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smac97

Daniel Peterson's Series on Horses in the Book of Mormon

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9 hours ago, smac97 said:

How relevant is the presence or absence of competent, testable evidence regarding Pre-Columbian horses?

Not particularly important to me. However, if someone is going to use it as hard evidence I'd say its VERY important!

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14 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

Not particularly important to me. However, if someone is going to use it as hard evidence I'd say its VERY important!

Who is it that is using any horse-related evidence as "hard" evidence for the Book of Mormon?

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52 minutes ago, JAHS said:

https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/yes-world-there-were-horses-in-native-culture-before-the-settlers-came-JGqPrqLmZk-3ka-IBqNWiQ

The lady in the above article makes an interesting case for horses having always existed in America. 

Quote

 

“We have calmly known we've always had the horse, way before the settlers came. The Spanish never came through our area, so there's no way they could have introduced them to us," reads one quote from a Blackfoot (Nitsitapi) study participant in Collin’s doctoral study....

What they are trying to do is shorten the length of time that we were here to make us not as critical to this place. They say, ‘Native people came over the land bridge.’ Why? Why are they making us as having been from somewhere else? Why couldn’t we have been here? That’s number one. Number two is that Europeans are still credited for bringing the horses and introducing them to Native people. What does that mean? They are telling us over and over again that anything that they consider to be of value in our cultures is still ‘derivative’ of theirs.”

For those critics that complain the Book of Mormon imposes its beliefs on Native Americans taking away their special accomplishments and yet insist they got the horse from the Spanish as the horse is an anachronism in the BoM... :P

Quote

Columbus brought the first Spanish horse to the Caribbean in 1493,” remarks Collin. “The first documented arrival of horses on the mainland, near what we now call Mexico City, was in 1519. The Spanish took meticulous records of every mare and stallion. The first recorded sighting of Native people with horses, however, was in 1521 and that was in the Carolinas. No Spanish horses were recorded as ‘missing’ during this period. There’s no way Spanish horses could have made it through the dense forest and swampland to the Carolinas and repopulated in just two years.”

Want to see this documentation.  This is similar to the Johnson paper Dan is referencing.

Edited by Calm

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4 hours ago, CA Steve said:

For accuracy, I believe the title to Dan's posts should have added "ly" after the first word in the title.

The article titles are very misleading.

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21 hours ago, smac97 said:

What does "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" mean?

And who is advocating this?

Read the article and the review:

Quote

The biggest flaw here is the use of the Book of Mormon (BoM) as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research.

the complaint is the science should be challenged because in part, the BoM suggests there were horses in America at a time that brings into question the scientific concesus.  Thus the quote above--it's flawed to treat the BoM "as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research".  

21 hours ago, smac97 said:

Okay.  I would be nice to be able to actually read the Jones article.

Thanks,

-Smac

Sure.  

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39 minutes ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

What does "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" mean?

And who is advocating this?

Read the article and the review:

Quote

The biggest flaw here is the use of the Book of Mormon (BoM) as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research.

I still don't understand.  What does "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" mean?  What does "instruct on the science" mean? 

And how is that happening here?

39 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

the complaint is the science should be challenged because in part, the BoM suggests there were horses in America at a time that brings into question the scientific concesus. 

Again, I don't understand.  Are you saying "the scientific consensus" is sacrosanct?  That it can never be challenged?  It is god-breathed?  Perfect and pristine and 100% correct?

Moreover, what is the harm in investigating the plausibility of the Book of Mormon by looking for "real world" correlations and explanations?

Consider, for example, the Astons' work in identifying the location of "Bountiful" in the Arabian peninsula.  Or the work of Terryl Givens and others in correlating Nahom with the Jawf Valley in Yemen?

I would understand your concern if the proverbial tail were wagging the dog, but I don't see that happening.

39 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Thus the quote above--it's flawed to treat the BoM "as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research".  

I don't understand this.  What is the flaw?  Why is using it in research (archaeological, linguistic, whatever) verboten?

Thanks,

-Smac

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24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I still don't understand.  What does "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" mean?  What does "instruct on the science" mean? 

And how is that happening here?

I don't understand what you don't understand.  I thought these were already answered.  

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Again, I don't understand.  Are you saying "the scientific consensus" is sacrosanct?  That it can never be challenged?  It is god-breathed?  Perfect and pristine and 100% correct?

of course not.   Its simply that questioning the consensus based on something other than scientific findings is anti science.  It'd be silly to question the scientific consensus based on the movie Jurassic Park.  

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Moreover, what is the harm in investigating the plausibility of the Book of Mormon by looking for "real world" correlations and explanations?

Nothing at all.  But such investigation isn't necessarily science.   To claim there is possibly evidence because the science might be wrong based on what the BoM says is just silly.  

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

no thanks. Those only represent the problem and don't offer any help here, I think.  The work to identify Bountiful is an attempt to say it's possible Lehi's story fits, but that's not  evidence that the story has historical evidence.   Same with Nahom.  I think a good explanation of the problem in treating these as evidence was found in that one discussion years back between Hamblin and Jenkins.  Hamblin tried to present Nahom as evidence but that was shut down:  

Quote

Even assuming that this was a close parallel, which it is not, there is no mystery about its origins. Smith was hugely inventive of names, even if he was pretty transparent about their origins. I have often walked by the Lehigh river, which likely gave its name to Lehi. Meanwhile, the region of Palestine/Israel is awash with inscriptions giving the names of people, tribes and places, into their many thousands. So also were the neighboring trading regions in the general region of Arabia – which were, incidentally, rich and fertile, and quite unlike the grim desert of the Book of Mormon accounts.

By the law of averages, the two lists of names – Smith and historical reality – had to coincide at some point. It would actually be far more astonishing if none of Smith’s invented names had a real life counterpart in the general region of the Middle East.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2015/06/the-nahom-follies/

 

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I would understand your concern if the proverbial tail were wagging the dog, but I don't see that happening.

Of course it is.  The scientific consensus seems to be that new world horses went extinct millenia before the BoM story alleged began.  There is no scientific finding to suggest that the consensus should be questioned, no.  The reason to question it is simply because there is mention of horses being present in the BoM story--which itself is not verified as historicity.  

24 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I don't understand this.  What is the flaw?  Why is using it in research (archaeological, linguistic, whatever) verboten?

Thanks,

-Smac

Yes using unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis is problematic.  It colors the outcome.  It confuses the whole point, and seems to use assumption as evidence.  

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11 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I don't understand what you don't understand.  I thought these were already answered.  

of course not.   Its simply that questioning the consensus based on something other than scientific findings is anti science.  It'd be silly to question the scientific consensus based on the movie Jurassic Park.  

Nothing at all.  But such investigation isn't necessarily science.   To claim there is possibly evidence because the science might be wrong based on what the BoM says is just silly.  

no thanks. Those only represent the problem and don't offer any help here, I think.  The work to identify Bountiful is an attempt to say it's possible Lehi's story fits, but that's not  evidence that the story has historical evidence.   Same with Nahom.  I think a good explanation of the problem in treating these as evidence was found in that one discussion years back between Hamblin and Jenkins.  Hamblin tried to present Nahom as evidence but that was shut down:  

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2015/06/the-nahom-follies/

 

Of course it is.  The scientific consensus seems to be that new world horses went extinct millenia before the BoM story alleged began.  There is no scientific finding to suggest that the consensus should be questioned, no.  The reason to question it is simply because there is mention of horses being present in the BoM story--which itself is not verified as historicity.  

Yes using unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis is problematic.  It colors the outcome.  It confuses the whole point, and seems to use assumption as evidence.  

The simple explanation is, would anyone be so desperately looking for proof of horses or any of the other long list of things in America between 600 bc and 500 ad if the BoM didn't mention them.  Would any Mormon care one way or the other?  

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Just now, stemelbow said:
Quote

I still don't understand.  What does "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" mean?  What does "instruct on the science" mean? 

I don't understand what you don't understand.  I thought these were already answered.  

I haven't seen any explanation as to what "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" means.

Just now, stemelbow said:
Quote
Quote

the complaint is the science should be challenged because in part, the BoM suggests there were horses in America at a time that brings into question the scientific concesus. 

Again, I don't understand.  Are you saying "the scientific consensus" is sacrosanct?  That it can never be challenged?  It is god-breathed?  Perfect and pristine and 100% correct?

of course not.  

Phew!  Glad to hear it.  

Just now, stemelbow said:

Its simply that questioning the consensus based on something other than scientific findings is anti science.

Well, I'm back to being confused again.

Scientific findings are the only legitimate grounds for "questioning the {scientific} consensus"?

Are you sure about that?

I would think that a much more apt description of being "anti science" is, well, what you seem to be saying.

"Science" is an an exercise in examining and testing evidences and ideas.  You seem opposed to the idea of examining and testing evidences and ideas if such an effort involves "questioning the consensus."  That sounds . . . off.  

Just now, stemelbow said:

It'd be silly to question the scientific consensus based on the movie Jurassic Park.

The scientific consensus of what?

Just now, stemelbow said:
Quote

Moreover, what is the harm in investigating the plausibility of the Book of Mormon by looking for "real world" correlations and explanations?

Nothing at all.  But such investigation isn't necessarily science.

I agree.  But surely "science" can be a tool in the toolbox for looking for "real world" correlations and explanations.  Yet you seem to be saying it can't.  Why?

Just now, stemelbow said:

To claim there is possibly evidence because the science might be wrong based on what the BoM says is just silly.

I've lost count of the number of times you've used the word "silly" in the last few weeks.

And I don't think anyone has said "there is possibly evidence because the science might be wrong based on what the BoM says."  I'm not even sure what that means.

Just now, stemelbow said:
Quote

no thanks.

Scientific inquiry at work!

😁

You won't even consider these things?  

Just now, stemelbow said:

Those only represent the problem and don't offer any help here, I think. 

The hallmark of "science" is curiosity and examination and testing of evidence. 

And I don't know what "those only represent the problem" means.

Just now, stemelbow said:

The work to identify Bountiful is an attempt to say it's possible Lehi's story fits, but that's not  evidence that the story has historical evidence. Same with Nahom. 

Yes, it is.

It's not self-sufficiently probative evidence, to be sure.  But nobody has said that.  But saying it's not evidence at all?  Nope.  Can't go along with that.

Just now, stemelbow said:

I think a good explanation of the problem in treating these as evidence was found in that one discussion years back between Hamblin and Jenkins.  Hamblin tried to present Nahom as evidence but that was shut down:  

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2015/06/the-nahom-follies/

Not really.  I think Brant Gardner made some pretty salient points about that exchange: https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2015/history-and-historicity-in-the-book-of-mormon

Just now, stemelbow said:
Quote

I would understand your concern if the proverbial tail were wagging the dog, but I don't see that happening.

Of course it is. 

Apparently not.

Just now, stemelbow said:

The scientific consensus seems to be that new world horses went extinct millenia before the BoM story alleged began.

Yes.

And you seem to be treating that consensus as sacrosanct.  Unquestionable.  Etched in stone.

I am suggesting that it is subject to further testing and examination.  

Just now, stemelbow said:

There is no scientific finding to suggest that the consensus should be questioned, no.

I don't understand this.  What do you mean by "scientific finding"?

And I continued to be confused by your hostility to even asking questions about this "consensus."  For pete's sake, why not?  What's the harm in it?  Surely we ought to encourage curiosity and investigation and examination of ideas and evidences?  

Just now, stemelbow said:

The reason to question it is simply because there is mention of horses being present in the BoM story--which itself is not verified as historicity.  

Again, so what?  Why are you hostile to the mere posing of a question?  

Just now, stemelbow said:

Yes using unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis is problematic. 

It is?  

Have you ever heard of Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann?

To the extent "unverified stories" exist, and to the extent they are testable in some ways, why can't we seek "verify" them (or falsify them) through "scientific analysis"?  

Just now, stemelbow said:

It colors the outcome. 

"Science" is often a messy thing.  Incomplete information and evidence abound.  Political and cultural and financial influences are legion.

Just now, stemelbow said:

It confuses the whole point, and seems to use assumption as evidence.  

All the more reason, then, for us to still aspire to question and examine things.  To substantiate prior findings, or to sift out errors and supposition, or to falsify, or some combination thereof.

And yet you, as a supposed champion of "science," are opposed to the meanest part of this process: asking a question.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

The simple explanation is, would anyone be so desperately looking for proof of horses or any of the other long list of things in America between 600 bc and 500 ad if the BoM didn't mention them.  Would any Mormon care one way or the other?  

Putting aside the gratuitous and inaccurate cheap shot (nobody is "desperately looking for proof of horses"), I'm not sure how this explains anything.

We are interested in this topic because the Book of Mormon has references to horses in the Americas prior to the arrival of Columbus.

And Christians, Jews and Muslims are interested in archaelogical digs in the Middle East because their religious texts reference locations and events there.

And my son is interested in film editing techniques because he is considering becoming a film editor.

And on and on and on.

We all choose topics to study and investigate because those topics are important and/or interesting to us.  Isn't that, well, axiomatic?

Thanks,

-Smac

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49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I haven't seen any explanation as to what "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" means.

Phew!  Glad to hear it.  

Well, I'm back to being confused again.

Scientific findings are the only legitimate grounds for "questioning the {scientific} consensus"?

Are you sure about that?

Sure.  Why not?  Why would you question the scientific consensus based on something other than a scientific finding?  

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I would think that a much more apt description of being "anti science" is, well, what you seem to be saying.

"Science" is an an exercise in examining and testing evidences and ideas.  You seem opposed to the idea of examining and testing evidences and ideas if such an effort involves "questioning the consensus."  That sounds . . . off.  

The scientific consensus of what?

Any particularly issue that someone might come up with to question scientific findings based on an element in the movie.  

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I agree.  But surely "science" can be a tool in the toolbox for looking for "real world" correlations and explanations.  Yet you seem to be saying it can't.  Why?

I've lost count of the number of times you've used the word "silly" in the last few weeks.

And I don't think anyone has said "there is possibly evidence because the science might be wrong based on what the BoM says."  I'm not even sure what that means.

Scientific inquiry at work!

😁

You won't even consider these things?  

The hallmark of "science" is curiosity and examination and testing of evidence. 

And I don't know what "those only represent the problem" means.

Yes, it is.

It's not self-sufficiently probative evidence, to be sure.  But nobody has said that.  But saying it's not evidence at all?  Nope.  Can't go along with that.

Not really.  I think Brant Gardner made some pretty salient points about that exchange: https://www.fairmormon.org/conference/august-2015/history-and-historicity-in-the-book-of-mormon

On the question of considering it evidence in a scientific sense?  I don't.  

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Apparently not.

Yes.

And you seem to be treating that consensus as sacrosanct.  Unquestionable.  Etched in stone.

Not really.  I"m saying to question it based on make believe story is still.  The BoM is not in any sense verified as history.  There's no reason to treat it as instructive on the scientific issues.  

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I am suggesting that it is subject to further testing and examination.  

I don't understand this.  What do you mean by "scientific finding"?

And I continued to be confused by your hostility to even asking questions about this "consensus."  For pete's sake, why not?  What's the harm in it?  Surely we ought to encourage curiosity and investigation and examination of ideas and evidences?  

oh jeez...hostility?  that's crap.  I never expressed hostility towards asking questions.  Ask away.  I've already said there's nothing wrong for someone to ask the questions pertinent to whether there were horse in the Americas during proposed BoM times.  Ask away.  

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Again, so what?  Why are you hostile to the mere posing of a question?  

That is ridiculous.  

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

It is?  

Have you ever heard of Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann?

Not comparable IMO

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

To the extent "unverified stories" exist, and to the extent they are testable in some ways, why can't we seek "verify" them (or falsify them) through "scientific analysis"?  

You can.  But you can't really draw evidentiary conclusions by assuming.  

49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

"Science" is often a messy thing.  Incomplete information and evidence abound.  Political and cultural and financial influences are legion.

All the more reason, then, for us to still aspire to question and examine things.  To substantiate prior findings, or to sift out errors and supposition, or to falsify, or some combination thereof.

And yet you, as a supposed champion of "science," are opposed to the meanest part of this process: asking a question.

Thanks,

-Smac

Stop lying.  I've never opposed asking a question. 

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

I still don't understand.  What does "the BoM being used to instruct on the science" mean?  What does "instruct on the science" mean? 

...............................

Again, I don't understand.  Are you saying "the scientific consensus" is sacrosanct?  That it can never be challenged?  It is god-breathed?  Perfect and pristine and 100% correct?

Moreover, what is the harm in investigating the plausibility of the Book of Mormon by looking for "real world" correlations and explanations?

...............................

I don't understand this.  What is the flaw?  Why is using it in research (archaeological, linguistic, whatever) verboten?........................

Evangelicals never complain when the Bible is thoroughly investigated by archeologists and historians, as long as the conclusions are positive.  The primary value of biblical archeology has always been the light it has thrown on the ancient context, and thus in helping us to better understand the Bible.  The same is true of the Book of Mormon.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

Scientific findings are the only legitimate grounds for "questioning the {scientific} consensus"?

Are you sure about that?

Sure.  Why not?  Why would you question the scientific consensus based on something other than a scientific finding?  

Well, scientific findings (such as might alter a "scientific consensus") generally need to be preceded by scientific inquiry

You seem opposed to that inquiry in the first place (opposed to "questioning the {scientific} consensus").

Quote

On the question of considering it evidence in a scientific sense?  I don't.  

Not just in a "scientific sense."

Examining the origins of the Book of Mormon are not restricted to purely "scientific" scrutiny.

Quote
Quote

And you seem to be treating that consensus as sacrosanct.  Unquestionable.  Etched in stone.

Not really. 

Yes, really.  

Quote

I"m saying to question it based on make believe story is still. 

?

Quote

The BoM is not in any sense verified as history. 

And again, so what?  

Earlier in this thread a Native American writer was quoted on this topic.  She is interested in this topic (horses in Pre-Columbian America) for cultural/ethnic reasons (IIRC, she seems to want to substantiate long-held traditions about her ancestors' use of horses).  Again, how is this a problem?  As long as she gets "the science" right, what's the harm in her having these motivations?

Moreover, to the extent the Book or Mormon is susceptible to being "verified as history," such verification would be a process.  That process would necessarily include examination of evidence.  That examination should utilize scientific methodology and other means of vetting data and evidence.  Any conclusions reached should comport with the scope and reliability of the evidence.

But you seem opposed to this process from the get-go. 

You quoted an article stating that "{t}he biggest flaw here is the use of the Book of Mormon (BoM) as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research."  You are asserting, without explanation, that "it's flawed to treat the BoM 'as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research.'"  

You then asserted that "questioning the consensus based on something other than scientific findings is anti science."

You then stated, correctly, that "{t}he scientific consensus seems to be that new world horses went extinct millenia before the BoM story alleged began," but you then claimed - again without explanation - that only a "scientific finding" that might "suggest that the consensus should be questioned" can be a basis for questioning this "consensus."

You also stated that "using unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis is problematic."

Quote

There's no reason to treat it as instructive on the scientific issues.  

"Instructive on the scientific issues"?  What does that mean?

Quote
Quote

And I continued to be confused by your hostility to even asking questions about this "consensus."  For pete's sake, why not?  What's the harm in it?  Surely we ought to encourage curiosity and investigation and examination of ideas and evidences?  

oh jeez...hostility?  that's crap.  I never expressed hostility towards asking questions.  Ask away.  I've already said there's nothing wrong for someone to ask the questions pertinent to whether there were horse in the Americas during proposed BoM times.  Ask away.  

Says the same guy who was just spouting off about how "questioning the consensus based on something other than scientific findings is anti science" and "problematic" and "flawed."

Quote
Quote

Again, so what?  Why are you hostile to the mere posing of a question?  

That is ridiculous.  

You are the one saying that merely asking a question that challenges a "consensus" is "anti science" and "problematic" and "flawed."

Are you reconsidering that position now?  I hope so.

Quote
Quote
Quote

Yes using unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis is problematic. 

Have you ever heard of Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann?

Not comparable IMO

Um, what?

I remember reading about Schliemann as a child.  I was, and remain, a huge fan of Greco-Roman mythology, so the story about Troy being real piqued my interest.  His interest in locating Troy was, as I recall, a passion project for him:

Quote

By 1858, Schliemann was 36 years old and wealthy enough to retire. In his memoirs, he claimed that he wished to dedicate himself to the pursuit of Troy.
...
Heinrich Schliemann never was trained professionally in the art of archaeology. He is an amateur archaeologist, but many do not refer to him as any other than that of a professional archaeologist.

Schliemann was obsessed with the stories of Homer and ancient Mediterranean civilizations. He dedicated his life's work to unveiling the actual physical remains of the cities of Homer's epic tales. Many refer to him as the "father of pre-Hellenistic archaeology." Schliemann is credited for excavating the large Mediterranean powers of Troy and Mycenae.

Schliemann seems like a pretty good example of someone who used "unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis."

And yet you say what he did is "not comparable."

Oh.

Quote
Quote

To the extent "unverified stories" exist, and to the extent they are testable in some ways, why can't we seek "verify" them (or falsify them) through "scientific analysis"?  

You can.  But you can't really draw evidentiary conclusions by assuming.  

I said nothing about "assuming."  To the contrary, I spoke of testing/verifying/falsifying "unverified stories" through "scientific analysis" (as much as is possible, anyway).

And for some reason, you seem opposed to merely asking a question (that challenges a "consensus").

Quote

Stop lying.  I've never opposed asking a question. 

You said asking a question that challenges a "consensus" is "anti science" and "problematic" and "flawed."

But here you are saying you are not "opposed {to} asking a question."

I'm not lying.  I'm confused at your position.

-Smac

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On 1/22/2020 at 12:01 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Evangelicals never complain when the Bible is thoroughly investigated by archeologists and historians, as long as the conclusions are positive. 

I think this helps illustrate the limitations on the use of secular evidence to verify or validate religious claims.

Quote

The primary value of biblical archeology has always been the light it has thrown on the ancient context, and thus in helping us to better understand the Bible. 

I agree with this.

Quote

The same is true of the Book of Mormon.

I agree with this, as well.  However, I think there is more to the story.  I think the Book of Mormon is situated differently from the Bible.

Because the Bible’s historical transmission can be discerned and explained naturalistically (that is, without any necessary reliance on “divine” intervention in the transmission of the text), the antiquity of the Bible is not particularly probative of its status as scripture (any more than Homer’s Illiad is probative of the Greek Pantheon).  This is why skeptics of the Bible find little or no persuasive value in archaeological artifacts presented as “evidence” for the Bible’s status as scripture and record of miraculous events.  After all, Homer’s Illiad has a historical pedigree tracing back to antiquity, as well as some archaeological verification.  This does not mean, however, that the descriptions of the supernatural in Homer's work are factual.  As one atheist fellow put it: "The only thing all those ancient bible sites prove is {that} the Bible is a really old fraud."
 
In contrast, The Book of Mormon is differently situated from the Bible.  There is a built-in gap in its historical transmission, consisting of some 1,400 years from when Moroni buried the plates to 1823, when the plates were re-discovered by Joseph Smith, Jr.  This “transmission gap” effectively precludes a naturalistic explanation of the text’s antiquity.  

Consequently, if we someday discover persuasive archaeological or other evidence for the antiquity of the Book of Mormon, such evidence would have a more persuasive impact on the veracity of the book's truth claims than would archaeological evidence for the Bible impact that book's truth claims.
 
Put another way, the antiquity and truth claims of The Book of Mormon are intertwined, such that evidence of the former may  simultaneously be evidence of the latter.

I think this may be part of the reason some critics are so strident in insisting that there is zero "evidence" for the Book of Mormon.  

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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16 hours ago, Calm said:

For those critics that complain the Book of Mormon imposes its beliefs on Native Americans taking away their special accomplishments and yet insist they got the horse from the Spanish as the horse is an anachronism in the BoM... :P

I admit I thought the same thing. 😀 I also see the incongruity of this being embraced without question while the BOM account is immediately dismissed. I could poke some holes in the author's science but I won't (because I'd feel like a meanie). 

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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Well, scientific findings (such as might alter a "scientific consensus") generally need to be preceded by scientific inquiry

Yes.  that is my point.  scientific inquiry requires scientific methodology, not guesswork.  certainly its not basing the inquiry on baseless things.  

10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You seem opposed to that inquiry in the first place (opposed to "questioning the {scientific} consensus").

Not just in a "scientific sense."

Examining the origins of the Book of Mormon are not restricted to purely "scientific" scrutiny.

Yes, really.  

?

And again, so what?  

Earlier in this thread a Native American writer was quoted on this topic.  She is interested in this topic (horses in Pre-Columbian America) for cultural/ethnic reasons (IIRC, she seems to want to substantiate long-held traditions about her ancestors' use of horses).  Again, how is this a problem?  As long as she gets "the science" right, what's the harm in her having these motivations?

Moreover, to the extent the Book or Mormon is susceptible to being "verified as history," such verification would be a process.  That process would necessarily include examination of evidence.  That examination should utilize scientific methodology and other means of vetting data and evidence.  Any conclusions reached should comport with the scope and reliability of the evidence.

But you seem opposed to this process from the get-go. 

You've misunderstood me.  I'm not sure how to else to put it.    

10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You quoted an article stating that "{t}he biggest flaw here is the use of the Book of Mormon (BoM) as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research."  You are asserting, without explanation, that "it's flawed to treat the BoM 'as a legitimate source of historical fact, and therefore a starting point for research.'"  

You then asserted that "questioning the consensus based on something other than scientific findings is anti science."

You then stated, correctly, that "{t}he scientific consensus seems to be that new world horses went extinct millenia before the BoM story alleged began," but you then claimed - again without explanation - that only a "scientific finding" that might "suggest that the consensus should be questioned" can be a basis for questioning this "consensus."

You also stated that "using unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis is problematic."

"Instructive on the scientific issues"?  What does that mean?

Says the same guy who was just spouting off about how "questioning the consensus based on something other than scientific findings is anti science" and "problematic" and "flawed."

You are the one saying that merely asking a question that challenges a "consensus" is "anti science" and "problematic" and "flawed."

Are you reconsidering that position now?  I hope so.

The phrase "questioning the consensus" was not meant to suggest someone can't ask a question about the consensus.  "Questioning the consensus" is meant to suggest a skeptical conclusion someone reaches about the consensus.  Meaning if one is officially questioning the consensus that means one is doubt the conclusion is correct.  Questions are fair game.  Inquiries are fair game.  BUt official inquiries into the science ought to follow scientific methodology.  Basing this whole process on assumingn the BoM as a legitimate source of historical fact, fails a scientific methodology.  

10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Um, what?

I remember reading about Schliemann as a child.  I was, and remain, a huge fan of Greco-Roman mythology, so the story about Troy being real piqued my interest.  His interest in locating Troy was, as I recall, a passion project for him:

Schliemann seems like a pretty good example of someone who used "unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis."

And yet you say what he did is "not comparable."

Do you really think Schliemann was under the impression, or anyone was, that the Iliad was not an ancient work?   

 

10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Oh.

I said nothing about "assuming."  To the contrary, I spoke of testing/verifying/falsifying "unverified stories" through "scientific analysis" (as much as is possible, anyway).

And for some reason, you seem opposed to merely asking a question (that challenges a "consensus").

You said asking a question that challenges a "consensus" is "anti science" and "problematic" and "flawed."

But here you are saying you are not "opposed {to} asking a question."

I'm not lying.  I'm confused at your position.

-Smac

You have certainly misunderstood.  My apologies for any confusion.  

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13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Yes.  that is my point.  scientific inquiry requires scientific methodology, not guesswork.  certainly its not basing the inquiry on baseless things.  

Well, okay.

13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

The phrase "questioning the consensus" was not meant to suggest someone can't ask a question about the consensus.  "Questioning the consensus" is meant to suggest a skeptical conclusion someone reaches about the consensus.  Meaning if one is officially questioning the consensus that means one is doubt the conclusion is correct.  Questions are fair game.  Inquiries are fair game.  BUt official inquiries into the science ought to follow scientific methodology.  Basing this whole process on assumingn the BoM as a legitimate source of historical fact, fails a scientific methodology.  

I still don't understand this point (the last sentence).

If the Book of Mormon is an impetus, a trigger for pursuing scientific inquiry about a testable claim (such as the existence of Pre-Columbian Horses), then what is the problem with pursuing that inquiry?

13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Do you really think Schliemann was under the impression, or anyone was, that the Iliad was not an ancient work?   

The antiquity of the Iliad was never in question.  The historicity of the Trojan War, however, was (and is):

Quote

The extent of the historical basis of the Homeric epics has been a topic of scholarly debate for centuries. While researchers of the 18th century had largely rejected the story of the Trojan War as fable, the discoveries made by Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik reopened the question in modern terms, and the subsequent excavation of Troy VIIa and the discovery of the toponym "Wilusa" in Hittite correspondence has made it plausible that the Trojan War cycle was at least remotely based on a historical conflict of the 12th century BC, even if the poems of Homer are removed from the event by more than four centuries of oral tradition.
...
The more that is known about Bronze Age history, the clearer it becomes that it is not a yes-or-no question but one of educated assessment of 
how much historical knowledge is present in Homer, and whether it represents a retrospective memory of Dark Age Greece, as Finley concludes, or of Mycenaean Greece, which is the dominant view of A Companion to Homer, A.J.B. Wace and F.H. Stebbings, eds. (New York/London: Macmillan 1962). The particular narrative of the Iliad is not an account of the war, but a tale of the psychology, the wrath, vengeance and death of individual heroes, which assumes common knowledge of the Trojan War as a back-story. No scholars now assume that the individual events of the tale (many of which involve divine intervention) are historical fact; however, no scholars claim that the story is entirely devoid of memories of Mycenaean times.
...
Some 
archaeologists and historians, most notably, until his death in 1986, Finley, maintain that none of the events in Homer's works are historical. Others accept that there may be a foundation of historical events in the Homeric narrative, but say that in the absence of independent evidence it is not possible to separate fact from myth.

And so the debate continues.  

My point, though, was that Schliemann advanced our understanding of pre-Hellenistic archaeology.  He did so by using "unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis."

So why can't Latter-day Saints do the same?  Can we pursue or examine scientific inquiry about Pre-Columbian horses?  If not, why not?  As long as we get the science right, and as long as we keep the evidence and conclusions derived from it in their proper spheres, there doesn't seem to be a problem.

13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

You have certainly misunderstood.  My apologies for any confusion.  

We seem to agree more than we disagree.  I'm glad we've cleared things up.  I apologize if I gave offense.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, california boy said:

The simple explanation is, would anyone be so desperately looking for proof of horses or any of the other long list of things in America between 600 bc and 500 ad if the BoM didn't mention them.  Would any Mormon care one way or the other?  

Did you see the link to the dissertation providing evidence of Native American claims the horse was not given to them by the Spanish, but here all along?

That dissertation has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon.

 

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Well, okay.

I still don't understand this point (the last sentence).

If the Book of Mormon is an impetus, a trigger for pursuing scientific inquiry about a testable claim (such as the existence of Pre-Columbian Horses), then what is the problem with pursuing that inquiry?

I've already answered that. Treating something that is not established fact as established fact to color the inquiry is not an established methodology.  Treating the story of the BoM as if it is historic and then using scientific methods to verify it is really only coloring the scientific inquiry, or influencing the attempt.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

The antiquity of the Iliad was never in question.  The historicity of the Trojan War, however, was (and is):

And so the debate continues.  

My point, though, was that Schliemann advanced our understanding of pre-Hellenistic archaeology.  He did so by using "unverified stories as historically credible claims as a starting point in scientific analysis."

So why can't Latter-day Saints do the same?  Can we pursue or examine scientific inquiry about Pre-Columbian horses?  If not, why not?  As long as we get the science right, and as long as we keep the evidence and conclusions derived from it in their proper spheres, there doesn't seem to be a problem.

Get the science right and produce evidence.  Sure.  Fine.  The problem is when the conclusion is there is evidence when in truth the only evidence is circumstantial or based on assumption.  Nahom being evidence for the BoM only works if you accept certain assumptions.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

We seem to agree more than we disagree.  I'm glad we've cleared things up.  I apologize if I gave offense.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

.................  I think the Book of Mormon is situated differently from the Bible.

Because the Bible’s historical transmission can be discerned and explained naturalistically (that is, without any necessary reliance on “divine” intervention in the transmission of the text), the antiquity of the Bible is not particularly probative of its status as scripture (any more than Homer’s Illiad is probative of the Greek Pantheon).  This is why skeptics of the Bible find little or no persuasive value in archaeological artifacts presented as “evidence” for the Bible’s status as scripture and record of miraculous events.  After all, Homer’s Illiad has a historical pedigree tracing back to antiquity, as well as some archaeological verification.  This does not mean, however, that the descriptions of the supernatural in Homer's work are factual.  As one atheist fellow put it: "The only thing all those ancient bible sites prove is {that} the Bible is a really old fraud."
 
In contrast, The Book of Mormon is differently situated from the Bible.  There is a built-in gap in its historical transmission, consisting of some 1,400 years from when Moroni buried the plates to 1823, when the plates were re-discovered by Joseph Smith, Jr.  This “transmission gap” effectively precludes a naturalistic explanation of the text’s antiquity.  

Consequently, if we someday discover persuasive archaeological or other evidence for the antiquity of the Book of Mormon, such evidence would have a more persuasive impact on the veracity of the book's truth claims than would archaeological evidence for the Bible impact that book's truth claims.
 
Put another way, the antiquity and truth claims of The Book of Mormon are intertwined, such that evidence of the former may  simultaneously be evidence of the latter.

I think this may be part of the reason some critics are so strident in insisting that there is zero "evidence" for the Book of Mormon.......................

Yes, this is exactly correct, Spencer.  Even to the degree that any strong evidence for the antiquity of the Book of Mormon simultaneously becomes, by extension, evidence for the authenticity of the miraculous claims in the Bible -- an actual "Second Witness."  I try to make that point in my “The Preposterous Book of Mormon: A Singular Advantage,” lecture, Aug 8, 2014, at the annual FAIRMORMON Conference, Provo, Utah, online at  http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/PREPOSTEROUS-BOOK-OF-MORMON.pdf .

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14 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Treating something that is not established fact as established fact

Nobody is suggesting that.

Quote

to color the inquiry

Nobody is suggesting that, either.

Quote

is not an established methodology. 

You are substantially mischaracterizing things.  A lot.  A lot.

Quote

Treating the story of the BoM as if it is historic and then using scientific methods to verify it is really only coloring the scientific inquiry, or influencing the attempt.  

No, it's not.

I'd explain further, but I'm not persuaded that further efforts to discuss this are worthwhile.

Quote

Get the science right and produce evidence.  Sure.  Fine. 

Again, sounds like we agree.

Quote

The problem is when the conclusion is there is evidence when in truth the only evidence is circumstantial or based on assumption.

Circumstantial evidence has a rich pedigree.  In historiography.  In law.  In discussions of religious doctrine.

And you are the only one carping about "assumptions."  I am advocating for testing.  Analysis.  Study.  Reasoned conclusions.  

Quote

Nahom being evidence for the BoM only works if you accept certain assumptions.  

Nahom is pretty good evidence for the Book of Mormon.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

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1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

............... Treating something that is not established fact as established fact to color the inquiry is not an established methodology.  Treating the story of the BoM as if it is historic and then using scientific methods to verify it is really only coloring the scientific inquiry, or influencing the attempt.

Get the science right and produce evidence.  Sure.  Fine. 

The LDS Church has been paying for and sponsoring the New World Archaeological Foundation (NWAF) now for nearly 70 years, and in all that time has never asked the NWAF to find evidence for the Book of Mormon.  Indeed, the Church leaders specifically instructed the NWAF never to do "Book of Mormon archeology."  And the NWAF has complied with that demand.  What that means in practice is that highly qualified anthropologists (many of them non-Mormon) have been conducting NWAF excavations all over Mesoamerica in a frankly scientific manner and issuing valuable reports on all of them.  Consequently, the NWAF is highly respected.

This is exactly the opposite of what you are suggesting herewith.

1 minute ago, stemelbow said:

The problem is when the conclusion is there is evidence when in truth the only evidence is circumstantial or based on assumption.  Nahom being evidence for the BoM only works if you accept certain assumptions. 

You apparently misunderstand the nature of evidence.  The best evidence is typically circumstantial, in science and in the courtroom.  The evidence of Nahom, Bountiful, and the South Arabian trek is some of the very best evidence one could imagine.  Warren Aston recently summarized that evidence in an excellent article, with lots of photos: https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/into-arabia-lehi-and-sariahs-escape-from-jerusalem-perspectives-suggested-new-fieldwork  (download the pdf there in order to see the photos)

Book of Mormon Central has an excellent video showing how all of that fits together: https://bookofmormoncentral.org/blog/watch-compelling-book-of-mormon-evidence-for-lehi-s-journey-through-arabia.   

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The LDS Church has been paying for and sponsoring the New World Archaeological Foundation (NWAF) now for nearly 70 years, and in all that time has never asked the NWAF to find evidence for the Book of Mormon.  Indeed, the Church leaders specifically instructed the NWAF never to do "Book of Mormon archeology."  And the NWAF has complied with that demand. 

That just isn't true.  Sorry, your statement is just not remotely true.  True today, perhaps, but not when NWAF was folded into BYU.  See Larson, Stan. "The Odyssey of Thomas Stuart Ferguson" (PDF). Dialogue Journal.  Ferguson convinced BYU to absorb NWAF on the ground that archaeology could support the Book of Mormon.  Way too many letters  support this principle. 

I don't have a problem with people pursuing archaeology to support the Book of Mormon, such as searching for horses, but I think the activity frivolous.  

Edited by Bob Crockett

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3 hours ago, Calm said:

Did you see the link to the dissertation providing evidence of Native American claims the horse was not given to them by the Spanish, but here all along?

That dissertation has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon.

 

Yeah I saw her claims, but absolutely no proof. Anyone can make a claim.  Would you really believe a native American telling you something like they used to ride dinosaurs?

What do you find in her statement that makes you think any of that is factual?  Because of a legend she heard  about something that happened hundreds of years ago? Do you know if she is a member or not?

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