This is a bit of a change of pace. Last week, we talked with George Potter on Lehi’s Trail, with the Lehi eventually landing in Peru. This week, we talked to Dr. Simon Southerton, who served as a bishop of the LDS Church until he found he could no longer reconcile the science with the story of the Lamanites. He doesn’t believe the Book of Mormon is historical.
Simon: My name is Simon Southerton. I’m from Canberra, Australia. I am retired now from science really. I was a molecular geneticist with CSIRO for almost 20 years.
GT: I like to get a lot of different opinions. I interviewed Dr. Ugo Perego a few month ago, and you have a little different perspective on DNA and the Book of Mormon, so I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that. I know you’ve written a book. Can you tell us about the book?
Simon: Yes, the book is called Losing a Lost Tribe, and I wrote that and published that in 2004. The impetus to write the book, I was not happy with the way the DNA science was being interpreted by church apologists. I thought that was a way of putting them right and correcting them.
Simon: It’s pretty compelling stuff for me, and this is my work. That’s my research area. I work with DNA. I’ve worked with it a long time and led research groups that work in population genetics. That’s another thing you’ll hear from apologists. Oh, he doesn’t know population genetics. It’s such a complex science.
It is a complex science, but I work in population genetics. I’ve published in population genetics in leading international journals. When you work in the field and you understand the power, you know the full power of the research, it’s very compelling when you see that evidence. You just can’t ignore it.
We’ll also talk in detail about his excommunication. I wasn’t very familiar with that, and I found Simon very candid.
Simon: Everyone that knew me locally liked me, because they knew me. We had shaken hands. They had looked me in the eye and knew that I was a good bloke. But then area leaders wrote to me: Vaughn J. Featherstone wrote to me, and the whole letter was just designed to scare me back into the church. He hadn’t even spoken to my stake president. All he heard was rumors around the grapevine. The bishop in Brisbane had left the church evidently.
GT: But you hadn’t left the church. You were still going to church.
Simon: No, I hadn’t left the church. I was aware of the fact that I probably would. I received it [the letter] while I was still a primary teacher. I mean, what do you do when you’re the bishop and you don’t believe the Book of Mormon is true? How can you function as a bishop when you’ve got the keystone of the Mormon religion and you don’t believe it ever happened? It wasn’t appropriate for me to be a bishop, so I did the right thing.
Anyway, he wrote this three-page letter, and so I wrote him back and I told him off. I didn’t rebuke him. I just said it was inappropriate for him to write without talking to my stake president and finding out really what was going on. He wrote back a letter and apologized, and then gave me more warnings about how life would turn out.
So yes, it has been a tough ride leaving the church, and this is what many members of the church don’t realize. It’s a very painful process to leave the church. In fact, during that process, about five years after we left, I was separated from my wife, and then we got back together and we’re still together and are very happy. It’s just been getting better and better.
Last year we talked with Dr. Ugo Perego on this topic. We dig into the science deeper. We’ll talk about the Lemba Tribe and how it relates to the Cohen Haplotype. What is the Cohen Haplotype?
Simon: All the Cohen is, is a particular Y-Chromosome which was present in the Lemba Tribe. Now this is a tribe, they look African. They are in Zimbabwe, which is what—is that its current name? Yes, I think that’s its current name. They had oral traditions that were Jewish. They built very significant stone-walled cities, but most scholars rejected the fact that they were Jewish.
It’s not uncommon for native people all around the world to claim that they have got Jewish ancestry. The Polynesians loved the fact that they think they are Jewish, because it ties them into the sort of Christian world that they like. Anyway, it was rejected, and then they did the DNA work and they found that they have got a Semitic Y-Chromosome, in particular this Y-Chromosome which seems particularly common in the males of the priestly class, the Jewish priestly class. So, it just confirmed conclusively that there was Jewish DNA that arrived down there.
How is that helpful for looking for Book of Mormon DNA in the Americas?
Simon: Yes, it is a clear case of how DNA, even though it is a fairly small incursion of DNA, they have been able to track it.
GT: Would you expect to find something similar in the Americas if that were the case?
Simon: I didn’t expect to see every single Native American being a Jew, having Jewish DNA. I thought at least there had to be something. I don’t know what that percentage is, but we’re down now to nothing. Fifteen and a half thousand Native Americans have been tested, their mitochondrial DNA tested. It’s all Asian with a smattering of African, there is quite a lot of African DNA.
Simon will talk about some of the newer DNA testing done on Native Americans, and why it doesn’t bode well for those searching for Middle Eastern DNA here. Don’t forget to check out our conversation with Dr. Ugo Perego’s discussion on the Lemba Tribe. What do you think about the lack of DNA evidence in the Americas?
 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation – is an independent Australian federal government agency responsible for scientific research.
 Part 1 of 11 of our interview with Dr. Perego is at https://gospeltangents.com/2017/08/23/dna-101-dr-ugo-perego/ Parts 9, 10, and 11 deal more with the Book of Mormon: See https://gospeltangents.com/2017/09/16/doesnt-dna-match-book-mormon-part-1/ and https://gospeltangents.com/2017/09/19/lemba-tribe-vikings-dna-book-mormon-part-2/ and https://gospeltangents.com/2017/09/22/perego-write-gospel-topics-essay-dna/
 Some Lemba live in South Africa also.
I have found Simon to be knowledgable and very thoughtful in his comments. Thanks for the post!
Thanks Rick. I really enjoy these interviews.
I wonder if the Lemba are the real Lamanites? If so, it explains all the animals (elephants, horses, etc), and the skin of blackness makes a bit more sense. If Nephites were white, and Lamanites married Africans, then it would be easy to tell the difference between a Nephite and a Lamanite. Then again, there’s another sticky point. With blacks being denied the priesthood for so long, can you imagine the paradigm shift if it turns out Lamanites were African?
Two main problems: (1) what is the narrow neck of land? (2) how did the plates get to America? Otherwise, I think this explains the supposed anachronisms quite well, and certainly the DNA matches.
Is there any chance that Donald Parry had a bet with someone to see who could get the most ridiculous thing published in the ensign? This was only 5 years after the September six so maybe it was a proclamation of orthodoxy on his part for job security reasons.
If Lemba = Lamanites that is sure going to ruin some of those tours in Cancun that Juan is giving. And that means that Juan changed his name to Moroni for nothing.
Before we go off to the races with Lamanites being Africans, we have to ask the next question: When did the African incursion of DNA into native American populations happen? And which African DNA, since Africa is a huge place with many many different peoples. The Europeans brought slaves into the Caribbean islands not long after 1492. People don’t like being slaves; some of them escape. The slave ships were atrocious and maybe some slaves escaped from them. At least a few Africans would be expected to have mingled with native Americans who were also enslaved frequently within a generation of Columbus.
Going back into the earliest written history of Asia, I am guessing the Chinese might have recorded encountering a few Africans as either visitors or slaves. This might indicate the plausibility of small populations of Africans migrating into Asia as far as the most eastern reaches and reasonably as far back as the last ice age. Did some of the early immigrants across Beringa (Beringa= an ancient ice age land mass between the Lena river in Russia and the Mackenzie river in Yukon Canada, now partially covered by the Bering sea) include people only a couple generations removed from Africa? Would such people be on the margins of society and most likely to take bigger risks and migrate further?
Did any of the forgotten (never even learned about in the first place, by me) civilizations of Africa make journeys across the Atlantic ocean? I am impressed with the simplicity of Viking ships. Courageous men and women rowed/sailed them about a 1000 miles across the treacherous North Atlantic from Norway to Iceland. And lesser distances on raids around Europe and Russia. Greenland was discovered when Vikings were blown off course going to Iceland and that was a voyage of over 1600 miles. If Africans could have built such ships, the distance from Guinea, Africa to Brazil is about 1600 miles, and they could have made a similar trip. But in warm equatorial waters with only rare hurricanes and also weak trade winds.
As many of you know, the Clovis culture of early native Americans who appear in the western hemisphere around 12,000 BC were not the “first people” as they are called in Canada. A few other people came here in even more ancient times when oceans were lower. They probably followed coast lines so most of the evidence of their campsites or villages would be hundreds of feet below the ocean on the continental shelves. The evidence for them is not great but it is hard to completely ignore all of it. Human remains are rare (if any?) and so it is not now possible to identify them as Africans or Asians , etc..
I can think of many much more reasonable explanations for this African DNA than Book of Mormon stories that my parents told to me.
One of the big problems with Mormon apologetics is the divide and conquer approach. This ignores the big picture and the inter-relatedness of the many problems. A remotely plausible solution to one problem makes another one even worse. There is no coherent theory that explains a large number of the problems. Joseph Smith tied us strongly to a Missouri Garden of Eden, which requires a worldwide flood. This is known and admitted by almost all but the most close-minded to be a fable; a local flood when the Waters of the Mediterranean broke through the Dardanelle channel and flooded the Black Sea. The chronology of the Jaredites coming to America soon after the world wide flood leaves no time (not even one generation) for large populations of people to be in the Americas from anywhere. The preposterous Jaredite barges are almost the opposite of Viking ships. The Book of Ether is pure nonsense at so many levels.
My relative and friend Rod Meldrum preaches a Heartland Geography of the Book of Mormon using the writings of Joseph Smith and his acquaintances as a baseline and cherry-picking any scrap of scholarly work to support it. Most professional scholars at BYU favor a Mexico/Guatamala geography.but then we need 2 Hill Cumorahs. The science forces the BoM geography south; the church history forces it north. Georgia, half way doesn’t fit either one at all.
If you find the family of Lehi landing in Peru, then you can’t have Africans in Viking-like ships coming across to Brazil with them. You have Lehi taking African slaves with him which isn’t mentioned and is not very faith promoting. Oh, Zoram was an African. He brought a small pet elephant on the ship with him. Oops, the Jaredites had the elephants. Elephants are not mammoths any more than horses are deer. Take two steps back and look at the merry-go-round . I am sure Dr Dan Peterson and the many other contemporary Hugh Nibley proteges could beast me arguing any given point, I am not up to date on any of it. .But when I go home and think about it, the whole picture, it just doesn’t make sense.
Perhaps that is the point of it. A rational religion is just not possible. Ten percent of you income, please.
Two minor points I think Dr Southerton fumbled a bit.
1. The separation of pre and post Columbus DNA. Quite simple to do. Look at DNA from skeletal remains that date to before 1492 AD. (Make it before 1000 AD to exclude any Viking contribution). By definition they are pre-Columbus. Look at multiple markers and leverage it from there into the modern database. They may not have 100’s of really old samples tested but they don’t have zero either and they do have thousands different genes or more. That argument evaporates, especially since BYU has no interest in doing this testing that could prove or more likely further disprove them.
2. Concubines. If the Nephites and Lamanites were taking concubines or sex slaves from the native Americans, then that would tend to create EVEN MORE middle eastern DNA for us to find today, not dilute it.. Concubines weakens the explanation of disappearing DNA. The only way for history to hide their DNA would be to have strict 100% chastity and inbreeding. Then have 100% of that population systematically wiped out. That would include killing even that one cute 15 year old submissive little girl a victorious warrior might want to take home as a souvenir before she got pregnant and ran away. Not the larger half exterminating the smaller half after centuries of mingling of their blood lines and constant adultery.
At first I thought Dr Southerton was mistaking Zimbabwe with Ethiopia for the location of this Lemba tribe. (We Mormons are geographically challenged when it comes to the BoM.) But I looked it up and Dr Southerton is completely correct. I am aware of a people in Ethiopia that to this day claims to be partially Jewish and even claims they have the Ark of the Covenant; that Queen Sheba had a son by King Solomon who was given it, or more believably took it and they have kept since then. They became Christian and are called the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. There is a short summary of this story in the wiki article on Ark of the Covenant and even a picture of the church building in which their Ark is housed. Photos of the Ark have been smuggled out and this Ark is thought to be more recent than Solomon’s Ark. But might the Jewish roots of this people be true?
Mike: I don’t think Dr. Southerton fumbled those topics. My impression, on hearing the episode, was a bit of frustration on his part.
These Book of Mormon historicity discussions often devolve into a discussion of *possibilities* rather than *probabilities*. Over time, the goal posts have been moved several times, from a hemispherical model, to maybe the Hopewell, to Mesoamerica, to now both the Mulekites and subsequently Lehites taking over the government, military, and religion of two different, large populations, only to disappear completely. Whenever DNA or some other type of evidence demonstrates a flawed model, BoM historicists pivot to some other model and make extraordinary claims. Importantly, they then require critics to prove their new model wrong.
My take is that Dr. Southerton gets exasperated at such claims. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Postulations and theories demanding to be proven wrong aren’t worth the time. Anything is possible and it is pointless to have to refute every conceivable possibility anybody could dream up. The onus is on those making the extraordinary claims to provide extraordinary evidence.
“When did the African incursion of DNA into native American populations happen? ”
My understanding is that based on segment length the mixture was post conquest. Also no samples preconquest show African DNA.(also no Jewish or Near Eastern DNA)
As to if by land or sea, the populations of Native Americans in North and South America show some genetic differences which may because of the way they were initially populated.
For instance,In North America, we have Haplogroup X2a, which came thousands of years ago from a Siberian group, which also contributed genes to European populations.
And in the Amazon, are some indigenous peoples who have a deep connection to population groups in Oceania, sharing ancestors from tens of thousands of years ago.
“Is there any chance that Donald Parry had a bet with someone to see who could get the most ridiculous thing published in the ensign?”
I’m not following you Zach.
“When did the African incursion of DNA into native American populations happen?”
Great question, but I’m not 100% clear on the answer. We would expect most African DNA to come when slavery came to America (17th century.) It would be interesting to know if there was African DNA that pre-dates Columbus, but I’ve never heard anyone answer this.
“Did some of the early immigrants across Beringa (Beringa= an ancient ice age land mass between the Lena river in Russia and the Mackenzie river in Yukon Canada, now partially covered by the Bering sea) include people only a couple generations removed from Africa?”
I think this is HIGHLY unlikely. Most people who came from Beringa were Asian. I think I heard that the group may have been as small as 250 people. See this article from just 6 days ago: https://phys.org/news/2018-05-dna-sequences-people-native-american.html
“Did any of the forgotten (never even learned about in the first place, by me) civilizations of Africa make journeys across the Atlantic ocean?”
I am not aware of any.
While I think Simon’s case is compelling, I do think Simon made a few wrong assumptions regarding pre/post-Columbian DNA. He claimed that even if 96% of Native Americans were killed this was equal across the genome. However, Ugo stated in my previous interview:
“If the Nephites and Lamanites were taking concubines or sex slaves from the native Americans, then that would tend to create EVEN MORE middle eastern DNA for us to find today, not dilute it.” As for Mike’s second point, I don’t follow that at all, and it seems a basic misunderstanding of DNA. In another conversation with Ugo, he said,
See the link I posted previously.
Simon mentioned one of the things that got him thinking was a 1998 Ensign article written by Donald Parry. I read the article to see what it was about.
I agree with Cody’s assessment of the frustration. Mainstream science is all about what is most likely based on observable evidence. That’s not the aim of Mormon apologetics. Apologists seek to provide rational arguments for how an extraordinary claim could be possible in *spite* of what mainstream science says. Religion is all about believing the extraordinary (angels, gold plates, etc.), so you don’t *have* to make it the most likely explanation, just a possible one. This is why people get frustrated trying to debate this stuff – opposing sides are coming at it with different expectations on evidence requirements.
I completely understand the frustration of what Cody is saying regarding moving the goalposts.
Having said that, you take someone like me, who believes the Book of Mormon and have had my life blessed by it’s teachings, then yes, I’m going to explore every possible angle before giving up and saying “it’s fake”. Even if in the end it’s still proven fake, I’d still probably follow it’s teachings.
In a larger context, it doesn’t take long in biblical scholarship before you realize that if you wanted to, you could write off almost all of the Bible as made up, heavily revised after the fact, or pseudepigraphical.
If I can suspend reality for the Bible, then I can do it for the BoM because I’d drop the BoM due to false teachings before I would drop it for historicity issues.
I see your point, that Dr Southerton is a thoughtful and soft-spoken guy and anything but a loud-mouth who relishes verbal mudslinging (Me? Who is looking at me?) He has been raked over the coals and is tired of the ever moving goal posts. I am just describing how, on these two points, the defenders are going to pivot right on their faces into their own mud.If Dr Southerton doesn’t want to put his boot in their pants and help them along, I do.
Thank you for your answers to some of my questions. Very interesting.
As to your dilution explanation: Let us suppose that you have a new Italian Mormon mutation, that mutation being upon your baptism, the water was a little hot and stirred up your DNA in one little cell and your first born can now grow horns. (God has a sense of humor so bear with me). This is an autosomal dominant gene that activated several other genes long suppressed in the 90%+ of our genome we don’t know what it does and this stimulates horn growth during adolescence. So you have 4 children and 2 of them have horns. They marry and with each generation the genetic trait is found on average in half of your descendants. With good or bad luck this might be quite a bit more or less and could disappear. But after a few generations it is going to settle down a bit to some frequency in the population. And like my g grandfather, suppose you have over 10,000 descendants after 4 generations. That is thousands of Italian Mormon horn genes that have to disappe
Even though the percent of all of your Italian genes goes down, (you have to cut 1 billion genes in half 300 or more times to get it down to less than 1 gene, so say 300 generations instead of 6- but same thing) the number of individuals goes up with any given gene. Your descendants, if they grow numerous enough and don’t migrate much over several generations, start to marry their distant cousins which can concentrate some genes. A few might disappear by random chance but most of them will either increase or at least still be present. Since horns become fashionable and desirable especially in women, your descendants have a selective advantage and you have more descendants. For invisible genes this won’t happen, along with negative selective pressures.
Your example only proves that it doesn’t work for all genes which we know is not correct. It does not explain the implausible aberration of the loss of an entire tribe or nation of genes required for the BoM story to fit science. We are not trying to find ALL of the middle eastern genes in Lehi or sequence his entire genome from native American populations. Many of those genes are lost forever. We are still trying to find ONE gene from the middle east. Rod Meldrum had his silver bullet, the X2a haplotype that was believable enough that he brought several hundred people back into the church with it.. Seriously. But it seems that is not working out for him so well. This demonstrates that this information is extremely powerful and important and cannot be ignored, which is increasingly the only strategy left.
I definitely agree with Mary Ann. Every court has rules of evidence which I am told is a crucial class in law school. If we can’t agree on this, then discussion ends in nonsense. You really don’t have to “believe” in any given part of science. My brother doesn’t. He engages in a few logical flaws and then laughs. It is like church basketball- no blood, no foul. But he is my brother and Rod is one of my favorite relatives. Both of them are, on the balance, far better men than me.
The Parry article deserves special consideration. At my brother’s chapel in Utah, the front wall beyond the speakers has tall windows out of which stand the towering Wasatch mountains. You can literally plan yore deer hunt while sitting in church looking at them. They have not banned binoculars, but that would probably cost you some social capital. Along the foothills are the beaches of the old Lake Bonneville.
You can sit there and observe the difference. The tops of those mountains were there 5000 years ago as were a few of the oldest Bristlecone pines on other mountains further south. Their rings have been numbered by man, not just God. They have never been under water in recent geological history. Water in lakes is like a slow motion washing machine. Even in a small lake over night, large tree trunks can appear or disappear depending on wind direction and currents. You can find sea shells in the limestone on the mountains but they are from when those rocks were formed under ancient lakes hundred of millions of years ago. Saying they are evidence of a Biblical flood is disingenous and ridiculous.
You have to be a fool not look out those windows and see those mountains were never under water. Perhaps if you sit on the stand and look the other direction for too many years you might forget. If you can read and bother to study even a small amount, you will find many reasons why the world wide flood did not happen. Furthermore, you might discover the Black Sea deluge. There is a wiki article on it. That is the local flood described in the Bible. Most of the details fit, except those which are obviously preposterous. It has its detractors but any differences will only reflect the accuracy of the transmission of the story which is already compromised.
There are few if any Biblical stories that have stronger scientific evidence against them than the world wide flood. And there are only a few teachings of Joseph Smith that don’t have more importance and far-reaching ramifications than the end-of-days teachings of Zion being built in Missouri and Christ returning there and it being the location of the Garden of Eden. These teachings require a world wide flood to make sense. Other Christian theologies do not so they can more easily adapt to a regional flood. There is little middle ground for us. Science easily demonstrates Joseph Smith knew about as much on the place in real history of these Biblical events as he did about reading Egyptian hieroglyphics and translating the Book of Abraham.
The Parry article would be less embarrassing if it was written 40 or 50 years earlier. But 1998? That was a year after the Black Sea deluge idea was first published and popularized. It shows a post-correlation Mormon spokesman “flippin’ the bird” at science. How can we even have a conversation until this attitude is corrected? How can they then sincerely justify financing a major university?
Whelp, that does it. My faith is dead. This stuff deadly.
How many Eurasians would have to be killed, randomly or not, for Neanderthal genes to stop showing up. It seems to me, if the Book of Mormon is what is says it is, then Near Eastern DNA should show up in the admixture. (and what about the plants and animals and their DNA?)
The People of the British Isles project found 17 distinct clusters, many of which were located where ancient tribes existed. I find it interesting that an American with British ancestry can now take a DNA test that claims to show what part of Britain their ancestors came from. Yet Lehi and company have been turned into just one family living in an isolated city in an obscure jungle.
I just remembered reading about this fascinating little discovery. As I understand it, at least 80 people in Iceland have a genetic marker that can be traced back to North America several centuries before Columbus. It appears the Vikings took at least one woman from “Vinland” back home with them, either with or without her consent and her descendants can be identified by DNA 1000 years later. The DNA evidence squares with the Norse saga in every detail.
Yet, we can’t seem to find even one Lehite descendant out of a population of at least a quarter of a million Nephite warriors killed in the last battle, implying at least that many more women /children on the losing side and even greater numbers on the winning side, for a grand total of well over 1 million people. This only 1600 years ago. Seems like a problem to me.
So the counter argument is that a small number (19 people mentioned in the BoM Lehi group) of people take over the leadership of a larger group. And then 2600 years later all of their genetic markers are lost. But wait, it happened 3 times with the Mulekites and Jaredites. The statistical question is just how small would the group have to be for this to have even a 5% chance of happening? I don’t know how to do the calculations, but if guessing on a test I would guess really really small. Like maybe zero. The size of the 3 groups of people from Palestine who came here and had virtually all of their genes diluted or drifted away would have to be near zero. In other words, nobody from Palestine came to America.
To me, the Iceland woman almost disproves Mike’s point. I read the article and here’s why I think that:
The isolated population of Iceland is 350,000 and only 80 people had the marker.
Landnámabók manuscript says that the population at the time of around 1000AD was 3500 people on a tiny island. That’s when we’re presuming she would have arrived. With that much time and that much isolation I’d expect to see more than 80 people today with her marker.
What’s also interesting is that within 1000 years, she’s turned into an new sub-marker (C1e) that no longer matches what we see in the Americas.
Regarding the Jarodites, we don’t know the first thing about them.
Regarding the Mulekites, we only know that one person out of the group was Jewish, the king’s son. Everyone else is conjecture and speculation.
Suzanne, you really need to listen to Ugo Perego’s interview, because I asked about Neanderthals. It’s too long to post here, but here is a brief excerpt:
He goes on to say that we have bones of Neanderthals, but we do not have bones of Lehi. If we had Lehi’s bones, we could directly sample to see what markers are available. Hear the whole explanation at https://gospeltangents.com/2017/09/16/doesnt-dna-match-book-mormon-part-1/
I find this subject of archaeogenetics interesting.
See here’s the thing to me, while there are Neanderthal bones, we don’t have the particular bones of our long lost ancient grandparents. Yet here we are with Neanderthal DNA.
So there is ancient Near Eastern DNA, middle east DNA, North African DNA. There are many genetic population studies of the origin of Jewish groups including Samaritans.
We don’t need to dig up Lehi to find out he never made it across the ocean.
Suzanne, once again, I encourage you to listen all of Ugo’s interviews (there are 11.) We covered Joseph Smith’s paternity of potential children (parts 1-4), as well as why we can see Neanderthal DNA. While the topics are related, there are important points that I think you are not taking into account. (We also uncoverend a couple of interesting DNA tests related to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.) Ugo has done some incredible, ground-breaking work and has published these DNA techniques in scientific journals. His 150 year old paternity test on DNA is pretty amazing, despite not having any actual DNA from Joseph Smith, although that would have been a huge help.
They only looked at one gene from one person and found something compelling 1000 years later. Still far better than the century of searching for scientific evidence of Nephites and looking at hundreds of genetic markers and finding nothing compelling. Notice you didn’t suggest that maybe she really wasn’t from North America. That would be as weak as our Nephite arguments, but in the opposite direction.
If they ever find the real X2a silver bullet- Palestine DNA marker in 80 native Americans, are you going to point out that this almost disproves that there were never any people who came here from the middle east?
I don’t know how many Icelanders they tested . Maybe not that many. The number 80 is a basement number not a ceiling number. If they tested the entire 350,000 population it probably would be higher.
As for the Jaredites, I agree that we don’t know much about them. What little we are told is preposterous. If we had a 5ooo page scholarly tome on them and we found several errors, that would be a problem. We could summarize what we do know about the Jaredites in a couple pages and even a 5000 page defense isn’t enough to explain the problems.
The suggestion that Mulek was the only person who might have come is doubly ridiculous. What did he do? Make it to somewhere like Mongolia with a small band who all eventually died off leaving no trace in that part of Asia. And Mulek bewitched a bunch of Mongol nonconformists to build Viking-like ships and row across the North Pacific and then doubly bewitch the American Indians to let him civilize them? And this tall tale is supposed to bolster the case that the world wide flood really did happen?
You’re reaching, confirmation bias. Look at my relative Rod Meldrum, he is an expert on it. Hey, I’m on his side; its called consanguineous bias. I like him and want him to be right. Give him something better to work with. Watch him turn that charisma and charm on high and save the testimonies of millions, well maybe thousands.
One thing about this that people ignore is the natural selection angle. If a set of genes provides an evolutionary advantage, it would have a disproportionately higher representation among descendants than we would expect. In the case of Neanderthals, those genes (in spite of only being 1.5% of our genome) have a heavy impact on our immune systems. They provided an evolutionary advantage in the European prehistoric environment, so people with those genes were more likely to survive and reproduce (unfortunately, they provide some disadvantages in our modern environments). Same thing over in Asia, where Denisovian genes enable Tibetans to live at much higher altitudes. Simon countered this idea by saying Middle Eastern DNA should’ve provided an evolutionary advantage against European diseases. The problem is that the Middle Eastern DNA would’ve needed to survive to the 1400s AD before it could even have a chance at boosting immune systems. You would expect that those people who evolved in an area to have had genes more naturally selected to thrive in the peculiarities of that environment (like Neanderthals in Europe and Denisovians in Asia). I don’t know that we could thus expect Middle Eastern DNA to have an evolutionary advantage over the genes of indigenous populations prior to the introduction of European illness.
As someone who works a lot in family history and having to explain to people why the Italian genes of documented ancestors aren’t showing up in their Ancestry DNA tests, the fact is that I’ve seen DNA traces disappear, even within a few generations. In the case of Iceland having that Native American signature, you’re dealing with an isolated population where just about everyone is related. You expect unusual genes to pop up at higher frequencies when relatives are reproducing with each other (that’s why you see so many autosomal recessive disorders among inbred families).
So while I respect the mainstream view that lack of Middle Eastern DNA in New World populations rules out the possibility of Jaredites, Mulekite, and Lehite ancestry, I’m in Ugo Peregro’s corner (because, like him, I have a bias). I can identify logical possibilities for that DNA to disappear, but they are merely possibilities – thought experiments. They cannot be seen as positive evidence for the BofM.
I am wondering what the evolutionary advantage is to the persistence of the neanderthal gene for less back hair.
As to diseases, small pox has been around for awhile. Since ancient Egyptians had it, I wonder what the reformed Egyptian word is for small pox. Good thing it didn’t tag along with Lehi or Mulek, or the results would have been catastrophic.
Which brings me to a mutation — CCR5-Δ32, which is really,really super good to have if you’ve been exposed to HIV. It’s found in European populations, and predate HIV. It relatively recent, only 700 to 2700 years old but yet is found in 10% of Europeans.
It was first thought that the plague was the positive selective pressure, but it only bumped it up to 1%. But Smallpox, that’s the ticket, brought it up to 10% and explained the mutations spread outside Europe.
And speaking of epidemics. There is speculation that disease is what lead to the replacement of ancient Brition DNA. Goodbye Stonehedge builders, Hello Beaker folk. But yet still, with what has been describes as an almost complete replacement of DNA, Mesolithic genes remain.
And when I look at lactose intolerant Cheddar man with his dark skin and striking blue eyes, what comes to my mind is sexual selection. (I wonder if he had back hair?)
If Arnold Friberg paintings are to be believed, those ripped Nephites should have had reproductive success. And by being leaders of their society, they demonstrate fitness to women choosing mates. Lots and lots of grandchildren.
That’s my bias.