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Letter to The Editor - There is reason to believe that the fundamental outlook and methodology of science is limited
To The Australian Controversy over the new classroom inclusivity guidelines published by the University of New South Wales needs to take account of several factors ("Uni puts ethnicity into study of science", 2/7). One is the need for science to be "race, region and sex-blind", since "science is culture-free by definition", but this does not mean that the claim for science that it is "universal knowledge" can be supported. There is reason to believe that the fundamental outlook and methodology of science is limited, that there are other kinds of knowledge which are accessed by faculties other than the logical mind and reason on which science relies. Wollongong University archaeologist Richard Fullagar rightly points out that there is an overlap between science and indigenous knowledge, and that indigenous beliefs are often supported by scientific research. Other indigenous knowledge is more profound than that and relates to areas of experience and human faculties beyond the purview of science. One example is the "pointing the bone" ceremony and the "singing to death" of targeted individuals hundreds of miles away. Such knowledge is worthy of study, but not under the rubric of science.
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic
*Editors Note: The author has personally experienced the destructive power with the bone used in 'pointing the bone' ceremonies.