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denial of reality to preserve identity and status
this has really become the whole of the problem
the problem with basing an entire status hierarchy upon relative levels of marginalization and aggrievement is that is becomes a negative sum war of all against all as only one can be the most aggrieved and therefore king/queen/non-gendered royal of the court.
and this is why such movements inevitably eat themselves.
their peaks of ideological and identity purity become melting icebergs upon which fewer and fewer can stand and the tribes of wokedom go to war with one another as they literally fight over which set of mad performative delusions shall retain primacy.
this jar is full of fascinating bugs.
lots to unpack here as we watch them fight.
so much to assess.
we start with jessica hernandez PhD.
this is what may be charitably be called “a conflagration of warning signs.” it’s a complete subsumation into “ideology as identity” and validation as value. this is a woman with a single prism whose life has become a one note flute of repetitive application of “my knowing is bigger than your knowing “because indigenous”!”
one may easily see this in evidence by her chosen method of discourse: “indigenous knowledge is science” repeated 8 times. no explanation. no evidence. no supporting logic. just simple, strident repetition. this is essentially a perfect shibboleth for her belief set for what could demonstrate more avid adherence to “the old ways” than repetition? i do as mother did who does as her mother did who did as her mother did on to the dawn of time. it is the ultimate conservative stance of “that which was shall be that which is” and denial of progress, progression, or learning.
jessica repeats herself in just the manner that “indigenousness” does: endless echoes of unchallenged and unchallengeable ethos through the ages.
it is also a WILD and direct denial of science. i have no idea what “indigenous science” is supposed to mean exactly, but a perusal of her website makes it appear to mean “a massive hodge podge of non-unified and non validated superstition and values ascription possessing no empirical or even logical basis” leavened with appeals to credentialism.
but it does nothing to mask the fact that “informed by case studies, personal stories, and family histories that center the voices of Latin American women and land protectors” reads like scientific inversion.
science is not stories and voice centering. science is evidence gathered to test hypothesis and rigorously assessed and replicated. the goal is not to “validate ancient knowing” but to refute and disprove it and all other ideas of knowledge paring it down to ONLY that which may be proven by testing and replication.
indigenous land stewardship as a path forward is a near entirely self-deluding trope. the practices of many, even most amounted to slash and burn agriculture as forests were turned to ash to clear land which was then farmed to soil exhaustion and abandoned as tribes moved on to immolate new pastures. much of the rest was “find a large, prolific resource and jealously guard it for the use of a small group.”
it was inefficient, resource intensive, and suited only to low population sizes. those that did have significant land use know how (like the inca) were just attempts to make extremely unproductive land yield food (which did seem to work within certain boundaries of “work”) but are both orders of magnitude off the efficiency of modern agriculture and led to large scale terraforming and land alteration programs that none of “team eco” would let you anywhere near today.
indigenous knowledge is not science.
this is not the world of sir francis bacon and his famous “method.”
this is the world of “my great granma told me bacon is bad for you so ignore francis.”
of course, this does not always mean that it is wrong. it’s not like aspirin or penicillin was some new invention. willow bark and bread mold poultices were common for centuries, perhaps millennia before they became the drugs we know today.
sometimes tradition gets it right. sometimes, societal practice evolved, spread, and was conserved because it worked.
this appears to be the viewpoint of brian who unwisely tries to seek status by bringing a sort of “middle way conciliatory we can all find ways to foreground our belief structures kumbayah” philosophy to bear wrapped up in a cosseting jacket of both vaguely rigorous ideas of philosophical/logical hierarchy and the fast track to total shenanigans that is “moral relativism.” this potent brew is so self-refuting as to wind up, even under its own auspices, to be either provably wrong or provably irrelevant.
let’s take it from the top:
an epistemology is just a theory of knowledge specifically around how one generates a sense of reality.
claiming that indigenous understandings of the world need not meet the standards of modern science is basically affirmative action for data.
imagine trying to apply this to physics. “well, that’s traditional knowledge of a protected class, so we do not need to test this material. everyone knows nothing is stronger! this is what the gods use to hold up the world!” you ready to drive your car across a bridge made to such standards?
he speaks of the “impulse to draw an equivalence” but how can one not? one form of reasoning can be used to build airplanes and perform heart transplants. the other, well…
clearly, much “indigenous knowing” has been proven deeply wrong. it turns out, for example, that blood sacrifice is not required to make the sun rise. (a great many were relieved by this finding)
but what path in indigenous systems exists to validate that and to separate valid from invalid ideas?
there is none.
this of course, is likely why such ideas are so attractive to the identity dogmatists of wokedom. “my philosophy explicitly excludes all epistemologies that could lead to a refutation of my philosophy” is a cute parlor game for midwits who lack any need to actually produce results and provides a great way to pick up oberlin girls, but consider what it also explicitly means: that which cannot be disproven cannot ever be called “true” in any objective sense.
and that means it is just faith.
justification by faith is not science, it’s religion. it may be a secular religion or one rooted in non-deistic concepts and spiritualisms like essence or gaia, but it’s still a religion and trying to codify subjective belief by assumption rather than evidence deeply limits insight and lacks any aspirations to objectivity. wrapping this up in a time-worn subjectivist dodge of moral relativism such as “there are different ways of knowing and all are good” serves to occlude more than it reveals. (except, perhaps, about the speaker)
sure, there are different way of knowing and many can be useful, but this is like considering tools in a box. is a screwdriver a better tool than a socket wrench? well, i don’t know. i’m not sure the answer is even knowable in a general sense. it depends on what you’re trying to do.
trying to visit the moon using “indigenous beliefs” is not likely to get you too far.
on the other hand, modern science has still told us nothing of the existence human soul (if indeed it exists) or the right way to feel about one’s neighbors. for this, perhaps the judeo-christian tradition is more useful, perhaps shinto, perhaps bokononism, or perhaps existentialist rationalism. many might debate this, but in truth, who can say for sure?
and that’s the pivot. “for sure.”
obviously, nothing is ever certain and no science is ever settled.
paradigms are always subject to being overturned by even one piece of evidence that refutes them.
that’s how it works. that’s how it MUST work or you cannot lay claim to having an objectively verifiable conception of “true.”
those who promulgate faith based theories about scientific topics that they have mistaken for some sort of spiritual empiricism get VERY touchy when you start talking about ”testable objectivity.”
and this is why, in the grand aggrievement derby, no even moderate movement toward allowing the acknowledgement of objectivity, alternate means of assessment, or possible comparison of “science” to “societal superstition” may be allowed because to grant even the existence of the concept of objectivity and validation by evidence and scientific method is to destroy your own belief set and identity entirely.
and so, the attacks are instant, nasty, exclusionary, and othering.
they are also almost always ad hominem for the problem with dearly held subjective worldviews is that there is no way to choose between them because they inherently exclude and disavow any means of so choosing. therefore, the only way to proclaim and retain ascendancy is to invalidate others and demand they be silenced.
“white men can’t know.” what a charmingly self refuting statement. alanna is not a white man, so by her own standards what can she know about white male knowing?
she then runs off into straw men about “you do not get to tell me what my meaning means to me!” as though that means anything and neatly sidesteps the fact that brian was literally arguing (albeit poorly) that there are different kinds of knowing of which hers would be one and that that’s great and that “science” is not inherently superior.
but this is precisely what an identity like alanna’s may not countenance.
she’s seeking to top the leaderboard in intersectional aggrievement as identify by joining the triple tribe of indigene, disability, and academia.
(it’s temping to assume that this is a parody account, but it’s not. go read the feed. they/she is really into basketry as epistemology as she unironically uses the metal blade of the colonizer to sever the noble reeds of her purported people)
her beliefs and identity appear rooted around “i get to yell at everyone about how marginalized i am and you all have to take it and shut up.”
seductive stuff for one desperate for unearned meaning and status, but hardly compelling.
in the end, it’s what tears this group to pieces and makes of their ethos entire a self immolating system of forever war.
and this game has spread beyond the parlor and into actual practice.
one may use “indigenous science” to build a boat, but without reference to archimedes’ principle what you can build and its ultimate use and seaworthiness is limited. you get a kayak, but not a containership.
“indigenous medicine” pre-scientific method and randomized controlled trial was often pretty dire stuff. take a a spin through how benjamin rush probably killed george washington some time.
there is a hierarchy here in terms of kinds of knowing.
one may use scientific method to validate or refute “indigenous knowing.” my tribe says that this root cures this ailment. this can be tested. it can be known. scientific method lets us do this.
but the obverse does not work. science says “aspirin” and tradition says “willow bark.” which is better? how can “indigenous knowledge” inform our choice on efficacy or risk? (this last one is a doozie. “it must be safe, it’s a plant!” would have made your long ago ancestors laugh.)
at the end of the day, if system A can be used to validate the claims of system B and choose between which are correct and which inaccurate but system B cannot do so for system A, then these sit in different places in objectivist hierarchy.
A sits above B in terms of quality of knowledge because A can render B false, but B cannot do so to A.
obviously, this does not mean that all things can be subject to or determined by scientific method, but saying “this cannot tell me how to love” is the belief paradigm of equivalent saying “you cannot drive nails with a hacksaw so hacksaws are not useful tools!”
this is obviously wrong. they are extremely useful, but like any tool are useful only within their ambit.
this muzzy scope widening of “because science cannot tell me how to do X science is invalid” is just the loud profession of a lack of understanding what science is.
it’s a tool.
and a tool is useful inasmuch (and not beyond) the point that it helps you do things.
and this is a VERY useful tool. it is not one you want to lose or put down.
but this is where the agents of identity aggrievement are chasing us.
they proclaim “superstition is science” not because there is any reason to claim or believe so, but because they NEED to claim and believe so lest acknowledging the existence of a mode by which to test objective truth undo them entirely and when you have built not just your identity but your status upon these belongings and beliefs, you will do anything to avoid that.
you will deny reality.
you will deny the ability to discern reality.
but reality remains.
and the reality is that the competitive rarefication engine of climbing the greasy pole of intersectional oppression where the most oppressed are highest status because in a morally relative world no other standard may be verified for virtue save victimhood has infected science and driven it mad.
the most victimized are always and everywhere crazy people.
and they have been seeking to grab control of the asylum.
but with control comes blame. and whoo doggie is that piling up.
and everyone can see who’s doing it.
you can watch woke eating itself. robbed of external enemies those who would seek the title of “emperix of the endlessly offended” need to adopt literal pathologies that belong in the DSM V and not in university curricula to make the case for “more aggrieved than you” and pretty soon, everyone is offended that others are offended about them being offended about not being sufficiently offended about the offense no one ever meant to give in the first place.
they are literally farming self-harm because they have mistaken it for the path to status.
is it any wonder the world has become so shaved badger touchy and unfun?
these are the thieves of joy and their cycle of royalty selection has passed the point of sanity and is now exploring “how crazy do i have to be to be hierarchically atop you in the desperate phantasmagorical quest for meaning and power in my otherwise meaningless life?”
the answer is “pretty fricking crazy” these days and it’s going very, very bad.
it has become the self defeating ethos of this.
the death throes of this dogmatic derangement are going to be unpleasant, but make no mistake: this is already over.
this whole movement is done and most of society is done with it.
there’s going to be a fair bit of thrashing around and profession of featly and desperate grabbing at straws by the folks slipping down off this pole of power and that may seem like menace, but it’s just sounds and fury signifying imminent ideological extinction.
as their magic words of preference and privilege cease to function, they will invoke them with greater stridence but this is just the panicked lowing of a herd that has become its own slaughterhouse.
it’s over now.
the jokes are starting to go mainstream and and tolerance for this sort of “profession of contrite allegiance to ancient superstition because modern “progressives” are mostly too conservative to tolerate much less participate in actual progress” has waned dangerously and what was once forced accommodation is rapidly turning to the sort of open animosity reserved only for a childhood bully you suddenly realize you’re standing a head taller than.
what has always been mostly mental illness and social maladaptation will soon be named so again.
the crybullies have lost their power
the reign of the most unreasonable proclaimer of oppressions and ism is done.
we need only walk away and let it eat itself.