Saturday, July 28, 2012

James Warr and his Mormon Geography in Central America-Part I

Following are some of James Warr’s counter, but not-so-accurate, claims regarding a Land of Promise in South America.

1. Warr: “South America has been suggested as a possible site for Book of Mormon lands. This theory requires some major geographic changes to make it possible.”

There have been “major geographic changes” at different times in the course of the Earth’s development. First, was the original organization; second, the Flood; third, when the Earth was Divided; fourth, the destruction at the time of Christ’s crucifixion; and fifth, the tectonic movement of plates claimed by scientists over several thousands of years. Taking just one example: the idea of an earthquake lasting three hours (3 Nephi 8:19), is beyond imagination—there has never been an earthquake recorded for more than a minute or two. This earthquake toppled and destroyed buildings over thousands of square miles (3 Nephi 8:12-13), created vast valleys in level ground, earth opened to envelope entire cities, oceans rushed in to cover other cities (3 Nephi 8:14), level ground rose up to form mountains, “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23), and “the face of the whole earth became deformed” (3 Nephi 8:17). The changes Warr claims would have to take place have already been recorded as taking place.

2. Warr: "The most common proposal suggests that the Amazon basin was at a lower elevation and was underwater before the time of Christ."

Much of the Amazon Basin is underwater even today

The Amazon Basin, which is 2,670,000 square miles (the land mass of the entire United States is 3.5 million square miles), and covers about 40% of the entire continent of South America. This Basin is east of the Andes, covering parts of Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, and flows to the Atlantic Ocean about 4,000 miles away. This Amazon Basin is mostly underwater, with the land itself beneath the surface in many areas.
Iquitos, along the flood plain of the Amazon in northeastern Peru, is called the floating city

As an example, Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and major port of the Amazon Basin, with a population of 406,340 people, is partly built on balsa rafts that float up and down as the water level rises and falls. Its highest point is in May, its lowest in October.
Belen, Amazonas, is a floating city east of Iquitos, where the buildings are tethered to poles so they can move up and down as the flood plain waters rise or fall

3. Warr: "This created a narrow neck somewhere in eastern Peru or Ecuador, the land southward being south of this narrow neck, and the land northward to the north."

With most of the land east of the Andes more or less underwater, the land was what is now west of the Andes. Chileans, even today, call their country an island. According to the scientific findings of the deep sea drilling vessel, Glomar Challenger, Panama was not connected to Colombia in recent times, and Darwin himself claimed his findings of the Andes mountains told him that land eastward was underwater in very recent times and the Atlantic Ocean reached the Andes Mountains. This particular land mass west of present day Andes, is separated north and south by the very large Bay of Guayaquil along the southern Ecuadorian border. The distance from the east end of the Bay to the Andes is about 26 miles. If the Andes Mountains are the mountains Samuel the Lamanite claimed rose up, “whose height is great,” then the Sea East would have been about 30 miles from the east end of this Bay. As a footnote, the great height of the Andes, ranging between about 19,000 and 22,000 feet, is the highest mountain range in the Western Hemisphere, and dwarfs any mountains in Central America and the Eastern United States.

The Bay of Guayaquil, more accurately called the Gulf of Guayaquil, was created along several fault systems, and surrounded by mangrove forests

The Bay of Guayaquil along the Pacific Ocean coast of southwest Ecuador divides the Andean plain between the coast and the Andes Mountains. Almost all the rivers in Ecuador flow east into the Amazon, but a few rivers from the north and some from the south in Peru, empty into the gulf, such as the Guayas and Jubones rivers in Ecuador, and the Zarumilla and Tumbes rivers in Peru.

4. Warr: "At the time of Christ's crucifixion the surface of the land was changed (elevated in this case) resulting in what we see today.” 

The term “elevation in this case,” is not what the scriptures indicate. When Samuel the Lamanite was preaching, he prophesied that at the time of the Savior “shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up; Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath” (Helaman 14:21). Note he describes what will take place above and below the earth, which is not merely “elevated in this case.”
Andes Mountains, whose height is great, is the longest continental mountain range in the world

The Andes range is the highest mountain range outside of Asia. The highest peaks are over 22,000 feet, and the range is farther from the Earth's center than any other location on Earth's surface due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth's rotation. The world's highest volcanoes are in the Andes, at 22,615 feet and 50 other Andean volcanoes rise above 19,685 feet. Indeed, as Samuel the Lamanite said, mountains will rise up whose height is great!

(See the next post, “James Warr and his Mormon Geography in Central America-Part II,” for the rest of these points, and more of his inaccurate and obviously biased comments regarding the problems with South America as the setting for the Land of Promise)

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