John Ford (John.Ford@JCU.EDU.AU)
Thu, 24 Nov 1994 12:46:01 +1000

Hell no Nick. But then perhaps we should not stand in the path of a spear
thrown by an Aborigine either.

You, like the Azande, do reason 'most ingeniously within the idiom [of
science while ignoring] all that the idiom does not cover" (M. Polanyi).

To which particular world are you referring?

Some fundamental religious groups I know would challenge the theory of
evolution. Are we to dispose of them as'cranks', 'nuts' or fools'? If we do,
what of the 'cranks', 'nuts' and 'fools' who listen to the stockmarket report
and act as if 'economics' is 'real'? (I accept that Nick did not call anyone
'cranks', 'nuts' or fools' but I get the distinct impression from his
narrative style that that is what he thinks of those who question the
scientific paradigm).

Such beliefs are social reality that form and inform various people. PM,
thankfully, acknowledge that there are multiple worlds out there. To
subscribe to one theory - one way - one answer - is just as spurious as
insisting that PM is anything one could want it to be. At least PM has the
couarge to question the hegemonic control of information.

But, how do you wish to 'understand' the past Nick? To which 'particular'
past are you referring?

Perhaps I could return to the question of "Who owns Stonehenge". What PM
really asks is "Who owns the past"? Is it scientists, archaeologists,
anthropologists, material culture units, the Museum of Modern Art or various
medical schools in Britain that still have Australian Aboriginal skeletal
remains in their possession? Because my Aboriginal friends believe in the
dreaming, of song cycles and ceremonies they cannot be part of this 'brave
new world"? Their world is 'real'. And they challenge mine, or anyone else's,
tampering with it. But does this stop them using the products of science?
Through the marvel of satelite dishes, radio and TV, Aborigines remain in
contact and are once again 'walking the country' denied to them for so long
by whitefella.

I do not decry science. The world needs answers. But I do challenge its
hegemonic control of 'reality'.

Now with the wisdom of years, I try to reason things out
And the only people I fear are those who never have doubts
Save us all from arrogant men, and all the causes they're for
I won't be righteous again
I'm not that sure anymore

Not that Billy Joel is my favourite singer but his words seem to sum up a
lot of what this debate is about. (River of Dreams album)

john ford