Thread: Blood & Asia
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:00 PM   #20
OLChemist
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Maize Grower, I am a scientist. The ink on my PhD was a quarter of a century old last year and I've been working in academic, government and industrial labs for over thirty years. I do not say this to dismiss or belittle you. But, instead to suggest I might have a POV you would like to consider.

I'm not going to debate population genetics or mutational frequencies. I don't really care about where, when or how the alleles drifted. That is not this issue I have with the use of genomics.

Being a Native woman has raised a few ethical dilemmas in my pursuit of science. Science as practiced in every lab I've ever been in, discussed at every conference I've ever attended, taught in every book I've ever read is a dominant culture affair. And it clothes itself in an assumption of both a supremacy and universality that is at its very roots a Western, secular humanist affair.

In the ethos of science "truth," as discovered in the lab and espoused by the practitioners, trumps the transcendental. Assertions of "non-overlapping magisteria" or descriptive vs proscriptive still demand the imposition a very Western of a physical/spiritual divide that is very difficult to reconcile with my people's teachings.

This viewpoint carries over into the use of scientific knowledge within and by the body politic. When I worked on a DOD funded project associated with a weapons lab, I was routinely questioned about the existential implications of my work. But, no one in the larger culture asks about the existential implications of work in population genetics. Genomic information is packaged in the cellophane of "universal truth."

So, let's look at your Siberian DNA. Native people are just one more set of immigrants. They have no greater or lesser moral claim on the land. They are no different than the borderland militias whining about the Spanish speaking brown people. And more damaging, accepting this forces the secular humanist framework onto our cultures. We divide our souls to serve those non-overlapping magisteria. There are those within our communities who correctly ask those of us in science and who use science to guide our decision making to look at the data with Native eyes.
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