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November 19, 2020

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Rafi

We are, however, told that the “telescope naming project,” which involved CSIRO staff, Wiradjuri Elders, the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and various other bodies, required “over two years” of work.

Of course.

Squires

“Over two years” is the key part here, as in “over two years of ego stroking and money for nothing”.

David

As noted previously, it’s hard to miss the pretension, and the fawning, patronising tone adopted by these people. And the implication that we’re supposed to pretend along with them.

David Davis

The late Carl Sagan said once in a video I've got somewhere, discussing the Drake Equation, that he wondered if high-technology advanced societies reach a certain point and then "snuff themselves out in an instant of unforgiveable neglect".

Ray

Pretty sure high technology advanced societies snuff themselves out by not noticing that their womenfolk have stopped having babies and that the country is filling up with barbarians.

NJH

The astronomical knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Dark Emu is up there we know that. After 40, 50, 60, thousand years of observations, no Bright Bunyip aka. supernovae; no differentiation between stars and moving planets and comets bringing omens, seem to have left a black hole in the ancient wisdom

David

We mustn’t forget the thrill of aboriginal healthcare:

Well, not everyone is happy trusting their recovery to healing songs and delusions of aboriginal sorcery, and there’s only so much you can achieve by pushing crushed witchetty grubs into a person’s ear. Likewise, the restorative properties of bush dung, as used in many of the practices invoked by Ms Blow - those “ways of knowing” - are somewhat unclear.

And if patients aren’t recovering as rapidly as one might hope, or indeed recovering at all, at least those Western paradigms will have been “decolonised.”

Jen

cosmic bong rip

Band name.

John Lewis

Are we allowed to ask about the average lifespan of First People receiving the benefits of aboriginal healthcare?

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Are we allowed to ask about the average lifespan of First People receiving the benefits of aboriginal healthcare?

As I mentioned before, 157 before Cook landed when it instantly fell to 35.

Dr Evil

Just call the wretched thing the Big Array Radio Telescope 1. Takes 5 seconds not 2 years!

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Just call the wretched thing the Big Array Radio Telescope...

Big Australian Survey Telescope Array, Radio Denoted.

Australian Sky Survey Where Indigenous Peoples Emerged.

Big Array Sky Survey Telescope, or Big ASS T, which is also the name of a rap "singer", so that might have trademark issues, but the possibilities are endless.

Steve E

The same technology that created the aboriginal aerospace industry perhaps?

Captain Nemo

the possibilities are endless.

Here's my effort:

Big Universal Grand Geostationary Extra-terrestrial Recording Array Telescope In the Outback, NSW.

Or BUGGERATION for short.

David

Or BUGGERATION for short.

I see that some of you are giving this more thought than is strictly necessary.

pst314

I see that some of you are giving this more thought than is strictly necessary.

Oh, a little more mockery is always worthwhile.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I see that some of you are giving this more thought than is strictly necessary.

Perhaps, but at least we are giving naming the Telescope With Aboriginal Theological Science the reverence it deserves.

John Lewis

More thought than strictly necessary.

And taking less than 2 years to do it.

David

And taking less than 2 years to do it.

Well, the glacial pace is sort of apposite, really.

The definition of astronomy – a branch of science that uses mathematics, physics and chemistry to study and explain celestial objects - is being stretched to include, and flatter, primitive mythology with zero scientific content beyond a very rudimentary calendar. And in terms of modern astronomy, I’m not sure what you get by gushing over the fact that what we now know as the constellation of Orion was referred to as a canoe by an arrested Stone Age foraging culture, which, despite tens of thousands of years of purported “astronomy,” had bugger all to show for it. No conception of what a constellation might actually be, no means of finding these things out, and little apparent interest in doing so.

What’s notable about aboriginal “astronomy,” and aboriginal culture more generally, is that it stayed primitive, all but prehistoric, for such an incredibly long time.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

And taking less than 2 years to do it.

That is because we are dedicated Posters Reinforcing All Thompson's Summaries.

Captain Nemo

I see that some of you are giving this more thought than is strictly necessary.

It's not as if we have anything better to be doing.

That is because we are dedicated Posters Reinforcing All Thompson's Summaries.

I prefer Knowledgeable Non-aligned Opponents of Bullshit Studies...

Richard

Giving the telescopes traditional aboriginal names is one of the most shocking examples of cultural appropriation I have ever encountered - and I've seen a few. The fact that Wiradjuri Elders and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group connived in this theft of their birthright makes it worse, not better. Blame must be apportioned and reparations made.

Darleen
"Science is the search for truth, often we think we are the first to discover it, but much of the knowledge we seek was discovered long before us," Dr Marshall said.

"We're honoured that the Wiradjuri Elders have given traditional names to our telescopes at Parkes, to connect them with the oldest scientific tradition in the world."

And yet I bet Dr. Marshall would be aghast and scandalized if a proponent of Intelligent Design were to raise a hand in the room and ask for acknowledgement.

[+]

And yet I bet Dr. Marshall would be aghast and scandalized if a proponent of Intelligent Design were to raise a hand in the room and ask for acknowledgement.

That.

Squires

Science is the search for truth, often we think we are the first to discover it, but much of the knowledge we seek was discovered long before us...

What knowledge and what truths, exactly, would that be, that was discovered long before the optic lens or radio telescope, but which say the ancient Celts or Greeks or Mayans had developed no notion of?

Why does this all sound rather patronizing?

Shari

The same technology that created the aboriginal aerospace industry perhaps?

See also the African homebrew helicopter industry.

Elspeth Huxley's novel The Flame Trees of Thika, which was based on her upbringing on a farm in East Africa, contains an interesting observation on the subject that would be excised if a modern editor got her hands on it (non-digital secondhand bookstores are the last hope for civilization).

The narrator noticed that the natives weren't all that wowed by wireless and airplanes, and this was around 1910, when even Westerners weren't done being amazed. Messages or people turning up a thousand miles away didn't seem implausible to people embedded in a magical mindset where this sort of thing could be done by witch doctors. What really wowed the natives were the paraffin lamps and water pipes on the farm, the capture and harnessing of water and fire in a domestic context. And then to compound her inappropriate noticing, the narrator points out that the ancient Romans and Greeks had lamps.

Daniel Ream

acknowledges and pays respect to the astronomical knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Around here the "this event takes place on land stolen from the {insert tribe name here} people" acknowledgements have become ubiquitous. I've taken to shouting out "yes, but you're not going to give it back, are you?"

despite tens of thousands of years of purported “astronomy,” had bugger all to show for it

Similarly, a friend of mine likes to point out that the natives in North America had 20,000 years on this continent and failed to develop the wheel, much less domestication of animals or anything beyond scratch agriculture: "In the giant 1:1 scale game of Sid Meier's Civ, you lost."

Steve E

Similarly, a friend of mine likes to point out that the natives in North America had 20,000 years on this continent and failed to develop the wheel,

Yes, so the apologists have excused this lack of development by telling us there were no large draft animals available to pull a wheeled vehicle making the wheel unnessary. And in what can only be described as gaslighting, they tell us it was far more efficient to drag things with a travois than to develop the wheel. This ignores the multitude of other labour saving uses of the wheel.

Of course, they also overlook the fact that Europeans domesticated rangifer tarangus or reindeer which were used to pull carts and sleds. The reindeer is the same species as the caribou which were found in broad ranges in North America. In addition, there were muskox and plenty of buffalo available which could have done the job nicely as well. It's difficult to imagine a hunter-gatherer culture keeping any animal around very long without eating it.

There are also many foods that we are told are traditional to the natives--such as fry bread--despite the fact that they had no wheat until the arrival of Europeans. In fact much of what has become known as traditional Indian culture developed long after the pale faces started settling America.

JeremiadBullfrog

I dunno...I have zero problems with naming stuff after local cultures. In fact, I think it's kinda cool and maintains a degree of historical engagement.

Where I not only get off the bus but actively protest riding it is when:

1) People start to belligerently *rename* things that used to have Western references in an attempt to erase previous Western history/identity.

& 2) People sink untold amounts of money into advocacy and consultation groups and put forward this kind of naming project as a justification for all that time and treasure.

David

I dunno...I have zero problems with naming stuff after local cultures.

It isn’t so much the naming, but the pretence of some deep “ancient wisdom” - some astronomical expertise - that supposedly warrants the naming.

While Angelo Secchi was pioneering astronomical spectroscopy – and proving that the blinding disc in the midday sky must be the same kind of object as those twinkling specks seen at night, only much, much closer – and pondering what follows from that realisation - our aboriginal “astronomers” were still banging on about sky emus.

No “Eureka!” moments there.

Uma Thurmond's Feet

In fact much of what has become known as traditional Indian culture developed long after the pale faces started settling America.

Cough! Horses. Cough, cough.

Madder-than-Mad

-"CSIRO’s iconic Parkes radio telescope given Indigenous name" is the link name for a reason.

This isn't a new scope, that they commissioned, just finished or otherwise built.
In July 1969, the Parkes Observatory played an important role in history, when it received and broadcast the first Moon landing, Apollo 11.

This is actually worthy of the name iconic, and celebrates a great achievement, by other people I might add than those it is renamed for.

- "Naming the telescopes is an example of our Reconciliation Action Plan in action," Ms Warren said.
This is total rubbish. This is just fencing someone else's glory for your own vanity.

Daniel Ream

I have zero problems with naming stuff after local cultures

Large swathes of geography in both the United states and Canada are named with the original indigenous names for the feature or region. It's a fun little history project to track down the origins of names like "Toronto", "Mississauga", "Kansas", or "Minnesota".

As you said, it's not that anything new is being created and named appropriately; it's the attempt to appropriate the monuments and artifacts of Western culture and erase their history that's important.

Here in Canada we're rather closer to this issue, as our indigenous population is still legally distinct (technically they're all Wards of the Crown) and our history of maltreating them lies well within living memory. What to do with what is in essence a conquered ethno-tribe is a largely unexplored question in modern political science. Whatever the answer, though, I'm pretty sure treating them all like saints isn't it.

MarkL

While Galileo Galilei was calculating the heights of lunar mountains and discovering the moons of Jupiter, our aboriginal “astronomers” had little to say on the subject.

That.

fnord

We are, however, told that the “telescope naming project,” which involved CSIRO staff, Wiradjuri Elders, the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and various other bodies, required “over two years” of handsomely renumerated work.

=====

to connect them with the oldest scientific tradition in the world."

-much like 'racism' the word 'science' has been drained of all meaning by these dolts.


======

inappropriate noticing

the eighth deadly sin

Adam

I recall learning many years ago that the Plains Indians were great conservationists, honoring the majesty of the Buffalo which sustained them.

More recently, in fact yesterday, I read that a typical Comanche for example needed about 4 Buffalo a year to sustain him and his family, but they typically killed about 40 animals just for their hides, used in trade. The demands for trade led to polygamy so that a man - thru his wives - could process the requisite number of hides.

Not so simple being a plains Indian back in the day. They evidently didn’t have time to be woke.

John Lewis

Expect a Biden administration to go into overdrive with more Mount McKinley to Mount Denali style renames purely to rub a few more noses in it.

First defeat your opponent then delete his culture and legacy.

Re the case in question how long before the likes of Sydney and Melbourne revert to their original Gweagal aboriginal clan names? My guess is around the same time as Manhattan is given back to the Lenape Algonquians (probably including Liz Warren).

APL

In fact much of what has become known as traditional Indian culture developed long after the pale faces started settling America.

The example of Inuit soapstone carvings comes to mind. The original pre-European carving are small little things more like scratched pebbles. The forms that we commonly associate with Inuit soapstone sculptures all required small metal carving tools obtained from Europeans. The "Traditional Inuit" soapstone carvings are all enabled by modern western technology and really only took off in the 1930's.

Maureen from Regina

I love when Plains Indians of Canada and the US wax on and on about their great horse culture without acknowledging the reality that if the Spanish conquistadors hadn't lost their horses there would be NO horse culture because the horse is not native to North, Central or South America. They need to thank those evil conquistadors. There will be no reprimands for Plains Indians for appropriating another culture.

[+]

'related'...

https://www.timworstall.com/2020/11/this-is-fun-27/

Tara

The kinds of people I go to dinner parties with have a reliable stimulus-response mechanism whereby if I remarked that I enjoyed a parade with bagpipers in kilts, somebody would be bound to respond that wellactually, all of that pageantry is a historical re-invention by Walter Scott LARPers.

It's not because they have any interest in Walter Scott, or because they ever studied Scottish history, it's just something that every Guardian reader knows. By what publishing or editing process has this meme been so widely replicated? In whose interest was it to make sure that this meme is in the "wellactually" repertoire of every middle class person?

It's not brought up as a way of remarking on the self-reflective or self-constructing aspects of culture, or on the sophistication of the British state at rechanneling the aggression and honor culture and ethnic pride of the Highlanders, turning them from a threat to the state in 1745 to the most loyal servants of the Empire within a couple of generations.

The takeaway point is that the British have no indigenous culture, that it's all souvenir shop kitsch and cranky revivalists. There might be some truth to that, there's some use to that debunking style, it spares us from a lot of Morris dancing. But if the principle is true, it can be applied to all ethnic claims and all ethnic kitsch. And that's where my dinner party friends, with their enthusiasms for Ancient Tribal Wisdom, seem to have an ideological block.

David

it spares us from a lot of Morris dancing.

Heh.

Sam

Horses bolster and then invalidate the argument that American natives were held back by lack of durable draft animals. As a people, natives went from never seeing anything like horses to mastering them in an historical blink of an eye. Though, of course, that their impressive domestication rarely involved agricultural applications is very telling.

I think the West's problem with natives boils down to: they were basically happy in their lot, as evidenced by them living that way for 1000s of years, then were forced to adapt or die when Europeans showed up.

Pace Daniel Ream...but we're not going to give any of it back, so [ shrug ]. It should be a stark lesson on how not to allow foreigners with strange customs to conquer you, but alas, it is interpreted as the opposite.

Governor Squid

As a people, natives went from never seeing anything like horses to mastering them in an historical blink of an eye.

My understanding is that the spread of horse culture among the Plains Indians was largely a matter of trading or stealing horses from their southern neighbors. As such, they were acquiring the technologies of saddles and bits and harnesses at the same time.

I'd probably be quite successful myself, if I had a culture a week's ride away from whom I could steal top tips when I had a question.

Sam

I'd probably be quite successful myself, if I had a culture a week's ride away from whom I could steal top tips when I had a question.

My point is that plains indians mastered the usage of horses to serve their hunter-gatherer lifestyle very quickly, and extremely effectively. That they integrated stolen technology is a given - they didn't have horses so them not developing tack that the Euros spent centuries perfecting is not exactly surprising. (Side note: indians often did not shoe their horses or use traditional tack anyway, same as not using wagons and such despite being available to steal alongside tack and tools).

All this shows they had the capability of using draft animals - and using them very well - but only did so to be better hunters and warriors. If they would've eventually used them for agriculture (which of course did exist before Europeans) is an academic question, but I lean toward "no".

fnord

Though, of course, that their impressive domestication rarely involved agricultural applications is very telling.

I bet that if they discovered how to make beer they would have agriculturized (it's a word now ,shut up) in a trice.

Daniel Ream

they typically killed about 40 animals just for their hides

The World Heritage Site of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump[1] is called that because the natives used to stampede hundreds of buffalo at a time off of the cliffs because it was easier than hunting them. The vast majority of the dead buffalo were left to rot as the tribe simply couldn't process all the carcasses.

Conservation!

[1] I swear I am not making that up

Bob

More of the craven cowardice of Australia's public sector and spineless politicians, who kowtow to a tiny minority of mouthy activists who have yet to realise one inconvenient fact: the Aboriginal people were geopolitically vanquished. It's over. It was over by about 1810.
They can childishly chant about the land "Always was, always will be" when the truth is "Might have been, ain't no more".
Any grievances should be directed to their ancestors who failed in their most basic responsibility - to repel the newcomers.
They didn't, and its all over. Move on.

Sttan

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/my-friend-the-witch-doctor/

A half century ago there was a lot of interesting anthropology about witchcraft, an interest of mine, but starting in the 1960s anthropologists increasingly saw themselves as activists and advocates for people with whom they worked, especially low-tech people. Witch doctors became “traditional healers”, prostitutes became “sex workers”, delinquents became “at risk youth”, and so on. While respect and manners are important, semantic cleansing has led to the loss of a lot of knowledge about human cultural diversity.
David

While respect and manners are important, semantic cleansing has led to the loss of a lot of knowledge about human cultural diversity.

Quite. I’m generally in favour of politeness, and don’t usually go out of my way to say, for instance, “Group A’s not-too-distant ancestors were shockingly primitive.” But politeness has widely and rapidly given way to contortion, denial and outright dishonesty - and an utter disrespect for the readers’ or viewers’ intelligence and any expectation of factual rigour. Resulting in laughable redefinitions, and a wildly misleading view of history.

At which point, a little pushback seems in order.

Forse

Let’s not forget “Those Aboriginal Stone Houses and Crops” in Bruce Pascoe’s (inadvertently) fantasy history “Dark Emu”. There is NO evidence, anywhere in Oz, of pre-Europeans cities of stone built houses and aboriginal farmers. And yet, the book is a best seller, highly rated and on school curricula.

DP

@ Daniel Ream | November 21, 2020 at 08:57

"...the natives used to stampede hundreds of buffalo at a time off of the cliffs because it was easier than hunting them."

Pity they didn't do it to walruses; they could have blamed climate change.

DP

Trammix

Have a look at this article and try to tell who is the European coloniser and who is the oppressed native. If you can tell straight away, you must have access to one of those automated chain-termination DNA sequencing machines that Captain Cook discovered on the shores of Botany Bay.

http://www.filedropper.com/img8491

pst314

Have a look at this article and try to tell who is the European coloniser and who is the oppressed native.

Cannot view it without registering. Don't want to do that.

Maureen

I love Inuit prints, they are beautiful and the images are great. BUT, Inuit printing DID NOT exist until about the mid 1950s and the technology was introduced by white artists and economic development people. The Inuit have run with the technology so kudos to them, but the whole business of Inuit Art exists only because of the introduction of Western technology

Daniel Ream

Pity they didn't do it to walruses; they could have blamed climate change.

They didn't need to. Walrusses can't run on land; the Innu would literally butcher them alive en masse on the shores.

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