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Horses are Tapirs


Guest ScottieSLG

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Guest ScottieSLG

From the thread titled "knowledge":

In my experience, those who guffaw the loudest about the idea typically understand it the least.

I was invited to start a new thread to further discuss this.

Let me explain my understanding of the problem.

Horses (and elephants/mastodons/mammoths) lived on the American continent until about 10,000 years ago when they went extinct.

There is no evidence (in fossils, art work, statues, texts, etc) that horses existed in the time frame that the BoM takes place. Yet, the BoM talks about horses, stables and chariots.

Since no evidence has been found to support the existance of horses during this time frame, FARMS scholars have deduced that "horse" was just a word that BoM authors used to describe an animal, most likely a deer or a tapir. It didn't actually mean horse in the sense that WE think of a horse.

Or, there is ample evidence of horses, we just haven't found it yet.

Am I understanding the problem and the apologist viewpoint correctly, or am I missing something?

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You're missing quite a bit.

First of all, "apologists" don't necessarily concede that there is no evidence for the existence of Equus equus (the ordinary horse) during pre-Columbian but historical times in the Americas. John Sorenson doesn't, for example, and neither do I.

Second, as I expected, you've failed to adequately summarize the argument that those make who've offered the tapir suggestion. I suspect that you can't.

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Guest ScottieSLG
You're missing quite a bit.

First of all, "apologists" don't necessarily concede that there is no evidence for the existence of Equus equus (the ordinary horse) during pre-Columbian but historical times in the Americas.  John Sorenson doesn't, for example, and neither do I.

Second, as I expected, you've failed to adequately summarize the argument that those make who've offered the tapir suggestion.  I suspect that you can't.

Tapir's look much more like horses than pigs and since "hippopotomus" means "river horse" that Lehi could have very easily just named the tapir a horse.

Is that the gist of it, or am I missing more?

Would you mind expanding on what evidence you have found that lead towards horses existing? I would assume it would need to be more than proving horses existed, but that they were used by the people of that time period.

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Second, as I expected, you've failed to adequately summarize the argument that those make who've offered the tapir suggestion. I suspect that you can't.

When I'm trying to explain a difficult subject to a person and they haven't quite grasped it, I often consider the fact that perhaps I have not managed to explain the issue in a clear enough manner for them.

I usually find that is the reason and not their lack of inteligence.

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Didn't we just do this thread? And didn't it disintegrate into Beastie trying to make the claim that she could "prove" the Gospel of Barnabus to be authentically ancient in the same way LDS scholars claim to see the B of M as ancient?

Can't we let the topic die for a few months, at least? Or do you think that this thread will magically reach a better conclusion than that one did?

C.I.

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Guest ScottieSLG
Didn't we just do this thread? And didn't it disintegrate into Beastie trying to make the claim that she could "prove" the Gospel of Barnabus to be authentically ancient in the same way LDS scholars claim to see the B of M as ancient?

Can't we let the topic die for a few months, at least? Or do you think that this thread will magically reach a better conclusion than that one did?

C.I.

I'm not trying to prove or disprove the issue. I'm trying to ascertain whether I understand the problem and the apologist solution.

Apparently, from the little snippy comments from Mr. Peterson, I'm an idiot that spews forth any garbage I hear. I'm trying to learn here, not argue. If there is new evidence that I'm not aware of, I would like to consider it.

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Tapir's look much more like horses than pigs and since "hippopotomus" means "river horse" that Lehi could have very easily just named the tapir a horse.

Is that the gist of it, or am I missing more?

Why did you suppress mention of culturally variable naming conventions in your earlier summary? So that the tapir-hypothesis would look more exposed and stupid? As it is, you've barely hinted at the character of the discussion.

Would you mind expanding on what evidence you have found that lead towards horses existing?  I would assume it would need to be more than proving horses existed, but that they were used by the people of that time period.

Yes, I would mind. There are several good discussions of the topic up on the FARMS web site. (And there is a really interesting C-14 research project underway that will eventually produce more.)

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Guest ScottieSLG
Tapir's look much more like horses than pigs and since "hippopotomus" means "river horse" that Lehi could have very easily just named the tapir a horse.

Is that the gist of it, or am I missing more?

Why did you suppress mention of culturally variable naming conventions in your earlier summary? So that the tapir-hypothesis would look more exposed and stupid? As it is, you've barely hinted at the character of the discussion.

I never intended to leave that out. I was simply trying to write a consise understanding. I didn't want to write a 7 page essay.

Would you mind expanding on what evidence you have found that lead towards horses existing?
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I didn't want to write a 7 page essay.

So you'll understand the fact that I don't, either.

You don't have much patience for critics, do you?

Actually, I typically do. But JLH and yaanufs, among others, have wearied me over the past twelve hours or so. I grow tired of nonsense, particularly when it seems to me to be in bad faith.

Moreover, particularly in view of the fact that I really shouldn't be here at all because I have far more important things to do, demands that I explain this NOW and defend that NOW (while, in the meantime, I'm being called names and insulted by certain folks) do begin to irritate.

Here I am, trying to gain a better understanding of the problems and possible explainations, trying my best to maintain a civil discussion and you keep throwing rude pot shots at me.  I don't have the time to read EVERY FARMS article that exists.  A quick summary of them would be great, but I certainly wouldn't want to put you out.  I will read the articles.

Good. Best wishes.

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When I was young, there were buffalo (american bison) near where I live. But, according to the books I read, the amercian bison was not native to the State I live in, so my son did not believe there were bison here.

I took him to the place the bison were, we could find no fossil or skeleton evidence in the area where the bison were. I guess there never were any there after all.

Even though there is a sign in the town I live in, pointing to the park where the bison once were. Even though the fenced area they were is still there, my son does not believe me, because his text book says bison were not indiginous to this State.

That illustrates to me, humans understand very little about what happend 20-50 years before they were born, much less about what happend 2000 years ago. For anyone to say there were not any horses on this contitent, or they were only here 10,000 years ago is speculating, and nothing else.

By the way, bird watchers in the southern united states just found a group of ivory billed woodpeckers, National Geogaphic reported they were extinct, they were wrong.

National Geographic had fossils of a fish which science said had been extinct for 500,000 years, until fishermen caught one off the coast of Chile.

Don't put too much faith in published "scientific" research or "facts", they change all the time.

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Guest ScottieSLG
When I was young, there were buffalo (american bison) near where I live. But, according to the books I read, the amercian bison was not native to the State I live in, so my son did not believe there were bison here.

I took him to the place the bison were, we could find no fossil or skeleton evidence in the area where the bison were. I guess there never were any there after all.

Even though there is a sign in the town I live in, pointing to the park where the bison once were. Even though the fenced area they were is still there, my son does not believe me, because his text book says bison were not indiginous to this State.

That illustrates to me, humans understand very little about what happend 20-50 years before they were born, much less about what happend 2000 years ago. For anyone to say there were not any horses on this contitent, or they were only here 10,000 years ago is speculating, and nothing else.

By the way, bird watchers in the southern united states just found a group of ivory billed woodpeckers, National Geogaphic reported they were extinct, they were wrong.

National Geographic had fossils of a fish which science said had been extinct for 50,000 years, until fishermen caught one off the coast of Chile. So, their is a picture of an extinct fish swimming around with a picture of its 100,000 year old fossil right next to it.

Don't put too much faith in published "scientific" research or "facts", they change all the time.

Yes, but at least there was some kind of documentation that Buffaloes existed.

I have yet to see any research (note: I have not read the FARMS articles that DCP referred to) in the form of art work, text, paintings, etc. that leads me to believe that horses existed. There are more ways than bones to determine if something existed.

And, comparing a little boy to groups of scholars is quite a strech, don't you think? "My little boy didn't believe me, so all those scholars that have studied and researched for years are probably wrong."

But, like I said, this thread isn't debating the point, it is to see if I understand the problem and the apologist point of view.

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When I was young, there were buffalo (american bison) near where I live. But, according to the books I read, the amercian bison was not native to the State I live in, so my son did not believe there were bison here.

I took him to the place the bison were, we could find no fossil or skeleton evidence in the area where the bison were. I guess there never were any there after all.

Even though there is a sign in the town I live in, pointing to the park where the bison once were. Even though the fenced area they were is still there, my son does not believe me, because his text book says bison were not indiginous to this State.

That illustrates to me, humans understand very little about what happend 20-50 years before they were born, much less about what happend 2000 years ago. For anyone to say there were not any horses on this contitent, or they were only here 10,000 years ago is speculating, and nothing else.

By the way, bird watchers in the southern united states just found a group of ivory billed woodpeckers, National Geogaphic reported they were extinct, they were wrong.

National Geographic had fossils of a fish which science said had been extinct for 50,000 years, until fishermen caught one off the coast of Chile. So, their is a picture of an extinct fish swimming around with a picture of its 100,000 year old fossil right next to it.

Don't put too much faith in published "scientific" research or "facts", they change all the time.

Yes, but at least there was some kind of documentation that Buffaloes existed.

I have yet to see any research (note: I have not read the FARMS articles that DCP referred to) in the form of art work, text, paintings, etc. that leads me to believe that horses existed. There are more ways than bones to determine if something existed.

And, comparing a little boy to groups of scholars is quite a strech, don't you think? "My little boy didn't believe me, so all those scholars that have studied and researched for years are probably wrong."

But, like I said, this thread isn't debating the point, it is to see if I understand the problem and the apologist point of view.

I was not comparing my son to anyone. I was saying that education and research does does not always mean truth has been discovered.

I can study the works of educated men from the past who claimed the earth was flat, they backed up what they said with "proof", they were dead wrong and all the study and knowlege of their works, tests and writtings will not change the truth.

Simple fact: we were not there, and niether were the experts who say there were not any horses.

Simple fact, there may be evidence we have not found yet.

Simple fact, in the past, science types said there were not any elephants on this contenent when the BOM was recorded, thus it is a false book. Well, we know have that were elephants here, we have drawings of them.

So, when they find evidence of horses, what will they use next? I am sure there will be something.

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Yes, I fully "understand" the argument that "horses could be tapirs". The argument is that the Nephites used the word for "horse" (in Hebrew or Reformed Egyptian, or whatever) to mean "tapir". However, this doesn't explain why their is no evidence of pre-colombian native americans having a culture that used tapirs for beasts of burden, rode on them, or used them to pull chariots. In fact, how did they lose the idea of "the wheel" if they had chariots?

Of course, then the argument is that - "The BoM never specifies that the Nephites/Lamanites rode or pulled chariots with the "horses" (that were really tapirs) - they could have eaten them or kept them as pets - they just called them "horses" because they looked that way". But then what pulled the chariots? Cureloms and Cumoms? Lamanite slaves? The power of God? It all just seems to be twisting words and meanings to mesh with the pre-concieved notion that the Book of Mormon is "true", no matter how convoluted the explanation is.

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Didn't we just do this thread? And didn't it disintegrate into Beastie trying to make the claim that she could "prove" the Gospel of Barnabus to be authentically ancient in the same way LDS scholars claim to see the B of M as ancient?

Oh, I can't let this pass without mentioning the finale in that thread, wherein I literally copied Daniel Peterson's white crow argument, substituted the necessary nouns for the GoA argument, and presented it to Ben, who declared I had just rendered the text unfalsifiable. (before realizing I had just copied Daniel)

Which had been my entire point all along, CI, that the current BoM apologetics renders the text unfalsifiable.

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the current BoM apologetics renders the text unfalsifiable.

A mistaken point, incidentally.

It would no doubt be difficult to falsify the text, but it would not be impossible.

An authenticated note from Joseph Smith announcing that he made the whole thing up, for example, would falsify the Book of Mormon. As would the discovery of an English text of all or a significant portion of the Book of Mormon dating to a period prior to its claimed translation.

There are several other ways in which the text might be falsified, but, given our rather sketchy understanding of antiquity, and our very sketchy understanding of pre-Columbian America, a reasonable observer does well to be skeptical of supposed tests that are too neat, too simple.

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You've got a point, MC. You've exposed the nature of the academic scam. Cultural anthropology is a joke. Comparative linguistics and lexicography are con-games. Graduate programs purporting to give "doctorates" in such bogus fields should be shut down by the appropriate state attorneys general.

All languages are semantically isomorphic. All cultures think and classify alike. The past isn't "another country," as one pseudo-academic trickster once put it, trying to rationalize his crimes; the past is as familiar, conceptually, as our own backyards.

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Alvin is correct, a reasonable observer would not accept the premise that the text was translated by a man, unfamiliar with the language, by putting a rock in his hat, and reading the words that appeared on the hat. A reasonable observer would not accept the premise that the original artifacts, which could have been tested were removed from the earth by angels.

To even begin to evaluate the archeology, you have open your mind to the possiblity of supernatural origin. A reasonable observer does not accept supernatural explanations, unless I suppose all other options including fraud, delusion, coincidence and conspiracy have been unequivocally eliminated.

Once you accept the supernatural origins of the BoM, then nothing is falsifiable, as surely you can accept that Satan, or even God to test us, could forge JS handwriting on a letter rejecting the authenticity of the BoM. If God can change the skin color of the lamanites, he can alter DNA, and remove evidence. You can always accept the premise that scholars are conspiring to hide the truth from the rest of us.

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Alvin is correct, a reasonable observer would not accept the premise that the text was translated by a man, unfamiliar with the language, by putting a rock in his hat, and reading the words that appeared on the hat. A reasonable observer would not accept the premise that the original artifacts, which could have been tested were removed from the earth by angels.

To even begin to evaluate the archeology, you have open your mind to the possiblity of supernatural origin. A reasonable observer does not accept supernatural explanations, unless I suppose all other options including fraud, delusion, coincidence and conspiracy have been unequivocally eliminated.

Once you accept the supernatural origins of the BoM, then nothing is falsifiable, as surely you can accept that Satan, or even God to test us, could forge JS handwriting on a letter rejecting the authenticity of the BoM. If God can change the skin color of the lamanites, he can alter DNA, and remove evidence. You can always accept the premise that scholars are conspiring to hide the truth from the rest of us.

Sounds like all religions here.

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A reasonable observer does not accept supernatural explanations, unless I suppose all other options including fraud, delusion, coincidence and conspiracy have been unequivocally eliminated.

That sounds superficially reasonable, except that invoking a need for "unequivocal elimination" can easily impose a standard so impossibly high that no claim of supernaturalism could ever conceivably pass muster -- thus creating the appearance of intellectual opennness while denying the substance thereof.

Once you accept the supernatural origins of the BoM,  then nothing is falsifiable

Only if you're speaking in the most rigidly absolutist terms. In the real world, the principle of inference to the best explanation will still be applicable. If you seek perfect certainty in areas such as history, though, you're right that it probably isn't attainable. Not, at least, on any complex and significant topic. Historiography is not Euclidian geometry. One of the marks of a reasonable thinker is to demand, at most, only the level of certainty that a given field of inquiry can actually provide.

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Precisely Jaybear,

Under these cicrumstances, and applying the FARMS sacred-scientific method, we should be allowed to say things like Aliens lived among the Greeks.  After all you can't prove it untrue, and I have seen lots of "evidence" printed about it.  If anyone wants to see what other fascinating things the FARMS sacred-scientific method promotes, I suggest going to your local bookstore and looking under the metaphysical studies and conspiracy theory sections.  Oh the scary things is that now the conspiracy theory section is called the controversial.  LOL.  We used to have the guts to call it what it was.  For one to accept the FARMS view of things they have to be saying it is a conspiracy that others do not share their beliefs.  Paranoid to say the least.  But that explains why everyone is persecuting Mormons.

Zeitgeist

Balderdash!*

*When one says so little it doesn't warrant a lengthy response. Especially one so easily handled.

Zeitgeist

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I can study the works of educated men from the past who claimed the earth was flat, they backed up what they said with "proof", they were dead wrong and all the study and knowlege of their works, tests and writtings will not change the truth.

And why did those men think the world was flat? Because they assumed that the word of God was infallible. They were trying to fit the evidence to scripture rather than letting the evidence alone shape the theory. Same thing with the BoM horses. The FARMS scholars start out with the assumption that the BoM is infallible then try to find whatever explanation they can to make the evidence support that view.

Yes it is possible that some day there may be evidence that the modern horse survived past 10,000 years ago, but considering how useful the horse has been in all other known civilizations, and considering how well the wild mustangs thrive in the American West, it seems strange that if horses were around in the americas that the civilizations here did not use them. My guess is that the first humans probably slaughtered all the Native American horses along with all the other mega fauna that went extinct shortly after the arrival of humans on the continent. But it seems strange that they could have wiped out the horse but not the elk, moose, deer, bison, llama, tapir, etc.

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