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George Jung
05-10-2010, 10:17 PM
I found this article a bit disheartening, if not totally unexpected. I know we've discussed this, perhaps a year or two ago (time flies when yer having fun). As I recall, the idealists among us castigated those more sanguine/cynical. At least at this juncture, cynicism seems to have the upper hand.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/world/africa/10aids.html?src=me&ref=homepage


Uganda is the first country where major clinics routinely turn people away, but it will not be the last. In Kenya next door, grants to keep 200,000 on drugs will expire soon. An American-run program in Mozambique has been told to stop opening clinics. There have been drug shortages in Nigeria and Swaziland. Tanzania and Botswana are trimming treatment slots, according to a report by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/invoke.cfm?objectid=C34D1CE2-15C5-F00A-25AFA94BDAF99F59&component=toolkit.pressrelease&method=full_html).
The collapse was set off by the global recession (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/r/recession_and_depression/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier)’s effect on donors, and by a growing sense that more lives would be saved by fighting other, cheaper diseases. Even as the number of people infected by AIDS grows by a million a year, money for treatment has stopped growing.
Other forces made failure almost inevitable.
Science has produced no magic bullet — no cure, no vaccine, no widely accepted female condom (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/condoms/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier). Every proposal for controlling the epidemic with current tools — like circumcising every man in the third world, giving a daily prophylactic pill to everyone contemplating sex or testing billions of people and treating all the estimated 33 million who would test positive — is wildly impractical.
And, most devastating of all, old-fashioned prevention has flopped. Too few people, particularly in Africa, are using the “ABC” approach pioneered here in Uganda: abstain, be faithful, use condoms.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/world/africa/10aidscondom.html?ref=africa


But even before drugs arrived, powerful societal forces were arrayed against safe sex.
“According to African culture, the man is the overlord,” said Peace Atwongyeire, 42, a handsome counselor whose face adorns local billboards saying she is not ashamed to be H.I.V.-positive. “You have to say yes.”
Because a man buys a wife from her father for cows or cash, he “owns” her. If she refuses sex or insists on a condom, he may beat her or throw her out of the house.
Also, condoms thwart pregnancy, and “I prove my manhood by having children,” said Mr. Bitti, a father of 14. “That is how a girl proves she is a woman. In Africa, you cannot tell anyone to stop having children. They will even think, ‘I would rather have AIDS and leave my children when I die. At least I will have produced my three.’ ”
Prostitutes, too, have disincentives. They typically get $5 for sex, but $10 to $20 more for sex without a condom. (Though it did not come up in Bwindi, prostitutes elsewhere in Africa have complained that some clients secretly bite holes in condoms because they believe flesh must make contact for the sex to be real.)



I know most here despise the 'cut'n paste' approach. But these articles are a good read, and provide a pretty evenhanded balance. You might find it educational. But what I'm reading is - the world is writing off Africa.

CByrneiv
05-10-2010, 10:32 PM
A lot of us gave up on Africa and SE Asia on the AIDS question years ago.

First time I took a civilian flight into Thailand, I walked out of the airport, and was nearly immediately assaulted by people hawking sexual services to me.

There was never more than a few hours at a time while I was in Bangkok, without being solicited for sexual services.

The official number on AIDS infection rates is 1.4%... which in itself is obscene, but my friends who know better say its at least ten times the admitted rate.

Then there's Africa... My god.

The official infection rate in most of subsaharan Africa is 20% plus.

That is simply not survivable. These nations with 20%, 24%, even 26% OFFICIAL infection rates (real rates are certain to be much higher)... They won't be there in 20 years or so.

When people deiberately infect virgins to "cure themself" of AIDS... what can you do about that? We've spent billions on education and prevention programs, but their leaders, government, tribal leaders etc... tell the people otherwise. That it's not a virus, that it isn't transmitted by unprotected sex, that it was spread by America to kill black Africans, that they have magical "cures" for their followers... That you can cure it with diet...

I lost hope a long time back.

ripley699
05-11-2010, 12:03 AM
I have read that China has a huge aids problem and growing...something on the order of 5 % of its population...I can't find that link this minute but i"ll keep looking

RIPLEY

Candyfloss
05-11-2010, 01:04 AM
Let's make a list of the ways Humanity is bringing about it's own demise. I'll start with overpopulation.

CByrneiv
05-11-2010, 01:27 AM
Let's make a list of the ways Humanity is bringing about it's own demise. I'll start with overpopulation.

Excepting the fact that there is no such thing, on a global scale.

Locally, sure. By any definition, any major urban area is overpopulated; as are most centers of economic activity in otherwise poor countries.

But as a whole, earth has a population density of about 34.5 per square mile.

Even if you only include currently inhabited areas, it's about 260 per square mile.

The United states, which has VAST unpopulated areas, has an average poplation density of 83.2 per square mile.

That is totally sustainable. Agronomists estimate we could feed, house, and clothe 15 billion or so, to a modern standard of living, with CURRENT production capacity (presuming it were directed appropriately).

If we raised the average agricultural and manufacturing technology level world wide, to that of the U.S. in the 50s, we could support at least twice that.

I'm not saying it's GOOD; but it's sustainable using reasonable farming techniques. Thank Norman Borlaug.

Not only that, but world population growth has slowed dramatically; and not because of disease, famine, or war (the historically prevalent causes); but because of choice and demographics.

No... "environmental catastrophe" isn't going to take humans down; be it "climate change" or "overpopulation" or anything else...

...Unless we're talking about a truly unforseen catastrophe, like say for some reason the poles flip instantly and in so doing we lose our ionosphere and we all fry.

If we're going to be taken down, it's going to be by our own action (blowing ourselves up), or by a pathogen (virii and bacterium)... or both.

Both is surprisingly... frighteningly... likely.

Candyfloss
05-11-2010, 02:02 AM
If we're going to be taken down, it's going to be by our own action (blowing ourselves up), or by a pathogen (virii and bacterium)... or both.

Both is surprisingly... frighteningly... likely.

Whew. Well I'm glad we at least agree on this much. It's a start.

Here's the problem. Agricultural production relies on two major inputs, oil and water, and we are running out of both. For instance, and it's your country, so please don't ask me to do the research, how many rivers run thru Texas, and how many of them reach the sea? I can name the Colorado and the Brazos. Neither reaches the sea because all their water has been taken for irrigation, and there are lots more. A Texan told me so. He does not live in America any more.

But you are not alone. The Murray in Australia no longer reaches the sea, and if Cantabrians here in NZ have their way, several South Island rivers will soon not reach the sea. And ask any Australian how much it rains in NZ. Well, not as much as Ireland, but close.

The Egyptians have this problem with the Aswan High dam. The Delta is dying of thirst. Which South East Asian country was it recently who accused China of stealing their water? The Yangtze River? I forget. It's happening & it's serious.

But that is only one of the reasons why we are very soon going to start throwing things a lot more substantial than words at each other.

PeterSibley
05-11-2010, 05:23 AM
George , there's really nothing to say .Ignorance and poverty tend to go together , but not always .

Paul Pless
05-11-2010, 06:16 AM
Norman Borlaug'The Left' sure did wad him up and throw him away when they were done with him.:rolleyes:

BrianW
05-11-2010, 06:26 AM
Way back when Bush was President, we blamed him, and US Christians for not giving enough money, or not spending the money on the right programs.

Now we don't blame Presidents, it's simply a hopeless cause, so why bother.

Paul Pless
05-11-2010, 06:29 AM
Let's make a list of the ways Humanity is bringing about it's own demise. I'll start with overpopulation.


Excepting the fact that there is no such thing, on a global scale.

If we're going to be taken down, it's going to be by. . .
a pathogen (virii and bacterium). . .

Both is surprisingly... frighteningly... likely.The pathogenic demise of a species in any ecology might well be a symptom of overpopulation.

While I agree with you that there's probably no fear of being able to sustain our current rate of global population growth with the resource utilization and similar technological growth; there are other 'complications' that might arise from having too many people on this planet.

PeterSibley
05-11-2010, 06:35 AM
It's not population as such ,it's our consumption and waste that is the problem .We are nothing like our grandparents in that respect .

TomF
05-11-2010, 06:51 AM
To be fair, Brian, I blamed Bush for his approach to sex education in Africa, which IIRC did not include anything which supported condom use. I blamed the Pope for similar approaches, and still do. Hell, I blame our current Canadian Prime Minister and his Cabinet for undertaking a major "Maternal Health" initiative through the G8, while avoiding entirely issues related to the lack of safe abortions in places where these are legal.

I didn't blame Bush (or the Pope) for patriarchal or superstitious African culture, African men's tendencies towards loving "dry" sex (which increases the risk of STD transmission), or such like. Africa's done that to herself.

George, this makes me weep. So many more will die, so much more suffering caused. So much more of Africa will fall backward in initiative and development, and simply stay ripe for exploitation by others of us. I don't know what the solution is - but it's clear what it isn't.

Makes one think that Freud was right, that human beings struggle between eros and thanatos - the will to love, and the will to death. We're killing ourselves in the West with cheap sugars and fats; they're killing themselves in Africa with sex. And we're all participating in killing each other with environmental degradation. Not that any of us don't know better.

potterer
05-11-2010, 07:06 AM
Excepting the fact that there is no such thing, on a global scale.

But as a whole, earth has a population density of about 34.5 per square mile.

Even if you only include currently inhabited areas, it's about 260 per square mile.


These figures are from Wikipedia.
34.5 per sq mile includes land and sea.
For land only, world population density is 117.2 per sq mile, including Antarctica:
otherwise it’s 129.28 per sq mile.
Over half of the world’s land mass is uninhabitable desert or high mountain: we now have 250.56 per sq mile.
That’s 12,363 sq yards per person: That’s a square of land 111.2 yards on each side (about 3 times the size of my garden).
If that’s all you had you’d be a subsistence farmer with no hope of your present standard of living. One crop failure and you’d be dead.
I have no doubt that we’re overpopulated.

One of the characteristics of overpopulation is the rapid spread of disease (think fish farms and battery housed chickens) (think Influenza: weren’t we lucky that Mexican flu was relatively harmless?) such as HIV.
Another characteristic is warfare: overcrowded farm animals fight for food just as overcrowded human beings will fight for oil and water. Incidentally, this is the main reason why many Africans are starving: the Horn of Africa could probably feed it’s population if it had the political will, but it prefers to fight.

The Optimum Population Trust believes that an optimal or sustainable population for the world is 2.7 to 5.1 billion: the present population is 6.8 billion.

Tristan
05-11-2010, 07:56 AM
The pathogenic demise of a species in any ecology might well be a symptom of overpopulation.

there are other 'complications' that might arise from having too many people on this planet.

Yes, yes, and yes!

JimD
05-11-2010, 09:17 AM
There are some things not even Bush can be blamed for.

Hwyl
05-11-2010, 09:34 AM
America's gift to the world..

CByrneiv
05-11-2010, 12:48 PM
Sure.... we just couldn't provide all of them with jobs.

You don't "provide" people with jobs.

Jobs arise because of a need for labor, or other productive activity. They are created by productive activity, and growth; or by non-productive, but necessary activity (like military, police, government, etc...).

Of course, most people don't have the foggiest idea of this concept.

Oh and I don't disagree with the practical implications of your statement, only the idea that jobs are "provided" by some external force, authority, or action.

No, there would not be jobs for 15 billion people. If we had the technology sufficient to support 15 billion people, we wouldn't need their labor. There simply isn't that much need for labor, even skilled labor, with a modern technology level.

CByrneiv
05-11-2010, 12:50 PM
The pathogenic demise of a species in any ecology might well be a symptom of overpopulation.

While I agree with you that there's probably no fear of being able to sustain our current rate of global population growth with the resource utilization and similar technological growth; there are other 'complications' that might arise from having too many people on this planet.

I absolutely agree with you there.

CByrneiv
05-11-2010, 12:58 PM
Whew. Well I'm glad we at least agree on this much. It's a start.


But that is only one of the reasons why we are very soon going to start throwing things a lot more substantial than words at each other.

I agree with you there as well.

China.

They ARE going to either start, or substantially precipitate a major conflict some time soon. Their demographic bomb demands it.

Large structural unemployment, mass disease, a lack of economic and social opportunity, and a large surplus of men under the age of 30... That's as unstable a mix as you can imagine.

There's only three ways it could end up: Pandemic dieoff; generalized societal breakdown into anarchy and likely warlordism and genocide (and this is a country with nuclear weapons); or they start a war somewhere, sending all their surplus young men off to die... and again, this is a country with nuclear weapons.

And that's just one hot button.

For the most part we as a world have been dancing between the raindrops since WW2. Yeah, we occasionally get hit by a few, but so far we're Gene Kelly. The problem is, we've been dancing in the eye of a hurricane, and it's speeding up to faster than we can dance.

Kaa
05-11-2010, 12:59 PM
America's gift to the world..

Huh?

Kaa

CByrneiv
05-11-2010, 01:01 PM
Another characteristic is warfare: overcrowded farm animals fight for food just as overcrowded human beings will fight for oil and water. Incidentally, this is the main reason why many Africans are starving: the Horn of Africa could probably feed it’s population if it had the political will, but it prefers to fight.


I have no doubt this is correct... I KNOW it is in fact. The problem in Sub Saharan Africa isn't crop failures, it's the fact that there are no real nations there, only tribes, and tribal warfare, and tribal corruption.

Michael D. Storey
05-11-2010, 02:10 PM
I would suggest that it is as likely that the AIDS virus will mutate itself out of existence as it is that it could have mutate itself into existence. It could mutate itself into a specie that would be vulnerable to contaminants that it is currently immune to. I think that that is how it will disappear. If after all of the resource plunged into fighting the disease, the number of infected persons continues to grow, it would seem that our approach is not effctive.
Of course you can argue that without human intervention, it would have been worse. I am sure that it would have. That fact still does not negate the fact that we as a culture are not successful in conquering this disease. We are either using the wrong approach or it is beyond our current ability to beat.

Sam F
05-12-2010, 07:42 AM
I would suggest that it is as likely that the AIDS virus will mutate itself out of existence as it is that it could have mutate itself into existence.

I'm sorry Michael but it doesn't work that way.
The AIDS virus has one of the fastest mutation rates known. But that doesn't mean it will mutate itself out of existence. According to standard Darwinian doctrine, any non-beneficial trait will be selected against and will die out of a population. Thus...


It could mutate itself into a specie that would be vulnerable to contaminants that it is currently immune to.... those defective organisms will not reproduce. The ones that will reproduce are the ones with immunity to whatever environmental factor that killed the defectives.

... the number of infected persons continues to grow, it would seem that our approach is not effctive.

You are certainly correct in that. Condoms are not going to stop it.


That fact still does not negate the fact that we as a culture are not successful in conquering this disease. We are either using the wrong approach or it is beyond our current ability to beat.

AIDS is possibly the easiest disease to prevent that there is.
No Evolution is required - only a simple change in behavior. No fantastic "miracle of science" is needed to drive this disease into extinction. It can be done in one human generation.

Sam F
05-12-2010, 07:47 AM
Originally Posted by CByrneiv
That is totally sustainable. Agronomists estimate we could feed, house, and clothe 15 billion or so, to a modern standard of living, with CURRENT production capacity (presuming it were directed appropriately).


Sure.... we just couldn't provide all of them with jobs.

A common misconception. Jobs are created via several means... human ingenuity for one. But the vast majority of jobs are linked to population size.
15 billion people need lots of houses, stoves, refrigerators, radios, etc.

It's like the old joke about the 12 Chinese families who made a living by taking in each other's laundry. In a way, it really does work like that. :)

TomF
05-12-2010, 10:25 AM
Actually, Sam, a "better" AIDS virus wouldn't kill its host at all. But this one is a "good" virus because it is transmitted in a way which has a lot of popularity, and keeps its host alive long enough to pass on the virus to quite a few other hosts even if untreated.

In terms of adaptation, I doubt there's a lot of impetus for the virus to mutate those traits - only to mutate to respond to various treatment protocols.

Sam F
05-12-2010, 11:20 AM
Actually, Sam, a "better" AIDS virus wouldn't kill its host at all.

Careful there Tom - you're bringing in teleology and I hear that's a no-no. ;)


In terms of adaptation, I doubt there's a lot of impetus for the virus to mutate those traits - only to mutate to respond to various treatment protocols.

Mutations are utterly unguided by anything. Thus, they don't "respond".

Sam F
05-12-2010, 11:23 AM
Of course. Compared to finding a treatment, changing human behavior is trivial.

Sure. I can practically guarantee that I will never catch AIDS. It's easy.


Religion is enormously successful at doing that.
Lots of things can influence behavior - ask any advertising exec.
There is always the "Duh!" factor too. That is, it is not unprecedented for people to learn vicariously and say "Duh! I ain't goin' there!"

paladin
05-12-2010, 11:31 AM
Africa has done it to herself.....30 years ago I was all over the place....particularly Uganda.....then the major problem was syphilis and Gonorrhea...the "joke" was that VD rate was 300%.....some may not have had it, and others kept reinfecting themselves and others....over and over and over and........

Kaa
05-12-2010, 12:01 PM
Careful there Tom - you're bringing in teleology and I hear that's a no-no. ;)

What teleology? "Better" as in "better fitness", aka better adapted to survive and prosper.


Mutations are utterly unguided by anything. Thus, they don't "respond".

An individual mutation does not respond. Natural selection of particular mutations from the random stream of them certainly "responds" to changes in the environment.

Kaa

Sam F
05-12-2010, 12:14 PM
What teleology? "Better" as in "better fitness", aka better adapted to survive and prosper.

It's right there Kaa, in your own statement.
"Better" implies a purpose as in, better for what end?
Sorry, but "survival and prospering" (i.e. "a purpose, aim, end and/or design"*) is a teleological statement.
I'm told you just can't do that. ;)



Natural selection of particular mutations from the random stream of them certainly "responds" to changes in the environment.

Kaa
It is not the mutation that responds to anything. It just is, in the sense that all accidents just are. They have no end, purpose or aim.

*from Wikipedia's article on teleology.

Kaa
05-12-2010, 12:18 PM
It's right there Kaa, in your own statement.
"Better" implies a purpose as in, better for what end?
Sorry, but "survival and prospering" (i.e. "a purpose, aim, end and/or design"*) is a teleological statement.
I'm told you just can't do that. ;)

"Better" implies not a purpose but fitness.

In order to say "better" all I need is a metric. In this case the metric is easy -- ability to survive and multiply.

Of course you can call survival a "purpose", but I doubt it would get you anywhere. And why can't I do it, by the way?


It is not the mutation that responds to anything.

Yep -- I am glad we agree :-P

Kaa

Sam F
05-12-2010, 12:22 PM
"Better" implies not a purpose but fitness.

Fit for what end?

Kaa
05-12-2010, 12:23 PM
Fit for what end?

Not end. Do you understand the concept of a metric?

Kaa

peb
05-12-2010, 12:27 PM
Sure.... we just couldn't provide all of them with jobs.
THere is a stupid response.

peb
05-12-2010, 12:54 PM
That’s 12,363 sq yards per person: That’s a square of land 111.2 yards on each side (about 3 times the size of my garden).
If that’s all you had you’d be a subsistence farmer with no hope of your present standard of living. One crop failure and you’d be dead.
That’s 12,363 sq yards per person: That’s a square of land 111.2 yards on each side (about 3 times the size of my garden).
If that’s all you had you’d be a subsistence farmer with no hope of your present standard of living. One crop failure and you’d be dead.



Wow, where to start? 2.5 acres per person (you have a really big garden) and one crop failure and you be dead? Assuming there is a means of perserving food (if not, it doesn't matter how much land you have), that is more than enough to produce food to live off.

Lets just say that every family had 10 acres, everyone farmed, but there were local economies of exchange of goods. On my 10 acres of land, I could grow somewhare around 300 bushels of wheat, that should be about 20,000 loaves of bread. Lets say each family needs a loaf per day, that should cover around 54 families in my vicinity.

Just so we don;t need any more wheat farmers, lets just use 40 families as the "community", that is 400 acres.

Ok, we got the bread down, now lets move on to meat. Lets pick one that is reall inefficient, beef. If one was to use assume average rainfall of 30 inches/year and assume an intensive management grazing program, off of simple grass and 10 acres, one could raise probably raise 5,000 lbs/beef per 10 acre tract. Thats proably around 2500lbs of consumable beef. Lets say each family of four consumes 750 lbs of beef a year. The math works out to 12 of our 10 acre farms growning nothing but grass and cattle.
So we have bread and beef taken care of (in a rather plentiful supply) for our 160 people with just 13 of our 40 "farms" being used.
Now, of couse everyone needs a house, lets be generous and give everyone 1 acre for this. So we need to use up around 40 acres for homes, that is equivilent to another 4 farms. So now we have used up 17 of our 40 "farms".
You get the idea....

Peter Malcolm Jardine
05-12-2010, 12:59 PM
Well I get your idea.

Sam F
05-12-2010, 01:01 PM
Not end. Do you understand the concept of a metric?

Kaa

Sure I understand measurement. But sorry Kaa, fitness implies an end.
Unless your argument is fit for nothing.

Look don't blame me for noticing the unacknowledged metaphysical assumptions behind Darwinism - it's not my idea after all.

peb
05-12-2010, 01:02 PM
Another way to look at this, we have 400Million acres of crop land in the US and we produce enough to feed our 300M people a couple of times over. And most of this land is producing grain for cars and livestock.

peb
05-12-2010, 01:06 PM
BTW, I am guessing that the reason you guys have brought of the issue of over-population on a thread about aids-in-africa is because you think the epidemic a good thing? Rather elistist of us, don't you think. Lets let aids kill of africa to solve our moral problems with over-population.

Kaa
05-12-2010, 01:09 PM
Sure I understand measurement. But sorry Kaa, fitness implies an end.

Nope, it doesn't seem that you do.

Let's say I have a random number generator that outputs uniformly distributed real numbers on the ]0..100] interval. Any purpose/end? Nope.

Let's say I define a very simple metric -- bigger is better. Just so -- still no purpose.

Let's say further that I use my metric (bigger is better) to sort the random flow of numbers coming out of my RNG into certain order -- there would be a bucket for the big numbers and a bucket for the small numbers. I can say that (according to my metric) the numbers in the big bucket are "better" -- no problems.

And there is still no purpose or end in sight :-)

Kaa

Kaa
05-12-2010, 01:10 PM
BTW, I am guessing that the reason you guys have brought of the issue of over-population on a thread about aids-in-africa is because you think the epidemic a good thing?

Nah, I think it's just that jerking-knee thing :D

Kaa

johnw
05-12-2010, 02:01 PM
Ultimately, African society will have to adapt. If people who hold the old ways die, and those who behave differently don't, eventually people will notice that.

TomF
05-12-2010, 02:12 PM
Sure I understand measurement. But sorry Kaa, fitness implies an end.The fitness metric, as regards adaptation, is whether or not an adaptation improves the organism's survival and reproductive capability.

So there's no teleology required; a "better" virus is simply one which prospers without killing its host. A "worse" virus kills its host, thereby inadvertently killing itself and cutting short its own reproductive capacity.

There is no necessary teleological "purpose" which the virus needs to serve, other than its own continuance. Certainly no need for an external explanation (i.e. God's Wrath).

Peter Malcolm Jardine
05-12-2010, 07:44 PM
I love when Sam cherry picks evolution to suit his argument... its so.. soo.. Sam:D

George Jung
05-12-2010, 07:57 PM
The usual 'side show' argument aside - did any of you read the two articles linked? The second, discussing the 'cultural' obstacles to dealing with AIDS, have been discussed - and defended (here, btw) - and are now acknowledged even by those infected/affected, in Africa. First step - but I saw nothing in that article suggesting even a hint that behavior change was even an option. With the loss of aid money, and a skyrocketing infection rate, the fallout will seem like genocide. Overwhelming, disaster.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
05-12-2010, 08:05 PM
So George, are you in favour of celibacy in Africa as a treatment for the aids outbreak?

Paul Pless
05-12-2010, 08:19 PM
With the loss of aid money, and a skyrocketing infection rate, the fallout will seem like genocide. Overwhelming, disaster.has bill gates given up?

Candyfloss
05-12-2010, 09:00 PM
There is good precedent to be hopeful that this virus will mutate itself out of existence. This from Wiki regarding the end of the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918

Quote:-

End of the pandemic

After the lethal second wave struck in the autumn of 1918, new cases dropped abruptly — almost to nothing after the peak in the second wave.[9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic#cite_note-Barry_book-8) In Philadelphia for example, 4,597 people died in the week ending October 16, but by November 11 influenza had almost disappeared from the city. One explanation for the rapid decline of the lethality of the disease is that doctors simply got better at preventing and treating the pneumonia which developed after the victims had contracted the virus, although John Barry states in his book that researchers have found no evidence to support this. Another theory holds that the 1918 virus mutated extremely rapidly to a less lethal strain. This is a common occurrence with influenza viruses: there is a tendency for pathogenic viruses to become less lethal with time, providing more living hosts.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic#cite_note-Barry_book-8)

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic#cite_note-Barry_book-8)
The Great Plagues of Europe went the same way. After rampaging thru the countryside, admittedly for a very long time, they just went away.

It's just a virus. We've always had them, always will. Last time I asked, there is no medical cure for a virus.


(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic#cite_note-Barry_book-8)

George Jung
05-12-2010, 09:26 PM
I'm unaware of where the Gates Foundation stands on this, but the article gave n o indication they were increasing their contributions to offset the drop in other contributions, nor is there any info to suggest this might be successful. For those unwilling to read the links (first post, btw), you might note the futility arises from the populations unwillingness to make any behavioral concessions that might mitigate the spread of this disease - and if the populace doesn't care about themselves or their people, the fight is over. As far as abstinencence - where do you come up with that crap, anyway? Nowhere was it mentioned in that article. And as far a condoms is concerned - they don't work if people refuse to use them. Rather blows a hole in many of the arguments I've read here.

Put your prejudices, your religious arguments, your preconceived notions aside. Read the articles.

George Jung
05-12-2010, 09:28 PM
I've read nothing (scientific literature) to suggest this virus is becoming less virulent, or shows any indication of disappearing.

Maybe you could provide a link to support your contentions.

CByrneiv
05-12-2010, 09:32 PM
the fallout will seem like genocide. Overwhelming, disaster.

The term you're looking for here is mass suicide, not genocide.

Michael D. Storey
05-12-2010, 09:41 PM
In terms of adaptation, I doubt there's a lot of impetus for the virus to mutate those traits - only to mutate to respond to various treatment protocols.

An organism does not need an impetus to mutate. An impetus causes evolution. A mutation happens through a genetic misprint. That is what makes it a mutation. And a mutation can not be predicted accurately, beyond the fact that all organisms mutate.

George Jung
05-12-2010, 09:46 PM
The term you're looking for here is mass suicide, not genocide.


Effectively, you are correct - though I don't think they're thinking in those terms or intent. But genocide doesn't properly connote this occurence.

George Jung
05-12-2010, 10:08 PM
I'm unfamiliar with that, as well -

can you post a link?

Ian Marchuk
05-12-2010, 10:11 PM
George,the articles you linked were an excellent analysis , and very disturbing.
The underlying contributing influences are cultural and political. The outcomes horrifying and inexorable.
To pan over the landscape of horror and incalculable suffering and play out the view of our highly evolved sophisticates discussing the unfolding of a continent wide plague of avoidable suffering and death, is more detached sophistication than I can fathom.
Outside the efforts of outside agencies and NGOs very little has been accomplished by local governments. Riddled by corruption , nepotism, and tribalism , so many efforts have been derailed , robbed, or plundered. Local efforts to encourage responsible behavior have been met with mockery from the sophisticates . Those nations who have made extensive efforts to supply goods and services to help stem the tide have been held up to punishing scorn because the help is regarded as insufficient. Those leaders who have starved their people and plundered aid while consolidating political and military power are seldom ever even criticised . Mugabe anyone?
I am not very hopeful. Those nations who may have been able to help are in an economic tailspin , the result of bizarre policy decisions compounded in layers.
Turning this around in Africa would take a cultural and political sea change requiring several generations to take hold. I do not think it possible before the disease has its way and uncounted hundreds of millions die , whereupon there may be a behavioral awakening .
The problem is not the disease or a virus. The problem is behavioral,cultural, and political. The virus is the canary in the coal mine.
When the problems are socio-political, technological solutions are just kicking the can a little further down the road.

Michael D. Storey
05-12-2010, 10:16 PM
Turning this around in Africa would take a cultural and political sea change requiring several generations to take hold. I do not think it possible before the disease has its way and uncounted hundreds of millions die , whereupon there may be a behavioral awakening .
The problem is not the disease or a virus. The problem is behavioral,cultural, and political. The virus is the canary in the coal mine.
When the problems are socio-political, technological solutions are just kicking the can a little further down the road.

I think that this is it. There could/will surely be future calamities based on this paradigm if there is not a fundamental change in behaviour and thinking.

Candyfloss
05-13-2010, 05:44 AM
Ian, nobody ever called me "sophisticated" before.

I'm what Americans would call a "bleeding heart Liberal", I'm further left than you can imagine, but I know reality when I see it, and I know a hopeless case when presented with it. Like the insane wars I see all around me, I know that there is nothing I can do about this but wait till it plays itself out and try to help pick up the pieces afterwards. Meanwhile I keep my head below the parapet and try to keep me and mine safe. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

George Jung
05-13-2010, 07:35 AM
Interesting theory - but I've not read anything drawing a link between what the Gates Foundation has done, and what you've posted. Also, it's been my perception that, at least in Africa, sexual practices have been the main conduit of spread. I checked some medical literature, and seems to substantiate this, as well. Nothing I saw seemed to support your theory. Not to say the contaminated medical supplies didn't happen - but that's a practice that can be (and I believe has) be changed. The behavioral risks are the ongoiong problem, however.

TomF
05-13-2010, 08:22 AM
George, I'd read the articles.

The solution to the epidemic in Africa, if there is to be one, must be cultural. The practices which can reduce the spread of AIDs - or pretty much any STD - are well known. The spread stops cold when infected people entirely stop having sex with uninfected people. It slows when people always use some barrier methods of contraception.

In Africa, as elsewhere, neither option is particularly practical. In Africa, however, non-compliance with these basic but rather effective principles is compounded both by cultural roadblocks (specific cultural forms of patriarchy, of multi-partner relationships, preferences re sexual activity itself etc.). To say nothing of superstition and misinformation, and poverty which precludes implementing 100% safer sex even when this is wanted ... to say nothing about the costs for treating AIDS once acquired.

Yes, Africa's doing this to herself - and I don't see a way out except through. Africans will only change their practices, and the cultural elements which generate them, when the death accruing from not doing so becomes culturally unacceptable.

Till then, we get to choose whether to help them stay alive (via full-spectrum information, drug distribution and condom distribution), or not. We get to choose whether to intend to profit from the death of generations, leaving Africa ever more open for foreigners' exploitation, or to try and support Africa's own elements which might embody the beginning of change.

Personally, I think this is like the destruction of the fisheries; there's no real hope that an even more catastrophic disaster can be avoided, because people won't think outside of themselves. Either Africans, or us. It's an incalculable tragedy, however much self-inflicted.

Osborne Russell
05-13-2010, 08:28 AM
simple reality is that we are the virus and are overrunning the place, a good solid plague might just save the species if not the individual

Rush Limbaugh reminds us that AIDS is as natural as petroleum in the ocean. Tree huggers just look for things to be upset about.

Sam F
05-13-2010, 09:29 AM
... I saw nothing in that article suggesting even a hint that behavior change was even an option...

Then they are thrown back on nature red in tooth and claw. Darwinian processes rule with certain obvious results. Those who have the capability for cultural change will survive. Those who don't... won't.

Sam F
05-13-2010, 09:34 AM
Calling it a "metric" is just so much pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo that fail to obscure the fact of the matter.

The fitness metric, as regards adaptation, is whether or not an adaptation improves the organism's survival and reproductive capability.

So there's no teleology required...

Whether it's required or not - you just cited an end.
"adaptation" to what end? The end is "survival and reproductive capability."
Again, don't blame me for noticing the unexamined metaphysical assumptions in Darwinism. It's not my idea.

Kaa
05-13-2010, 09:41 AM
Calling it a "metric" is just so much pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo

"Metric" is a common and highly useful word. It's neither pseudo-scientific, nor mumbo jumbo.

Of course, it might appear as such to certain umm... less educated people :-P


Whether it's required or not - you just cited an end. "adaptation" to what end? The end is "survival and reproductive capability."

Again, that's not the end, that's the metric itself.

But you seem to be going in circles.

I am still curious -- let's assume you do define survival as a purpose. So what now? You can stretch further and claim that Darwinian natural selection is teleological. Again, so what? What is the point you're trying to make?

Kaa

TomF
05-13-2010, 09:47 AM
Calling it a "metric" is just so much pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo that fail to obscure the fact of the matter.


Whether it's required or not - you just cited an end.
"adaptation" to what end? The end is "survival and reproductive capability."
Again, don't blame me for noticing the unexamined metaphysical assumptions in Darwinism. It's not my idea.Sam, there's nothing metaphysical at all about saying that an individual organism wishes (a) to survive, and (b) to procreate.

Have you ever met a teenaged boy? What compels him towards his girlfriend may be teleological ... in the sense that he's trying to make progress towards a particular end (hers ;)). But the teleology is hardly metaphysical, the particular end rarely unexamined, and his motivations rarely an assumption. :D

Sam F
05-13-2010, 09:49 AM
"Metric" is a common and highly useful word. It's neither pseudo-scientific, nor mumbo jumbo.

Of course, it might appear as such to certain umm... less educated people.

You obviously haven't sat through long BORING business meetings where utterly clueless executives demanded "metrics". :D


Again, that's not the end, that's the metric itself.

Nonsense. What is the measurement for? BTW, measurement is a much more honest word that "metric".


But you seem to be going in circles.

You bet it's going in circles! Please don't blame me for Darwinian tautology.
It's not my fault!


I am still curious -- let's assume you do define survival as a purpose.

Really Kaa? Survival is not a purpose? I sincerely hope you don't follow that reasoning to it's logical personal conclusion!

Sam F
05-13-2010, 09:51 AM
Sam, there's nothing metaphysical at all about saying that an individual organism wishes (a) to survive, and (b) to procreate.

You might want to reword that Tom.
Of course you can try all day and all night too... but the language will fight you ever step of the way. You just can't help it. And you're going to lose.


Have you ever met a teenaged boy?

Apparently not.

TomF
05-13-2010, 09:53 AM
Is it metaphysical to wish for, to desire something?

Here in Atlantic Canada, I'm 10 minutes away from a lunch break, and my stomach's growling. My wish for a sandwich isn't metaphysical.

Kaa
05-13-2010, 09:55 AM
You obviously haven't sat through long BORING business meetings where utterly clueless executives demanded "metrics". :D

I count this as an advantage :D


Nonsense. What is the measurement for? BTW, measurement is a much more honest word that "metric".

"Measurement" is a more specific word, it's a subset of "metric". Metric basically expresses the concept of a distance in some space, this space not necessarily being what we are used to.

Technically, the proper term for what we are talking about is actually "fitness function" :-)


Really Kaa? Survival is not a purpose? I sincerely hope you don't follow that reasoning to it's logical personal conclusion!

Yeah, yeah, but so what? As I said, let's say you define survival as a purpose. What now?

Kaa

Sam F
05-13-2010, 09:59 AM
Apparently there are worse misunderstandings about how Darwinian Evolution works. Things don't have wishes Tom.

Is it metaphysical to wish for, to desire something?

A wish, "to have a desire for something", always involves a "purpose, aim, end and/or design". It is inherently teleological.

Sam F
05-13-2010, 10:02 AM
...Technically, the proper term for what we are talking about is actually "fitness function"
Which only drags you back into the quagmire: Fitness for what?


As I said, let's say you define survival as a purpose. What now?

Kaa

It brings you straight back to teleology: " i.e., of purpose, aim, end and/or design."

Now this consequence may be a property of language itself, or it may be that language reflects a property of the universe. Either way you're stuck with it.

TomF
05-13-2010, 10:08 AM
A wish, "to have a desire for something", always involves a "purpose, aim, end and/or design". It is inherently teleological.Teleological sure, but not metaphysical. Perhaps I'd suggest small "t" teleological ... in the sense that the wish is made by an individual, rather than big "T" Teleological ... a wish made by the Species Itself. I do not believe that a Species can act in a Telological manner; such would presume a metaphysical apparatus I don't thing a species posesses.

My wish for lunch is entirely teleological ... yet not metaphysical.

Kaa
05-13-2010, 10:08 AM
Which only drags you back into the quagmire: Fitness for what?

For whatever. Circles: post #43.


It brings you straight back to teleology: " i.e., of purpose, aim, end and/or design."

To repeat myself...


Yeah, yeah, but so what? ... What now?

What's the point you're driving toward?

Kaa

Sam F
05-13-2010, 10:37 AM
What's the point you're driving toward?

Kaa

It's already been made:


Not end. Do you understand the concept of a metric?



Sure I understand measurement. But sorry Kaa, fitness implies an end.
Unless your argument is fit for nothing.

Look don't blame me for noticing the unacknowledged metaphysical assumptions behind Darwinism - it's not my idea after all.

It's just that simple really.

I still don't get the obsession with metric - unless some of you are Emily Haines fans. :D

Sam F
05-13-2010, 10:40 AM
Teleological sure, but not metaphysical.

It doesn't work that way Tom.
Maybe this'll help Kaa too...

"metaphysical naturalism, which views nature as having no design or purpose" is presented as being opposed to teleology. Except as we have demonstrated, it is no easy matter to get rid of teleology. Darwinism is fairly riddled with it.
Sorry, but that's not my fault.

TomF
05-13-2010, 10:44 AM
It doesn't work that way Tom.
Maybe this'll help Kaa too...

"metaphysical naturalism, which views nature as having no design or purpose" is presented as being opposed to teleology. Except as we have demonstrated, it is no easy matter to get rid of teleology. Darwinism is fairly riddled with it.
Sorry, but that's not my fault.Doesn't work what way, Sam. Is my own personal desire for lunch metaphysical?

Kaa
05-13-2010, 10:47 AM
Maybe this'll help Kaa too...

"metaphysical naturalism, which views nature as having no design or purpose" is presented as being opposed to teleology. Except as we have demonstrated, it is no easy matter to get rid of teleology. Darwinism is fairly riddled with it.
Sorry, but that's not my fault.

You seem to be apologizing a lot today :-)

Could you be a bit more explicit about how you go from saying that survival is the "purpose" of individual organisms to saying that nature as a whole is metaphysically teleological..?

Kaa

Sam F
05-13-2010, 10:51 AM
You seem to be apologizing a lot today :-)

Could you be a bit more explicit about how you go from saying that survival is the "purpose" of individual organisms to saying that nature as a whole is metaphysically teleological..?

Kaa

Any Christian who is not a Secularist dupe, has to believe that nature is teleological. But that is not the argument I made. I merely noted that Darwinism, despite claims to the contrary, has not banished teleology.

If you really want to, you can blame me for noticing. :D

Sam F
05-13-2010, 10:52 AM
Doesn't work what way, Sam. Is my own personal desire for lunch metaphysical?

Tom, I don't recall that your lunch is relevant. However, I remind you that you are not a thing, therefore you may wish for anything.
You know, like I'm persuaded that they want iced tea in Hell...

peb
05-13-2010, 10:56 AM
The idea that behavioral change, in the face of overwhelming catastrophe, among africans is impossible is both very patronizing and an argument against condom distribution being the solution.

Kaa
05-13-2010, 11:01 AM
I merely noted that Darwinism, despite claims to the contrary, has not banished teleology.

If you really want to, you can blame me for noticing. :D

So tell me, then -- in Darwinism, not in Christianity, what is the purpose of nature?

Kaa

TomF
05-13-2010, 11:22 AM
Tom, I don't recall that your lunch is relevant. However, I remind you that you are not a thing, therefore you may wish for anything.
You know, like I'm persuaded that they want iced tea in Hell...My lunch is relevant to the extent that my desire for it exhibits teleology; an individual's desire to survive. Yet the teleology does not extend towards an implicit Teleological Direction for the Species ... there is no metaphysical aim being advanced by my ham & cheese on rye.

It is no different regarding adaptation and natural selection. An individual gerbil, living free and wild in whatever natural ecosystem gerbildom inhabits, likely also wants to have lunch and get laid more than to be lunch, and not. The ones which evade predation on the way to the lunch counter and bedroom pass on the genes which (together with luck) made it possible.

This is not Teleology, a Manifest Destiny for the Gerbil; it's just a day in the life of an individual. Aggregated together, not unlike the way things work in a market, certain traits emerge as adaptive. But there's no necessary purpose to how it operates ...

The far more theological bits are in the background - in the thinking about (for those of us who believe) how and why God put the universe together to work in such a way, and what it means as a creature to be in relationship with Him/Her.

TomF
05-13-2010, 11:23 AM
The idea that behavioral change, in the face of overwhelming catastrophe, among africans is impossible is both very patronizing and an argument against condom distribution being the solution.It is possible, certainly. But it's not happened yet, and there's been lots of motivation.

As a species, we've had lots of motivation to do away with war too.

johnw
05-13-2010, 01:16 PM
I don't buy the idea that Africans are incapable of social change, and I certainly don't buy Boston's idea that they should die and reduce the excess population. I also reject the idea that there is no technological fix. A vaccine would come in very handy.

I think the key to changing the culture is educating women, which will improve their economic worth and therefore give them more power in their relations with men.

George Jung
05-13-2010, 01:21 PM
You may be projecting a bit, JohnW.. The article touched on this - in Africa, the man is the alpha, the dominant personality. The women defer to him, and acquiesce to demands.

Might be a tough sell.

Kaa
05-13-2010, 01:29 PM
I don't buy the idea that Africans are incapable of social change, and I certainly don't buy Boston's idea that they should die and reduce the excess population. I also reject the idea that there is no technological fix. A vaccine would come in very handy.

The future is uncertain. Africans are capable of social change, but the question is whether they are capable of sufficiently drastic social change quickly enough. The answer is "maybe" -- or, better yet, it's likely that some tribes/communities/countries will be capable and some will not be. "Africans" is not a homogeneous group at all.

A technological fix does not exist. Yet. Maybe it will appear sufficiently soon, and maybe not. Predicting technological breakthroughs is a notoriously difficult endeavor :-)

Kaa

johnw
05-13-2010, 01:37 PM
It might be a tough sell, but I don't buy the idea that it's impossible. Nor do I think I'm projecting. My uncle was recently setting up schools for girls in Yemen for Adeventist World Service, and there are other aid organization doing this in Latin America and elsewhere. The effort stems from the observation that in countries where women have become educated, they gain power in their relationships with men and the birth rate falls and the children become healthier and better educated. Of course, part of this is about education helping them to learn about birth control, and I expect that learning about health would help as well.

It's true we haven't solved the problem of AIDS in Africa, but I don't buy the notion that the problem can't be solved. It may take a long time, but it will take longer if no one helps. We've had some false starts, and both the nature of many African cultures and the breakdown of traditional cultures resulting in seemingly endless wars have made things harder, but the world is not static, and I see no reason to think African culture will remain static.

Kaa
05-13-2010, 01:40 PM
... but I don't buy the notion that the problem can't be solved.

In the long-term it can certainly be solved. However there is a race going on and it's entirely possible that some tribes/communities/cultures will just collapse and disappear before the problem gets solved.

Kaa

peb
05-13-2010, 03:55 PM
Nah, I think it's just that jerking-knee thing :D

Kaa

BTW, Kaa, I had missed this from Boston:

"simple reality is that we are the virus and are overrunning the place, a good solid plague might just save the species if not the individual "

Obviously, my earlier speculation, admittedly done rather tongue-in-cheek at the time, was not wrong. The degree to which our culture-of-death has taken such a stronghold on our thinking and actions is truly horrific.

johnw
05-13-2010, 05:59 PM
peb, I think it's just an excuse not to do anything.

peb
05-13-2010, 09:39 PM
peb, I think it's just an excuse not to do anything.

Whats an excuse? The claim that we need a lot of people to die to solve the over population problem? If that is what you mean, I would disagree. Most people looking for an excuse for apathy or lethargy don't pick an excuse that is horrific. If someone holds that view, and it seems there are some that do, it is much more nefarious than the desire for an excuse.

johnw
05-14-2010, 01:13 PM
Well, there is certainly a tendency not to care about people different from oneself, which shows a lack of empathy and I would say a lack of ethics. But Boston isn't proposing to kill people, he's justifying doing nothing about an ongoing tragedy. No doubt he finds this more comfortable than admitting that he's doing nothing, either because he doesn't care or because he thinks nothing can be done. It's easier than admitting that he's either impotent in the face of this tragedy or doesn't care. I suspect it's a matter of cognitive dissonance rather than nefarious intent.

Sam F
05-15-2010, 07:36 AM
My lunch is relevant to the extent that my desire for it exhibits teleology; an individual's desire to survive. Yet the teleology does not extend towards an implicit Teleological Direction for the Species ... there is no metaphysical aim being advanced by my ham & cheese on rye.

It is no different regarding adaptation and natural selection. An individual gerbil, living free and wild in whatever natural ecosystem gerbildom inhabits, likely also wants to have lunch and get laid more than to be lunch, and not. The ones which evade predation on the way to the lunch counter and bedroom pass on the genes which (together with luck) made it possible.

This is not Teleology, a Manifest Destiny for the Gerbil; it's just a day in the life of an individual. Aggregated together, not unlike the way things work in a market, certain traits emerge as adaptive. But there's no necessary purpose to how it operates ...

The far more theological bits are in the background - in the thinking about (for those of us who believe) how and why God put the universe together to work in such a way, and what it means as a creature to be in relationship with Him/Her.

It's not like I'm an expert on this or anything, but Tom, you apparently haven't conceptualized the definition. Your example is teleological:
Intrinsic finality is the idea that there is a natural good for all beings, and that all beings have a natural tendency to pursue their own good. It is an underlying principle of both teleology and moral objectivism. The concept of intrinsic finality was summarized by Thomas Aquinas[1] as follows: By the form which gives it its specific perfection, everything in nature has an inclination to its own operations and to its own end, which it reaches through these operations. Just as everything is, such also are its operations and its tendency to what is suitable to itself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic_finality

Sam F
05-15-2010, 07:40 AM
Whats an excuse? The claim that we need a lot of people to die to solve the over population problem? If that is what you mean, I would disagree. Most people looking for an excuse for apathy or lethargy don't pick an excuse that is horrific. If someone holds that view, and it seems there are some that do, it is much more nefarious than the desire for an excuse.

Excuses for the deaths of millions? Yeah, the idea that we're all better off if those Africans die is a dandy one.
Of course Darwinism provides the dandiest of excuses ever - the unfit don't survive.
And it's nobody's responsibility but the unfit. They get what they deserve.
Welcome to the intrinsic brutality of Darwinism!

Sam F
05-15-2010, 07:42 AM
You may be projecting a bit, JohnW.. The article touched on this - in Africa, the man is the alpha, the dominant personality. The women defer to him, and acquiesce to demands.

Might be a tough sell.

What's needed of course is a religious transformation.
I know, I know... what a shocking thing to say, eh? ;)

But that's what is required.

Sam F
05-15-2010, 07:44 AM
So tell me, then -- in Darwinism, not in Christianity, what is the purpose of nature?

Kaa

"metaphysical naturalism, which views nature as having no design or purpose" is presented as being opposed to teleology. Except as we have demonstrated, it is no easy matter to get rid of teleology. Darwinism is fairly riddled with it.

George Jung
05-15-2010, 08:47 AM
Now I'm curious - how do you folks propose to help a country that is unable, or unwilling, to help itself? The Ugandan govt. just made a deal to buy $300 million worth of military jets from Russia, yet refuses to do anything for it's people/AIDS. The populace refuses to change it's practices, or to use condoms. I'd compare it to one guy trying to keep thousands of lemmings from going over the cliff. John seems critical of those who feel this is hopeless. What do you propose - trebling the amount donated (the US is supplying 85% of world contributions, btw)?

Ian Marchuk
05-15-2010, 09:28 AM
Some of the contempt I have for the United Nations stems from the amazing gall of the likes of Ban Ki Moon and his corrupt predecessor in their shameless scolding of the western nations who are the only ones attempting to help. Yet , there is nary a word of even mild disagreement with the butchers and tyrants of the world,most especially Africa.
Cast your eye around the table of the UN Human Rights Council , for insight into the bizarro world of the UN.
The likes of Mugabe play the UN like a piano, and the UN panders. Remember Rwanda, Somalia, and .....
I believe that the continent of Africa will be consumed by AIDS ,death , starvation and tribal warfare that makes its previous history look tame. The contributor nations will struggle , trying to stem the tide, the UN will continue to divert the attention of the world from its utter ineffectiveness and corruption by continuing to scold those who do try .
I'm sorry George , I haven't the foggiest idea how to go about turning that around. I would like to hear a giant of leadership deliver a scathing criticism of the UN and its self serving , incompetent , corrupt , and destructive role ; and call for wholesale reform of its policies , and practice. I don't have much hope for that either. The UN has cleverly branded itself as the honest broker and above reproach in the mind of the public. But still , the truth about the UN needs to be broadcast nonetheless.

johnw
05-15-2010, 12:04 PM
What's needed of course is a religious transformation.
I know, I know... what a shocking thing to say, eh? ;)

But that's what is required.
That actually might work. Something basic needs to change in the culture, and religion has the ability to organize the behavior of large groups of people. I'm not a religious man myself, but I've visited missionaries working in third-world countries, and I think they have the potential to do a lot of good, especially in the area of education.

Unfortunately, some of the most active religious groups are not big on condoms. More monogamy is essential, but human beings are imperfect.

George Jung
05-15-2010, 01:20 PM
I suspect you could hand condoms out by the bushel on every streetcorner,and useage wouln't increase - nor would monogamy - based on what I read in those articles. They dont want to use condoms; they don't want to be monogamous (and we're talking 'cultural norms' now).

A seachange is needed; in the meantime, implosion.

johnw
05-15-2010, 05:08 PM
and we're talking 'cultural norms'

And I'm saying those can actually change. It's happened before. A wrenching experience like an epidemic can set off such a change. But how wrenching does it have to be?

PeterSibley
05-15-2010, 06:05 PM
George,the articles you linked were an excellent analysis , and very disturbing.
The underlying contributing influences are cultural and political. The outcomes horrifying and inexorable.
To pan over the landscape of horror and incalculable suffering and play out the view of our highly evolved sophisticates discussing the unfolding of a continent wide plague of avoidable suffering and death, is more detached sophistication than I can fathom.
Outside the efforts of outside agencies and NGOs very little has been accomplished by local governments. Riddled by corruption , nepotism, and tribalism , so many efforts have been derailed , robbed, or plundered. Local efforts to encourage responsible behavior have been met with mockery from the sophisticates . Those nations who have made extensive efforts to supply goods and services to help stem the tide have been held up to punishing scorn because the help is regarded as insufficient. Those leaders who have starved their people and plundered aid while consolidating political and military power are seldom ever even criticised . Mugabe anyone?
I am not very hopeful. Those nations who may have been able to help are in an economic tailspin , the result of bizarre policy decisions compounded in layers.
Turning this around in Africa would take a cultural and political sea change requiring several generations to take hold. I do not think it possible before the disease has its way and uncounted hundreds of millions die , whereupon there may be a behavioral awakening .
The problem is not the disease or a virus. The problem is behavioral,cultural, and political. The virus is the canary in the coal mine.
When the problems are socio-political, technological solutions are just kicking the can a little further down the road.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa#AIDS_denialism_in_South_Afric a
The effort to improve treatment of HIV/AIDS was damaged by the attitude of many figures in the government, President Mbeki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thabo_Mbeki). The then health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manto_Tshabalala-Msimang), advocated a diet of garlic, olive oil and lemon to cure the disease.[55] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa#cite_note-drbeetroot-54) Although many scientists and political figures called for her removal, she was not removed from office until Mbeki himself was removed from office.[56] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa#cite_note-55)
In August 2007, President Mbeki and Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang dismissed Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nozizwe_Madlala-Routledge). Madlala-Routledge has been widely credited by medical professionals and AIDS activists.[57] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa#cite_note-56) Although she was officially dismissed for corruption, it was widely held that she was dismissed for her more mainstream beliefs about AIDS and its relation with HIV.[58] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa#cite_note-57)
Although President Mbeki's government successfully defended against a legal action brought by transnational pharmaceutical companies in April 2001 of a law that would allow cheaper locally-produced medicines, including anti-retrovirals, the government's roll-out of anti-retrovirals was generally slow. In 2002 South Africa's High Court ordered the government to make the drug nevirapine available to pregnant women to help prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, following campaigns by Treatment Action Campaign (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treatment_Action_Campaign) and others.
Despite international drug companies offering free or cheap antiretroviral drugs, the Health Ministry remained hesitant about providing treatment for people living with HIV. Only in November 2003 did the government approve a plan to make antiretroviral treatment publicly available. Prior to 2003, South Africans with HIV who used the public sector health system could get treatment for opportunistic infections but could not get antiretrovirals.[46] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa#cite_note-TheSouthAfricanDepartmentofHealthStudy-45)
[edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=HIV/AIDS_in_South_Africa&action=edit&section=24)]

George Jung
05-15-2010, 06:29 PM
Amid the gloom and doom, this in the Times:

CAPE TOWN — In a nation ravaged by AIDS, a disease still hidden in shadows of stigma and shame, President Jacob Zuma (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/z/jacob_g_zuma/index.html?inline=nyt-per) of South Africa (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/southafrica/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) has begun to engage in an extraordinarily open conversation about sex, AIDS and H.I.V. prevention, one ignited in part by his own recent admission that he had unprotected sex during an extramarital affair.
Last month, as he announced a vast expansion of H.I.V. testing and AIDS services (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/26/health/policy/26safrica.html?scp=1&sq=%20South%20Africa%20Redoubles%20Efforts%20Again st%20AIDS&st=cse), he publicly took an H.I.V. test and disclosed that he had tested negative for the virus. Then in a frank interview on Thursday, Mr. Zuma said that he had been circumcised and had encouraged his sons to undergo the procedure, which can reduce a man’s risk of contracting H.I.V. by more than half.
As an influential leader and a Zulu, South Africa’s largest ethnic group and one that had abandoned circumcision in the 19th century, Mr. Zuma could encourage other men to be circumcised through his personal endorsement of the procedure, scientists and public health officials say.
Despite being the center of the epidemic — with 5.7 million H.I.V.-positive people, more than any other country — South Africa had lagged behind some other African nations (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/world/africa/20circumcision.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=South%20Africa%20Is%20Seen%20to%20Lag%20In%20H. I.V.%20Fight&st=cse) in promoting circumcision and making it available to the public, steps that experts say could help reduce the spread of new infections in the long run.


However, there's a 'RutRow'! moment (think scooby doo)



South Africa now plans to circumcise millions of men in the coming years


Maybe not a good time to visit..

johnw
05-15-2010, 07:39 PM
Hey, some of us have nothing to lose, especially those born in military hospitals.

Maybe religion is having an influence:


1 Kings 18:25-27 (http://www.drbo.org/chapter/09018.htm)

25 And Saul said: Speak thus to David: The king desireth not any dowry, but only a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies. Now Saul thought to deliver David into the hands of the Philistines. 26 And when his servants had told David the words that Saul had said, the word was pleasing in the eyes of David to be the king's son in law. 27 And after a few days David rose up, and went with the men that were under him, and he slew of the Philistines two hundred men, and brought their foreskins and numbered them out to the king, that he might be his son in law. Saul therefore gave him Michol his daughter to wife.

George Jung
05-15-2010, 07:52 PM
Rough dating regimen.

Puts things into a bit of perspective, as well.

My fil used to refer to me as 'that philistine' when we were dating.....

sometimes it's good to be clueless, eh?

johnw
05-15-2010, 07:54 PM
Well, that's what you get for dating your father in law. I guess there are things about you that I'd prefer not to know...

George Jung
05-15-2010, 08:01 PM
Damn!

Got me (but didn't catch me.... that much I can be thankful for)