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Jeanette X Jeanette X is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Old Sep 16th, 2009, 12:49 AM       
Originally Posted by kahljorn View Post
Jeanette do you want me to quote wikipedia at you?
I quoted the ORIGINAL ARTICLE you boob.

You want more? Not from Wiki? Here you go:
Or, Griaule's account may reflect his own interests more than that of the Dogon. He made no secret of the fact that his intention was to redeem African thought. When Walter van Beek studied the Dogon, he found no evidence they knew Sirius was a double star or that Sirius B is extremely dense and has a fifty-year orbit.
Knowledge of the stars is not important either in daily life or in ritual [to the Dogon]. The position of the sun and the phases of the moon are more pertinent for Dogon reckoning. No Dogon outside of the circle of Griaule's informants had ever heard of sigu tolo or po tolo... Most important, no one, even within the circle of Griaule informants, had ever heard or understood that Sirius was a double star (Ortiz de Montellano).*
According to Thomas Bullard, van Beek speculates that Griaule "wished to affirm the complexity of African religions and questioned his informants in such a forceful leading manner that they created new myths by confabulation." Griaule either informed the Dogon of Sirius B or "he misinterpreted their references to other visible stars near Sirius as recognition of the invisible companion" (Bullard).
However, by the time Temple had published the second edition of The Sirius Mystery in 1998, the whole question of the Dogon’s apparently inexplicable knowledge of Sirius had been blown apart. No-one had questioned Griaule and Dieterlen’s findings until the early 1990s. And this is where the problems for the hypothesis began. In 1991, the anthropologist Walter van Beek undertook fieldwork among the Dogon, hoping to find evidence for their knowledge of Sirius. As the earlier authors had indicated that aorund 15% of the adult males were initiated into the Sirius lore, this ought to have been a relatively easy task. However, van Beek was unable to find anyone who knew about Sirius B. As ought to have been obvious from the outset, Griaule and Dieterlen’s reliance on a single informant – Ogotemmêli – severely compromises the validity of their data.
But it gets worse. The Dogon themselves do not agree that Sigu tolo is Sirius: it is the bright star that appears to announce the beginning of a festival (sigu), which some identify with Venus, while others claim it is invisible. To polo is not Sirius B, as it sometimes approaches Sigu tolo, making it brighter, while it is sometimes more distant, when it appears as a group of twinkling stars (which sounds like a description of the Pleiades). All in all, the ‘inexplicable’ astronomical knowledge turns out to be too confused to bear the interpretation put on it by Griaule and Dieterlen. It is probably no coincidence that Griaule was a keen amateur astronomer and used his knowledge to rationalise an extremely confusing traditional lore that the Dogon themselves could not agree on.

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