Sunday, November 17, 2019

Fallacious Use of Scripture – Part III

Continuing with how Sorenson uses terms, thoughts and ideas that are not found or even implied in the scriptural record, and once using them, creates a relationship with them that suggests their actual existence and then at times compares other factors against them as though they are factual:
    The idea that a Hebrew, living the Law of Moses, as the Nephites were doing (2 Nephi 5:10), would not know the direction of “east,” since that was their entire orientation—and facing east was required not only for personal behavior and spirituality, but the Temple was built to fact east, and all things spiritual related to the east. Sorenson errs in thinking that Hebrews living the Law of Moses as the Nephites would think that North was East, and have a Sea East in the north, etc., is simply out of the question.
    Sorenson, then goes on to point out the five major issues in determining the Land of Promise.
Sorenson: “What does the Book of Mormon contain that can be used as criteria in a test for determining the validity of any proposed New World geographic setting for the Book of Mormon?” Sorenson asks, then answers: “From the text, relevant, critical criteria that readers can easily deduce in identifying a valid setting for New World Book of Mormon geography are five in number
He then goes on to list the five.
1. “The area must show evidence of a high-level written language that was in use during the dates given in the Book of Mormon.”
Response: This is a fallacious approach to trying to prove the Mesoamerican Land of Promise location. In Mesoamerica, they have writing, but it first of all does not date to the Nephi period. Second, the writing they have is pictorial, and has nothing to do with the Egyptian nor Hebrew the Nephites used. Third, the writing found in Mesoamerica is a carry-over from a text invented sometime after the demise of the Nephite Nation, and stems more from the memory of 15th century local Indians, than any ancient record. Again, the pictographs found on the buildings and temples in Mesoamerica, do not date prior to the A.D. period, and is connected in any way with the Reformed Egyptian characters or ancient Hebrew. In addition, when the Lord warned Mormon and Moroni that the Lamanites would destroy any of their writing found, we have to conclude that not a single article of writing by the Nephites survived beyond their demise other than what records Mormon and Moroni hid up in the ground.
2. “The area must reflect two high civilizations that show extensive evidence of major population centers, continual shifts in population demographics, and almost constant warfare among the inhabitants—in harmony with the dates given in the Book of Mormon.”
Actual dates of Caral date back to the earliest times in South America and are considered to be one of the oldest civilizations in the Western Hemisphere, after only the Valdivia or Jaredite people who settled in the Land Northward, that is Ecuador

Response: As we have recorded here in numerous articles, the Andean, South American cultures are older than Mesoamerica, whose buildings and “hard” archaeological evidence dates only to the last half of the last century B.C. Certainly, the history put together by archaeologists in Andean South America is far more aligned with the Nephite period, and is a constant record of wars with one another that fits the scriptural record far better than Mesoamerica.
3. “The archaeological dating of the proposed area must reflect thorough analyses of sites and artifacts with resulting radiocarbon dates that agree with the dates given in the Book of Mormon.”
Response: This has been shown many times to fit Andean, South America far better than Mesoamerica. While Mesoamerican archaeology is based on fragments of pottery, etc., linking to development stages and beliefs in occupation periods, etc., the dates below show those that are confirmed to have existed around certain dates and evidence moves forward to an end period. As an example, it is stated that the Maya arrived in Campeche, from Guatemala, Honduras and Chiapas, and one of its main sites reached was built in the late Classic Period (500-900 A.D.), and reached their height between 600 to 900 A.D., collapsing around 1000 A.D. for unknown reasons. Compare these dates to the hardened dates of South America constructed sites that date into the B.C. period.
The hard dates of actual construction, not based on diffusion dates or developmental dates favored by Archaeologists and Anthropologists

Settlement Stages: It is assumed that settlements wherever found are the result of stages that progressed through a series of events or capabilities for a single (or multiple) groups, such as moving from hunting-fishing; to plant gathers (foragers, semi-nomadic); to cultivators of crops; to domesticators of animals; to pastoral life—moving with flocks to new pastures; to trade; to builders of cities; political development, wealth building and large population densities.
     And these events tend to go from simple to complex, and have dates associated with them (hunters-gathers, 10,000 B.C.), farmers (8000 B.C.), domesticators of animals (7000-4000 B.C.), pastoralism, (4000 B.C.); trade (3500 B.C.), to builders (3000 B.C.) In addition, there is the development of goods, such as basket-making; pottery making (pottery breaks or wears out during use, thus entering the archaeological record fairly soon after manufacture, making these two important characteristics of ceramics primary data in archaeological inquiry); tool making; weaponry making.
    What is important, is that all of the attributes of ceramic artifacts, i.e., shape, size, type of clay, type of temper, surface treatment, and painting, to name a few serve as a rich and varied set of data for archaeologists intent on reconstructing past human life ways, movement, spreading of cultures, and diffusion.
    There are essentially four types of analyses that archaeologists perform on ceramic artifacts in order to obtain the data contained within them: experimental studies, form and function analysis, stylistic analysis, and technological analysis. Their experimental studies with pottery replicates prehistoric ceramic manufacturing processes, from which studies, archaeologists gain valuable information on firing techniques, temperatures, and the properties of various tempers, glazes, and paints. In addition to replicative experimentation, archaeologists have also taken advantage of ethnographic observations of traditional pottery manufacturing from societies around the world to better understand the manufacture, use, and reuse of pottery in traditional cultures.
Left: Valdivian image from Ecuador 1500-1500 B.C.; Middle/Right: Moche culture of Peru B.C. 250 B.C., Bust and Vase

In this way, archaeologists and anthropologists create time lines, movement of cultures, locations of living, and numerous other factors.
    While they may be right in this, they can also be wrong, for there simply is no built-in guides to evaluate whether or not two or more cultures could use the same techniques, yet have nothing to do with one another. Or that a single culure could use more than on technique at the same time. In ether case, the diffusion of cultures would be inaccurate and mislead both the archaeologist and the public to the history of these people.
    Archaeology: A belief that certain types of remains—pots, implements, ornaments, burial rites and house forms—constantly recur together, such as a complex of associated traits called a cultural group or just a culture. It is assumed that such a complex is the material expression of what today we would call a people and where found, if similar in expression, it is assumed (without question) that they are likely to be from a single source.”
    Anthropology: Diffusion is the transmission or borrowing of certain culture traits from the group of origin into a foreign group; usually technological elements rather than those of social organization. This term defines the spread of ideas, traits, or people from one area to another—not necessarily implying the movement of people, since trade and the adoption of new ideas from neighboring cultures are reasonable explanations of diffusion. It was once believed that through acculturation (the adoption of traits by one society from another) was how ideas spread, since it was believed that they did not occur in random areas, but in one place and then diffused to other places; today, however, it is generally accepted that many new ideas have their independent starts in numerous separate places.
(See the next post, “Fallacious Use of Scripture – Part IV,” showing how Sorenson uses terms, thoughts and ideas that are not found or even implied in the scriptural record)

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