Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Science Made Stupid: Time and the Aymara

I am not even going to get into this right now.

The little bit in here that's not fairly stupid is actually a bit interesting. Apparently the Aymara gesture behind themselves to indicate the future, and in front of themselves to indicate the past. Pretty cool/weird, eh?

If you don't suffer fools gladly, however, don't click on the link. This gestural quirk of the Aymara is used as an evidential base for leaping to some jaw-droppingly dopey conclusions. Here's the summary of the news report (I want to stress that I am not making this up, and they're being serious, not cute):

"New analysis of the language and gesture of South America's indigenous Aymara people indicates they have a concept of time opposite to all the world's studied cultures -- so that the past is ahead of them and the future behind."

(Puts head in hand, grumbles incoherently, goes back to work on alleged book.)


Blogger MH said...

What's interesting to me is that I swear I've heard that same fact repeated about various african cultures as well. In any case, I don't see what the significance of it is supposed to be - we say the past is behind us and the future before us because we're talking about travelling; they say the past is before us and the future behind because they're talking about looking at it (or whatever). How that's supposed to be breathtaking or dramatically different, though....

3:01 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, Dr. P, exactly what I was thinking, re: the travelling and looking bits.

*Abosolutely nothing interesting about temporal concepts follows from that.*

It's like shades of Benjamin Lee Whorf.

Interesting about the African tribes...I need to check that out.

5:01 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home