Thursday, February 16, 2006

A DNA Dilemma

DNA evidence that Native Americans came from Asia and not the Middle East is testing the faith of some Mormons, who've been taught that American Indians descended from a lost tribe of Israel.

For those outside the faith, the depth of the church's dilemma can be explained this way: Imagine if DNA evidence revealed that the Pilgrims didn't sail from Europe to escape religious persecution but rather were part of a migration from Iceland — and that U.S. history books were wrong. [Link, via OakvilleBlackWalnut]
Of course, we know that the Pilgrims did not come from Norse-infested Iceland, because they wore hats with shiny buckles and not horny Viking helmets.


I am amused that 2 years after the 'study', a newspaper article citing only people antagonistic towards the LDS Church has stirred up such a controversy (again). The article talks about how LDS scholars are now scrambling to 'reinvent' and redefine the interpretation of Book of Mormon geography. There has never been an official interpretation one way or another from the Church. It has always been a matter of speculation. Over ten years ago, I read a book hypothesizing a limited geography for the Book of Mormon from an LDS foundation linked to BYU. It is not a new idea that someone made up to explain away what turns out is not a very scientific study.

Take a listen for the 'science' behind the study at


Interesting link. As a lapsed student of philosophy, I'm fascinated by the junction of science and religion, and how apologists (not really a bad word) reconcile their faith with reason. Genuine scientists of genuine faith walk a very fine line between two communities, each dogmatic in its own way. There is a "middle way," but it's not an easy road.

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