Dogmatic Science & Arrival of Native Americans: "Science By Press Release" & Career Advancement
A fascinating article has been posted at Indian Country Today in which Alex Ewen talks about a long ongoing war between linguists and anthropologists/archaeologists when it comes to dating the arrival of humans to the Americas.
Linguists have apparently been arguing for a much longer time frame between now and first arrival (i.e. 60,000 years) instead of the received hard sciences number (15,000-30,000). As a student of languages and linguistics enthusiast, this article fascinated me with its content. But I'd like to share it with you not because of that. Instead, I provide it as yet another example of how the scientific establishment has very little room for dissent from the party line. This is so in any scientific field, but especially in the hard sciences. You know, archaeology, physics, geology, biology, astronomy, and whatnot. The ones that use chemicals and big machines.
After detailing some of the history of the "war" between Bering Straitists and their linguist opponents, Ewen says this:
The advocates of the Bering Strait Theory have countered that the linguistic evidence, strong as it may be, is not “proof” that Indians have inhabited the Americas for more than 15,000 years, and granted, it is not proof, it is evidence. The demand by the proponents of the Bering Strait Theory for “indisputable proof” is actually a curious but important aspect of that theory. Science is only rarely able to prove things with absolute certainty, and it normally confines itself to mathematical probability. As one scientist put it, “proof is not a currency of science,” and virtually all widely accepted scientific theories are based upon the preponderance of the evidence, not proof. This strident demand for “proof” while ignoring the evidence is abnormal in science and reflects the fact that originally the Bering Strait Theory was not a scientific theory at all, but a dogma. And this dogmatic stance, along with the vicious nature of the debate surrounding it, has long been a sore point for many scientists, not just for Indians.This is par for the course. It's "evidence, evidence" when pushing the dominant narratives, but "proof, proof" when someone pushes back.
Do not pay any heed to me when it comes to linguistics, of course, because I believe in myths like the Tower of Babel. And ignore me when it comes to darwinian evolution, because I believe in fairy tales like six-day creation.
Just take note of two things, observable as you observe human beings interact with each other. Sure, they may be super-humans, the high priests of SCIENCE, but they are still human.
First, and less importantly, note that the sciences with the smallest groups in control, the ones that have the least to do with human beings, are the ones that get to dictate the story. The poets and historians and grammarians and semioticians and linguists and classicists may all tell you that a certain manuscript is 1,000 years old, but the chemist will have the final say. Until, as so often happens, that one piece of chemical evidence hidden for a hundred years emerges. But if in the meantime you dared to question the established story, woe betide you and your career.
Second, please be aware that the stories of these priests are not to be trusted. Their careers are on the line. And no, there is not some dark conspiracy (usually). It's just that they don't want certain things to be true, so they won't allow themselves or others to consider them.
I'm not a huge fan of getting into presuppositionalist debates with the technicians our society has anointed priests. Nor do I argue with their proselytes and proselytizers. I simply respond by telling them a story like Little Red Riding Hood. That one, at least, we can all see is true. Especially the versions where the wolf's belly is cut open and grandma and girl leap out.
And if you can't see that, then you're a fool. The kind who believes in darwinism but not in a fairy tale.
But I didn't initially come here to call anyone a fool. That just kind of happened. I came here to tell you not to worry about the narratives of the scientific establishment. I've known since I was a kid that humans came to the Americas 25,000 years ago. And I just hold on loosely. I go with what I know. I'm not afraid to tell a chemist what I know of literary criticism, and that I believe in Adam and Eve, and in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only-begotten Son.
Also, I believe that a life spent studying North American languages would be a life well spent.