Re: Pre-contact diseases anyone???

Sun, 06 Aug 1995 22:22:17 GMT

claird@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM (Cameron Laird) wrote:

> .
>I'm not sure how you operationalize "the cumulative effect" over periods
>of a generation and more. If I understand your arithmetic, tuberculosis
>in the British Isles in the nineteenth century struck at a rate of "85-95%",
>but I don't think that's the kind of result you want.

>Closer to the ground, I recommend

> Snow, Dean R.
> 1995 "Microchronology and Demographic
> Evidence Relating to the Size of
> Pre-Columbian North American Indian
> Populations", Science, volume 268,
> pages 1601-1604 (16 June 1995)

>This report chronicles severe epidemics of smallpox and other diseases,
>and correlates the documentary and archaeologic evidence for the Mohawks
>of eastern New York State (as we now call the area). However, it con-
>cludes that "lower populations [sic] estimates for [pre-columbian] North
>America as a whole" are the ones most consistent with the data.

>I'm a bit foggy about what the topic is now, and have halved follow-ups.

You've come into the tail end of a long thread on disease. I was one
of the participants in that thread, and one of my main objections to
the 85-95% numbers being thrown around was identical to yours.

I doubt the numbers are correct because they seem to involve circular
reasoning. I also believe that adding up the death rates from
multiple waves of epidemics over a 200 year period results in
meaningless numbers, even if the numbers were correct.

As a result, I am considered to be one of the loonies on this
conference. You've just been induced into the loonie fringe too.

Welcome! Both of us, and Dean Snow, seem to be in good company. <g>

Stella Nemeth