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  1. I love the way that little by little, at least in the west, humanism and non belief are on the rise. I love that minorities now have atheist voices they can listen to and give them another way …. secularism.

    There is no doubt we are heading in the right direction …. at least in the west.

  2. He has his work cut out, for sure. And he is right, Atheism, critical thinking, Pastafarianism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism shouldn’t need violence, forceful persuasion, or indoctrination, they should stand on their own merits, and Faith, the belief in the absence of evidence, has none. Now try to explain that to an whipped angry mob!

    It all starts with education, and teaching how to evaluate claims and ideas, getting away from the binary thinking of religious teaching, something that I always found suspiciously lacking in schools, and all over the world. It’s either swept under the carpet, or all together replaced by religious fluff, or worse regimented indoctrination.

    Young kids pick these things up quick, and may be that’s why. Like many of us I assume, I had to come to my the ‘conclusion’ on my own, but I sure could have used a crash course in critical thinking and cut away 10 years of bullshit. Africa, like the world, can use some of that. It makes for better informed citizens, and tend to calm the nerves when you can see both sides of a story and deal with problems rationally, rather than the Pavlovian response to events you typically see in faith-filled heads.

    • In reply to #3 by papa lazaru:

      It all starts with education, and teaching how to evaluate claims and ideas, getting away from the binary thinking of religious teaching, something that I always found suspiciously lacking in schools, and all over the world.

      …but I sure could have used a crash course in critical thinking and cut away 10 years of bullshit.

      I feel the same way about that.

      I hope you will be encouraged to know that a friend of mine who is a teacher in a private school near Boston, has designed a course that she teaches there, called Skeptical Thinking. It’s a whole year for these kids to develop intellectual skills required to evaluate assertions based on evidence presented (or lack of evidence) and formulate conclusions based on their analyses. At the end of the school year they give a presentation of an investigation they’ve done on an important issue such as climate change, vaccination, etc.

      Granted, this course takes place in a private school, but what a fantastic model for our public schools if only it could be worked into those curriculums. I would also love to have a compulsory course in Ethics taught in public schools along with the Skeptical Thinking course. We will always need people like Igwe, Richard, Hitchens, etc., but please indulge me in a fantasy of what strides our society would make if our young people were educated to be critical thinkers and came out of our high schools with a proper foundation in Humanism, Naturalism, and Ethics so that when they are then exposed to the ideas put forth by our public intellectuals, they would not lose time with trying to search and find the foundation material they need to grapple with higher ideas. They would hit the ground running, so to speak. This is what I didn’t have and it’s exactly what I wish for all young people today.

      • In reply to #6 by LaurieB:

        In reply to #3 by papa lazaru:

        It all starts with education, and teaching how to evaluate claims and ideas, getting away from the binary thinking of religious teaching, something that I always found suspiciously lacking in schools, and all over the world.

        Few are prepared to abolish binary thinking because everybody thinks they have the best way of educating anyone, especially in “The West.”

        All of the foundation material is prepared for adults to be interested in, but not many will be able to hit the ground running, because it means learning how to reject your entire Western education (which is global) and that is so you can temporarily reject Enlightenment ideas – the source of prominent Western ideas, such as the scientific method and economics – then finally coming up with the same conclusions yourself, BUT in your own language and cultural context.

        This is very much like converting to atheism and rediscovering those ideas of morality and freedom that were once monopolized by religion. Doing that while also building a new framework of understanding the creation through the sciences is very difficult for those without a formal science education. It cannot happen overnight.

        Why? It is the “pedagogy of the oppressed” as Paulo Freire would put it. It’s in order to liberate yourself from The West (oh, and it’s Bible, booze, venereal disease, forcing it’s language on you, stealing your land, enslaving you, reducing your people to farmhands and housemaids and not even teaching your ancestors and parents anything apart from how to read and write… if they were lucky).

        NB: I’m not taking from an African perspective, but there are similarities, the main being the axiom that you are struggling with the “West” / “Non-West” binary.

        • In reply to #7 by fractaloid:

          All of the foundation material is prepared for adults to be interested in, but not many will be able to hit the ground running, because it means learning how to reject your entire Western education (which is global) and that is so you can temporarily reject Enlightenment ideas – the source of prominent Western ideas, such as the scientific method and economics – then finally coming up with the same conclusions yourself, BUT in your own language and cultural context.

          I’m not sure what Foundation you are talking about but I don’t agree at all that its ever necessary to “reject your entire Western education… so you can temporarily reject Enlightenment ideas – the source of prominent Western ideas, such as the scientific method and economics”

          If I’m understanding you, you are raising the (very legitimate) criticism that a lot of Western education, science, history, etc. was biased toward certain people and ideas and against others. That is true. It wasn’t that long ago that people who considered themselves progressive said some incredibly racist things about non-western cultures. But the idea that the proper response to that is to just throw out the whole thing and start over seems like a total over reaction. Especially if you throw away the scientific method I’m curios what do you replace it with?

          I’m also tired of people knocking the Enlightenment. I think it was one of the best advances in history and one we still haven’t assimilated yet. In fact Steven Pinker wrote about this in his recent book The Better Angels:

          “Today the Enlightenment is often mentioned with a sneer. “Critical theorists” on the left blame it for the disasters of the 20th century; the conservatives in the Vatican and the American intellectual right long to replace its tolerant secularism with the alleged moral clarity of medieval Catholicism.7 Even many moderate secular writers disparage the Enlightenment as the revenge of the nerds, the naïve faith that humans are a race of pointy-eared rational actors. This colossal amnesia and ingratitude is possible because of the natural whitewashing of history that we saw in chapter 1, in which the reality behind the atrocities of yesteryear is consigned to the memory hole and is remembered only in bland idioms and icons. If the opening of this chapter has been graphic, it is only to remind you of the realities of the era that the Enlightenment put to an end.”

          Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (p. 133). VIKING ADULT. Kindle Edition.

          • In reply to #8 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #7 by fractaloid:

            Rejection isn’t a final thing. There is no finality in knowledge is there? The most important part is that we’re free to reach the SAME conclusions without any brutality involved.

            West-Papua is also in need of making an education system separate from the Indonesian. So don’t take it personally about the Enlightenment thing, because right now we’ll be recommending that teachers there are taught how to reject teaching Indonesian stuff where it causes distress.

            Pinker needs to revise his understanding of critical studies. He is not an expert in this field and therein lies the problem. There isn’t enough interest in establishing a better way to educate outside of Harvard. People like Pinker saying those things actually means that I am forced to continue using the language of post-modernistic and Marxist scholars to formulate arguments for having, say, a separate assessment and grading system, or subjects that are applicable to rural areas and villages, etc; you know those basic things that Pinker had going for him in his life and now takes for granted. Very sad, although we are building a lot more evidence about bilingualism and Pacific languages and my rhetoric can change to mainstream academic style.

            Hopefully through the UN West-Papuans can teach their children about their own history and get the right skills taught to their children and one’s that are applicable to their traditional lives, as well as figuring out ways of selecting students who’re ready for university life in other countries, which is a very different process to Brazilian streetkids.

            PS. I use the Scientific Method everyday.

          • In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

            Here is an article from Richard Dawkins on Postmodernism from the old site. On this topic I’m in complete agreement with him:

            http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/824

            Postmodernism is pseudo-intellectual posturing of meaningless verbosity.

            Anyone claiming to study it, should read the generated output of postmoderist essays. – http://thebeerbarrel.net/threads/postmodern-essay-generator.12785/

            fractaloid @24 We use postmodernism because it helps facilitate communication on topics related to indigenous peoples.

            Postmodernism is vague, ambiguous, meaningless, obfuscating, rubbish:- a bluff which does not aid the meaning of anything. Its format is to obscure any coherent meaning while falsely posing as being “intellectually profound”!

            It may impress the ignorant who are not prepared to admit it is not communicating anything to them – possibly under the mistaken belief that it actually has some content to communicate, – and that the limitations their own literacy is the reason they do not understand!

            You missed the point that there is so often distrust and hatred of science and research activities.

            This should not be the case unless the anthropological research is clumsy, and intrusive, in which case it would be ineffective, as it would corrupt the data it is seeking by producing an adverse reaction in the studied population group.

          • In reply to #25 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

            Funny that you should say that about indigenous peoples’ literacy. Literary studies have provided many of the terms of reference that are used to talk about anything written, especially the funny things that people say about each other.

            If we used the terminology from physics’ Standard Model, for example, I don’t think that would be very helpful in discussions, because it’s associated with something that has reached approved status.

            If that was to happen, then my complaint would be that we’re using a language that can’t easily manage to describe any indigenous world view. Using the same literary reasoning, I’d agree with Richard Dawkins that we take the term “intelligent design” away from creationists and apply that to a discussion of rational and scientific morals. [They stole it and it doesn't belong to them.]

            As for hate: I was referring to all scientific research, but there are obvious dangers of bias data in anthropology, and I’m sure that’s a heated battle that anthropologists have within their own ranks too. If you wish to study a living group of people, or their ancestry, then unobstructed observation might not be gathering any data at all! What would be the point of it all?

            Some have argued that the best thing to do is live with the group and participate in their group activities and use a consistent methodology to describe it with comparable groups and, say, archaeological evidence. In my stay in Fiji this might be true, but it doesn’t sound very scientific to me, but it is learned.

            Postmodernism isn’t “obfuscating rubbish” it manages to do the complete opposite when it’s used to critique anything especially ourselves and what we do. Though, I think the words I would use is “obtuse rubbish.” Reading Foucault doesn’t make me a postmodernist. Many indigenous activist are or have been labeled Marxists, but really they’ve only used his language to politicize their actions. Funny none of the ‘experts’ here has mentioned his BS.

          • In reply to #9 by fractaloid:

            In reply to #8 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #7 by fractaloid:

            Rejection isn’t a final thing. There is no finality in knowledge is there? The most important part is that we’re free to reach the SAME conclusions without any brutality involved.

            There is no finality in knowledge I agree. I don’t see how that answers my question. If I’m understanding you you say that you need to reject science at some times and then you use it again later? When do you reject it? What do you replace it with?

            If you replace it with “Critical Theory” can you give me one tangible accomplishment of Critical Theory? Some phenomena that Critical Theory explains in a way that is useful and well established the way the scientific theory of Evolution is?

            From your comment it seems like there is some postmodern theory being used as part of education of some Pacific Island peoples. If that is true I think that is tragic. In the name of redressing colonialism and racism Western intellectuals are foisting pseudoscience on people who need real science and engineering the most.

          • In reply to #11 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #9 by fractaloid:

            In reply to #8 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #7 by fractaloid:

            Rejecting my own education could only be temporary, it’s just a harmless exercise in order to help us have praxis, instead of merely reading about it. Big difference in bold. I’m pretty sure that the best teachers have experience in their field solving problems. Books and theories about learning are just artifice and don’t teach all by themselves.

            Such an immersion in this critique is just a thought experiment, Red Dog, it’s not a belief, just the opposite. This pseudo-science, or philosophy, or whatever you want to call it may or may not lead to anything tangible.

            Only glanced at the Richard Dawkins article you gave, and it’s starts off right. (Once again, though, I’ll point out this leading scientist’s privileges.). It is remedial in nature… it has helped many educators who were inured by their own experiences with the dominant education system, learn how it is to learn again, so that they can pass that wonderful experience onto others. With the exception of brain science, I don’t think that any physical sciences can help us with that.

            For a post-colonialist wanting to reforming education policy, critical theory helps us think and talk about knowledge, and discuss epistemological issues, mainly which knowledge is useful to our success in a manner that has some academic and political history. I don’t believe that science has ever advised me what knowledge will help me be successful. Personality helped a little, but I’m not sure if personality is real or a construct (jokes).

            I totally agree that resorting to using post-modernistic or Marxist terminology (and it is really about the terminology) in achieving political change is a tragedy, but if one has alternative views to the mainstream, one must have a clear and concise language that is (1) peculiar to it, and (2) can be understood by the dominant society (because these philosophies originate in the dominant society too). This is just an attempt at being an academic discipline that challenges as good as any philosophy. I didn’t think it was a crime.

            How can I flip-flop between post-colonialism and scientific method? (1) It is my privilege (2) Usefulness I suppose: Once the desired changes takes place and a body of evidence is able to be gathered, then there is evidence! How else can we get that data in the first place? How: when there is no policy to support the alternative? No funding for research and no understanding from the majority?

            Final note: Science and engineering, great, but it is not up to any outsider to decide what is useful, but we must support whichever is needed. That is called ‘self-determination.’

          • In reply to #12 by fractaloid:

            Rejecting my own education could only be temporary, it’s just a harmless exercise in order to help us have praxis, instead of merely reading about it. Big difference in bold. I’m pr…

            You never answered any of my questions as far as I can tell. I assume you are at this site because you respect Richard Dawkins as an intellectual. If that is true I would strongly suggest you read that article I linked to in an earlier comment. He eviscerates just the kind of Postmodern analysis you are making. (And the article is classic Dawkins, well reasoned and very funny in parts)

            I understand and agree with the need to move beyond bias such as colonialism, sexism, and racism. And there are intellectuals out there who take a true scientific approach but still offer scathing analysis of colonialism and neoliberalism (e.g. Chomsky). But that doesn’t justify pseudoscience which is all I think Postmodernism is.

          • In reply to #13 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #12 by fractaloid:

            [Para removed by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

            I think that I did try to answer your question as best as I could. You basically asked how a study can achieve something tangible. It has it’s effects and, to your dismay, affects. Is law a pseudoscience.

            I also ask unfair questions, just for fun. I’d like to see Dawkins, Pinker and yourself try to inspire a group of elderly Marshall Islanders to read physics books to children every night (one of many solutions to poor language skills), but I suspect you’ll fail miserably with that attitude. I suppose you’ll also tell them how science needed to test their nuclear devices around their homes so that they can give have translucent-skinned babies.

            Science is hated and maligned in many parts of the world and I don’t think anybody on RDFRS will have any good idea to overcome that. I seem to, but no non-indigenous person will ever understand, because of the same defensive barriers that you’ve put up (100% genetic explanation for that).

          • In reply to #14 by fractaloid:

            In reply to #13 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #12 by fractaloid:
            I think that I did try to answer your question as best as I could.

            I believe you did try and that you think you answered them. That is one of the main problems with pseudoscience. It can cause smart people like you to waste an enormous amount of time on terminology and verbiage that is essentially meaningless. But I assert that you never provided direct answers to my questions.

            just for fun. I’d like to see Dawkins, Pinker and yourself try to inspire a group of elderly Marshall Islanders to read physics books to children every night

            I’ve seen Dawkins in person and of course many times on video. I think he absolutely could inspire anyone with his tales of science. Its one of the things I really like about him — even though I think he makes some serious political mistakes — its not just that he advocates for science in a cold sterile matter of fact way, he does it with passion and poetry and that’s the way I feel about it as well.

            And while we we’re talking “I would like to see” I would like to see how it goes when you try to explain to Pacific Islanders the importance of having Praxis as opposed to reading about Praxis. They don’t need Praxis. They need f*ing clean water, food, and basic education and I would love to hear how Critical Theory can provide them better than science.

            (one of many solutions to poor language skills), but I suspect you’ll fail miserably with that attitude.

            You are making invalid assumptions. You don’t know me at all. For one thing I think (and other people have said this to me) that I’m pretty good at explaining complicated ideas to people who aren’t at all familiar with them. It kind of dates back to when I was in R&D, I often ended up being the guy who “had to talk to the suits”. At first it was because I was one of the few guys there without a PhD and also one of the few that spoke English as my native language but I also found that I enjoyed it and from a scientific standpoint it was quite useful. As researchers we thought we had the answers to questions like how to build software better but as I talked to the people in the real world I found we were often asking the wrong questions to begin with.

            And I have volunteered a lot of my time. I’ve worked with people who were real Marxists my friend. People who couldn’t return to their homes in South America because they would be jailed or worse if they did. People who risked their jobs in the US in order to try and unionize workers.

            I suppose you’ll also tell them how science needed to test their nuclear devices around their homes so that they can give have translucent-skinned babies.

            I’ve never heard Dawkins advocate for anything like that and I don’t know where you are getting that. You are conflating support for science with support for colonialism, exploitation, neoliberalism. They aren’t at all the same thing. I marched in protest against both Iraq wars. I even got arrested once sitting down in the middle of Market Street in San Francisco blocking traffic to do it.

          • In reply to #16 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #14 by fractaloid:
            In reply to #13 by Red Dog:
            In reply to #12 by fractaloid:
            I think that I did try to answer your question as best as I could.

            I like reading about 80% of your words, but I’m not very smart. I am a very confident, self-disciplined and eager to learn academic, but science didn’t help me with that, even though I could recite scientific descriptions of intelligence, learning and behavior. Although, reading about spider embryos struck me with awe, it hasn’t actually told me who I am, or make me feel very smart in myself which are keys to self-efficacy (which doesn’t make a person intelligent). I think that language, terminology and verbiage are very important.

            What kind of person would forced their crap on anybody else? Oh yeah, that’s who.

          • In reply to #18 by fractaloid:

            In reply to #16 by Red Dog:
            I like reading about 80% of your words,

            Well from the replies I get to most of my comments that’s about 80% more than most people on this site so thanks.

            but I’m not very smart. I am a very confident, self-disciplined and eager to learn academic, but science didn’t help me with that, even though I could recite scientific descriptions of intelligence, learning and behavior. Although, reading about spider embryos struck me with awe,

            My definition of science is not the same as most of the people who come to this site. People here love to take cheap shots at anything that isn’t one of the “hard” sciences like physics or biology. I mentioned “credible anthropologists” once in a comment and someone thought it was a joke as if the idea that an anthropologist could be a scientist was funny. So for me you don’t need to wear a lab coat to follow the scientific method. You can be an anthropologist, a historian, an ancient scholar, etc.

            I think one reason science isn’t providing you with the answers you want is you may not be looking at all the science. Have you read Scott Atran? His book on religion is one of the best books I’ve ever read. And his latest book Talking to the Enemy talks exactly about some of the issues we have been discussing. The difference between scientific methods and other ways of perceiving and thinking. In the latest book he does a lot of what you seem to think scientists don’t do. He talks with people in their own environment. He takes risks in doing so because the people he is talking to are on the record as wanting to kill westerners. That is why he wants to talk to them and in talking to them he documents how their motivations are not at all what people like Dawkins claims they are. And he does it in a way I consider absolutely good science. I’m getting off topic a bit but it actually is a major disappointment to me how Dawkins so far ignores what Atran says and just keeps talking about Madrassas, ignoring alternative theories and data.

            it hasn’t actually told me who I am, or make me feel very smart in myself which are keys to self-efficacy (which doesn’t make a person intelligent). I think that language, terminology and verbiage are very important.

            Just because some theory says a lot about “empowerment” or “self realization” doesn’t mean that theory has anything meaningful to say on those topics. I agree there is a lot of great verbiage in Postmodernism and a lot of sentiment that I mostly agree with. That doesn’t make it credible.

            Besides the humanities, in fact much more so, the other thing people love to take cheap shots at here is religion. At times it almost seems the main reason half the people comment. They say things like “religion never inspired anyone” I know that to be absolute rubbish. I told you I worked with real Marxists. Some of them were also Christians (its amazing how people can rationalize these contradictions) And especially the people in CISPES were amazingly dedicated. It was clear to me that their faith motivated them to do great things to help others and to make personal sacrifices. My point is that its possible for an idea (Christianity, Marxism, Postmodernism) to inspire people, to make them feel a sense of self worth, without there being any validity to that idea.

          • In reply to #19 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #18 by fractaloid:

            In reply to #16 by Red Dog:
            I like reading about 80% of your words,

            Well from the replies I get to most of my comments that’s about 80% more than most people on this site so thanks.

            Well that’s just a type of praxis for atheists, isn’t it? We are only learning how to live without god, users here would be impatient. Given just the role of emotion in our life and the amount of time our brains are on autopilot (80% perhaps), I doubt if anyone actually knows what rational thinking is like. The only rational person I’ve met was a chef! Talk about up tight.

            Sorry, but our sciences are expected to find instant meaningfulness! The burden is on our (the claimants) shoulders I can see. How many including Richard Dawkins are asking ‘What do we replace religion with?’ After watching and reading Alain de Botton’s ‘Status Anxiety’ I can only imagine a future of science snobs.

            There will a time when science will describe each of us, who we are. We’re on our way to that as I look at NATO command & control systems and that many will be able to record their entire lives in digital, soon. Until then what do we do? Enter praxis: In a material world we must spend our energy turning theories into taking action…

  3. One thought I cheer myself with is there in only one truth. There are a bewildering array of errors. All are trying to pull in different directions, but the only direction essentially different from the others is the truth. The others are arbitrary. The errors cancel out. The truth has to win out over time even if it is only a quiet background voice.

    For example, the very existence of so many competing religions is proof all but one of them have to be wrong.

    • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

      I don’t know the significance, but it was interesting to note most of the audience were white.

      The significance of who was present at this meeting was addressed right at the beginning. The organization open to everybody who wants to help black people. So that what people look like is not important it’s why they are there that matters.

  4. In reply to #15 by Smill:

    I was flicking through a children’s information book on Canada, the other day, just to see whether it mentions anything about First Peoples…and barely a word, apart from a paragraph on the Inuit.

    Yes, there was a time when one particular Canadian tribe’s entire language consisted of a Disney Golden Book.

    Human beings need more than clean water, food, and “basic education,” and “outsiders” such as Red Dog would put such a limitation on human potential, but I don’t expect any person to understand what it’s like to only have those things.

  5. fractaloid,

    If you want to continue to waste your time and intellect mucking about in a post modernist miasmic swamp then that is your choice and you have the freedom to do so. What really makes me sad is that you are apparently in a position to offer an educational perspective to people in the developing world that is based on facts, data and logic but you have chosen instead to encourage a useless, defeatist worldview to them.

    Why do you assume that our community here is in anyway appreciative of Colonialism and it’s ill effects? And why would you assume that we are operating from a white, Western, Capitalist perspective with no idea that post-colonial, traditional societies exist? I personally have a resident status in a North African country and move in and out of that culture with fluency. I am involved every day with issues of Arabic language and Muslim culture and I am also American of Northern European origin with no genetic roots to that place. I reject your accusation of “binary thinking”. The problems that these traditional societies are facing are severe and worrisome to everyone. In the post-colonial period it may have been necessary to analyse the adverse consequences, but at this point, it is nothing but excuse making and poor me bullshit. This has gone on for decades in traditional societies and now we have an intellectual class there that is ill-equipped for dealing with the reality that they have created. While they were busy converting their cultures back to their idealized, Arabic-Islamic utopia by eliminating all traces of imperial languages, writings and ideas, they also blocked all the good and useful ideas such as Enlightenment Philosophy and almost all of Western scientific advancement. Quite a price to pay for years of self indulgent post-Colonial pity parties at the highest levels of academia, wouldn’t you say so?

    So where are we at now in most of the Third World? Way behind in every single human rights issue. In fact, things are worse there now than ever. Women’s rights are going from bad to worse in all countries where there is a Muslim majority. What’s really depressing is that these women don’t have the intellectual skills to fight their way out of a paper bag. They are so severely brainwashed into accepting their sexist victim status that they can’t see the forest for the trees. Here we have half of the population that promote their own slavery and rail against American and European Feminists who would be so happy to collaborate with them in the hopes of advancing their own good. Not only do we have reproductive and domestic slavery of women, the entire region is overwhelmed with corruption and lawlessness from the guy selling cigarettes on the corner to the highest offices of Government officials. These countries are on the slippery slope to all out anarchy with their foot on a banana peel and seriously, you want to carp on and on about colonial bullshit that happened half a century ago?

    I’d love to tell anyone what to do for women in traditional societies that would have immediate results. I have asked them what they want. They want smaller families and control over their own fertility. They want excellent health care. Safety in a society where there is fair rule of law for everyone equally. Free education for their children to go as far as they possibly can and then to get a decent job or business and earn a fair wage. They are well aware that their offspring need to be able to compete on a world stage and that they are being shortchanged by their own leaders, never mind the problems of a century in the past. The longer they hang onto traditions, religion and any other aspect of their culture that holds them down, the farther away from equality and every one of those hopes that I mentioned above, they will be. There is nothing so sacred or revered that we should cling to it if we decide that it’s harmful. People who promote this type of thinking are suspect.

    I have used Arabic culture in my discussion because I know it best. However, the women in other traditional societies elsewhere in the world are in a similar fix too. These women’s issues are the same in general throughout the third world.

    • In reply to #20 by LaurieB:

      fractaloid,

      If you want to continue to waste your time and intellect mucking about in a post modernist miasmic swamp then that is your choice and you have the freedom to do so. What really makes me sad is that you are apparently in a position to offer an educational perspective to people in the de…

      Thanks so much for you permision lol!

      Thanks for a bit of news from N. Africa, but I don’t offer any perspective on Africa, to Africa, or about Africa. Nor do I assume what people living in a different context want or need or think about binary! I do offer but a language to express ideas that are common to indigenous people globally, such as the “obfuscation” in the example you gave when searching First Peoples of Canada. This is a philosophical language that we can use for discussion purposes, such as in the UN. This is needed to express ideas that are so often misunderstood between people of different languages, even with a good translator. Eg. “family,” means different things to different people.

      We also steal a lot of ideas from feminism, not just because indigenous women are such strong activists but because feminism managed to advise Western politics, so go figure.

      What I am is a pragmatic, whichever works best policy person. If it meant cutting off my nose, I’d do it. We’ve have chosen this perspective, because it works well in guiding ethical research in our traditional world that so often forbids it. In education people are the subjects and I’d love to hook people up to an EEG to measure brain function while learning, but the answer will be “no” in many cases. Similarly, in language education, our significant advances in bilingualism may work for people of one language, but may not work anywhere else.

      So we are actually helping good science where good scientists have been failing.

      Good intentions, though, mean nothing to me after what I’ve seen.

      • In reply to #21 by fractaloid:

        In reply to #20 by LaurieB:
        We’ve have chosen this perspective, because it works well in guiding ethical research in our traditional world that so often forbids it. In education people are the subjects and I’d love to hook people up to an EEG to measure brain function while learning, but the answer will be “no” in many cases. Similarly, in language education, our significant advances in bilingualism may work for people of one language, but may not work anywhere else.

        I think that paragraph highlights where we disagree. To begin with I’m going to paraphrase in my words what I think you meant, to be sure we are on the same page:

        We use postmodernism because it helps facilitate communication on topics related to indigenous peoples

        That is an empirical claim. If its true you should be able to test it. If you do test it and your test doesn’t confirm your expectation then either the test was faulty or your theory was wrong. If you don’t accept that, if you live in some realm where something can be true but not testable that is pseudoscience.

        Getting back to the example, when you talk about science you talk about “hooking people up to an EEG” as if that were the only way to test your claim. It isn’t. Look at the research that Atran discusses its full of cognitive science examples where people measure things that are inherently hard to measure such as the effectiveness of communication. Another good example is the book Moral Minds by Marc Hausser. Again filled with examples where people try to quantify and empirically evaluate concepts like intentions, communication, etc. Some of them do involve using MRI technology but most do not. There are all sorts of clever techniques to simulate in a controlled environment what we think is going on with humans.

        It is hard to do this stuff scientifically. That is IMO why pseudoscience is still so strong in the softer sciences and why many people have the incorrect assumption that the only way to talk about these issues is with pseudoscience. But it can be done. Progress is slow and there will be many false starts and cases where we thought we were measuring something accurately and it turns out we were all wrong. But for me the challenge is part of what makes it so interesting.

        • In reply to #23 by Red Dog:

          In reply to #21 by fractaloid:
          In reply to #20 by LaurieB:
          I think that paragraph highlights where we disagree. To begin with I’m going to paraphrase in my words what I think you meant, to be sure we are on the same page:

          We use postmodernism because it helps facilitate communication on topics related to indigenous peoples.

          I see your reduction has oversimplified it somewhat, more like:

          We use the language derived from many European philosophies, so that indigenous peoples can use common terms of reference when expressing their traditional world views and their social concerns. This has shown to help facilitate communication on topics with each other and their often dominant society, which although they have many similarities, cannot altogether be understood by using many diverse, native languages and interdisciplinary nomenclature.

          Such a claim or statement is not required to be empirical, but it has been reached through consensus and approved by many government agencies.

          EEG was an extreme tactile example, but even the less invasive alternatives can be forbidden. You missed the point that there is so often distrust and hatred of science and research activities.

  6. I like this video as if comes for me at a time when I am deeply concerned with what is going on within the black community. What is also worrying is the rejection and substitution of mainstream religions like Christianity for African traditionalism and fringe ideas like the religions of the ancient Egyptians. These beliefs and ideas are not only continuing to foster hatred they are nurturing pure racism with in the black community. So this video gives me hope, knowing they are people out there addressing the problem of religion with in the black community.

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