[FoRK] Africa

Wulf Losee wulfconsumer at gmail.com
Fri Jan 8 14:03:30 PST 2010

Stephen D. Williams wrote:

The article below shows an astounding level of ignorance [of] primitive
> culture.

Hmmm. Mr Williams, please drop yourself naked in the middle of the Amazon
rain forest -- or, if you like drier climates, the Kalahari Desert -- and
try to survive for a month. The cultures that inhabit those areas, primitive
though they may be, have developed all sorts of advanced strategies for
survival without modern tools or medicines (although most of those cultures
have disappeared or been assimilated by the modern now).

For example, would you know how extract poison from a particular species of
frog to envenom your arrows?  That is, if you were even capable of
fashioning a bow -- which would involve flaking an arrowhead out of flint or
obsidian, selecting the correct wood(s)  for the bow and arrows and then
crafting it, fletching the arrows, and curing or preparing animal gut, skin,
or fibers for the bow string.

Would you be able to even start a fire without a lighter?

I often think about how different modern first world people are
> mentally from those in medieval times and before.

Quite true. But knowledge and ignorance is relative. While you were
stumbling around the jungle, I'm sure the natives would laugh at your
ignorance and helplessness. Which I think would be justified, considering
your cultural arrogance.

As for Medieval thinking, one of my neighbors firmly believes that the Earth
was created in 7 days, and that it's only a few thousand years old. But he
functions quite well in our modern society. And, of course, US Christian
Scientists wanted a prayer option added to the HCR bill. I'd say just about
everyone in our modern society, has a selection of beliefs that are in no
way justified by "rational" thinking.

As for child-sacrifice in Africa, don't believe everything the media tells
you. So called "primitives" often love to shock their Western visitors with
ghastly stories for their own amusement. I wouldn't consider myself a
"primitive", but I enjoy making fools out of gullible know-it-alls. I'm sure
someone in a remote Ugandan village could have the same attitude towards a
self-important BBC reporter. Anthropologist have experienced their
informants purposely misleading them -- often much to their chagrin. I doubt
if a reporter from London has the time or the inclination to sift fact from
fiction in a backwater village of Uganda -- and -- "Heck, even if story
isn't true, it's a great story!  Let's run it."

The public loves gore! So much for our post-Modern sophistication.

> > Witch-doctors reveal extent of child sacrifice in Uganda

Also, it's important to remember that Christian organizations love to
promulgate the stories of evil "witch doctors" to try to spur the forcible
conversion of the people who practice indigenous religions. Isn't Uganda run
by a bunch of Christian fundamentalists who also want to make homosexuality
a capital crime?

Frankly, I think Mr Williams could supplement his intellectual diet with
drought of rational skepticism.


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