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reyam200

Viruses are natures population control

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in my absence from theses forums, I've done quite a bit of studying. i also had the pleasure of reading a original copy of Charles Darwin's, Origin of Species.

a fascinating book to say the least.

 

it got me thinking about diseases and survival of the fittest.

the people who a virus or bacteria kills shows quite clearly that they did not have sufficient immune responses to fight back the pathogen. yet as some die of diseases like Ebola, others survive. although not without some long tern effects from what I've read. thats survival of the fittest from a purely biological point of view given that there is currently no cure for Ebola that I'm aware of(please correct me if this is wrong). our increased cognitive skills allow us to understand and therefor take steps to boost our bodies natural defenses. when a person gets sick there is only two outcomes.. they either die, or they survive with a stronger immune system then before. Sickness needs to be controlled of course otherwise it would stand a greater chance of eliminating humanity from this planet. (speaking of course of the more deadly sicknesses)

 

but even with a dramatically decreased population from such an epidemic, there would be some survivors. and those would be a stronger breed of humans. so one can say... that overpopulation is partly due to our medical technology "saving" us from dieing at the hand of a virus. if we had no technology they we would only have our immune system to defend us, immediately making survival of the fittest come into play. in my view this natural law applies only to natural defenses, not the technological shell we've created. i myself seem to have a good immune system. As others in my house get a seasonly flu, i most often don't get it unless i've done something that weakened my immune system, eg. sleep deprivation, not enough nutrition, ect.

 

anyway, getting back to the subject.

 

the avian flu alone has a 75% mortality rate.

Ebola has a 90% mortality rate. so at least 10 out of 100 people that get it will survive.

 

 

pathogens such as these are natures way of controlling population and filtering out the genes for a weak immune system.

 

another example of survival of the fittest and natural selection is these goats that have a gene that causes them to faint when scared or startled. in the wild, these goats would be eaten, thus keeping that gene from being passed to later generations. Humans on the other hand don't have only genetics and biology. we have technology and the intelligence necessary for such advancement. so we have made our own problem. we are AIDS to this planet, because we haven't made out technology "aligned" with natures systems.

 

this is all i can think of right now... ill have more when someone replies.

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That's true, by having things like sanitation and medicine, certain selection pressures are diminished. We always evolve for the environment we live in, no matter how much of that environment we ourselves have modified. Of course, by eliminating or severely reducing those pressures, others become proportionately more important.

 

That's not necessarily a problem, though. It's only bad if we decide that the traits we are evolving for currently are less desirable (by whatever criteria we want) than those we were formerly evolving for. For example, we value intelligence as a positive characteristic independent of its survival value, but "nature" only "values" it if it helps us have more surviving offspring. A strong immune system, in contrast, seems to me only valuable to us inasmuch as it helps us survive, i.e., we value it for the same reasons nature does. If it becomes less important for survival, then as far as I'm concerned, it is less important.

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in my absence from theses forums, I've done quite a bit of studying. i also had the pleasure of reading a original copy of Charles Darwin's, Origin of Species.

a fascinating book to say the least.

 

I compressed your post to save space on a server somewhere, so don’t think of it as rude on my part, it was not my intention.

 

I don’t look at viruses like that. Such is bit from the Gaea hypothesis, which I am interested in myself. I look at viruses as something that came about basically through natural selection. I also tent to wonder about there involvement in endosymbiosis. My basic perspective on the virus is just that, its life in some particular method of survival as produced over time within the scope of natural selection operating on organisms, or in this case something that blends the line between what’s alive and what’s not.

 

Humans for the most part have become there own natural predator really, or something that thins the heard if I might say. In America alone the nation averages 15,000 homicides from just firearms alone, that’s not to count for homicide by other means. Basically that makes living in America more dangerous the living in Iraq by a good magnitude.

 

That being said I don’t know how human interaction with the virus will play out. Conventional means seem to support more resistant stuff over time, so I imagine at some point bioinformatics and such related fields like genetics or molecular biology might develop more intrinsic means biologically speaking to combat the spread of disease, in which case who knows how such will play out evolutionarily speaking.

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Humans for the most part have become there own natural predator really, or something that thins the heard if I might say. In America alone the nation averages 15,000 homicides from just firearms alone, that’s not to count for homicide by other means.

 

But murder is a tiny percentage of deaths (and more relevantly, deaths before and during child-bearing age). So whatever traits there are that help "not being murdered," they're evolving quite slowly, if at all. It's possible we're evolving to be more careful drivers, though...

 

EDIT: Also, about Iraq. I just looked it up, and Iraq's violent death rate is about five times that of the United States. I think you're thinking of comparisons between the most crime-ridden U.S. cities and Iraq as a whole, which is a poor use of statistics, IMO, but that's extremely OT for this thread...

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But murder is a tiny percentage of deaths (and more relevantly, deaths before and during child-bearing age). So whatever traits there are that help "not being murdered," they're evolving quite slowly, if at all. It's possible we're evolving to be more careful drivers, though...

 

EDIT: Also, about Iraq. I just looked it up, and Iraq's violent death rate is about five times that of the United States. I think you're thinking of comparisons between the most crime-ridden U.S. cities and Iraq as a whole, which is a poor use of statistics, IMO, but that's extremely OT for this thread...

 

 

Yes but they are national averages for homicide, and again just from firearms, which for the U.S can be over 20,000 for a year. That’s twenty thousand people killed in one year in the U.S from firearms in a manner consistent with the definition of homicide. That means in a decade that well over one hundred thousand people will die in the U.S from firearm related homicide. That’s a pretty big number, it also does no include any other cases of homicide, such as vehicular manslaughter or what not. In comparison to Iraq four years of such conflict have not produced U.S casualty above five thousand, for the entire nation. In fact a decade of the U.S in relation to just firearm related homicide is greater then the number of U.S casualties produced during a decade of the Vietnam war. Socially I don’t understand why this occurs, as is evident in the very conservative state of Alabama crime is pretty rampant there, to very multi cultural California which has had murder capitals attributed to cities, so I will not try to define the why, just that its a big killer in regards to people.

 

I think it stays consistent with the thread in the aspect of natural population control, or population density basically. If the OP does not happen to agree with me of course I will listen to him or her, but we don’t have that yet.

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I agree wholeheartedly. I have spoke with many people and they seem 2 think we are above disease, viruses and diseases they don't even know about(H5N1 being one of them) . When I speak of a posibble flu pandemic, they all give me that "Stupid look" like it's science fiction, hence when asked about flu pandemic most referred 2 the Stand by Steven King, and NOT the Spanish Flu of 1918, most don't even know it occurred. I get frustrated with JQP sometimes. They ask me how I know so much and I say"well instead of drinking, partying, and doing stupid things I like 2 read about science and history, Current events going on all around the world, this is how I Know these things.They think I'm arogant: I think they are idiots... anyhow I do agree about it being a nature populace control. Back in 1918 we had 1.5 billion on earth; not 100 years later we have 6.5 billion on earht. I believe that is way 2 many. If it weren't, we wouldn't be eating up the earth and animal inhabitats like we are. (Good ex. The Wetlands) We need a good culling. And I believe it is in the works and on it's way... till then I just prepare.

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the flu epidemic of 1918 always fascinates me. It killed more people than the bubonic plague of the middle ages, yet more people know about the latter, even though the former was more recent and has a greater affect of modern people's lives. I mean, our current perception about vaccines and disease come from that epidemic.

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the flu epidemic of 1918 always fascinates me. It killed more people than the bubonic plague of the middle ages, yet more people know about the latter, even though the former was more recent and has a greater affect of modern people's lives. I mean, our current perception about vaccines and disease come from that epidemic.

 

But it seems to me that there are reasons for that. Epidemics/pandemics depend on not only how virulent the disease is and how quickly the vector can travel, but also on population and population density. The 1918 flu killed a lot of people (whether it killed more depends on where you get your numbers; it seems they were comparable), but there were a lot of people to kill, and in many ways it was easier for the disease to spread.

 

One could also state what fraction of the population died as a result of each, i.e. look at the mortality rate. 2.5% for the 1918 flu and somewhere around 50% for bubonic plague (and 100% for the other diseases of the black plague) from what I can gather.

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But it seems to me that there are reasons for that. Epidemics/pandemics depend on not only how virulent the disease is and how quickly the vector can travel, but also on population and population density.

 

Yes.. and with a population of approx. 6.5 billion.. and fast transportation like airplanes.. diseases can spread with much more fervency.. also people are in frequent contact with someone else.. even if its simply bumping their arm, or coughing in a crowd. so that exponentially increases the speed in which a virus can spread. making the CDC's job that more difficult.

 

 

 

I think they are idiots... anyhow I do agree about it being a nature populace control. Back in 1918 we had 1.5 billion on earth; not 100 years later we have 6.5 billion on earht. I believe that is way 2 many. If it weren't, we wouldn't be eating up the earth and animal inhabitats like we are. (Good ex. The Wetlands) We need a good culling. And I believe it is in the works and on it's way... till then I just prepare.

 

Yes. But since our technology has nearly eliminated viruses as a factor...(in advanced countries.) other means of population control are forced to come into play.. ie. Genetic disorders that inhibit reproduction, cancerous cells caused by pollutants in our diet, respiratory disorders caused by the increased amount of CO and CO2 in the air(not to mention other such pollutants, sulfides, nitrates, ect...) these and other factors are quickly becoming a means of controlling our population, and if left unchecked, could become a major threat to our entires species.

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there has to be a food population ratio that can't be broken. And also: oil seems to be importend in the groth, production and spreading of food.

 

and have to quote:

 

the Matrix agent Smith

"I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had, during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you aren’t actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with its surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we... are the cure."

:cool:

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They ask me how I know so much and I say"well instead of drinking, partying, and doing stupid things I like 2 read about science and history, Current events going on all around the world, this is how I Know these things

 

 

Without partying and having fun, what point to life is there?

(sorry to go off-topic)

Anyway, bacteria and viruses (Not sure on plural :( ) also seem to me to be the "population" limiter of life. Especially when you consider that the higher a population density, the easier the infection spreads.

 

I do believe that we have more to fear from these microscopic entities than our fellow man, just on the point that at least we can kill a man with our own two hands.

 

(Course, I guess you could argue that we could kill an infection with our bodies also, but....you know what I mean.....)

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This thread has come up with a rather silly sub-theme of over-population catastrophism. Let me nail this. The world population is 6.5 billion and growing. However, human fertility is dropping quite rapidly, as a result of the widespread use of contraception.

 

Third world nations had an average fertility of 5.5 offspring per woman only 50 years ago, and today it is 2.5 and falling. Within a few decades, it will be less than 2, and global population will begin to fall. In the west, fertility is already less than 2. In the United States, the only thing supporting population growth is a million plus immigrants per year. All the data needed to explore this idea can be found on the United Nations web site. http://www.un.org/popin

 

Within another 50 years, the world population will top out at 9 billion and start falling. This is the mean prediction from a series of projections.

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A virus can do damage but inserting its DNA into the cell. This places its genes so it can reproduce and therefore spread from cell to cell. But this is not the only possible scenario. Say the virus inserted its DNA, but the virus could not leave the cell, but became caught up in the recycle process within the cell. The result would be a genetic mutation that could change the composition within the cell. This will then trigger other genes to come into play. The new steady state could cause that cell to become slightly different that it started. It could actually become better.

 

The only reason virus are associated with something bad, is that is the only time, we get an output signal stemming from a virus, so we know it is there. If it made a change in the DNA, but there is no output signal, we would not be looking for it to do good. If a child got all A's on their report card, on a regular basis, he would eventually get a pat on the back. If they came home with a B, then there is all type of attention. As long as nothing is upsetting the apple cart, there is no real reason to look critically into what the child is doing. One may still participate positively, but will not try to desparately figure out why the child is doing so well.

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We have not completely eliminated disease, nor is that the only form of population control. Disease, famine, war, these are as relevant as ever. Though we can heal most diseases, if a new or particularly virulent strain breaks out it could still kill many of us, overload hospitals, etc. There are still diseases that we cannot cure, too.

 

Though you do not think of famine, it is occurs in some countries, and has a chance of happening in ours. The reasons could be the same as ever; drought, pests or disease killing our (now overspecialized) crops. Better transportation mitigates those now. Also if our petroleum infrastructure were destroyed, we would have trouble farming (worldwide or local).

 

Also, killing each other is still a popular sport. Be it homicide or war, the more people there are the more likely we are to kill each other. Even in just the small wars.

 

The trouble I foresee is that we will do so well and grow so much that we may drive several species to extinction. We are only beginning to learn biotech and don't realize just how valuable these creatures and plants are. (Not to sound coldhearted, but that is how some people think, and you already heard from the people who do care for other reasons.)

 

I forgot to add the most obvious, that we are also lazy creatures and the more comfortable we are the more annoying it is to raise children. In the old days children were a bit like slaves, now they are mostly just a pain. If anything this is the biggest change in natural selection as applied to humans, those who can afford to have many children, don't.

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This is an interesting question. I suppose they do act as a control because if we were immune to everything then we would have no natural enemies. and the population would spiral out of control. Wars would be fought over land and sea areas.

 

Its a good point.

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Microbial pathogens do not really control the population. They do when transmition would otherwise be limited.

 

Third world nations had an average fertility of 5.5 offspring per woman only 50 years ago, and today it is 2.5 and falling.

The problem is that the AIDS (or whatever you want to call them) are not always limiting their reproduction. It is the case in parts of Africa for instance. In the non-third world the antibiotics and sanitation plus the lack of AIDS recognition is causing AIDS to *multiply*.

 

They do this by spreading the transposons through the population by out breeding. The transposons mutate further and develop into full blown AIDS. Nothing stops that from happening as long as they reproduce. Nothing.

 

Isolation is the cure.

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