Thursday, June 6, 2013

On the Apology

So it seems there was a particularly vituperative post on the Town Hall website. Criminologist Mike Adams responded to a letter from a Mormon who objected to his description of Mormons as unchristian.  He did so with a rather insincere apology.  There are several great responses already here and here but  I wanted to address a couple points that he made that were particularly egregious.

After implying that a one time reading of The Book of Mormon makes him an expert he says:

I am also sorry that while archaeological discovery supports the claims of the Bible it clearly does not support the claims of the Book of Mormon. Battles that were supposed to have occurred in specific locations in North America simply never took place. The archaeological evidence just isn't there.

I'm amazed at how many errors he can commit in so few sentences.  It is tough to believe his claim that archeology supports the Bible. There is no evidence to support the account found in Exodus for example, and there is as much evidence for King David of the Bible as there is for Nahom in The Book of Mormon.  He may be assuming that evidence of cities located in the Bible such as Babylon and Jerusalem constitute support.  But the existence of cities hardly proves the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  (Nor for that matter does pottery shards or remnants of battles, so this is an oddly secular part of his argument.)

But his statement about battles is even worse.   There are no specific locations mentioned for these battles and the closest to a specific location is the Hill Cumorah.  But the one named in New York is not necessarily the location of the battle. (I always remind critics how I served in both Rome and Paris...Texas, I visited my doctor that lived in Glasgow...Virginia, and I enjoy travelling to Athens...Georgia. I also applied for a teaching position in Moscow...Idaho.  It is pretty easy for one term to be used for two locations, especially when Smith got the plates from that hill.)    In fact, most scholars and scholarship put the location of Book of Mormon lands in Mesoamerica.  Of course Mike Adams would know this if he read The Book of Mormon more than once over half a dozen years ago; and if he bothered to research any of the relevant secondary scholarship.

 As with other issues, this obscurity about the locations of battles puts The Book of Mormon in good historical company.  Even some of the most studied battles in the world such as Hastings or Teutoburg Forest still have uncertain locations.  In fact, it is only recently that the lost army was found.

Thus in this short paragraph, Adams shows that he has little grasp of Mormon studies, basic archaeological issues, and the intersection of faith and evidence. This is indicative of the rest of his apology; these are complicated issues but his insincere and bitter response forfeit whatever benefit of the doubt I would give him. And that is sorry. I highly recommend that he study these issues more in depth and he can start with a copy of my upcoming book.    

1 comment:

Manda said...

I can only add: BOOYA.