This article is done to briefly address a claim was made on Facebook which states:
<< Indigenous people DID NOT conduct a study, create a hypothesis, test it, draw conclusions in order to received their myths. Their words are passed down fro the people that was actually there during the event/event(s). There’s a different, trying to marry evolution with our myths is infinitesimal. >>
In science, a theory refers specifically to a well-substantiated explanation, which accounts for a body of well-substantiated facts.
What are facts? A “fact” in its historical use carried the meaning of something that has occurred. In other words, a fact was a “happening” or “event” that has actually occurred – occurrence. A set of these occurrences i.e. “facts” are then consolidated into a body of knowledge, documented, and transmitted through explanations (theories).
As it relates to African traditions…. The transmission of these explanations of occurrences/facts (which are theories by scientific use of the term) was done by way of what is called today the various “figurative speech.” The “figurative expressions” and the realities behind those figurative expressions were usually transmitted together in Initiatory Environments. This is exactly what historical societies did and continue to do. What many are calling “religious” text are expositions of the scientific theories related to the body of people to whom those text belong.
The above claim shows a lack of understanding of what a scientific theory is and its application as well as what myths are and how they are compiled. The word “myth” as it applies to African traditions are a set of narratives that make use of what we call today “figurative speech.” These narratives are indeed, explanations of facts or occurrences. The “scientific method” as practiced in the various scientific fields of study is expressed in ancient Nile Valley literature. Indeed, indigenous peoples did in fact, examine, and devote time to cultivate information and gather it into narratives to teach peers and future generations.
In km.t ‘Kemet’ we have an example (one of many) of the scientific method being used and declared:
tp-Hsb n hAt m xt rx ntt nbt. That is how this sentence is scientifically transliterated but it expressing the meaning in English as “The correct method of investigating nature to know all that exists.” There are several text where we will see this phrase tp-Hsb being used in the context of what we would call today “The Scientific Method.”
In the above sentence the phrase tp-Hsb means “correct method, best method” as the above translation shows. The word tp of itself is used as «best, preferred» and Hsb is used as «an account, a reckoning, computation». When used together and in context, this phrase means «correct method, accurate method, rules of». The people of kmt ‘Kemet’ used a set of methods to arrive at rx ‘rekh’ «knowledge». These methods are expressed in various text and generally correspond to the methods that are now described as “the scientific method.” tp-Hsb is a key factor in research as it employs a set of rules necessary for understanding things in all its aspects and phenomena. The above sentence can be broken down to give a better detail as:
tp-Hsb – correct method
n – genitive: of
hAt m – to descend into, used in context as “to investigate, dig deep into an issue, question, problem, to study, to comprehend by moving into.”
xt – things
rx – to know, knowledge
ntt nbt – all that exists
The logical flow of the set of rules tp-Hsb generally correspond to the procedural flow in what is called the “scientific method” today. They are:
tp – “beginning” – this is the first step in the process called tp hence “beginning.” It is at this step that the precise enunciation of the problem to be solved, with elucidatory examples is given.
mi Dd n.k – “if one says to you that.’’ This is the stage of definition, where everything is made clear and distinct, and all the relevant terms are explicitly and precisely defined. The expression mi Dd means ‘‘according to that which is said,’’ that is, the process of reasoning is to be addressed to a precisely formulated problem.
ptr – ‘‘What?’’ In Ranykemet grammar ptr ‘peter’ stands at the beginning of questions with the function of eliciting a logical predicate. A question is an expression of inquiry that invites a reply or solution. At this stage, then, the student is directly required to ponder and analyze ptr the problem under examination.
irt mi xpr – “correct procedure.” This is the stage of demonstration, that is, the mental process of showing something to be true by reasoning and computation from initial data. The process of calculating is based on a careful set of mathematical formulas.
rxt.f pw – “solution, it is known.” This is knowledge rxt ‘rekhet’ found, and grasped in the mind with clarity or certainty. The solution is regarded as true beyond doubt. The student has shown the requisite know-how, that is, the knowledge and skill required to do something correctly. The solution is evident, thanks to the demonstration by a dependable logical procedure.
sSmt – “examination of the proof.” This is the review of the whole body of evidence or premises and rules that determine the validity of a solution. Such an examination of a logical proof always leads to a further conceptual generalization. Thus the ancient people of Kemet had the technique of forming concepts inductively.
gm.k nfr – ‘‘you have found good.’’ This is the concluding stage. To be able to do something, and find it correctly done, means that it was done as it should be done. gmi «to find» is to obtain by intellectual effort, and bring oneself to a mental awareness of what is correct, precise, perfect nfr. To arrive at a logical conclusion and find that the conclusion withstands critical scrutiny is an achievement in the art of deduction. The adverb nfr «well» implies that the solution is convincing, so that a contradiction is impossible. The concluding observations are mainly confirmatory. Nevertheless, the rigor of the entire process is evident in the method, and the result is objectively known in all truth.
Anyone familiar with the “scientific methods” used in the various scientific fields of study today will see how the procedures or logical flow and functions generally correspond with one another.