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February 05, 2004

dem bones

Scientists can study Kennewick man! A Dateline NBC special a few years back asked a Native American activist why they opposed studying the remains, and his response was along the lines of, "all we need are the stories of our old people." I can understand it when people assert that what we can see here and now is not self-sufficient, that at the center of things is something that goes beyond the merely human, that we live by what is transcendent on a personal or sociological level, but I'm all for the march of science where reductionism is surely to be fruitful. How could you not want to know? How? Let me be frank and note that for far too long non-Western cultures have been satisfied by the "stories of their old people." No longer. Knowledge is our birthright in the modern age, and the bones of old sacralities must be brushed aside.

Posted by razib at 07:07 PM