I’m continually impressed with the literary sophistication of the Book of Mormon–yet another testimony of it’s veracity for me. Much has been written about Book of Mormon examples of chiasmus, a rhetorical arrangement of concepts that was particularly common in ancient Hebrew writings. Chiastic form is common in the Old Testament, particularly when read in Hebrew. This rhetorical tool was extensively used a an aide-memoire in times when you couldn’t easily jot down important things in a notebook (or smart phone).
I saw a recent blog and article about Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, as he shared his faith on a Norwegian talk show. His host’s intent was initially veiled–until they blind-sided Brandon by bringing out Richard Dawkins, one of the most vocal atheists of popular culture. In his personal attack on Flowers (and Mormonism in general), Dawkins dismissed the Book of Mormon as “an obvious fake” because it was “a 19th century book written in 16th century English”. Mr. Dawkins made a big deal about his conclusions after he “read” the Book of Mormon, but then quietly admitted that he had not read it all. He almost certainly didn’t apply Moroni’s formula to know of its truthfulness, since this falls outside of the paradigm of his science (it seems his blind devotion to his science is as strong as that which he criticizes in Brandon’s faith). The nuances of ancient Hebrew literary tools being “faked” by an uneducated Vermont farm-boy will never persuade Mr. Dawkins that he may have failed to consider all the evidence. He has already decided.
I’ve seen the scientific method fail many times during my medical research years, primarily because the investigator draws their conclusion prior to considering all the evidence, or because they allow their bias to influence their interpretation of the results. The conclusion is written before the data have been fully vetted or analyzed; frequently the interpretation is out of context. It is critical to point out in these cases that it is not the scientific method that has failed but rather the investigator that has failed.