Thursday, September 27, 2018

Connecting the Dots in South America – Part I

As my certainty increases, my doubt decreases; conversely, as my doubt increases, my certainty decreases. The requirement that knowledge is to be based in complete, or perfect certainty, amounts to requiring a complete absence of doubt”           --René Descartes

One should keep in mind that nobody, absolutely nobody has the right to claim to know the whole truth about the past; for there are simply too many elements of uncertainty involved, which leads to some doubt regarding most matters, ideas, philosophies and viewpoints.
For someone to have eliminated all ability for their conviction to be altered, can only consider that his or her knowledge is absolute perfection, where no additional information can possibly be obtained or incorporated, that would make any difference whatsoever to the outcome of the issue, which Descartes taught marked an epistemological innovation.
    As an example of theorists with absolute ideas on the location of the Land of Promise:
• “There is of course, only one area in the USA that meets these and other criteria: Florida” (Tylor Livingston, FAIR Mormon, “Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon”);
• “The Book of Mormon occurred in the heartland of America, and North America is the Promised Land” (David W. Allan, “Where does the Book of Mormon Really Take Place and Does it Matter,” It’s About Time, Legends Library, New York, 2014)
• John L. Sorenson, after describing Mesoamerica, states: “There are no contradictions” between his map and the Book of Mormon descriptions, except in when he adds a little later about Mexico and Guatemala, “matchup decisively with the requirements for the Book of Mormon territory, except perhaps for one major anomaly, and that is regarding the Land of Promise running north and south and his Mesoamerica runs east and west. After a lengthy explanation regarding Mormon meaning east-west when he said north-south, he states of his Mesoameirca is accurate and that “no other map correlation will do” because others have “fatal flaws” (Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1984, pp37-38,47)
• Restricting the Land of Promise to North America and more specifically the Great Lakes area, Phyllis Carol Olive states emphatically, “Thus, the term ‘Lamanite,’ in the more general sense, describes only the North American Indians who were destined to roam the land as nomads after the destruction at Cumorah” (Phyllis Carol Olive, The lost Lands of the Book of Mormon, Bonneville Books, Springville, UT, 1998, p270)
Ralph Olsen’s claimed route for Lehi and his party reaching the Land of Promise (Malay)

• Despite Jacob’s claim of being on an island, Ralph A. Olsen states of his Malay theory: “And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. (Alma 22:32) This clearly indicates a narrow peninsula extending southward into the sea. (Ralph Austin Olsen, A More Promising Land of Promise, Vivid Volumes, Logan, UT, 2006, p88).
• Embaye Melekin states of his African theory of the Book of Mormon location: “beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Book of Mormon is an African book and about Africans” (Embaye Melekin, The African Bible, Author House, Bloomington IN, 2011)
    In each of the six varying theories above, the establishers of those theories all speak with finality, expressing that their opinions are above reproach and not subject to divergent ideas or input. Many more examples could be added. Each of these and numerous others claim they began their theories based on pre-determined views. As an example, M. Wells Jakeman, who taught Book of Mormon origins began in Mesoamerica, came to BYU as head of the archaeology department with a previous history of Mayan beliefs, having written The Origins and History of the Mayas (1945) and numerous other papers before arriving at BYU in 1946 to head up a newly created department. Phyllis Carol Olive tells us that her theory began with a firm fixed belief that the hill Cumorah in New York was the one mentioned in the scriptural record. Olsen claims his theory was based on a short trip for Lehi and the existence of all the animals of the Book of Mormon being only in Malay.
    As William G. Dever, an American archaeologist, specializing in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times, correctly posits that “in history-writing of any kind, the choice of method is fundamental, because to a large degree it determines the outcome of the inquiry. Where you arrive depends not only upon where you think you are going, but also upon how you decide to get there.” (William G. Dever, Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005, p8).
    It might be added, that it depends also upon where you start, as well. The point is, as most historians have written one way or another, that a researcher’s methods can easily determine the outcome of his research.
    Consequently, whether or not Descartes teachings and his described state is achievable is not for this blog, but rests entirely in the philosophical realm. For the point of this article, there are issues constantly being discovered, proven and others disproven that lend an ever-increasing amount of knowledge to infiltrate one’s thinking. There can be no question that people’s ideas, opinions, and theories are the result of their pre-determined beliefs and viewpoints.
Mainstream thinkers claim that the South Pacific island groups, Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia, were all settled from a westward movement toward the east across the Pacific Ocean

An example of this we can take a look at the anthropologists and scientists who, from the very beginning of Polynesian origins have stated without equivocation, that the various Polynesian groups—including Samoans, Tongans, Niueans, Cook Islanders, Tahitians, Hawaiians, Marquesans and Māori, who they claim are genetically linked to indigenous peoples of parts of Maritime Southeast Asia, meaning Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Timor Leste, including those of Taiwanese aborigines, meaning Taiwanese, Formosan, Austronesian and the high mountain Gaoshan people—originated from the west.
    Albeit that this group is dominated and represented by a small, zealous group, who will not permit any points of view other than their own, they have not only arbitrarily linked into one culture all of Polynesia, but of all these separate cultures “from whence all came.” This, even though some of these groups, especially the most eastern ones, have ancient traditions that they came from the east, that is, South America.
    It has been obvious over the years, from both personal contact and written opinions, papers and books, that any discussion, scientific or otherwise, with those who follow this western origin point of view will not even consider any other viewpoint than their opinion that Polynesia was inhabited from the western region of the South Pacific.
    However, there have been for some time now, at least since 1947, and for some time earlier, a different point of view, which was so forcibly demonstrated and proven by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 with his first voyage, that of the Kon-Tiki balsa raft, which he built to show how winds and currents from the east (South America) flowed directly westward into Polynesia. In fact, toward the end of the following decade, Heyerdahl personally led archaeological expeditions to Easter Island in 1955-56 and 1986-88, where he found and demonstrated that Easter Island culture did not originate from the west but that it was settled from the east, from South America, as their various verbal history and legends claimed. Heyerdahl also held that the sweet potato, bottle gourd, and totora reed were introduced to the island from South America, while the chicken, banana, and sugar cane, for example, were introduced from Polynesia.
Ocean Currents move out from the mainland beyond the Humboldt and swing out and down into Polynesia

He thought that a pre-Inca society had reached Easter Island from Peru, by making use of the prevailing westerly trade winds. In 1947 he demonstrated that such voyages were feasible when he sailed his balsa raft Kon-Tiki from South America to Raroia Atoll, in Polynesia’s Tuamotu archipelago.
    Heyerdahl originally proposed that Easter Island was initially settled by South Americans around 400 AD, and that the Polynesians arrived centuries later, massacring most of Amerindian population. However, he later modified his opinion: he felt that the Polynesians had largely abandoned their own distinct faith and culture after arriving on Easter Island, and concluded that they had probably been brought there against their will by people from South America.
    During the late 14th century the Incas rose to power in Peru, bringing about considerable unrest and the expulsion of many earlier settlers. Heyerdahl speculated that some of these Peruvians sailed west and brought Polynesians to Easter Island, either through force or cunning. In his view, history was repeating itself when, in 1862, Peruvian slave raiders sailed to Easter Island and put an end to the aboriginal culture.
(See the next post, “Connecting the Dots in South America – Part II,” for a better understanding of how the early cultures of Andean Peru relate to the various islands of the South Pacific)

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