We are Heretics Now

by Derek Freeman – (“Reflections of a Heretic, edited/abridged by henrymakow.com)

Our term “heretic” is derived from the Greek word for “choice,” and so refers to someone who chooses to think for himself.
A leading ideology of the twentieth century – in some ways not dissimilar to Marxism – is the doctrine that “all human behaviour is the result of social and cultural conditioning”. This doctrine can be traced to pronouncements in the 1890s, by Emile Durkheim, a Frenchman, and Franz Boas, left, a German, both of whom were born in 1858.
It was in an attempt to obtain evidence for this ideological stance that in 1925, Boas imposed on another of his students, the 23-year-old Margaret Mead, the task of studying heredity and environment in relation to adolescence among the Polynesians of Samoa.
Mead arrived in American Samoa on August 31, 1925. After two months of study of the Samoan language in the port of Pago Pago, she spent just over five months in the islands of Manu’a.
In 1928, in her book Coming of Age in Samoa, which became the anthropological best-seller of all time, Mead claimed that adolescent behaviour in humans could be explained only in terms of the social environment.
“Human nature,” she declared, was “the rawest most undifferentiated of raw material.” Then, in full accordance with the views of Franz Boas, she wrote of the “phenomenon of social pressure and its absolute determination in shaping the individuals within its bounds”. This was cultural determinism with a vengeance.
In 1930, Mead’s extreme environmentalist conclusion was incorporated in the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, and, for those who went through college in the USA in the 1930s, Coming of Age in Samoa was “not only required reading but a classic of universal truths”.
This was also the case in the University of New Zealand, and when I myself went to Samoa in 1940, it was with the objective of confirming Mead’s conclusion. Indeed, so complete was my acceptance of Mead’s claims that in my early inquiries, I dismissed or ignored all evidence that ran counter to her findings.
Thus, it was not until I had become fluent in Samoan, had been adopted into a Samoan family, and having been given a manaia title, had begun attending chiefly courts, that I became fully aware of the discordance between Mead’s account and the realities I was regularly witnessing.
When I left Samoa in 1943, after a stay of three years and eight months, it had become apparent to me, through prolonged inquiry, that Mead’s account of the sexual behavior of the Samoans was in egregious error. But I had no idea at all how this happened.
By this time, Coming of Age in Samoa had become an anthropological classic, and no one would take seriously my mistrust of its conclusions.
So, in 1965, after a meeting with Dr Mead at the Australian National University in 1964, I returned to Samoa for just over two years to research in further detail every aspect of her account of Samoan behaviour.
By this time Margaret Mead had become a major celebrity. In 1969, Time magazine named her “Mother of the World”. She went on to become, in the words of her biographer Jane Howard, “indisputably the most publicly celebrated scientist in America”.


Continues …

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