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Posted by: CA girl ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 01:06AM

For someone who loves history but doesn't want to hear that Mormonism isn't true, I mean. I'd like to stack a few doubts on this friend's shelf without them feeling threatened. I thought about Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling too but haven't read enough of it to know if the apologists are too convincing. I don't want to give my friend excuses to hide behind. I just want some facts so they will stop and think for a second.

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 01:18AM

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Posted by: The Motrix ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 01:27AM

I am a trained as a historian (I teach it in college). In my professional opinion, if you want to be known as a person who is reliable and committed to the truth, advancing a book like Mann's "1491" would not be a good idea. In my opinion, and the opinion of many others, "1491" is a bunch of unfounded rubbish based on astronomical leaps in logic . . . Jared Diamond, on the other hand, is outstanding.

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

Indeed, Diamond it should be. I only read through half of 1421 before tossing it out. Menzies is a retired sailor, Diamond is a scientist.

Edit: sorry, thought you were talking about Gavin Menzies' "1421. The year China discovered the world".

Still, with GG&S you can shut up any Book of Mormon apologist. What the apologists do is dig up arcane and disputed archeological finds to say that while this is no evidence that the Book of Mormon actually happened, it shows that it could have happened - which is enough for the believer.

What Diamond does is paint the big picture. If you understand that big picture, you realize that there is not a snowball's chance in hell that the Book of Mormon is anything but fiction.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2010 03:16AM by rt.

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Posted by: oddcouplet ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 08:06AM

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 10:31AM

As "rt" notes in his edit, Gavin Menzies is a retired sailor with no background in history, archaeology, or anthropology, and he has more in common with the likes of Eric Von Däniken (or Rodney Meldrum) than individuals with any genuine credibility.

I went with the reviews of Mann's work (my copy of Diamond is dog-eared) since I don't plan on reading it anytime soon, and nothing I came across changed my mind. I have been researching the issues he presented for a number of years (because of the relevance to Mormon claims, particularly John L. Sorenson, about Native Americans) and since Mann is a journalist, I feel qualified to compare his "synthesis" with my own (By contrast, Diamond is a scientist, a physiologist, whose works on anthropology have been published in peer-reviewed journals).

My view is that Mann is "too much of a romantic" and far too attracted to "fads" (which, I suppose, have commercial appeal); he writes for the Altantic Monthly, which carried the "diffusionists claims" (Sorenson was one, and such folks are generally dismissed by mainstream sorts; having reviewed Sorenson's nonsense extensively and posted one archived review on this site, I can tell you his crediblity is on par with Menzies).

One "fad" is to insist on much earlier migration dates from Asia than the geological studies of the Bering land bridge would permit; those would require boats and a maritime technology, a concept I find difficult to reconcile with the Arctic environment in the North seas at the time, particulary for ocean crossings (the Eskimo culture was a latecomer according to Diamond).

I can also see no logic in the use of watercraft for the so-called "coastal migration" hypothesis, which doesn't rest on any archaeological finds or evidence but rather on supposed claims that the evidence is underwater, having been covered up by rising ocean levels at the end of the Ice Age.

Too, his claims of population figures in the New World strike me as equally absurd; such numbers would require the sort of food production hunter-gatherers are incapable of providing, and while Native American advances in plant hybridizaiton are remarkable, I don't believe the technology existed on the level he imagines.

Finally, I think he wrote a book in part geared toward "millenial thinkers" with his overly romantic analysis of Mayan mathematics (folks are discussing that "2012" stuff seriously, unfortanately). Again, the achievements were remarkable, but they did not spread beyond their "limited geography" (sorry about that!) in Central America, and their impact was minimal.

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Posted by: axeldc ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 07:05AM

I read GGS only because others had recommended it. I have a BA in history so I would know if Diamond was BSing or not.

While his theories are not perfect, they are innovative and plausible. I found it a refreshing and unique take on history.

I did not pick up GGS with a single thought towards Mormonism. It was only while reading it (I was alread exmo) that I realized how devastating it was to the core of the Book of Mormon. Unlike other evidences like DNA or horses that make details of the of the BofM implausible, GGS makes the entire book look ridiculously impossible.

The best part is that GGS doesn't even mention Mormons. It is a highly accomplished book, required reading in many college history course, so you would not be openly attacking their faith. Mormons are good at shutting their mind to anything that looks like it will attack their faith. This is a Trojan horse of good ideas that will slip through their defenses.

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Posted by: CA girl ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 09:43AM

In fact, you all got me so interested I just downloaded Diamond's book to my Kindle for myself.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2010 10:59AM by CA girl.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 10:14AM

It's sort of a companion book, and exceedingly interesting.

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Posted by: Michaelm ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 11:09AM

One major plus for Guns, Germs and Steel in comparison to the Book of Mormon is that Jared Diamond took a position against racism. His explanations do not rely on racial superiority. He has been criticized for this by those who support white supremacy.

Especially right now from LDS apologists, their theme is that the Americas were inhabited by people from ice-age stock, while the white Lehi clan brought the civilization.

Guns, Germs and Steel is a very credible publication to show how wrong the LDS claims are.

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Posted by: Zeezromp ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 02:34PM

It was brilliant. It made Mormonism's Book of Mormon claim totally invalid despite having nothing to with the LDS religion directly and not only that but it helped me understand the world alot better and how it came to be like it is to this day.

It is on you tube, if anyone hasn't seen it yet. A quick search should find it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2010 02:35PM by zeezrom.

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Posted by: Dave in Hollywood ( )
Date: October 06, 2010 02:46PM

I couldn't finish reading Collapse becuase it was a bit repetitive and, well, not as personally interesting.

Guns, Germs & Steel on the other hand was brilliant and mind opening. I already agreed with everything he said though, so I don't know what impact it would have on a closed Mormon mind. They might find it "of the devil."

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