humans are parasites?and natural disasters are Earth's immune system?

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mickron88's picture
humans are parasites?and natural disasters are Earth's immune system?

Parasitism, in the words of Wikipedia: "a non-mutual symbiotic relationship between species, where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host."

By this definition, humans neither are nor aren't parasites, since our activities are enormously diverse, and some of them benefit our host (the biosphere) while others very definitely don't. I think it's fair to say that, over time, our activities have become less and less beneficial for the planet. But I think it's only correct to use the term "parasite" as an analogy, since in the literal sense the situation is much more complicated than that.

But, even as an analogy, natural disasters being the planet's "immune system" hardly works. They're apples and oranges. I dunno — I mean, rhetorically, it's a powerful move to compare the two. But the way the question is phrased makes it sound like you want to know if natural disasters are literally a planetary immune system. I don't think that's supportable, no.

what do you think are we?

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watchman's picture
@ Qu@si ...

@ Qu@si ...

Personally ,I've always leant towards Agent Smiths idea......

and given our species propensity for destruction........ even the destruction of our own kind.



an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host.

an infection or disease caused by a virus.

a harmful or corrupting influence.

a piece of code which is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.

I think that pretty much sums it up.....

mickron88's picture
and i think immune system of

and i think immune system of the earth is getting weak...our planets has HIV-aids..

that's why thanos goal is to wipe-out half of our kind, just like other movies who shows the same scenario.

"jupiter ascending"-channing tatum/mila kunis, "the knowing"-nicolas cage, "kingsman secret service" -sam L jackson

and many more...

Alembé's picture
Prophesy is a fool's errand,

Prophesy is a fool's errand, however I think we might be seeing the start of several feedback loops that will control the human population. The one that intrigues me is that male fertility is decreasing worldwide (at least in "westernized" countries), see:

The causes are still unclear, although various potential reasons are alluded to in the article.

Of course, the pandemic virus that comes out of jungle and decimates the population is always distinct possibility. It is not generally appreciated that the world dodged a bullet when SARS first emerged in 2002/2003. I have a number of epidemiologist colleagues who worked directly on that first outbreak. They readily admit that things were starting to look very concerning in the early stages when the number of infections was really starting to take off and the basic epidemiology and consequent infection control measures were unknown.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
The latest infection in

The latest infection in remote Australia reaching endemic proportions in Indigenous populations is the next biggest threat should it mutate
Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 is spread through contaminated blood, unprotected sex and breastmilk. Like HIV, there is no cure. Like HIV, the virus causes potentially fatal complications but unlike HIV it takes much longer for symptoms to appear. Some people carry the virus for 30 years before chronic complications appear. Five to 10% develop a rapidly fatal form of leukaemia – nearly all of those will die within 12 months of diagnosis. Other life-threatening complications include kidney failure, lung disease, inflammation of the spinal cord leading to paralysis and other infections. The higher the viral load in the bloodstream, the more likely serious the symptoms. Guardian Australia

Because of its manner of infection it is controllable in western environments where condoms, antisepsis and routine blood testing are routine. In war ravaged or remote areas it can spread uncontrollably . If it mutates into a more infectious mode then it is going to be a very rough ride.

Cognostic's picture
@Where one species, the

@Where one species, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host."

I always thought that we were just a part of the food chain. A part of the biosphere. We are not separate from nature but a part of it, no matter how we try to pretend we are special.

The story of the rabbits and the foxes though simplistic, seems to me to be the actual state of being human. When the rabbit population gets too big, the food begins to run out and the fox population has a lot of available food. The rabbits must be out and about looking for food so the foxes get free snacks.

With all the free snacks, the fox population begins to grow and feast on the rabbits, until, of course, the rabbit population begins to dwindle from over hunting. Now it is the foxes that are starving and their population decreases. The tulips begin to grow (actual rabbit food) and the rabbit population expands again. This process continues unless one population completely wipes out another population or until the biosphere changes and a food source or species is wiped out.

The EARTH will be just fine without humans. Perhaps it will do dinosaurs again. Humans are not separate from the biosphere but are a part of it. Humans do not have a "host." The biosphere is as much a "host" to parasites as it is to humans. No biosphere, no parasites or humans. The fact is that we are a part of the biosphere and not separate from it. We are subject to the same effects. Our population is expanding and we are depleting our food source. What happens next probably will not be much fun.

chimp3's picture
Humans need to protect the

Humans need to protect the only home we have. But, I would not go so far as to attribute agency to the Earth.

David Killens's picture
This planet is just a big

This planet is just a big pile of rock and chemicals. As far as the big picture goes, species come and go, depending whether they are suited to their environment. If mankind destroy themselves, the planet doesn't care, it just keeps going on with whatever forces are acting on it. There have been many mass extinctions, we are being vain and stupid to believe that we are some kind of special snowflake that gets treated differently.

This planet will always be in a state of evolution.

Terminal Dogma's picture
Next 10 years things should

Next 10 years things should start to get interesting, so many low IQ folks having the most babies and automation making them unemployable.

I just don't know where all the money for welfare cheques is going to come from.

Cognostic's picture
I vote we stop the welfare

I vote we stop the welfare checks all together and make the Churches DO THEIR FRIGGING JOBS!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@Cog and Terminal.

@Cog and Terminal.

I agree the welfare checks big business get every year are bankrupting every country in the Western World. Billions for coal, billions for oil, tax relief for everyone except those poor sods actually working.
Banks get money, billionaires get tax dollars often when they don't pay a cent...., when will it end?

Chevron hasn't paid one cent in royalties or tax in Australia...Gina Rheinhardt the richest woman in Australia gets 8 BILLION a year in subsidies and sells everything off to china when she gets the chance. You are right. UNAFFORDABLE WELFARE!

In the UK you have the Royal family breeding like flies, living in state housing, getting paid for just existing, this welfare is unaffordable!

Terminal Dogma's picture
I don't think it's reversible

I don't think it's reversible, there are too many people third generation welfare that don't know what work is and mostly unemployable, fat slobs with no concept of work, poor social skills, mental illnes, low literacy, low numeracy etc, what jobs can they even do?

If welfare stopped the low level crime would be unmanageable, theft, assault etc. Security would be more expensive than welfare.

We are locked in now.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Terminal Dogma

@ Terminal Dogma

Are you talking about Trump here? Fat, terminal slob, no idea of real work, never done a day in his life? Or any of the families of the inherited wealthy who have never worked a day in their lives? Those whose families suck more out of the taxpayers largesse than any number of pensioners and welfare recipients.
Maybe instead of buying billions in weaponry, and coal subsidies, and oil wars if you spent on real education to lift the US from its dismal ranking in the world outcomes may change.

Sapporo's picture
It does not matter what

It does not matter what species you are, there is no such thing as a free lunch. In regards parasites, that is just an argument over definitions.

Terminal Dogma's picture
@old man, I think you are

@old man, I think you are defaulting to the worn out paradigms of left versus right.

societies have always had small number of rich and a lot of poor. am talking about a completely new phenomenon in human history, large sections of a population that only know that everything is no obligation free money and services. There has to be sociological, psychological and genetic implications to this that we have no precedence for. Somehow I don't think is sustainable or desirable.

Left versus right at this point in history is just plain irrelevant to the progress of humanity.

Cognostic's picture
Bringing info from another

Bringing info from another thread, the reason cited by the government for the failure of US school systems is Drop Out Rates. No one is willing to work any more. They are not willing to work in or out of school. Everyone is entitled to the good life and when it does not come easy, there is always crime. Just like they shook down the rich kid at school, they can shake down any passer-by on the street or break into any home because, after all, a home is just a big school locker. Something in our society is sick and desperately in need of repair.

Terminal Dogma's picture
The proof is the hungry Asian

The proof is the hungry Asian English as third language migrant kid that can go to the same school as the chronically failing natives and end up a leader in a professional field while the locals are pregnant, on welfare or in prison.

But just throw more money at the same failed policies and do them all again ..I suppose it's the patriarchy's fault again.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ TD

@ TD

I agree we need a completely new paradigm.

Every time Americans and Australians start blaming the poor and disadvantaged and accept the inevitability of having the rich and over privileged they never look at Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland and France. All of whom are happier places with less natural advantages. All of which have cradle to the grave welfare, health and education systems. All of which have happier, healthier and better educated citizens than either the UK, The US and Australia..

There is a way forward that does not mean allowing the uber rich to rape and pillage the population for their own private benefit. A way that allows for the building of infrastructure, health and education and yes, a social frikking conscience.

That's not left wing, its not right wing it's fucking human. I believe in dignity and opportunity.

If you think churches can be trusted to look after the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick and disabled you know fuck all about history and less about their priorities.

Sheldon's picture
The UK has many problems, but

The UK has many problems, but we do have cradle to grave welfare, health and education systems. I agree with the rest. As for automation rendering being unemployable, it should be setting people free from the drudgery of being wage slaves in unfulfilling or even dangerous jobs.

Nyarlathotep's picture
In the past, the "have nots"

In the past, the "have nots" starved in the streets. In a few places in the world we have started to take modest steps to curtail this; naturally, the reactionaries are still struggling with this.

Sheldon's picture
Precisely correct.

Precisely correct. Eradicating poverty and ensuring universal education for everyone should be minimal global goals in the 21st century.

Terminal Dogma's picture
I find poverty more of a

I find poverty more of a political word than anything.

My grandparents had almost no cash on hand and lived in a dirt floor shack but they had very rich lives that actual elite rich people now try and emulate in a perverse way.

My grandparents were surrounded by music, friends, culture, fresh food that they grew or hunted, they bartered, they never learned to drive, read or use a telephone or watch a television.

Economic measures would have them as poverty level extreme.

Sheldon's picture
I agree that poverty can be a

I agree that poverty can be a subjective term, but rather than reject it absolutely perhaps we need to work at making it as objectively valid to as many people as possible so we can help those who really need it. I mean none can argue (surely?) that insufficient food shelter clothing and education are acceptable ever. I think there is a balance to be struck, and it's hard for me to believe that balance includes hundreds of millions dying from want of basic necessities like water and good nutrition while others are obscenely wealthy.

Terminal Dogma's picture
In the West the only people

In the West the only people that die of starvation or lack education opportunities are the mentally ill, drug addicts or people with alternative beliefs.

I would like to know how you think endless and increasing welfare with no obligation is going to end poverty rather than guarantee it.

Sheldon's picture
Firstly I wasn't referring

Firstly I wasn't referring specifically to the west. However I find that claim dubious. How about sexually abused children who end up living rough on the streets as one example to refute your claim. Also insufficient nutrition can go on for years without killing someone. You've picked an extreme to resort to hyperbole. How about children who go to school hungry?

"I would like to know how you think endless and increasing welfare with no obligation"

I would like to know why you have made up a claim I never made nor even implied? That's just hyperbole and rhetoric, and a little dishonest. Especially since I quite specifically stated there was a balance to be struck.

Terminal Dogma's picture
Two things, abused children

Two things, abused children are by definition both emotionally and mentally screwed up, also their are literally thousands of agencies and officers dedicated to taking them in and healing them. As a side note I state without facts they are more likely to come from welfare homes.

They prolly go to school hungry cos their useless welfare parents spent the welfare money on booze or drugs.

My second comment you quoted was an actual question not an accusation.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ TD

@ TD

@ Termina Dogma

"As a side note I state without facts they are more likely to come from welfare homes."

Those first two sentences just demonstrate you watch a diet of Fox and read Murdoch's rags. The last one is just totally erroneous.

Your posts are useless generalisations. More welfare recipient bashing. And no fucking idea what you are talking about.

I fostered kids from homes that were "less than ideal" and the worst case of all an "ideal home".
I've worked in prisons. There are common factors in failure; education, early environment, nutrition and hope.

Lets work out how to provide those without bashing those that need them . Then maybe your precious tax dollars can go where they belong. You know, building a fucking wall or something.

Terminal Dogma's picture
You haven't replied with any

You haven't replied with any facts in the way I meant either. You have given anecdote and generalisation so get off your high horse.

I am confident to state without research, facts was the wrong word, that your prison system , abused children, etc are over represented by long term welfare recipient homes.

High levels of welfare I contend causes these social problems has been my argument all along. You just want to virtue signal and not discuss the problem or even entertain the idea you could be wrong, it's like you hate poor people and want to keep them dependent .

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ TD

@ TD

"you haven't replied with"

I can easily respond with facts, studies and point you to countries where the provision of free education, health, retraining, rehabilitation, and where prisons are closing because of real solutions.

But as long as you continue just slagging off the most vulnerable, the disabled and the elderly in your factless rants why should I make you see the error of your ways with actual research, studies and numbers?

Its all there on the interweb thingy, Easy to access, Sweden, Norway and Denmark all have english language websites so you can see their free education, crime rates, incarceration rates, recidivism and compare state by state with the US, Australia and NZ (hint US is nowhere near the best)
You can compare average health outcomes with Canada the UK, France and the hybrid system in Australia and the cost of drugs...(hint the US is now where near the top performer)

You can look at the success of drug legalization, rehab programs (all free) in the Netherlands and see how many prisons they have closed in the last ten years..(hint the opposite of the US)

Perhaps looking at some facts and discarding some fantasy prejudices would help you with your empathy.

And stop watching fox and listening to Sinclair stations would help you.

(Edit:Last sentence added)

Terminal Dogma's picture
Yes let's look at Sweden now

You are pretty naïve if you are comparing northern Europe to the US and Australia.

Yes let's look at Sweden now they have let hundreds of thousands of migrants of peace in and define the soaring rape crisis of Swedish women away as cultural misunderstanding.

We will indeed see how welfare states hold up under this burden, gonna be lots of data.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ TD

@ TD
Once again a rant, and factless. If you want to channel Donald Trumps lies please let us know in advance.

Citations and evidence please for your baseless claims. At least links to whatever neo con fake news site you get your "facts" from. I need a larff.


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