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Posted by: Anonymous User ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 07:50PM

I just came across a transcript of Ryan Parr's presentation at the recent FAIR conference. I hope many Mormons will read it. It is a rambling, direction-less, sad attempt to salvage Book of Mormon historicity in the light of DNA research. It must have been awful to sit through it, even for the apologists on his side. Parr had clearly not prepared to talk. Maybe he thought his audience would be so impressed with his pretty slides and his PhD, that they would be satisfied with the sound of his voice for half an hour.

http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2005_DNA_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.html

The talk is clearly an attempt to explain away the problem that DNA research has shown that American Indians do not have Israelite ancestors and the Book of Mormon demands that they do. It is amazing (and somewhat sad) to see the symptoms of cognitive dissonance so openly displayed in the transcript. Cutting and pasting a few lowlights does not convey the magnitude of the train wreck, but for those internet junkies with relatively short attention spans (or better things to do) here are a few. The Q&A section was a particular lowlight.

Here we go (gird up your loins, take a deep breath)

"But along with this comes other challenges as well and that is that there are DNA claims against the Book of Mormon and most of these are based on modern population data. Number one, the genetic evidence of Native American characterizations does not support an Ancient Near Eastern descent for Native Americans. Population genetics are consistent with Asian origins for aboriginal groups and I don't know if we should really be too concerned about this. It all lies in your expectation."

more rambling

"I just want to say a couple of things about the Promised Land. We believe that they sailed over to Mesoamerica and landed somewhere in this area and this wonderful graphic is courtesy of Blake and Joseph Allen. Let's talk just a minute about the Book of Mormon and what it has as the Promised Land.

I know that we all believe that they went to a land where there never was before man. At least that's our traditional understanding of what that means but if you look really close at 2 Nephi, I mean I think it seems like sometimes we tend to get carried away. It's sort of written in covenant of Abraham language that says those brought out of the land of Jerusalem. It's a very specific group of people, they'll prosper, they'll be kept from all other nations, they'll possess this land unto themselves, but the conditions always are that the laws and statutes are respected and lived. So the Promised Land idea is really associated with the covenant of Abraham and does not cover some of God's other children that are living in this New World. In fact you can almost think of Lehi's group as a boat of missionaries. Why not? Bringing the covenant of Abraham to a new land.

And also if you want to think in terms of, like, the Saints that came into the Valley in 1847, they certainly didn't come to a Promised Land 'Retirement Area'. In fact it was just the opposite. There were things that they had to do that built character that let them become all that they were to become. In fact Elder Maxwell always makes the point that these trials and tribulations that we are given are very specific for each one of us so that we can tutor, we can learn, we can become all that's intended for us in the divine sense."

more rambling

"Let's just sort of look at what John Sorensen calls Lehi's neighbors. I call this (I was going to call this shadows of the empire but it had already been used) shadows of existing people and when we read in the Book of Mormon—it was never intended as a population history—but if you read it as that, there are really interesting clues and nuances.

First of all, we find out—it's repeated over and over—this is only a hundredth part of the record so those things that we think are important today, the genetics and so on and so forth, weren't even an issue and if you've read the Book of Mormon you can understand why. I mean Mendel is still in the future; he's sort of the father of genetics. James Watson and Francis Crick, the discoverers of the double helix in 1953, aren't even a thought. In fact, the bacterial theory of disease isn't even a thought.

These people have other issues and the issues seem to be social and political. What's really fascinating I think is some of the language that's used. So the sibling rivalry becomes very dangerous, Lehi is told by revelation to leave. Well, he says, I'm going to take my relatives and then he says, and those who would go with me. Well who were these people? I mean there are so many people who came over on the boat and he should know everybody. Temple construction takes a lot of manpower so it's going to cause these people to be industrious. So the shadows continued.

What I tried to do is look early on in the Book of Mormon for these clues and these nuances. This is what Jacob says, and you can't- it just turns out that Lamanites and Nephites isn't even a genetic term and it's not anyway because they all share the same genetic background. Jacob says this, he says, "But I, Jacob, shall not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi." (Jacob 1:14)"

more rambling

"So do Book of Mormon people have the same mitochondrial haplotypes as Native Americans? Yes. They were assimilated in but they were a small part that were participating in a specific geographical area and once again I think the really important, and sort of our- you know, science always thinks that it has all of the answers right now but we always live in an age of ignorance and that is, assuming that these current population data are adequate for this test, they're just simply not I think if you were to be intellectually honest with yourself it just isn't possible to really reconstruct these. What you'd have to do is you would have to find a cemetery where Nephi and everybody was buried and then do ancient DNA analysis on those individuals. But it looks like fairly quickly this population was eclipsed and this story wouldn't be different for any of us that would move into a large foreign population. I mean, pretty soon our kids start talking like so-and-so, start acting like so-and-so. There's only a certain number of people you can pick to be married to and if they did stay together then you have a lot of problems with recessive alleles starting to pair up and there is a lot of genetic problems with that.

And finally I like this particular quote from Elder Maxwell, he says, "Because the editing of the Book of Mormon, with its witnessing gospel of hope, occurred under divine direction, it has a focus which is essentially spiritual. Yet some still criticize the book for not being what it was never intended to be, as if one could justifiably criticize a phone directory for lack of a plot."2 And, for all intents and purposes, that's what we've been doing. (Laughter)

I guess from a personal note am I saying that we won't ever find Ancient Near Eastern genetics? No. I think there are some tantalizing papers now that suggest that there may be European input, I would say at this time, into these ancient populations; but I'm not that familiar with that information so that's a subject for future study. And overall, the genetic differences in the human family is pretty slight and so when we all say and speak of God's children we are all very, very closely related at a genetic level and here we're talking about very, very small nuances and differences when we talk about A, B, C, D and X.

I think that- well I mean we need to see in sacred scriptures its full intent and its possibilities and not really look for its limitations."

more rambling

Q&A session

Q: In other words could I be a descendant of Lehi and yet have none of his DNA?

PARR: That's a very good question. I think we all have this same sort of problem when we do our genealogy and again on a DNA basis we're all very closely related; and I think we're making Mt Everests out of speed bumps—and I mean I didn't mean that in a rude way.

"... and yet have none of his DNA?" I don't think God cares about DNA. If, once again, you consider the covenant of Abraham, he says that all of the nations of the world will be blessed. How could that be genetic? If we're all created in His image and, if you look at DNA, it's this divine sculpted molecule that's incredible. We are His children. If you want to have to claim that you're from Lehi or so on and so forth, to me, from my perspective, that's not- I don't know. I mean, my ancestors could've fought at the Battle of Hastings in 1066; I would be very thrilled if they did. Well sheesh they would've had to have made it didn't they? They couldn't have got killed! (Laughter) But, I still probably have none of their DNA in me.

SCOTT GORDON (President of FAIR): So it's possible to have none of his DNA?

PARR: It's possible to have none of his DNA but you could have one of these lines coming down showing that you are a direct descendant. But remember you're related to all the other people in line as well.

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Posted by: AmIDarkNow? ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 08:06PM

"SCOTT GORDON (President of FAIR): So it's possible to have none of his DNA?

PARR: It's possible to have none of his DNA but you could have one of these lines coming down showing that you are a direct descendant. But remember you're related to all the other people in line as well."

How the heck do these guys operate mentally when they don't hear themselves talk? Abrahamic covenant, pssssh. Unbelievable! NPI

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Posted by: JoD3:360 ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 08:20PM

A kid trying to scam an old rich dude- hey I am your long lost son, and I need cash. Yes the DNA says otherwise, but who are you going to believe- some scientist, or me your unknown son?

I mean we coul;d be related even if the test says otherwise. The important thing is that you need to think that you owe me for a lifetime of neglect.

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 08:42PM

Well, I gave the entire article Simon linked a good reading, and well... 'Scuse me, but I'm feeling a bit dizzy and nauseous... Are you folks starting to understand why I've been a little slow to post Part II of "John L. Sorenson and the Delusional Diffusionists?"

>So do Book of Mormon people have the same mitochondrial haplotypes as Native Americans? Yes. They were assimilated in but they were a small part that were participating in a specific geographical area and once again I think the really important, and sort of our- you know, science always thinks that it has all of the answers right now but we always live in an age of ignorance and that is, assuming that these current population data are adequate for this test, they're just simply not I think if you were to be intellectually honest with yourself it just isn't possible to really reconstruct these. What you'd have to do is you would have to find a cemetery where Nephi and everybody was buried and then do ancient DNA analysis on those individuals. But it looks like fairly quickly this population was eclipsed and this story wouldn't be different for any of us that would move into a large foreign population. I mean, pretty soon our kids start talking like so-and-so, start acting like so-and-so. There's only a certain number of people you can pick to be married to and if they did stay together then you have a lot of problems with recessive alleles starting to pair up and there is a lot of genetic problems with that.

Dear Ryan,

What if there were no Book of Mormon people? Wouldn't we be seeing the same thing we're seeing now, with no evidence of their presence in the New World?

Signed,

The Cabbie

Just something to think about...

Seriously, this guy makes more sense...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHlLmYVCzKY

And he's still going strong...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MaJbJgZEp8

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 09:53PM

So we are supposed to believe that they migrated to a new continent with new food sources, and surrounded by foreign cultures, and they intermarried so much with the foreign cultures to such a degree that their DNA is untraceable, AND THEY NEVER MENTIONED ONCE IN A THOUSAND YEAR RECORD THAT THERE WERE OTHER PEOPLE HERE THAT THEY WERE INTERMARRYING WITH???? NOT WORD ONE? WTF?

Not to mention the fact that they never mentioned the squash or beans or tomatoes or potatoes, but did routinely mention the honey and grain, of which there wasn't any.

It's hard to believe that that much delusion can be crammed into one apologist skull, even an empty one.

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Posted by: Fetal Deity ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 11:23PM

I think this quote pretty much sums it up:

"What you'd have to do is you would have to find a cemetery where Nephi and everybody was buried and then do ancient DNA analysis on those individuals."

In other words, "until we can locate their %@(#-ing corpses, the DNA critics (of which Simon is probably the foremost) don't have a leg to stand on." That is just precious! In the minds of the Mopologists, the BoM is absolutely UNFALSIFIABLE. The continuing barrage of evidence--long-standing, cutting-edge and future-breakthrough--will never be enough to take down the moving target of Mormon apologetics. But I guess these people are "just doing their job!" [Sigh.]

In spite of what must often be a most frustrating pursuit, I hope, Simon, that you never tire of doing "YOUR job" either! Keep up the good work and keep "taking them to school!" Although few Mopologists are ever likely to see the light, the validity of your stance (the position of science and reason) is readily discernible to anyone with an unbiased mind.

Please keep us updated on all the latest--your posts are always interesting and informative! : )

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Posted by: T-Bone ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 11:49PM

What he is doing is shifting the burden of proof. Anybody who makes an outlandish claim has the burden of proof. If I say that aliens from a distant galaxy have landed on Pluto, it's up to me to prove it. If you disagree, I can attack you and call you a liar because, after all, you have not proven they are not there.

That, my friends, is mopol thinking in a nutshell. Shift the burden. Make an outlandish claim, and then refuse to back it up. Tell others that until they prove the claim is false, it must be true.

Then move the target.

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Posted by: Fetal Deity ( )
Date: October 02, 2010 02:33AM

If an ancient cemetery were discovered that contained bodies carrying Jewish DNA, the Mopologists would proudly announce that the BoM has been proven true. Yet since such a discovery is highly unlikely, the persisting lack of evidence will simply show that the DNA critics haven't done enough to prove the Mormon story false.

And even if every square inch of the Americas were excavated, and every body exhumed and DNA tested, and no Jewish DNA found, these Mopologists would fall back on an excuse that has become popular: "We don't even know what Nephite DNA would look like. After all, Lehi was only LIVING at Jerusalem, his tribal affiliation was with Manasseh ... and then there was Sariah ... and Ishmael ... and Ishmael's wife ... and the husbands of Ishmael's daughters ... and who knows where they came from?!?!?"

With this kind of logic, the Mopologist's faith is eternally secure!

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Posted by: T-Bone ( )
Date: October 01, 2010 11:44PM

It didn't happen. That's why there's no evidence of it happening.

What do I mean by "It"? Well, the whole story of the Book of Mormon. One of their favorite tactics is also the weakest, change the subject.

DNA? Nope, God doesn't care. But let me talk about those barges they used. What a miracle!
http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#digression
What fallacious thinking!

I think just using words like "mitochondrial haplotypes" and saying you have a PhD is enough to scare most Mormons in to believing everything you say. They just don't exercise critical thinking. See also, argument by gibberish:
http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#gibberish

Here's the main web site I got these from:
http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html

Edited for misspelling and formatting.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2010 11:50PM by T-Bone.

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Posted by: NoToJoe (unregistered) ( )
Date: October 02, 2010 09:44AM

>>What you'd have to do is you would have to find a cemetery where Nephi and everybody was buried<<

My biggest problems with the BoM have always centered on the lack of archeological evidence. So if they could find that Laminite cemetery then they could address both the genetic and archeological concerns that exist. This guy should stop talking (his blather is exhausting) as start looking for that missing cemetery.

Joseph Smith was able to find one (wink, wink) when he stumbled across the burial mound of Zelph. That was somewhere in Missouri or Ohio so he can start in that general area. Funny how Joseph couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an ancient wonder like Adam’s alter, or Abraham's scrolls or Noah’s Arc…..anywhere he happened to wander the discoveries just seemed to follow……he was a real Indiana Jones (with a peep stone).

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: October 02, 2010 03:31PM

Simon is genuinely a modest individual, but here are two of his replies to Parr's apologetics...

Nothing's changed despite the advances in DNA reasearch... One guy is claiming to find Neanderthal DNA in modern humans--jury's out for me on that one, however, because of other factors; I think the sequences may well have originated in Africa--and yet they can't find any trace of Middle Eastern sequences among Native Americans on either North of South America.

http://www.irr.org/MIT/Southerton-DNA-response-to-Parr.html

This one is pretty easy to visualize; Parr generates a simplistic model and uses it to demonstrate his claims, ignoring that it is based on a single female with one female offspring when in reality, there would've been a number of females in each tribal unit--with multiple offspring--that would've preserved other mtDNA haplogroups...

>In his haste to emphasize the high probability of lineage extinction, Parr fails to mention that the Avise mtDNA tree was generated on the assumption that each female in the population would have, on average, only one daughter.10 Not only does this theoretical population not grow in size, in each generation about 37 percent of the females fail to produce any female offspring at all.11 Is this representative of any typical human population, let alone the highly fecund Book of Mormon lineage history? It is, in fact, a gross simplification, constructed for the purpose of taking a theoretical look at a strictly hypothetical situation. In the instance of the Book of Mormon population, we are told that soon after their arrival in the Americas, they “multiplied exceedingly and spread upon the face of the land” (Jarom 1:8). By about 46 BC they had spread until they “covered the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east (Hel. 3:8).

>Consider the more real possibility that a woman might have on average two daughters, and the probability of lineage extinction in each generation drops from 37 to 13.5 percent. For an average of three daughters, it falls to just 5 percent. However, there is another more important detail which Parr overlooks completely. Each woman almost invariably shares an identical mtDNA lineage with many of her living female relatives including her sisters and the female offspring of her maternal aunts and half of her maternal great aunts. If she fails to have a daughter, these female relatives are very likely to vicariously pass an identical lineage on to future generations. Taking into account vicarious transmission and underestimates of fertility, the likelihood of lineage extinction is vastly lower than Parr suggests.

And...

http://signaturebooks.com/?p=3159

Some Y-chromosome analysis (Y-chromosomes are passed on paternally to male offspring only)

>There is compelling evidence to show that Native American Q-P36 lineages came from Siberia, not from Jewish populations. The Q-P36 lineage is a minor (~5%) lineage among the Ashkenazi (Behar et al., 2004), but it is most likely to have originated in surrounding European populations, where it occurs at similarly frequencies. The claim that the Q lineage is “scattered all over central Eurasia and concentrated in Turkistan” is extremely misleading. The Q lineage occurs at a frequency of about 10% in Turkistan; however, the highest concentrations of the Q lineage in populations outside of the Americas are in the Selkups and Kets (66-94%) adjacent to the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. The Altai populations also contain the highest frequencies of the American Indian mtDNA founder lineages A, B, C, D and X. Since Siberian Altai populations contain high frequencies of both paternal and maternal DNA lineages that are most closely related to American Indian lineages, it is particularly likely that the Q-P36 lineage arose in Siberia.

I've already posted links here to advances in linguistics that have found favorable peer review and demonstrate a probable connection between the language of the Ket people in Siberia and a number of Native American tongues.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ket_language

>More recently, in February 2008, linguist Edward Vajda also submitted a paper on the proposed link between Ket with the Na-Dene languages. His paper has been favorably reviewed by several experts on Na-Dene and Yeniseic languages, including Michael Krauss, Jeff Leer, James Kari, and Heinrich Werner, as well as a number of other well-known linguists, including Bernard Comrie, Johanna Nichols, Victor Golla, Michael Fortescue, and Eric Hamp, so that a broad consensus has formed in support of this connection. Some experts on Yenisein remain extremely skeptical or reject the hypothesis.

http://pandora.cii.wwu.edu/vajda/ea210/ket.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ket_people

Take a good look at the pictures on that last Wiki link; your eyes will tell you the same thing the DNA evidence is pointing to...

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Posted by: top cat ( )
Date: October 03, 2010 06:07AM


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