This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
|Tower of Babel Skeptics say science discredits the Tower of Babel story. So what, ancient people did not build towers? Which part of the tower of Babel story is discredited? The typical atheist arguments against the tower of Babel are: Ancient people could not build a tower tall enough to reach heaven. God would not punish them for trying to reach heaven.||Tower of Babel|
Turn Into Salt
Bees On Ships Jaradite Vessels
|Biblical scholars agree “heaven” refers to the sky, and the point was that it was a very tall tower for the time. Mormons understand that it was just a tall tower. I don’t know of a single Mormon who believes the tower actually somehow reached the Celestial kingdom. Nobody thinks this. The second argument totally misses the point. It wasn’t about trying to go to heaven. It was about relying on the devices of one’s own workmanship instead of looking to God.|
The Babylonian people invented a superior construction method of sun-backed brick-making. They united as a society on a grand-scale construction project and sought to make a “name” for themselves. The natural consequence was a confusion of language. I find this to be a profound, convincing, and fascinating story about development of technology, and its relationship to social dynamics and language. I don’t know of any scientists who claim that in the history of the world there was never an ancient tower that was built and society fractured as a result.
|People Living Very Old The bible claims some people were living to be hundreds of years old. There is any number of explanations for this. Maybe the record used a different measurement for years? The Hebrew word for “year,” shanah, means “repetition” or “revolution.” So maybe they measured by the repetition of some other standard. Or maybe people really did live that long. How do you know they didn’t? I’m not aware of any anthropological method for determining how many years ancient people lived.|
All Species Originate From Noah?
CES Letter says science discredited the belief in Noah:
“Humans and animals having their origins from Noah’s family and the animals contained in the ark 4,500 years ago.”
|See also:||Does Science Discredit Noah’s Ark?|
The scriptures never claimed every animal on planet earth died except those on Noah’s ark. The Hebrew word for “earth,” erets, applies to a specific piece of land. This is also how the word “earth” is used in the Book of Mormon.
|The scriptures do not say that Noah took two or seven of every creature. It says they took “of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort… of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind.” I don’t interpret this to mean two of every single species. As we learn from the LDS temple, the animal kingdom is not scripturally divided into species, but general kinds of animals: birds, creeping things, elephants, lions, etc.|
|Jonah’s Whale Of all stories in the bible, the narrative that the prophet Jonah was swallowed and regurgitated by a “great fish” is probably the most unrealistic. The popular story of James Bartley in 1891 being swallowed by a whale is disputed by historians. How could a person survive inside a whale with no air?|
The scriptures say it was some kind of “fish,” not necessarily a whale, and that it was “prepared” somehow. Maybe it swallowed a container with air, who knows? Whatever the circumstances, Jonah somehow prayed in the direction of the temple, and he was regurgitated onto dry land. We do not have enough information to guess how this all was possible. But the point of scriptures is not to guess up some physical explanations for miracles but to learn a moral lesson.
|Turning Into Salt CES Letter says science discredited: “People turning into salt in Sodom & Gomorrah.” The people of Sodom and Gomorrah did not turn into salt. It was only one person who turned into salt: Lot’s wife. The Hebrew word for “salt,” melach, is the masculine form of malach, which means “powder.” People can be smashed into powder in a huge volanic eruption, which is what happened here.|
Jaradites Travel With Bees Across Ocean?
“They carried honey bees across the ocean? Swarms of them? All manner of them which was upon the face of the land? (Ether 2:3). ” (CES Letter)
|The Book of Mormon does not claim that the Jaradites carried bees across the ocean. Ether 2:3 takes place before they traveled in the barges. “And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.” (Ether 2:3)|
Where does it say anything about carrying bees across an ocean? That doesn’t happen until four chapters later. Even if it did say this, bees can be carried on ships. Yes, it happens.
Jaradites Used Submarine Vessels
In this argument, the argument against Noah, and the argument against the Tower of Babel, CES Letter suggests ancient people were not capable of such great accomplishments:
“Putting a hole on the bottom and on the top of a submarine-like vessel that is tight like a dish so that when you’re in need of air, you unplug one hole but make sure to plug it back in when you go back in the water? ( Ether 2:19-20 )” (CES Letter)
|Yes, boats can be covered and have ventilation hatches. Ancient people had brains and were capable of figuring out how to make this work. Skeptics scoff at the idea of a covered ship ventilating out of a single hole. But this is because these skeptics do not understand basic physics. We do not know how it looked, but the hatches were probably considerable in size.|
|They likely located a hatch at one end and a hatch at the other end of the ship, one hatch near the base and one hatch near the top for effective ventilation. Look at a modern ship. They use large pipes sticking out of the deck of a ship, and they use fans to force air down the intakes. Ancient people could not use a fan, so a ventilation hatch near the base of the vessel would make most sense. The Book of Mormon actually displays a correct understanding of ventilating space.|
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Falsehood||Scripture does not claim that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah turned into salt. Scripture does not claim that the Jaradites carried bees across the ocean.|
|Argument From Ignorance||The Bible does not claim that Jonah was swallowed by a “whale,” though it could have been a whale. It claims that the animal was “prepared” in some way to preserve Jonah.|
|Strawman||The LDS understanding of Noah’s ark is different than mainstream Christianity, and CES Letter seems to mingle the two. Skeptics further characterize the Tower of Babel in a way that neither Mormons nor Mainstream Christians believe.|
|Repetition||In this argument, CES Letter repeats their arguments about Noah and Kolob. CES Letter repeats their phony bee accusation to make it sound true.|
The great thing is we don’t need to, because these arguments are built on a false strawman portrayal of what Mormons believe. It is an effective argument because people naturally trust scientific buzzwords over a fringe book of scripture from some ancient prophet. People assume ancient peoples weren’t capable of figuring out how to ventilate a ship.
What is brilliant about CES Letter is how they allege unreasonable associations as well as unreasonable discrepancies, part of the Contradiction Strategy. They go back and forth between contradiction and similarity, like a demolition man swinging a rusted old metal pole back and forth in order to tear it out of the ground quicker. One second we are appalled at inconsistencies. The next we are shocked at the similarities.
But just raising the question gives it some tiny amount of credibility. As is often the case with innuendo, this argument successfully uses the kafkatrapping tactic. They begin with the frame that each issue deserves to be called into question, and we buy into it. This leads to an obsession with truth that you can only see, and a superstitious outlook, and suddenly we are trying to scientifically prove every single miracle that ever happened in the history of the world to validate ourselves.
Fake Science – Satan wants people to pridefully think they know all about science, but really they know very little. CES Letter incorrectly believes quantum mechanics is necessary to know how the sun produces energy. But the Satanic appeal to science is useful for anti-Mormons if it can propagate fake science that leads people astray. That’s why you have top ‘respected’ scientists giving us ‘proof’ for why God doesn’t exist. Followers of Satan accept this fake science without the slightest critical thought or understanding of nature’s laws. It is willful ignorance.
Changeable Truth – What is the alternative to scripture that has remained essentially the same for many thousands of years? Well, scripture that is always changing. Truth that is never static for Marxists. In the anti-Mormon’s narrative, there is no way the story of Noah is true today the way it was back then, nor should it be. Truth is relative, always fitting modernity. It’s just another branch of science.
Today, why don’t we add some more female characters to the Book of Abraham story, to show that we are ‘inclusive.’ Why don’t we add something to justify abortion? That is what the anti-Mormon alternative to scripture would be. It is important to keep religion based on immutable, eternal truth and separate from science, because humans are imperfect, and social justice always involves human avarice which always leads to atrocity.
Racism – Why assume the Jaradites couldn’t figure out how to ventilate a ship? The Babylonians weren’t capable of building a tall tower? Noah’s family wasn’t capable of building a large raft?
This follows a disturbing pattern of behavior from CES Letter where they dismiss entire populations of people as superstitious primitives. I think ancient people were smarter and more advanced than we give them credit for.
People were already “debunking” these biblical stories in the 19th century. If Joseph Smith lived in an age of enlightened science, why would he propagate these narratives? Why would he make up the story of the Jaradite barges which resembles Noah’s ark? Actually, the Jaradite story sheds important light on the Noah’s ark story: they used seeing stones and traveled across a local ocean.