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A Scientist Does Not Base His Opinions On Vague Whispers

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Posted by Mike Pearson on November 1, 2002 04:33:35 UTC

You must forgive my direct response...it is just that I don't have the credentials to put on airs.
Your opinion is fairly close to mine, except I would actually suggest that our comforts are more due to the technological advances and that the holocausts by all sides were rarely, if ever, more than slightly helpful in increasing our comfort (in our own generation. Of course, some past luxuries were obtained through ruthlessness, but most luxuries do not increase the next generation's advantage).


1) We really should establish which are facts and which are rumors. You can't just average the two groups together. That would only serve the ends of the greater propaganda effort.

2) The finding of the Western Hemisphere was
like the finding of persons in various wildernesses since then -- it is not simply conquest, but archeological style, that is on trial. The National Geographic, by the way, has done a poor job of reporting on Chagnon's behavior in the jungle. An investigatory reporter reported that journalists and anthropologists, not companies and governments, had done the most to damage aboriginal peoples, specifically the Yanomami.
Nat Geo's recent report on the
investigator's book helped pass along his bilge.
For example, they listed his accusations, including the idea that Chagnon, while working with a medical team that was innoculating folks against various epidemics, had contributed to killing more than were saved. Nat Geo mentioned in passing that the reporter had later retracted that accusation, then breezed on to more "scandal" about Chagnon. I would think that inaccurate reporting of that magnitude IS the story. Nat Geo hardly noticed.
Moral: maybe the stories you heard have not been properly put in perspective and proportion because
someone did not want it that way. There are so many reasons to admire how a significant portion of the Europeans regarded and treated the aborigines here...compared to their treatment by most cultures in most periods of history. Imperial
Rome, for example, simply conquered and subjugated each area, not hesitating to commit massive numbers to the sword to keep control.
3) The Indian tribes and the U.S. government are suing to prevent scientists from studying the remains of Kennewick Man...claiming that his remains are their own ancestors but that nobody should be allowed to determine that by using forensic science. THAT is dishonest.
Sorry to end on a low note.

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