A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 241

Teasswill

Yes, I should have qualified that with 'when' rather than if, or if... very soon.
One scientist made a comment that if another virus comes along as infectious as measles & as deathly as SARS, that could be the end of humanity as we know it.


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 242

Array

"that could be the end of humanity as we know it"

I don't think a pandemic would end the species. It could easily end civilisation.


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 243

Array

smiley - raisedeyebrow Not "easily." After all, no pandemic has. Yet.

And Europe has had much worse ones before.

smiley - pirate


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 244

Array

And before you start, because I know you will, allow me to clarify that I refer to *worldwide* civilization.

But in any case: The destruction of civilization WOULD be the "end of humanity," as **we** know it.

smiley - pirate


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 245

Array

"Not "easily." After all, no pandemic has. Yet."

At any given moment, something like half a MILLION people are travelling at great speed between countries on aircraft. No pandemic in history has occurred in that context. Yes, Europe has had worse pandemics before, in an age when the fastest was from A to B was on freakin *horseback*. And you question "easily"? Bizarre. Have you even *seen* the movie "Contagion"?

And I was referring to *worldwide* civilisation too - that's a large part of the point. We don't have the Aztecs on one continent and the Mayans on another and the Egyptians on another and the Chinese on another, safely isolated by huge distances and months of travel. We have just one, global community, massively interconnected and interdependent. One goes down, we all go down.

And if you consider your TV or your car or your antibiotics to be defining of your humanity, well, OK then, have it your way. I'd draw a distinction between people and the structures that they've constructed, but fine, yeah.

My point was that while any virus no matter how virulent would probably leave pockets of humanity untouched (the North Sentinelese, for instance), the people left would be back to living like them. Stone knives and bows and arrows and so on, before long.


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 246

Array

Another thing it occurs to me to say... I'm now wrong. It should be obvious, but to be clear: my entire objection to Muslim women routinely wearing masks in the street was that IN CONTEXT it represented a rude, separatist rejection of the culture around them. You can argue about their reasons for doing it, or even their agency (i.e. whether it's their choice or enforced on them by other people around them), but you can't pretend it was not antithetical to the generally liberal society surrounding them, one in which mask wearing is not common and therefore not generally accepted. To pretend it was acceptable, to reach desperately for counter-examples, is just silly.

But... the context has changed. Right now, I see no problem with Muslim women wearing masks. At this point in time, they're simply another person on the street with their face covered - big whoop.

I do wonder whether our context will ever revert to its previous state.

I also wonder whether people objecting to Muslim face covering for racist reasons are still objecting to it as vehemently, now that they're going to be wearing a mask themselves. HAH! Who am I kidding? Those people don't wear masks.


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 247

Array

"[...] you question "easily"? Bizarre. Have you even *seen* the movie 'Contagion'?"


smiley - rolleyes Yes, I have, and it *didn't* end. Besides, it's a MOVIE. It's proof of nothing.


For context, Bubonic Plague outbreaks wiped out 25 to 40 percent of Europe's population at the time and civilization didn't end then either.


In fact, the only civilization-ending pandemic that I can think of off the top of my head was when an entire cocktail of multiple diseases was introduced to a completely unprepared North America in the 1500s. Our best estimate is that, in that instance, about 92% of the indigenous population died.

And EVEN THEN several of those populations would have *eventually* recovered from that pandemic, if the Europeans themselves hadn't been right behind it.


PLUS: That was all before we had any understanding of micro-organisms or how viruses work. Which makes a huge difference. Even despite the fact that society's response to this particular pandemic has been haphazard at best, it still can't be argued that we haven't been able to mitigate a lot of it because of that knowledge.




"And if you consider your TV or your car or your antibiotics to be defining of your humanity, well, OK then, have it your way."

Of course I don't.



"My point was that [...] the people left would be back to [...] Stone knives and bows and arrows and so on, before long."


And my point is that historical evidence does not support that.



Also, it isn't necessary that we get into a slugfest over this.


smiley - pirate


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 248

Array

"My entire objection to Muslim women routinely wearing masks in the street was that IN CONTEXT it represented a rude, separatist rejection of the culture around them. [...] You can't pretend it was not antithetical to the generally liberal society surrounding them"


One would think a "liberal" society would let them wear whatever they wanted....


smiley - pirate


Basic freedoms (ukish centric)

Post 249

Array

*North and South America

(Duh.) smiley - facepalm

smiley - pirate


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