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Earliest pre columbian writing system found


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Actually it does a little, since at one time one of the critics' accusations against Joseph Smith's claim was that there were no writing systems in the Americas at that time the BoM purportedly said there were.

Ok, so one of the critics' accusations is wrong, so that means the Book of Mormon is really true? I know you weren't going quite that far with this, but that's certainly the direction you're heading.

That's not where I was going at all. We're talking about apologetics, which is defensive, not offensive. In this case, the new discovery does something for Mormon apologetics, since it helps defend their position that writing systems existed in the New World at the appropriate time.

I never meant to imply it should be considered evidence for the BoM, but it does knock down one argument.

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sethbag, Dr. John E. Clark who made the statement you just quoted without giving the source, is a well-respected anthropoogist, professor at BYU. Are your credentials equal to his that you can dimiss that statement in such an off hand manner?

I didn't know I needed to have a PhD to have an opinion.

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sethbag said, "I simply do not buy the whole "we've already discovered Book of Mormon cities and artifacts, and they're currently labeled Mayan, or Olmec, or whatever" argument."

When I called you on a throw away line, you said, "I didn't know I needed to have a PhD to have an opinion."

You don't need a degree, but you sure do need to back up a statement such as that to have any credibility. We might take your bald opinion for something if you had an established reputation in the field. But if you don't provide us with that, all you have stuck in your post is fried froth.

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In this case, the new discovery does something for Mormon apologetics, since it helps defend their position that writing systems existed in the New World at the appropriate time.

The problem is that Mormon apologetics that are based on something other than obfuscating the issues should have as their goal the demonstration not merely that writing systems existed in the New World at the appropriate time, but that there were Nephite writing systems existing in the New World at the appropriate time.

It's my assertion that the continued discovery of more and more non-BoM-related artifacts, languages, writing systems, ruins, etc. just shrinks further the possible areas where the BoM peoples might have been tucked away without our discovering them yet. Every single ruin that isn't BoM-related, or language system that isn't BoM-related, or artifact that isn't BoM-related, that is discovered fills in yet more of the gaps where the BoM-related history could have taken place.

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Sethbag

Your argument is similar to the idea of checking all the non black items in the world in order to disprove the statement that "all crows are black". It may keep you occupied on rainy days but it only takes finding one non black crow to disprove the statement. That is why logicians do not accept that "abscence is proof of abscence". Incidentally, there are albino "non black crows" :P

Larry P

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It's my assertion that the continued discovery of more and more non-BoM-related artifacts, languages, writing systems, ruins, etc. just shrinks further the possible areas where the BoM peoples might have been tucked away without our discovering them yet. Every single ruin that isn't BoM-related, or language system that isn't BoM-related, or artifact that isn't BoM-related, that is discovered fills in yet more of the gaps where the BoM-related history could have taken place.

Your assertion may or may not be agreed to by TBMs, but it is certainly true, that

the more we discover of the preColumbian Americas, the less they look like the

traditional Book of Mormon picture of ancient society on those continents.

The Mormon faithful have begun to respond to this change in perception, by shrinking

down the probable areas of Jaredite, Mulekite and Nephite occupation and influence

to something less than their LDS ancestors professed. This is the modern accomodation

to a growth in knowlege.

As more and more of the Americas' prehistory is filled in, we begin to understand more

and more of the interaction of the various peoples who lived on those continents. Take

for example, the spread of maize agriculture -- this change in ancient society can now

be pretty much charted out, as it progressed out of the Valley of Mexico, both north

and south, over many centuries.

A hundred years ago, had we asked Book of Mormon-believers about where the book's

peoples got their corn, the answer might have been that God gave it to them, or some

such hazy reply. But when the dispersion of fossil maize pollen can be investigated

and charted out by scientists, it ends up being the scientists who can bettrr answer

such questions. And not just for corn -- for pottery innovations and dispersions -- for

cloth weaving -- for numerous patterns of interaction between the ancient peoples.

Where, in the emerging picture of preColumbian America do we now "wedge in"

the Book of Mormon peoples (who seem to have been neither influenced nor the

influencers of these ancient cultural patterns) as part of antiquity's events?

A question that I doubt Joseph Smith, Jr. ever pondered or ever foresaw coming.

Uncle Dale

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sethbag said, "I simply do not buy the whole "we've already discovered Book of Mormon cities and artifacts, and they're currently labeled Mayan, or Olmec, or whatever" argument."

When I called you on a throw away line, you said, "I didn't know I needed to have a PhD to have an opinion."

You don't need a degree, but you sure do need to back up a statement such as that to have any credibility. (emphasis added)

I need to back up the statement that I'm not buying a particular theory?

No I don't.

You'll just have to take my word that I'm not buying that theory; I won't prove to you that I'm not buying it.

Oh, did you mean I had to explain to you why I'm not buying it, to get your "buy-in" for my opinion? Is that what you mean? Cuz if so, then no, I don't need your buy-in to have an opinion on the subject.

We might take your bald opinion for something if you had an established reputation in the field.  But if you don't provide us with that, all you have stuck in your post is fried froth.

No you wouldn't. You'd take my opinion for something if it agreed with mormonism.

As for my opinion being fried froth. Your opinion is nothing other than rotting cabbage. Neener neener neener.

Question asked and answered. Sheesh.

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Your argument is similar to the idea of checking all the non black items in the world in order to disprove the statement that "all crows are black". It may keep you occupied on rainy days but it only takes finding one non black crow to disprove the statement.

The problem is we're not talking about the existence of a single Nephite, are we?

As a reminder, we're talking about the existence of a civilization that lasted for at least 1200 years, produced millions of people, and extensive cities and culture. This civilization would have had some geographical extent. What I'm saying is the more previously unsearched nooks and crannies we look into and research, that don't show up any evidence of a Nephite civilization, the fewer unsearched places remain where this could possibly happen. When there are only three caves left unsearched in all of Mesoamerica, are you going to still be holding out hope that one or more of them could have the elusive evidence of the Nephites?

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sethbag, I thought we were having a discussion here on relative merits of different theories. Anyone can just have an opinion with nothing to back it up. They may say they don't like vanilla ice cream because is white. But their opinion on vanilla ice cream isn't worth a lot if they have never tasted it. But, okay. You want to be anti-Mormon, and we have seen from the quality of the arguments of some anti-mormons, it doesn't take any knowledge or iformation to take the anti position. Just if it is Mormon, it is bad. Oh well.

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My opinion is a lot more nuanced than just it's mormon, so it must be bad. I'm not buying the whole "Nephite cities have been found already, they're just called Olmec or Maya" argument because Clark hasn't really shown one shred of reason why we should believe it. Thusfar, with all of the Maya and Olmec stuff that's been found, it doesn't really look like Nephites, and his saying they are likely one and the same comes across as just his own wishfull thinking.

How about you explain to me why I should agree with Clark's opinion on the matter, besides the fact that he has a PhD. Because a lot of other PhDs in his field aren't seeing whatever evidence he thinks he's seeing.

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I dont know of any Babylonian insciptions on stone that might be used for comparison but that may be because nobody has found any or recognized them as such if found.
what reason do we have to assume that the jaredi wrote in a babylonian script

None, other than the fact that Jared and his brother fled from the Tower of Babel to avoid having their language changed. Since they left, without having their language changed, it is unlikely that they were using a written language in any way similar to that used by the later Babylonians.

But it would still be nice to make a comparison with Babyonian inscriptions on stone as opposed to clay tablets.

Larry P

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Seth, you need to learn a little patience when it comes to archaeology. Its generally a very slow moving science. If the Book of Mormon is going to be validated by the archaeological record, its most likely is not going to come in one grand discovery of "Nephi" or "Alma" slept here sign. It will probably come through lots of small bits and pieces of which individually mean not a whole lot but collectively validate the Book of Mormon claims. This will probably take decades more of archaeological work.

So what does this little piece tell us? It tells us there was at least one writing system that dates back to at least 900 B.C. This sort of validates a the Book of Mormon of ancient writing systems that existed well beyond what was previously known to the world today. The world is simply catching up with the Book of Mormon on this minor point.

This is just one piece in a 1000 piece puzzle that has to be put together. Patience is what is required. Lets let the archaeologists continue to dig and do their research.

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Freakin A Man, just to be clear, nobody's saying that there were no writing systems in the world at that time. This discovery isn't a first for writing systems during that time period, just writing systems in the Americas. The fact that Joseph Smith was basing his characters on Old Testament peoples and places gives adequate explanation for why Joseph would think that his characters knew how to write.

As far as archaeology being a slow moving science. I understand that. I don't mean to appear to be overly hasty about this. I do think, however, with all we have discovered about and know about the peoples who actually did live on this continent in the times in question, that we should have discovered at least something that can legitimately be tied to the Nephites by now.

I mean seriously, how grand are things described in the Book of Mormon, and yet how elusive the Nephite civilization has proven to be? It's hard for me to understand how this can be reasonable to you. It's not as if the study of ancient American peoples just begain or anything.

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Freakin A Man, just to be clear, nobody's saying that there were no writing systems in the world at that time.  This discovery isn't a first for writing systems during that time period, just writing systems in the Americas.  The fact that Joseph Smith was basing his characters on Old Testament peoples and places gives adequate explanation for why Joseph would think that his characters knew how to write.

I wouldn't place too many wagers on that stone's marks being a writing system as we

know it. The markings look like pictographs to me: possibly a device to aid the memory

in reciting genealogies or some sequence of events -- possibly a record of time passing

or astronomical changes -- or maybe just an inventory of foodstuffs in the royal pantry.

At any rate, I would not expect that decipherment will yield a some text like:

"I, Jade-Jaguar, being born of godly parents..."

Uncle Dale

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Freakin A Man, just to be clear, nobody's saying that there were no writing systems in the world at that time. This discovery isn't a first for writing systems during that time period, just writing systems in the Americas. The fact that Joseph Smith was basing his characters on Old Testament peoples and places gives adequate explanation for why Joseph would think that his characters knew how to write.

As far as archaeology being a slow moving science. I understand that. I don't mean to appear to be overly hasty about this. I do think, however, with all we have discovered about and know about the peoples who actually did live on this continent in the times in question, that we should have discovered at least something that can legitimately be tied to the Nephites by now.

I mean seriously, how grand are things described in the Book of Mormon, and yet how elusive the Nephite civilization has proven to be? It's hard for me to understand how this can be reasonable to you. It's not as if the study of ancient American peoples just begain or anything.

Yes and so we know know for certain that writing systems existed in Book of Mormon times in the Americas as the Book of Mormon claims. Its a very small point I will admit but small potins add up over time.

Who says the Nephite civilization is completely elusive. How do we know that some of what we call the Mayans where not associated or part of the Nephites? Especially the early Mayans. The fact is we know that Olmecs and Mayans existed but we still know very little about them. We don't know much about them. HOw do we know there is not other cultures that have not been discovered. At one it was believed the Mayans where the oldest known culture. It was a practically a universal truth then some bonehead archaeologists kept digging and discovered the Olmecs and messed everything up. Who says history can't repeat itself again and a new culture is found. Lots of places still to dig in Mezoamerica.

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I think it's important to recognize that the discovery of ancient writing systems really does nothing for BoM apologetics unless that writing system is descended somehow from Hebrew or Egyptian. Any other semitic language would certainly help as well. Oh, heck, if it's descended from any conceivable Middle Eastern language that might have been around and in use by someone during Lehi's time, that would probably get some things moving a little bit.

It may not do anything for proving the BOM (which matters greatly to only a small segment of countermos)...but it does plenty for apologetics. I know there is at least one scholar out there making a list of all of the countermopologist's "truths" that have been toppled and this does tie into that. It is not good news that MA civilization is being pushed back into BOM time periods and discoveries of unknown communities that defy classification are springing up at a regular pace. There has been a great deal of discussion of late about denial of Mormons...perhaps it is time that countermos started to acknowledge that they do lose ground occasionally.

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It's my assertion that the continued discovery of more and more non-BoM-related artifacts, languages, writing systems, ruins, etc. just shrinks further the possible areas where the BoM peoples might have been tucked away without our discovering them yet. Every single ruin that isn't BoM-related, or language system that isn't BoM-related, or artifact that isn't BoM-related, that is discovered fills in yet more of the gaps where the BoM-related history could have taken place.

That only holds true for those who refuse to use the BOM text instead of the stories. If we have seen anything on this board we have seen Brant make the BOM come alive by using what we do know about the cultures of those times. This is where the countermopologists are going to crash and burn if they don't start addressing the current BOM scholarship instead of relying on ridicule.

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It's my assertion that the continued discovery of more and more non-BoM-related artifacts, languages, writing systems, ruins, etc. just shrinks further the possible areas where the BoM peoples might have been tucked away without our discovering them yet.  Every single ruin that isn't BoM-related, or language system that isn't BoM-related, or artifact that isn't BoM-related, that is discovered fills in yet more of the gaps where the BoM-related history could have taken place.

That only holds true for those who refuse to use the BOM text instead of the stories. If we have seen anything on this board we have seen Brant make the BOM come alive by using what we do know about the cultures of those times. This is where the countermopologists are going to crash and burn if they don't start addressing the current BOM scholarship instead of relying on ridicule.

I think juliann that you will find it hard going to deprogram a critic. They are so deep into their mindset, that only an Alma, the younger experiece would get them out of it.

Have you noticed the lack of counterclaims on exmo boards? Counter claims to their new belief systems are routinely washed away by their programing masters. From my own experience, no one can actually defy the countermo cult that has sprung up on those boards. They have established a countermo cult comfort zone among and around themselves.

Hence, the problems with critics approaching new lds scholarship with an open mind. cool.gif <<<I need shades...I am experiencing sunshine at the moment.

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My point is that the counter-mos want to claim everything about Mesoamerica has been discovered and completely rules out the possible existence of BoM civilization.

What an interesting statement. It seems you think "the counter-mos" are all one homogenous group who all believe this ridiculous claim? I don't. I'm not sure I've met anyone who has claimed such a thing.

Can you name one counter-mo who has made such a claim?

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As for Clark's statement that Sethbag didn't buy, it was a faith based assertion made for a particular audience. He personally believes that some of the cities that have been discovered were actually Book of Mormon cities, but they haven't been identified yet. That is, he has a theory that (at least) some of the discovered cities are BoM cities, but he hasn't identified any of them (with, say evidence) yet.

Sethbag is hardly obligated to accept that they will be identified as BoM sites until Clark and others present persuasive evidence to support such claims.

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As for Clark's statement that Sethbag didn't buy, it was a faith based assertion made for a particular audience. He personally believes that some of the cities that have been discovered were actually Book of Mormon cities, but they haven't been identified yet. That is, he has a theory that (at least) some of the discovered cities are BoM cities, but he hasn't identified any of them (with, say evidence) yet.

I hate to tell you this...but scholarship can begin with a "faith based" assertion. The point is to build a theory since the only given is usually a consensus of opinion. I don't know how many more times this is going to have to be said but I guess we can data base it for y'all. The point is that we now have a civilization that has been pushed back into the BOM era. That gives the scholars something to start looking at.

I repeat...I have yet to see any concensus from Mormons that there is proof for the BOM....you are much more likely to hear that there will never be proof for it. The obsession with applying proof to the BOM comes from the countermos. That is why we get the evasion and loss of memory whenever something shows up that gets uncomfortable for a Custer's Last Stand that there will never be anything, never ever never!, that remotely fits with the BOM.

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sethbag, you wrote, "Thusfar, with all of the Maya and Olmec stuff that's been found, it doesn't really look like Nephites."

What does a Nephite look like?

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