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am 12. Dezember 1999
If "science" is defined as a technique for gaining an understanding of the world around us, many "scientific" disciplines are in fact profoundly unscientific. In "Red Earth, White Lies," Vine Deloria, Jr. clearly demonstrates how conjecture can attain the status of fact, even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence. Perhaps even more condemning is Deloria's depiction of how alternative ideas, most notably indigenous traditions, are frequently (typically) cast aside without any investigation whatsoever, simply because they conflict with currently accepted norms.
"Red Earth, White Lies" is a wonderfully provocative indictment of how historical sciences, such as anthropology, geology, and ecology (my own field) frequently fail in practice. Nevertheless, perhaps without realizing it, Deloria relies on the very hallmarks of modern science; alternative hypotheses, critical analysis, and crucial evidence, to make his case.
Here, unfortunately, is where "Red Earth, White Lies" loses much of its power. While Deloria succeeds in casting doubt on many beliefs cherished by entrenched academics, he typically does not subject his own hypotheses to the same treatment. Even more unfortunate, Deloria himself employs some of the techniques he most violently condemns in academics, including the selective use of information (the most obvious example is on page 58) and summary dismissal of entire world-views on the basis of a superficial understanding (his entire discussion of evolutionary biology, for example).
Even though "Red Earth, White Lies" occasionally stumbles, Deloria has done all of us a great service, by proving that scientists are only human and that many scientific "facts" are in reality little more than conjectures. If you identify yourself as a "scientist," you will be (and should be) challenged! If you are not a scientist, then perhaps you will see those who are in a whole new light. "Red Earth, White Lies" is a fascinating read, no matter who you are.
0Kommentar2 von 2 Personen haben dies hilfreich gefunden.. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 12. Juli 2000
As a years-long student of prehistory, Mr. Deloria's book was a breath of fresh air. As other reviews here have mentioned, the science here is hardly flawless, but Mr. Deloria does a valuable service in pointing out (among other things) where modern scholarship itself ranges from flawed to unsatisfying to ridiculous. Perhaps the best example he offers is the mass extinctions blamed on the Native American population; for many of us who have studied this matter in depth via geological strata and other methods, climactic change (which Deloria favors) is a far, far better explanation than claiming the Native Americans hunted them into the grave. I highly recommend this book for that reason, as well as the examples he points out of what amounts to racist scholarship--or at best, neglect. While I don't always agree with his work and often wished that he had provided us with more detail in several areas where both the folklore and scientific arguments were concerned, I generally agree with his conclusions, and consider this book a necessary read for anyone wanting to gain a broad understanding of American prehistory.
0Kommentar2 von 2 Personen haben dies hilfreich gefunden.. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 25. November 1998
Vine Deloria Jr.'s book is a very useful and merited challenge to a whole host of theories, especially the Bering Strait land bridge, magafauna extinction ("Overkill") and some other things in which U.S. racism, capitalist waste and ruthlessness towards the environment, and scientistic narrowness are shown to be the underlying roots of these theories. However, I can't help but feel that Deloria both throws the baby out with the bathwater based on a kind of "multicultural creationism". For example, his attacks on Stephen J. Gould are almost ridiculous at times (given his prominence, not as a mainstream Darwinian, but as a 'catastrophist' and anti-sociobiologist) and represent the fact that he never got past Gould's first collection of essays. Also, Gould and others have for years defended allopatric speciation, which would allow a species' 'gestation' in 5-10,000 years. This type of narrow, shotgun scholarship makes Deloria subject to exactly the type of criticism he so correctly levels at academia. Also, his knowledge of genetics and evolution seem to leave a lot to be desired, and he clearly does not expect the reader to be scientifically literate (otherwise, he would not be able to make some of the peculiar remarks he makes about speciation). Anyone familiar with modern biology cannot but be amazed at how his work is little more than a reworking of Christian Fundamentalist creationism (or vice versa). Having said that, Deloria's value as an anti-racist, as a defender of the worth and validity and richness of non-white, non-European sources of knowledge is more than worth the occaissional bad science and anti-intellectualism. All I can say is that this is essential reading for anyone learning about the material he covers, and for thinking about how racism and power can determine whose knowledge is 'myth and fantasy' as much as it determines who is the 'terrorist' and who is the 'freedom fighter'. A must read book.
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am 5. Juni 2000
This book is great! It makes so much sense about many things I used to question in our mostly boring science class. Once we were giants, CO2 has a bearing on growth, mammoths were alive in modern history, comets dumped snow, etc., and best of all: The Bering bridge is lie and so is the La Brea tar pits, and evolution is not tied up in a tidy package. I love it! I've read some of Vine's other books and I think he's hit the nail on the head here. Kids, take this book to school and watch your science teacher come all unglued!
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am 11. Juli 1999
Vine Deloria Jr. is a true scholar who characteristically approaches his subject with thorough research and disciplined reasoning. Applying geology and precise logic Deloria uncovers some major flaws in the Bering Strait theory. He also points to the fascinating fact that oral histories and legends of Indian nations carry pre-historic events such as major geologic upheavals. In this way, he makes the important point that oral histories should on no account be dismissed. On the other hand, he shows how flawed scientific theories are supported when powerful academics will shut out any new facts or alternate theories just to hold on to their pre-eminence. Even worse, Deloria cites cases where those who dared challenge the authorized theory, can have their careers destroyed. After finding medical pronouncements which contradict each other - ie. margarine is good for you; margarine is bad for you, etc. - it is clear that "science" is an exploratory discipline and that final pronouncements or theories should only be given qualified consideration until all the facts and information are in. This should be kept in mind with the recent speculations regarding the "caucasian" skeletons that have been found on this continent. The political dimensions of "science" are glaringly apparent where some, including scientists, leap to conclusions and use science as a tool for further dispossession of the indigenous nations of the western hemipshere.
0Kommentar1 von 1 Personen haben dies hilfreich gefunden.. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 5. Juni 2000
The best book i've ever read! I'm buying several copies and giving them out. This is the most important book of TRUE american history and so-called science EVER written. Each truth is clearly "cited" to scholarly journals. It is quite surprising, but very predictable...and dotted with bits of humor. Must read for ALL Native and non-native alike.
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am 4. September 1998
...thought provoking to all. Marvelously well written, with a sense of humor. Vine Deloria Jr. examines a world where science has become a secular religion. He reveals many flaws, and cover ups in the world of science relating to the history of early man, while bringing up intriguing questions about popular theories, such as the Bering Strait theory. He discusses the Western view of science and how it has become stagnant, locked on old theories and ideas. Also, he sites western science as too quick to dismiss non-western views. Deloria brings new viewpoints to those that embrace old outmoded ideas, and it is a welcome breath of fresh air. To everyone, skeptics included, give this book a chance....you just might learn something! *rs*
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am 12. Juli 1998
the book marks the struggles of modern indians facing the millenium when science is considered diety. I read it with great criticism. my fears were unwarranted as i'd like to enter this entire book into the federal court record to show that science is based on theory and has no greater merit than the last theory. the title can turn some off, but its worth the read when driving through the geographical miracles cited by Deloria.Afraid some may think too boring at the the first chapter and doesn't intrige readers to continue. I 'd rearrange the chapters for the millenium. certainly frybread (food) for thought.
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am 21. September 1998
Deloria has done a great job: he tells us white people that things ain't that simple, that linear that is, as we like it. This book is an eye-opener for anyone who is prepared to let his/her eye being opened. Conventional euro-centered knowledge tells us that Deloria is wrong. But wait a minute: how do we know that *our* angle is the right one? Ha, we don't have any proof which is why Deloria's book is a welcome alternative. Highly recommended.
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am 8. Oktober 1999
The book gave me a sense of direction and hope in a world where so much has been lost , I would recommend this book to anyone worthy of taking the chance to find truth where their is erra.
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