Sunday, October 28, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XXIII

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first eighty-six comments were answered in the previous 22 posts, the eighty-seventh and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #87 “I am always amazed how critics of the Book of Mormon claim that the archaeology of the Bible is well documented and if the Book of Mormon was true, why isn’t it. However, archaeology has identified only 55% of the modern sites and place names of the Bible, and this from the most carefully scrutinized and studied book in the world. For example, where is Mt. Sinai? There are over twenty candidates. What is the route taken by the Israelites in the Exodus? Again, there are many different theories. The geography of western Anatolia in the second millennium B.C. has for long been a subject of considerable dispute, with two major alternatives that have the same regions and locations over three hundred kilometers apart and are directionally skewed. Furthermore, the region where the province of Arzawa is frequently thought to have been, "so far show[s] no sign at all of settled occupation during the Hittite period."Thus, despite a hundred and twenty years of archaeological and philological investigation, no certain geography for western Anatolia during this period can be determined, and archaeological evidence cannot be fully reconciled with Hittite textual data. These and many other issues of biblical geography are all hotly disputed. Furthermore, the fact that there is widespread agreement on many questions of geography is simply an indication that scholarly consensus has been achieved but not necessarily that the consensus is correct." Olmstead.
Response: Exactly correct. Without the continuity of place names between biblical and modern times, only about 36 of the 475 biblical place names could be identified with certainty. But in fact those 36 are identifiable largely because it is possible to triangulate their relationship to known sites, moving from the known to the unknown. It is only because there are numerous biblical sites known with certainty through the continuity of place names that these 36 sites can be located. In addition, while all scholars now agree that the Norsemen did indeed discover and temporarily colonize North America in the eleventh century, the precise location of the "Vinland" of the sagas is hotly disputed with nearly a dozen candidates ranging between "Hudson Bay and the state of Florida." If precise geographical unanimity cannot be reached by scholars in 45% of the Bible locations, or things like Vinland, why should the analysis of Book of Mormon geography be considered "a fairly simple matter"?
Comment #88 “You can talk about the Book of Mormon facts all you want, but no horses have ever been found in the Americas. What about that?” Lawrence.
Response: A species may have existed at the time of the Nephites, but archaeological evidence of its existence has not been discovered, or has not been properly interpreted. The horse is an excellent example of this. Although generally thought to have been extinct by the end of Pre-Classic times (before A.D. 300), possible horse remains have been found in various locations in the Andean area and in Mesoamerica, which seem to be from archaeological strata contemporary with pre-Colonial civilizations. Just recently the remains of a horse was dug up in Carlsbad, California, dating to a period prior to the Spanish arrival--now thinbk about it. Carlsbad is extremely well settled, yet these remains were dug up only five years ago! Five years! Why weren't they discovered a hundred years ago, or two hundred? Obviously, because it is not always easy to find such remains! In addition, Darwin found a horse’s tooth in Chile in South America which he identified as being from a modern horse and dated to a time prior to the arrival of the Spanish.
Left: Horse remains have been found throughout the Americas. Right: The Carlsbad horse was recently discovered by Larry Tift and Archaeologist Luke Piek, along with another horse and a burro, dating to pre-Spanish times
It should be kept in mind, that while the Americas was the original home of the horse species, and evolved and thrived here it is claimed for over 57 million years, it is claimed they mysteriously died out some 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. However, this is an unknown and unprovable belief. Remains of horses have been found in numerous locations in the Americas, and if the Earth is truly 13,000 years old as the scriptures indicate, then horses have been around in so-called “modern times.”
In addition, it can be mentioned that the Huns of Central Asia and Eastern Europe were a nomadic people for whom horses represented both a major form of wealth and the basis of their military power. Estimates are that each Hun warrior may have had has many as ten horses, yet to quote Sandor Bokonyi, himself a Hungarian, and a paleozoologist as well as a foremost authority on the subject, “We know very little of the Huns' horses. It is interesting that not a single usable horse bone has been found in the territory of the whole empire of the Huns.” During the two centuries of their domination of the western steppe, the Huns must have had hundreds of thousands of horses. If Hunnic horse bones are so rare despite their vast herds, why should we expect extensive evidence of the use of horses in Nephite lands in the Americas, especially considering the limited references to horses in the Book of Mormon text, and the limited effort to uncover such archaeological finds?
Comment #89 “No matter how much you try to prove it, you will never convince me of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.” Gilbert.
Response: My writing in this blog is not meant to convince you of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon stands on its own and needs no proving. This blog is written to show that archaeological setting behind the scriptural record and the accuracy of Mormon’s numerous geographical outlines. If you seek proof of the Book of Mormon, I recommend you follow Moroni’s suggestion found in Moroni 10:4; it is the way Latter-day saints have come to know the truth of the scriptural record since its publication.
Comment #90 “What do you think of the Malay Peninsula or Baja Peninsula theories?” Michelle.
Response: Joseph Smith knew and understood the word peninsula. In his many translated descriptions of the Land of Promise, show me where he used that word to describe the geographical setting of the Book of Mormon. Of course, he did not. However, he used in 1828 the word “isle” (2 Nephi 10:20), which is the same as the word “island” today. Other than that glaring problem with those theories, I have written extensively about other glaring difficulties with those theories. They simply do not match the numerous indicators in the Book of Mormon about the geography of the Land of Promise.
Comment #91 Wait, we can believe in angels coming back to earth and giving people ancient records buried in a hill, but a wormhole between a cave in upstate NY and one in Malay is out of the question? Are there no sci-fi fans theorizing about BOM geography?” Centrix.
Response: As an old science-fiction writer and follower, I’m sure there are, but I doubt any sci-fi scenario would hold up to the scriptural record.
 (See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XXIV,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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