Did bacteria exist before we had microscopes?

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, March 13th, 2023 - 162 comments
Categories: indigenous knowledge, science - Tags: , , ,

In this post ‘science is god people’ refers to people who believe that science is either the the one true way of understanding the world, or is the best way, superior in a hierarchy above all others.

Western Science refers to the lineage of how this form of science developed over time and geography. It’s not saying that only Westerners can do science or that it’s only done in the West.

I was in a twitter conversation recently about Mātauranga Māori, where a comparison had been made between rejection of Mātauranga Māori and acceptance of Traditional Chinese Medicine practice of acupuncture.

Someone pointed out that chi, one of the core concepts used in traditional acupuncture practice, had never been tested/evidenced in a repeatable experiment. I don’t know if that’s true, but the idea that if chi hasn’t been measured by Western Science,  it doesn’t exist, strikes me as irrational.

By all means hold a belief that chi doesn’t exist, and make an argument for that belief. But presenting it as a fact rather than a belief is, well, not very scientific. It’s like belief is seen as a dirty word, which is part of the problem with this debate. Belief is used to cast aspersions but there’s also a fair amount of denial of the rationalist caster’s personal beliefs. Let’s just be honest about our biases and see how we get along.

If we can say that chi doesn’t exist in the absence of evidence that it does, does this mean that bacteria didn’t exist before the advent of microscopes? Humans could definitely observe and study bacterial infections before that time, so they even in the absence of being able to see bacteria, they knew that something was going on that led to particular outcomes. Contrary to the belief of some of the science is god people, humans also knew how to treat bacterial infections before the advent of either microscopes or antibiotics.

Someone posted this article as an example of the problems with teaching Mātauranga Māori alongside Western Science: Mātauranga Māori and science, from a government-funded science learning hub,

This paragraph in the piece was given as an example of mythology being presented as fact,

From chaos sprang Papatūānuku, the Earth mother. Then Papa-matua-te-kore, the parentless, appeared. She mated with Rangi-a-Tamaku. Their firstborn was Putoto, whose sister was Parawhenuamea, the personified form of water. Putoto took his sister, Parawhenuamea, to wife. She gave birth to Rakahore, who mated with Hinekuku, the clay maiden. Hinekuku gave birth to Tuamatua. Tuamatua was the guardian of the different stones and gravel found on sea coasts. The younger brother of Tuamatua, Whatuaho, typified greywacke and chert. Next came Papakura, the origin of volcanic stone…

However, when one reads the whole article, it becomes clear that this is being used as an example of how Māori traditionally passed on knowledge of the natural world within an oral culture that didn’t have written records. It’s describing both a categorisation system, and how that was communicated across generations. It’s not saying to teach ‘Papatūānuku created greywacke by giving birth to Putoto’ as literal truth.

Further, it goes on to say this,

Mātauranga Māori and science?

There has been debate as to whether mātauranga Maori can be referred to as Māori science. Some suggest that mātauranga Māori is not science. Science and mātauranga Māori do not seek to do the same thing. Mātauranga Maori is knowledge – knowing about things (such as preparing poisonous karaka berries for eating). Science is about finding out why and how things happen (such as why and how karaka berries are poisonous and how preparation removes the poison).

Which is an excellent explanation of both how Mātauranga Māori and Western Science can be used together, as well as the value of Mātauranga and Western Science each in their own right. It also somewhat dispels the notion that proponents of Mātauranga are intent on teaching religion as science.

As it turns out acupuncture is relatively well studied by Western Science, but the science is underutilised. Back in the day, science is god people used to disparage acupuncture as woo in similar ways as people currently talk about Mātauranga Māori.

Writing off a discipline as woo isn’t critique. It’s biased thinking at best, outright bigotry at worst. The arguments back in the day against acupuncture weren’t science based, they were ignorant and irrational, stemming from the Western mind’s inability to grasp concepts from different thinking systems, and some people’s unwillingness to bridge the cultural gap. I don’t think that all concerns about teaching Mātauranga Māori are like that, but some definitely are.

Both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Mātauranga Māori require conceptual literacy that is not common in Westerners. It’s like speaking two languages with someone who isn’t even aware that the other language exists but where both languages are need to discuss certain concepts. If this sounds snobby, consider talking with a theoretical physicist or mathematician without knowing what physics or maths is.

We’re seeing scientists with no expertise or even basic understanding of Te Ao Māori talking about it in disparaging ways (looking at you too Dawkins). The presumption is that because they are scientists their opinion on Mātauranga Māori is somehow relevant despite their profound ignorance of it. It’s hard not to see this as a long standing hubris from science culture that is also systemically racist. In addition to people of influence promoting that ignorance, they’re also feeding into the strong political narrative of racism in New Zealand.

So much of the ongoing debate about Mātauranga Māori is based on belief, and often unevidenced belief about what Mātauranga Māori is and how it is being used. I think we can do better than this. If we want to shift out of the polarisation, we have to use evidence-based arguments, examine our own biases, and be prepared to learn ways of thinking that are novel.

Further reading:

Professor Ella Henry, Director of Māori Advancement at the AUT Business School in Auckland, has a piece at The Spinoff Busting the myths about mātauranga Māori

Sociologist and author Scott Hamilton writes at North and South, As a Matter of Fact

162 comments on “Did bacteria exist before we had microscopes? ”

  1. Gosman 1

    "Someone pointed out that chi, one of the core concepts used in traditional acupuncture practice, had never been tested/evidenced in a repeatable experiment. I don’t know if that’s true, but the idea that if chi hasn’t been measured by Western Science, it doesn’t exist, strikes me as irrational."

    Ummm…. noone who is familiar with the concept of the scientific method would EVER make a statement that Chi doesn't exist. This is essentially trying to prove a negative which is not what science is about.

    What you can state is that the concept of Chi has not got sufficient weight of scientific evidence behind it so the theory is therefore weak and does not have the support of being part of the scientific mainstream thinking.

    • weka 1.1

      I completely agree. And yet people invested in science is god world view, do say that chi doesn't exist in debates about keeping science pure.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        It is not for the people who don't accept Chi exists to prove it doesn't exist and neither would I expect they would do so. It is from those that do think there is something behind Chi to show that this is the case using scientific principles.

  2. Gosman 2

    What people who argue for great inclusion of Mātauranga Māori in science ignore is that science is not merely about knowledge. It is a process for gaining that knowledge.

    If Mātauranga Māori is subjected to the EXACT same process that is used to ascertain other forms of scientific knowledge then it is science. It is as simple as that.

    What you can't claim is that it is science on it's own. The process used to reveal the knowledge is as important as the knowledge itself.

    Richard Dawkins doesn’t need to have an indepth knowledge of Te Ao Māori (or even a basic one) to understand this.

    • Molly 2.1

      I agree, Gosman.

      So does this practitioner and teacher of Mātauranga Māori:

      https://twitter.com/TeHenare/status/1633716470147596289?s=20

      • weka 2.1.1

        can you please provide some examples of where people are saying that MM is comparable as a method or body of knowledge to science?

        I haven't said it in the post, in fact I believe that MM stands in its own right as a body of knowledge and methodologies and gave an example from educational material of how it sits alongside and intersects with science. It would be helpful to know who is making the claim that MM is science.

        • Molly 2.1.1.1

          I took the implication from your preamble "Western Science refers to the lineage of how this form of science developed over time and geography. It’s not saying that only Westerners can do science or that it’s only done in the West." and the current conversation about the practice of inclusion of Mātauranga Maori in science curriculum. Apologies if that was a redirect away from your post.

          (I find https://twitter.com/TeHenare an interesting follow on this topic, giving a reasoned view rather than a purely negating one.)

          • weka 2.1.1.1.1

            I definitely don't hold WS as a god. It sits alongside a range of ways of knowing, each important in their own right. Wisdom is knowing which to use when. Science as god people deny the existence of other valid ways of knowing, or relegate them to much lesser gods.

            and the current conversation about the practice of inclusion of Mātauranga Maori in science curriculum. Apologies

            What I'm asking is that when people make the argument against "the practice of inclusion of Mātauranga Maori in science curriculum" they give examples that we can work with. The assertion that it is happening is insufficient for having the debate.

            I don't see your position or points as a redirecting away from the post, I was hoping people would bring something substantial to the table from that side so we could grapple with what is really happening rather than the declarations (that both sides are doing).

            • Molly 2.1.1.1.1.1

              "I definitely don't hold WS as a god." – As an atheist, neither do I.

              "What I'm asking is that when people make the argument against "the practice of inclusion of Mātauranga Maori in science curriculum" they give examples that we can work with. The assertion that it is happening is insufficient for having the debate."

              Fair enough. I have done this on previous comments, and if I have the time will find and repost.

            • nukefacts 2.1.1.1.1.2

              But Weka we do give examples and you don't want to listen. I've repeatedly raised the concept of Mauri, which is part of MM and is explicitly being put in to the science curriculum. One minute of searching gives these links:

              https://maoridictionary.co.nz/search?idiom=&phrase=&proverb=&loan=&histLoanWords=&keywords=mauri

              https://pesaagora.com/access-vol-41/bringing-maori-concepts-into-school-science-ncea/ and https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2022/02/NZ-mauri-chemistry-kilmartin-seminar.html

              This is just wrong.

              I actually have a Chemistry degree and this is false, not scientific and against all the core principles and findings of chemistry. There is simply no evidence anywhere, from all the other worlds cultures, that something like Mauri exists. ‘Western’ culture actually used to belief in it and discarded it because all the ‘proofs’ for its existence were falsified.

              You are creating a strawman of the WS as God. it's not western science for a start and you're transferring something onto scientists that doesn't exist. Anything that meets the criteria for being science is science by definition. The 'ways of knowing' you seem so fond either meet the criteria and become part of science, or they don't.

              I feel you have this backwards. It's the 'Ways of Knowing' people who have some sort of 'god' fixation on believing their belief system sits outside of science and is superior. Read Karl Wixon's post on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6972283670992732160/)- it’s a great view into the MM God mindset and truly gobsmacking in its insanity.

              Scientists on the other hand are the ones truly open to the mutability of their theories – everything in science is up for falsification, and that's the key here. MM doesn't want to go through the falsification test because it may be found wanting. Science is always ready to be falsified – 'strong beliefs loosely held'.

              • gsays

                Did your university look at Dr. Masarau Emoto during your degree?

                This fits my understanding of mauri.

                https://thewellnessenterprise.com/emoto/

              • weka

                But Weka we do give examples and you don't want to listen.

                Maybe you misunderstood. I meant provide evidence at the time of the comment and evidence that is of a standard that meets TS' ethos of robust debate.

                You've made repeated claims of fact today without providing evidence. This is an example of what I mean. Molly's comment is another example.

                I've repeatedly raised the concept of Mauri, which is part of MM and is explicitly being put in to the science curriculum. One minute of searching gives these links:

                Someone else gave me the Panda link, haven't had time to have a good look at it yet. Will look at the other one too. My point here is that the reference has to be provide with a coherent argument at the same time. I'm surprised I have to say this in a conversation about science tbh.

                You are creating a strawman of the WS as God.

                I don't say that WS is god. I use the term 'science is god people' as a shorthand that I explained at the beginning of the post. I don't believe that those people think science is a god, I'm pointing out that they treat science as the one true way. And yes there are people who actually say that.

                it's not western science for a start and you're transferring something onto scientists that doesn't exist. Anything that meets the criteria for being science is science by definition. The 'ways of knowing' you seem so fond either meet the criteria and become part of science, or they don't.

                The reason I use the term WS is because people argue all the time about the definition of science and what falls into it and what doesn't. Some people say that Māori had science and used it to travel the Pacific. Other's say that Māori didn't have science, because science is this other thing (that I call WS).

                I get that many scientist don't like the term, but I explained how I am using it and you haven't made an argument against that yet. Also, if you don't like term then coin another one, because we still need to be able to talk about the science that evolved down through Western cultures.

                • Nic the NZer

                  "I use the term 'science is god people' as a shorthand that I explained at the beginning of the post. I don't believe that those people think science is a god, I'm pointing out that they treat science as the one true way. And yes there are people who actually say that."

                  This was already addressed in your previous post on the topic. When Jerry Coyne says science is the only real way of knowing we have that is as far as I am aware true. We don't have any another way of categorizing theories about the natural world into true and untrue statements, except what we refer to as scientific methods. You are of course welcome to refute this statement at any time with a single counter example. Good luck with that.

                  On the other hand what I do see being incorporated with the introduction of the term western science into the debate is a complete strawman. The claim being that Coyne, Dawkins etc are allegedly wanting to remove any hint of Maori culture from the NZ science curriculum. This argument has never been made by any of these figures arguing that, they have always said anything which can be demonstrated as true knowledge could be included in the NZ science curriculum. When people want to say traditional navigation practices could be discussed in the NZ curriculum they are not saying anything Coyne or Dawkins don't agree with them on.

                  You ended your previous post with a comment that some people may have a valid concern here.

                  .https://thestandard.org.nz/why-do-rationalists-position-science-against-matauranga-maori/#comment-1932506

                  I hate to break it to you, but those people have the exact same point as Coyne and Dawkins do.

                  And you've found that point to also be demonstrated by discussions under this post,

                  .https://thestandard.org.nz/did-bacteria-exist-before-we-had-microscopes/#comment-1938869

                  At this stage you should probably realize that people like Coyne and Dawkins have been quite reasonably publicizing some stuff which is simply not fit to include in the NZ science curriculum, in agreement with and in discussions with people at the margins of its development. They are lending their international notoriety to a worthy cause here.

                  • weka

                    This was already addressed in your previous post on the topic. When Jerry Coyne says science is the only real way of knowing we have that is as far as I am aware true. We don't have any another way of categorizing theories about the natural world into true and untrue statements, except what we refer to as scientific methods. You are of course welcome to refute this statement at any time with a single counter example. Good luck with that.

                    People knew how to treat bacterial infections before the advent of microscopes. Some science people will say they were using science, some will say they weren't, some (like Coyne) will deny that it is true .

                    Obviously humans did a whole bunch of things for as long as we've been human before the advent of science. The idea that we can only now the world through science is bizarre.

                    I know how to knit. I was taught by my mother. She was taught by her mother. Science wasn't necessary. Māori developed a process for removing the toxins from karaka berries. They didn't need lab analysis to do that.

                    The claim being that Coyne, Dawkins etc are allegedly wanting to remove any hint of Maori culture from the NZ science curriculum.

                    Citation please.

                    You ended your previous post with a comment that some people may have a valid concern here.

                    Yeah, no shit. I actually know what my position is. There are valid concerns about how to integrated MM into mainstream education. I just think that Coyne and Dawkins create more problems than they are trying to solve.

                    At this stage you should probably realize that people like Coyne and Dawkins have been quite reasonably publicizing some stuff which is simply not fit to include in the NZ science curriculum, in agreement with and in discussions with people at the margins of its development. They are lending their international notoriety to a worthy cause here.

                    In a really shitty way. The post about Coyne was pointing out why he's not a good person to reference. I could write a similar post about Dawkins. Plenty of others already have.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      You are clearly having great difficulty with that first statement. The claim is that anything we actually (correctly) know to be an effective model of the universe is scientifically verifiable. The claim is not that we only know things due to science. The supposed analogy you've tried to integrate into this post about bacteria just makes no sense and is nothing anybody believes.

                      At the roots of this there is essentially a claim that science works as a method because we observe the actual universe, and not a simulation of the universe. There is also the implication that we all observe the same universe. The implication for these combined claims is that what has been observed as repeatable will continue to be repeatable in related cases. Also what is going on is independent to what we think is going on. We may change our mind about what we think is leading to observations, but just thinking differently doesn't alter the phenomenon.

                      A common alternative is that the universe exists in some way, shape or form due to the will of a deity. In this case they could potentially change their mind at any point and the rules of our universe will apparently be revised. This is functionally equivalent to believing that the universe is simulated and were not observing it in reality but are observing the simulated outcomes instead, or to believing that the universe you or I experience is not shared in common.

                      When Coyne talks about science being the only real way of knowing we have this is a background concept in philosophy of science. The counter case is to find actual things which we "know" to be true despite them not being scientifically verifiable. Some people have a religiously held belief in the existence of god. This is based on the philosophy where some things can be unobservable and known to be true.

                      So ultimately this is all that statement says, its just saying if were teaching knowledge as science in science classes that doesn't include religious beliefs, its very minimal and its something you agree with.

                      So feel free to find all the traditional knowledge you like, feel free to suggest that navigation becomes a major block in the curriculum. You can do all that and your not challenging what Coyne, Dawkins et-al are saying at all.

                      Now this would be basically reasonable if despite what I said was the argument, Coyne, Dawkins were actually going around and disparaging including anything into the curriculum which included traditional knowledge. But they are not, or rather do go ahead and find examples. What they have been doing is going through examples of concepts we know to be incorrect and better understood outside of Matauranga Maori (such as Mauri). And explanations where the model is either patent nonsense or describing a religiously held (traditional) belief.

                      This is precisely the same stuff that people involved in the NZ science curriculum has been highlighting (and forwarding on) as not fit to be in the NZ science curriculum. So again, if they have a point, they have exactly the same point as everybody else making that point.

                      "I just think that Coyne and Dawkins create more problems than they are trying to solve."

                      Again you could try to find some actual problems created. I know there is a lot of blather on social media but actual problems, I see none that they have created. On the contrary they do seem to have been of some assistance to people working on the NZ science curriculum in that the MoE (quietly) backed down from some of the more ridiculous materials. I would assume that you agree, life-force is infused in all atoms, probably shouldn't be part of the curriculum, over the objection of a significant number of chemistry biology and science teachers, anyway.

                      Anyway so references. Well you didn't really manage to explain to me why Coyne is a shitty person to reference so we will start there.

                      Here's an article alleging Dawkins motivation is racism and Colonization of the curriculum. De-colonization being addition of native perspectives into the curriculum, so Colonization meaning stripping those perspectives out.

                      https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2023/03/04/the-new-zealand-herald-does-a-hit-job-on-dawkins/

                      Or closer to home. Allegedly again Dawkins wants to strip any notion of native culture from the NZ science curriculum. There is a brief exchange where another Twit (wrong word?) points out this is a complete straw man and we find out that its apparently all tied back to defending the Listener 7, even if Dawkins didn't say anything of the sort.

                      https://thestandard.org.nz/did-bacteria-exist-before-we-had-microscopes/#comment-1938998

                    • weka []

                      Do me a favour and look at your comment on the mobile desktop version or on a computer. Can you see a problem with the TS link? This can be solved by putting a . or any character in front of the URL.

                    • Nic the NZer

                      Scratch that. Its comment 18 from this page I was talking about.

    • weka 2.2

      What people who argue for great inclusion of Mātauranga Māori in science ignore is that science is not merely about knowledge. It is a process for gaining that knowledge.

      Please give an actual example of people arguing this. Because the debate is characterised by people making declaratory statements and then arguing on that basis without providing the evidence. If you supply an example we can examine it.

    • Stuart Munro 2.3

      Richard Dawkins is not really a poster boy for science. E O Wilson explains.

    • Tricledrown 2.4

      Gosman melanesians and polynesians invented the sextant up to 6,000 years before europeans figuring out the angles therefore trigonometry as well and maintained that knowledge without a written language for hundreds of generations.Sailing over vast areas of oceans while Europeans still believed the earth was flat. and barely left the sight of land.Gaslights were only invented barely 200 years ago and are no longer used but you still use them all the time.

    • nukefacts 2.5

      Hear hear, well said Gosman. Weka's argument is another straw man designed to say that science can't understand/know this particular indigenous way of knowing. The reality is that if it can be shown to be scientific it's science. So please show us what we're missing.

      This whole debate reads as one group (MM) trying to cloak itself in the mana of Science without doing the hard work required to gain access to more resources (a MM researcher at Uni is valued 7x any other researcher for funding). When push comes to shove I look at a few test – points to validate the MM proponent arguments:

      1. What we see is explicitly religious concepts like Mauri being pushed into the curriculum rewrite, and this isn't science. If there is a life force, show us please because w've obviously missed something in existing science. Otherwise stop this push because you are devaluing something important.

      2. Very strong proponents like Tara McAlister (in NZ Herald) and Karl Wixon (MM advisor to the MoE) crying racism, conflating knowledge with science (not necessarily the same thing) and in the case of Wixon, disparaging 'Western' science as following MM and making obviously false or deranged statements like Maori being able to see galactic structures invisible to the naked eye.

      3. NZ students are showing substantially declining scores in maths, literacy and science. We need to deal with this but instead we see a woke push to devalue and debase science with religious and cultural discourses that are nothing to do with the problem. This needs addressing but the MoE has it's head up it's butt and is not dealing with it. This. Is. Serious.

      4. Collectively. this approach does nothing to instil confidence that MM is actually science and is likely to at best not deal with the real issues, and at worse, make the situation a whole lot worse.

      • weka 2.5.1

        Weka's argument is another straw man designed to say that science can't understand/know this particular indigenous way of knowing.

        That's not my argument (see comment below).

        This isn't the only comment you've made today that misrepresents my views. You absolutely have to stop doing this or you will get modded. Whatever disagreements we might have about reality and nature, on TS you cannot misrepresent what I and other authors say and then argue against the misrepresentation (for obvious debate reasons, but also it wastes moderator time). I've suggested in a bold mod note that you slow down and take the time to make sure you know what people are saying rather than going on the offensive.

        I'll be making other mod notes like this rather than in bold, because there are so many comments to respond to. Please let me know you have read and understood what I have said here.

      • weka 2.5.2

        Weka's argument is another straw man designed to say that science can't understand/know this particular indigenous way of knowing.

        That's not my argument. My argument would be that science probably doesn't have the tools to study chi or mauri at this time. I don't believe it is intrinsically impossible for science to know them.

        But MM (as opposed to chi or mauri) is a body of knowledge, it's inane to say that science can't know it, because that's not what science does.

      • weka 2.5.3

        Please provide back up for Karl Wixon doing the following:

        1. crying racism
        2. conflating knowledge with science
        3. disparaging ‘Western’ science as following MM
        4. making obviously false or deranged statements like Maori being able to see galactic structures invisible to the naked eye.

        Back up needs to be quotes or credible first hand accounts. People simply saying he said this is not sufficient. Back up also needs to be quotes, links and an explanation. Video/audio needs a time stamp.

        If you make claims about public figures, you have to back that up at the time. You won’t be able to comment on TS again until you provide this back up.

        • nukefacts 2.5.3.1

          From his linkedIn post linked elsewhere: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6972283670992732160/

          "TAKARANGI Science catching up with Māori knowledge.

          The NASA images from the James Webb Telescope of a galaxy being formed are simply stunning, but what is also interesting is how NASA and the Science Community is slowly catching up with Māori knowledge. Ironically, the academic community of scientists in New Zealand was recently in a tangle debating whether our traditional knowledge could be accepted as science, to be honest I really don't give a f**k what they think due to evidence like this"

          That's conflating and disparaging (points 2 and 3). I can't find the post for 1 so will concede. Re point 4- the whole post says that the images from JWST are behind MM because the swirly patterns he presents is "evidence that our ancestors knew about the formation of the universe, galaxies, our planet and tectonics well before modern science". These structures are not visible to the naked eye – it's physically impossible, and given how old the patterns are it's extremely unlikely he knows what they were created for or to represent. Ergo he's making it up or invoking religion/magical thinking, in which case why is he advising the MoE because our Education Act is supposed to separate church from state when it comes to education.

          • Nic the NZer 2.5.3.1.1

            Maybe Karl Wixon could tell us something we don't have a telescope for yet? There's a Nobel prize in it for him, though he would of course be attributing it all to the ancestors who told him of this.

      • weka 2.5.4

        mod note.

  3. AB 3

    I suspect that any resistance to Te Ao Māori is not fundamentally about its status as a science or a non-science. More likely, it's a fear that a Maori worldview might contain concepts that are hostile to treating the natural world primarily as a place where self-interest may be pursued and capital accumulated. In this view, what is sacred is not the world itself, but private property rights. The argument that "it's all primitive mumbo jumbo anyway" just provides convenient cover for eliminating an older conception of the sacred and privileging another more contemporary one.

    • Molly 3.1

      Given that Māori have a diversity of views, and also have the natural range of personality traits as non-Māori, I suspect the current accepted form of Te Ao Māori is a curated one, crafted to promote certain political objectives under the guise of honouring Te Tiriti.

      Māori and non-Māori are not discrete groups.

      In fact, most – if not all – with Māori ancestry – would fit inside the group for "Other ancestry" on a Venn diagram. More relevant is the fact that contemporary Māori have a diversity of world views.

      So the current use of "Te Ao Māori" not just as descriptor for curated traditional views but as justification – is fundamentally flawed.

    • tsmithfield 3.2

      I think you are drawing a rather long bow there.

      I think there are elements of Maori knowledge that is scientific in some sense, as is the case with many ancient cultures. But to attempt to align it with "Western" science that has produced the likes of computer science, brain surgery, and space travel is ludicrous.

      That doesn’t mean that studying Te Ao Maori isn’t useful. Just that it isn’t on the same level of science that has produced far greater technological outcomes.

      • weka 3.2.1

        But to attempt to align it with "Western" science that has produced the likes of computer science, brain surgery, and space travel is ludicrous.

        Is your argument here that WS is superior than Māori science, because it has produced high tech? You appear to be comparing late 20th century tech with 19th century and earlier tech, why is that?

        Given that Māori had sophisticated tech pre-contact (and methodology for developing it), one has to wonder how MM would have developed had we had a non-violence merging of cultures rather than a colonising process that knocked Māori back and destroyed large tracts of oral tradition knowledge in the process. If you can't see the sophistication then it's hard to imagine I guess.

        You might enjoy this thread. Follow the different strands. A few snips,

        https://twitter.com/SikotiHamiltonR/status/1632195267280896000

        https://twitter.com/SikotiHamiltonR/status/1632261294874296322

        https://twitter.com/SikotiHamiltonR/status/1632310550339399680

        • tsmithfield 3.2.1.1

          I didn't intend to ridicule Maori knowledge.

          But, rather I see it as one of the many strands that has contributed to modern knowledge. And, I agree, there are still some aspects that are brought to light today, such as knowledge about the properties of indigenous plants. But, these days, I expect that even that knowledge will be subjected to the lense of scientific research, as will be the team NZ boat you pointed to.

          All this sort of stuff is facinating from the perspective of understanding how we have got to where we are. But the vast number of strands from around the world, including Maori knowledge, form the foundation for the scientific method as we have it today.

          So, to equate one of the strands (Maori knowledge) as equivalent to the combination of all the strands, is ridiculous.

          • nukefacts 3.2.1.1.1

            well said. No one in this whole sorry process of shitting on the Listener 7 etc has ever said that MM has no place in education, quite the contrary.

            It's the violent overreaction of the MM crowd that keeps this debate going and enrages those of us who value all of science and all cultures, and want to see all the beauty and diversity of both strands of all parts of the human diaspora kept alive.

        • nukefacts 3.2.1.2

          This seems false. The Catamaran was also invented by the Chinese, various European cultures like the Greeks etc, before Polynesia was explored.

          [I’ve popped you into premod, because you’ve made a lot of comments and it’s going to take time to work through them. I’ll remind you of this comment from me about evidence https://thestandard.org.nz/why-do-rationalists-position-science-against-matauranga-maori/#comment-1932400 If you want to make claims of fact, then please provide the evidence to support them. Otherwise we’re just trading reckons. In this case, please provide the evidence for the claim about catamarans.

          I’m also seeing you saying stuff about my arguments that is just false. I will address these elsewhere, but my suggestion is to slow down, and make time to check out what people mean rather than going on the offensive – weka]

          • weka 3.2.1.2.1

            mod note.

          • weka 3.2.1.2.2

            none of your comments will be released until you have responded to this mod note. If your comments sit in Pending too long I will move them to Trash.

      • Tricledrown 3.2.2

        tsmithfield modern science is barely 400 years old if not for the Medicis you would be still a serf now stuck in the dark ages.yet your gaslighting every other race ,it was only 138 years ago that primary education became widespread.Maori had the first schools in New Zealand 50 years before the New Zealand govt introduced free primary education .Maori were better educated in their language than most of the European migrants in their language who arrived here. Had you been born in the !800’s you probably could have been a child labourer stuck down a coal mine.trying to light some gas.

        • nukefacts 3.2.2.1

          What a spurious position to take. How is this relevant to the question is MM science? You are now playing the person, not the issue – one of the weakest forms of debate possible.

      • Robert Guyton 3.2.3

        "far greater technological outcomes" indeed!

        Here're just 64 of the most useless things ever made 🙂

        https://www.boredpanda.com/most-pointless-useless-things/

      • Tricledrown 3.2.4

        Ancient cultures is a slur a colonial gaslighting term.

        • weka 3.2.4.1

          that's not what gaslighting means, pleases stop misusing that term (not just you).

    • nukefacts 3.3

      No, it's because it's trying to push non-science concepts like Mauri in to science, which will confuse students and contribute further to our declining literacy, maths and science performance as a nation. You know, facts.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    If we can say that chi doesn’t exist in the absence of evidence that it does, does this mean that bacteria didn’t exist before the advent of microscopes?

    Exactly the same principle applies. At the point in time that there was no evidence that bacteria exist, the best that could be said is there is no evidence that bacteria exist. But now there is such evidence, unlike Chi. So, the best we can say about Chi is that there is still no evidence that it exists, and theories and evidence around cell biology etc are a sufficient explanation in themselves, without invoking “Chi”.

    There is no evidence that pots of gold at the end of the rainbow don’t exist either. So, maybe they do exist.

    • weka 4.1

      don't know about that. Was there a prior theory that bacteria existed? We could see the outcome of bacteria (infections, yoghurt) so we knew that there was a process happening and later we understood that it was caused by bacteria.

      Likewise, we can see the outcomes from acupuncture and other disciplines with a theoretical chi basis. Cell biology afaik doesn't explain TCM or how it functions, although it certainly adds to the knowledge base. We can't use cell biology to support the idea that chi doesn't exist.

      Is there a credible theory that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? No, of course not, so your statement is just another version of chi = woo disparagement.

      There is however credible theory for the existence of chi.

      • tsmithfield 4.1.1

        There is however credible theory for the existence of chi.

        Do you really think "chi" qualifies as a theory? Afterall, the theory of Chi existed far earlier than our knowledge of human cell biology. And now, medical experts tend to think any positive effect of acupunture is actually due to its effects on key muscles and nerves etc.

        From the article:

        In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body's natural painkillers.

        So, acupuncture may work to some extent, but based on modern knowledge, more likely to be due to known biological effects rather than the earlier notion of "Chi".

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          Chi isn't a theory. There's a theory to explain the existence of chi. And yes that theory exists, it's deeply embedded in TCM.

          I'm guessing those medical experts don't have a fluency in TCM theory and practice. So they're applying WS methodology to a phenomena they don't understand. The advances in WS' understanding of acupuncture are very useful mind, they're part of the picture. Making out they're the whole picture renders TCM invisible, and is, again, not rational.

          You're argument here is devoid of any reference to TCM concepts and knowledge. Can you see that?

          • tsmithfield 4.1.1.1.1

            But, what you describe still isn't a theory in a scientific sense. It is a belief.

            If it were a scientific theory, then the core aspect of "chi" would be defined. It would be possible to make predictions on what evidence would be found for the flow of "chi". For instance, how it might appear in a scan, or where in the body it is received, how it interacts with cell biology, or whatever. Then we could look for those effects as evidence that "chi" is real.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Pretty sure that the Chinese do have the core aspect of chi well defined, and that they can make predictions on what evidence will be found for the flow and manipulation of chi. I would guess there is theory now for how it interacts with cell biology. It's important to understand that TCM and WS don't sit separately in China like they do in the West.

              What you are saying is that it can't be measured by specific WS tech, which I agree with.

              • tsmithfield

                "Pretty sure" and "I would guess" doesn't sound like you are that confident.

                I guess the real test would be what Chinese themselves prefer in their own medical research etc. If TCM is so awesome, then I guess they would have dumped all that Western science nonsense and will be leading the world with amazingly transformational TMC results.

                • weka

                  oh fuck off. This is exactly the kind of Dawkinsian nonsense I was hoping to avoid. No-one has said that TCM is so fantastic that we should dump WS.

                  "Pretty sure" and "I would guess" doesn't sound like you are that confident.

                  Pretty sure is high confidence, guess is I would have to go look it up but based in my educated understanding it's not an unreasonable supposition.

                  It's clear that you don't know what TCM is. I know enough to be able to make the arguments. This is what I pointed to in the post about being conceptually bilingual. There's nothing wrong with not being able to speak those concepts, but arguing as if they don't exist is the irrationality I pointed to in the post.

                  You appear to have run out of argument and are resorting to making shit up. Disappointing.

                  • tsmithfield

                    I was being a bit faceous.

                    But, I think the onus is on you to actually come up with some of the research you were assuming exists. Otherwise you are just making an unsupported assertion.

                    If what you say is correct, then sooner or later the will be an insersection of TMC and science.

                    One of the key components of western science is that it produces outcomes that are reliable, repeatable, and predictable. If you can show me that from studies into TMC, at a similar level that is acceptable in western science, then I would probably say that TMC is western science.

                    But if it doesn't produce results that meet those standards, then I would argue that it is not really that useful until it meets those standards, and effectively becomes part of western science.

                  • nukefacts

                    What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Show us this research please, otherwise you are engaging in magical thinking.

              • Incognito

                You may be interested in reading this:

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_Youyou

                The first Chinese to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for her discoveries based on TCM. A remarkable woman.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                I would guess there is theory now for how it [chi] interacts with cell biology.

                That comment piqued my interest, so did some googling.

                Qi (pronounced chi; googling chi in 'sciencey' searches also finds X-related pages, whereas googling qi gets a fair number of 'Quite Interesting' hits) is "is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity."

                Believers in qi describe it as a vital force, the flow of which must be unimpeded for health. Qi is a pseudoscientific, unverified concept, and is unrelated to the concept of energy used in science (vital energy [vital force] itself being an abandoned scientific notion). The historian of medicine in China Paul U. Unschuld adds that there "is no evidence of a concept of 'energy' – either in the strictly physical sense or even in the more colloquial sense – anywhere in Chinese medical theory."

                Maybe 'placebo' plays a part in the beneficial effects of TCM? Here are three examples of recent efforts by researchers in China and Korea to integrate TCM/HM (herbal medicine) 'theory' and WS:

                Infrared Imageries of Human Body Activated by Tea Match the Hypothesis of Meridian System [5 January 2023]
                Human meridian (Jingluo) system was hypothesized by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, suggesting 12 normal meridian channels going through respective organs, carrying fluid and energy, and laying thermal effects. Some treatments based on meridians have been proved effective. However, existence of meridians has never been confirmed, let alone the lack of measurement for meridian phenotypes.

                Efficacy of herbal medicine treatment based on syndrome differentiation for Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials [27 February 2023]

                Exploring the Biochemical Basis of the Meridian Tropism Theory for the Qi-Invigorating Traditional Chinese Medicine Herb Panax ginseng [26 February 2021]

                While some skeptics believe that these researchers have found ways to fool themselves, the possibility that WS can (eventually) reveal mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of TCM remains in play.

                • weka

                  Yeah I had a look at that wiki article the other day. Interesting use of the concept of pseudoscience, seems to be applied to anything now. TCM predates WS by millennia, and stands independently of WS, so I can't see how it can be called a pseudoscience unless someone is making pseudoscience claims about it (which I'm sure some people are but again, it exists outside of WS).

                  I also noted that wiki was using Western people to critique TCM.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Wikipedia’s page on Qi states that "Qi is a pseudoscientific, unverified concept", which seems fair, given that the explanatory power of Qi (in regard to the beneficial effects of TCM) is currently insubstantial.

                    Philosophers debate the nature of science and the general criteria for drawing the line between scientific theories and pseudoscientific beliefs, but there is widespread agreement "that creationism, astrology, homeopathy, Kirlian photography, dowsing, ufology, ancient astronaut theory, Holocaust denialism, Velikovskian catastrophism, and climate change denialism are pseudosciences."

                    Happy to be convinced otherwise re Qi – would be very exciting. For example, consider the potential for pain relief if this mash-up is valid.

                    Rheumatoid arthritis characteristics and classification of heat and cold patterns – an observational study
                    [2 February 2023; PDF]
                    As recoded by Inner Canon of Huangdi “Evil-qi would gather together when the vital-qi was in deficiency.”, some Chinese herbs which can invigorate qi and blood and tonify liver and kidney could enhance the vital-qi to protect the human body from the cold evil-qi.

                    • weka

                      from your link,

                      Pseudoscience consists of statements, beliefs, or practices that claim to be both scientific and factual but are incompatible with the scientific method.

                      My emphasis. Unless TCM is claiming to be scientific, I can’t see how the term pseudoscience applies. Calling it pseudoscience is just another attempt to make science the One True Way.

                      One of the more interesting ways to study chi would be to compare results from Chinese trained TCM acupuncturists who work with chi, with Western trained acupuncturists who don’t. Bit tricky to design though.

                      I’ve heard the same arguments against chi used against acupuncture and herbal medicine. Often it’s just based in ignorance. Dawkins doesn’t believe in vitalism so he’s never going to able to either see it, or study it. It’s a shame, because people use all those techniques and derive benefit from them but science heads block integrating this into medicine in the West in better ways.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    The Universality of Science and Traditional Chinese Medicine
                    A Philosophical Survey [25 June 2021]
                    While, as will be shown, a wealth of research based on RCTs (randomized control trials) points out that TCM´s degree of effectiveness is low, that is not the point this paper intends to make. Instead of such an empirical criticism, the author sustains a comparably stronger epistemic contention, namely: even if the clinical results of TCM fared better than they actually do, that observation alone would not be a good reason to consider this branch of traditional medicine as a scientifically respectable endeavor.

                    There's more than one way to look at TCM and the concept of Qi – my way is through a 'western' science lens, but I'm open-minded.

                    Unless TCM is claiming to be scientific, I can’t see how the term pseudoscience applies.

                    Tens of thousands of Chinese scientists are investigating the scientific basis of observed TCM effects/outcomes – e,g. the PDF @3:32 pm.

                    Another recent comparative study [PDF], of a drug (pidotimod) and a TCM treatment (YPF), prompted a (imho) balanced 'western' comment:

                    Lost in translation: Evaluating traditional Chinese medicine by western standards [17 August 2022]
                    Although the pathophysiologic concepts of TCM and western medicine may well be mechanistically irreconcilable, empiric findings of beneficial effects of therapeutics can still be rigorously tested. The trickiest part may not be reconciling the presumed mechanisms, but defining outcomes that both disciplines can agree upon. Still, studies like that of Xu et al. are an excellent step toward addressing western skepticism.

                    I will be retaining the curiosity, skepticism and open-mindedness that have served this science head well so far.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      Problem with this treatment of scientific theory and knowledge is that its backwards. If someone wants to hold up Chi as a scientific theory first they need to propose a falsifiable theory (applying Chi). Then you can check it against known examples and discover if its false. You can't prove its true, though it might well be the best known explanation in its class.

      Theories involving bacteria had a similar period of development before it was possible to see them more or less directly using a microscope. They would be false had they said bacteria exist at this scale causing this phenomena and when that scale became observable none were observed.

  5. psych nurse 5

    A belief system confers powerful healing properties, just ask anyone who believes in the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost.

    • weka 5.1

      this. That medical science culture considers placebo to be a negative is daft and a wasted opportunity.

      • tsmithfield 5.1.1

        There isn't any doubt that the placebo effect can be very powerful. But the problem is that it isn't reliable or predictable on a case by case basis.

        So, it would be serious malpractice for a medical practioner to advise a patient to give up their medicine because the patient sincerely believed in the healing power of their pet rock or whatever. But, it could be useful to enhance the effect of proven medications etc.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          Actually GPs rely on placebo routinely. It's part of why they prescribe antibiotics for viral infections. Good GPs understand that the relationship between the GP and patient is part of the healing power too.

          There isn't any doubt that the placebo effect can be very powerful. But the problem is that it isn't reliable or predictable on a case by case basis.

          That's kind of true in the WS world view and where drugs that need to be tested via RCTs are being used. In other world views, the case by case basis makes placebo a core component of treatment. Maybe this is how something like crystal healing works, the crystal provides the practitioner and the patient a focal point for belief that enhances the healing process. If that sounds like woo, consider the value in someone lying down on a table for half an hour, deeply relaxing, maybe there is some music and aromatherapy assisting in the relaxation, as well as the practitioner feeding messages of wellness into the persons brain.

          Science can attest that all of that tech is useful. But it's very difficult to study the whole using conventional scientific trials.

          • tsmithfield 5.1.1.1.1

            Yes, that is true. Doctors do that. But, usually in cases where there isn't a proven effective medicine available, but the patient wants a pill anyway. It isn't as if the doctors prefer unproven treatments over proven ones.

          • Belladonna 5.1.1.1.2

            Any GP who routinely prescribes antibiotics for a viral infection is acting unethically – and is contributing to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

            https://www.cdc.gov/patientsafety/features/be-antibiotics-aware.html

            I would be highly surprised if this practice is widespread.

            [link fixed – Incognito]

          • Muttonbird 5.1.1.1.3

            Viral infections also lead to bacterial infections and the prescribing of antibiotics is proactive in these cases.

            • Belladonna 5.1.1.1.3.1

              Not unless you are in exceedingly poor health, apart from the viral infection, and are almost certain to develop a life-threatening secondary bacterial infection. Thinking here of people undergoing radiotherapy with very low immunity levels.

              Routine prescription of antibiotics by a GP in anticipation that someone might develop a bacterial infection, is unethical – and contributes to the rise of bacteria-resistant antibiotics.

        • tWiggle 5.1.1.2

          If you look at standard pharmacology, there are many drugs that work well on some people, and not others. For example, the universal benefit of widely-prescribed statins is debatable, with side effects outweighing benefits for those not affected by heart disease. And some people may be more resistant to a drug's action than others. Don't think that placebo is not used by the medical profession, just under another guise.

          https://www.thehealthy.com/heart-disease/do-statins-work-cardiologist/

        • Belladonna 5.1.1.3

          Having (sadly) had a fair degree of familiarity with serious and (in some cases) terminal medical care – that is exactly what the medical specialists did.
          Discussed the medical care options (and the consequences – because there always are side effects) – and then discussed some non-Western treatments which some people have found ameliorates the side effects (accupuncture is a common one) – and asked if there was anything that the patient wanted to try in conjunction with the medical treatment.
          The specialists have always said that any not-taken-by-mouth therapies are fine to try, but that we should check anything recommended to eat/drink with them to make sure it doesn't conflict with any other drugs being given.

      • Belladonna 5.1.2

        So belief that God will protect you against Covid – is just as valid as a vaccination.

        If you get sick and die, then clearly, your belief wasn't strong enough.

        This is not a world I, personally, want to live in.

        • weka 5.1.2.1

          sorry, but that's just stupid. I haven't said anything like that. There is nothing in my comment to suggest that placebo is all powerful and 100% effective. Please up your debate game here.

          • Belladonna 5.1.2.1.1

            Faith 'healing' contributes to the death of people every year, from diseases/conditions that medical science can easily cure or ameliorate.

            Equating it with medical science is profoundly dangerous. You may weigh up the pros and cons (fine for a headache, not so good for melanoma) – but others with a greater degree of 'faith' do not.

            We've seen the rabbit holes that anti-vaxers go down – not just Covid, but the routine ECE vaccinations, which save lives every year.

            • weka 5.1.2.1.1.1

              yes, yes, and iatrogenesis is a thing too. So?

              Equating it with medical science is profoundly dangerous.

              I haven't equated faith healing with medical science. You are speaking from your own biases and projecting them on to me. Please stop.

              You may weigh up the pros and cons (fine for a headache, not so good for melanoma) – but others with a greater degree of 'faith' do not.

              Oh, so most people are too stupid to understand whether something can hurt them or not. Which takes us back to iatrogenesis.

              You're in premod now. You've been here long enough to know how little tolerance I have for people making shit up about my views.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1.3

        That medical science culture considers placebo to be a negative…

        Is that correct? I'm a (retired) science (biochemistry, mostly non-medical) head, and the evolving expert scientific and medical consensus opinion on the placebo effect is that it can have "weak to moderate intensity" positive effects under the right conditions, approaching and, in some cases, exceeding the positive effects of more conventional medical interventions.

        If nothing else, 'placebo' is an area of interest and active research for some.

        In studies and in real life, placebos have a powerful healing effect on the body and mind [14 March 2022]
        Sometimes called “sugar pills”, the concept has been around since the 1800s.

        Placebo: a brief updated review [9 August 2022]
        Placebo, in addition to its use in the clinical trial, should be considered another therapeutic remedy either as stand alone or in association with treatment, and could be useful in certain circumstances.

        Imaginary pills and open-label placebos can reduce test anxiety by means of placebo mechanisms [4 February 2023]
        Placebos have been shown to be beneficial for various conditions even if administered with full transparency. Hence, so-called open-label placebos (OLPs) offer a new way to harness placebo effects ethically.

        Open-label placebos—a systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental studies with non-clinical samples [4 March 2023]
        In conclusion, OLPs appear to be effective when examined in experimental studies. However, further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying OLPs.

        Science is in a cleft stick – moving too slowly in some areas and too quickly in others (depending on one's PoV), but I'm confident that 'Western' science will get there eventually, provided current conventional research can continue.

        Placebos expert Kathryn T Hall: ‘The effect can rival painkillers like ibuprofen or even morphine [8 October 2022]

        White People Who Got Placebo From White Doctors Felt Better, Study Says [10 August 2022]

        The power of the human mind eh – still, to err is human.

      • Nic the NZer 5.1.4

        That's not a problem with medical science, its a problem with ethics if anything. The medical science (including statistics) can tell you if the medicine has a better record than chance. What you do with that information is a question of medical ethics.

        You are of course welcome to purchase a copy of Ken Rings annual weather forecasts and apply to your needs. They have a broadly similar track record to placebo effects.

      • nukefacts 5.1.5

        Actually the medical science and psychology fields consider the Placebo Effect to be very powerful, as proved in science using double blind trials.

  6. miravox 6

    Morgan Godfrey's musing while mowing the lawn are worth reading in this context.

    https://twitter.com/MorganGodfery/status/1634686779482853376?s=20

    … western knowledge is normally separated and categorised. that’s as true for science as it is for, say, law (e.g. private vs public law and the subcategories within). but mātauranga māori doesn’t necessarily make distinctions between the descriptive, normative, and cosmological this is the beauty of mātauranga māori – it’s an all encompassing system capable of testing hypotheses and explaining and manipulating natural and technological systems (i.e science!) as well as being a cosmological system capable of integrating metaphysical narratives so obviously mātauranga māori is capable of being scientific but it’s more than that too – it can be a cosmological and normative system…

    The whole thread is worth a read.

  7. roblogic 7

    My response to Morgan Godfery:

    Valid points for academics arguing the philosophy of science. But NZ educators should be seeking to *include* indigenous themes not exclude on the dubious grounds of scientific purity

    I tend to agree with AB on this. Objections to MM are little more than Pakeha insecurity, unwilling to cede a tiny part of culture to Māori. And yes there's a Pakeha elite that benefits from spreading hate and fear so that the lower classes do not see where the true class war lies. Happy to spread FUD about co-governance and Māori elites, but when it's Pakeha elites like the banking sector flagrantly ripping off Kiwis then David Seymour heroically swings into action throwing around words like "xenophobia"

    The billionaires in the America's Cup, and their local lapdogs, are the Pakeha elite. We are supposed to celebrate and worship the gods of capitalism. Fuck that

    • miravox 7.1

      I largely agree with your point about pākehā insecurity. I don't see Morgan Godfrey's musings as pandering to that. I like the way he's situated mātauranga māori as something more than, but included in, western scientific concepts.

    • nukefacts 7.2

      What rubbish. How is spreading religion like Mauri into Chemistry class warfare? Come on!

    • nukefacts 7.3

      he starts of wrong from the get go: "western knowledge is normally separated and categorised". It's not fucking western for a start, it's pan-cultural. Secondly, any body of knowledge sufficiently large needs to be categorised in some way and advancement of that body can only occur by linking to other bodies or deepening the body under study. This is EXACTLY what science does. All of science is underpinned and linked by Physics and Maths – everything, so indigenous ways of knowing gods like Weka are flat out wrong when they believe their pet WoK is superior because it's holistic. If MM evolves and grows at the rate that science does, you would see it also become categorised. There's this thing called the tyranny of 7 + or – 2 – you just can't hold that much in your head so need organising and categorising principles and systems to keep track of large bodies of knowledge.

      Again, NZ'ers have a woefully poor understanding of science.

  8. Nic the NZer 8

    "This paragraph in the piece was given as an example of mythology being presented as fact,

    However, when one reads the whole article, it becomes clear that this is being used as an example of how Māori traditionally passed on knowledge of the natural world within an oral culture that didn’t have written records."

    If this is in the context of including Matauranga Maori into the science curriculum, then this just amounts to shifting the goal posts to win an internet argument. Congratulations on that, its a powerful tactic for winning internet arguments.

    But on the other hand that context implies considering including this into the science curriculum. This discussion makes perfect sense in a social studies context, but I don't see the actual relevance of Maori cultural practices to Geology. I don't think I've learned any Geology from reading that paragraph.

    • weka 8.1

      if you don't explain which goal posts have been shifted and how, then we're blind to your point (we're not mind readers).

      From what I can tell the point of that paragraph isn't teach about geology, it's to teach about history. I thought I had explained that reasonably well. Something like this:

      1. Mātauranga Māori holds important knowledge about the natural world
      2. to understand MM we need to learn what it is, including the history of it
      3. here's an example of how Māori passed knowledge on from generation to generation

      Are you objecting to teaching history to people learning about geology?

      Are you objecting to teaching what MM is to people learning geology so that when they come across concepts they don’t understand they have some reference point?

      • Nic the NZer 8.1.1

        No, you've understood my point quite correctly. The question is why your teaching history in science class. If your discussing the involvement of Matauranga Maori in the science curriculum, that's clearly implicit in the debate.

        You don't get a lot of history of science in the school curriculum either, because there is not so much time, and more importantly because keeping track of the changes in the particular theories and their development is a bit bewildering for students who don't have a good grip on the actual concepts yet.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          I guess then we either need examples from the school curriculum, or we need to know how that science hub relates to the school curriculum.

          • nukefacts 8.1.1.1.1

            again, I've tried to show you the concept of Mauri is being pushed into science and is unscientific.

  9. bwaghorn 9

    How do you think Maori found out that karate berries could be made safe to eat?

    I would say they would have used basic scientific methods,

    Ie; if we soak these can we eat them , (I can guess how they tested it but wont)

    So as far as I'm concerned if there's anything in matauranga Maori then surely it'll stand up to the modern methods of science.

    • tWiggle 9.1

      Where did science rise from? The significant evolutionary advantage that trying out new foods/agricultural practices/social cohesion models gave to individuals and to societies. Keep a close eye on your crop, increase your harvest, increase your clan's chances of surviving the next hard winter. Scientific curiosity is just human curiosity, but with 500 years of cumulative knowledge and debate cemented in a cross-referenced written record.

      Teaching science to primary school kids is about hooking into that curiosity. However, these days applying science to solve problems effectively requires 10 years of advanced training and gathering knowledge about your system, at least. Is some of the science/non-science debate really about a difference in the scale of time and information needed?

      • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1.1

        Teaching science to primary school kids is about hooking into that curiosity.

        yes Ideally school curriculums/teachers would foster curiosity and skepticism – my twin pillars for doing research. Tap in to the excitement of exploration and discovery.

    • tWiggle 9.2

      Bwaghorn. They would have been desperate, is how. The NZ bush is designed to support avian, and not mammalian life. Away from a productive seashore, plant food resources in native forests are pitiful. Hence the molars of pre-colonial Māori with a lifetime of eating pounded fernroot that are ground down to the nerve. Thinks, a bird ate a karaka berry – maybe we can too.

    • Stuart Munro 9.3

      I think autocorrect got the better of you there. There's a thing on them from The Spinoff:

      How to prepare the delicious – but poisonous – karaka berry | The Spinoff

    • nukefacts 9.4

      Trial and error is not science.

      • Incognito 9.4.1

        Lazy comment is not helpful.

        • nukefacts 9.4.1.1

          What? Do you actually understand what the scientific method is? How on earth can you call this comment lazy? What is lazy is not bothering researching the epistemology of science and understanding that it has a rich history of methodological innovation and evolution, which is so far and away beyond 'trial and error' that your comment is simply laughable.

          I respectfully suggest you learn a bit about the topic before commenting in such a manner. It's quite offensive.

          • Incognito 9.4.1.1.1

            Not only lazy but also belligerent and arrogant. You don’t seem to know anything about trial and error in scientific research. Often it goes by different names and there are many variations of trial and error. Your comment was as helpful as stating that counting is not science.

            Do better if you want to contribute to informed debate. And please don’t cry me a river with your fake it’s-offensive – it makes you look pathetic as well.

            • nukefacts 9.4.1.1.1.1

              I am well aware of the role of this in science, I have a science degree and come from a family of scientists so [deleted] for your put down. I watched my father do trial and error experimentation within the full set of scientific processes, and have done so in Chemistry research myself so I actually do fucking know what I’m talking about.

              I'm offended because I present a reasoned argument throughout this thread, then you say it's a lazy comment. Yours is the ill-informed comment.

              What you are in effect saying is that trial and error, without anything else present, is science and that's a ridiculous position to take, that's like saying cooking is science.

              You need at least 4 processes in play to be science:

              – hypotheses
              – observation
              – replication
              – falsification

              By itself, trial and error AT BEST uses observation and replication (but not always) and by itself it's not science because it leads to things like mistaking correlation with causation i.e. just because two things occur at the same time doesn't mean one causes the other, plus a lot of other biases. To not fool ourselves we need at least all four processes.

      • pat 9.4.2

        Trial and error is the basis of science….all theories must be tested and replicated.

        Having noted that, not all trial and error is science as the term 'science ' implies understanding….observation is not necessarily understanding.

        • roblogic 9.4.2.1

          Measurement ans testing are an important part of developing theories, but a lot of science practise is simply observation and taxonomy. Astronomy, biology, geology, paleontology have historically been based on lifetimes of study and collecting evidence. Not every scientist is out there inventing new theories.

  10. This is yet another discussion of this topic that ignores one of the core issues: what the NZ Ministry of Education put into the NCEA Level 1 Chemistry and Biology curriculum, which began the discussion of atoms and particles with "Mauri is present in all matter. All particles have their own mauri…" The NCEA Glossary makes clear that this is talking about life force.

    Why shouldn't scientists and science educators react skeptically to this? This is not some personal belief statement, this is the government-endorsed curriculum in an introductory science class aimed at students aged about 14-15.

    • weka 10.1

      Hi Nicholas, can you please link to the document so that we can see your comment in context. This is a requirement of debate here, that people provide back up for their argument. Thanks.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          thanks. However, I can't find the quote "Mauri is present in all matter. All particles have their own mauri" in that link.

          • Macro 10.1.1.1.1

            Explanatory Note 4 from the above link states:

            Mauri is the vital essence, life force of everything: be it a physical object, living thing, or ecosystem. In this Standard, mauri refers to the health and life-sustaining capacity of the taiao, on biological, physical, and chemical levels.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              yes, I saw that. It's not the quote from Nicholas though. One of the features from this debate has been the assertions without evidence, and by evidence I mean TS standard of evidence. Quote, link, explanation.

              From what I can tell there was something in the draft curriculum? Any number of people could have explained this clearly with concise referencing, linking etc. Then we'd all have the same evidence from which to argue what should and shouldn't taught at whatever level. Instead we've had months of reactionary back and forth declarations and people arguing for power.

              https://twitter.com/simontegg/status/1635138720319037443

  11. Gareth Wilson 11

    If we can say that chi doesn’t exist in the absence of evidence that it does, does this mean that bacteria didn’t exist before the advent of microscopes?

    Isaac Asimov said that a caveman could have said that an invisible component of sunlight was causing his sunburn, and we would consider him to be correct. But the caveman also could have said that an invisible component of sunlight was filling him with divine power and gave him the right to rule, with just as much evidence as the sunburn.

    • weka 11.1

      See I would take that as an anecdote about the the difference between physical reality and political reality. It's been a very long time since I've read Asimov.

      • Gareth Wilson 11.1.1

        You might like the Black Widowers mystery story where a sympathetic character insists that his centuries-old traditional knowledge will be accepted as true once science has advanced enough. None of the rational Black Widowers agree, but he keeps defending his beliefs. Of course, he wasn't talking about Traditional Chinese Medicine or mātauranga Māori. He was a minister, and he was talking about Christianity.

        • roblogic 11.1.1.1

          Reminds me of a quote about Big Bang cosmology (I could rave on a lot more on this)

          “This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always believed the word of the Bible. But we scientists did not expect to find evidence for an abrupt beginning because we have had until recently such extraordinary success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time….at this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock and he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

          –Robert Jastrow, NASA

  12. pat 12

    The question is not whether the wider public accept Matauranga Maori as science or not…it is what are the practicalities of such.

    What and how are the funding implications of accepting MM?…be it in education , health or whatever…and how does it impact options/choice?

    Resources are limited and how and on what we apply them is critical….increasingly so.

  13. Hi — sorry for slow reply.

    The basics were all explained back in February 2022 here — Chemistry prof. Paul Kilmartin gave a seminar on the topic, I wrote it up: https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2022/02/NZ-mauri-chemistry-kilmartin-seminar.html

    He also wrote an very good article on the topic in August 2022:

    Paul Kilmartin (2022). "Mātauranga Māori and chemistry teaching: 'mauri is present in all matter.'" Chemistry in New Zealand, 86(4), 157-164. Free link: https://nzic.org.nz/unsecure_files/cinz/2022-86-4.pdf

    …He did a podcast also I think, and the NZ Chemistry society had a session on it in November 2022.

    Why all this effort? The history seems to be:

    First draft of NCEA Level 1 Chem/Bio (google-accessible 2021-late 2021): no mauri in the main standards

    2nd draft: Adds "Mauri is present in all matter", apparently this occurred over the heads of the Subject Expert Group (SEG), which did not suggest this. Went through a round of review, got dozens of negative reviews from science teachers (available on the MoE website), the Ministry comes back and says, basically, the policy is mana orite: equal status for mātauranga Māori, so teachers shelve your criticisms

    ~November 2021: the v2 standards, with "Mauri is present in all matter" etc., are publicly released, to be piloted in 5 schools in 2022, with the plan being to roll them out nation-wide in 2023

    Jan/Feb 2022: scientists start learning what is going on, Paul Kilmartin give his talk, later podcast, article, more talks, etc.

    In addition to the public criticisms, I have gathered that there was some concerted behind-the-scenes lobbying from science teachers. A lot of people have had to put a lot of time into addressing this issue.

    December 2022: Mauri-in-particles is taken back out of Chemistry, and (IIRC) that the whole rollout of the standards is being pushed back a year. No explanation is given from the Ministry about who made this decision or why. While mauri-in-particles is removed from the main standard text and the Learning Matrix PDFs, it currently remains throughout e.g. the example lesson plans currently on the NCEA website right now. E.g.: https://twitter.com/NickJMatzke/status/1630356533619081216

    To see the history of versions 2 and 3, see the wayback machine:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20210815000000*/https://ncea.education.govt.nz/science/chemistry-and-biology

    So – as someone who has followed this closely, it looks like a lot of MM-and-science discussion online has been either blissfully unaware, or just avoiding, the mess occurring at the implementation level in NZ science teaching. It sure looks like a political directive steamrolled the good scientific judgment of subject experts and chemistry teachers, and this was only rolled back with great effort, and now the whole rollout of the revised curriculum is way off schedule and has been pushed back by a year.

    • weka 13.1

      Thanks Nick, that's an excellent summary. I will have a read through all the links in the next few days.

      Do you know if Māori had input in that process?

      • Re: Māori input — I don't have any inside view the details of what happened, but within the NCEA curriculum reform process there is an NCEA Māori Panel and Mātauranga Māori Expert Reviewers panel, I believe.

        (Please note, I would definitely not attribute any of this to them, who knows what happened. When I talk to real MM experts, e.g. Charles Royal, they are pretty strongly against the mauri-in-particles thing.)

        I do know one of the teachers who objected in the review phase said that they were Māori.

        • weka 13.1.1.1

          it seems extraordinary to be this far into the debate without the public knowing what the process was of development of the curriculum. Sounds like people have been left to piece bits together.

          • nukefacts 13.1.1.1.1

            This is how the MoE rolls. Look at their 'evidence based approach' to open plan classrooms and whole-context-reading. Hint, there's no evidence in either. In the former case, the whole business community has been moving away from open plan offices for over a decade because they seriously impede concentration and learning, and in the latter, well, it doesn't work and has likely contributed seriously to our literacy decline.

  14. Shanreagh 14

    One of the points that often accompanies the idea of science existing outside the West is the idea that without a written language ideas cannot exist or if they are tracked that they have less validity than the ideas where they have been written down. Some people see them as less valid having been passed on orally and where all the proof of actions has been passed around orally.

    This remined me of a very chilling exchange I had with a fellow HR practitioner/lawyer who was involved with me in a case involving an employee in a very new startup organisation. Her words were. 'If it is not written down, it does not exist'.

    Now I know that practice as opposed to policy is possibly harder to determine but this does not mean that it does not exist.

    I see echoes of this view every time we discuss the idea of science, in its widest sense, existing in other than Western civilisation. Oral traditions and tracking actual practice are very much thought to be the lesser than if it was written down.

    I often wonder if this person finds herself in agreement, still, with this idea. Perhaps though her law practice now accepts that practice can be documented later, it is more time consuming, possibly less efficient but it does exist. .

    Exploring the origins leads me to a software engineer called Phillippe Kruchten
    https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/619681.Philippe_Kruchten

    • weka 14.1

      interesting. I thought verbal agreements have standing in law. Just harder to enforce if there is disagreement later and it goes to court.

      • Shanreagh 14.1.1

        Yes of course you are correct. My understanding/knowledge and expressed the way I usually present it! Not necessarily only agreements but the state of the (person's) world, expectations, understandings at the time

        The anti everything Maori especially science-related sometimes calls on the view that if an idea could not be written down and then passed on down in writing, it did not exist or if it did exist in oral practice it was inferior in some way.

        If this idea somehow got through this lawyer's law school and law practice, and has stuck with her, and she did not hesitate to express it, how many other people don't believe that ideas can be passed down orally?

        To be honest at the time (in the 1990s) I found the concept chilling & concerning.

        I reflect that she probably feels 'at home' with the concept that things don't exist unless they are written recorded and has been able to make her way forward with this damaging world view.

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          the idea that oral cultures are backwards used to be very commonly held. Māori did a lot of work on this as well as scholars to correct the impression. The ability to retain complex knowledge across generations without writing it down is impressive and complex and largely outside of the experience of those of us that grew up learning and socialised into written language and knowledge bases.

          I also wonder how that relates to how our brains work, and how we can conceptualise and understand the world. I’m guessing the more holistic world view of Māori is related to the practice of oral tradition, and the more reductionist world view of the West being related to writing. Also wondering how that changes things in culture that do both.

          • nukefacts 14.1.1.1.1

            If you ever watched "The Story of English" they recounted how in ancient England story tellers were highly prized because they moved town to town recounting ancient tales. Science has long given weight to this sort of knowledge transfer e.g. psychology, anthropology, medical science.

    • nukefacts 14.2

      Straw man argument again. I have never seem science say that because it's not written down it's not science, quite the opposite in fact. Look at medical science – they often try to investigate efficacy of plants etc indicated from oral histories. Hell, that's how Aspirin came about.

      • Incognito 14.2.1

        Hell, that’s how Aspirin came about.

        How exactly did it come about? Are you trying to (re)write history to suit your narrative? How unscientific of you …

        • nukefacts 14.2.1.1

          This is what we were taught in Chemistry. How about you do a 1 minute search instead of a snarky post…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_aspirin

          "In the 19th century, as the young discipline of organic chemistry began to grow in Europe, scientists attempted to isolate and purify alkaloids and other novel organic chemicals. After unsuccessful attempts by Italian chemists Brugnatelli and Fontana in 1826, Johann Buchner obtained relatively pure salicin crystals from willow bark in 1828;[4][16][17] the following year, Pierre-Joseph Leroux developed another procedure for extracting modest yields of salicin.[16][18] In 1834, Swiss pharmacist Johann Pagenstecher extracted a substance from meadowsweet which, he suggested, might reveal an "excellent therapeutic aspect", although he was uninterested in increasing the number of chemicals available to pharmaceutical science.[16][19] By 1838, Italian chemist Raffaele Piria found a method of obtaining a more potent acid form of willow extract, which he named salicylic acid.[20][21] The German chemist who had been working to identify the Spiraea extract, Karl Jacob Löwig, soon realized that it was in fact the same salicylic acid that Piria had found.[22][23][3]: 38–40 "

          [stop telling an author/mod what to do. Please also read the other mod notes in this thread, use the Replies tab and see where I have replied to you – weka]

          • Incognito 14.2.1.1.1

            You missed the point or moved the goalposts.

            The key issue was oral vs. written records in [medical] science. You claimed that aspirin came about from “oral histories”. Your lazy copy-pasta doesn’t address this at all!? The onus is on you to support your assertions.

            • nukefacts 14.2.1.1.1.1

              There was a very long, multi-cultural oral history of the efficacy of willow bark for various ailments, mostly pain and fever. Researchers hypothesised there was a chemical in willow bark that had medicinal properties, so used organic chemistry disciplines to extract and purify it, then later synthesise it and later still create artificial analogues that were more powerful. There are a bunch of cool organic chemistry processes involved but it meets the test of science in the four areas I outlined above.

  15. Descendant Of Smith 15

    If there is one thing I've learned from reading origin stories, bibles, mythology and so on since childhood it is that we have an infinite capacity to make up bullshit to make sense of the world around us.

    If there is a second thing I've learned is that that mythology often (not necessarily more often than not) contains at times aspects of scientific trial and error and observation within it that can lead to sensible knowledge and behavioural norms that make sense at times in both in an older and a modern context and that the cultural context is also important to understand this – aversion to sitting on tables where food is prepared is but a simple example.

    How to meld the two and sort the wheat out from the chaff is always going to be a political rather than a scientific choice. It is important for Maori that their contribution to scientific thought is not ignored and is recognised if we are to continue to attract young Maori to science. The cultural context cannot be ignored because it will simply stop young Maori from wanting to be in this space.

    At the same time the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The political should I think be much clearer in stating it's aims.

    • Gareth Wilson 15.1

      It is important for Maori that their contribution to scientific thought is not ignored and is recognised if we are to continue to attract young Maori to science. The cultural context cannot be ignored because it will simply stop young Maori from wanting to be in this space.

      Of course this idea itself can be tested using the scientific method. Has recognising the contribution of Maori to scientific thought attracted more young Maori to science? If there's no evidence of that, should we stop doing it?

      • Incognito 15.1.1

        Ever heard of deductive reasoning?

      • Descendant Of Smith 15.1.2

        There was a really good article some years back which showed the early introduction of DNA testing at a kohanga reo (with much working through by the kaumatua of the taonga aspects of the DNA itself) had fed through to those children moving through into the sciences as teens and adults.

        I'm aware of the increasing understanding and promoting of Maori navigation locally has got some young people locally interested in taking science classes at the local high school when I was on board of trustees.

        Both anecdotal linking of science and culture but both increasing Maori participation in science.

        There's a really good documentary (Count Me In) on drummers and why they became drummers which highlights how even a one off relatable experience can inspire someone to do something different and spectacularly well. There are some lessons to be learned there.

  16. tsmithfield 16

    Weka, further to discussion above about TCM, something I would be surprised if you embraced or agreed with in TMC is the use of tigers in TCM. So, it seems to me there is a fair degree of subjective picking and choosing when it comes what anyone decides is valid from TCM, without any way to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    On the other hand, scientific methods and processes are self-correcting in that later research will replace earlier research that is found to be incorrect.

    • weka 16.1

      I don't support the use of tiger parts in TCM. I also don't support a lot of animal experimentation being done by WS.

      The reason I don't support the use of tiger parts in TCM is because they're endangered. This is different than than whether the parts are effective.

      If you think WS is somehow godly and pure, I have a lot to explain to you about that.

      • tsmithfield 16.1.1

        The reason I don't support the use of tiger parts in TCM is because they're endangered.

        Well, I have good news for you on that front. China is now farming tigers for the purpose of medicine. So, if farmed tigers are being used, there is no need to endanger the wild populations.

        This is different than than whether the parts are effective.

        That is where a bit of "Western Science" would come in handy. It looks like a problem crying out for a double-blind study. Give one group ground tiger bone, and the other group ground beef bone, and see what the effects are. It doesn't seem that hard. In fact, a placebo effect could come in handy there, if the positive benefits are found to be due to placebo effects. Give people ground beef bone, and tell them it is tiger bone, and all will be good.

      • roblogic 16.1.2

        “If you think WS is somehow godly and pure, I have a lot to explain to you about that.”

        Yep. This is where postmodern critiques add valuie; by questioning the power structures motivating establishment narratives. It’s quite obvious (to me) that the Economics profession is hopelessly corrupted by vesteed interests. The saga of Mike Joy’s water quality studies demonstrates the willingness of big business to suppress inconvenient scientists waving around evidence of their polluting extractive ways. Not to.mention big oil, big tobacco, etc etc.

        • tsmithfield 16.1.2.1

          But what you are pointing out is not the problem with the science itself. But rather the interests that try and control the outcomes. That could be a problem with any field, scientific or not, including TCM and MM. So, I don't really see that as a problem specific to western science (I hate that term so much. Science is science which ever culture does it).

          And there are many other problems, especially in softer sciences.

          For instance, research that finds no effect is just as valuable as research that finds an effect. But journals tend to be biased towards studies that show an effect. Hence distorting the true picture. But again, not a problem so much with the science itself, but rather journals that want to show exciting information rather than boring stuff showing no effect.

          Harder sciences such as chemistry tend not to have those problems so much because things tend to either work or not. Bridges bear a given load or they don't. Aerodynamics specifies wing structures that ensure a plane will fly at a given speed etc. So, a lot less room for subjectivity.

          My field is psychology. Again, even there, there is huge amounts of variation. Psychology that leans into neuroscience tends to be at the harder end of science, where as discursive psychology is much more at the art end of science.

          And some areas call themselves science (e.g. marketing science) that are really just science in drag IMO.

          • Descendant Of Smith 16.1.2.1.1

            How much of psychology is actually in reality chemistry?

            That extroverts and introverts have different chemical needs. That this isn't predominantly a function of the brain but of the nervous system.

            https://quietrev.com/why-introverts-and-extroverts-are-different-the-science/

            To some extent this is my point earlier and the drumming documentary. The inclusion of Maori in science should be to encourage more Maori to be interested in science. Diversity of world view can lead to different motivations and thought processes etc. It won’t actually change the science itself.

            • tsmithfield 16.1.2.1.1.1

              How much of psychology is actually in reality chemistry?

              Undoubtably, a lot, in terms of chemical interactions at nerve synapses etc.

              Though, a number of serious scientists don't think that brain chemistry is sufficient to explain consciousness. For example David Chalmers and Donald Hoffman.

              To some extent this is my point earlier and the drumming documentary. The inclusion of Maori in science should be to encourage more Maori to be interested in science.

              I don't think anyone would object if it was phrased as something like "including Maori scientific discoveries" in science teaching. That is broad enough to encompass ancient nagivigation by the stars, and current research and accomplishments by Maori scientists.

              But, if it means teaching that Maui fishing up the North Island is on an equal footing with plate techtonics and geology, then it is just plain nonsense.

              • Descendant Of Smith

                We don't disagree on that. Sometimes it seems like The Enlightenment never happened.

  17. nukefacts 17

    What really angers me in this whole debate is that everyone seems to lose track of what's best for kids. Confusing them by adding religion into chemistry through Mauri is not going to improve learning outcomes, and we know they are getting worse over time when looking at measures like Pisa. As someone with kids at school now I see this every day.

    Where is the evidence that injecting MM into science will improve outcomes for kids? Or that being proficient in maths requires Te Ao Maori and Pacifica world views as per the new curriculum?

    There is no evidence so why do it? Just to appease some Woke Wellingtonians?

    • tsmithfield 17.1

      Where is the evidence that injecting MM into science will improve outcomes for kids?

      That would require western science to discover that. So, probably not likely to happen soon.

    • roblogic 17.2

      what are you talking about? there has been a huge amount of work documenting MM and developing topics for school learners. we can’t measure outcomes of something that hasn’t been implemented yet

      https://ojs.victoria.ac.nz/nzsr/issue/view/866

      https://ojs.victoria.ac.nz/nzsr/issue/view/865

      https://ojs.victoria.ac.nz/nzsr/article/view/7815/6957

      Mātauranga Māori and science aren’t in conflict, believes Waikato molecular biologist Dr Jonni Koia, who is currently working on the potential of rongoā plant extracts for the treatment of diabetes. In terms of health, each knowledge system has something to offer that could improve health outcomes for everyone.

      As for “what’s best for the kids” there have been many studies of outcomes for Maori and Pasifika kids, our current system isn’t working for them, but teaching in a more culturally relevant way has worked much better (3rd link above mentions this, but google for the studies at your leisure)

      • tsmithfield 17.2.1

        Mātauranga Māori and science aren’t in conflict, believes Waikato molecular biologist Dr Jonni Koia, who is currently working on the potential of rongoā plant extracts for the treatment of diabetes. In terms of health, each knowledge system has something to offer that could improve health outcomes for everyone.

        Great. And now this is part of the "western science" regime because it is applying "western science" methodology to rongoa plant extracts. This is the same sort of process that has been applied to plant extracts from numerous countries I expect.

        As I have said before, science is science. It is culture and colour blind.

      • nukefacts 17.2.2

        Which studies? I have whanau that have never even heard of Matauranga Maori, so I'd be interested to see if this has really been studied or not.

        I read (can't find the link, will keep looking) that this is actually a class based issue i.e. lower SES kids are across the board doing poorly in maths, literacy and science. My hunch from seeing how kids are taught, it is mostly due to the 'whole word/context' literacy style in vogue in NZ which results in something like 25% of kids not learning to read properly. Everything goes downhill from there because they feel inadequate as learners. Then there's how they teach Maths – practicum riddled with errors, no attempt to mark completed work and feed back to kids what worked and what didn't, throwing 'strategies' at kids then not bothering to find out what worked for each individual child.

        • weka 17.2.2.1

          I’ve just dumped half a dozen of your comments that were in Pending, into Spam. You are still in premod, and I’m waiting on a reply to moderation. Please stop treating TS as a free for all. When. you have responded to my previous mod note I will start releasing your comments again.

  18. Local historian Scott Hamilton joins the fray. A good review of MM and its interactions with WS from an historical perspective

    https://twitter.com/sikotihamiltonr/status/1635584461059534848?s=61&t=4nyjBVbo16PbRZPJZdlgag

    • tsmithfield 18.1

      I am not sure that Dawkins was attacking everything. Rather, the inclusion of the non-scientific aspects of MM in science.

      My understanding of the scientific method is that it is research and experimentation that produces valid, reliable, predictable, and repeatable outcomes. So, navigating by the stars obviously meets criterea, obviously, because Maori are here.

      And, because it seems likely there wasn’t only one trip using the stars, it definitely seems to meet the test of predictability and reliability.

      Aspects of MM or anything else that doesn't meet that criteria isn't science and shouldn't be included in teaching science. So, we shouldn't, for example, be teaching students that Maui fished up NZ as part of a science course when plate techtonics and geology provide better explanations.

  19. Robert Guyton 19

    Scientists believe that scientific methods can explain everything and that those phenomena that have not yet been satisfactorily explained, will eventually be.

    That seems reasonable to me.

    • roblogic 19.1

      Not everything may be described by rationalist intellection. For example, the claim that "science will one day explain everything", or the experience of a mother's love, both require a degree of faith

      • tsmithfield 19.1.1

        Sure. There are lots of things science may never know.

        For instance, will science ever solve the hard problem of consciousness?; is there life after death?; is the multiverse a real thing?; what existed before the current universe; etc etc.

        And I would never decry someone's faith. So long as it is recognised that faith is not science. In fact, if science already knew everything, faith would not be needed.

  20. tsmithfield 20

    I think there is a degree to which we are talking past each other here. I don't think Dawkins or many others would disagree with scientific aspects of MM, TCM, or anything else being taught as part of a science clase.

    The main objection is that, as far as I can see, proponents of the argument for including MM mean including MM as a whole, including all the myths and legends as well.

    If we are going to do that, then we might as well chuck the Bible in as well. Because, that predicted the universe had a beginning before modern science did, and in fact, quite accurately describes the conditions at that time. That is formless and void, and that light was the first thing to exist in a visible form, anyway.

    And, I am sure has other aspects of science sprinkled through it as well if one were to look for it.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Major investment in teacher supply through Budget 24
    Over the next four years, Budget 24 will support the training and recruitment of 1,500 teachers into the workforce, Education Minister Erica Stanford announced today. “To raise achievement and develop a world leading education system we’re investing nearly $53 million over four years to attract, train and retain our valued ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Joint statement on the New Zealand – Cook Islands Joint Ministerial Forum – 2024
    1.  New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters; Minister of Health and Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Dr Shane Reti; and Minister for Climate Change Hon Simon Watts hosted Cook Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Hon Tingika Elikana and Minister of Health Hon Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown on 24 May ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Middle East, Africa deployments extended
    The Government has approved two-year extensions for four New Zealand Defence Force deployments to the Middle East and Africa, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “These deployments are long-standing New Zealand commitments, which reflect our ongoing interest in promoting peace and stability, and making active ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change Commission Chair to retire
    The Climate Change Commission Chair, Dr Rod Carr, has confirmed his plans to retire at the end of his term later this year, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “Prior to the election, Dr Carr advised me he would be retiring when his term concluded. Dr Rod Carr has led ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Inaugural Board of Integrity Sport & Recreation Commission announced
    Nine highly respected experts have been appointed to the inaugural board of the new Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission, Sport & Recreation Minister Chris Bishop says. “The Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission is a new independent Crown entity which was established under the Integrity Sport and Recreation Act last year, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • A balanced Foreign Affairs budget
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters confirmed today that Vote Foreign Affairs in Budget 2024 will balance two crucial priorities of the Coalition Government.    While Budget 2024 reflects the constrained fiscal environment, the Government also recognises the critical role MFAT plays in keeping New Zealanders safe and prosperous.    “Consistent with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New social housing places to support families into homes
    New social housing funding in Budget 2024 will ensure the Government can continue supporting more families into warm, dry homes from July 2025, Housing Ministers Chris Bishop and Tama Potaka say. “Earlier this week I was proud to announce that Budget 2024 allocates $140 million to fund 1,500 new social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand’s minerals future
    Introduction Today, we are sharing a red-letter occasion. A Blackball event on hallowed ground. Today  we underscore the importance of our mineral estate. A reminder that our natural resource sector has much to offer.  Such a contribution will not come to pass without investment.  However, more than money is needed. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government sets out vision for minerals future
    Increasing national and regional prosperity, providing the minerals needed for new technology and the clean energy transition, and doubling the value of minerals exports are the bold aims of the Government’s vision for the minerals sector. Resources Minister Shane Jones today launched a draft strategy for the minerals sector in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government progresses Māori wards legislation
    The coalition Government’s legislation to restore the rights of communities to determine whether to introduce Māori wards has passed its first reading in Parliament, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Divisive changes introduced by the previous government denied local communities the ability to determine whether to establish Māori wards.” The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • First RMA amendment Bill introduced to Parliament
    The coalition Government has today introduced legislation to slash the tangle of red and green tape throttling some of New Zealand’s key sectors, including farming, mining and other primary industries. RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop says the Government is committed to  unlocking development and investment while ensuring the environment is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government welcomes EPA decision
    The decision by Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to approve the continued use of hydrogen cyanamide, known as Hi-Cane, has been welcomed by Environment Minister Penny Simmonds and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.  “The EPA decision introduces appropriate environmental safeguards which will allow kiwifruit and other growers to use Hi-Cane responsibly,” Ms ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to Employers and Manufacturers Association: Relief for today, hope for tomorrow
    Kia ora, Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou kātoa Tāmaki Herenga Waka, Tāmaki Herenga tangata Ngā mihi ki ngā mana whenua o tēnei rohe Ngāti Whātua ō Ōrākei me nga iwi kātoa kua tae mai. Mauriora. Greetings everyone. Thank you to the EMA for hosting this event. Let me acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government invests in 1,500 more social homes
    The coalition Government is investing in social housing for New Zealanders who are most in need of a warm dry home, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. Budget 2024 will allocate $140 million in new funding for 1,500 new social housing places to be provided by Community Housing Providers (CHPs), not ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $24 million boost for Gumboot Friday
    Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Coalition Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will improve tenancy laws and help increase the supply of rental properties, has passed its first reading in Parliament says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The Bill proposes much-needed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will remove barriers to increasing private ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Montecassino Commemorative Address, Cassino War Cemetery
    Standing here in Cassino War Cemetery, among the graves looking up at the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino, it is hard to imagine the utter devastation left behind by the battles which ended here in May 1944. Hundreds of thousands of shells and bombs of every description left nothing but piled ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • First Reading – Repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    I present a legislative statement on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill Mr. Speaker, I move that the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Social Services and Community Committee to consider the Bill. Thank you, Mr. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • First reading of 7AA’s repeal: progress for children
    The Bill to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has had its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the care and safety of children in care, says Minister for Children Karen Chhour.  “When I became the Minister for Children, I made ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • China Business Summit 2024
    Kia ora koutou, good morning, and zao shang hao. Thank you Fran for the opportunity to speak at the 2024 China Business Summit – it’s great to be here today. I’d also like to acknowledge: Simon Bridges - CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Ambassador - Wang ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Assisted depatures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-05-26T15:22:35+00:00