Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Letter of Arthur Budvarson—Part IV

Continuing with Arthur Budvarson’s six questions asked of Dr. Roberts of the Smithsonian Institution about the Book of Mormon, their answers and our evaluation. The first two questions were covered in the last two posts. Here is the third question: 
3. “Has the Book of Mormon ever been used or recognized as a guide in archeological explorations?”
First of all, Dr. Roberts’ answers to Budvarson’s questions state that he has not found that any of the archaeological data as known by him and his associates correspond with the subject matter of the Book of Mormon. However, Dr. Roberts honestly admits that he is "not thoroughly versed in the Book of Mormon,” nor does he discuss the possible value of the Book of Mormon when archaeologists really begin to excavate in American sites that are admittedly of "pre-classic" significance, that is, come in the area and time of which the Nephite record speaks;
    Second, once again it needs to be pointed out that Budvarson’s attention and his questions were directed to the Smithsonian about Mesoamerica. At no time has there been from Budvarson, nor answered from the Smithsonian, regarding the archaeological sites and work done in South America;
    Third, the fact that the Book of Mormon is a religious work, containing God’s dealings with man on the American continent, in and of itself, would disqualify it in our society today as a guide for non-religious study and archaeological or anthropological work. It would seem that Budvarson knew this before he ever posed the question to the Smithsonian;
Fourth, since almost all sciences, including the Smithsonian stance, centers around man coming across the Bering Strait Land Bridge as the means for settling the Western Hemisphere, it is unlikely that any work supporting an opposite view, such as man settling the Western Hemisphere via sailing across the Pacific (or Atlantic) in antiquity is likely to be used in such work;
    Fifth, since the chance that a non-LDS archaeologist would be sufficiently schooled in the Book of Mormon sufficient to feel it could be a basis for study and field work is extremely unlikely;
    Sixth, the chance that an LDS-archaeologist finding such matches between the scriptural record and field work that verified the Book of Mormon, would be believed and accepted by the scientific community is also extremely unlikely (which has been the case many times);
    Seventh, the chance of the scientific community accepting any work, no matter how credible, outside of its own accepted fields, beliefs and dogmas, as the basis of any accurate and honest archaeological or anthropological work is also extremely unlikely;
    Eighth, the chance that the scientific community would accept uncovered evidences by even non-LDS works that support the opposite of their long-held scientific beliefs is so unlikely based upon their past ignoring of break-through discoveries about elephant remains found in the Americas, which verifies the Book of Mormon account of such, that it is not even worthy of discussion;
    Ninth, the likelihood that the scientific community would rather accept and believe in almost impossible scenarios that support their long-help beliefs rather than look into reasonable answers to long studied problems has been shown to be true in case after case;
    Tenth, the likelihood that the scientific community would reject long-held and time-worn beliefs in evolution rather than accept that God had a hand in anything is so evident today, that any God-oriented answers, no matter how likely and how evidenced, would stand a chance at penetrating the cloak of “superstition” surrounding scientific dogmas is as unlikely as any of the above scenarios;
Eleventh, even though archaeological assumptions about field work discoveries is not proven (it is simply the archaeologist’s interpretation of what he finds), it is accepted generally without question, unless it has something to do with the Book of Mormon, and/or flies in the face of commonly held scientific beliefs;
    Twelfth, since the scientific community does not accept Noah’s Flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9; it does not accept that God created man, but insists it is scientifically proven that man evolved from a single-cell amoeba; science does not accept that the Earth is around 13,000 years old as illustrated in the Bible and even Willard F. Libby‘s highly accepted radiocarbon (Carbon-14) time clock verified to be less than 20,000 years old, before he ignored his own findings and test results, and reset the clock to measure in thousands and millions of years, it cannot be considered very likely that science is going to accept anything stated in the Book of Mormon.
    The fact of the matter is, however, that evidences of the Book of Mormon story line can be found in numerous places throughout the Land of Promise when one looks into Andean South America and not Mesoamerica. There are still a few areas that have not yet been verified, but the number of areas that have far outweigh those that have not.
    The problem, as stated above, lies not in finding anything to verify the Book of Mormon, it is in finding people who will accept what has been found without trying to ignore it, claim it does not exist, or simply disbelieve the evidence.
Even with those scientists who do accept such information, it is the story of “the elephant in the living room”—a term that refers to a question, problem, solution, or controversial issue which is obvious to everyone who knows about the situation, but which is deliberately ignored because to do otherwise would cause great embarrassment, or trigger arguments or is simply taboo (originally used by George Berkeley in discussing whether or not there is "an invisible elephant in the room" in his debates with scientists on the nature and elements of the external world in 1862).
    Everyone knows the elephant is there, but no one wants to talk about it. In the case of the issue at hand, scientists can be blackballed (not receive contracts, funding, time on computers, not get published, etc.) if they work on matters unacceptable to the scientific community, especially if they involve anything to do with God. This elephant is not going to go away by ignoring it, but what is the alternative? Few scientists are going to point to the elephant if it means their career. They simply have no alternative—they have no choice but to ignore the elephant in the living room, even if it means accepting theories to which they do not agree.
    Consequently, it is not very likely that anyone is going to use the Book of Mormon as a guide in archaeological explorations—a fact that Budvarson undoubtedly knew before asking the Smithsonian.

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