Monday, October 31, 2022

Graeme Reeves: Ella Henry responds to Oxford University’s Richard Dawkins

Associate professor Ella Henry’s response to Oxford University’s Richard Dawkins, one the world’s leading public intellectuals, to the teaching of Maori mythology as science in New Zealand.

Dawkin’s view is that if Maori mythology is true science then it should be taught in every country on the grounds that science is global whereas mythologies are culturally specific and should be taught in mythology classes separately where those mythologies have agency but not in science classes.

Henry’s response published by Newshub was, “let’s remember that 3000 years before Dawkins’ ancestors dipped their toes in the North Atlantic, mine were traversing the biggest ocean on the planet using nothing more than Polynesian science.”

3000 years ago Henry’s other ancestors were experiencing the early stages of the Bronze Age. Bronze is made from an amalgamation of tin and copper. The process is scientific and represented a great advancement in western civilisation.

Maori by contrast remained in the Stone Age until they came into contact with Europeans with their metal implements and weapons.

Fast forward to the arrival of Captain Cook to the shores of New Zealand in 1769, about 130 years after Able Tasman, he was greeted by Maori in canoes that had not evolved over the preceding 3000 years as Henry points out.

In addition Cook had navigated half way around the world including visiting Pacific Islands on his voyage.

The Endeavour was 30 metres long, was a fully- rigged ship with 2,777m2 of sails. It had a compliment of 94 men. By the time it reached New Zealand it had been at sea for about one year as part of a two year voyage of exploration.

Its construction was sophisticated beyond compare with the canoes which greeted him in 1769 incorporating all of the scientific developments of over hundreds of years. It was a product of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

Captain Cook also had the benefit of state of the art navigational tools not just reliant on observing the stars but including the ability to measure longitude by using a chronometer as well as latitude by using a sextant.

As result he was able to fix coordinates which made navigating very accurate. Which meant he could navigate anywhere in the world.

All of this was made possible by the advances that euro centric science had made over hundreds of years.

Also Captain cook, using the scientific tools he had available to him was able to map New Zealand to a degree of accuracy that still impresses about 250 years later.

Graeme Reeves is a lawyer and former National MP.


Robert Arthur said...

From the decile school test results and much else Henry and other activists know they are dealing with a following not associated with even generally average IQ, so there will be no rational appraisal of her comments from her intended audience. Most have already been primed by Moana Jackson and disciples to accept the ludicrous imagining decolonisation theme. Maori were some 10,000 years behind the times. Many of their practices were result of Darwinistic development; hardly matauranga formulated by reason. Pro maori activists have been superbly successful in their subterfuge. Events are embellished and repeatedly presented as fact until not just maori but near all accept. ie the strapping of pupils for speaking Maori (never mentioned that wise maori leaders demanded this). Then the myth about mass burning at Rangiaowhia etc

boudicca said...

More than 3000 years ago Cornwall was trading tin around the Atlantic for that very bronze. European cultures already had writing and coins. Ella and her fellow activist academics live in a dream world

Anonymous said...

And for all their supposed navigational mastery where is the proof that their navigation was anything more than a pure chance one way trip? That aside, over the centuries they certainly lost the art of building boats suitable for offshore adventure and the skills to go anywhere other than to other land in plain sight. And, of course, even the wheel and pottery were beyond them, but hey, let's appoint them to boards, revere and uphold their verbal superstitions and seek out their paid guidance and counsel - especially when it comes to first world technologies like three waters.
I'm delighted Richard Dawkins is coming - I just hope our Royal Society doesn't embarrass us anymore than they already have done, although Richard is well use to addressing zealots, woke fools and science naysayers.

Anonymous said...

The West’s Judeo-Culture that comes to us by way of Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem, before being exported all over the world by white Europeans has lifted more people worldwide out of poverty, ignorance, and barbarism than all the other cultures that have existed since the dawn of time put together.

If anyone can point to a single discovery, invention, or innovation that has come out of Maori culture to the wide benefit of humanity, put up or shut up.

“Me Warrior’l doesn’t count.

An ugly, gesticulating, tongue-poking, eye-rolling, thigh-slapping war dance pf limited curiosity value when deployed before a rugby match doesn’t count either.

When brown supremacist part-Maori who have raised up their brown ancestors while turning their white ancestors into a toilet bowl to identify monoculturally as ‘Maori’ bamg on about the superiority of Maori culture to that brought by the settlers, surely they are obliged to show their title to this superiority.

Just as surely, these barely-brown bigots cannot.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure those already beavering away on the future texts addressing the wondrous depths of matauranga (no doubt, at quite some expense to us taxpayers) will attribute all sorts of fabulous nature study and hocus pocus to it, but as for it being to "the wide benefit of humanity" , I rather suspect that could all be written on a postage stamp with a carpenter's pencil. But, even then, I wouldn't hold your breath.

The Realist said...

My question is, if Maori did transverse the vast Pacific Ocean, please explain to me why they didn't discover Australia

Anonymous said...

I love the comments I am reading. Why can these not be published in our newspapers- they are right on the button. I have learned more about this country’s history reading these comments than I have through any other media.

John Wilkie said...

Might I respectfully suggest you gentlemen read Andrew Crowe's "Pathway of the Birds" or (David Lewis' "We, The Navigators", which you can look up on Wikipedia), to get a handle on how early Polynesians were navigating a circuit, Central Pacific, New Zealand for some greenstone and mutton birds, south to the Roaring 40's to Easter Island and the Humbolt to Colombia, grab a few kumara, Marquesas, then the Trades back to Pacific Central. Ask yourself why Easter Island (Rapanui) reo most resembles NZ Maori reo of all Pacific language, why Banks commented in his journals that the ocean-going pahi were faster than any European vessel hoven to Tahiti, oh, and that great marvel of western technology, the converted collier "Endeavour", and how Tupaia filled Cook in on where to find land further south. Gees, I do agree its hardly science, but its good old traditional knowledge, just as autumn is the right time to put rams out with the ewes, and spring for bulls with the cows, just as surely as Scorpio (Maui's Hook) hangs vertically in the June/July dawn pointing the way to pull Te Ika A Maui up out of the sea, (The Fish of Maui, aka North Island). You probably believe in the Roman Warm Period too, which would have made such voyaging all the more sustainable.

Anonymous said...

John Wilkie, you have obviously read Banks journals, but not Cooks. Tupaia was a good navigator, good at using stars, winds and tides, helping Cook to find and map other Tahitian islands over the horizon. There is no evidence that he knew a southern continent existed. The other myth about Cook taking him on his voyage in order to help him navigate is also untrue. Cook was reluctant to take any islanders as he knew that it was unlikely that they would ever return, he was ultimately persuaded. Tupaia, and the other young Tahitian’s story is a tragic one, in that regard Cook was correct.
While your point about Rapanui rep is correct….don’t forget that Tupaia could also understand the Māori when they spoke to him. Oh and the reason they came on the “Endeavour”? It as all the Royal Society could afford,.