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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Apr > Apr 10

Re: Anthropology Of Searching For Aliens

From: Steve Sawyer <stevesaw.nul>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 04:08:20 -0700
Archived: Tue, 10 Apr 2012 11:46:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Anthropology Of Searching For Aliens


>From: Kathy Kasten <catraja.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2012 18:29:14 +0000
>Subject: Re: Anthropology Of Searching For Aliens

>>From: Steve Sawyer <stevesaw.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>>Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2012 14:07:28 -0700
>>Subject: Anthropology Of Searching For Aliens

>>Interesting article/interview regarding ET/SETI, etc.

>>-----

>>http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/04/space-anthropology/

>>April 4, 2012

>>Q&A: The Anthropology Of Searching For Aliens
>>By Adam Mann

>>Before we can understand an alien civilization, it might be
>>useful to understand our own.

><snip>

>>So when I hear that standard model of Columbus or Cortez,
>>frankly I want to roll my eyes. For example [Steven] Hawking
>>says - interminably and repeatedly - that when Columbus showed
>>up in the Americas, well, that didn't turn out very well for the
>>Native Americans. And therefore we should similarly be worried
>>about trying to attract the attention of an alien civilization.

>>The problem is that it tends to misrepresent Earth's history.
>>These stories get invoked in models of contact with an alien
>>society, but it's a biased retelling of Earth's history and it's
>>usually not a very good one.

>>The underlying narrative there is that it went poorly for the
>>Native Americans because they were the inferior civilization.
>>And, by extension, it would go poorly for us because the other
>>party would be the superior civilization. But that simply wasn't
>>the case for the Native Americans.

>>One of the reasons I do the work I do is to try and have people
>>get the history a little bit straighter.

><snip>

>Geez, I would hope that when (and if) we humans go forth into
>the universe, we send people who are not racists.

>I always cringe when I heard this argument. (Point of
>disclosure: I studied anthropology at the Univ. of Marquette,
>Milwaukee, WI) That is, from the white european view of having
>the biggest guns means the 'conquering individuals' are
>superior. The lady anthropologist forgets that there were
>battles where the 'natives' won with their superior abilities of
>stealth and cunning. The problem in American history is that it
>was written by white europeans who wanted to suppress the
>'natives', steal the land, resources and rape the women, put the
>'native' children in schools to 're-educate' them in the ways of
>the white europeans.

>To my mind, Ms. Demming presents an overly simplified version of
>human history. Yes, yes, I understand she attempting to sell her
>agenda. However, I get to counter that agenda with a very
>different viewpoint. That would be as a member of the 'inferior
>native population'. The rest of my comment would be very simple,
>but I know Errol frowns on the use of common street language.

Kathy,

First of all, it's Denning, not Demming. As in Kathryn Denning,
who is an anthropologist. Did you read the entire article,
Kathy? Because if you did, I fear there's a problem with your
reading comprehension.

Are you suggesting Ms. Denning is a racist? Or has some agenda
"to sell"? "Overly simplified"? Perhaps she is not the one not
only over simplifying, but misinterpreting her points, as you
have here.

Did you actually not understand that Denning was saying the
standard, hypothesized scenario of ET contact with humanity is
often based on the anthropocentric misinterpretation of the
actual history of first contact native Americans had with white
explorers?

And that the tired old example Hawking threw out about the
dangers of ET contact, based on that  simplistic and erroneous
view of the history of the initial contacts white explorers had
with native American populations is not only an innappropriate
one to use (as a form of projection), in understanding the
various potential issues of contact with ET, but that the
historical basis for that solipsistic interpretation of our own,
human history is actually quite skewed and not very accurate, as
indicated by the interview quote of Denning, which just preceded
the part you quote, and which, interestingly enough, you snipped
out of your message here:

Quoting Denning:

"We have so much work to do and I think that's important for
people to understand that our models of civilization here on
Earth are not as solid as popular culture frequently assumes
them to be.

Similarly, many people hold outdated ideas regarding scenarios
of contact. We have our iconic case studies, such as Columbus
landing in the Americas or Cortez and the Aztecs. But most of
those have been revamped with additional historical work in even
just the last 30 or 40 years."

Denning goes on to say the following [excerpt]:

"If people are drawing generalizations about civilizations
elsewhere in the universe that don't even hold here on Earth,
then maybe we should throw them out."

So, Kathy, when you say things like, "The lady anthropologist
forgets that there were battles where the 'natives' won with
their superior abilities of stealth and cunning," or "To my
mind, Ms. Demming presents an overly simplified version of human
history. Yes, yes, I understand she attempting to sell her
agenda. However, I get to counter that agenda with a very
different viewpoint. That would be as a member of the 'inferior
native population,'" I hesitate to inform you of this fact,
since it seems so obvious, but you have Ms. Denning's point of
view and statements exactly and precisely _backwards._

She is referring to the arguments of _others,_ like Hawking,
which she considers flawed, that "don't hold," are "outdated
ideas regarding scenarios of contact," "are not as solid as
popular culture frequently assumes them to be," and "If people
are drawing generalizations about civilizations elsewhere in the
universe that don't even hold here on Earth, then maybe we
should throw them out."

Do you get it now, Kathy? To me, at least, her words are quite
clear. I would suggest you go back and re-read the entire
interview, carefully, before mischaracterizing, again, the words
of someone you mistakenly disagree with in a manner which is
based on a misunderstanding, or the complete opposite of what
she really, actually said.


Steve




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