Blake T. Ostler critiques Simon Southerton's arguments that DNA disproves the Book of Mormon.

Nov 2005
Blake T. Ostler

Blake T. Ostler, "Simon Says, But That Doesn't Make It So," Sunstone, November 2005, 4–8

Blake T. Ostler
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It is also important to note that Southerton doesn’t address any of the textual arguments from the Book of Mormon itself which I give to show that it speaks of others, non-Israelites, who were already present when Lehi landed. He ignores all of these arguments. He doesn’t deal with any Book of Mormon text at all (indeed, his article contains only one citation to the Book of Mormon).

However, if one reads the Book of Mormon as I do (and as do the vast majority of LDS scholars who deal with issues of population and geography), then the DNA issue is not very enlightening. Given that any trace of Lehite DNA could just disappear is consistent with the genetic evidence: we don’t even know if we should expect to find any traces of Israelite DNA had there been Nephites and Lamanites. Yet without knowing what the probability is that we should expect to find such mtDNA traces, we have no basis for judging the probability that the lack of such DNA counts for or against the Book of Mormon. End of argument—and Southerton does nothing to respond to my argument except to agree with the assessment of mtDNA evidence on which it is based. Far from being the “smokescreen” about DNA science that Southerton accuses “apologists” of adopting, it is Southerton who engages in a smokescreen by failing to address the real issue.

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