New Light: Paper 2
"the new toy in human biology and anthropology”
Sadly, Rebecca Cann has now fallen out of favour with the apologist. Sorenson takes aim at “enthusiasts without adequate critical acumen” in an unsavoury attack on Cann, the scientist he had previously praised for her work on Polynesians. In Cann's ground-breaking study of the mitochondrial DNA of 147 women from four continents, Cann had concluded that women can claim a common mother from sub-Saharan Africa who lived about 200,000 years ago (Cann et al. 1987). The offending paper was published in Nature, one of the most prestigious scientific journals in history.
First impression on Native American DNA research
The Wrong Impression
DNA technology is a very powerful tool that has made a major contribution to the study of not only human origins, but the origins of all living things. Sorenson was wrong about the science and his behaviour says more about him than DNA. In spite of his superficial understanding of the science and his complete u-turn on the value of the technology, he was prepared to impose his views on ordinary Mormons and completely dismiss what other LDS scholars may have thought. Sorenson changed his mind about the science because he was not prepared to change his mind about his beliefs.
ReferencesCann, Rebecca L., Mark Stoneking, and Allan C. Wilson. 1987. “Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution,” Nature 325:31-6.
Lum, Koji J., and Rebecca L. Cann. 1998. “MtDNA and Language Support a Common Origin of Micronesians and Polynesians in Island Southeast Asia,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 105:109-19.