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What is Maori Science, and How Does it Differ from Science?

MrNiceGuy

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In New Zealand, university & gov't efforts to make "Maori science" equivalent to what they call "western science" https://www.nzherald.co.nz/kahu/sci...ge-is-not-science/GN55DAZCM47TOZUTPYP2Q3CSLM/ Several scientists wrote a letter "In Defence of Science." They are now under attack, so to speak, from the University, which disavows their "hurtful" letter and doesn't represent the views of the University, etc. and "The University has deep respect for mātauranga Māori as a distinctive and valuable knowledge system. We believe that mātauranga Māori [traditional Maori knowledge/wisdom] and Western empirical science are not at odds and do not need to compete. They are complementary and have much to learn from each other." -

Some other scientists are also on the "disavow" side https://www.nzherald.co.nz/kahu/sci...ge-is-not-science/GN55DAZCM47TOZUTPYP2Q3CSLM/ A geologist and ecologist point out that "some" traditional Maori wisdom is science, because it's like the Maori lunar calendar and the methods used by ancient Maori to travel around the south Pacific islands - and she stated that "I reject the idea that my tipuna [ancestors] did not do science." Victoria University of Wellington sociology professor Joanna Kidman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa) said it was "really disturbing that Western science is being pitted against indigenous knowledge".

So, what New Zealand wants to do according to the second article above is - "Science teachers would be supported to design courses to include both "mātauranga pūtaiao" (Māori scientific knowledge) and "Western science" which had traditionally been taught in schools." That would include curricula to teach students how "western science" was racist and colonialist and was used to oppress indigenous people.

The article says "Science students would be encouraged to compare and contrast scientific methods, including traditional Māori ways of understanding the natural world anchored in concepts like whakapapa and kaitiakitanga (guardianship)." Okay, apparently, there is a "traditional Maori scientific method." I have looked around, but I can't seem to find that method published anywhere. So, I wonder what is Maori science or the maori method? And, how does it compare to science (which they call "western" science, even though it was developed by and used by many cultures, not just "western European").

I agree with the scientists above who say that the empirical investigation done by her tipuna in learning to travel the seas, guide by stars to some extent, and development of astronomical or lunar calendars is not "mythology" and can be regarded as scientific or at least empirical knowledge. But, I don't think that is what the "seven scientists" who wrote the letter were objecting to. I think what they were objecting to was the equivalent of creationism being taught in public schools as an "other way of knowing."

And I agree that there should be no exclusion of Maori people from science, and there plainly isn't. However, "traditional wisdom" or "lore" or "beliefs" are not science, no matter what culture they come from. Western Europeans were and are Christian, overwhelmingly, but that doesn't make their traditional wisdom, lore, myths and beliefs science either.

Lawrence Krauss espouses the traditional liberal approach to this issue, and he consistently advances the same argument that all liberals used to make against the teaching of myth and things like creationism as "both sides" in the scientific classroom - https://www.scienceunderattack.com/...osal-to-equate-mori-mythology-with-science-95 (yet, according to the University of Aukland folks, this view is now racist, and "deeply disturbing and hurtful").

Sides have shifted a bit, over the last 10+ years - and now the University in this case is adopting the position of "other ways of knowing" and "teach the controversy" position of the intelligent design/creationist folks of the 00s and early 10s. But I want to understand just what it is this "other way of knowing" to which they refer is. They say they will "compare" the Maori scientific method to the "western" scientific method. So, we know what the western scientific method is. https://www.thoughtco.com/scientifi...thesis, and conducting scientific experiments. So, the question becomes, what are they suggesting we will compare it to? What is the tipuna's scientific method?
 

bomberfox

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The course would also discuss "the notion that science is a Western European invention and itself evidence of European dominance over Māori and other indigenous peoples".

This is the only part i would think legitimate. Aside from a lot of hyperbole there is a lot of ways of doing things that were quite successful that were blocked out by European colonialism. The indigenous of Australia had some splendid ways of cultivating and managing the land.
 

MrNiceGuy

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The course would also discuss "the notion that science is a Western European invention and itself evidence of European dominance over Māori and other indigenous peoples".

This is the only part i would think legitimate. Aside from a lot of hyperbole there is a lot of ways of doing things that were quite successful that were blocked out by European colonialism. The indigenous of Australia had some splendid ways of cultivating and managing the land.
How did their splendid ways of cultivating and managing the land in any way contradict science?

How is science evidence of dominance?

Science is a method of understanding what's real in the world - empirical evidence.

How do we "follow the science?" Wouldn't it be just as legitimate to address things like covid with "other ways of knowing?"
 

bomberfox

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How did their splendid ways of cultivating and managing the land in any way contradict science?

How is science evidence of dominance?

Science is a method of understanding what's real in the world - empirical evidence.

How do we "follow the science?" Wouldn't it be just as legitimate to address things like covid with "other ways of knowing?"
I didnt say it contradicted science, in fact like in the article sometimes it can be complementary. I dont agree that there is european science and maori science, theres just science that involves peoples all around the globe.
 

The Mark

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How did their splendid ways of cultivating and managing the land in any way contradict science?

How is science evidence of dominance?

Science is a method of understanding what's real in the world - empirical evidence.

How do we "follow the science?" Wouldn't it be just as legitimate to address things like covid with "other ways of knowing?"
I'm assuming that, in the past, and possibly to a lesser degree currently, "western science" was used by those who colonized New Zealand (and other places) as yet another way to put down the locals.
Or something like that?

Seems highly plausible at least.

I'm further assuming that this discussion/conflict arose from that past in some way.
 
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