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Why Is the Society for American Archaeology Promoting Indigenous Creationism?
https://quillette.com/2021/06/13/why-is-...eationism/

INTRO: In April, one of us—Elizabeth Weiss—gave a talk, titled Has Creationism Crept Back into Archaeology?, at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). The 87-year-old SAA identifies itself as “an international organization dedicated to research about the interpretation and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas.” The SAA board of directors includes professors, curators, and government archaeologists, all of whom presumably appreciate the importance of studying artifacts and human remains as a means to understanding the history of our species.

The subject of the April 15th talk, co-authored with James W. Springer (who also co-authored this essay), was the threat of religious literalism being used as a means to insist on the repatriation of human remains (mainly skeletons) and artifacts to presumed descendent populations—i.e., present-day Indigenous communities whose members live near the location where such remains are discovered. However, our use of the term “repatriation” more broadly encompasses the new laws, ideological claims, and policies that serve to give Indigenous claimants control over remains and artifacts, as well as over associated information pertaining to culture and science (along with the power to block research by others on these subjects).

In the United States, where we work, the repatriation movement took form in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a 1990 federal law that requires that remains and artifacts should be turned over to affiliated present-day American tribes, if there exists a relationship of shared group identity that can reasonably be traced historically or prehistorically between the remains and modern community members. All federally-funded institutions, such as universities and museums (even private ones that accept federal funding) are required to follow NAGPRA. This includes the requirement that they create inventory lists so that American Indian tribes can request repatriation of previously discovered and curated items.

The most expansive interpretations of NAGPRA’s provisions now serve to place Indigenous oral traditions, which typically include religious stories, on equal footing with traditional forms of scientific evidence such as DNA analysis. And NAGPRA’s review committees often contain traditional Indian religious leaders who assist in repatriation decisions. While it is unfashionable to say so, we do not believe that this application of NAGPRA is correct. Contrary to the popular misunderstanding of NAGPRA, human remains and artifacts are not just repatriated to lineal descendants (such as a great-great grandchild), but are often repatriated to those who are deemed culturally affiliated. This kind of link can be established through orally transmitted creation myths that are analogous to what exists in the book of Genesis—tales of the origin of the universe and of people that are based on a series of miraculous events. (In 2007, the Department of the Interior went further by attempting to extend NAGPRA’s provisions to even those remains whose connections are “culturally unidentifiable.”)

In arguing against the perspective that oral traditions consisting of animistic creation myths should be used to determine repatriation decisions, we had hoped for an intellectually-driven debate over the scope of NAGPRA, and in regard to the treatment of knowledge more generally in our field. Instead, even before our talk aired, repatriation activists, both within the SAA and beyond, attacked it as racist, anti-Indigenous, colonialist, and even white-supremacist...(MORE - details)
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Essentially, the administrators of science are more social constructivists than objective worlders. They exalt the latest, invented, prescribed morality/legality trends over reality. (Widespread announcements of postmodernism's death after the 9/11 attacks were empty, as the offshoots of postmodernism are more alive than ever in the public and governmental sectors at large.)

Even though it's not strictly "white or Euro" in terms of origin, Christianity will only be a minor player in this power game because of its historical perception as an accomplice of Western colonialism.

The human or social sciences have been an unreliable garbage heap for a long time, anyway, for various other reasons (see links below). But their role as a henchman of the humanities and a facilitator of academia's intellectual scams (giving them the appearance of scientific credence) is more prominent now, and growing.


Replication crisis

Predatory journalism

The intellectual & moral decline in academic research

Motivated Reasoning Is Disfiguring Social Science

In psychology & other social sciences, many studies [still] fail reproducibility test

‘Woke’ science has no place in government policymaking + Science goes rogue

The Devolution of Social Science

Is social science akin to a cargo cult?

Peer review: How is that working out for ya?