Darkness in El Dorado - Archived Document
Internet Source: Emailed from the author
Alice Dreger Descends into Darkness: Scholarship or More Obfuscation?
by Leslie E. Sponsel, April 5, 2011
Alice Dreger published online an article titled “Darkness’s Descent on the American Anthropological Association: A Cautionary Tale” on February 16, 2001. It is available on open access (http://www.springerlink.com/content/1648u57278202674/fulltext.pdf). It will be published in print in the June 2011 issue of Human Nature (v. 22, no. 2).
While Dreger details the impressive volume of resources that she consulted including interviews with some 40 individuals, she fails to reveal that several of these individuals agreed to the interview because of misinformed consent. We were led to believe that she was going to be a detached scholar; but this article, like the paper on which it is based and that I heard at the 2009 convention of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), is anything but the work of an objective scholar. She is highly selective in her treatment of the Darkness in El Dorado controversy, obviously in defense of her admitted friend Napoleon Chagnon. Nevertheless, I still have faith in scholarship and hope that eventually a genuinely detached and objective scholar will document and analyze the controversy.
As with other defenders of Chagnon, Dreger repeatedly leaps from finding fault with some points in Tierney’s (2000) book to dismissing the entire book, the common defense tactic of throwing the baby out with the bath water that has been deployed persistently by Chagnon’s more disingenuous defenders. However, that is not how science and scholarship progress. They are ongoing self-corrective processes in which errors, problems, and the like are usually revealed and corrected through objective, civil, constructive, critical, and fair discussion and debate. If throwing the baby out with the bath water were the norm, then Charles Robert Darwin’s classic books On the Origin of Species, Descent of Man, and Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals would all be summarily dismissed, among most other works in science and academia that are problematic on some points but not on all by any means.
Tierney’s book is not 100% false. Yes, there are problems, indeed more than I realized on an initial hurried reading. But much remains valid and useful (Borofsky 2005). No individual or organization has demonstrated that every single sentence in Tierney’s book is false or problematic. Even if 80 to 90 percent of it were false or problematic, that leaves 20 to 10 percent that is not. None of Chagnon’s partisans address that logical conclusion. None of them acknowledge any valid and useful points in Tierney’s book, a stance that is unprofessional and unethical. Tactics to distract attention from serious ethical issues may be considered unethical as well.
No single defender of Chagnon, including Dreger, has ever admitted that he ever did anything unethical, this in spite of some of the conclusions of the AAA Task Force on Darkness in El Dorado and various other inquiries (Borofsky 2005). For instance, who can deny that it is extremely reckless and obviously unethical to bring groups of journalists and other visitors in helicopters to remote Yanomami villages without proper quarantine procedures for the visitors to safeguard against spreading communicable diseases to a vulnerable population. It is well-known that a common cold or influenza can lead to deadly consequences among Indigenous groups like the Yanomami. Dreger accuses Tierney of entering villages without quarantine, but does not condemn this in Chagnon’s case that involved not just one individual but many on several occasions. However, the Task Force on Darkness in El Dorado of the AAA (2002b) did condemn this conduct as unethical: “Chagnon made numerous flights into the Yanomami area without any quarrantine proceedures [sic] or other protections for the indigenous peoples. The Task Force maintains that this was unacceptable on both ethical and professional grounds and was a breach of the AAA's Code of Ethics. AAA ethical standards require that anthropologists must put the best interests of the people being studied ahead of their research. Chagnon compromised this principle.”
Also ignored by Dreger and other defenders of Chagnon is the fact that Tierney based a very substantial portion of his book on previous publications of highly respected scientists and scholars, such as the chapter on Chagnon’s fieldwork in Brian Ferguson (1995) book. Dreger mentions Ferguson’s thesis that Chagnon may have inadvertently intensified conflicts, tensions, and violence in Yanomami villages through the distribution of large amounts of trade goods in relatively short period of times, but she never comes to grips with the very serious implications of that thesis. This is part of her selectivity and partiality as a “scholar.” In fact, Tierney summarizes the multitude of scientific and ethical criticisms that have accumulated over decades about Chagnon’s work, including what many have recognized as his persistent and dangerous misrepresentation of the Yanomami as “the fierce people” (Borofsky 2005:8, 44, 62, 66-67, 81-82, 119, 121-122, 129, 135-139, 161-162, 175, 178-179, 190-191, 198, 214, 238, 279, 337-338). These criticisms have been made by diverse anthropologists from several different countries, several of whom have worked in the field with the Yanomami for many years longer than Chagnon. (See Sponsel 1998 for citations of the numerous critics. Dreger cites the article, but ignores the relevant contents). Indeed, the AAA Task Force on Darkness in El Dorado decided not to interview Yanomami specialists because so many of them have been critical of Chagnon’s work and conduct. (For the most recent critical analysis of his canonical ethnography see Sponsel 2010a). Thus, if Tierney is wrong on every last point, then so are every one of the numerous and diverse anthropologists whose criticisms he summarizes. That is highly improbable. Yet it appears that Chagnon thinks that only he is right among all of the experts on the Yanomami, and everyone else is wrong (Padilha 2009). However, the AAA Task Force on Darkness in El Dorado (AAA 2002b) concluded that: “Chagnon's representation of Yanomami as "fierce people" conveyed a false image that was damaging, according to the Report. It regrets that Chagnon failed to publicly correct his erroneous depictions and support their human rights. Instead, he has made public statements attacking his professional enemies rather than correcting misinformation. Chagnon did, however, modify his portrayal of the Yanomami in subsequent editions of his textbooks… It also states that anthropologists have a responsibility not to let others, including publishers or journalists, simplify and stereotype their work.” [The modifications in subsequent editions of Chagnon’s case study were not substantial regarding the “fierce image” (Sponsel 2010)].
In addressing the measles epidemic Dreger is simply beating a dead horse ten years later and ignoring the multitude of other diverse allegations in Tierney’s book (see Borofsky 2005). Tierney’s account of the measles epidemic is an easy target on which Chagnon’s other defenders have fixated to distract attention from other serious ethical questions. Dreger offers nothing new here. In all probability, the 1968 research expedition of James V. Neel, Chagnon, and associates saved many lives of the Yanomami in the midst of a rapidly spreading deadly health crisis, although just how many has never been documented in spite of the vacuous estimates by Chagnon’s partisans like William Irons who try to privilege themselves as the real scientists (Padilha 2009). However, any objective viewer of the documentary film made during that expedition, Yanomama: A Multidisicplinary Study (Asch, Chagnon, and Neel 1971), should recognize that in the midst of a deadly health crisis time and effort was expended by the research team on collecting biological specimens and scientific data as well as filming, activities that might have been sacrificed temporarily to attend full-time to the Yanomami individuals suffering and dying from this devastating epidemic and its associated serious complications including those from vaccinations. That fact should be considered as well. How many more Yanomami lives might have been saved if all research had been temporarily suspended to help them? From that perspective some individuals might well conclude that this film is a documentation of socially irresponsible and irrelevant research as some of my students and others have opined.
Like other defenders of Chagnon, Dreger states that one factor in this controversy is an opposition to sociobiology by postmodernists, although she does not believe it is the main factor. Anyone who would pursue some honest fact checking on their own would not make such uninformed and misleading accusations. Examine the resumes and publications of Chagnon’s many critics, none are postmodernists. This is just another smoke screen by the magicians of obfuscation to distract attention away from the serious ethical issues in question. For example, in my own case I am trained primarily as a biological anthropologist from Indiana University and Cornell University, and my dissertation was a behavioral ecology approach to the dynamics of predator-prey interactions of Yanomami hunters. For nearly four decades much of my teaching and research has been in ecological anthropology with a heavy emphasis on the scientific and biological aspects as demonstrated in course syllabi and publications. Anyone can examine my 1998 and 2010 peer-reviewed articles which offer a penetrating critical analysis of Chagnon’s work on theoretical, methodological, and substantive grounds, or any of my other publications, to assess whether or not they are postmodernist and whether or not they are quality science and scholarship.
Regarding the Turner-Sponsel memo, as co-author I know exactly to whom it was sent and why. It was sent only to the top leadership of the AAA. It was obviously confidential. We wanted to alert the AAA to an impending public relations catastrophe. Our memo was only intended to summarize some of the more serious allegations in Tierney’s book and call upon the AAA to investigate them. We had been critical of Chagnon’s work and conduct in the past as scientists and academics, and thus considered it best if others assess Tierney’s allegations. We did not first take time to scrutinize everything that Tierney wrote, but asked the AAA to do so, given their far greater resources. Even the eventual AAA Task Force on Darkness in El Dorado didn’t begin to investigate the multitude of diverse allegations in Tierney’s book, but only pursued some of the more serious ones leaving numerous allegations unanswered to this day. Turner and I felt that Chagnon and Tierney each needed to be scrutinized in the context of the allegations in Tierney’s book, and accordingly vindicated or condemned. Chagnon’s partisans who did investigate some of Tierney’s allegations found problems and then used those as the basis to carelessly generalize and dismiss his entire book, the unprofessional, unscientific, unscholarly, and unethical tactic of throwing the baby out with the bath water. In our memo we did not intend to make any claims, accusations, allegations, or the like, but only to summarize the more serious ones made by Tierney. We never intentionally circulated our memo on the worldwide web and sincerely regret that this ever happened. Indeed, two individuals who contributed to that circulation finally mustered the courage to confess ten years later in front of witnesses at the last 2010 AAA convention, Peter Bella and Jay Ruby. Furthermore, we did not volunteer the memo; instead we were invited to draft it by an AAA official, Barbara Johnston, then Chair of the Committee for Human Rights.
Turner and I were involved because we have both worked on Amazonian anthropology, pursued some modest work with Yanomami, and have been engaged with human rights advocacy including on their behalf (see Sponsel citations below). I was a founding member and the first chair of the AAA Commission for Human Rights and its subsequent Committee for Human Rights from 1991 to 1996. Turner was a member of both where we first became acquainted and where I learned to greatly respect and admire his deep commitment to the science of anthropology, professional ethics, Kayapo ethnography, Kayapo and other indigenous peoples, and human rights advocacy. He was chair of the very successful Yanomami Commission of the AAA to investigate the invasion of gold miners into Yanomami territory in Brazil. The report can still be found in the documents section of the AAA Committee for Human Rights (Turner 1991).
In short, the careless and malicious disinformation regarding our memo repeatedly spread by partisans like Thomas Gregor who have been repeatedly corrected in person privately, in public forums, and in publications, is unprofessional, unethical, and offensive (Sponsel and Turner 2002). Likewise, it is unprofessional, unethical, and offensive for Raymond Hames and other defenders of Chagnon who try to stigmatize and demean his critics as enemies (Padilha 2009). Criticism is a normal process in science and scholarship. Also, it is unprofessional, unethical, and offensive for William Irons to allege that Chagnon’s critics are simply jealous (Padilha 2009), that assumes that there is anything to be jealous about and that the critics do not have their own substantial accomplishments. The latter could be readily affirmed by an examination of the resumes and publications of the critics.
Regarding my relationship to Tierney, we corresponded by email two or three times and he phoned me a couple of times. The information I provided was mainly bibliographic about the Yanomami, gold mining, and related matters in the Amazon. I met him for the first time after the open forum on the controversy at the 2000 annual convention of the AAA in San Francisco. I was never part of any kind of conspiracy, this in spite of the delusions of some of Chagnon’s partisans like Raymond Hames and Kim Hill. I generously provided information in the same way that I have done for hundreds of others, including Dreger; namely, as a professional and public service by a scholar and professor whose entire career of four decades has been devoted to disseminating information. Initially I was especially interested in Tierney’s research because it focused on the impact on indigenous societies of gold mining in the Amazon that I have researched as well (Sponsel 1997, 2011c). Actually, I was very disappointed when he shifted the focus of his book to Chagnon and Neel, because the Yanomami and other indigenes are infinitely more important.
In spite of all of the ugliness and negativity in this controversy, I have consistently prioritized the two matters of professional ethics and concern for the Yanomami as demonstrated from the outset in my statement at the open forum in the AAA convention in San Francisco in 2000 and repeatedly since then as well as for many years before (see my homepage or Douglas Hume archive). Indeed, my dissertation grant proposal to the National Science Foundation in 1974 included a detailed two-page statement on research ethics. Later it was reproduced as an appendix in my dissertation and is also available on my homepage (Sponsel 1981a). Just recently I finished the compilation of an extensive annotated bibliography on professional ethics in anthropology invited for the Oxford Bibliographies Online (Sponsel 2011d). Also, I teach the course 410 Ethics in Anthropology. The syllabus and accompanying resource guide are available on the website of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai`i under Courses under esyllabi and total 129 pages. In short, unlike some, I didn’t suddenly discover professional ethics after the controversy exploded; professional ethics and the Yanomami have been two particular interests of mine since graduate student days (Sponsel 1979, 1981b, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2006a,b, 2011a,b).
Terry Turner also has had a long-standing interest in professional ethics as revealed by his role in the formation of the AAA Committee on Ethics and the development of the AAA Code of Ethics (AAA 2011). Dreger and other partisans of Chagnon are either ignorant of, or choose to ignore, such relevant specifics of history when they attack us personally for our memo and make spurious accusations. In at least one instance, a Chagnon partisan does know better, but his agenda leads to chronic lying and apparently he simply doesn’t care as long as his lies serve his purpose, even though he has been repeatedly challenged in various venues. This individual and many other defenders of Chagnon, including Dreger, would do well to read and try to comprehend a book by the Princeton University philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt (2005). For example, Frankfurt (2005:33-34) explains that: “It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth--- this indifference to how things really are--- that I regard as the essence of bullshit.” That indifference precisely describes so many of the statements on record by the defenders of Chagnon (see Gregor and Gross 2004, Padilha 2005).
Dreger confuses Chagnon’s problems with getting research permits in Venezuela with Brazil. He worked almost entirely in Venezuela where he was refused a permit at least three times (Wong 2001). Brazil is another matter entirely. Contrary to Dreger, Tierney and Leda Martins had nothing to do with the denial of Chagnon’s application for research permits in Venezuela which occurred years earlier. In the cases of Venezuela and Brazil, Dreger should have interviewed the key anthropologists there and also government authorities as part of her “research” to get the facts straight. They cannot all be dismissed summarily with the usual smoke screens as postmodernists, anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-sociobiology, professionally jealous, or ideologically driven opponents of Chagnon. Also they would reveal that Chagnon was expelled by government officials from Yanomami territory in Venezuela and who advised him to leave the country when he attempted to investigate the Hashimu massacre (Turner 1994). They would reveal that Chagnon had problems with government officials in Yanomami territory in Brazil as well (Borofsky 2005:115, 193).
Actually, I can provide some revealing insight into at least one possible reason why Chagnon was repeatedly denied a research permit to continue work with the Yanomami in Venezuela. I was in the audience when he gave a colloquium at the Department of Anthropology of the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Investigations outside of Caracas in March 1975. During the discussion period one of the Venezuelan anthropology graduate students, Juan Scorza, asked him what he had done to help the Yanomami with their practical problems during all of his time that he conducted research with them. He was noticeably silent for quite some time, apparently that question had never crossed his mind, or perhaps he was trying to formulate an appropriate answer in that venue. Finally, he answered that the Yanomami receive a lot of trade goods from him. Then he stated that he could file a report with the government office in charge of Indigenous Affairs about the problems faced by the Yanomami, but they wouldn’t pay attention anyway. After Chagnon and his associates left many from the audience ascended to a seminar room upstairs in the Department where they expressed their outrage at such blatant irresponsibility and irrelevance in the face of the serious health and other problems faced by the Yanomami. There were many witnesses to this fiasco, including five members of Chagnon’s research team during the colloquium, one of whom was Raymond Hames.
Robert Borofsky’s (2005) edited book which Dreger cites is far more than merely “a spin-off volume from the AAA Task Force” as she writes. While one former member of the Task Force is a contributor to the book, partisan Raymond Hames, it is comprised of a succession of three round table discussions among defenders of Chagnon and his critics, and three of the panelists are specialists on the Yanomami (Bruce Albert, Raymond Hames, and John Peters). Borofsky as editor skillfully and meticulously provides introductory and concluding chapters, the latter conveniently itemizes the ethical issues in question. This is by far the single most comprehensive, detailed, fair, and balanced coverage of the entire controversy available, in spite of Dreger’s selectivity in ignoring it. It reveals that Tierney is not 100% wrong or problematic. It reveals that there remain open very serious ethical and other questions regarding Chagnon’s work and conduct.
Dreger is simply wrong when she accuses the AAA of not affording Chagnon an opportunity to speak for himself in his own defense against Tierney’s multitude of diverse allegations. In one sentence she makes this claim, but a few sentences later she contradicts it by admitting that Chagnon was invited by the AAA President Louise Lamphere to join the panel on the controversy at the 2000 annual convention of the AAA in San Francisco. Tierney had the courage to appear. Chagnon refused the invitation claiming that he would be subjected to a feeding frenzy of sharks. Actually, Tierney was the one who was subjected to such treatment by an obviously largely biased panel as many in the audience quickly recognized. If Chagnon had appeared and engaged in a civil and constructive academic debate, then perhaps some aspects of the controversy would have been resolved or at least diminished. However, he is well-known for being unresponsive to most criticisms for decades, contrary to Dreger’s assertion. When the Preliminary Report of the Task Force on Darkness in El Dorado was posted on the AAA website, comments were invited from anyone, and many including myself sacrificed a significant amount of valuable time from more important tasks to make substantial comments, just as I am doing now in response to Dreger’s obfuscations (see Hume archive and my homepage Sponsel 2011a,b). Chagnon only responded very briefly to a criticism by Kenneth Good who had actually lived with the Yanomami for more than a dozen years, basically calling Good a liar. Chagnon could have demanded an interview by phone or in person with the Task Force or other AAA officials, or done so through his lawyer. He never did so as far as I know. It is doubtful that they would have refused his offer. Chagnon has largely remained silent for a decade since the controversy erupted, except for a few interviews with journalists, most of them clearly biased (e.g., Wong 2001), and most recently as the “star” of Jose Padilha’s (2009) historical documentary film, Secrets of the Tribe. Otherwise, Chagnon has left it up to his few vocal defenders to speak for him, apparently directing some of them from the refuge of his home.
To his great discredit and my profound disappointment, soon after the controversy erupted Tierney disappeared and has remained silent. In my opinion, the ethical and honorable thing for him to do would be to publish a new edition of his book with appropriate corrections, explanations, and so on (Sponsel 2006a). However, I still hold out a little hope for this, because it took so many years for him to research and publish his 2000 book after repeated delays.
Like other partisans of Chagnon, Dreger confuses basic science and scholarship as somehow antithetical to or incompatible with applied research and advocacy such as in human rights actions, even though she claims to be a human rights activist herself. In my opinion, this confusion may be part of a tactic to defend Chagnon, since he has never been known as an active advocate for the human rights of the Yanomami. Indeed, he has even denigrated individuals and organizations that heroically and effectively advocated for the human rights of the Yanomami including one leader, Davi Kopenawa Yanomami (Borofsky 2005:13, 26-27, 37, 83, 138, 140, 163, 195, 208, 236, 263, 303-304, 336). In any case, any applied or advocacy work is vulnerable, if it is not grounded and documented in empirically proven facts, something that Dreger appears to imply by quoting Adam Kuper but does not seem to fully comprehend. Read the Report of the AAA Commission on the Yanomami in Brazil (Turner 1991) or other documents on the AAA website under the Committee for Human Rights; or for that matter, consult the websites of Cultural Survival, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Survival International, or more generally Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. To be effective advocacy must be based on empirical facts (Borofsky 2005:216, Sponsel 2001).
This supposedly inevitable incompatibility of basic and applied science in anthropology appears to be yet another smoke screen to distract attention from the more serious ethical and other issues regarding Chagnon’s work and conduct. Dreger says nothing about Chagnon’s Yanomamo Survival Fund, perhaps because there is simply nothing to say. Apparently it never accomplished anything other than, perhaps, accumulate monetary donations, since he advertised it in his case study which by his own admission was read by several million students (Padilha 2009).
The Yanomamo Survival Fund was established by Chagnon in 1988. In 1992, he advertised it in his books Yanomamo: The Last Days of Eden (Chagnon 1992:293) and Yanomamo (Chagnon 1992: 246). Linda Rabben (2004:184 n7) examined the publicly available tax records of his organization and found no evidence of any activity on behalf of the Yanomamo since 1993. A letter she sent to the organization in 1997 was marked “Returned to Sender, Not Deliverable” (Rabben 2004:44). On October 23, 2010, I sent a letter to the address listed in Chagnon’s book, but it was returned marked “Return to Sender, Unclaimed, Unable to Forward.” Likewise, a second letter sent to another P.O. Box listed for the Yanomamo Survival Fund on the AAA Committee for Human Rights inventory of NGOs was returned by the post office. Furthermore, there is no web site for this organization which is by now highly unusual for any NGO. However, Chagnon continues to list this organization as one of his affiliations on his Facebook page as of March 28, 2011.
I will not bother to discuss Dreger’s accusations of guilt by association, her character assassination, emotional appeals, and fanticizing that she belatedly deploys to try to further repudiate Tierney. Such tactics are not worthy of a historian or any scholar or scientist. They are merely more obfuscation.
In spite of all of the ugliness, accusations, suffering, and other negativity in this controversy, there have been some positive results. Perhaps the most positive one is that within the profession of anthropology the level of information, awareness, concern, and attention to professional ethics has been markedly elevated, although it remains to be documented whether or not the talk translates into action. This elevated interest in professional ethics in anthropology can be demonstrated empirically, quantitatively, and statistically. A recent search using the key word “ethics” in the Anthropological Index Online (2011) reveals the following number of citations per decade, although not all of the citations are relevant: 1950s – 0, 1960s – 10, 1970s – 25, 1980s – 35, 1990s – 422, and 2000s – 1,542. Similarly, there has been a significant increase in the consideration of ethics at the annual conventions of the AAA. For instance, in the printed programs ethics is identified as a key word associated with only a few sessions at the annual conventions in the 1990s, but in the 2000s the number increases substantially, some years to around a dozen or even more. This increase may not all be attributable to the Darkness in El Dorado Controversy, but it is parsimonious and seems probable that much of it is. Unfortunately, I have not seen this trend reflected in Chagnon’s partisans not one of whom has admitted that Chagnon was ever unethical in any way. Now Dreger is added to that list of partisans in denial. Apparently, they seem to think that Chagnon is as pure as the blowing snow, or they are simply dishonest.
Finally, actually I do agree with Dreger on several points. There are some serious problems with Tierney’s book, but I disagree that this automatically invalidates everything in it. Dismissing Tierney’s book in its entirety is disingenuous to say the least as explained previously. Despite the best efforts, hardwork, and sacrifices of some in the AAA, I agree with Dreger that in the end the Task Force and the “leadership” of the organization left much to be desired, to put it mildly. Since then, the more recent leadership of the AAA cowered in removing the Final Report from its website, apparently intimidated by Chagnon’s lawyer. In effect, this removal is censorship, something contrary to science and scholarship. The AAA membership, who paid for the Task Force, and for whose sake it was supposedly done, is deprived of access on their own organization’s website, yet another ethical problem with many ramifications. However, the Final Report and related documents are still available in the archive on the Douglas Hume website, among other places. Moreover, fortunately, there is the penetrating detail in the revealing book edited by Borofsky (2005) that Dreger ignores. Thus, a wealth of information is available for a genuinely objective and scholarly historian as well as other serious researchers from other disciplines.
I agree with Dreger that the investigation of the reputation of Chagnon by the AAA in the face of Tierney’s multitude of diverse allegations was an extremely serious matter, but I think that it should have been investigated much more thoroughly and meticulously. After all, this is undoubtedly one of the worst scandals in the entire history of anthropology, if not worse, and a great embarrassment to the whole profession (Robin 2004). The Task Force did conclude that Chagnon’s conduct was ethically problematic on some points, and he was certainly not entirely vindicated, contrary to the misleading assertions of some of his more disingenuous defenders (Borofsky 2005). However, I am even more concerned about the impact of his work on the Yanomami, as documented, for example, by an entire chapter in Ferguson’s book, among other sources (Albert 2001, Borofsky 2005, Sponsel 1998, 2010, 2011a,b).
Finally, I agree with Dreger that, to use her words, “ideologically-driven pseudo-scholarship pretending to be real” is a serious problem, but that applies to Dreger herself in the case of her article which is published in a journal catering to evolutionary psychology, a field that like its predecessor, sociobiology, can hardly honestly claim to be apolitical and amoral. Like Dreger, I agree that “Forms of “scholarship” that deny evidence, that deny truth, that deny the importance of facts - even if performed in the name of good - are dangerous not only to science and to ethics, but to democracy.” If only the “scholarship” concerning this controversy of Dreger and other Chagnon defenders conformed to these worthy ideals then this controversy might have generated far more constructive and productive results to honor science, anthropology, ethics, and, most of all, the Yanomami. Instead, sadly, we have more obfuscation ad nauseam.
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Leslie E. Sponsel
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