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EPIDEMIOLOGY, CHAOS THEORY, AND A BIT OF ZEN

RAD.COM.NET REC at IUPUI.NET.
Fri Aug 25 15:33:14 EST 1995


                    THE ORDER OF EVENTS

.................

I'm new here and have read with interest the debates on the origins
of viruses, and the questions as to whether they are alive or not.
My question is:  What are their purpose?

Is it to spread genetic material across the planet?  Is it to achieve
hegemony over the planet (seems they already do)?

Any thoughts welcome, 

Mark A. Lilly
.................

This in response to Mark Lilly's question as to what are the purposes
of virsuses.

I ask Mark, why do they need a purpose.  Do you have a purpose?  Do
I?  Because we are not theologians, let's leave superstitions out of
the argument.  Makes answering Mark's question a tad harder, eh?

If, as Duncan McGeoch says, "virsues are mistletoe on the Tree of 
Life", we can all shut down our screens and go have a beer.

Charlie Calisher
..................

If you ask for a purpose, you have to infer that there is "someone"
who constructed the universe and who has given everything a purpose.

In my opinion, things are not there to serve a purpose, they just 
exist.  The basic concept of evolution is that things "happen" or
"evolve" by chance.  If they "work", they will survive, if not, 
they will disappear.  Charles Darwin called this "survival of the 
fittest".

Obviously, viruses "work" quite well - that's why they continue to 
be around.  They don't need a purpose.  By the way - what is your
purpose?

Wolfram Brune
..................

I agree with you Mark.  I would argue that the "purpose" of viruses,
as with all living organisms, is to propagate their genetic material.
Viruses are just a little more aggressive in their pursuit of this
goal.

Any Nguyen
..................

Yes another agrees.  The aggressiveness can be really very high, 
Ebola Zaire for example kills 9 out of 10 hosts in <14 days.  I'd
speculated that, for the virus, this is not too good an idea.  If
you want to spread your genetic material and you are too pathogenic,
then you eventually loose your host.  Whereas AIDS, although equally
aggressive, allows the host to live thus allowing its (somewhat 
rapid) propagation.

Roy Goodacre
...................

AFTER READING THE ABOVE DISCOURSE, I POSTED THE FOLLOWING RESPONSE.

...................
                          

                          FUTURES


STRANGE ATTRACTORS

All species are subject to cycles of sustained growth and sudden 
calamity.  It is a rhythm as old as life itself, and an integral
part of the evolutionary process.

The classical symptoms of any species in crisis are:
  1. Increased aggression
  2. Sexual dysfunction
  3. And disease.

DYNAMICS

The number of AIDS deaths continues to periodically double.

The disproportionately large sector of the population known as the 
"baby boomers" is rapidly approaching the unpleasant end of the 
demographic python.

What is the probability that these two rising curves will both reach
maximum intensity in the same relative time frame?

VARIABLES

Are accurate numbers on the AIDS epidemic readily available to the 
general public?

What is the current doubling rate for deaths due to HIV infection?

Is the capitalization of the funeral industry an expedient 
precaution?

Is it a moral investment strategy?

__________________________________________________________________
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

   FUTURES was created in recognition of the considerable 
   achievements of Mitchell Feigenbaum.  

   It is also my $0.02 worth on the questions of:

     1.  What constitutes life?
     2.  What is the purpose of it all?

   RAD.COM.NET - reporting on the unprecedented consolidation of 
   resourses occuring in the international funeral industry.

 
Ronnal E. Chancellor


                       LIFE IS CHANGE 



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