Monday, June 10, 2019

Why Theorists Reject South America

Much of the criticism we have received regarding South American as the location of Lehi’s landing site and the region of the Land of Promise—which causes scholars and historians of the Book of Mormon to reject it out of hand—is mostly based on six points or questionable areas:
1. South America is an entire continent and far too large for the more limited space of the Land of Promise illustrated within the Book of Mormon;
2. South America was never an island;
3. The mountains “whose height is great” cannot be the Andes, since they existed millions of years prior to time of the Nephites—it would have been impossible for them to have risen in three hours at the time of the crucifixion;
4. Since South America as the Land of Promise is based on a creation of the Earth in a short period, probably beginning about 13,000 years ago, it is immediately rejected—after all, they claim, everyone knows the Earth is 4.55 billion years old;
5. Events regarding the physical world occur over long periods of time—therefore there was no universal Flood as described in the Bible;
6. South America was populated continuously for over 15,000 years, with the first settlers coming over the Bering Land Bridge from Russia.
    While to the uninitiated to the history of South America might find these points significantly showing the continent does not meet the scriptural descriptions of the Land of Promise, knowledge of the origin of the land we now call South America shows that the Andean area does in fact match the descriptions of the Land of Promise.
    So, let’s take these points one-by-one:
1. South America is a large continent.
At one time South America was an area of numerous inland sees, that actually formed three main areas of land: 1) the Andean coastal shelf, 2) the Brazilian Shield, and 3) the Guiana Shield, plus numerous small islands to the south in what is now Patagonia.
The Middle Miocene Amazon Seaway, created by the inland seas that run vertically through the present continent, separating the Andes region from the Brazilian and Guiana Shields, creating the (red circle) “island of South America”

Separating the Andean coastal region from what is now most of Colombia, all of Venezuela and the three small countries of the Guianas, was the Pebasian Sea, a large ocean in the north; the north central Andean shelf was open east of the Andes to the sea through the Amazon Sea which covered the Amazon Basin and ran between the Guyana Highlands and the Brazilian Highlands somewhat along the route the Amazon River now takes to its mouth. In the south central the Paranense Sea (connected to the Pebasian Sea thtough the Tethy Arm), and the south separated by the Paranan Sea.
    Thus looking at the Andes area on the map above, which is where the historical ruins are now seen and cover a period from before 2000 BC down to the time of the destruction that changed and deformed the “face of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12,17). Consequently, we do not suggest the entire continent of South America was the land promised to Lehi, but only that western Andean area.
    This Andean shelf was at first separated from the rest of South America by the seas shown and mentioned above; after the destruction in 3 Nephi at the time of the crucifixion, then separated by the rising of the mountains “whose height tis great” (Helaman 14:23). Even in modern times, the country of Chile refers to itself as an island, since it is cut off from the rest of the continent because of the sea and mountains.
2. South America was never an island.
Just about every geologist that has studied the continent of South America has stated that it was once an island, formed by the inner seas that connected the Caribbean and the south Atlantic, as well as the broader sea of the Amazon Basin. Yet this well-founded theory is ignored by archaeologists and South American historians who claim that all South America was connected through numerous cultural societal development stages.
    One of the more recent groups to make a multi-year study of the inner seas is the Agência FAPESP, a group of researchers from the Universidade de São Paulo, whose four-year study by researchers of the departments of Zoology and Genetics and Evolutionary Biology at the USP’s Biosciences Institute showed how their study of tube-dwelling anemones suggests that South America had an inland sea.
    To the east, the Orinoco and Amazon Basins were a huge Amazon Sea, which lapped at the Andean foothills on the borders of Peru. The current Amazonia was an unearthly place reminiscent of early astronomers' speculations about Venus: shallow muddy seas and dense, swampy, multistory rainforest with sequoia-high trees, often flooded at the roots, a land/sea where the sun's face was only glimpsed in flashes, between rains that that fell often that measured in feet, not inches.
    In this area, the tube-dwelling anemones or ceriantharians in the South Atlantic Ocean have grown for millennium. These solitary anthozoans live buried in the soft sediments, and can withdraw into tubes, which are composed of a fibrous material made from secreted mucus and threads of nematocyst-like organelles known as ptychocysts.
After studying the evolutionary process of diversification of a group of tube-dwelling anemones in the South Atlantic Ocean for four years, this group of researchers from Universidade de São Paulo (USP) obtained an unexpected result: the biological investigation ultimately contributed results that reinforced the geological theory the Amazon basin was once occupied by an inland sea that linked the Caribbean to Uruguay.
    The present Andean shelf or western coastal area of South America was in fact once an island.
3. Height and age of mountains.
The  height of the mountains, the tallest in all of the Western Hemisphere, fits into Samuel the Lamanite’s prophesy mentioned above. The age of mountains is simply unknown. However, recent studies of the orogeny of the Andes shows that these mountains were the most recent to be raised or formed of all mountains on the planet.
    In addition, when the Lord wants to intervene, as he most certainly did at the time of the crucifixion, mountains can be raised, moved or formed in heartbeat (Ether 12:30).
4. When Earth was Created.
If one accepts the time frame of the Biblical patriarch births, then the Earth is quite young, about 13,000 years old. If you take the original findings of Libby’s C-14 time clock before he adjusted the findings, the Earth is less than 30,000 years old. And if you accept the findings of Cook’s equilibrium model, the Earth is 10,000 years old. If one does not accept the Bible or Pearl of Great Price in the Patriarch’s dates, then the Earth is 4.55 billion years old.
5. Universal Flood.
There are over two hundred and fifty stories or versions of the flood scattered all over the world. These flood versions are considered “myths” or “legends” or “Religious tenets,” about a great flood and how the world repopulated. Even though there are details of the myths that have distinct differences, all have similar ideas and key points—the ultimate creator wants to cleanse the whole earth through a great flood; a family or a certain person is chosen to warn other people about the coming end and are commanded to build an ark; a pair of each creature was taken in the ark; every creature and everything not boarded in the ark died; that single family who boarded the ark was responsible for the repopulating the whole world. All the flood legends point to one single truth that can be traced in the Bible.
    It should be noted that Vast fossil graveyards are found on every continent and large amounts of coal deposits that would require the rapid covering of vast quantities of vegetation. In addition, oceanic fossils are found upon mountain tops around the world. Darwin, himself, found sea shells on top of the Andes mountains in South America.
6. South America was continuously populated for over 15,000 years.
Archaeologist claim that there have been continual settlement in the Amazon for the past 11,000 years, which would preclude the Amazon from being under water until the crucifixion.
    The work of placing settlements in South America long before the Flood period that is claimed to have had continual occupation to the present is based, in part, on the work of American archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Anna C. Roosevelt, who is the great-granddaughter of President Theodore Roosevelt and considered one of the leading American archeologists studying Paleoindians in the Amazon basin.
    She also claims that farchaeological evidence from an excavation at Caverna da Pedra Pintada, an archaeological site in northern Brazil in the Amazonian Basin, human inhabitants first settled in the region at least 11,200 years ago (Anna Curtenius Roosevelt, et al., "Paleoindian Cave Dwellers in the Amazon: The Peopling of the Americas," Science, vol.272, Is.5260, April 1996, pp373–384).
Much of the area where the settlements were located comprises interfluvial forests—vegetation growing on ridges and plateaus situated between narrow valleys of the Brazilian Shield
However, the area where the settlements have been found along the Tapayós River in the hilly and ravine-covered area is actually along the Brazilian Shield, an area of highlands that were never underwater as the maps show.
    This type of landform has been largely ignored by archaeologists, University of Exeter professor Jonas Gregorio de Souza stated. He and his colleagues have found scores of settlements along the Tapayos, an claim that , “traditional views that Pre-Columbian people concentrated on resource-rich floodplains, thus areas such as the Upper Tapajós Basin were thought to be marginal and not occupied” (Nature Communication, Article #1125, 2018).

1 comment:

  1. If there were primitive people on the Brazilian shield "island" at the time that the Lehites arrived, then it is possible that at some point there was contact with this people, and the followers of Laman married into them, and that is how they gained their curse. Just a thought.