|Style over substance|
Indigenous science (IS) is a pseudoscience claimed to be alternative to "Western science" (a.k.a. science). According to the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, its power is claimed to lie 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:
Although "Indigenous science" makes some claims to be scientific, its failure to be actual science can be seem in some of the following claims made for it:
- 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[note 2] and is a critical ingredient of all truth seeking, even in the most powerful rituals.
In the world
IS has been promoted by the Australian Science Media Centre on the Australia's Science Channel. 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. 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".
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, ethnobotany, and ecology. That does not mean that equating indigenous knowledge with science is legitimate, since equating them becomes pseudoscience, a form of other ways of knowing. Examples of legitimate forms of research:
- Maree Toombs does conduct legitimate medical anthropology research, but her quote above is unsupportable.
- Tu Youyou conducted exhaustive research on Traditional Chinese Medicine plants to find a single plant that was effective against malaria, winning her the Nobel Prize. Most of TCM, however, is not evidence-based.