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  1. jj says

    Ebola will turn out to be not that deadly. Left to its own devices it generally comes in at around 65% mortality, which is pretty bad but far from terrible: it’s not an automatic death sentence. The current outbreak is in fact rather less deadly than past outbreaks have been, though it’s more widespread than usual. (Total body count is higher, but the percentage of people who die when infected is actually lower. A lot more people have been infected this time around.)

    Now that it’s been brought to this country and parked in a very good hospital down the block from the CDC labs, the doctor and nurse who got it will be fine, and medicine will get on top of it pretty quick. Down the block from the CDC will turn out to be better than anywhere in Africa. Where Africa turns to offal is in the same areas where Africa always turns to offal: superstition and ongoing care. People go into hospitals and clinics and don’t emerge alive, so when Uncle Harry gets sick they hide him in the back room and don’t take him to a doctor – which happens a lot. The ongoing care failure is represented by the failure to keep people properly hydrated, give them the medicine within four or five hours of when they’re supposed to get it, keep them clean and bathed, etc. It’s probable that bringing a couple of full-blown cases here will turn out to have been very useful in getting it solved.

    The deadly disease of Islam, on the other hand, remains stubbornly beyond cure. Those who contract it cannot in fact be cured: they can only be killed to prevent its further spread, and eliminate its noxious – and deadly – side effects. Unquestionably worse than Ebvola. Or plague.

    • jj says

      Somebody’s always seeing the apocalyptic ponies around every corner – and they’ve been seeing them now for a thousand years. I’m inclined to doubt it, and certainly don’t see Ebola as a ‘world crisis.’ Islam, perhaps, rises to the global scale, but very few other things do. And eventually the world will pull its head of its collective ass regarding Islam, and that’ll be the end of that. The Muslims WILL piss everybody else off – they can’t help themselves – and when that happens we’ll all be reminded that while there are a billion of the bastards, there are six billion of everybody else. And the Muslims, it ought not be forgot, are eager to die. At some point everybody else will be annoyed enough to be willing to oblige them.,

  2. Danny Lemieux says

    With all due respect, JJ, there have been plenty of apocalyptic moments within just this last century: WWI, the Spanish Influenza, the Armenian genocide, WWII, the Holocaust, Cambodia, China (Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward), the Soviet Union under Stalin, Rwanda, Darfur, Iraq, Syria, Congo….

    It’s not a question of whether, it’s a question of when and whether it will hit us at home. As for a biological apocalypse, we should all be worried by statements made by the CDC and world health authorities that many pathogens are out-evolving our ability to generate new drugs (a situation which our government has helped to create, incidentally).

  3. jj says

    Local problems are not apocalyptic moments outside the locality. If there’s a question of whether or not it’ll hit us at home, then it’s not apocalyptic. If all these apocalyptic moments didn’t produce a ‘finis,’ then they weren’t apocalyptic. To be properly an apocalypse, everyone must be affected. There hasn’t been anything yet that has affected everybody, though, as noted, Islam might ultimately qualify. (I suppose when Toba blew up, the world froze, and humanity was cut down to no more than a couple of thousand breeding females (only a thousand or so, some think) that came closest.)

    Biological apocalypses are an interesting notion, but nature’s never yet thrown up a virus or bacterium that’s proven 100% fatal. (f it had, we wouldn’t be here, would we?) It is possible that humanity may – accidentally or otherwise – engineer something outside of nature that has the capability of sweeping the board, but it would be tricky. We aren’t machines, we’re not going to fall over in rows, and there will be a percentage of us that are immune. Historically there’s been a percentage of us who were immune to everything, from plague and flu right through AIDS, Ebola, and West Nile virus. There are always those who emerge to breed and keep it going.

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