Main Street Church

Addressing the real issues:
A lawyer's response to the DNA challenges
by Austin Morse

Editor's note: This article presents a more in-depth analysis of a few of the most common "challenges" to the DNA evidence that strike at the veracity of the Book of Mormon. This particular article takes to task Jeff Lindsay, a self-appointed apologist of some repute in LDS circles, who has written a substantial volume of material on the DNA challenges to Mormonism. Lindsay's writings represent fairly accurately the overall LDS apologists' response to the DNA issue. The most common tactic, which is demonstrated inLinday's writing, is to skirt around the real issues, either by gross reinterpretation of the Book of Mormon, or the introduction of irrelevant and even misleading data to make the DNA issue appear more complicated and confusing than it really is.

CHALLENGE:

“Since we do not know anything substantial about the DNA of Lehi or his wife or others in his group in 600 BC., What should the DNA of their ancestors look like? (Lehi was Hebraic, but not from the tribe of Judah, a presumably primary ancestral source for modern Jews).”

- Jeff Lindsay, Does DNA Evidence Refute the Book of Mormon?

RESPONSE:

Argument by False Implication: It takes a lot of effort to imply so much falsehood without actually saying anything overtly false. Let’s look at how many false implications can be understood from this short statement.

False Implication #1 Logical Fallacy: “we do not know anything substantial about the DNA of Lehi or his wife or others in his group.”

The very question that the DNA debate raises is this: Are the people mentioned in the Book of Mormon real or fabricated? Without referencing any evidence, the above claim merely assumes that “Lehi or his wife or others in his group” actually exist. If we had evidence specifically identified as the DNA of Lehi, Sariah, Nephi, etc. then that would substantially prove the issue in question. In other words this LDS claim seeks to dispose of the dilemma posed by the DNA evidence by assuming the actual existence of the very people whose existence is in question. This practice is a logical fallacy called “begging the question” or “circular reasoning” which is defined as follows:

“If one assumes as a premise for his argument the very conclusion he intends to prove, the fallacy committed is that of petitio principii, or begging the question. If the proposition to be established is formulated in exactly the same words both as premise or conclusion, the mistake would be so glaring as to deceive no one. Often, however, two formulations can be sufficiently different to obscure the fact one and the same proposition occurs both as premise and conclusion” (Irving M. Copi, Introduction to Logic p. 83).

False Implication #2: Questions are not Statements: “what should the DNA of their ancestors look like?”

By making his point as question the author of the above fails on face value to make a factual claim of any kind. Since his point is merely implied I speculate as follows: that it is impossible to deduce anything about Book of Mormon DNA since we do not have a sample of Lehi’s DNA and cannot make a direct comparison. Of course we do not know what Lehi and his family’s DNA “looks like.” These are people who are supposed to be biological entities that existed 2600 years ago. The probability of a particular person’s DNA surviving after 2600 years would be exceedingly small.

The pronoun “their” appears to referring to Lehi and his party. An ancestor is term for forefather or progenitor. The use of that term here does not make sense because the issue is concerning Lehi’s descendents not Lehi’s ancestors. Please understand I am only making this criticism because these arguments are being distributed as the LDS answer to the DNA evidence.

False Implication #3: Judah and Lehi’s tribe have different DNA: “Lehi was … not from the tribe of Judah…”

It is true that Lehi was not from the tribe of Judah according to the claims of BOM/D&C. Lehi is said to be from the tribe of Manasseh. The author of this statement appears to imply that the DNA of Judah is substantially different than the DNA of Manasseh since if these two tribes had similar DNA this statement would be meaningless. The author presents no evidence that Manasseh would have separate existence long enough to develop their own DNA characteristics. The followers of Joseph Smith bear the burden of proof to establish their claims.

Past LDS Church Historian BH Roberts describes a wide variety of tribal sources making up the Book of Mormon peoples: “The Book of Mormon refers to Lehi's colony as made up of descendants of Manasseh [Lehi] and Ephraim [Ishmael] while the colony of Mulek were Jews.”(B.H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol.3, Ch.39, p.172). The above statement is an admission that the Book of Mormon peoples had representatives from more than three tribes. There is simply no factual basis upon which we may deduce that Lehi’s group had different DNA than the other tribes of Israel.

False Implication #4: Judah/Jew Equivalence-- “the tribe of Judah, a presumably primary ancestral source for modern Jews”

The tribe of Judah is not equivalent to the Kingdom of Judah and the tribe of Judah is not equivalent to the term “Jew” contrary to what is implied herein. In addition to being a tribe, Judah was the name of the Southern Kingdom of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Kingdom of Judah included the tribes of Benjamin, Simeon, Levi (in part) and Judah. During the time of apostasy of the northern Kingdom of Israel, when Israel worshipped pagan gods, orthodox believers in Judaism migrated to the southern Kingdom where the City of Jerusalem was located.

II Chronicles records concerning the actions of Asa, King of Judah, “Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those who dwelt with them from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to him in great numbers from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. II Chron 15:9

Therefore it is expected that those who are known as Jews today have descended from the Kingdom of Judah and all twelve (or thirteen) tribes including the tribes of Manasseh (Alma 10:3) and Ephraim.

Admission of Lehi’s Hebraic DNA: Apparently, the author of this statement is admitting that “Lehi was Hebraic.”

If Lehi is admittedly Hebraic then no dispute exists here. If Lehi is supposed to be Hebraic then we may expect that He has Hebraic DNA we may draw conclusions on that basis.

Lack of Scientific Method: The scientific method is a means of determining knowledge through a process that begins by making observations or measurements, referred to as facts and then formulating theories to explain the facts. The next step is to conduct experiments reproducing the results. Since the author of the above statement is not engaged in the communication of facts or observations of any kind it is clear he is not engaged in the scientific method.

This claim is not referencing anything that could be regarded as a fact, which could then be explained by scientific theories. Rather, this claim focuses on one area of lack of information. The statement implies that no information is available at all. But in point of fact, some facts do exist. Rather than focusing upon what information is available and interpreting that information he implies that no relevant facts exist.

Creating Theoretical Explanations: Lets consider some scenarios or theories that could legitimately explain the DNA data. One scientific theory that could explain the results of finding exclusively Northeast Asian DNA in the Americas is this: That the father of Israel and their wives all came from Mongolia. That Abraham, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, Zilpah and the wives of the twelve sons of Jacob all came from Mongolia and Siberia. Such a theory is highly implausible since no evidence exists to support it. Implausible becomes impossible when the lack of Siberian/Mongolian DNA in the Middle East and in surviving Jews is considered.

Another theory might be that Lehi’s the immediate parents and Sariah’s parents and Ishmael’s parents and Ishmael’s wife’s parents and Zoram’s parents all migrated to Israel from Northeast Asia. Then they all learned Hebrew and converted to Judaism in spite of the lack of evangelism exhibited by Judaism. And then one generation later all those who had migrated 6000 miles from Mongolia leave their new home and migrate to the Americas. The problems with such a theory are that Lehi is specifically identified as being from the tribe of Manasseh (Alma 10:3). No evidence supports such a Siberia to Israel migration. And again no DNA from Northeast Asia is found in the Middle East. The reason why such theories are not presented is because they are incredible. Although these incredible theories are fantastic and absurd, they are the logical extensions of the arguments presented above.

Examining Biblical Facts: The Bible provides extensive information about the marriages and ancestry of the children of Israel. The Biblical account prior to 600 BC is filled with many examples of members of the twelve tribes of Israel originating from and intermarrying with surrounding Semitic peoples. Please consider the following:

  1. Abraham and Sarah came from Ur where the Chaldean people dwelled.
  1. Abraham fathered a child with Tamar leaving a inheritance of DNA in Ishmael and the nation he fathered.
  2. Issac married Rebecca from the city of Nahor in land of Mesopotamia.
  3. Jacob married Rachel and Leah the daughters of Laban who was from Syria and Bilhah and Zilpah.
  4. When Levi and Simeon killed the men from Shechem’s family they absorbed the women and children.
  5. Esau is not one of the fathers of Israel but he also fathered the nation of Edom who received an inheritance of DNA from Abraham and Jacob through him.
  6. Joseph married Asenath from Egypt.
  7. Moses married Zipporah from Midian and they had a son, Gershom. Moses in-laws came with the children of Israel into the wilderness.
  8. Salmon married the prostitute Rahab from the Canaanite city of Jericho, whose DNA survived and was present in Joseph the stepfather of Jesus.
  9. Boaz married Ruth from Moab and both are present in Joseph’s genealogy.
  10. Joshua made a peace agreement with the city of Gibeon.
  11. There was not a Biblical restriction on intermarriage between the tribes of Israel.
  12. Bathsheba was married to Uriah the Hittite prior to her marriage to King David.
  13. Solomon was married and had children with a variety of foreign women.
  14. At the time of separation of the two kingdoms Judah consisted of Judah, Benjamin and a portion of Levi.
  15. At the time immediately prior to the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel orthodox believers who rejected the worship of Baal moved to the south and blended into the Kingdom of Judah. See II Chronicles 15:9 as quoted above.

Consequently, there is no reason to expect that the DNA of the Children of Israel would be significantly different DNA from the other Semitic peoples of the Mid East. The facts are a comparison of the DNA of the Middle East has been made with the DNA of Native Americans then there is not a match.

Middle Eastern and Native American DNA Compared: Joel Kramer has interviewed several DNA experts and has shown these interviews on the videotape presentation DNA vs. the Book of Mormon. The text of some of these interviews is directly on point. What is the relationship between the DNA of Middle Eastern peoples and Native Americans?

1. Dr. David Glenn Smith, Molecular Anthropologist, University of California-Davis: “There is no compelling evidence for a connection between Jewish populations and Native American populations based on genetics. Probably the most fundamental and the most definitive evidence for that has been based on mitochondrial and y-chromosome data. If you look at genes in Native Americans, they came from their ancestors. They had to come from their ancestral populations and those ancestors lived somewhere. You can look for those genes in Jewish populations but you don’t find them. If you look at genes that are most commonly found in Native American populations and those that are most commonly found in Jewish populations they don’t coincide at all.”

2. Dr. Dennis O’Rourke, Molecular Anthropologist, University of Utah : “I’ve been involved in a number of research projects that had examined DNA variations in ancient populations in the Americas I don’t know of any data that suggests particular similarity of native American populations to any population of the middle east.”

3. Dr. Stephen L. Whittington, Biological Anthropologist, University of Maine: “I’ve been working as an anthropologist either as a graduate student or professional since the early 1980s. I personally have never seen any evidence of Hebrew origin of Native Americans. I don’t know of any of my colleagues in mainstream anthropology who are trying to prove a Hebrew origin for Native Americans.”

4. Dr. Simon Southerton, Molecular Biologist: “currently on the available evidence there’s nothing to suggest a relationship whatsoever with Israelites.”

5. Thomas Murphy, Anthropologist : “We are in a dilemma now, the genetic evidence shows clearly that American Indians are not Hebrews, they are not Israelites.”

Group Vs Individual DNA Analysis: Not having the DNA of Lehi and his party might be a difficulty if we were comparing one individual to one individual. If we were a paternity determination it would be necessary to have both parties DNA. These concerns are of no consequence to group transmission of DNA. Since it only takes one member of the group to surviveand pass on the groups DNA. Any member ofLehi’s group, Nephite or Lamanite, that survives and reproduces preserves the DNA chain of transmission. Only genocide would explain its lack of presence in the evidence, genocide of a nation with a large population. The Lamanites were large enough to muster an army that slaughtered two hundred and thirty thousand people.

CHALLENGE:

“Since there were many other people in North and South America when Lehi landed, regardless of what has long been assumed, their net contribution to the gene pool of the continent could be minute. Must we expect that purely paternal or maternal lines going directly to Lehi or Sariah can be readily found today?”

--Jeff Lindsay, Does DNA Evidence Refute the Book of Mormon?

RESPONSE:

Admission: The above statement admits “there were many other people in North and South America.” This admission demolishes the traditional LDS understanding of the history the Book of Mormon proposes. The author is attempting to blend two different belief systems that are incompatible and mutually exclusive, as we shall see. Yes, the science of genetics, linguistics and anthropology all confirm that non-Book of Mormon peoples were present in the Americas at 600 BC. The problem is that the Book of Mormon itself does not report the presence of others and many references militate against such a conclusion. If the traditional LDS understanding of the claims of the Book of Mormon is wrong, then nothing in the LDS system of beliefs is safe to accept without evidence.

Speculation: Please note the statement uses the term “could be minute.” The word “could” indicates a suggestion, which lacks certainty and indicating a mere possibility. For this author to present this argument based upon a possibility or speculation indicates a failure to present facts that satisfy the burden of proof, which the followers of Joseph Smith must meet if they expect their claims to be considered by objective truth seekers.

The Book of Mormon Is Silent on Siberians and Mongolians: Lets examine what the Book of Mormon says about the presence of other peoples. There is no basis in the Book of Mormon text to assert that there were any other peoples in the Americas. On several occasions a Book of Mormon describes the event of the Nephites finding and making contact with other tribal groups namely, the Jaredite remnant and the Mulekites. These were considered worthy of recordation in the history of the people. The Book of Mormon contains no reference concerning contact with or even the existence of “other people” who are of unknown origin. Followers of Joseph Smith cannot use the Book of Mormon’s silence on this issue to prove their case.

The Book of Mormon claims that God would limit accessTo the Americas: The Book of Mormon claims that God would limit access of the land to only “righteous people. Although these promises were made to the Jaredites, if God made the promise, the promise would be valid forever.

“And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.” (Ether 2:7).

“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven” (Ether 2:12).

The Book of Mormon describes a civilization that existed in complete isolation contrary to the above admission.

The Book of Mormon Describes a Populous, Wide Spread Civilization: Another point of contention is the claim that impact of the Book of Mormon impact on the gene pool “could be minute.” Passages from the Book of Mormon itself contradict such a claim. Although many of the following passages use vague language it is apparent that the Book of Mormon claims to describe more than a small local tribal group.

  1. “the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their waste places, and began to multiply and spread, even until they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east.” (Helaman 11:20).
  2. “the Lamanites and Amlicites, being as numerous almost, as it were, as the sands of the sea” (Alma 2:27).
  3. “he came against us with an army of forty and four thousand. And behold, I withstood him, with forty and two thousand.” (Book of Mormon, 1830, p.521, 2:9).
  4. “And it came to pass that we did contend with an army of thirty thousand, against an army of fifty thousand.” (The Book of Mormon, 1830, p.522, 2:25).
  5. Two hundred and thirty thousand were killed at the last battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites: “And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand which were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life. And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni,) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the hill Camorah, the ten thousand of my people which were hewn down, being led in the front by me, and we also beheld the ten thousand of my people which were led by my son Moroni. And behold, the ten thousand of Gidgiddonah had fallen, and he also in the midst; and Lamah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Gilgal had fallen with his ten thousand; and Limhah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Joneam had fallen with his ten thousand; and Camenihah, and Moronihah, and Antionum, and Shiblom, and Shem, and Josh, had fallen with their ten thousand each. And it came to pass that there were ten more which did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each;” (The Book of Mormon, 1830, p.529-530, 6:10-15).
  6. “he was king over a numerous people” (The Book of Mormon, 1830, p.205, Mosiah 24:3).
  7. “and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth; yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land.” (Book of Mormon, 1830, p.211-212, Mosiah 27:6).
  8. “they were so numerous that they could not be numbered” Alma (The Book of Mormon, 1830, p.227, Alma 2:35)
  9. “even to the land of Zarahemla: the whole face of the land having become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.” (Book of Mormon, 1830, p.518-521, Alma 2:27).
  1. Elder Wilford Woodruff affirmed that the Book of Mormon record "contains an account of the ancient inhabitants of this continent who over spread this land with cities from sea to sea," a restatement of the contemporary understanding that the people of Nephi "did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east" (Helaman 11:20). (Scott G. Kenney, ed. Wilford Woodruff Journals, Typescript, 2:282).

Logical Implications of Large Nephite/Lamanites Populations: From the information contained in these Book of Mormon passages we may deduce the population size of Book of Mormon nations. If 230,000 Nephites died in the final battle of a long war then the Lamanites must have been even larger in population. It seems reasonable to project, based on claims of numerosity in the many passages listed above, that there existed over one million descendents of the original Hebrew migrations before the last battle. If there were one million at the end then an average of 500,000-population size of Book of Mormon peoples may be safely assumed. If the story of the Nephites, in the Book of Mormon, lasts one thousand years and if each generation lasted approximately 50 years there would be 20 generations from Lehi’s landing 600 BC to the last battle 400 AD. If a the average population is 500,000 and is totally replaced 20 times then the Book of Mormon is describing a civilization, from start to finish, of ten million people. Of course this is pure conjecture. But the point remains that millions of Hebrew peoples existed in the Americas according to the text of the Book of Mormon.

In order for the above claim to be true millions of Nephites/Lamanites would have to live side by side on the continent with the Asians for one thousand years. Now the defenders of the Book of Mormon tell you that the, “contribution to the gene pool of the continent could be minute.” When the size of the nations described in the Book of Mormon is considered, I submit that is not a reasonable proposal.

As a historical reference point, consider beginning in 1492 Christopher Columbus left 39 men on the island of Hispaniola while he returned to Spain. Before he returned 11 months later his men began leaving their DNA behind. Spaniards continued to migrate to the American continents and intermarried with Native Americans. After 400 years of the blending the Native Americans and Spaniards DNA, the Hispanic ethnic/racial group was created.

Collective vs. Individual DNA: The above statement questions whether “paternal or maternal lines going directly to Lehi or Sariah can be readily found” This is a misstatement of the issue. The issue is not whether Lehi and Sariah’s individual DNA had survived but rather it is whether Hebrew DNA in general is present in the Native American population. It is possible for individuals’ DNA to cease to exist and not be transmitted to the present. But for the DNA of an entire group to fail requires a catastrophic or genocidal event. No such event is described in the Book of Mormon nor is any such event understood from archeology.

CHALLENGE:

“The Book of Mormon uses the term “Lamanite” in several ways, including a genetic sense for those who are descended from Laman and Lemuel, but also in a cultural or sociopolitical sense to refer to those others who were not Nephites. Common LDS references to Native Americans as Lamanites is certainly logical under the broad definition. It is also possible that enough genetic diffusion has occurred for many Native Americans to have at least one genetic Lamanite in their ancestry, even though the impact on modern DNA would be hard to detect, even if we knew what to look for.”

--Jeff Lindsay, Does DNA Evidence Refute the Book of Mormon? p. 8.

RESPONSE:

Wishful Thinking: I can only characterize the above argument as wishful thinking by a determined follower of Joseph Smith. No facts or evidence are presented or referenced. The statement merely implies Siberians and Mongolians are included in the term “Lamanite” which creates many problems. In contrast the DNA presents hard facts, evidence that is highly reliable. The Native Americans are descendants of Mongolians and Siberians from Northeast Asia and not Hebrews as the Book of Mormon claims. In response the author presents speculation and vocabulary revisionism.

Redefinition of “Lamanite”: The term “Lamanite” has been clearly understood for 174 years. That understanding is based upon the text of the Book of Mormon and statements made by the book’s author. The above statement attempts to avoid a real problem in the evidence by changing a word definition. To redefine it now, after the arrival of the DNA evidence is a confession that words in the Book of Mormon have no definite meaning. Are the words of that book always shifting and reforming to adapt to new threats?

Words Have Meaning: The above LDS Claim reminds me of that creative argument delivered by William J. Clinton, “It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.” Mr. Clinton was caught in wrongdoing. He wanted to avoid an open confession of his transgressions. So he chose to merely redefine words so that his offense is obscured in the battle over the meaning of his words. All people who believe in moral standards were filled with repugnance at his dissembling deceit.

How Does the Book of Mormon Define “Lamanite”? There is nothing in the Book of Mormon upon which to base the redefinition of the term “Lamanite.” The text of the Book of Mormon does not identify a single Mongolian or Siberian.

The definition of “Lamanite” actually used in the Book of Mormon is not correctly identified above. I believe the correct definition, according to the Book of Mormon itself would include the following: the descendants of Laman and Lemuel and all those who joined them from the Nephite community who left because their rebellion against God.

Please consider the use of this definition in the book of Helaman:

“And it came to pass that in the eightieth year of the reign of the Judges over the people of Nephi, there were a certain number of the dissenters from the people of Nephi, which had some years before gone over unto the Lamanites, and took upon themselves the name of Lamanites; and also, a certain number which were real descendants of the Lamanites, being stirred up to anger by them, or by those dissenters, therefore they commenced a war with their brethren. And they did commit murder and plunder;” (Helaman 11:24-25).

Lamanites Are the Nephites’ Brothers: The Book of Mormon also refers to the Lamanites as “brethren” and in a manner contradicting the Lamanites as Northeast Asians, 26 times. The term “brethren” has two definitions one is “brother, family” and the other is “member of a sect”. It is clear that Lamanites do not share the same faith as the Nephites so the latter definition may be eliminated. Therefore each of the following citations refers to family relationship. The different forms of these references are contained in the following table:

Language of Reference

Number of Usages

Citations

“my brethren the Lamanites”

4

Enos 1:11, Helaman 15:4, Moroni 1:4, 10:1

“our brethren the Lamanites”

8

Jarom 1:2, Mosiah 1:5, 22:3, Alma 26:3, 23, Helaman 15:11, 12

“their (thy) brethren the Lamanites”

8

Mosiah 28:1, Alma 17:9, 19:27, 26: 27, 27:20, 48:21, Helaman 4:24, IV Nephi 1:43,

“who were real descendants of the Lamanites”

1

Helaman 11:24

“descendant(s) of Laman”

2

Alma 55:5-6, 56:3

“ actual descendants of Laman and Lemuel”

1

Alma 24:29

“sons and daughters of Laman”

2

II Nephi 4

TOTAL

26

 

Moroni Called “Lamanites” Brethren: The Book of Mormon identifies “Lamanites” as blood related family. Please note that the last writer in the Book of Mormon- refers to Lamanites as “brethren” twice. This means that Moroni, allegedly writing around 400 AD under the power and revelation of the Holy Spirit, clearly and repeatedly identifies “Lamanites” as blood related family members. If Lamanites are brothers and no mention is made of intermarriage with Siberians and Mongolians then all the evidence testifies against the enlargement of the definition of “Lamanite” to include the Asians. To redefine “Lamanite” to include genetic Mongolians and Siberians is “historical” revisionism to the maximum degree

No Evidence of “Other” People: The above claim assumes that there are “others” who are people that would be included in the Lamanite nation besides the descendents of the Hebrew migrations. These “other” peoples could then account for the Northeast Asian DNA found in Native Americans. Again, the Book of Mormon does not describe any “other” peoples on these continents besides the groups specifically mentioned. None of the groups mentioned in the Book of Mormon are from Northeast Asia according to the Book of Mormon.

“One Genetic Lamanite” Misstates the Issue: The above statement suggests that “one genetic Lamanite” could “possibly” hide in the ancestry of many Native American without detection. Such a claim is devoid of factual content. Since it speaks of possibilities it is a speculation not a factual assertion based upon evidence. It also builds upon unproven assumptions. There is no evidence that the Lamanites are a real actual people. And finally it distorts the issue. The issue is whether a civilization of Hebrews in the Americas, which numbered over time in the millions, could live side by side on the continent with Asians for one thousand years without leaving a trace of DNA behind. The issue is not whether the DNA of “one genetic Lamanite” can disappear by diffusion.

Limitations of DNA Overcome: The DNA evidence is able to follow only two of the many lines of ancestry of the corpse tested: the all male line and the all female line.

Please consider an expert opinion, “If the y-chromosomes all come from Asia and the mitochondrial genomes all come from Asia, then the only explanation for where all the rest of the chromosomes come from is Asia. That is a very scientifically valid explanation; it’s the only explanation.” Dr. Simon Southerton, Molecular Biologist as quoted from DNA vs. the Book of Mormon.

The DNA evidence is conclusive in the issue of ancestry when multiple tests from the same group all reveal the same results.

CHALLENGE:

Genetic evidence that would suggest relatively recent European ancestry for Native Americans (e.g., the kind of genes that might have been introduced by Lehi’s group after 600 B.C. rather than before 30,000 B.C.) might be readily discarded by honest scholars because it could appear to be the result of recent mixing with Europeans or due to contamination with modern Caucasians. There is a real risk that genetic “smoking guns” relevant to the Book of Mormon might be completely missed due to standard scientific caution. Contamination of samples and European admixture in Native American subjects are real problems that researchers must struggle with—but these problems also greatly decrease the ability to detect “unexpected” recent Old World origins.

Jeff Lindsay, Does DNA Evidence Refute the Book of Mormon? p. 8.

RESPONSE:

Indefinite and Imaginative: Please note the use of indefinite and imaginative vocabulary in the above statement including “suggest” and “could” once each and “might” three times. The presence of this kind of terminology indicates that the author is presenting speculations and possibilities. He fails to present any relevant fact.

Shifting the Burden of Proof: Again the followers of Joseph Smith have the burden to present evidence to support their contention that Joseph Smith is a “prophet, seer and relevator” who could translate ancient historical records by the power of the Holy Spirit. The author of the above statement attempts to shift the burden of proof to the Non LDS. He places upon those questioning the Book of Mormon the burden of disproving every mirage-like scenario he can dream up.

European and Middle Eastern DNA Not Equivalent: Even if researchers do discard European DNA, that practice has no bearing on and no prejudice to the proving of Native Americans as genetic Hebrews. The problem raised in the above statement is not relevant to the issue of the DNA evidence. The Hebrews are a Middle Eastern Semitic people. The DNA of Europeans when compared to Semites is different and distinguishable. In order to make his point relevant the author of the above would need to present evidence of similarity of European and Semitic DNA but such evidence does not exist to my knowledge.

Covered by DNA vs. the Book of Mormon: The video DNA vs. The Book of Mormon presents the facts concerning European DNA. Among Native Americans, the portion of European DNA is less that one percent. Since Europeans have been contributing DNA to the peoples of the Americas for over 500 years, it is not surprising. Please regard the statement of an expert contained in that video.

“In excess of a hundred and fifty tribes have been tested now, these are scattered all over north and central and South America, even to Greenland. And from the survey in excess of five and a half thousand individuals have been involved and have been tested, from those five and a half thousand… ninety nine point four percent of Native Americans have a mitochondrial dna lineage that originated in Asia. There can be no question, 99.4%. The other 0.6% have either a European or an African mitochondrial lineage the very tiny minority of European and African lineages that they do find came after Columbus.” Dr. Simon Southerton, Molecular Biologist as quoted from DNA vs. the Book of Mormon.

Ancient DNA Conclusively Disproves LDS Claim: The fact of ancient and Pre-Columbian Native American DNA make this whole dispute moot. Samples of ancient DNA have shown a complete absence of European DNA and indicate Native Americans migrated from Northeast Asia. Please consider the following statements of experts.

According to Dennis O’Rourke, Molecular Anthropologist, University of Utah as quoted from DNA vs. the Book of Mormon.: “First we identify pre-historic populations where skeletal material has been discovered. We take fairly small skeletal samples, usually a fragment of a rib… and it’s a simple chemical process to release the nucleic acids, or the DNA, that is contained within that bony matrix. Well there was clearly substantial admixture between European colonists and many Native American populations at the time of initial European contact, and subsequently. All of our ancient samples predate that contact, so there’s no evidence of admixture in our ancient samples.”

“What we find on ancient human remains from the new world is DNA that is related to DNA in populations in north Asia.” Stephen L. Whittington, Biological Anthropologist, University of Maine as quoted from DNA vs. the Book of Mormon.

There is a complete absence of European DNA among the Ancient DNA samples therefore DNA scientists do not have a problemwith “Contamination of samples and European admixture in Native American subjects.”


Additional Resources on DNA issue:

The DNA Challenge: A quick overview of the challenges DNA poses to the Book of Mormon

The DNA Dispute: The top-ten challenges LDS apologists use to discredit the DNA science.

Simon Southerton responds to common challnges to the DNA research


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