Re: diseases and immunity

Gerold Firl (
24 Jul 1996 19:59:47 GMT

In article <4t3kpa$>, Beth Williams) writes:

|> In <4t3dj1$> (Gerold Firl)
|> writes:

|> >In article <4t0umg$>,
|> Beth Williams) writes:
|> >|> In <4t0ncs$> (Gerold Firl)
|> >|> writes:

|> >Your memory is selective, mb. This example was raised by joel
|> >gazis-sax, who claimed that it referred to a 20th century outbreak
|> >among a particular tribe, I think it was the sioux. I suggested that
|> he
|> >might have been thinking of the reference in macneill to "a canadian
|> >tribe" (no time frame given), and I stated that I had *assummed* it
|> >occured in the 19th century. Joel never replied, so maybe he was
|> >talking about a different episode altogether, but I've given you the
|> >facts I have, and discussed different interpretations of them. That's
|> >all.

|> It doesn't matter if Joel replied or not (and btw, he stated it was a
|> Midwestern group, which rules out the Lakota, and that it happened
|> _early_ in this century) as you took the citation and ran with it,
|> using it to support your entire hypothesis...You now claim that you
|> don't even know if it was a 19th century event! Did you even ever LOOK
|> UP the citation in MacNeill?????

One of the reasons why a discussion with you is so nonproductive is
because you have such a tenuous grasp on the preceeding dialog; every
post is like starting over. Joel intimated that some previously
unexposed tribe had been stricken by a virulent TB epidemic which
manifested unusual symptoms in the first generation, settling down
later into the familiar pulmonary pattern. He didn't cite any source. I
suggested that he may have been thinking of the example used by
macneill. why are we wasting time going over these trivial details?
Could it be that you are trying to avoid coming to grips with the real
issues? It should be obvious that I "looked up" the citation in
macneill, since I brought it up in the first place. Have you looked it
up? Earlier you asked me for the page number. I provided it for you.
Now you ask me if I looked it up? You have time to write endlessly
repetitive posts carping about the same tired complaints, yet you don't
have time to do basic research on your supposed area of expertise,
using the fundamental texts that should be a foundation for
understanding the meeting of old world and american cultures. Just what
is it that you're looking for, mary beth?

|> >And as far as other "purportedly *non-immune*" populations, I did
|> >mention earlier the example of the maori cited by crosby. TB was the
|> >main epidemic killer among the maori, since the islands were
|> >effectively quarantined against smallpox. You have read crosby,
|> haven't
|> >you?

|> I've read Crosby, and know that you incorrectly use his information to
|> support your weak little hypotheses. If TB was an *epidemic* in New
|> Zealand than it was also in the US, particularly among the poor, as
|> mortality rates in both areas were similar.

The maori suffered something like 50-75% population reduction from
european diseases over the course of about a century (1820-1920). TB
was the main culprit, though many other diseases played a role as well,
especially venereal diseases (smallpox was not a factor).

Now, you claim that mortality rates were similar in the US, presumably
referring to old world-descended inhabitants of the US, right? Care to
put a number on that? The population of the US was rising continually,
both due to immigration and natural increase, while the population of
the maori was decreasing. Do you see the difference?

And by the way, the losses among the maori were essentially all due to
disease, rather than european aggression, at least until the cultural
disintegration had proceded far enough to produce a suicidal ghost
dance immolation.

The phenomenon of the suicidal ghost dance is an interesting one. It
occured among the north american indians in the late 1800's, among the
south african xhosa in the early part of the 19th century, and also in
new zealand. I seem to recall a similar episode among the maya a few
centuries earlier, but I can't find the source on that; anyone have any

|> In fact, there is no evidence to show that TB acted any differently in
|> Indian populations than it did in white populations, and until you can
|> come up with such, you'll continue to look like a fool.

Among the maori, scrofula was the most common (or at least, the most
visible) form of TB. The lymph nodes of the neck would swell and
supporate, which is different from the typical pattern of tubercular
infection in white populations, wouldn't you say?

|> >|> >|> European 5-year-olds and their Indian counterparts were equally
|> >|> >|> susceptible to smallpox, and their mortality rates the same.

|> >|> >How do you know this? What evidence exists to support this claim?

|> >|> Gerold, have you been asleep?.. Go back to DejaNews... I posted
|> >|> citations on this earlier in the thread.

|> >I find it hard to believe that accurate statistics exist to describe
|> >mortality rates among virgin-soil populations infected with smallpox.
|> >I can imagine that pretty accurate numbers are availible to describe
|> >mortality rates among experienced populations, but those would be very
|> >low; in europe, africa, and asia, what percent of under-5 children
|> >died of smallpox since such medical statistics were gathered?

|> Once again, Gerold, you've proven that you've slept through most of
|> this thread... Children under 5 have the highest mortality rate of all
|> cases of smallpox.

But you claimed that mortality rates for experienced old world
populations and virgin-soil amerindians were the same among young
children. That is, when smallpox first swept through the aztecs, the
same percentage of children died as among english or spanish. How can
you make such a claim? What evidence exists to support it? You
pronounce it as if it were an undeniable fact; where does this fact
come from? How can we estimate the mortality rate among aztec children
due to smallpox?

|> You're saying
|> >that in amerindian populations experiencing the first onslaught of
|> >smallpox, the same percentage died?

|> If you only look at those dying from the actual disease, yes, mortality
|> rates are the same (and we see this in populations where *immune*
|> Europeans or Indians were available to assist the sick.)

Where does this data come from? Which virgin soil populations were used
to gathere these statistics? And what are the numbers: you claim that
no matter what population we look at, the same percentage of children
will succumb to smallpox - what is it? This number should be well known
if it is so universal. I'd like to know what it is.

|> As we
|> discussed before on a number of occasions (and you still seemed to have
|> missed), the diseases themselves were only part of the reason for high
|> mortality... The fact that everyone got the disease at the same time
|> contributed greatly to high mortality rates... People died from
|> dehydration as easily as from the disease.

Of course. That is certainly a contributing factor, as I mentioned at
the very beginning of this thread.

|> >But I guess I misunderstood you. You were saying that since you are
|> >descended from algonquins, you would not try to cover-up iroquois
|> >cannibalism, since you're hereditary enemies, right?

|> (First off, I am Algonquin, not merely *descended* from Algonquins, as
|> you so casually put it, and secondly, you attempted to claim that
|> because you thought I was Haudenosaunee, that I would automatically
|> disassociate the Haudenosaunee with cannabalism...)

It's not a matter of my "claiming" that you try to disassociate the
northeastern indians with cannibalism; it's a matter of public record
that you did so. You refused to consider any evidence which showed that
cannibalism was common in the northeast, or among any amerinds, for
that matter.

|> >Were algonquins also "purported" to be cannibals by european
|> >ethnohistory?

|> Europeans, as an excuse to massacre Indians, often brought out the old
|> *cannibal* tirade, and used it against anyone who stood in there way...
|> I can see that things haven't changed much in 500 years.

Oh please. So marvin harris and brian fagan are looking for an excuse
to massacre indians - that is why they don't try to cover-up iroquois
cannibalism? And yet, most indian tribes were never accused of being
cannibals. The iroquois were, but then, they had a nasty habit of
eating people, which may have had something to do with it.

"things haven't changed much in 500 years" - careful with that
victimspeak - it can be habit forming.

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