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Featured Indigenous Science

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Quintessence, Nov 19, 2022.

  1. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    That is a different rabbit hole, down which I do not intend to venture right now;).
     
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  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Turned to Stone. Now I stretch daily.
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    You are talking about a lot of work which takes time. It hasn't been published, sifted through and measured. Somebody has to volunteer to give up personal time to do those things and to risk going about asking questions and writing. When it is published and studied will there be resentment about appropriation? Will there be proper attribution to the people who originally collected the knowledge? Will there be embarrassment over remedies that turn out to be false when tested scientifically? Will the publisher claim ownership of the information?
     
  3. Ella S.

    Ella S. Stoic Utilitarian

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    From your description of it, it sounded like pseudoscience.

    From the snippets you've given, it reads more like a blend of anthropology and environmental science, which sounds important given the ecological insight that native peoples tend to have on their own land.

    I think I'd have to research the topic further to determine my thoughts on it.
     
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  4. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    To add some additional context, perhaps for @Heyo and others who (and this included me until recently!) are devoted to the Western conception of science, the seminar speaker, Dr. Hernandez, presented us with an interesting scenario to challenge our biases about what science is and isn't. The speaker was an indigenous climate change refugee from Central America (link to one of her books that I should probably get here), who was able to study at a Western university and holds a Ph.D. in Western-style science. She presented this video and then asked us a follow-up question:



    Is this practicing science? She didn't tell us the answer, she asked us to think about it. Keep in mind the audience here was basically a bunch of Ph.D.'s and graduate students. I was one of the few in the room who didn't raise their hand for either "yes" or "no" and raised mine for "unsure." When she asked folks from each group of raised hands to comment on why they thought that, I specifically mentioned that we tend to think of science as very data-driven and analysis-driven (aka, fancy stats to prove significance) in the West. If you don't attach numbers to it, we don't think of it as science. Yet why is that? Why do we really define science the way we do in the West? How much is it really a product of the European white man perspective?

    Quite a lot, apparently, which is interesting to think about. Certainly more than I'd given thought to, but that's bias for you - it sneaks up on us. And we'll be better scientists for acknowledging these issues.
     
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  5. wellwisher

    wellwisher Well-Known Member

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    Indigenous science tells us how to live within nature, by being a living part of nature. However, most people are not that hardy. I like to camp out, but I would not want to live that way all the time. Since, I am more urban/sub-urban, by nature, all the logistics needed for my creature comforts, will leave a much larger foot print on nature, that science has to both create and account for.

    The artificial extras that others and myself require, are not variables in the indigenous system. Their simple life is helpful to their lifestyle. We need a large sewer plant, whereas they, like the bears, can crap in the woods with no harm. Which is causing more natural stress and which needs extra science and engineering to add and remove the stresses?

    I would like to see a National Park being turned into an indigenous park, where one can live there for free, but only if your footprint is as small as the indigenous footprint. You can become part of a national museum of indigenous science and life. There are those on the Right; homesteaders, who have learn to live off the land and off the grid, allowing a small enough footprint, which could be fined tuned with indigenous science.
     
  6. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    The "scientific method" is diverse collection of
    methods. Some are formal...others are, well...
    lacking in rigor, & melded with folklore, superstition,
    & tradition. But the latter can have a wee element
    of science, eg, knowing which berries to not eat
    because of consequent distress.
    Even the scientific methods are a hit or miss game.
    Indigenous science seems to be just a less productive
    process.
     
  7. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I am no researcher on this. But we have Ayurveda (Hindu), Unani (Muslim) alternate medicine. Then the importance given to purity in Hinduism, the idea of 'Sutak' (Exclusion for specified days) for a person from a family where a person has died and his close relatives (who may carry the germs in case the person died from a infectious disease) and the exclusion of a new born and his mother (generally for 40 days so that they may not get infected) very scientific. Then prohibiting fish eating during the rainy month of Shravan (when perhaps the fish breed). There are a whole lot of other such traditions which have a base in science. Kindly excuse a city-bred me for not knowing more of these traditions.
     
    #27 Aupmanyav, Nov 20, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2022
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  8. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    How do you know that? European powers came in to knock down the rainforest to farm, and it seems like the indigenous people worked with it productively, letting it renew. Western ethnobotanists that have traveled there, have probably consistently worried about productive knowledge and bio-resources becoming lost forever. Farmers might have already destroyed the species, or combination of them, that could cure some of our top diseases.
     
  9. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Abnormal before it was fashionable
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    I don't.
    I have only opinions based upon what I hear & observe.
    I've read articles of scientists lamenting such losses.
    We can't even know the extent of loss.
     
  10. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    Science is not only the body of knowledge but also the practise of gaining knowledge about the world through observation, deduction and testing.
    Take that definition, explain it to an indigenous people and ask them how many of them are practising scientists. Ask them what their word is for science in their language.
    We didn't have science 200 years ago.
     
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  11. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane My own religion

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    So that definition is what? Objectively true, because of reasons... Or a case of culture? What is your evidence based on observation of human culture including your own?
     
  12. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    Because of what Neil DeGrasse Tyson calls "bragging rights". Science is a modern, western invention. The inventor has the right to name and define his invention.
     
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  13. The Hammer

    The Hammer Wyrd Wide Web
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    It is wonderful to think about isn't it? The mount of information and expertise is out there, if us in the western scientific framework we're willing to look for it.

    This concept of indigenous science and knowledge, is what drew me to study Anthropology.

    I recently had an argument with a member who I won't name, about whether different cultures performed science differently, and whether or not their results were important/accurate. They were under the impression that only "western" (enlightenment derived) science was accurate and useable.

    Everything else was no good.

    Of which I completely disagree. These are cultures that have lived and survived in specific environments for millennia, so of course they have scientific knowledge we don't.
     
  14. The Hammer

    The Hammer Wyrd Wide Web
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    Most of the scientific and anthropomorphic sciences has stepped away from this notion of romanticism.
     
  15. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane My own religion

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    There are several versions of science in Western culture. And yours is a sub-culture with Western culture. And so is mine.
    So you don't even know the actual Western history of science.
     
  16. Jose Fly

    Jose Fly Fisker of men

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    I tend to agree with some of those who've already pointed out that indigenous people don't really practice their own unique type of "science", and it's more accurate to say that they oftentimes bring different perspectives and knowledge to the table.

    I work with Native American tribes quite a bit and I've seen it go all sorts of ways. I've seen their historical knowledge and understanding be a game-changer and their perspectives take science groups in new directions that ended up being quite successful. But I've also seen their "historical knowledge" turn out to be very wrong and cause teams to devote significant resources to dead end projects.

    When I first started working with tribes it took me a year or so before I finally concluded that in general, they're pretty much like any other group of people in that they're subject to the same tendencies, biases, errors, etc. as everyone else, and therefore their "knowledge" should be subject to the same type of skepticism and held to the same standards of evidence as anyone else's.

    IOW, when it comes to science, I've never seen any reason to treat them or their claims as any better or worse than the same from any other people.
     
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  17. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane My own religion

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    Just for the fun of it. So scientists are also in the group of any other people and thus not different from any other people. That is the correct way to treat any claim, even from a scientist. :)
     
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  18. Jose Fly

    Jose Fly Fisker of men

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    Yep.
     
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  19. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    So acquiring knowledge through observation and experiment is a modern invention?
     
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  20. Ella S.

    Ella S. Stoic Utilitarian

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    It's the Western bias of the white man to... focus on measurable facts?

    Do you know what "bias" means?
     
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