Not all Native American shamans used their powers for good. In fact, some shamans in California tribes used their connections with the spirits to kill people. They were called Poisoners in their own languages. And although they didn't actually put poison in people's food, they asked the spirits to make their enemies sick. Now you would think that such a horrible person would be killed by a united tribe. A Poisoner is pure evil. Who would possibly want such a person around?
The chief would. You see, the chief would use his power and influence to keep the rest of the tribe from killing the Poisoner. And in exchange, the Poisoner would threaten to use his powers to kill the enemies of the chief. As long as the powerful Poisoner lived, no one dared oppose the chief. As long as the chief lived, the Poisoner was safe.
Whether you believe in shamanism, witchcraft, or magic in general is irrelevant. The partnership between magic / religion / science and the state is lethal. Think about science this way... new discoveries are rarely practical. Ardi has been in the news a lot lately(well, if you follow anthropology news), but other than being perhaps the greatest discovery in archaeology of this century, what does it actually do for anyone? Well, nothing. Ardi proves that humans didn't evolve from monkeys--something anthropologists have known for decades anyways--but do any of us feel different now?
My point is that science in general doesn't put food on the table. Just a tiny fraction of discoveries have actual practical applications. Certainly you might have put money down to help invent the television, radio, or telephone. But what about millions for the human genome project? It might be one of the most important feat in the world of genetics that we did it, but we might be long dead before any serious medical breakthroughs come from it. But since science generally is so unprofitable, the bulk of money that funds it comes from governments. But is that a conflict of interest?
One example is from Nazi Germany. Us Americans and our Eugenics Movement are partially to blame for for the rise of the Nazi party. We gave them legitimacy for genocide, even if we never took Eugenics past forced sterilizations. But Hitler eventually needed evidence closer to home. He either believed or pretended to believe that white Germans were racially superior people. Therefore anyone else that mixed with a German weakened the race. He needed the backing of the German scientific community for legitimacy. Well, who's going to pay for scientific research in the middle of a war? Hitler did. And scientists given grants by Hitler's government offered scientific "evidence" "proving" that Hitler was right and that non white, christian, germans were in fact inferior and should be removed from Germany, or risk mixing, and thus weakening the German race. How can you argue with that? The government is telling you it. The scientific community is telling you it. If you don't believe it, you're a fool. Right? Germans of pure blood could justify genocide was a matter of self defense.
We're not any better. Long before our Eugenics Movement, our government needed justification for slavery. It was immoral to enslave someone that was fully human, so if a black person was, we were in trouble. Who do you think funded the scientific community in this country to come to the rescue? With government grant money, American scientists fudged result in order to "prove" that black people had smaller brains than whites.
Today, we know there's no significant difference between people of different races on a genetic level. Skin color and nose shapes are close to meaningless compared to the vast amount of information required to make a human. In fact, there's more differences among people of the same race than of those outside it. Meaning, I could easily be more genetically similar to a black, asian, or hispanic person than I was to another white person. So from a "scientific" stand point, the word "race" is meaningless. It's important in understanding culture and social attitudes towards each other, sure, but that's it.
And although science is more ethical these days, it's still far from objective. Scientists are still given grant money by people expecting specific results. Let's look at Liberalism for a moment. Capitalism is the bane of Liberalism. Ever since the fall of feudalism and the rise of the bourgeoisie, corporations have grown to wield enormous power. Think of Walmart. Yeah, Walmart has happy, friendly commercials, but it wields more power than some small countries. The influence and financial might is staggering, and most people don't even realize it. These large corporations cripple the Liberals' agenda of big government controlling our lives. For years, Liberals have plotted ways to break up corporations and weaken capitalism in general.
I'm certainly not arguing that corporations are good. Why does our government spend money trying to educate the public not to smoke tobacco at the same time our government spends money subsidizing it? That's like running a heater and an AC at the same time and letting them fight it out. Meanwhile, we tax payers pay for all of it. And why? Because politicians get campaign money from tobacco industries. Worse still, Obama spent about a billion dollars in his bid to become President--a job that will pay him less than a 1/20th of that. Why would anyone be dumb enough to do that? Well, it wasn't his own money. He got donations. In fact, most of our politicians are only able to run with donations from corporations. Corporations have huge influence over policy in this country. And a lot of Liberals would love to see that end.
In the 70, scientists like John Holdren with liberal agendas argued that pollution from massive manufacturing plants were causing Global Cooling. The science is simple. Pollution blocks out sun light. Less sun light reaches earth, the colder we get. There was archaeological evidence too. After all, the vikings settled Greenland(back when it was green), hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. But those viking settlements are currently under blankets of snow and ice. This proves that the earth was much warmer than it is now almost a thousand years ago. Could industrialization and pollution be the cause of Global Cooling?
For years, the scientific community fought for pollution control arguing that if we didn't stop polluting, the earth would freeze up into a block of ice. If you didn't take the threats of Global Cooling seriously, you were an uneducated fool. Why, you must also believe the earth was flat. That's how dumb you are.
As the 70s turned into the 80s, Ronald Reagan was elected--a filthy republican--and the threat of Global Cooling was never taken seriously by the government enough to warrant change. That didn't stop the Liberals, of course. They've pushed for tax increases on the wealthy. They've pushed for reparations. They've pushed for grant money to other developing countries. But Republican Presidents have mostly told them no(though some Republicans have done this too). We had a Democrat President for 8 years named Bill Clinton, but he was a Moderate, and congress was overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans at the time. And Bill pretty much had to go along with what the Republicans wanted to do.
Then 2000 came along. 8 years of a fairly unpopular war time, Republican President lead to a Democrat controlled Congress in 2006 and a Liberal President in 2008. This is the first time this has happened in a very long time. Remember the Global Cooling alarmists from the 70s? Well, they've been waiting a long time for this. They've scrapped the Global Cooling idea and now it's Global Warming. And John Holdren who once argued the case of Global Cooling? He's now Obama's Science Czar arguing for Global Warming. That's right, the Liberal controlled state has joined with Liberal backed Environmentalist groups to fund scientists to "prove" Global Warming is a real threat. The science is simple. Sun light sneaks past the heavy pollution in the air, gets to the earth, and warms it up. Then when the heat wants to dissipate off into the atmosphere, the heavy pollution traps it so it can't leave. It's not crazy. This is exactly how an actual green house works to keep plants warm. Thus if this is how a simple greenhouse works, it makes sense that it must be how the vastly complicated planet Earth must also work. Therefore, we must hurt / weaken those terrible manufacturing plants spewing out pollution because they are going to melt the ice caps and flood the planet. If you don't take the threats of Global Warming seriously, you are an uneducated fool. Why, you must also believe the earth was flat. That's how dumb you are. Hmm, that sounds familiar...
But there's a few problems with this latest theory. One, there's definitely not a consensus among the scientific community that this is true. In fact, even people on the "Global Warming side" admit that there's really no evidence that it's true but that we should "do it anyways, just in case." Worst still, since none of this can be tested in a lab because not all the variables are understood, even the alarmist scientists have to admit that they don't fully understand how it all works. All they have are untested theories. And two, scientists on all sides of this debate acknowledge that 80% or more of the earth's greenhouse gases(the nasty culprit) come from the over 500 volcanoes that surround the Ring of Fire of the pacific ocean's edges. Another over 15% come from other sources of nature--wildfires, rotting vegetation, people and animals exhaling, cow farts, etc. This means that human pollution accounts for less than 4% of all greenhouse gases at the most. Some scientists have published papers claiming that human produced greenhouse gases make up less than a tenth of a percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, no scientist can prove that if humans never existed, the earth wouldn't heat up and cool down exactly how it's doing now.
Of course, with "Climategate" recently coming out, this makes it more shakey for Liberals. I mean, here you have leaked emails of some scientists panicked that the data doesn't show that Global Warming is happening and that they've been faking or hiding contradictory evidence. Just when you thought we had learned our lesson about faking science for political agendas. In fact, most of the earth has been in a cooling trend for the last several years. Hell, this weekend, it snowed here... here, in the Sacramento valley. You know how rare that is? We're barely much above sea level, and it snowed here. But as it turns out, we're still back with the Chief and the Poisoner. The Chief wants to break Capitalism so that the government, not corporations, has more control over our lives, and the Poisoner will talk to the right spirits to make it happen. The only thing getting sick in this case, is the truth.
Now, the earth certainly does heat up and cool down. It's such a complicated system that of course it fluctuates pretty wildly. Consider a few thousand years ago, nearly all of Canada was a giant ice cube. A rash of volcano activity might have been what helped thaw it out. We also know that there's archaeological sites of Native Americans off the coast of California. No doubt they were flooded out when the ice caps melted and the ocean rose. But sorry, that didn't happen because of man made pollution. It's actually a big balancing act. As the earth gets warmer, there's more water on the surface. As water warms, there's more kelp and algae. As there's more kelp and algae, there's more oxygen being produced and more greenhouse gases getting eaten up which makes it colder. As it gets colder, the water cools, there's less kelp and algae meaning the earth starts to get warmer. This process has gone on for a billion years. We're pretty arrogant if we think a couple aerosol cans is going to change that.
The real thing to be scared about, is not what humans can do to the earth, but what the earth can do to us.