Indigenous science

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Indigenous science (IS) is a pseudoscience claimed to be alternative to "Western science" (a.k.a. science). According to the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network,[1] its power lies in its ability to make connections and perceive patterns across vast cycles of space and time, and indigenous scientists are trained in various specializations such as herbalism, weather observations, mental health, and time keeping. Moreover, the main distinctions of IS are:[1]

  • Data from IS is not used to control the forces of nature, but instead is used to find methods and resources for accommodating it.

  • Indigenous scientists are an integral part of the research process and there is a defined process for ensuring this integrity.
  • IS tries to understand and complete our relationships with all living things. All of nature is considered to be intelligent and alive, thus an active research partner.
  • The purpose of IS is to maintain balance.
  • IS collapses time and space;[note 1] our fields of inquiry and participation extend into and overlap with past and present.
  • IS is holistic, drawing on all senses, including the spiritual and psychic.
  • The end-point of an IS process is an exact balance where creativity occurs.
  • We always remain embodied in the natural world. In other words, when we reach the moment/place of balance, we do not believe that we have "transcended." Instead, we say that we are normal.
  • Humor balances gravity and is a critical ingredient of all truth seeking, even in the most powerful rituals.

In the world[edit]


IS has been promoted by the Australian Science Media Centre on the Australia's Science Channel.[2] with a video where Indigenous scientists, Stacy Mader, Ray Lovett, Simon Conn, Maree Toombs, Jason Sharlpes, Brad Moggridge, and Simone Reynolds, explain why IS is so important.[2] Simone Reynolds claimed that IS is "highly valuable and there's something in it for everyone regardless of who you are" while Maree Toombs says that "the grannies and aunties are the real researchers".[2]

Legitimate research[edit]

IS should not be confused with legitimate research about indigenous people and their worldviews, such as in anthropology. Understanding indigenous knowledge can also be important in some fields of research, such as archaeology and ethnobotany. That does not mean that equating indigenous knowledge with science is legitimate. For example, Maree Toombs does conduct legitimate medical anthropology research,[3] but her quote above is unsupportable.


  1. Apparently IS supporters are unaware that science already does that.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "What is Indigenous Science". Worldwide Indigenous Science Network. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Why is Indigenous science important?". Australia's Science Channel. 
  3. Dr Maree Toombs UQ Researchers — The University of Queensland