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LogicalFallacy

The problem of using incorrect language based on religion.

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In the article I link below Dr Jane Goodall states the following: (Emphasis mine)

 

 

Quote

 

"It's been well-known that viruses and bacteria can spill over from animals to people in the right environment, and we've created the right environment."

 

 

 

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2020/05/coronavirus-dr-jane-goodall-believes-pandemic-brought-on-humans-due-to-absolute-disrespect-for-nature.html

 

This distinction between "animals" and "people" as if there is some fundamental magical barrier that someone was crossed I think leads to a lot of misconception. Of course the Abrahamic religious view is that humans are not animals but are made in the image of god. This view is dangerous because it denies our fundamental reality: Humans are animals. More precisely we are primates belonging to the group known as great apes. We could get more precise, but for the purposes of demonstrating the folly of attempting so separate humans from the animal kingdom it suffices. 

 

I think better phrasing would be that viruses and bacteria can spill over between species. We are part of this world and everything has evolved together. Thus its not surprising that diseases will spill over. By continuing to use language that reinforces this religious notion of a barrier between humans and other animals simply leads to misconceptions and misunderstanding of biological reality. 

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I don't get to use the word "zoonosis" often enough.  Thanks.

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Agree with everything besides "spill over", I think it's a clunky term.  I'd like to think that knowledge wise we've become smart enough to recognize the conditions in which viruses are likely to spread between species. But we've done nothing or an insufficient amount. I believe there was warnings after SARS that the unsanitary wet markets of a certain type in China are dangerous and could result in this. I'm getting political but I'd support an all out boycott of Chinese products (yeah I know now we're somewhat dependent on China for PPE etc) until their government gets their shit together and puts an end to these markets. 

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"A zoonosis is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from an animal to a human."

 

SEE!!?? You are propagating the problem. 

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35 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

"A zoonosis is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from an animal to a human."

 

SEE!!?? You are propagating the problem. 

No.  I'm using the correct word (language) that describes the problem with the problem you're describing.  It ain't rocket surgery.

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18 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

No.  I'm using the correct word (language) that describes the problem with the problem you're describing.  It ain't rocket surgery.

 

Yes, I do get your point. I guess from a language perspective it is handy to have the distinction between other animals and humans. I just think our language could be refined in a way that doesn't propagate incorrect notions of humans being separate from the animal kingdom. Maybe it's just a hangover from my religious days where the distinction was drilled into us.

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9 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Yes, I do get your point. I guess from a language perspective it is handy to have the distinction between other animals and humans. I just think our language could be refined in a way that doesn't propagate incorrect notions of humans being separate from the animal kingdom. Maybe it's just a hangover from my religious days where the distinction was drilled into us.

There is more that separates humans from "lower"* species than just outdated Abrahamic ideas.  The capacity for abstract thought, awareness of our own mortality, willingness to exploit our own kids for sex and profit: these are just a few.

 

*for lack of a better term.

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8 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Maybe it's just a hangover

Try a little hair of the dog.

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9 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Yes, I do get your point. I guess from a language perspective it is handy to have the distinction between other animals and humans. I just think our language could be refined in a way that doesn't propagate incorrect notions of humans being separate from the animal kingdom. Maybe it's just a hangover from my religious days where the distinction was drilled into us.

 

Yes, it does no good to tow along these incorrect religious distinctions between humans and animals when humans ARE animals. Transition of disease from bat, to pig, to human is an transmission of disease between animals. 

 

 

These pandemics are animal - animal and more specifically mammal - mammal. 

 

11 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

"It's been well-known that viruses and bacteria can spill over from animals to people in the right environment, and we've created the right environment."

 

A ) 'It's been well-known that viruses and bacteria can spill over from one species of animal to another, such as one mammal to another mammal in the right environment, and we've created the right environment.' 

 

Framing it that way makes the point, as I'm sure most people recognize that humans are mammals. It forces the mind to make the connection that the disease is transmitting between mammals. Animals to people sounds much more vague. The disease in question isn't coming from reptiles to mammals. Or fish to mammals. It's more specific. And she's giving the wrong idea about creating the right environment. Disease transition can be as simple and natural as mammals eating other mammals, which, we've always done for the most part. Now is not a special time or place (such as illustrated in the movie clip above). And we haven't created a special environment where simply eating and handling meat can transmit disease between species. The whole thing is not so well thought out on her part. 

 

B ) 'It's been well-known that viruses and bacteria can spill over from one species of animal to another, such as one mammal to another mammal in the right environment, and such environments have always and will always exist as human beings have not created any special environment for these types of transmissions.' 

 

We haven't created an environment where something like fruit bats can fly around or interact with pig or cattle. Nor an environment where we eat either bat, pig or cattle. Nor an environment where dolphin, manatee, or whale is eaten. The earth itself has created the environments where these types of disease transmission take place between species. And, such as in the video. And in the video they threw in a bulldozer shaking the tree so as to insinuate the humans somehow did this. But even that's a long shot assertion. Because a fruit bat doesn't need to be shaken to fly around and drop fruit. It does that regardless. 

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1 hour ago, Joshpantera said:

It's been well-known that viruses and bacteria can spill over from one species of animal to another, such as one mammal to another mammal in the right environment, and such environments have always and will always exist as human beings have not created any special environment for these types of transmissions.' 

 

We haven't created an environment where something like fruit bats can fly around or interact with pig or cattle. Nor an environment where we eat either bat, pig or cattle. Nor an environment where dolphin, manatee, or whale is eaten. The earth itself has created the environments where these types of disease transmission take place between species. And, such as in the video. And in the video they threw in a bulldozer shaking the tree so as to insinuate the humans somehow did this. But even that's a long shot assertion. Because a fruit bat doesn't need to be shaken to fly around and drop fruit. It does that regardless. 

What we have done, though, is create environments in which these viruses can mutate, which allows for inter-species transmission.  The Spanish Flu pandemic was traced back to a certain lake in China where farmers were raising pigs (swine flu) and ducks (avian flu) together.  The pigs carried swine flu, which mutated into a pathogen to which ducks were susceptible.   From there, it was just a short hop into geese and other migratory birds.  Once in migratory birds, it was then carried all over the globe.  

 

It is interesting to note here, also, that this was not just from one species to another.  It was transmitted from one class (mammalia) to another (aves).

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I also think this insistence on not distinguishing humans from other animals is nothing more than an exercise in semantics, and a silly one, at that.  When we discuss the Spanish Flu, we refer to a pathogen that mutated from pigs (a kind of animal) into ducks (another kind of... animal).  We don't just say it mutated from one type of animal to another.  We distinguish between the two types to which we refer, for the sake of clarity.  For simplification, we also don't say it spread from Sus scrofa domesticus into Anas platyrhynchos.  We just say "pig" and "duck".  It is simply practical to draw a distinction between one species and another, even if one of the happens to be human.

 

This is like insisting that Siberian Huskies should not be distinguished from Timberwolves.  From a biological perspective, there's not much difference.  But from the practical standpoint of responsible pet ownership...

 

 

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2 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

What we have done, though, is create environments in which these viruses can mutate, which allows for inter-species transmission.  The Spanish Flu pandemic was traced back to a certain lake in China where farmers were raising pigs (swine flu) and ducks (avian flu) together.  The pigs carried swine flu, which mutated into a pathogen to which ducks were susceptible.   From there, it was just a short hop into geese and other migratory birds.  Once in migratory birds, it was then carried all over the globe.  

 

It is interesting to note here, also, that this was not just from one species to another.  It was transmitted from one class (mammalia) to another (aves).

This is why I think she's not far off in stating that we created an environment -because that doesn't occur naturally in nature. It's humans that are putting other mammals in cages in wet markets in China where the excrement from one runs down on the other and so on. It's this environmental that enables transmission. I don't pretend to be a scientist regarding the exact things involved for transmission, but I can see that distinction, the environment was man made. 

 

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Pandemics will happen. The more thickly humans inhabit the earth the greater the potential for spread I would think but nevertheless:

"430 B.C.: Athens

The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War. After the disease passed through Libya, Ethiopia and Egypt, it crossed the Athenian walls as the Spartans laid siege. As much as two-thirds of the population died."

https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/pandemics-timeline

But these types of phenomena may go back almost 3,000 years before this:

https://www.livescience.com/worst-epidemics-and-pandemics-in-history.html

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10 minutes ago, DanForsman said:

Pandemics will happen. The more thickly humans inhabit the earth the greater the potential for spread I would think but nevertheless:

"430 B.C.: Athens

The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War. After the disease passed through Libya, Ethiopia and Egypt, it crossed the Athenian walls as the Spartans laid siege. As much as two-thirds of the population died."

https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/pandemics-timeline

But this types of phenomena may go back almost 3,000 years before this:

https://www.livescience.com/worst-epidemics-and-pandemics-in-history.html

I was just fixing to raise the same point.  Pandemics happen whether we respect nature or not.  As much as I respect Dr. Goodall, I have to disagree with her sentiment.  There are many contributing factors that exacerbate pandemics, not just meat markets, or deforestation, or any other one thing.  How seriously would we take someone claiming that COVID happened because of gay people?  

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I think this might relate but anyway I feel compelled to say that my dog is a much better friend than many of my human friends. And don't forget that Mister Bo Jangles still grieved the loss of his dog 20 years after the fact.

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19 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I was just fixing to raise the same point.  Pandemics happen whether we respect nature or not.  As much as I respect Dr. Goodall, I have to disagree with her sentiment.  There are many contributing factors that exacerbate pandemics, not just meat markets, or deforestation, or any other one thing.  How seriously would we take someone claiming that COVID happened because of gay people?  

 

That's what I'm seeing. There's a certain bias to her tone. And I think that's what LF was picking up on. To be honest, it comes off as a environmentalist bias steeped in partisanship. Where resent for humanity is the undertone. And it's annoying because it echos misconceptions between "man and beast" from genesis as distinctions between animals and people. That's not her purpose, but her partisan bias tends to stem off of the religious ignorance that has informed the west underlying the biased attitude towards humans. 

 

23 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

What we have done, though, is create environments in which these viruses can mutate, which allows for inter-species transmission.  The Spanish Flu pandemic was traced back to a certain lake in China where farmers were raising pigs (swine flu) and ducks (avian flu) together.  The pigs carried swine flu, which mutated into a pathogen to which ducks were susceptible.   From there, it was just a short hop into geese and other migratory birds.  Once in migratory birds, it was then carried all over the globe.  

 

It is interesting to note here, also, that this was not just from one species to another.  It was transmitted from one class (mammalia) to another (aves).

 

That is true in that we have created environments where this sort of cross species transmission can happen. But stopping farming wouldn't stop the possibility of pandemic because it's not limited to a farming scenario. So she would have a hard time going somewhere with an example like this. As one of many ways such things CAN happen. 

 

19 hours ago, DanForsman said:

Pandemics will happen. The more thickly humans inhabit the earth the greater the potential for spread I would think but nevertheless:

"430 B.C.: Athens

The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War. After the disease passed through Libya, Ethiopia and Egypt, it crossed the Athenian walls as the Spartans laid siege. As much as two-thirds of the population died."

https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/pandemics-timeline

But these types of phenomena may go back almost 3,000 years before this:

https://www.livescience.com/worst-epidemics-and-pandemics-in-history.html

 

Yeah, they just happen. Any number of circumstances contribute. But I assume we'll be hard at work trying to figure out better ways of dealing with the inevitable going forward. My example was just to show how easily something like this can happen naturally, without conspiracies and lab related population control or accidents  in labs factoring in. That's what struck me about the movie I cited. It could be so much more simple than a planned conspiracy, lab accident, or even farming for that matter. 

 

A fruit bat can fly around and randomly drop contaminated fruit that something else eats, which can then be eaten by humans and transmitted everywhere. Or a human can eat a bat straight away and the same thing happen. Simple, very natural scenarios can randomly run amok. 

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1 hour ago, Joshpantera said:

That's what I'm seeing. There's a certain bias to her tone. And I think that's what LF was picking up on. To be honest, it comes off as a environmentalist bias steeped in partisanship. Where resent for humanity is the undertone. And it's annoying because it echos misconceptions between "man and beast" from genesis as distinctions between animals and people. That's not her purpose, but her partisan bias tends to stem off of the religious ignorance that has informed the west underlying the biased attitude towards humans. 

Basically, Goodall here is leveraging her position as a scientist to push what is really nothing more than a political agenda.   There is some truth to what she says; and it is backed by some science, but not nearly enough to draw a definite conclusion as she has done.  Not only is this bad science; but it ultimately discredits good science bacause it becomes politicized.  The same thing occurs when climate change science starts blaming everything in humanity.  The burden of science is only to present the data as it is; not as we wish it to be.  Science can be a powerful tool in lobbying for changed legislation; but that is not it's primary purpose. 

 

My comment about blaming gay people is relevant here.  An "authority" using science to blame men is no different from an "authority" using religion to blame gays.  It's just wrong.

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As I said before, though, from a practical scientific standpoint, I don't see an issue with her drawing a distinction between animals and humans.  I don't think religious undertones are the reason for her doing so.  I'd balk if she had used the term "creatures"; but I'm fine with "animals and humans".

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I have nothing much to add to this thread regarding the semantics. 

 

However, in 2006 my wife and I had planned to take a holiday on the German island of Rugen, which is in the Baltic Sea.  Then we watched the news reports about avian flu with growing concern.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_spread_of_H5N1

 

According to the press the disease was moving west, affecting birds in Russia, then Poland and then Germany.  Rugen is rich in bird life and is a stopping-off point for many migrating species.  We imagined that our time on that island would be subject to certain restrictions imposed by the German government.  But we still felt that it would be worth going.

 

Then we read that a cat from Rugen had died after eating a dead waterfowl. The reports said that the disease organism had 'jumped species', moving from birds to mammals.  After reading this we cancelled our holiday.

 

https://www.nature.com/news/2006/060227/full/060227-6.html

 

Audrey and I had no trouble thinking of ourselves as animals.  We reasoned that if avian flu had mutated to become dangerous to mammals, since we were both mammals, there was an unacceptable degree of risk associated with visiting Rugen.  Looking back at the statistics of human fatalities and the small numbers involved, perhaps we overreacted?

 

You are the resident expert when it comes to these matters, Red Neck Professor.  What do you think?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

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1 hour ago, WalterP said:

You are the resident expert when it comes to these matters, Red Neck Professor.  What do you think?

Not sure I'm an expert of any kind, other than proper application of the Dunning-Kruger effect.  😉  But, thanks.

 

Beyond what I've already said, there are only a few points I'd add without much elaboration.  The first being that the worst thing we can do during a pandemic is ignore what science (and history) teaches us; but that is exactly what we have done, and are doing now.  In my opinion, this is much easier to do when we allow science (and history) to become politicized.  As I have often said, unfortunately: "Those who do learn from history will still be doomed to repeat it through the stupidity of those who do not."  

 

Secondly, if we are going to deal with the issues Dr. Goodall mentions here (agriculture, deforestation, etc.) and thus prepare ourselves somewhat better for the next pandemic, it is my considered opinion that we need to move in the direction of resource-based economies, rather than the mass production of uselessness that has driven humanity to this present insanity.

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10 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Secondly, if we are going to deal with the issues Dr. Goodall mentions here (agriculture, deforestation, etc.) and thus prepare ourselves somewhat better for the next pandemic, it is my considered opinion that we need to move in the direction of resource-based economies, rather than the mass production of uselessness that has driven humanity to this present insanity.

 

I agree!  👍👍

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17 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Secondly, if we are going to deal with the issues Dr. Goodall mentions here (agriculture, deforestation, etc.) and thus prepare ourselves somewhat better for the next pandemic, it is my considered opinion that we need to move in the direction of resource-based economies, rather than the mass production of uselessness that has driven humanity to this present insanity.

 

Completely agree

 

https://www.thevenusproject.com/resource-based-economy/ 

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On 5/15/2020 at 10:36 AM, TheRedneckProfessor said:

Secondly, if we are going to deal with the issues Dr. Goodall mentions here (agriculture, deforestation, etc.) and thus prepare ourselves somewhat better for the next pandemic, it is my considered opinion that we need to move in the direction of resource-based economies, rather than the mass production of uselessness [Older's emphasis] that has driven humanity to this present insanity.

  

After reading recent news reports of the collapse of the retail sector it occurred to me that perhaps people don't need all this shit they were buying. Note that in America a person is referred to as a "consumer." In my travels I've noted that people in some countries and cultures use things. We consume things.

 

I am reminded of a brief adventure in retail that I had many years ago. I happened make several visits to the wholesale gift mart in Los Angeles, where all the various retail shops went to get their junk. And I was stunned at this six-story building full of absolute shit, and by the fact that this stuff was selling. If that was a reflection on our values, we are in a world of hurt.

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1 hour ago, older said:

  

After reading recent news reports of the collapse of the retail sector it occurred to me that perhaps people don't need all this shit they were buying. Note that in America a person is referred to as a "consumer." In my travels I've noted that people in some countries and cultures use things. We consume things.

 

I am reminded of a brief adventure in retail that I had many years ago. I happened make several visits to the wholesale gift mart in Los Angeles, where all the various retail shops went to get their junk. And I was stunned at this six-story building full of absolute shit, and by the fact that this stuff was selling. If that was a reflection on our values, we are in a world of hurt.

I agree. I work in retail and likely am not going back. I've frankly had enough of contributing to the mindless consumption and terrible amounts of waste. 

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