Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Wednesday, 2019.11.20
A new koan: If you have some ice cream, I will give it to you. If you have no ice cream, I will take it away from you. It is an ice cream koan.

2006.06.10

Social Parasites Wanted, No Experience Necessary

Amy Alkon is attending the Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference at the University of Pennsylvania. She makes note of these comments from behavioral ecologist Marlene Zuk (University of California, Riverside):

She talked about parasites as a normal part of life, and noted that they’ve shaped life from the beginning: “We evolved with parasites…” and “…we remove them at our peril.” She spoke of the unexpected downsides of removing our pathogens.

This has me thinking. It is a common observation that our social behavior is a more developed or complex extension of basic physical models and that our social structure is often modeled after similar systems in nature. So while Professor Zuk is talking about actual little critters, what are the implications of removing societal parasites? Is it actually a good thing for society to have some portion of the population living on welfare? Does the social burden of 14 million illegal aliens provide some as yet unrecognized benefit, something deeper than the ideas and claims being kicked around in the MSM and blogsphere? And the same for social security, Medicaid and Medicare.

I don’t have an answer to these questions, but they may merit consideration if a socially healthy solution is to be crafted to many of the current issues we face. I believe there is a very real possibility we are failing to define many of these issues in a manner which can result in positive solutions.

That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

Friedrich Nietzsche

[Edit History]

2006.06.10 – Ooooops. Wrong link to Advice Goddess post. Its fixed now.

2006.06.20 – Sissy Willis takes a similar tack with regard to immune response research and the social context.


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