mormon can, at best, be a fiction. In fact, some Mormon scholars have argued that way (see “American Apocrypha”).

      Also, I’m confused by you equivocating the Book of Mormon with the Bible. They are not the same thing.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 19, 2013, 11:04 AM
      • Nothing has been shown wrong.

        Also, ‘equivocating’ generally applies to words with multiple meanings, the misleading use of a word, in a logical chain of reasoning. I’m not sure that you’re using the term correctly this time.

        About soundness–this is a matter of inference rules preserving the property of truth (or perhaps, *in most cases* it is a matter of this). There would be a logical system, and the initial reason for counting *that* as desirablem would be soundness. But I’m being rather general, more familiarly, an argument is valid if and only if its conclusion is logically entailed by its premises and each step in the argument is logical.

        But, logical reasoning, is claims based on premises. We get into validity, because the proof of a conclusion depends on both the truth of the premises and the validity of the argument. I admit that I’ve used all of these terms that you use, but I’m a bit skeptical about their exact relevance here. I don’t recall thinking that you had precisely *misused* ‘ad hominem’ or ‘false dichotomy’, but you do worry a great deal about incorrect argumentation.

        Posted by danlanglois | January 19, 2013, 3:41 PM
      • Alright, again, I can’t help but notice your tone.

        Googling a word =/= knowing what it means. I’m using the word equivocate in the philosophical sense of using them equivocally. You are making them mean the same thing when they do not. Please try to stop correcting others when it is not entirely clear that you actually know about that which you’re correcting them on.

        I appreciate the logic lesson, but having taken an undegrad course and a graduate course in the topic, I’m not sure I need it.

        Again, you’re demonstrating that you’re less interested in dialogue than in showing how smart you are. This is not the medium for that.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | January 20, 2013, 1:22 AM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Genetic Evidence and the Book of Mormon: | Time For Discernment - November 8, 2011

  2. Pingback: Mormonism and God: A Philosophical Challenge to Mormonism « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - January 16, 2012

  3. Pingback: Genetic Evidence and the Book of Mormon: Did any Native Americans come from the Middle East? | A disciple's study - January 28, 2015

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