For those interested in Semitic studies: SEMBASE: a database project for the study of Semitic roots

studies by A. Chris Eccel, Ph.D.
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To test a hypothesis, one can find a feature or consequence that will be observed if it is true, and test to see if that feature is found or consequence holds. If A is a mammal, then it will have hair. Does it? If so, the hypothesis has not been disconfirmed. A will also suckle its young. Does it? At this point, the hypothesis has not only not been disconfirmed, but, in combination with the prior test, it can be said to be confirmed. Similarly, a cube must: a) be three dimensional, b) have six faces, c) have all lines where the faces join equal, and d) have the plain of each face at ninety degrees to the plain of each adjoining face. All of these can be tested.

When the gold plates were announced, and their translation, producing a new book of scripture, and a history of the peoples of the Americas from c. 590 BCE to 421 CE, there was considerable scepticism, and many sought ways to prove the claim to be false. Others sought to prove the claim true. Both sides relied on their faith and their prayers. Very few sought to determine if the claim had testable consequences, in the sense that "if A, then B". For a long time, much of the information, and technology, needed for such a test, did not exist. Furthermore, on both sides of this divide, the individuals who were most highly motivated to seek evidence and proof lacked the required skills.

The Book of Mormon presents more than just one or two claims (the gold plates truly existed, and the BOM is a divine translation of them). It includes Biblical inclusions, intersects with Biblical history, and establishes a history of pre-Columbian civilization, with extensive details regarding the economy (farming, animal husbandry, coinage) and techonologies of that civilization. All of this information provides the basis for tests.

My work has focused on a quest for tests of this nature: "If the claim is true, we should observe the following." If several tests can be done, are their results consistent with each other? Or do they contradict each other?

Selected Studies

Archaeology: Quest for the Nephites

Archaeology: Nephite Isolation

Biblical Variant Readings in the Book of Mormon

The Lost Pages: Stolen or Scuttled?

The Issues of Nephite Language and Chronology

Lehi's Jerusalem: Bible vs Book of Mormon

Weighty Issue of a Gold Bible

The logo above is based on an Assyrian gold foil-like tablet (c. 1"X1.5") apparently placed in a temple calling the literate (priests, scribes?) to honor the king's name. The stone box is a modern artist's rendering, and the finger is grossly out of scale.