Re: This used to be on disease and immunity

Philip Deitiker (
Mon, 15 Jul 1996 23:37:48 GMT (Eric Brunner) wrote:

>For some reason Philip is following up on a follow-up I made to one of
>Sisal's posts. Oh well...

>Philip Deitiker ( wrote:
>: (Eric Brunner) wrote:
>: >Feel free to post anything you want, now that you've established the value
>: >you place on definitions of such key athropological terms as domesticatants,
>: >cultigens and so forth.
>: Example 1 (see below): BTW, As an 'anthropologist' Eric you should
>: know that vocabulary is the property of those societies which choose
>: to use those words to intercommunicate. While your language bashing

>domesticatant and cultigen are hardly obscure terms in the literature(s)
>of anthropology. Perhaps those so troubled by the cognitive dissonance
>introduced by reliance upon such tacitly encumbered texts as dictionaries
>when attempting to _think_ about culture should re-think the utility of
>their attempts.
Example #7

>I recommend Dave Rindos' work for both, see Domingo's recent post with
>that cite. If there is a serious discussion of the subject, I'll drop
>him a line and he'll "drop by" for questions.

If you find a word usage innappropriate, _define it and give a
source_, in a since when you criticized one of my statements you did
not help in defining, in and as much no-one has actually done so.
See I've noticed your technique here is not to educate poeple but to
redicule them, just as you were doing to myself and to Sisial. That's
OK, but then don't go tell people there dictionaries are inadequate if
you make no attempt to help in a clarification defintion process. As a
matter of fact I left a defintion up there and ask if it was current
and as of yet no-one here has actually bothered to update
shall we judge this tree by the fruit it bears.

>: why don't you go beat up on the french guianans and other creole
>: speakers for their improper improvisations of language, I'm sure they
>: appreciate it as much as we do.

>As a francophone (non ille de france) I find the suggestion charming, but
>rather naive. As a defense of unlearnedness, it is less than compelling.
Ah yes, and so only you have a command of the English language and
everyone else here are pagan barbarians.

>: > I'm sure you'll find subscribers who, like yourself,
>: >find a dictionary an acceptable substitute for the literature. I'm still
>: >a giggle over paleolithic. All very Humpty Dumptyesque.

>: OK Eric, this is for you:
>: Hey everybody, I somehow during a discussion about immunity and intial
>: contact events misused the word 'paleolithic' because after many years
>: I've not managed to keep all these clichesh definition packed in my
>: head. Happy.

>No. Mistake is common to all. Resistance to learning is the special property
>of some. Count your posts.

Listen guy, since I subscribed to this newsgroup 2 years ago all I've
seen on here is countless counterbabble from fervent religious/racist
and on the other hand overzealous and singleminded 'scientist' or
those passing themselves off as such, so if you think that your
comments or anyone elses here has anykind of impact, think again. If I
find a counterargument compelling and a reasonable available source
is given and provided I don't find the source itself a slant then sure
why not, I expected this the place to find the latest info in the
field presented. The original point is to learn, but what I've found
is that learning here is a little bit like pulling teeth, you folks
are seldom up front with complete or concise information, thats why
one has to weigh what is said here. In this thread (the old thread)
through the argumentation finally I think some of the more
'level-headed' data is now being put forth (even if you don't consider
anything that I've said). Why has this discovery process taken so long
with so many experts here, well that's an interesting question.

> Even your acknoledgement of error is packed with childishness and posture.

A rightly so given the response you gave in the last three posts,
what's that saying 'don't throw pearls to pigs'

BTW, its the third aknowledgement, its only you who have kept the
childeshness going, or would you prefer to go back and read some of
your post.

> This doesn't detract from your own
>area of expertise, but it makes determining where you are out of your depth
>something which you decline to gracefully disclose, in a timely fashion.

And so I or someone else shouldn't challenge a fellow academic. You
_might_ have an aganda to pursue or slant data to force a hypothesis,
I think its every scientist right to challenge the data or
interpretation of other scientist. You know what they say if 'you
can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen'. I've found serious
errors in many of the arguments on both sides, most errors are the
result of over generalizations and do not carefully weigh contributing
factors. Some gloss over some rather common perceptions in medicine.

>I would be interested (slightly) to know what of my arguments you found to
>be "technically correct", and on what basis you reached that conclusion.

Because I actually did some searches on some of the points you made, I
don't agree with the data, but since its not yours to begin with and
other sources are less enlightening, one just has to put tounge and
cheek and move on. I can't go down to the isalnds of the carriben and
attempt to find bones of the early 16th century to assess the relative
causes of death, if the spanish slanted the original reports then I
think the slant becomes a fixture of history and there's not much a
20th century biochemical immunologist can really do about it.

>I'd also be interested (slightly) to know what "slant" you perceive, and
>how you reached that perception, and so forth.

The slant is using 16th to 18th century data without first _fully_
qualifying the source and possible discrepancies in the presentation
and descrepancies of the reports. To give an example the reports of
late 15th and early 16th century antilles indicate that there were
serious population declines and epidemic diseases, and interestingly
the reports of dramitc declines coincided with the depletion of
precious ore reserves on those Islands. What is unclear is what the
impact of force overexploitation had on the immunity of those who were
forced into such circumstances. In addition one has to question the
generosity of the spanish as ore reserves declined. Third the reports
are not clear on the affect of spanish occupation on the ability of
the arawak to resist incursions by hostile tribes in the region, and
whether endemic populations placed in protectorates realy were
actually protected (even modern data suggest that disease rates are
higher inside versus outside protectorates for amerinds).
There are folk stories in the carribean which reflect a different
version of events, and tell of what happen to insubordinant native
peoples who refused to subjugate to force labor. One of them involves
the discovery by a young lad that the spanish actually bleed and
weren't in fact gods. I'm sure that you've heard similar. Not that
they are reliable, but they suggests that not all written reports were
accurate as written, and the behavior is consitent with colonial
behaviors in other areas were better documentation had occured.
From a scientific point of view how does one _really_ (meaning
definitatively) assess the relative impact of disease, dimunition of a
favorable lifestyle, and aggression in overall mortality rates, if one
is going to matter of fact quote mortality as disease mortality.

>: >This could be extreamly tedious, since there are lots of rather loaded words
>: >rattling about in dictionaries and a discourse on what is actually ment in
>: >some context would have to incorporate a history of how that specialized
>: >meaning came into being and what the theoretical issues behind each nuance
>: >of meaning actually incorporates. Clearly, an attempt to use nomenclature
>: >as commonly used within a field is less of an imposition upon participants
>: >in that field than an insistance on the use of meanings provided by the
>: >authors and publishers of dictionaries, who have their own cultural limits
>: >and problems of ethnographic construction to compound the problem of any
>: >useful collective understanding.

>: Very good point, but don't bash the users, simply correct the
>: inaccuracies by stating that the defintion used is inaccurate or no

>This has already been attempted, see the length of this thread and the density
>of off-point tangents, some technical, most behavorial (of posters), for the
>utility of such a suggestion.

Then let's get the discussion back to those aspects of genetics,
immunity, interpreted epidemiological data, and relative sources of

>The import of such nomenclature does not exist by simple assertion.

Sure it does when we talk about the most formidable mechanism of
mutation certainly we have to consider gene conversion and being a
subset of recombination linkage groups and complimentation groups and
map units, etc can and ahve been used in the discussion of how new
allelic isoforms orignate and are documented....... _I didn't think
this terminaology would be best used in this conversation_. From
immunity one has to be aware of major antigenic determinants and their
relationship to antigen presentation and (unnamed) specific classes of
T-lyphocytes involved in the recognition of pathogens. In addition one
must also consider the (unnamed) non-specific mechanisms of general
disease resistance which might be particularly important for 'first
contact immunity'. Again all the specific factors involved were not
brought up and discussed.

> Few of
>the casual mechanisms

You've used this term so many times, for the sake of the discussion
please redefine it. Casual in what regard.

> are relevant to the actual depopulative events, of
>those I've noticed you mentioning when not attempting to pass yourself off
>as understanding Domingo or MB.

No, what I challenge of the data is the ability to ascribe precisely
all the factors related in the population declines, sort as if one was
a forensic pathogist and ranking all teh related causes of death.
I find the interpretation overly generalistic. something like:

Healthy endemic people -------(epidemic disease)-----> 95% mortality

>From what I know about the biology of humans this type of discussion
makes my stomach crawl. Especially given all the epidemiological
factors (not related to genetics) associated with many of the epidemic
diseases that plaque current/scientifically-assessing modern society.
IOW, I think that we must expect similar phenomena to pertain to
epidemic diseases of the 15th to 19th century in which we have not had
the greater opportunity to study related factors in disease
There are some diseases which existed then as now, such as TB and
influenza, and clearly demostrates a number of non-genetic risk
factors. When I've brought these into the discussion they have been
swept under the rug for _apparently_ personal reasons. I don't mean
to say that all or some or even any are involved simply that their
contributions _must_ be considered. I think this is a scientifically
fair assertion to make.

>: Secondarily with respect to some precolumbian south american
>: tribes and _possibly_ some north american, even according to what the
>: contemporary usage is these groups might still be treated as
>: functional paleoliths, although I must admit after refreshing my

>Bzzt. Still trying? Check your batteries. That bunny got away.
Check some of the literature.