There are 4 thoughts on “Fashion or Proof? A Challenge for Pacific Anthropology”.

  1. Keith Thompson claims in his article that modern Pacific anthropologists believe Pacific populations rapidly evolved over the last 5000 years from an ancestral population. This is incorrect.

    Pacific anthropologists believe humans entered the Pacific much earlier than the Americas. The evidence points to Sahul (Australia and New Guinea) being first settled between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago. Prior to the Polynesians reaching New Guinea about 5,000 year ago, their Asian ancestors had been separated from New Guinea natives for well over 60,000 years. Further waves of Asian migration from Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia also passed through coastal New Guinea and into the Pacific over tens of thousands of years. The Bismarck Archipelago and the northern Solomons were colonized about 30,000 years ago.

    It is a widely held view among Pacific anthropologists that people from these diverse and ancient origins gave rise to the extraordinary human diversity seen in the Pacific. They don’t believe it took 5000 years.

    • Gavin,

      Great points. Do you know if this article was peer reviewed? I would be shocked if it was. How else can you explain the misinformation set forth in your post?

  2. Great read! Not being an academic I can take Keith Thompson’s and Louis Midgley’s comments even further and postulate that much “science” is created precisely to discredit Biblical and Book of Mormon claims.

  3. I am pleased that Keith Thompson’s essay appeared in the same issue as my essay on what I called “Maori Latter-day Saint Faith.” See Interpreter 8 (2014): 46-65. Why? In my essay I avoided any mention of the possible explanation of Maori seers and seer stones, and arcane initiations in special schools (wananga), and the widely known preparation of certain Maori for the arrival of LDS missionaries being somehow linked with the peoples of the Book of Mormon in America, and hence with Nephite and/or Mulekite mariners such as Hagoth. Marjorie Newton, whose excellent on the history of the Church of Jesus Christ in Aotearoa/New Zealand I used as an excuse to discuss some matters of considerable concern to some and perhaps many contemporary Maori Saints, does deal with this issue. Why?

    How did it come to be that LDS Temple dedications in the Pacific rather routinely mention that those Temples are for the children of Lehi? I did not deal with this issue, nor does Keith Thompson. But his essay, which reviews and challenges certain academic orthodoxy among anthropologists, does set the stage for or at least opens the door for an answer to how Book of Mormon peoples could have found their way into what I believe was the Society Islands (or what we like to call Tahiti in French Polynesia), and then down the Aotearoa/New Zealand and up to Hawaii.

    Obsession with who was first to reach the Pacific, to the exclusion of a host of other waves of peoples or visitors, has led even a few deracinated Maori to turn against the notion that they have some at least partly not entirely understood links to the children of Lehi. The notion that the Pacific was peopled by one very old surge from Asia mirrors the notion that there could not have been an original Lehi colony (Lehites) because much more ancient peoples came from northern Asia came to America over a land bridge and then spread over all of the American continent clear to the bottom of South America that is supposed to explain away or exclude all other visitors and influxes of peoples later from various other places.

    With this in mind, I urge a very careful reading of Keith Thompson’s fine essay.

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