Simply Implausible: DNA and a Mesoamerican Setting for the Book of Mormon
Thomas W. Murphy
Learn and Serve Environmental Anthropology Field (LEAF) School
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 36.4 (2003): 109-131.
The ability of Latter-day Saint scholars to repeat assertions of a limited geographic setting for the Book of Mormon should not be confused with actual scientific or historical evidence. Claims of a limited geography or local colonization in Mesoamerica do not save the Book of Mormon from genetic evidence. No evidence from molecular anthropology supports a limited colonization of Middle Eastern or Israelite populations in Central America. The idea that founder effect and genetic drift may account for the lack of genetic evidence is contradicted by statements and prophecies in the Book of Mormon and would require hundreds of unlikely chance events in three different founding populations. While John Sorenson has made the best case for a limited geographic setting for the Book of Mormon in Central America, his proposal was never valid in the first place. It is dependent upon a rejection of the scientific method, a tautological faith in the historicity of the text, and requires unwarranted directional shifts and the assumption that most references to flora, fauna, and technology in the scripture are misnomers. LDS scholars soundly refuted his proposal prior to publication and have done the same afterwords. A limited geography has gained ascendancy among scholars from BYU through repetition and is a byproduct of a repressive social atmosphere in the LDS Church and a confusion of prayer with science. In sum, a limited geography for the Book of Mormon anywhere in the Americas is simply implausible.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12
Keywords: Book of Mormon, Latter-day Saint, Mesoamerica, DNA, John Sorenson, scripture, scientific method, BYUAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 20, 2012
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