Jump to content

Simon Southerton's New Book


Recommended Posts

That covers it well.  The only thing I would change is that maybe you should have put the word "New" in quotes in your topic title, since there doesn't seem to be anything "new" about the book.

Edited by InCognitus
Link to post

Gawrsh, I do think that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being awfully unfair to poor Mr. Southerton, failing to accord his credentials and conclusions the dispositive weight they are due with respect to the question of [alleged] Nephites, [alleged] Lamanites, and genetics.  I mean, if only there were geneticists and other scientists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who could offer treatments and perspectives on these things. :( :unknw: 

Oh, wait. :huh: 

Sorry. :huh: 

My bad!

Link to post
9 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

This is some good research and a valid response that you you have posted Smac.  But with regards to what Simon stated:

He is speaking about official church publications, such as lesson manuals and transcripts from conference talks.  I guess you could also group South American Temple dedication prayers into this also.  What is stated here is true.  This is what is taught.  Apologists obviously has a different spin on this as you post clearly indicates.  But Apologists do not speak for the church, and if fact often discount the words of the prophets in order to try to make things fit with reality.  Most chapel mormons do not keep up on the latest apologetic theories.  They read the Engine and watch conference.  The message they receive is often very different that what is found in the latest MI article.

So based on what you are saying, Southerton needs to change his argument.  He's not really proving that the claims of the Book of Mormon are false, but only that some traditional ideas about the Book of Mormon are false.  But if he actually did that then he'd be agreeing with the apologists.  Somehow I don't think that would ever happen.   

  • Like 4
Link to post
45 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

This is some good research and a valid response that you you have posted Smac.  But with regards to what Simon stated:

Quote

For 190 years, The Mormon Church has taught that Native Americans and Polynesians are descended from ancient seafaring Israelites.

He is speaking about official church publications, such as lesson manuals and transcripts from conference talks. 

Well, that's pretty much my point.  He's not addressing the text, but rather broad, rooted-in-limited-information-available-to-19th-century extrapolations and conjecture about the text.  Meanwhile, I'm not sure how or why that justifies him sidestepping the considerable amounts of scholarship available on this issue.  

Moreover, I'm not sure he's even correct in his characterization of "official church publications."  I tend to get a little wary of critics characterizing such things, and then responding to their own characterizations.  I would much prefer to see him quote, verbatim, the "church publications" that, in his view, give rise to a meaningful dispute about population genetics relative to The Book of Mormon.  Has he done that?

Quote

I guess you could also group South American Temple dedication prayers into this also. 

Really?  What parts of such prayers are relevant to population genetics?

Quote

What is stated here is true.  This is what is taught. 

I don't know what you are saying here.

Quote

Apologists obviously has a different spin on this as you post clearly indicates. 

I'm not sure we are dealing with on "spin" versus the other.

Southerton is the one making affirmative statements about what "DNA" can prove or disprove.  The Church's position, set forth in the essay and clarified in the BOMC article I quoted before, is to rebut those assertions.

It's a bit hinky for Southerton to point to "science" as the basis for his position, then take exception to contrary scientific arguments about the utility of DNA "evidence" relative to the authenticity of The Book of Mormon.  

Quote

But Apologists do not speak for the church,

Not officially, no.  But they very often tend to accurately characterize the position of the Church (much more so than antagonists like Simon Southerton).

Moreover, the Church has "sp{oken} for" itself via the essay published on its website about this topic.  Is there any part of that essay that is incompatible or incongruous with, say, the BOMC article I quoted above?  If so, I haven't seen it.  So if you have an instance of "Apologists" being out of step with the Church, please point it out.  Otherwise, the former seems to be backing up the latter quite well.

Quote

and if fact often discount the words of the prophets in order to try to make things fit with reality. 

Meh.  This is just a potshot.  If you have an example of "apologists" "discount{ing} the words of the prophets" relative to the application of DNA science to the debate about the origins of The Book of Mormon, please provide it.

I won't hold my breath.

Quote

Most chapel mormons do not keep up on the latest apologetic theories. 

"Chapel Mormons"?

I love the smell of a false dilemma fallacy in the morning!

Quote

They read the Engine and watch conference. 

So do I (I assume you meant to reference the Ensign).

Quote

The message they receive is often very different that what is found in the latest MI article.

No, it isn't. 

"Apologists" have not set themselves up as voices of authority alternative and superior to the leaders of the Church.  To be sure, they will sometimes decline to let critics and antagonists cherry-pick an isolated quote, decontextualize it, sensationalize it, and use it to create a false dilemma.  But that's a very different proposition from apologists conveying a substantively different "message" than what we get in the Ensign and General Conference.

That you are driving by, tossing out wholly unsubstantiated potshots, seems to corroborate my assessment.  If you have some examples, I'm willing to consider them. 

Just look at the discussion we're having, SS.  We are getting nowhere near any substantive analysis of DNA "evidence" purporting to have an impact on the authenticity of The Book of Mormon.  Instead, we have Southeron regurgitating years-old stuff, and you tossing out cheap shots.

How is this stuff supposed to be persuasive?

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
  • Like 3
Link to post
4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Aussiguy wrote this:

So here's what Southeron says at the above link:

First, this sounds like Southerton is talking about generalized teachings about the text of the Book of Mormon, rather than the text itself.  Latter-day Saint apologists are, in the main, not fixated on so-called "Lamanite DNA."

He didn't say anything about the apologists.  Why did you bait and switch there?  

 

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Critics (most notably Southerton and Murphy) have, I think, hung their hats almost exclusively on extra-textual arguments about the Book of Mormon (i.e. the Introduction's reference to "principal ancestors," culled comments from LDS leaders, etc.) and have largely ignored the actual text of the book itself. They have also tried to posit DNA as the definitive falsifying factor of the Book of Mormon when the subject is obviously much more complex than that (adoptive lineage, heritage-as-lineage, plus the arguments set forth in the FARMS Review and elsewhere (see below) that DNA can neither prove nor disprove the Book of Mormon). 

Well nothing proves the BoM so I suppose that might mean there is some hope that nothing disproves it.  The main point he's hanging his hat on is the Church has historically taught that Native Americans ancestors are Lamanites, even go so far as teaching and advocating people call them Lamanites.  The science does not support that teaching.   

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Second, he is really simplifying the Church's perspective on this issue, nearly to the point of absurdity.  There has been a lot of scholarship on this issue published in the last many years (see, e.g., here and here), and Southerton appears to be ignoring essentially all of it.  Before I spent $7.50 on Southerton's new book, I'd like to know if this is so.

I"m pretty sure your conclusion is already made.  Why do you care?  It seems you've rejected his work before ever viewing it.   Of course no scholarship supports the notion that Native American ancestors were Lamanites.  I doubt your links say otherwise.  The only thing, it seems, BOMC, FAIR and others can do is say something about how it's possible, somehow, there were actual Lamanites, but we have nothing at all to verify they ever really were.  It seems to me.  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Third, Latter-day Saints are, I think, far more flexible and reasonable in their thinking on this matter than the critics (who have been decidedly fundementalistic about it). These critics will, most likely, cast such flexibility as dishonesty, disengenuousness, etc., but that's to be expected, I suppose.

Alright.  There we go.  The hurling of dishonest and disingenuous again.  I get your point now.  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Fourth, whoever wrote Ecclesiastes 1:9 must have had Southerton's approach in mind: "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."  Anti-Mormons are so boring these days.  Re-tread upon re-tread. They make no attempt to seriously engage LDS thought on the topics about which they pontificate (see below).  There is nothing new under the (anti-Mormon) sun.

You sure spend a lot of time complaining about that which you call boring.  I find that interesting, at least.  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Fifth, Southerton was I think at his most astute when he said this (in 2006 or so): 

This is a distilled version of the "science" of this topic, and Southerton gets it right.  I appreciate that he acknowledged this.  However, in the very next sentece he stops talking about "science" and starts delving into . . . something else:

That's not "science."

Fast forward to 2013 (same link):

Again, this is sort of boring.  Until and unless Southerton engages the substantive scholarship on this issue, I'm not really interested in what he has to say (since it seems to be mere variation on what he said 10+ years ago).

If you're not interested then why are you starting this thread?  To throw in your dishonest and disingenuous stuff at someone again?  Are you stuck left trying to make something interesting out of something boring?  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

(Also, what is a "Mesoamerican apologist"?  Daniel Peterson is an American professor of Islamic Studies at BYU.  He was born and raised in California.)

Book of Mormon Central has a very good treatment of this issue:

I am by no means an expert in genetics.  At all.  I am quite the neophyte as to this topic.  However, I have read several, but not all, of the above footnoted references.  I have also spent years now listening to Southerton and his supporters re-hash the same talking points.  I have yet to see substantive interaction by Southerton with the scholarship and reasoning set forth in, for example, the above materials.

So I guess my question is this: Does Southerton's new book plow any new ground?  If so, what is it?

Haven't read it, and likely won't.  Not because of any reason other than the BoM defenses are not very helpful.  DId the Church think that Native Americans came from Lamanites?  Sure.  Is there any reason via DNA studies to think that happened?  No.  Southerton as you pointed out, concluded, its "exceedingly unlikely that their genomic DNA would go extinct".  I don't know that he's correct in that.  I don't know how likely it is.  But, however likely there simply isn't any evidence to say, through DNA studies, that Native American's have Lamanite Ancestors.  I see BOMC concludes its ok to think they have Lamanite ancestors because its possible they do, even if it's exceedingly unlikely.  That just seems silly.  Anything's possible, I suppose.  Might as well accept anything anyone wants to think or say because well anything's possible.   

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Back to Southerton:

Meh.  He's recycling stuff from sixteen years ago?

Actually the cursed with black skin stuff is from the BoM written nearly 200 years ago.  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

I don't know what this means.  It kinda sounds like he's taking a how-dare-you! approach to a disputed issue.  That's just not the way it works.  He's putting his claims and arguments out into the public sphere.  Examining and critiquing them is a totally legitimate exercise.

So if and when Dr. Southerton uses his "scientific credbility" to bolster is decidedly non-scientific say-so about the Book of Mormon, I think pointing that out is fair.

As for questioning his "motives," I guess I'd have to see what he is referring to there.

Well, has he done these things?  If he has not, then let's hear what he has to say.  If he has, then the criticism is appropriate.

I think the critique of his position, which largely ignores the text itself, in favor of traditions and vague "narratives" which arose well before the advent of population genetics, is legitimate.

We need to give primacy to the text itself.  Southerton seems to mostly ignore that, in preference of mostly 19th-century inferences and conjecture about the text.  That just won't do.

Also, gotta love the loaded terminology of "vanishing DNA."  I guess that excuses him from addressing founder effect, genetic drift, genetic bottleneck, or any of the other totally legitimate elements of genetic science and analysis that impact on this topic.

Again, Southerton seems to be talking about generalized teachings about the text of the Book of Mormon, rather than the text itself.

This sounds like a re-tread of what he has said in the past, without any meaningful effort to interact with or address the scholarship that has been published to the world for quite some time.

What does Southerton have to say that is responsive to the Church's essay on this topic?  Anything?  That essay concludes: "DNA studies cannot be used decisively to either affirm or reject the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon."  Is this factually, scientifically correct, or not?

Perhaps "decisively" makes this statement workable, although awkward.  It could be used to reject the historical authenticity of the BoM, but not in a decisive way.  But it is definitely true it cannot be used to affirm the historical authenticity of the BoM, and most assuredly can not be used in a decisive way.   

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

What does Southerton have to say about the points raised in the BOMC article above?  Anything?

Do DNA data have limitations that could impair our ability to glean from it the information central to Southerton's position (namely, that DNA data conclusively negates the possibility of Lehi's migration to the New World)?  

"Exceedingly unlikely" does not mean conclusively negates the possibility.  It may very well mean it reasonably negates the possibility, though.  Think of Bigfoot as an example.  To many the slim evidence reasonably negates the possibility of him.  In truth though, there may be more evidence for Bigfoot than Lamanites.  So there is that.  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Can we definitively state that we know what Lehi's DNA would look like?  Jared's?  Mulek's?  It seems not.  Wouldn't the starting point of Southerton's position necessarily require this?

No.  The Church's position might require that.  

4 hours ago, smac97 said:

How would the "founder effect" affect analysis of New World DNA relative to The Book of Mormon?  Does Southerton's new book address this?

How do we account for "genetic drift," the diminution in particular patrilineal/matrilineal genetic markers over the course of 2,600 years?  Does Southerton address this in any way?

Does Southerton account for the genetic "bottleneck" arising from the die-off of 90% of the native population subsequent to the arrival of European explorers?

Does it, though?  Does it "reveal the true history of ... the 19th century origins of Mormonism’s keystone scripture"?

Is that a scientific conclusion, Mr. Southerton?  It seems not.

One of the big gripes I have about people like Jeremy Runnells, Bill Reel, and John Dehlin is what seems to be their wearing ignorance as a badge of pride.  None of them responds to or meaningfully interacts with the substantive scholarship available to us (Runnells at least tries, but he does a very poor job of it).  Southerton's new book sounds like he is following their pattern of behavior.  If that is so, then I'm not impressed.

So, can anyone who has read the book provide a synopsis of it?

Thanks,

-Smac

It sounds to me you've made up your mind.  I guess we can consider my responses in this thread as pointing that obvious observation out.  

Link to post
1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

He didn't say anything about the apologists.  

He did.  Click on the "Read more..." link ("For decades LDS apostles and prophets have quietly sponsored Mormon scholars, predominantly at BYU, to defend the historicity of the Book of Mormon. These scholars (apologists)...").

Quote

Well nothing proves the BoM

Agreed.  The provenance of The Book of Mormon is, in the end, a question of faith.  It's not something to be "proven" either way.

Quote

so I suppose that might mean there is some hope that nothing disproves it. 

We're really not talking about proving v. disproving.

Quote

The main point he's hanging his hat on is the Church has historically taught that Native Americans ancestors are Lamanites, even go so far as teaching and advocating people call them Lamanites.  The science does not support that teaching.

Now you're doing it.

"The science" neither proves nor disproves the Church's claims relative to The Book of Mormon.

And Southerton, and now you, are talking about generalized (and notably vague and unquoted) teachings about the text of the Book of Mormon, rather than the text itself.

Quote

I"m pretty sure your conclusion is already made. 

Yes, I've reached a conclusion.  But I'm still open for substantive discussion.  My point is that we're not really getting much, if any, of that from Dr. Southerton.

I don't get it.  Are you taken exception to me evaluating Southerton's position?  Since when is open-mindedness a bad thing?

Quote

Why do you care? 

Because if the claims of the Church are what they claim to be, then those claims are extremely important.  If they aren't, then that's important, too.

Because Southerton has put his opinions out for public consumption.  It seems odd, then, to complaint when they are evaluated.

Because Southerton is speaking about matters that pertain to me.

And so on.

Quote

It seems you've rejected his work before ever viewing it.  

No.  I've evaluated his previous arguments about The Book of Mormon, and am hoping to ascertain if he has anything new to say.

Quote

Of course no scholarship supports the notion that Native American ancestors were Lamanites. 

Demonstrably false.  Thre is substantial scholarship supporting this notion.

Quote

I doubt your links say otherwise. 

It seems you've rejected those links before ever viewing them.

Quote

The only thing, it seems, BOMC, FAIR and others can do is say something about how it's possible, somehow, there were actual Lamanites, but we have nothing at all to verify they ever really were.  It seems to me.  

Well, not exactly.  BOMC, FAIR and others dispute the notion that DNA "evidence" can be used to prove or disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon.

Quote
Quote

Latter-day Saints are, I think, far more flexible and reasonable in their thinking on this matter than the critics (who have been decidedly fundementalistic about it). These critics will, most likely, cast such flexibility as dishonesty, disengenuousness, etc., but that's to be expected, I suppose.

Alright.  There we go.  The hurling of dishonest and disingenuous again.  I get your point now.  

Huh?  

Quote

You sure spend a lot of time complaining about that which you call boring.  I find that interesting, at least.  

An argument can be "boring," and yet still merit a response.

Quote
Quote

Until and unless Southerton engages the substantive scholarship on this issue, I'm not really interested in what he has to say (since it seems to be mere variation on what he said 10+ years ago).

If you're not interested then why are you starting this thread? 

Aussie seemed to be asking me to.

Quote

To throw in your dishonest and disingenuous stuff at someone again? 

What "dishonest and disingenuous stuff" are you referencing here?

Quote

Are you stuck left trying to make something interesting out of something boring?  

Again, Aussie asked about Southerton's new book.  His request was off topic in that thread, so I opened a new one.

Quote
Quote

So I guess my question is this: Does Southerton's new book plow any new ground?  If so, what is it?

Haven't read it, and likely won't. 

Well, if he has something new to say, I will probably end up reading it.

Quote

Not because of any reason other than the BoM defenses are not very helpful. 

I don't know what you are referencing here.

Quote

Did the Church think that Native Americans came from Lamanites?  Sure. 

Surely not.  This is a substantial mischaracterization of the Church's teachings.

Quote

Is there any reason via DNA studies to think that happened?  No. 

Is there any reason to think that "DNA studies" can prove or disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon?  No.

Quote

Southerton as you pointed out, concluded, its "exceedingly unlikely that their genomic DNA would go extinct".  I don't know that he's correct in that. 

I don't know that, either.  Genetic drift.  Founder effect.  Genetic bottleneck.  

BOMC has put forth a pretty substantial summary that addresses these things.  Has Southerton?

Quote

I don't know how likely it is.  But, however likely there simply isn't any evidence to say, through DNA studies, that Native American's have Lamanite Ancestors. 

Which isn't really problematic, or even surprising.  But you and Southerton seem to be acting as if it is both problematic (for believers) and surprising (such that Southerton thinks it's worth writing about).

Quote

I see BOMC concludes its ok to think they have Lamanite ancestors because its possible they do, even if it's exceedingly unlikely. 

Wow.  That substantially mischaracterizes what BOMC says.

Quote

That just seems silly.  Anything's possible, I suppose.  Might as well accept anything anyone wants to think or say because well anything's possible.

You can throw your hands up and wave all of this away if you like.  If you aren't interested in the subject matter, nobody is forcing you to examine it.

I prefer to examine the evidence.  I'm interested.

Quote
Quote

What does Southerton have to say that is responsive to the Church's essay on this topic?  Anything?  That essay concludes: "DNA studies cannot be used decisively to either affirm or reject the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon."  Is this factually, scientifically correct, or not?

Perhaps "decisively" makes this statement workable, although awkward. 

How so?

Quote

It could be used to reject the historical authenticity of the BoM, but not in a decisive way. 

It could also be used to reject Southerton's arguments as not being competent, probative, or relevant to the issue at hand.

Quote

But it is definitely true it cannot be used to affirm the historical authenticity of the BoM, and most assuredly can not be used in a decisive way.

Just so.  Using population genetics is not a particularly relevant or helpful exercise in evaluating provenance of The Book of Mormon.

Keep in mind that it's Southerton that keeps trying to do this, not us.

Quote
Quote

Do DNA data have limitations that could impair our ability to glean from it the information central to Southerton's position (namely, that DNA data conclusively negates the possibility of Lehi's migration to the New World)?  

"Exceedingly unlikely" does not mean conclusively negates the possibility. 

I'm not even sure Southerton got that point right.

Quote

It may very well mean it reasonably negates the possibility, though.  Think of Bigfoot as an example.  To many the slim evidence reasonably negates the possibility of him.  In truth though, there may be more evidence for Bigfoot than Lamanites.  So there is that.  

Well, no, I don't think so.  Reductio ad absurdum doesn't work here.  Again, it is Southerton that is proposing to disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon through by population genetics.  My assessment is that this is a futile exercise.  So it just won't do for you to turn that futility into a reductio ad absurdum argument.  

Quote
Quote

Can we definitively state that we know what Lehi's DNA would look like?  Jared's?  Mulek's?  It seems not.  Wouldn't the starting point of Southerton's position necessarily require this?

No.  The Church's position might require that.  

I disagree.  "The Church's position" is spelled out in its essay

Quote

Much as critics and defenders of the Book of Mormon would like to use DNA studies to support their views, the evidence is simply inconclusive. Nothing is known about the DNA of Book of Mormon peoples. Even if such information were known, processes such as population bottleneck, genetic drift, and post-Columbian immigration from West Eurasia make it unlikely that their DNA could be detected today. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed, “It is our position that secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.”

You are attempting to foist something onto the Church that the Church has already rejected. 

"The evidence is simply inconclusive."  

"{S}ecular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

Quote

It sounds to me you've made up your mind. 

And yet here I am, demonstrating a willingness to listen to anything new that Southerton may have to say.

This quote (falsely attributed to Aristotle, it seems) is apt: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Yes, I have reached a conclusion about Southerton's argument.  But it's not set in stone.  I am constantly re-examining what I believe, and why.  What conclusions I have reached, and why.

Quote

I guess we can consider my responses in this thread as pointing that obvious observation out.  

I guess so.

This really isn't that hard.  Southerton has been making an assertion, for years no, predicated on the notion that population genetics can inform our understanding as to the origins of The Book of Mormon.  I've read a fair bit of what he has had to say.  I found it lacking in several respects.  I have also read the BOMC article (quoted above), the Church's essay (linked to above) and several other responses to Southerton's argument.  These responses can be essentially reduced to, as the essay put it, "secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

Of these two propositions, I have found the second to be substantially more accurate, well-reasoned, well-argued, and more likely to be correct.

I am, however, open to the possibility that Southerton may have something further to say on the subject.  Something new.  You seem irritated at that.  Your irritation is strange.  Southerton being wrong doesn't really advance the truth claims of the Church.  Southerton being wrong doesn't validate the Church's claims about the provenance of The Book of Mormon, except perhaps in a "differential diagnosis" kind of way.  And that's not much.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
  • Like 3
Link to post
16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And Southerton, and now you, are talking about generalized (and notably vague and unquoted) teachings about the text of the Book of Mormon, rather than the text itself.

That's not true.  I merely alluded to the historic teachings of the Church regarding the Native American people.  They have typically been called Lamanites.  The problem is there is no evidence to suggest they have Lamanite ancestry.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Demonstrably false.  Thre is substantial scholarship supporting this notion.

I'm open to seeing one piece.  What scientific credited piece of scholarship has supported the notion that Native Americans have Lamanite ancestors?  Or are you thinking an apologist has suggested somewhere that Native Americans have Lamanite ancestry?  If so, that doesn't really fit the bill.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

It seems you've rejected those links before ever viewing them.

I"ve viewed them.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Well, not exactly.  BOMC, FAIR and others dispute the notion that DNA "evidence" can be used to prove or disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon.

That seems to totally misunderstand my point.  But oh well.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Huh?  

An argument can be "boring," and yet still merit a response.

Aussie seemed to be asking me to.

What "dishonest and disingenuous stuff" are you referencing here?

Again, Aussie asked about Southerton's new book.  His request was off topic in that thread, so I opened a new one.

Well, if he has something new to say, I will probably end up reading it.

I don't know what you are referencing here.

Surely not.  This is a substantial mischaracterization of the Church's teachings.

How so?  Are you saying the Church never taught that modern native americans are descended from Lamanites?  That would be weird.  How is it a mischaracterization to say the "Church thinks that Native Americans came from Lamanites"?

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Is there any reason to think that "DNA studies" can prove or disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon?  No.

You're stuck on "proof".  It is not addressing my comments.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't know that, either.  Genetic drift.  Founder effect.  Genetic bottleneck.  

BOMC has put forth a pretty substantial summary that addresses these things.  Has Southerton?

Which isn't really problematic, or even surprising.  But you and Southerton seem to be acting as if it is both problematic (for believers) and surprising (such that Southerton thinks it's worth writing about).

Great.  It seems to me you are in agreement with Southerton and me.  There is no DNA evidence to think Native Americans are Lamanites.  I don't care if it's problematic or surprising.  Regarding DNA studies do any of them corroborate the notion that there were Lamanites in Ancient American somewhere?  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Wow.  That substantially mischaracterizes what BOMC says.

How so?  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You can throw your hands up and wave all of this away if you like.  If you aren't interested in the subject matter, nobody is forcing you to examine it.

I prefer to examine the evidence.  I'm interested.

How so?

It could also be used to reject Southerton's arguments as not being competent, probative, or relevant to the issue at hand.

Just so.  Using population genetics is not a particularly relevant or helpful exercise in evaluating provenance of The Book of Mormon.

Sure, if your conclusion is the BoM is authentically ancient.  If your conclusion is it is a work that was created early 1800s then it's quite helpful.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Keep in mind that it's Southerton that keeps trying to do this, not us.

I'm not even sure Southerton got that point right.

Well, no, I don't think so.  Reductio ad absurdum doesn't work here.  Again, it is Southerton that is proposing to disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon through by population genetics.  My assessment is that this is a futile exercise.  So it just won't do for you to turn that futility into a reductio ad absurdum argument.  

THis doesn't seem responsive to what I said.  Yes, the comparison to the bigfoot argument seems quite appropriate here.  If you want to believe in bigfoot in spite of there not being good evidence for his existence, great.  If you want to believe that Lamanites were the ancestors of Native Americans, great.  But don't think there is evidence for either--it's just a kind of 'whatever I want to believe it' thing, it seems.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I disagree.  "The Church's position" is spelled out in its essay

The essay does not in anyway suggest there is evidence the Lamanites existed nor that there is reason to think they are among the ancestors of the Native Americans.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You are attempting to foist something onto the Church that the Church has already rejected. 

"The evidence is simply inconclusive."  

"{S}ecular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

And yet here I am, demonstrating a willingness to listen to anything new that Southerton may have to say.

Great.  Then go read his book.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

This quote (falsely attributed to Aristotle, it seems) is apt: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Yes, I have reached a conclusion about Southerton's argument.  But it's not set in stone.  I am constantly re-examining what I believe, and why.  What conclusions I have reached, and why.

I guess so.

This really isn't that hard.  Southerton has been making an assertion, for years no, predicated on the notion that population genetics can inform our understanding as to the origins of The Book of Mormon.  I've read a fair bit of what he has had to say.  I found it lacking in several respects.  I have also read the BOMC article (quoted above), the Church's essay (linked to above) and several other responses to Southerton's argument.  These responses can be essentially reduced to, as the essay put it, "secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

Of these two propositions, I have found the second to be substantially more accurate, well-reasoned, well-argued, and more likely to be correct.

I am, however, open to the possibility that Southerton may have something further to say on the subject.  Something new.  You seem irritated at that.  Your irritation is strange. 

I haven't read his book.  I"m not irritated that you haven't.  I just find your dismissals on the issue problematic.  It seems clear, there's no evidence to the claim that there were Lamanites, nor that they are the ancestors nor among ancestors of Native Americans.  You can continue to say something like, "well the science is inconclusive.  There still could have been lamanites" if you like.  I don't care.  But so could Bigfoot enthusiasts.  There could be a bigfoot, in spite of the paucity of evidence for the claim.  

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Southerton being wrong doesn't really advance the truth claims of the Church.  Southerton being wrong doesn't validate the Church's claims about the provenance of The Book of Mormon, except perhaps in a "differential diagnosis" kind of way.  And that's not much.  

Thanks,

-Smac

 

Link to post
11 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I merely alluded to the historic teachings of the Church regarding the Native American people.  They have typically been called Lamanites.  The problem is there is no evidence to suggest they have Lamanite ancestry.  

Could you describe exactly what "Lamanite ancestry" means?  As my flip-but-relevant top 8 list points out, there are a lot of ways to become a Lamanite, and only a few of them are to be related to someone genetically...

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
  • Like 2
Link to post
12 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Could you describe exactly what "Lamanite ancestry" means?  As my flip-but-relevant top 8 list points out, there are a lot of ways to become a Lamanite, and only a few of them are to be related to someone genetically...

I mean to suggest there is no evidence, in a scientific sense, to say modern Native Americans have Lamanite ancestors, genetically in this case.  If you are want to say it's possible the modern Native Americans could have had ancestors either genetically or not, be my guest.  But such a conclusion carries no scientific weight.  I mean anyone can also think there is a Bigfoot roaming the country-side--and some of them might think he's Cain.  

 

Link to post
36 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Could you describe exactly what "Lamanite ancestry" means?  As my flip-but-relevant top 8 list points out, there are a lot of ways to become a Lamanite, and only a few of them are to be related to someone genetically...

 

19 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I mean to suggest there is no evidence, in a scientific sense, to say modern Native Americans have Lamanite ancestors, genetically in this case.   If you are want to say it's possible the modern Native Americans could have had ancestors either genetically or not, be my guest.  But such a conclusion carries no scientific weight.

 

Fair enough.  Well, since the BoM is pretty crystal clear that people in the time didn't need to have any actual blood relationship with anyone to be a Lamanite, I'm not sure what your issue actually is.  It sounds like you're taking issue with a bunch of pre-internet, non-geneticist laymormons assuming that all the Native Americans were a direct blood descendant of the BoM peoples.  But such an issue carries no weight that I can see, scientific or theological.  

You do know that people get to be wrong about things, don't you?  I mean, your great-great-great-grandparents probably believed all sorts of crap that has been overcome by human discovery.  They might have been real loud about it, even made life-changing decisions about it.  If they lived in frontier America, they might have thought watermelons were of the devil, or that mercury suppositories are a good thing for dropsy, not to mention the things they might have believed about race, not to mention the equality of men and women.

"Yeah, but my ancestors didn't claim to be speaking for God"

Ok, but neither did the pre-internet, non-geneticist laymormons as they were off opining about where the Indians came from.  

 

I mean honestly, this battle was won, what, back in the mid-90's?  

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
  • Like 4
Link to post
51 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

That's not true.  I merely alluded to the historic teachings of the Church regarding the Native American people. 

"Alluded," not quoted.

Quote

They have typically been called Lamanites. 

Which is still quite possibly accurate.  

Quote

The problem is there is no evidence to suggest they have Lamanite ancestry.  

The evidence is inconclusive.  The evidence doesn't preclude such ancestry, either.

Quote
Quote
Quote

Of course no scholarship supports the notion that Native American ancestors were Lamanites. 

Demonstrably false.  Thre is substantial scholarship supporting this notion.

I'm open to seeing one piece.  What scientific credited piece of scholarship has supported the notion that Native Americans have Lamanite ancestors? 

Gotta love the shifting of goal posts.

You said: "Of course no scholarship supports the notion that Native American ancestors were Lamanites."

I responded to that.  You respond with substantially modifying your prior statement.

Quote

Or are you thinking an apologist has suggested somewhere that Native Americans have Lamanite ancestry?  If so, that doesn't really fit the bill.

"The bill" was your claim that "no scholarship supports the notion that Native American ancestors were Lamanites."

I dispute that.  

Quote
Quote

Well, not exactly.  BOMC, FAIR and others dispute the notion that DNA "evidence" can be used to prove or disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon.

That seems to totally misunderstand my point.  But oh well.  

Well, I'm willing to listen.  What is your point, then?

Quote

How so?  Are you saying the Church never taught that modern native americans are descended from Lamanites?  That would be weird.  How is it a mischaracterization to say the "Church thinks that Native Americans came from Lamanites"?

Because the Church has long qualified the ancestry issue.  And in 2013, the Church qualified it even more.

But here you are, in 2020, stating that the "Church thinks that Native Americans came from Lamanites."  That is not an accurate characterization of the Church's past, or present, position.

Quote
Quote

Is there any reason to think that "DNA studies" can prove or disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon?  No.

You're stuck on "proof". 

Says the guy who said "Well nothing proves the BoM so I suppose that might mean there is some hope that nothing disproves it."

Quote

It is not addressing my comments.  

It does address Southerton, though.

Quote
Quote

I don't know that, either.  Genetic drift.  Founder effect.  Genetic bottleneck.  

BOMC has put forth a pretty substantial summary that addresses these things.  Has Southerton?

Which isn't really problematic, or even surprising.  But you and Southerton seem to be acting as if it is both problematic (for believers) and surprising (such that Southerton thinks it's worth writing about).

Great.  It seems to me you are in agreement with Southerton and me.  There is no DNA evidence to think Native Americans are Lamanites. 

No.

No.

No.

You keep repeating Southerton's error.

reject Southerton's arguments as not being competent, probative, or relevant to the issue at hand.

Using population genetics is not a particularly relevant or helpful exercise in evaluating provenance of The Book of Mormon.

"{S}ecular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

You seem to be siding with Southerton.  I think Southerton is wrong in that he is deriving significance from applying an irrelevant (or at least practically inapplicable) field of inquiry - population genetics - to questions about the origins of The Book of Mormon.

To reduce that to "There is no DNA evidence to think Native Americans are Lamanites" is to perpetuate a mischaracterization.  It is to distort and misrepresent.  Please don't do that.

Quote
Quote
Quote

I don't know how likely it is.  But, however likely there simply isn't any evidence to say, through DNA studies, that Native American's have Lamanite Ancestors. 

Which isn't really problematic, or even surprising.  But you and Southerton seem to be acting as if it is both problematic (for believers) and surprising (such that Southerton thinks it's worth writing about).

I don't care if it's problematic or surprising. 

It's neither problematic nor surprising.  But Southerton thinks it's both.  And you are aligning yourself with Southerton.

Quote

Regarding DNA studies do any of them corroborate the notion that there were Lamanites in Ancient American somewhere?  

Are you really not catching my point?  Or are you just playing games?

I'm starting to suspect the latter.

Yet again: "DNA studies" have no meaningful utility in examining whether Lehi and his family arrived in the Americas.  

Quote
Quote
Quote

I see BOMC concludes its ok to think they have Lamanite ancestors because its possible they do, even if it's exceedingly unlikely. 

Wow.  That substantially mischaracterizes what BOMC says.

How so?  

Again: "DNA studies" have no meaningful utility in examining whether Lehi and his family arrived in the Americas.  

BOMC made no concession about Lamanite ancestry being "exceedingly unlikely."  That is a patent fabrication which you foisted onto BOMC.

Quote
Quote

Using population genetics is not a particularly relevant or helpful exercise in evaluating provenance of The Book of Mormon.

Sure, if your conclusion is the BoM is authentically ancient. 

No.  Even if your conclusion is that the BoM is a 19th-century fabrication, population genetics still doesn't get you anywhere.  

Quote

If your conclusion is it is a work that was created early 1800s then it's quite helpful.  

Sigh.  You haven't read the BOMC references, clearly.

Or if you have, you are ignoring them.

No, population genetics has no meaningful utility in examining whether Lehi and his family arrived in the Americas.  If you feel otherwise, then please lay out your argument.  Engage the substantive scholarship referenced in the BOMC article.

Again, I won't hold my breath, though.  Much easer to just say "It's quite helpful," without actually having to explain how.

Quote
Quote
Quote

It may very well mean it reasonably negates the possibility, though.  Think of Bigfoot as an example.  To many the slim evidence reasonably negates the possibility of him.  In truth though, there may be more evidence for Bigfoot than Lamanites.  So there is that.  

Well, no, I don't think so.  Reductio ad absurdum doesn't work here.  Again, it is Southerton that is proposing to disprove the provenance of The Book of Mormon through by population genetics.  My assessment is that this is a futile exercise.  So it just won't do for you to turn that futility into a reductio ad absurdum argument.  

THis doesn't seem responsive to what I said. 

I think i tis.

Quote

Yes, the comparison to the bigfoot argument seems quite appropriate here. 

Okay.  I'll leave you to it, then.

You are not offering anything substantive.  Just cheap shots and, now, reductio ad absurdum stuff.

No thanks.

Quote

If you want to believe in bigfoot in spite of there not being good evidence for his existence, great. 

Referencing Bigfoot is classic reductio ad absurdum.  

You persist in pointing to information that is not competent, probative, or relevant to the issue at hand.  You keep acting as if this incompetent, non-probative, irrelevant information is, nevertheless, meaningful.

I'm close to giving up

Quote

If you want to believe that Lamanites were the ancestors of Native Americans, great. 

Thanks, I will believe that Lamanites were some of the ancestors of some Native Americans (and that there is some pretty good evidence that Lehi and his family migrated to the Americas).

Quote

But don't think there is evidence for either

There isn't DNA evidence, no.  That does not preclude the existence of other types of evidence.

Quote

--it's just a kind of 'whatever I want to believe it' thing, it seems.

Isn't that pretty much the position taken by the Church (as the essay put it, "secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon")?

Quote
Quote

"The Church's position" is spelled out in its essay

Quote

Much as critics and defenders of the Book of Mormon would like to use DNA studies to support their views, the evidence is simply inconclusive. Nothing is known about the DNA of Book of Mormon peoples. Even if such information were known, processes such as population bottleneck, genetic drift, and post-Columbian immigration from West Eurasia make it unlikely that their DNA could be detected today. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed, “It is our position that secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.”

 

The essay does not in anyway suggest there is evidence the Lamanites existed

The article is about DNA evidence.  DNA evidence.

Quote

nor that there is reason to think they are among the ancestors of the Native Americans.  

Oi.

Quote
Quote

And yet here I am, demonstrating a willingness to listen to anything new that Southerton may have to say.

Great.  Then go read his book.  

I'm considering it.  Meanwhile, I started a thread to get some discussion about it going.

And you seem to find that objectionable.

Quote

I haven't read his book.  I"m not irritated that you haven't.  I just find your dismissals on the issue problematic. 

I don't understand what you find problematic.

Quote

It seems clear, there's no evidence to the claim that there were Lamanites, nor that they are the ancestors nor among ancestors of Native Americans. 

The irrelevance of "DNA evidence" to the issue does not negate the existence of other forms of evidence.

Quote

You can continue to say something like, "well the science is inconclusive.  There still could have been lamanites" if you like.  I don't care.  But so could Bigfoot enthusiasts.  There could be a bigfoot, in spite of the paucity of evidence for the claim. 

Again with the reductio ad absurdum.

I'm taking you less seriously now.  

I've tried to lay out my thinking.  My evaluation of the arguments.  My assessment of Southerton's basic premise and BOMC's response to it.

And all you have is snark about Bigfoot.

No, thanks.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
  • Like 3
Link to post

Sir,

I suggest you read the book.  Dr. Southerton address's each of these apologetic arguments in his book.  At only $7.50 a copy its quite affordable.  Gene science has come quite a long ways since both Dr. Southerton's first book published in 2004 and the LDS Church esseys first released in 2010.

Science now has the ability to detect even the smallest introduction of ancestor DNA.  For example, you use as an counter argument, to cast doubt on the fact that there is no evidence of any middle eastern DNA found in ancient ameridians both the founder effect and botttle neck arguments.  As illustrated in your cut and pasting from the LDS essays:

Quote

Even if Jared’s, Mulek’s, and Lehi’s DNA were typical of the regions of their origins, the reality is that most genetic information from the past does not survive into present populations. Most DNA studies on Native Americans are dependent upon DNA markers which pass from one generation to the next along paternal and maternal lines. Because such markers do not get mixed from one generation to the next, these lineages are easy to trace back several generations. However, in total they only represent 0.01 percent of a person’s DNA.11

pedigree-400.png

Chart showing how Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA are only represented by a small portion of a person's ancestry. Image by Book of Mormon Central.

But these limitation in DNA (illustrated above) are no longer applicable.  Where once science could only follow 1 male and 1 female line back in a 10 generational family tree, Genetic scientists can now detect all 1,024 relative in a 10 generation family tree.  I'll repeat that, Science can now detect the the lineage of all 1,024 members in a 10 generation family tree and NOT jsut 1 male line and 1 female line.  and guess what, there is not a single middle eastern marker in any Native American sample to date.  An these thousands of sample are a cross section of the entire genome making up the indigenous American population.

Book of Mormon truth claims can no longer hide behind the Bottle Neck and Founder Effect.

  • Like 1
Link to post
33 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Where once science could only follow 1 male and 1 female line back in a 10 generational family tree, Genetic scientists can now detect all 1,024 relative in a 10 generation family tree

That takes us back 250 to 300 years.  After that are there ancestors whose DNA is not present?

Older science suggests ancestors may start dropping out of one's DNA as early as 5-7 generations.  What makes the difference now? Please explain.

https://gcbias.org/2013/11/04/how-much-of-your-genome-do-you-inherit-from-a-particular-ancestor/

 

  • Like 2
Link to post

I have read both of his books. Concerning the recent update his science is sound, and the church doctrine/historical beliefs that he presents on Lamanites is mainstream.

I can't say the same for what FAIR and Book of Mormon Central are producing. Most of that is about a decade behind, and relies on one some highly improbable situations as well as creative interpretations of church doctrine to fit the data. It will be interesting to see how they respond to this, because we are nearing point where the resolution of DNA sequencing, and the ability of extract and sequence samples of ancient DNA will make the arguments they have used in the past very difficult to use. 

I am a active member, and the technical aspects of my job and education required  having a graduate level of knowledge of genetics and DNA sequencing.  

Link to post
1 hour ago, Fair Dinkum said:

Book of Mormon truth claims can no longer hide behind the Bottle Neck and Founder Effect.

Hi @Fair Dinkum, could you address my flip-yet-relevant quoting of BoM scriptures regarding how someone becomes a Lamanite?  When we look at the BoM truth claims, by actually reading the BoM, we see it's blindingly obvious that the folks in the book didn't have to be related to be a Lamanite to become one.

Edited by LoudmouthMormon
  • Like 1
Link to post
3 minutes ago, subutai said:

I am a active member, and the technical aspects of my job and education required  having a graduate level of knowledge of genetics and DNA sequencing.  

Is there a website you could recommend to keep up with the science?

Or could you explain yourself how ancestors no longer disappear off the DNA tree in terms of testing.  I haven't found a recent website that discusses this (linked to an older one above that discussed the previous status if it is not clear what I am asking).

Link to post
39 minutes ago, Calm said:

That takes us back 250 to 300 years.  After that are there ancestors whose DNA is not present?

Older science suggests ancestors may start dropping out of one's DNA as early as 5-7 generations.  What makes the difference now? Please explain.

https://gcbias.org/2013/11/04/how-much-of-your-genome-do-you-inherit-from-a-particular-ancestor/

 

Yes, you are correct. 10 generations takes us back 300 years to a period before Columbus and a time prior to the introduction of European DNA.   10 generations allows scientists to see the genome of those Amerindian ancestors living 300 years ago.  If, for example, those sampled, had any middle eastern ancestors it would be detected. For example, population genetics enables scientists to detect the trace dna elements of ancestors 14,000 and even 60,000 years earlier. This is how science knows the ancestors of native Americans came from Asia and not the Middle East. 

Prior to this advancement in dna, we could only identify the Len age of one male and one female line, thus leaving a huge gap within which Book of Mormon truth claims could survive, that space has been eliminated .

 

Link to post
2 minutes ago, Fair Dinkum said:

For example, population genetics enables scientists to detect the trace dna elements of ancestors 14,000 and even 60,000 years earlier

Every ancestor or only those ancestors' whose DNA wasn't dumped?

Link to post
21 minutes ago, Calm said:

Is there a website you could recommend to keep up with the science?

Or could you explain yourself how ancestors no longer disappear off the DNA tree in terms of testing.  I haven't found a recent website that discusses this (linked to an older one above that discussed the previous status if it is not clear what I am asking).

It’s all in Dr Southerton’s book

Link to post

I am not particularly interested in the specific topic being discussed by Southerton.  I am interested in the science.  Is there a website about DNA research in general you could recommend.

Google is too cluttered by popular DNA testing now so that I am not finding anything beyond tracking down an ancestor way back, but I would like a discussion about what happens to all one's ancestors in one's DNA.

Edited by Calm
  • Like 1
Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...