Archive for July, 2007

The Kennewick Man

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

This seems to be a perfect parallel for the church versus science conflict.

An ancient skull was found in north America which did not bear any physical characteristics of the native American people. The rest of the skeleton was recovered and a projectile was found embedded within it. The design of the projectile pre-dated the indigenous people.

In unseemly haste, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, wanted to rebury the remains as quickly as possible and without any further scientific research. They invoked every law and custom available to them to justify their request.

Why?

As with science and the church, discoveries like these threaten somebody’s power base. If the skeleton is found to be that of a settler originating from Asia or Europe, the thought process would be like this;
• the native American was not the first settler
• there must have been other early settlers; what happened to them?
• they dies out naturally, or the early native Americans wiped them out when they arrived.
• if the latter, then that makes the native Americans as ‘bad’ as the white settlers who followed

Thus, the moral high ground is whipped out from under the feet of the native American and all claims of injustice, special treatment etc., are made invalid. I’m not sure what else is at stake here – gambling rights maybe – but why else would the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation resist this discovery with such vigour?

The less travelled road

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Travelling back from a gig I was on a long straight stretch of motorway as the evening slid into a Powerpoint blue sky – dark at the top, azure blue at the bottom. A full moon hung just above the horizon in the south, looking unnaturally large.

The motorway was empty. In the distance I could see another car which grew larger as I caught up with it. Eventually, I was close enough to see through the back window of the vehicle and I spotted a familiar tell tale glow from its dashboard. I had a moment of recognition, similar to when I see a symbol of a fish on the rear of a car; I knew what it meant. Here was a Satnaver, looking for guidance.

It was a surreal moment. I imagined it was the dawn of civilisation and the two people in their car were really in their cave consulting the glowing embers of their fire, marvelling at the comfort and safety it brought.

This ethereal glow from a car dashboard is becoming a familiar sight now. Like a growing religion, I watch them silently increase their numbers. There is something significant and hopeful about it as if it is the start of a new era.

Everyone is starting to look, trying to find a path, as if they are waking up to the awful truth that civilisation has lost its way. We can fool ourselves that everything is okay if we just keep busy enough. But the less travelled road is always there, always calling. We’re just waiting for the device that will make the journey less daunting – a SatNav for the Soul.