Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Comments from our DNA Series – Part I

Recently we posted a five-part series about DNA and immediately received several comments and criticisms;  however, most of the remarks received were based on old science and not on what has been learned since 2002 onward. Our responses below include the point of view from this new knowledge of MtDNA that has been obtained from more recent studies and much larger sampling techniques.
Comment #1: “Rod Meldrum claims that the primary races of the earth, Asian (Oriental), African (Negroid) and European (Caucasian) are easily distinguished from each other through specific DNA markers or signatures that delineate their ancestry, so it would appear that DNA is a more reliable way of determining location and ancestry than you claim” Tanman Mark.
Response: Rod Meldrum often makes firm, unquestionable claims about things that are not so accurate as a reader might expect. As an example, one of Meldrum's cited references (his #10, pp. 22–23) is taken from David B. Goldstein and Lounès Chikhi, "Human Migrations and Population Structure: What We Know and Why It Matters," Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, Vol 3, 2002, pp 137-138, which in fact, rejects efforts to tie genetics to common conceptions of race, in which they state regarding DNA findings: “One definite and obvious consequence is that races in any meaningful sense of the term do not exist in the human species. The term race as popularly imagined implies groups that can be cleanly separated from one another, and within our species, there simply are no such groups. Rather, differences among groups of humans are always graded, and decisions about whom to cluster with whom on genetic grounds always must include arbitrary criteria.”
And though he cites no evidence or reference, Meldrum even claims that “through DNA sequencing, these three primary genetic groups, called supergroups, can be differentiated one from another due to the presence or lack of certain DNA markers, which makes them identifiable for genetic study and makes it possible to identify peoples’ genetic lineages”; however, according to J. F. Wilson (and 7 others) in, "Population genetic structure of variable drug response," Nature Genetics, Vol 29, Nov 2001, pp 265-269, “One can certainly determine a genetic lineage, but it is difficult to shoehorn everything into a clean threefold division of humanity. One study found that drug metabolism varied among four genetic clusters of humans, but even these clusters had a generally poor correspondence with ethnic labels.”
Typically, Meldrum, either because he does not fully understand what he reads and cites, or ignores the actual information, misquotes and misuses these two examples regarding his claim of three basic “supergroups” which, obviously, he has taken from Noah's children and claims that “from these three brothers and their wives sprang the world's three primary lineages or 'supergroups' which in genetic terms are African, European, and Asian.” Modern Science, and pure logic, should suggest that with intermarrying, etc., and with divergent previous DNA mingling, that there is no “pure” African, European, and Asian. As Goldstein and Chikhi add regarding racial or ethnic groups: “No matter how such groups are defined, it is well known that the majority of the genetic variation in the human species is due to differences between individuals within, rather than between, groups.”
Lastly, another source Meldrum quotes (#27, pp79-80), that totally disagrees with him is Andrés Reséndez and Brian M. Kemp, “Genetics and the History of Latin America,” Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol 85/2, May 2005, pp 296–97, where they wrote: "While DNA scholars try mightily to find variation among populations, the most obvious insight generally remains unstated: namely, that we humans are practically identical when it comes to our genetic makeup. Physical traits that we recognize at a quick glance, such as skin color, eye shape, and body size, may precondition us to believe that there exist significant genetic differences. In fact, these physical traits are rooted in insignificant variations at the level of our DNA. There are no pure races or ethnic/national groupings. The entire eugenics edifice rested on the perception that humans came in a few unadulterated varieties—most commonly Africans, Asians, and Caucasians—as well as a range of mixed or mongrel populations between them. It went without saying that these pure races were tangible, stable, and easily ascertained. Modern DNA research has shown the wrongheadedness of such discrete groupings.”
Comment #2: “The specific theory about your BoM and DNA can't be true because there is no evidence even remotely suggesting that there was ever any Hebrew blood among any native American. There is no archeology to support your theory. There is no linguistic support to your theory. There is no historical support to your theory. So, the DNA just confirms what everyone already knew” Stanley W.
Response: Well, that was a mouthful. Let’s see about each point: Point One: “No evidence even remotely suggesting that there was ever any Hebrew blood among any native American.” I would agree with that. First: The Jaredites were not Hebrew, therefore no Hebrew DNA, plus they were annihilated around 600 B.C. with no survivorsand no intermarryings with another group; 2) The Mulekite with Jewish DNA were absorbed into the Nephite lineage and their DNA mixed with that of the Nephites, and the Nephites with this mixed DNA were annihilated and ceased to exist in 421 A.D.; 3) The Lamanite DNA was changed in about 550 B.C. or so. Therefore, there could be no Hebrew DNA in the Americas from the Book of Mormon peoples. Point Two: “ There is no archeology to support your theory.” The Archaeology of Andean South America has plenty of archaeological evidence of the descriptions of the Nephite lands in the Book of Mormon, just as metallurgy, textiles, stone walls, fortresses, resorts, elephant and horse remains, roads and highways, temples, palaces, two unknown animals, two unknown grains, etc.; however, if you mean nothing has been found that says, “Lehi slept here,” or “this was Nephi’s house,” etc., then, yes, there is no evidence of such a thing anymore than there is that type of evidence of the Bible archaeologically speaking. This is such a spurious argument, it is senseless; Point Three: “There is no linguistic support to your theory.” Another spurious point. There is no linguistic support for any ancient people whose language ended and the people were annihilated. The Lamanites had to be taught the Nephite language, and about five hundred years later there is no indication they still spoke that language—more importantly, with no written records, etc., after 1000 years, there is no reason to expect them to still speak Hebrew or any variation of it; Point Four: “There is no historical support to your theory.” What might be meant by historical support is a curious term.
A Phoenician ship of about 600 B.C. While it is believed they might have traveled up the coast to Britain for the tin trade, there is no way such ships could have broached the Atlantic Ocean and withstood the pounding of waves and currents in the deep ocean. Such speculation is spurious and without value
In 600 B.C., the Phoenicians had been building ships, controlling trading, and sailing throughout the Mediterranean Sea, however, today, almost nothing is known of them in an area where people have lived and kept records for thousands of years. The history we know of the Biblical period is through the Biblical record, so the history we would have of the Book of Mormon period would be through the Book of Mormon. Point Five: “The DNA just confirms what everyone already knew.” Actually, DNA is in such a new state, that it is changing every year, so it is hard to claim DNA has proven any such thing—but the point of DNA is, there should be no DNA of the Hebrews or Jews in the Western Hemisphere as indicated above and in several other posts.
Comment #3: “Your Church says the events described in the Book of Mormon were confined to a small section of Central America, and that the Hebrew tribe was small enough that its DNA was swallowed up by the existing Native Americans, however, the DNA can't be "swallowed up" because mitochondrial DNA is passed on from the mother UNDILUTED” Janis J.
Response: Instead of passing on what you’ve heard from other critics, why not read the reports that have been available now since 2002 that MtDNA is not just passed on from the Mother and is not undiluted—old paradigms die hard, but why not keep up? In addition, the LDS Church has made no stand on where the Book of Mormon lands were located--some authorities over time have specified the Western Hemisphere, but that is all. You need to keep in mind any and all statements made about the geography and placement of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise is done so by individuals, including myself, who do not in any way represent the Church or speak for the Church, or make any claims or insinuations for the Church on this matter. Nor has the Church made any statement about DNA of which I am aware.

No comments:

Post a Comment