Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Instapundit Refers to It As Witchdoctoring

From Instapundit2/13/24 Free Beacon reports on how Health and Human Services is expecting scientists to explore Indigenous Knowledge in their pursuit of truth.

Let me be clear: there are scattered bits of knowledge in folk medicine that can lead to useful medical science: willow bark tea to alleviate pain gave us aspirin; foxglove contains digitalis which was a folk remedy for congestive heart failure; Guatemalan Indians made use of an estrogen containing plant to control fertility of livestock, leading to birth control pills.  But capitalizing Indigenous Knowledge (which the linked report does) suggests a primacy or at least importance in scientific research that risks leading us down a path that if we called it Biblical Knowledge would produce a firestorm of outrage.


  1. As a former high school debate competitor I feel compelled to refer to, if not construct, the negative case against a proposition I with which I generally and strongly agree. There ARE a few examples where the natives know -- or do -- what the colonials do not -- or at least do not understand.

    The essay references Chesterton's Fence and the native traditions of processing the cassava plant

    Operating over generations as individuals unconsciously attend to and learn from more successful, prestigious, and healthier members of their communities, this evolutionary process generates cultural adaptations. Though these complex repertoires appear well designed to meet local challenges, they are not primarily the products of individuals applying causal models, rational thinking, or cost-benefit analyses. Often, most or all of the people skilled in deploying such adaptive practices do not understand how or why they work, or even that they “do” anything at all. Such complex adaptations can emerge precisely because natural selection has favored individuals who often place their faith in cultural inheritance

    Interesting that those now pushing hardest for the Christian and Scientific "West" to abandon traditions are so eager to embrace the traditions of others, without, though, embracing the terminology of "tradition".

  2. Of "Biblical Knowlege"... news today of a Seattle Public School class being taught that “Worship of the Written Word” is white supremacy because it is “an erasure of the wide range of ways we communicate with each other.” ... {Literacy is} “honoring only what is written and even then only what is written to a narrow standard, full of misinformation and lies.” Odd. I'd always considered literacy to be the ZEROth Commandment, spoken by a loving God to a Chosen People who were then instructed to READ the rest of the commandments. Then there is the tradition of the minyan, where prayers, as commanded, can only be offered by a group of ten literate men. Nine rabbis or professors of Law can't, themselves, pray, but add to the group only one teenager who has read aloud a scroll at his Bar Mitzvah last week, and -- zooop! -- up go the prayers. Definitely, "Biblical knowledge" IS rooted in literacy, and I'd always thought so. But I hadn't before today understood that the roots of Biblical Knowledge were also the roots of White Supremacy. Nor that the Jews were the founding fathers of such oppression.

    If one desired to keep Black Americans in poverty, a scheme to deprive them of fundamental skills would be a key goal.

  3. I'd send them straight to the Inuit and Maasai and use that as an opportunity to turn the ghastly 1970s food pyramid on its head.