[permaculture] lead in hoses

Amy Little amylittle at hvc.rr.com
Thu May 3 21:06:16 EDT 2012

Hi Folks,
I love the conversation and deep thinking. 
On a more mundane level - Lead in hoses?
Anyone know the best lead free hoses?
Viva la revolución!  Amy

-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Toby Hemenway
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2012 4:08 PM
To: permaculture
Subject: [permaculture] Pernicious, infectious memes--OT

Okay, I'm still thinking about this because these arguments are used to
promote such dangerous memes (a form of infectious virus), and I love the
way logic demolishes them. Here's what's up with, for example,

>  an infection is always a secondary illness; infections arise after tissue
has been damaged, by malnutrition or intoxication. 

This relies on circular logic: "a virus can only infect a damaged organism,
because if an organism gets infected, it must be damaged or that would not
happen." It assumes what it intends to prove, and you can't get out of that
one until you see it is circular. It's certainly true that healthy organisms
tend to get fewer infections. This is because their immune systems work much
better. But it does not then follow that an organism must be unhealthy in
order to be infected. It does not undermine the fact that viruses alone are
often sufficient to cause infection, and mountains of evidence exist to show
this. The only evidence against it are some thought experiments ("then why
does X happen?") and some circular reasoning like that above. The main
reason that viruses do not routinely infect healthy creatures  is because
viruses have been in an arms race against the immune system for eons. The
immune system is full of machinery to block viral and bacterial infection.
Viruses are f  ull of machinery specifically designed to evade the immune
system (like, they've stolen receptors from the immune system so they can
neutralize immune boosting hormones; they wouldn't do that if they weren't
infectious). Sometimes one wins, sometimes the other. To claim that not
getting an infection is a sign that viruses don't infect is to confuse
statistics with function. Viruses would not contain that machinery if
evading the immune system--infecting a host--were not critically important
for them. And the immune system would not mount a huge response, every time,
to viral challenge if viruses by themselves were not a big threat to
organisms; that machinery would not exist.

In my experience, virologists tend to be smarter than the people denying the
viral model, and they understand well-reasoned arguments much better. 

Many people cannot develop or make it through chains of reasoning like this
and so they fall for cleverly crafted zombie arguments, like those of the
Creationist/Intelligent Design propagandists. Our school system specifically
discourages critical thinking so that we will be compliant and susceptible
to corporate and government memes ("humans aren't in charge of climate"
being a good example), and one side effect is that crackpot theories like
"viruses don't cause infection" and "life requires a designer" get far more
traction than they would in an educated society. We owe it to ourselves, the
planet, and our children to learn how to think critically.

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