Re: This used to be on disease and immunity

Gerold Firl (
18 Jul 1996 20:02:04 GMT

Eric - first of all, I'd like to congratulate you on your previous post.
You managed to avoid using personal insults and snide innuendo to a
remarkable extent - bravo.

In article <4sjnqo$>, (Eric Brunner) writes:

|> Gerold Firl ( wrote:

|> : I have asked you several times now for an explanation of how
|> : you can defend a loony-tune buffoon like deloria, and you have never
|> : deigned to reply; the reason, of course, is quite clear. Deloria is an
|> : indian, so no matter how pathetically transparent his errors, you can
|> : not bring yourself to acknowledge them. You are trapped within a rigid
|> : us vs. them ideology, and your dogmatic blinders are set on narrow
|> : focus.

|> Not quite. I've spoken with Professor Deloria and have in progress some
|> work which I know he will consider when undertaking the second and third
|> parts of his projected three-part work. I applaud his taking, however
|> clumsily, scientism that is neither scientific, nor even self-aware of
|> its ethnocentricism, to task.

Translation: you know full well that _red earth, white lies_ is
chock-full of nonsense, errors, and transparent blunders, but as long as
you can project the egregious ethnocentrism of vine deloria onto Others
instead of facing up to it in your own backyard, you can hope nobody

We notice, eric.

|> My criticism are for his ears first, of defects of method. In spite of the
|> milage that cataclysmic net-kooks (the Ted Hodders of sundry newsgroups),
|> and hyperdiffusionist net-kooks (the Steve Whittets of sundry newsgroups),
|> and the creationists net-kooks (too many to mention), and the pseudo-
|> scientism net-kooks (the Gerold Firls of sundry newsgroups), each get out
|> of their divergent purpose-built readings of his last book length work,
|> news groups and net kookery is not the first or best place to attempt real
|> work.

"Scientism", you say? Notice that proponents of "scientism" advocate a
system of open discussion and free debate, where any idea is allowed to
be suggested, but all are subject to criticism. You want to shield
deloria and his ludicrous amerindian chauvinism from critical view,
because you know they are indefensible, and you are insufficiently
objective to make that admission.

I just want to make sure that you understand that the only people you're
fooling are those who desperately *want* to be fooled.

|> You'll just have to wait, and don't forget to capitalize proper names.

Gee, you're so prim, proper and punctilious when it comes to the
niceties of capitalization; shouldn't you be be focussing more on
questions of fact and interpretation, rather than wasting time on
picayune details?

|> : |> Bzzt. The only thing(s) adapting in post-Holocene time are pathogens, not
|> : |> peoples. The sole non-trivial (in terms of causation) area of interest for
|> : |> biological adaptations is non-human.

|> : Notice the "bzzt"? That is derived from tv gameshows, where the hidden,
|> : off-screen "judges" use "the buzzer" to convey their theological
|> : dictate.

|> I wasn't aware that a theological "reading" of TV game shows was common.

It's sort of a deconstruction thing. On a tv game show, the judges are
unseen, yet all-powerful. There is no appeal to their verdict. To your
average joe sitcom, they are the closest thing to a diety ever

Wouldn't it be great to be a gameshow judge, sitting offscreen with your
finger on the buzzer? No one could ever question you, or point out your
mistakes, or your biases, or your prejudices, or your gratuitous
rudeness - you could be just as rude and arbitrary as you wanted to be,
and no one could say anything about it. Pity that life isn't so
wonderful as that, hmm?

Ah, but look, now I'm playing your game, and that's not a game I want to
play. Lets try and get back to the issues.

|> : Whence the phobia? How do you plan to enforce your decree? Biological
|> : organisms evolve, whether you like it or not, and epidemics are an
|> : especially blatent example. A 90% die-off will produce a genetic shift,
|> : especially in small populations, and *especially* in the genetics of the
|> : immune system. You can argue that acquired immunity is more significant
|> : than genetic resistance, and in the case of the individual that is
|> : certainly true; I'd much rather have an acquired immunity than a genetic
|> : resistance when confronted with an infection. Genetic resistance makes
|> : it more probable that I'll survive, but acquired immunity is a sure
|> : thing.
|> : In the face of an epidemic, however, genetic immunity can make the
|> : difference between cultural survival and extinction. A 30% mortality
|> : rate is a different kind of catastrophe than 90% mortality. A culture
|> : can bounce back fairly quickly from an epidemic with a 30% kill rate
|> : (look at europe after the plague) but a 90% mortality makes a culture
|> : extremely vulnurable. Unless they are given a lot of time to recover, in
|> : complete isolation from others, that kind of demographic collapse is
|> : almost certainly fatal. Genetic resistance makes a big difference at
|> : that level.

|> Sigh. Maybe it is the water.

To get back to the issue, you claim that humans have not made any
biological adaptations in the "post-holocene" time frame; anyone with
any biological background could assure you that you are mistaken about
that. (Unless humans are somehow exempt from natural selection - how
would that work? Did we get a special dispensation from god? Or is it a
result of some uniquely human quality - intelligence? culture? self-
consciousness? Do explain how that came about.)

MB Williams informs me that she has some background in evolutionary
biology; maybe she can explain it to you.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf