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Ebola, is panic good?

ncel tdiener at ASRR.ARSUSDA.GOV
Sun Jul 23 07:26:31 EST 1995

		Your ideas about the (evolutionary?) value of panic 
and fear are thought-provoking and, for me at least, novel. Thanks. On 
the other topic, to assign predatory motives to viruses is obviously 
incorrect, but may be excusable, in my opinion, in popular writings on 
virology, particularly if one considers the (TV-induced?) extremely short 
attention span of much of today's public --- which quickly fades out unless
constantly overstimulated through all senses.
		Also, before we criticize popular writings, I believe we
should more critically examine our own professional word usages: I 
haven't been at any virology meetings or congresses, for example, in 
recent years, where there were not sessions after sessions on virus 
replication "strategies," a term that is at least as anthropomorphic as 
"predatory", implying, as it does, conscious design to succeed, be it in 
war or in games. 

On Thu, 20 Jul 1995, Bob Morrell wrote:

> On 20 Jul 1995, Chris A. Pella wrote:
> > 
> > I have to agree. The book did tell me some things I didnt know before 
> > but it did rely heavily on sensationalism. For example, Preston made it
> > a continual point in highlighting people's emotional reactions, particularly
> > fear, when he described people's reaction to the concept of Ebola. While 
> > people may be scared of Ebola, this fact does not have prime importance 
> > as far as informing the readers is concerned. It did detract from the 
> > value of the book IMHO.
> I think people should rethink the value of panic and fear. The natural 
> reaction of panic and fear is to isolate themselves, shun people from 
> infected areas, even to the point of overkill.
> The result of these behaviors is exactly what you need to stop the epidemic.
> Much of the "anti-panic" reaction of the intelligensia is hubris, IMO. 
> Quit thinking in intellectual models and start thinking in real life 
> scenarios, with actual effects. I would rather have 1000 misguided people 
> stop an epidemic, than 10 well informed, but overly complacent 
> individuals spread it.
> The Hot Zone serves us well in this regard. I reawakens the general 
> public to the fact that it's still a very cruel world out there, that 
> there are things that can kill you....
> *                     Bob Morrell                       *
> *              bmorrell at isnet.is.wfu.edu                *
> * The operation was a success, as the autopsy will show *

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