Saturday, December 31, 2011

Simon Southerton on DNA and the Book of Mormon

Publications by Simon Southerton and Thomas Murphy led to a so-called "Galileo moment" regarding DNA and the Book of Mormon. Genetic studies demonstrated that Native Americans were not primarily descended from the Middle East as had been assumed by most members and leaders of the church.  Apologists responded, suggesting the Book of Mormon should be read with the assumption that a larger indegenous population was already here when Book of Mormon peoples arrived, and that DNA evidence of Middle Eastern descent was washed out by breeding with the indigenous population.  The church subsequently clarified the introduction to the Book of Mormon to accommodate this view.

Simon Southerton has begun publishing updates about DNA and the Book of Mormon.

Important new insights into the nature of human migrations into the Americas have emerged in the last two decades from the study of genetic variation in Native American and other global populations. This research raises important questions about LDS claims that there are genetic ties between Native Americans and Middle Eastern populations; claims that clearly fall within the scientific realm. This blog contains updates on DNA research on Native Americans and related topics.

These updates are part of a larger conversation about DNA and the Book of Mormon (see here, here, here  here,  here, or here for example).