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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Response to Rodney Meldrum's Incredible "New" DNA Evidence for the Book of Mormon


A YouTube clip entitled “DNA vs Book of Mormon (INCREDIBLE New Evidence)” is causing a stir among Mormons as it has appeared on websites such as LDS.net, LDSLiving, Prepare to Serve (YouTube site) and LDS Smile. Over 66,000 people viewed the video in the two weeks after it appeared. In a bizarre turn of events the YouTube clip has subsequently been removed from the LDS.net, LDSLiving and LDS Smile websites. A cached version of the original LDS.net page used to be saved here, but someone with serious connections has even had the cached page removed!  

In the video Rodney Meldrum claims there is DNA evidence that proves the Book of Mormon is true. He boldly claims there is now concrete DNA evidence linking Native Americans to Jewish populations in the Middle East.






Rodney Meldrum presents himself as a scientific authority who has worked on a university-level science textbook. The truth is Rodney Meldrum has no scientific qualifications and the unpublished textbook he was working on was a Creationist textbook masquerading as science. Meldrum entered the DNA apologetics arena in about 2003 after first learning of the Book of Mormon DNA issue.

The video's claims

In the video Meldrum claims that North American Indians from the Algonquin language group carry high proportions of Jewish mitochondrial DNA. This DNA carries five unique “markers” that only appear in Jewish populations. While not stated in the interview, the mitochondrial DNA Meldrum is referring to is lineage X2a. (Mitochondrial DNA is widely used by scientists to track related populations. It is passed from mothers to offspring, much like a molecular maiden name.)  

I have thoroughly critiqued Rodney Meldrum’s DNA claims elsewhere on my blog. 

However, you don’t have to take my word for it. Meldrum has come under attack from other believing Mormons. 

Mormons attacking Mormons 

Meldrum’s spurious DNA claims have been heavily criticized by other Mormons, including Ugo Perego, an LDS scientist who has made a major contribution to our understanding of the origins of Native American DNA. Here are Ugo’s comments after viewing Rodney Meldrum's video. This response appeared on Ugo Perego's personal Facebook page on Saturday 24th Jan 2016 at 7.11am.  

I want everyone to know that I do not support the views presented in this video. I personally believe the Book of Mormon to be sacred scripture, but not based on genetic evidence.

It is my opinion that the presenter in this video (Rod Meldrum) is oversimplifying and stretching complex scientific data to fit its own view and purposes. This is dangerous because some people might actually believe in what he is saying and take for granted his conclusions. I have listened to Rod Meldrum in the past and spoke with him on several occasions. I have also tried to explain to him the mistakes with his approach, but to no avail. Here are in a short few points the main problems with the information presented in this video:
1. Lineage (haplogroup) X in the America is an unusual marker, but there is absolutely no evidence to link it to Book of Mormon people.
2. As far as science has been able to determine to date, lineage X has been in the Americas probably long before Book of Mormon times (based on both carbon dating and the molecular clock).**
3. It is not true that the first four lineages in the Americas prior to the discovery of haplogroup X are identical to lineages found in Asia. They are related with each other, but the ones in the Americas have their own unique characteristics. 
4. Likewise, lineage X in Northern North America has its own unique characteristics and it is not found anywhere else in the world. The one in the Americas is know has lineage X2a.
5. There are other lineage X's in the world (Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Asia) but none of them is the same as their American counterpart X2a.
6. It is not true that lineage X was identified in the Americas in 2003. Data on a fifth lineage in the America has been widely published since 1991.
7. All the DNA that has been talked about in this video is referred to a genetic molecule known as mitochondrial DNA that is transmitted exclusively along the unbroken maternal line. This means that this approach cannot be easily used to determine the genetic ancestry of male lineages such as those described in this video and in the Book of Mormon. In other words, this is not the DNA we would expect to find today from Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Lehi, Nephi, etc.
8. The LDS Church does not support DNA evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon. Here is something more official found on the LDS.org website: https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-and-dna-studies


**Recent research has revealed the presence of the X2a lineage in the DNA of a famous ancient skeleton named Kennewick Man. The skeleton was found in the banks of the Columbia River, Washington state. Numerous dating methods, including carbon-14, revealed that Kennewick Man lived about 8,500 years ago. This discovery adds further compelling evidence that the X2a lineage is not Jewish. It arrived in the Americas thousands of years BEFORE the Israelite nation came into existence.


Note:
If you are prepared to wade through dozens and dozens of pages of Mormon apologetics (active Mormons attacking active Mormons) then feel free to take a look at FAIR's response to Rodney Meldrum




9 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Simon. DNA is very complicated for those of us with no background in the field and it's hard to make it simple enough for me. I suspect that many church members are much the same so when they hear this kind of 'pseudo science' they have no reason to disbelieve it and every reason to want to.
    Meldrum even says in this video something like, "I know the Book of Mormon is true so there has to be an answer..." I may not have the words exactly as he said them. He started out with his answer/beliefs and went on to 'prove' them.
    I'm glad to hear that FAIR and Ugo Perego have spoken up about this too.

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  2. Ditto that Jean. Great stuff Simon. Good to know someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

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  3. Thank you Simon. Non-LDS Dr. Raff and Dr. Bolnick also recently addressed Meldrum's claims.

    Does Mitochondrial Haplogroup X Indicate Ancient Trans-Atlantic Migration to the Americas? A Critical Re-Evaluation
    https://www.academia.edu/17871358/Does_Mitochondrial_Haplogroup_X_Indicate_Ancient_Trans-Atlantic_Migration_to_the_Americas_A_Critical_Re-Evaluation

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  4. Good to hear from you old friend (and thanks, Tapir Rider, for the heads up as well). Unfortunately the Internet Correlation Committee appears to have struck, and that link to old lds.net page no longer worked for me.

    Rodney Meldrum is definitely the Paul H. Dunn of Mormon Apologetics.

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  5. http://thetruthaboutmormonism-creeksalmon.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-jesus-of-bible-and-creeds.html

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  6. Lying for the Lord remains the norm with somw TBMs

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  7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284094877_Does_Mitochondrial_Haplogroup_X_Indicate_Ancient_Trans-Atlantic_Migration_to_the_Americas_A_Critical_Re-Evaluation

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  8. Here is what I found interesting about this: In the comments for this video Rodney suggests going to http://www.bookofmormonevidence.org/video_gallery.php and watch video's #27-29. Video #27 is an interview with Deborah Bolnick and seems to be in "support of" or "evidence" to Hebrew or Middle East migration of Native Americans.

    However, this article http://www.heritagedaily.com/2016/01/genetic-data-does-not-support-ancient-trans-atlantic-migration-professor-says-see-more-at-httpnews-ku-edu20151217genetic-data-does-not-support-ancient-trans-atlantic-migration-professor-say/109249 about Jennifer Raff and co-author Deborah Bolnick does not support the Hebrew/Middle East migration. Here is the supporting published article http://violentmetaphors.com/2015/11/11/responses-to-some-questions-about-our-recently-published-paper-on-haplogroup-x-and-north-american-prehistory/ written by Jennifer Raff.

    The DNA "proof" is more against the BOM than for it as I see it.

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