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Old 17th March 2008, 03:20 PM   #121
Gord_in_Toronto
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
Here is a page that has many things you could pick from. Feel free to pick one that you feel is the strongest evidence and go from there.

The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of Jesus Christ and invite people to come unto Him, not be a record or proof of archaeology or DNA and maybe that's one of the reasons it's difficult to prove or disprove. Of course, one option is that it's a fake and I accept that you by default assume that to be the case. I guess for some reason, God wants people to find Him that actually want to find Him instead of providing absolute proof of His existence and then everyone would feel compelled to come to Him instead of doing it of their own free will.

Again, I'm not here to prove anything, I came here to offer some additional information that, based on the ignorance of some of the posts here, some didn't know about. Next time, I'll just be quiet and let you all find information for yourselves.
Well. I'm not going to that site again on this computer. It appears to be one big long page and I have problems both loading and scrolling through it. I'll try it on my Win XP notebook as soon as the security update finishes.

A little bit of predictivity in the BoM would certain help me just a little bit on my road to conversion.
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Old 17th March 2008, 03:21 PM   #122
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You do think that those who believe things as strongly as you believe your things--like the hijackers or Tom Cruise or the Pope-- are wrong or delusional or mistaken right? You don't worry about trying to prove them wrong to reject what they say. You don't have "faith" that they are wrong. Why would you expect a non Mormon to feel different about your beliefs? Why would you label it faith when people don't believe your conclusions about Mormonism. I don't think I feel differently about you and your beliefs than you feel about those people--those people whose beliefs you don't share. Do you think they are "delusional"? If you feel justified in thinking they are "delusional" or mistaken... why would you have a problem with me feeling that way about you? I feel like I dismiss your beliefs for the same reason you dismiss all the beliefs you don't share. And yet you are insulted when someone feels similarly about yours. But why wouldn't they? What is it you imagine that makes you a better authority on the "unknowable", "invisible", "unprovable" and divine? Why are your teachers better authorities than theirs? What makes your indoctrinator less likely to be mistaken then theirs? Why should anyone believe you over them... when there is no positive evidence for any of it?!?

Why wouldn't a nonbeliever find you as delusional as all those religions and beliefs others have that you find delusional... aren't they all a little egotistical... doesn't every believer feel like they've stumbled upon or accessed "the truth"? I think you are upset with the way I feel about your beliefs because you recognize how you feel about others--and you don't like the idea that people feel that way about your beliefs. Most skeptics probably feel that way about all of them. We can't help it. There is no reason or evidence to suggest some real truth out there. We ask for it... beg for it... but it's just the same sort of semantics and nothingness and apologetics... from all believers. None stand out as being worthy of exploring further.

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Old 17th March 2008, 03:33 PM   #123
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articulett - you have set up a false dichotomy: "they cannot all be right. They CAN all be wrong." There are other options. They could all be partially right, for example. One could be the actual church of Christ and the rest could be formations of men which have bits and pieces of the truth. There are many more options than your false dichotomy asserts.

I've never claimed that I believe something is true just because nobody can prove that it's false so I don't know where that's coming from.

I actually think that most religions have truth in them - I have attended many of them (Hare Krishna, Buddhist, Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, etc.) and have benefited from doing so - not only by learning things they teach and comparing them to things I already know, but also by reducing my own bigotry by understanding where people are coming from instead of just throwing rocks at them as a group because what I think they believe seems different or strange.

Back to the point and to summarize, your belief that all religions are wrong is based on a false dichotomy combined with all of the logical fallacies I listed before. If you desperately want to learn about why these people believe the way they do - as you have hinted many times - then stop throwing rocks and go sit with these people and find out who they are and why they believe what they believe. You might learn something and you might put your rocks down long enough to understand some people better than you currently do. That's what I did and it helped me a lot.
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Old 17th March 2008, 04:31 PM   #124
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I have, rconk... I have... I spent lots of time trying to figure out what was true... I thought my eternity depended on it... and they are all like you... all equally sure that they have some truth... but none of them have facts... I tried to look at the nicest, the most sincere, the one that felt right, the smartest, the most admirable, the one that seemed to have the most evidence... but it's a shell game. It all rests on this idea that there are divine truths that someone can know about via some subjective means... how could that be? And if so, how could anyone "know". If god is immeasurable what is to distinguish him from a delusion of some god? There is nothing. They all explain their truths by assuming that others have a piece of the truth where their beliefs overlap... and we're talking about "beliefs" (immeasurable things) in other immeasurable poorly defined things... gods, prophets, souls, angels, wisdom, disappearing gold plates, afterlives, demons, etc. etc. The same stuff myths are made of-- archetypes... common ways humans describe feelings and experiences that are hard to convey --

I can't just believe it because they do... or it "feels" true --because others do that and I can see they are wrong. I can see that Tom Cruise is mistaken, but I can understand why and how. I don't want that. I think the same about you. I don't want that. I don't want to have faith in some delusion because I've made myself believe that it's true... I'd rather just not know something than do that. I have listened to a lot of people... and the conclusion I've gathered is that people are very prone to thinking certain kinds of things are true even though there is no evidence or logical reason for them to think so. Yes, they all could have little bits and pieces of the truth... and little bits and pieces of delusion and misunderstanding... but none of them think that they have any delusion and all of them think they have much more than the pieces of the truth... and there is no way to tell the real bits and pieces of truth from the delusions and misperceptions and mistaken notions and confirmation biased notions that have been indoctrinated. There's no way to tell Reformed Egyption from thetan infestation... as such, they are both useless as evidence to anyone except a believer or one looking for "proof" that such is true.

Even if I believed that there could be pieces of truth out there or divine wisdom or whatever... I would have no more reason to think the book of Mormon had it than Dianetics or the Quoran or the Bhagvad Gita... or the Snake Handlers-- I think those that believe in an eminent rapture-- or any rapture are out of their minds... I don't want to believe it... I think believers all sound a bit crazy. I want to find out how to keep people from believing unbelievable things and to break the spell of "faith in faith" as a means of knowledge. I don't want to believe what they believe... I want to keep myself from being like them... from being like you... I want to help others break free of the beliefs they believe as strongly as you believe your beliefs... to free those who are afraid to not believe... to free those who would rather not know something than to believe a lie.

A free and critically thinking brain is an asset to us all. A brain mired in fear and false beliefs and promises of an imagined next life has a hard time furthering understanding in this one. Plus, there is something inherently arrogant about it to me--a fake humility. I wish the clarity of thought for you that you wish for Tom Cruise... I mean I know he's happy and his beliefs are harmless and that his life works... but now he is trapped in a delusion of his own making... it would hurt his ego too much to concede he had fooled himself... and so he will prop his truth up more in his mind... as will all believers-- there doesn't seem to be a way to pierce a delusion once it's that strong...

So I aim never to be deluded as such... to teach my child that there is no evidence that anyone has divine truths or that faith or feelings can be used to know anything. I want to understand belief so I can keep myself from being fooled the way I perceive believers as being fooled.

Yes... I see you and all people of strong faith-- people certain of their "divine truth" as similar to Tom Cruise. But no person of faith sees themselves as being like Tom Cruise or The Pope or the other people of faith on this forum.
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Old 17th March 2008, 08:00 PM   #125
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articulett - I know I've been and still am wrong about a lot of things - I've never said I am perfect or that I have all (or even a lot of) truth. I know my weaknesses and failings better than anyone else. I also can see where I have been mistaken and where I have been corrected. I know all people in all religions and all atheists and all scientists and all engineers are wrong in some things and right in others. I know that all people are not just black or white when it comes to truth or delusion, based on the people I've talked to. Me being here is part of me wanting to learn from everyone in every group because I think everyone has truth that they know that I don't know - and I want to find it out. I know from all the conversations we've had here that you have a sincere desire to propogate objective truth and want others too do so as well and I appreciate that. I know we disagree on some pretty major things but I can see past that and look at what I have learned from you regarding delusion and objective evidence, etc. and I know I am a better person for having done so and I thank you for what you've taught me. I have used your arguments against my Mormon friends to get them thinking more rigorously about their own faith and beliefs and I think they've benefitted as well. Your efforts are not in vain.
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Old 17th March 2008, 09:19 PM   #126
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Wow, rconk... that really made my day. You are a bigger person than I had assumed. I'm glad you understand. You are a good man. I believe there is a single objective reality--a single truth; I want to understand it just as you do-- and I suspect we do all have something to add in understanding it. But I'm fine with not having faith. I never was good at it anyhow.

I feel like I've spent too much of my life trying to figure out the secret rubric of divine knowledge that I was supposed to uncover and "feel" and believe with the right degree of unquestioning reverence. It seems the most logical to me to assume that all people are wrong about these sorts of beliefs, because there is no method for determining which one is right anyhow... and some people are surely very wrong yet very convinced that they are right. I don't want to be one of those people. And I can't "make" myself believe anything any more than you can make yourself not believe what you've become convinced of. I'm not anti-Mormon any more than I'm Anti-Catholic or anti-Muslim or anti-Astrology...

I guess I'm anti-faith. I don't believe that faith is a means of knowing anything objectively true.
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Old 18th March 2008, 12:25 AM   #127
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My 2 cents worth.

DNA was one of the big ones for me. I grew being told that the decendants of Native Americans came from Jeruselam. Not "some" of them. On the contrary, it was quite clear what members and leaders of the Church believed and there was no ambiguity about this. This wasn't the subject of debate in Sunday School. Also, much was made of the fact that god changed the color of the skin of ancestors of these Native Americans and that is why the skin color of Native Americans was different from Europeans.

Quote:
"And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, and they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."

-- Nephi 5:21
I've got to say. Looking at that scripture I find it very embarrassing that the church didn't edit this a long time ago. It is such a racist comment. No matter how you spin it, it still paints people with black skin as inferior to whites.

Quote:
Second LDS President Brigham Young stated in 1859, "You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation ...When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people" (Journal of Discourses 7:336).
Quote:
At the October 1960 LDS Church Conference, Spencer Kimball utilized 2 Nephi 30:6 when he stated how the Indians "are fast becoming a white and delightsome people." He said, "The [Indian] children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation" (Improvement Era, December 1960, pp. 922-3).
Brigham Young and Spencer W. Kimball were ostensibly prophets of god, how did they get it so wrong? Why were Mormons confused about the relationship of Native Americans and Lamanites? Why was the "most correct book" edited in 1981 to change the word "white" to the word "pure"? Why do the explanations of today look like convenient post-hoc rationalization?

In other words, if you say, well, the word "white" was changed to "pure" to correct recent confusion then why didn't god make certain the words were "correct" in the first place? Isn't this a case of "in so far as it is translated correctly"? If so then how can it be said that the BOM is the most correct book? What else is misunderstood?

An earnest individual can formulate arguments in favor of any position but at the end of the day parsimony goes against arguments that would try and put the DNA evidence in a light favorable to the Church. To make such arguments would be to make god incompetent or deceptive by ommission or perhaps make his prophets incompetent. Maybe there is another explanation out there but any would be weak and look more like post-hoc (oops, better come up with something quick) rather than reasonable explanations. God's emissary’s shouldn't need to come up with stuff, right?
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Old 18th March 2008, 01:21 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
Brigham Young and Spencer W. Kimball were ostensibly prophets of god, how did they get it so wrong?
A prophet is one to whom God speaks; and who God instructs to tell others what God has told him. However, a prophet is also a human being, who has exactly the same capacity that all of us have, to form and express his own beliefs and opinions. Not every word spoken by a prophet comes from God.



Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
Why were Mormons confused about the relationship of Native Americans and Lamanites?
I don't concede that we are, or ever were, confused about this relationship. The American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites. For all the fuss that has been made about the various genetic evidence, and what it does or does not allegedly prove, nothing in it disproves this assertion. At most, it fails to prove anything, or else proves that there may have been other people of different origins who may have interbred with the Lamanites.



Originally Posted by RandFan View Post
Why was the "most correct book" edited in 1981 to change the word "white" to the word "pure"? Why do the explanations of today look like convenient post-hoc rationalization?
The 1981 revision came after the church gained access to some manuscripts and notes of Joseph Smith's, which had been in the possession of the RLDS/CoC. As it turns out, the “white”/“pure” revision, as well as many others, were among the changes that Joseph Smith himself had produced, but which had failed to be applied to any publications of The Book of Mormon before this point.
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Old 18th March 2008, 01:32 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
A prophet is one to whom God speaks; and who God instructs to tell others what God has told him. However, a prophet is also a human being, who has exactly the same capacity that all of us have, to form and express his own beliefs and opinions. Not every word spoken by a prophet comes from God.
You are missing the point, this is a very important issue. If god could take time out of his busy day to talk about the evils of drinking hot drinks then why on earth couldn't he correct such a misconception?

Quote:
I don't concede that we are, or ever were, confused about this relationship. The American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites.
Sorry, no. Not possible. Unless god is messing with DNA.

Quote:
At most, it fails to prove anything, or else proves that there may have been other people of different origins who may have interbred with the Lamanites.
It's not possible to prove anything absolutely but the DNA evidence is rather conclusive. According to the BOM there were millions of Lamanites. To have decendants from such a large population and leave no DNA trace in their decendants is simply not plausible.

Quote:
The 1981 revision came after the church gained access to some manuscripts and notes of Joseph Smith's, which had been in the possession of the RLDS/CoC. As it turns out, the “white”/“pure” revision, as well as many others, were among the changes that Joseph Smith himself had produced, but which had failed to be applied to any publications of The Book of Mormon before this point.
You completly ignore the quotes, particularly the one from the BOM that makes it quite clear that it is NOT "pure". Please read again.

Quote:
...did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them."
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Old 18th March 2008, 01:42 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
The 1981 revision came after the church gained access to some manuscripts and notes of Joseph Smith's, which had been in the possession of the RLDS/CoC. As it turns out, the “white”/“pure” revision, as well as many others, were among the changes that Joseph Smith himself had produced, but which had failed to be applied to any publications of The Book of Mormon before this point.
BTW, please to provide source for this.

For the sake of argument, would you agree that BOM is only the word of god "so far as it is translated correctly" and that the BOM was certainly not translated correctly before "this point"?
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Old 18th March 2008, 01:59 AM   #131
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RF! Long time no see...
I've been wondering where you've been--
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Old 18th March 2008, 05:14 AM   #132
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On a side note...Good to see you back, RF.
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Old 18th March 2008, 05:35 AM   #133
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Hey, its RandFan! WB!

It seems the single and only evidence available to back the claim that Native Americans descend from ancient Jewish settlers is the Book of Mormon. DNA, as RF wrote, is pretty conclusive, specially the new data which narrows down Native American ancestry to 6 women. Not to mention that, as far as I know, there are no archeological evidence backing the presence of semitic people in the Americas before they were "discovered" by Columbus. Native American myths and religions also fail to provide any substantial backing to a Semitic ancestry. I am not well-versed in Jewish history, but I can't help but wonder if there are any records that could be attributed to the tribes cited at the Book of Mormon.

I think supposing that the mixing of these Jewish settlers with an earlier population "diluted" the Semitic DNA signature will not provide an explanation. The Book of Mormon describes a large population of people who were (at least culturally) Jewish. Usually, when a small ethinical group is absorved by a larger one, its culture becomes nothing but a minor part of the larger group's culture.

It all really makes me wonder... OK, you may consider religious texts (Christians, Muslims, Scientologists, etc.) as guidelines for reaching some truth (or some ethical paradigm). But seeking or pointing this truth based on things that are not real is very inconsistent, at best. Unless, of course, one acknoweledges the mythical nature of the texts/traditdions. At least, this is how I see it. Yes, it can be even worse, for some refuse to acknoweledge these problems and proclaim the veracity of their holy texts and say they are the only and the single way. At this point, some will look at the people who don't follow their ways and start considering them as lesser people.
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Old 18th March 2008, 08:43 AM   #134
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articulett - Thanks. I'm glad that I could finally express myself the way I've wanted to for so long.

randfan - Long time no type!

all - Hmm. So, help me through some of the problems you all have with this page about the Book of Mormon and DNA. Can we take each point one at a time and discuss them?

Quote:
Thomas Murphy and some other critics suggest that the plausibility of claims of Israelite ancestry by non-Jewish groups can be assessed by measuring their DNA affinity with modern Jewish groups. To test any scientific hypothesis, we must first evaluate whether our "controls" are valid. If we are to use modern Jewish genetics as the "control" against which Native American DNA is to be evaluated for possible ancient Israelite origins, we must first determine whether modern Jewish DNA data adequately represents ancient Israelite DNA. If the collective DNA of modern Jewish groups does not reflect all or at least a large majority of the DNA sequences and haplotypes present in ancient Israel, modern Jewish DNA data cannot be considered a valid control against which claims of Israelite ancestry of other groups can be accurately evaluated.
Ok, so we need to validate the controls. Here are some problems they see with the controls:

Quote:
History and genetic evidence suggest that modern Jewish DNA is neither an inclusive nor exclusive indicator of the genetics of ancient Israel. Throughout history, the Jewish population was reconstituted from only a fraction of its former people on at least several occasions. Only a fraction of the Jews returned from Babylon; only a portion of the Palestine Jews survived the Roman counterattacks following the Jewish uprising which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD; many others perished in European pogroms. Dr. Robert Pollack notes that Ashkenazi Jews, which constitute most of the present Jewish population, "descend from a rather small number of families who survived the pogroms of the mid-1600s."3 All of these occasions would have resulted in the loss of some "Israelite" genes from the Jewish gene pool. Dr. Robert Pollack further notes: "Though there are many deleterious versions of genes shared within the Ashkenazic community, there are no DNA sequences common to all Jews and absent from all non-Jews. There is nothing in the human genome that makes or diagnoses a person as a Jew."4 When we consider the skew introduced by multiple "founder effects" of small group of survivors that represented only a fraction of the prior Jewish population on at least several occasions, together with scriptural and ethnohistorical evidence of Jewish intermixing with a variety of people-groups throughout their history and project it 2700 years into the past, one finds no rational basis for the assumption of critics that DNA from modern Jewish populations presents a full or accurate representation of Israelite genetics of pre-dispersion Israel. To the contrary, the observation is virtually inescapable that today's world Jewish population does not contain all of the genetic data present in pre-dispersion Israel.
Genetic data presents considerable evidence of intermixing of Jewish and non-Jewish populations. Among Jewish populations, we presently have no way to reliably determine which DNA sequences represent genuine ancient Israelite genetic markers. However, there is strong evidence that some of the markers found in many modern Jews, such as the "Levite" marker, were introduced long after the Israelite dispersion by intermixing with non-Israelite populations.
From what I understand, what they are saying here is that we are taking modern Jewish DNA to what ancient Jewish might have been and many significant things have happened to the Jewish population over the last couple of thousand years that would affect its composition. This is all under the title "Modern Jewish vs. Ancient Israelite DNA" at that link.

ETA: I think they're getting at trying to figure out if there's a valid provable way to get to what Lehi's (One of the Book of Mormon prophets who came from Jerusalem to the Americas) DNA (and Ishmael's DNA for that matter - another of the families who came with Lehi, and any others that came with them, including Laban's servant Zoram, etc.) so we can compare the Native American's DNA with it.

Comments?

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Old 18th March 2008, 08:56 AM   #135
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Ancient Jewish lived at certains places (Middle-East and if we are to trust the Bible, Egypt). Their DNA fingerprint quite likely would fall within a broader "semitic" DNA signature, right?

Now, Native Americans' DNA fingerprint points towards Asia as the most likely origin. This, in my opinion, is enough to render the "ancient Israelite x recent Jewish DNA" argument useless.
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:02 AM   #136
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Well, I think what we're really trying to determine here is what Lehi and his family, Ishmael and his family, and Zoram's DNA looked like. Do we know what their DNA looked like? Was is pure Jewish from that time period or not? If not, what did it look like? If so, what could happen to Jewish DNA since that time? This is the first step in the process. The next step deals with figuring out what might have happened to that DNA as it went through time here in the Americas, but we'll get to that later.

Does anyone here know what Lehi et al.'s DNA looked like?

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Old 18th March 2008, 09:03 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
From what I understand, what they are saying here is that we are taking modern Jewish DNA to what ancient Jewish might have been and many significant things have happened to the Jewish population over the last couple of thousand years that would affect its composition. This is all under the title "Modern Jewish vs. Ancient Israelite DNA" at that link. Comments?
My comments are simple; the authors are searching for excuses, not looking at science. They are assuming, completely without foundation, that since gene pools change over time, that this means that there is no way to get an indication of what the gene pool of ancient Israelites would look like.

This assumption is completely wrong.

It's true that 100% of Jews do not share 100% of said markers, but that's how population genetics works; it's not static, not by a long shot. In any given gene pool, there's going to be variation, especially over the course of 2600 years.

Haplotypes identifies as ethnically Jewish are well-known; you can find common markers between Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Mizrahim, which are often closely related to other peoples from the Levant, such as Arabs.

But in a long-lost population of ancient Hebrews, we would see certain Haplotypes that are identifiable, if not as Jewish, then certainly as related to Jews, as well as related to other peoples from the Levant (Hebrews, Arabs, Assyrians, etc). It's not as simple as "marker X is present, therefore origination is Y; if marker X is absent, origination is somewhere else."

What we do is look at markers A, B, C, D, E, F, and so on, and look at what we know about the development of those haplotypes, and determine population migration through a composite profile.

It's also worth noting that the authors are so busy trying to show what population genetics can't show, that they are forgetting what it does show--namely, that Native American DNA shows all the evidence of originating in Tibet, China, and Siberia. It's all well and good to say "we don't know what the gene pool of ancient Palestine looked like," but that excuse completely fails when you realize that the studies do show a common origination--just not where the BoM apologists want it to be.
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:09 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
Well, I think what we're really trying to determine here is what Lehi and his family, Ishmael and his family, and Zoram's DNA looked like. Do we know what their DNA looked like? Was is pure Jewish from that time period or not?
First, asking if it was "pure Jewish" is simply an indication that you really know very little about the subject. There's no such thing as "pure" anything when it comes to genetics.

Second, assuming that Lehi was a real person, yes, we can compose a profile of certain markers we'd expect to see in the DNA of his descendants.
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:10 AM   #139
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That's fine, but beside my point. Do we know what we're trying to compare modern Native American DNA to? Do we know what Lehi's family and Ishmael's family and Zoram's DNA looked like? If not, then how can we say that the Native American DNA doesn't match that unknown? If you know what Lehi's and Ismael's and Zoram's DNA looks like, please post what you think it looks like and how you came to that conclusion.

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Old 18th March 2008, 09:18 AM   #140
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For the purpose in question, you don't need to know the exact DNA profile of an individual. All you need to know is to which broad ethinical group the individual belongs to.

People from the Middle-East (OK, Levant) have a certain number of characteristics; people from Central Asia another set, Africans another, and so on. Now, all you need to do is to compare these sets and see the matches. In Native Americans' case, the matches are with people from Asia.

I hope I managed to make myself clear without entering too much in to the specifics...
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:21 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
Well, I think what we're really trying to determine here is what Lehi and his family, Ishmael and his family, and Zoram's DNA looked like. Do we know what their DNA looked like? Was is pure Jewish from that time period or not? If not, what did it look like? If so, what could happen to Jewish DNA since that time? This is the first step in the process. The next step deals with figuring out what might have happened to that DNA as it went through time here in the Americas, but we'll get to that later.

Does anyone here know what Lehi et al.'s DNA looked like?
Post hoc.

If you decide first that the BOM is correct and you look hard enough you can come up with interesting perspectives and seemingly contradictions from disparate data. However, if you decide first to let the chips fall where they may then the picture is quite clear. There is no controversy among scientists. It was understood long before DNA that the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America were descendants of Asia. All evidence supported this fact. Predictions were then made that, given what the scientists already knew, the DNA evidence would confirm this. It did.

The case is closed. There were not millions of individuals who were descendants of Hebrews living in America, unless god deceptively altered all of the gene sequences when he changed the skin color alleles (please excuse my presumption of knowing how to communicate what the hell I'm talking about).

This is true regardless of what Lehi's genes "looked like" (it was very unlikely that his genes looked like Asian genes).
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:25 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
That's fine, but beside my point. Do we know what we're trying to compare modern Native American DNA to? Do we know what Lehi's family and Ishmael's family and Zoram's DNA looked like? If not, then how can we say that the Native American DNA doesn't match that unknown? If you know what Lehi's and Ismael's and Zoram's DNA looks like, please post what you think it looks like and how you came to that conclusion.
The ostensible geneology of Lehi's family is made quite clear. He is a direct decendant of Abraham. Using logical inference we can infer that his DNA did not match that of Asian (it's far more complicated than that but that's fine. I think we can speak at this level).

You say that Cleon's post is beside your point but it isn't. It really, really isn't.
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:27 AM   #143
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Thanks. The Book of Mormon claims that Lehi was a descendant of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. The index of the Book of Mormon says that Ishmael was "An Ephraimite from Jerusalem" but I don't know where that information comes from. I didn't find any information about Zoram. Can we assume a "broad ethnical group" for each of these three families? With how much certainty can we assume this? I'm not an expert here, you all presumably know more than I do about these things, so help me understand what broad ethnical group these three families would belong to and with what percentage certainty you know this and how.
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:34 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
That's fine, but beside my point.
No, it's perfectly in line with your point.
Quote:

Do we know what we're trying to compare modern Native American DNA to? Do we know what Lehi's family and Ishmael's family and Zoram's DNA looked like? If not, then how can we say that the Native American DNA doesn't match that unknown? If you know what Lehi's and Ismael's and Zoram's DNA looks like, please post what you think it looks like and how you came to that conclusion.
I've answered this in my past two posts.

Yes, we know what we'd expect to find; markers indicating haplotypes originating in the Levant. (i.e., genetic markers that are common to peoples originating in the Middle East.)

We can say that NA DNA doesn't match "that unknown" because what NA DNA does tell us is not an unknown. The markers we do see indicate origin from Northeast Asia.

Unless Lehi was from Tibet, the evidence is overwhelmingly against any sort of connection with ancient Palestine.
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:43 AM   #145
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My beside the point comment was to a different post, I think. Sometimes it's hard to keep track when multiple people are replying.

Ok, I'll accept, with ignorance, that you all know what you're talking about with regard to what needs to be known about Lehi, Ishmael, and Zoram and that we know enough about them to be sure that we have a good control to compare against.

Ok, so According to David Stewart, who wrote the article, what has happened to Jewish DNA since 600 B.C. is significant to this discussion. Do you all disagree with that?
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:48 AM   #146
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Lehi & His Wife.
Joseph, Laman, Lemuel, Sam (and sisters?).
Ishmael's five daughters and two sons.

Ok, based on my limited knowledge, unless all of these individuals have DNA that is largely Asian then it is unlikely that Asian markers are going to increase over time regardless of what it "looked like".

Let's not forget an important point that is being missed here. The BOM makes much ado about skin color. Dark skin color is bad and Laman and Lemuel's decendants had dark skin color because god marked them with dark skin. Coincidently so did the Asian descendants.

If this was god's plan it was very likely to cause confusion and it was racially insensitive.

Why is it that god's actions in this instance caused controversy? It seems to me that the best light that one can cast on this is that it is unintentionally deceptive and disparaging to an entire group of individuals.

God ought to be able to do better than that.
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Old 18th March 2008, 09:53 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
My beside the point comment was to a different post, I think. Sometimes it's hard to keep track when multiple people are replying.

Ok, I'll accept, with ignorance, that you all know what you're talking about with regard to what needs to be known about Lehi, Ishmael, and Zoram and that we know enough about them to be sure that we have a good control to compare against.

Ok, so According to David Stewart, who wrote the article, what has happened to Jewish DNA since 600 B.C. is significant to this discussion. Do you all disagree with that?
This is mischaracterizing the facts as it relates to the science that is being discussed. There is no reason to assume that DNA in question has changed in any way that would have any bearing on this discussion. Please read Cleon's post again. His point is quite clear.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:04 AM   #148
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You forgot Zoram, but that's probably not a hugely relevant piece of the puzzle since he hung out with the Nephites who were eventually killed off.

Now, I guess we'll move on. If there were people already here and the Lamanites mixed with them, would that affect this study? The Book of Mormon is a record mainly of the Nephites, not the Lamanites. We don't know how much Lamanites interacted with people who were already here on the American continent. We don't know how many of the original lamanites were not killed off during the wars with the Nephites. I think that's one problem with the Book of Mormon is that it's job is to invite people to Christ, not provide a good scientific DNA record of a people. With so many unknowns about the lamanites, it's not "conclusive" to me. I'm ignorant of this topic, but it seems to me that with so many unknowns it's hard to call things conclusive, especially since none of these studies dealt with the Book of Mormon at all and didn't try to prove anything with regard to the Book of Mormon. Can you or anyone else fill in the blanks with regards to what happened to the Lamanites during the past 2600 years that might have affected their DNA?

As for racial issues, if I were black or had some other shade of dark skin, and I read the Book of Mormon, I would probably struggle with it a bit but I would realize that my own dark skin is a product of genetics, not a curse on me. If people's skin color was changed because of rebellion or sin in the past, it has nothing to do with me today. It also doesn't mean that all people with dark skin are "bad" or that their ancestors were "bad". I think perhaps a racist could derive all kinds of things from all this, but a decent person would not and would love and serve all people regardless of skin color. It's people who are sometimes racist and hateful. If people want to use the scriptures to justify hate and racism, that's their own sin. I'm not doing it, so it's a choice that each of us make.

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Old 18th March 2008, 10:16 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post

Now, I guess we'll move on. If there were people already here and the Lamanites mixed with them, would that affect this study?
Were this the case, we would see both haplotypes originating from NE Asia and ones from the Levant.

Quote:
I think that's one problem with the Book of Mormon is that it's job is to invite people to Christ, not provide a good scientific DNA record of a people.
Nobody's said otherwise. However, it is supposed to be a record of these people, and that record is contradicted (to put it mildly) by the genetic, archaeological, and historical record.

Quote:
it's hard to call things conclusive, especially since none of these studies dealt with the Book of Mormon at all and didn't try to prove anything with regard to the Book of Mormon.
As I've explained to you before, it does not matter if the studies were set up specifically around the Book of Mormon or not. If the DNA doesn't show it, it ain't there.

Quote:
Can you or anyone else fill in the blanks with regards to what happened to the Lamanites during the past 2600 years that might have affected their DNA?
Lots of things, I'm sure. Populations migrate, reproduce, die off. Gene pools, as I've said, are not static things. They change and evolve.

However--it is not biologically possible for the Native Americans to be the complete or partial descendants of Lehi without leaving evidence of this in their DNA. If the Lamanites existed and interbred with the Natives, as you (and the new BoM intro suggest), then all of the Lamanite descendants have died off and nobody's done a DNA test on their remains.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:24 AM   #150
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Cleon, what is your expertise on this subject? The author of the article I've linked to (along with other articles and authors) disagree with you and I'm wondering where the disconnect is and what your credentials are for discussing these things is. I have no credentials, which leaves me in an unfortunate position of having to trust you or the people who are writing these articles. I want to know who I'm trusting. Does this article have ANY valid points? If so, which points are valid?
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:54 AM   #151
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Please rcronk, lets try to avoid arguments from authority here, shall we? Cleon's, Stewart's, mines, yours and everyone elses credentials fade in importance when confronted with data.

Consider this: A group of ancient Hebrews arriving at the Americas would have had a technological edge over any previous settler (Mayas and Incas included). Weaponry, for example. Chances are they would also bring some diseases the natives would not be immune to. Even if eventually they managed to somehow reach terms and blend with the natives, their technology and culture would certainly not be lost. Their DNA signature would also not be lost. The only way of loosing these Semitic DNA fingerprints would be eliminating for all practical purposes the people who had them. Something very hard hard to accomplish if the Americas were populated by so many people whose antecessors were Hebrews, as stated in the Book of Mormon.

Note that even then, their anthropologic signature would still be present in terms of archeologic evidence and cultural traces in current Native American lore.
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Old 18th March 2008, 11:07 AM   #152
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This isn't an argument from authority. I'm really just trying to sort through the data and am finding myself unable to discern between the arguments here and the arguments in the articles I've found. Everyone here is disagreeing with the articles I've found and so I want to know what experience you all have in these areas. I know the people in these articles are biased - duh. I also know from my own experience that the people on this forum are biased. I'm not going to blindly believe the "best" expert's opinion, I just want to put things in context. Don't we give more weight to a structural engineer's findingings over a truther who is claiming to know what they're talking about?

Does anyone here have expertise in these areas at all or are you all just like me - just someone reading other people's papers? Here is another paper by D. Jeffrey Meldrum. He says:

Quote:
At least three major hypotheses can (and have) been advanced concerning Native American origins:
  1. All Native Americans are of Asian origin. (This has been the predominant hypothesis of mainstream science since the late 16th century.)
  2. All Native Americans are of Middle Eastern origin. (This hypothesis is that advocated by some people who accept the Book of Mormon account.)
  3. Most Native Americans are of Asian origin, whereas some small subset is of Middle Eastern origin. This latter hypothesis has two subservient hypotheses:
    1. No genetic evidence of the Middle Eastern subset has been found, but will eventually
    2. No genetic evidence of the Middle Eastern subset has been found, and probably never will be found.
Hypotheses 1 and 2 are testable by direct, scientific methods. The genetic constitution of the extant Native American population has been extensively tested. The data support hypothesis number 1 and refute hypothesis 2. Hypothesis 3 is more problematic and may not be testable. Why? Because a very small population introduced into a larger population may or may not be identifiable, depending on whether any specific genetic markers for that population were transferred to the main population. The X haplotype is an example of such a potential genetic marker. Because haplotype X had not been found in Asian populations prior to 2001, it remained as a possible marker brought into the population from Europe or the Middle East. The discovery that haplotype X existed in south Siberia ended most inquires into its source. This observation was consistent with the hypothesis that all Native Americans originated in Asia. The X haplotype, however, was present in only 3.5 percent of the south Siberian population, an area from which the other four haplotypes were not proposed to have originated. Although the observation was consistent with the hypothesis, the prospect that the Native American X haplotype was actually derived from the Siberian X haplotype, and not from the European X haplotype, has never been, and probably never can be, established.
Is he wrong too?

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Old 18th March 2008, 11:21 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
If there were people already here and the Lamanites mixed with them, would that affect this study?
There is no
DNA evidence that Native Americans are descendants of Abraham. There is no controversy, anthropologically, as to the origins of Native Americans. The BOM purportedly answered the question as to the origins of Native Americans and that answer was Jerusalem. That is simply not the case.

Quote:
If people's skin color was changed because of rebellion or sin in the past, it has nothing to do with me today.
You fail to address the question. Why would god use such a confusing and racially insensitive means to denote and differentiate "good" and "bad" people? Why didn't the prophets explain from the beginning the differences? Why are all of these explanations post-hoc?


Quote:
If people want to use the scriptures to justify hate and racism, that's their own sin.
You want to simply place all of the blame on individuals but that is not at all fair. It was god who called light skin people "delightsome" and used "dark skin" to represent evil. A common misconception in Joseph Smith time BTW. It was believed that Europeans were superior to others because they were more technologically advanced. Not true. Please see Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.

So, if we accept your thesis, then god played into those racist stereotypes using the BOM. Why? Why did he not make it clear in "the most correct book of scripture", that skin color does not necessarily denote wickedness? Again and again, the explanations are always post-hoc. An ominipotent god should have seen this coming. Perhaps he wanted to test people's faith so he made things unclear and confusing?
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Old 18th March 2008, 11:21 AM   #154
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I've gone over this with you before...
I have a Masters in Genetic Counseling and am a Biology Teacher.

Your article is an apologetic for why we don't see the DNA we'd expect to see if Native Americans and Hebrew ancestry from the time indicated in the Book of Mormon. When we look at DNA, we are seeing a history of a person's ancestry-- only half of it... the half since we only get half of each parents DNA... giving us a 1/4 of each grand parents DNA etc. But not so with mitochondrial DNA. Everyone gets that from their mother. We know the various markers of various DNA and can tell with a high degree of certainty where maternal ancestors lineage have passed through. We can also look at other markers and since we've understood where and and when they arose, we can understand ancestry by looking at such markers. These markers have been used to show that the origins of Native Americans is Asia... specific places in Asia-- bone analysis had already given us that clue, and DNA has confirmed it. They came over the Bering Straight and populated the west coast of the Americas and spread out from there many years before Europeans came over. We can trace the origins of ancestry by looking at markers and we can say, you had an ancestor from the middle East in this Era... because we know that certain mutations arose there and indicate ancestry there. For example, this is what we've discovered about blue eyes recently: http://www.thegeneticgenealogist.com...d-individuals/
http://haplogroup-i.com/2008/02/01/b...-are-mutation/

Blue eyed Mormons show ancestry in the middle east from 6000-10,000 years ago. Even today. This isn't true of Native Americans. There is nothing even remotely similar that indicates that they had any ancestry in common with Middle Easterns in the times mentioned in the BOM... and that is just absurdly unlikely that they descend from peoples there and left no trace when we have such obvious signs that Blue Eyed people have ancestry that lived in the region.

We have nothing in Native American DNA --no markers that shows they had any ancestry in common with the known markers of people and populations in that area and tons of markers associated with the aforementioned Asian regions of that time period.

Yes, it's possible that people from Israel could have had aberrant because they migrated and were not representative of the population as a whole... and/or they could have left no trace of their ancestry in their DNA nor any corpses with identifiable DNA nor any traces of their culture etc. That is what your article is saying.

But what is more likely. A complete erasure of evidence for a pretty far fetched story... or that the story was made up and people are back pedaling and making excuses for why we don't see what we'd expect to see if there was any varacity in the history of the book of Mormon.

Moreover... gods can't just change skin color... skin color is a result of genes that make melanin... so unless god is dicking around with people on a genetic level-- it makes no sense. Of course Joseph Smith couldn't have known this. He might have believed his story or really believed that someone was helping his "see" this history or whatever. But no person without a vested interest in believing that it's true would give it a second thought... no more than stories about Xenu and Volcanos... I'm sure we can hear all kinds of excuses as to why the evidence doesn't match the story... but the the most parsimonious explanation is because the story is fiction.

Your scholars are correct... nobody can prove that it isn't true... not to a person of faith anyhow... just as no one can prove to Tom Cruise that thetans are a figment of human imagination. You are in the same boat as him regarding serious scholars taking the book of Mormon as anything more than a work of fiction. You have to want to believe the book of Mormon is true to buy into the reasoning that we can explain away the complete lack of evidence for it's claims. Is your god hiding evidence? If he's hiding evidence from you, then how do you know you aren't having evidence hidden from other mystical truths that might be more true or real. A lack of evidence is not a reason to keep the faith. It's a hard thing to accept. But if the book of Mormon, was not true-- would you want to know? What would suffice as evidence if you did. Or do you just want to keep believing that it's some inspired truth from beyond?

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Old 18th March 2008, 11:29 AM   #155
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Meldrum is essentially correct. (And let me tell you, that's something you will never hear someone say in the General Skepticism forum. )

If the population of Israelites was extremely small, and married into a much larger Native population, the genetic sequences showing their origin may simply be lost among the larger population. However, as this sort of testing is able to dig deeper, this possibility becomes less and less likely.

However, the Book of Mormon says there were millions of Lamanites--and the population of North America was fairly small. For the above scenario to be correct, the Book of Mormon would still wind up giving an incorrect view of history.
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Old 18th March 2008, 11:29 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
Does anyone here have expertise in these areas at all or are you all just like me - just someone reading other people's papers? Here is another paper by D. Jeffrey Meldrum. He says:

Is he wrong too?
From Simon Southerton responding to his critics point by point.

Quote:
Answers to Apologetic Claims about DNA and the Book of Mormon


1. The Book of Mormon does not present a testable hypothesis.

Some LDS scientists argue that the Book of Mormon does not present a testable hypothesis and that, since other scientists are not testing the Book of Mormon directly, the data collected by non-Mormon scientists is irrelevant to the origin of Book of Mormon people. The question scientists are asking is: "Who are the ancestors of the American Indians?" In fact, about 7,300 American Indians have been DNA tested in scientific experiments aimed at discovering where their founding ancestors came from. The Book of Mormon claims in its introduction that the Book of Mormon people (the Lamanites) "are the principal ancestors of the American Indians." Most LDS adherents believe, and all the LDS prophets have taught, that Israelites are the principal ancestors of the American Indians. It is therefore absurd to claim that what the scientists are discovering about Indian heritage is irrelevant. Scientists are inadvertently asking the same question posed by the Book of Mormon, and LDS beliefs about Indian ancestry fall squarely into the scientific field of anthropology. Molecular anthropologists are uncovering evidence that is directly relevant to LDS beliefs in this area.
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If I went to LA, via Omaha.

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Old 18th March 2008, 11:56 AM   #157
rcronk
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articulett - Thank you. Do you know which Native Americans were DNA tested and how many were tested? ETA:It looks like it was "American Indians" and about 7,300 based on RandFan's quote. So it doesn't look like it includes South Americans, for example.

cleon - Thanks. The lamanites split off from their group very early on after they arrived in the Americas and we have no record of their interactions with people who were already here. When it said they were in the millions, this was after years of being split - where they could have been mixing with other people who were already there. When they split, they were only a handful of people.

randfan - It says they have tested 7,300 American Indians. Did they test anyone from South America, who would have also been American Indians mixed with Europeans, right? The Book of Mormon itself makes no mention of American Indians and "all the LDS prophets" have not taught that Lamanites were the principal ancestors of the Native Americans - that phrase is from 1981 from a non-prophet. The statement was changed to "among the ancestors" about a year ago in the newest printing of the Book of Mormon introduction (which is not part of the Book of Mormon proper) I assume because it was based on human knowledge at the time and was overreaching and based in opinion rather than revelation. Humans are imperfect and even prophets are imperfect - look at Moses. There has never been a claim that prophets were perfect nor that a group of people in 1981 trying to find a way to help people place the Book of Mormon in context are perfect. ETA:I don't know why God does some of the things He does. I do think that He doesn't seem to be a codependent being - making sure that everything is set up perfectly so that nobody makes mistakes or jumps to conclusions.

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Old 18th March 2008, 12:05 PM   #158
Correa Neto
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Well, when you ask someone's credentials as part of an argument, it at least looks quite like an argument from authority. On a slightly OT note, I am pretty aware of Meldrum's background. Its not the first time I am presented to one of his ideas and its not the first time I am not impresented with one of them.

Now, regarding Meldrum's reasonings...
His argument, if I understood it propperly (something I am not sure of), is centered in two main pillars:
1. The Hebrew population was small and represented by the Nephites.
2. An interpretation of the Book of Mormon where the Lamanites are the antecessors of modern Native Americans and had little if any blending with Nephites (the Hebrew immigrants).
Hence there would be little if any Semitic DNA traces in modern Native American population.
Well, it seems to me like an attempt to justify the fact that DNA evidence is in disagreement with the Book of Mormom based in nothing but suppositions and reinterpretation of the original text. Is it possible that a small population of Hebrews lived in North America during pre Columbian times? Well, yes. But is it plausible? No. Not to mention that the Book of Mormom dos not seem to describe such a small population.

Not to mention that the absence of archeological and "cultural" evidence also leave the idea of Native Americans having Hebrew ancestors with nothing but the Book of Mormom to support it. OK, it may be enough for some. But not for me.

In sum, I think that when he writes:
Originally Posted by Jeff Meldrum
These concepts of kinship bear directly on the Book of Mormon account of a branch of Israel "run[ning] over the wall." The data suggest that a small colony under the leadership of Nephi established a kinship within the fabric of a larger resident population. In effect, it was a situation of "them and us"--Lamanites and Nephites. The Nephites were the believers, while the Lamanites were everyone else (see, for example, Jacob 1:14; Alma 3:11). This perception differs little from the concept of "Jew and Gentile," the latter term encompassing all non-Jews. With final destruction of the Nephite kinship, all who remained in the Americas were "Lamanites." If this interpretation is correct, then the statement from the introduction to the Book of Mormon, "After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians" is fully justified. All Native Americans are in fact descended from these "Lamanites"--these "Gentiles" of the record of Nephi's people. Lehi's prophecy to Laman and Lemuel was realized: their heritage of dissension continued, and their legacy never died out--in the Abrahamic sense or in the Buchanan context, even if their genetic markers may have.
He is wrong, for the reasons stated before.
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Old 18th March 2008, 12:14 PM   #159
rcronk
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correa - a small correction. Lehi's family consisted of Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, Sam, Joseph, Jacob, and some sisters. This family married the children of Ishmael. Zoram got thrown in the mix somewhere too. Laman and Lemuel and a few others are the beginnings of the Lamanites. The rest of the people are the Nephites. The lamanites hated the nephites and split from them just after arriving in the Americas. The Book of Mormon was written by the Nephites and therefore the only record of the Lamanites is when they would come to battle with them periodically. So both the nephites and lamanites came from the same parents. The point made above is that since the nephites were eventually destroyed and the lamanites (a very small group initially) may have mixed with people already there, it's possible that their DNA footprint isn't as large as previously assumed. Since only 7,300 American Indians were DNA tested and apparently no latin americans were tested, it's possible that the lamanite DNA is still to be found or was lost because of the small footprint they originally started with, if mingled with people who were already here.

P.S. It may be an appeal to authority, but I want to know if you all are as clueless as me when it comes to DNA science - probably not, but I'm just curious as to how much you really know and what you're just repeating from papers, etc. Articulett stated qualifications - thanks.

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Old 18th March 2008, 12:17 PM   #160
RandFan
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Originally Posted by rcronk View Post
randfan - It says they have tested 7,300 American Indians. Did they test anyone from South America, who would have also been American Indians mixed with Europeans, right?
I don't understand your point but you can write Southerton and I think it likely he will answer you. He has answered me in the past. I'll say it again, you are still missing a very important point. The "most correct book of scripture" clouds the issue.

Quote:
...that phrase is from 1981 from a non-prophet. The statement was changed to "among the ancestors" about a year ago in the newest printing of the Book of Mormon introduction (which is not part of the Book of Mormon proper) I assume because it was based on human knowledge at the time and was overreaching and based in opinion rather than revelation.
No, that is not the only source for the confusion. See Spencer W. Kimball's remarks above. See Brigham Young's. That was my understanding when I was a child. It was what led my father to investigate the church. He believed the BOM answered the question of where Native Americans came from.

But why does the "most correct book of scripture" not resolve the controversy? Why does it not make plain what you are now saying post-hoc?

Quote:
Humans are imperfect and even prophets are imperfect - look at Moses.
"Imperfect"? Moses was one of the most evil men to walk the face of the earth. He ordered the slaughter of innocent people. He ordered the slaughter of women and children. Moses would be on a par with Hitler but I give him credit for being a product of his times. However, once you suggest that he spoke to god who gave him moral instructions then I have to take back any such justification.

Quote:
There has never been a claim that prophets were perfect nor that a group of people in 1981 trying to find a way to help people place the Book of Mormon in context are perfect. ETA:I don't know why God does some of the things He does. I do think that He doesn't seem to be a codependent being - making sure that everything is set up perfectly so that nobody makes mistakes or jumps to conclusions.
The BOM is supposed to be the most correct book of scripture but here it is with a glaring controversy. It suggests that people of dark skin are somehow inferior to light skin people. A racist and anachronistic concept popular in Joseph Smith's time.

Let me throw in parsimony here. If the BOM engages in racist ideas that were prevalent at the time of its release then what is more likely, god used a racist method of denoting good and bad or that Joseph Smith bought into the silly concept that white skin people were superior to dark skin people?
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I think I'll reroute my trip
I wonder if they'd think I'd flipped.
If I went to LA, via Omaha.
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