Monday, July 11, 2016

Answering the Great Lakes Theorist – Part II

Continuing with a reader named Guy and his lengthy critical comments:    Reader: So how did God do it? The same way He did to the Egyptians: And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (Exodus 10:21-23).” 
    Response: Let’s not forget that whenever God intervenes in such a manner as you describe, that is basically unknown to man and unexplained by man, he lets man know what he is doing and has him record it, as shown in the above description of God working through Moses for the Children of Israel. On the other hand, no such intervention of God is mentioned in this manner in the case of Nephite happenings. 
    We are not debating here whether or not God can do things. But whether or not he did something so far out of the ordinary we do not have natural criteria in which he employed in his actions. We can describe the darkness experienced by the Nephites during storms and other weather phenomena described from a much more knowledgeable viewpoint than that of Moses’ time.
    And most importantly, there is not a single mention of God doing something out of the ordinary in these events.
Reader: “Rock Walls. In trying to claim the "Great Wall of Peru" as BOM DowDell said: "Rock walls in connection with small forts are well discussed in Alma 48:8" (p. 366). Let's see how well "rock walls" are explained in that verse: “Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land. (Alma 48:8). That is the only reference to the use of stones. Further (and multiple) descriptions of these fortifications do not use the word "stone," only "dig" "dirt" "ditch" and "bank" 
    Response: It seems that the point here is that Mormon, in his abridgement mentions “stones.” And not just in a singular manner but in building walls of stone:
1. Built around their cities
2. Built around about the land
    How much more can we find the use for stone walls built for defense but around cities and around the land. That pretty much covers it all. You wouldn’t want to build stone walls around an army position, because armies move about, so you would use temporary measures, such as digging up the earth and throwing it up to create piles of dirt over which the enemy could not shoot their arrows or throw their rocks. And that is what we find in the dirt piles where dirt was “thrown up round about to enclose their armies.” (In each of the subsequent examples Guy uses, “they had cast up dirt round about to shield them from the arrows and the stones of the Lamanites,” “the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect.” “ the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about, save it were by the entrance.”
The point to all this is that Moroni was a master at defending the Nephite nation. He not only built walls of stone throughout the land and around the cities, but also dug trenches and heaped the dirt up for the protection of his army. He also clothed his army in armor and provided superior defenses for them in all things. Note, however, that the Great Lakes Theorists hammers away about the dirt, but ignores almost completely the importance of the stone defenses around the entire country. Maybe that is because dirt piles do not survive and rock walls do and there are no rock walls of Moroni's caliber in the Great Lakes area.
    The reader, in his second attack, uses Hugh Nibley who was a Mesoamericanist, by the way, though he stated: "A closer approximation to the Book of Mormon picture of Nephite culture is seen in the earth and PALISADE STRUCTURES of the Hopewell and Adena culture areas than in the later STATELY PILES OF STONE in Mesoamerica." (Hugh Nibley, The Prophetic Book of Mormon, 1989, p. 272.).
    That , of course, is Hugh Nibleyh’s opinion and he is entitled to it. However, we have written extensively to show the type of construction that Lehi, Nephi, Sam, and Zoram would have known intimately having lived as adults in or around Jerusalem. To think they would have been satisfied with waddle and daub houses in this new world, and for Nephi to build a flimsy temple to his God whom he loved dearly and honored profusely that would not last is to belittle the man’s most prominent method of honoring his God.
    Reader: “Exceeding Great Quaking of the whole earth…And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth.” 
Response: That pretty much describes stone type buildings. Having lived in Southern California most of my life and experiencing scores of earthquakes over that time, I can speak from experience that wood doesn’t react that way to an earthquake—it moves back and forth because it is not solid, but stone falls and breaks apart. It also might be noted that nowhere in the Great lakes area do we find large city remnants that had fallen to the earth.
    It also might be of interest to know and understand the superstitious nature of the American Indian that moved into and lived in the Great Lakes area. Their superstitious nature would not have allowed them to live in an area where lots of people had died, i.e., ruins of ancient civilizations. Thus, nothing would have been disturbed by them before the coming of the Europeans who found absolutely nothing in the area to write about, describe, or leave us any clue of its existence.
    Reader: “Wind Routes. At the front of DowDell's theory is the simple approach of learning what the wind and sea currents were "back then" and then he could pinpoint with complete accuracy where Lehi landed
    Response: It is always interesting to me that a novice regarding the winds and currents somehow think they have changed over the centuries or millennia as though they come and go on their own volition. However, as we have quoted from numerous experts in the field earth and solar winds, such as NASA, Wind Technology Engineers, National Severe Storms Forecast Center, QuickSCAT, etc., as well as the ocean currents, such as oceanographers, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Global Surface Current Pattern engineers, or the Ocean Energy Council, and now the new airborne technology of Remote Ocean Current Imagine Systems. All of these, along with the fact that we have names and understanding of the oceans and winds to such a degree today that we can intelligently communicate these sciences in simple and understandable language—something unavailable to Mormon and even Joseph Smith who were forced to describe events rather than simply use their names.
    Reader: "Using wind and sea currents available to Lehi's ship in 600 B.C. There could be only one conclusion to a route and landing site." ( p.771)
    Response: I don’t define the laws of nature. The simple fact is, if you put a floating piece of wood in the gutter drain, it will flow along with the water current—it will not go elsewhere on its own! The same is true of the ship Nephi describes that was “driven forth before the wind.” It can only go where the wind and currents took it. The simple answer is to find where the winds and currents go off the southern coast of Arabia (Oman) and track the course. And as stated, that only goes in one direction. A ship “driven forth before the wind” could have gone no other place!
Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation is a constant. So is the flow of a current acting on a singular object, such as a sailing ship “driven forth before the wind” 
(see the next post, “Deconstructing Del DowDell - Part III, for more of our answers to the lengthy comments from a Great Lakes Theorist)

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