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  #16  
Old 01-18-2011, 06:00 AM
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Sothis, I think you might have fallen for our culture's diminutive and negative mindset about primitive peoples and nature. Sure, the infant mortality rate was somewhat higher for certain native groups (like those living in harsher climates), but the population that made it to adulthood had lifespans on par with modern people. Heck, sometimes they were even longer, the Native Americans were living longer than the Europeans that killed them off (yes, with disease, but foreign disease nonetheless - compared to modern humans their immune systems for dealing with localized/native diseases were much stronger).

If you want to learn more about this read "Original Wisdom" or talk to auroraglacialis, she's kinda the forum expert on this stuff.
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  #17  
Old 01-18-2011, 06:01 AM
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Virus's technically aren't alive. So not really part of "the balance of life".



And Tsyal, its not a mindset, its fact.

Life expectancy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  #18  
Old 01-18-2011, 06:31 AM
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Virus's technically aren't alive. So not really part of "the balance of life".
While I do have to say that you have a point. However, when I'm laying in bed with a nasty case of the flu those virus particles feel very alive as they are subverting my cells to their purposes. Even that "balance of life" issue can come up.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
Sothis, I think you might have fallen for our culture's diminutive and negative mindset about primitive peoples and nature.
Whoa, whoa, whoa... I like nature. I love it, in fact. I've pooped in the woods and slept in brush shelters and made fire without matches and dug grubs for eating and alllllll that jazz.

(More relevantly, I've dedicated literally my entire career toward counteracting what I perceive to be the biggest threats to the environment. But pooping in the woods is more light-hearted.)

I'm just expressing that, while nature is full of primeval beauty and deep healing for the soul, it is ALSO full of horrifying stuff like this:
The 7 Most Horrifying Parasites on the Planet | Cracked.com

I realize that people may have different opinions on what it means to truly respect nature and so-called "primitive peoples." If so, it may be best if we agree to disagree, or move the question of respect to the debate thread (don't wanna derail Ash's thread :-p).
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  #20  
Old 01-18-2011, 07:03 AM
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And also ways to counter those horrors. For everything in nature there is something else to kill/treat it. I had a book a while ago by Thom Hartmann that talked about just this. I remember there was a section about Darfurian people, and how they lived pretty decent lives (like Native Americans) prior to the North African Arabs invading the land just like Europeans in the New World. It also touched a bit on our culture's Hobbesian tendency to stereotype the lives of native peoples as short and brutish. This is pretty much scrapping the bottom of the barrel on my knowledge of this, so again, if you want more info, talk to AG. I think Sempu might have read Original Wisdom, as well.

And with that, I'm done. I agree, let's not derail this thread any further.

Isard - Again, that's calculated with infant mortality. Plus it's a smaller testing group than the 7-billion world of today. Adults lived into their 60s and 70s. They do call the New World "the land that made grandparents," afterall.
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Mike Malloy, a voice of reason in a world gone mad.

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"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden

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  #21  
Old 01-18-2011, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
Well, if we look at the lives of primitive hunter-gatherers, we find that they lived relatively disease-free lives. Their immune-systems were much stronger than those of modern humans, so while there might have been a stray bug here or there, the cause of most health problems was physical trauma.

I'd imagine it's the same on Pandora.
Um, which...hunter-gatherers would those be, Tsyal? I've NEVER heard this. Yes, the Americas had fewer infectious diseases than Eurasia and Africa...but man, oh man, were/are the parasites nasty. Which is generally why Euroasians and Africans have developed better immunities against infectious diseases, and Native Americans against parasites (or so one of the current medical theories go, in effort to work out what doctors can do to protect the children of Native American descent from infectious disease.) But while some diseases did get transferred over from animals, which comes with farming and/or a nomadic lifestyle where you graze animals, not all of them did. In that case, it wasn't really to do with lifestyle in itself, but a combination of other factors, including plain luck of the draw. If the Americas had anything like the disease-pool that the Europeans had, we would have seen the Europeans dropping from strange disease, too. And we don't. The utter devastation caused in the Americas is also a combination of virgin soil epidemics AND genetics - Native Americans have a much smaller gene pool than Eurasians, so there were fewer chances for people to have a natural immunity scattered through the population like what happened in the so-called 'Old World'.

Also, in Africa, there were plenty of so-called 'primitive' hunter-gatherers for quite some time, including up to the present. And. I should mention, because it's a point that seems to be forgotten...only some Native Americans, on both continents, were hunter-gatherers. Others had farms. Yet others had empires. Just pointing that out.

(And in any case, a number of tribes in the Amazon - and lets face it, the rainforest on Pandora is very similar to the Amazon - have/had the belief that a child can have many fathers, not just the mother's husband. This is because if a large number of men feel like that are a child's father or part-father, they help support it, and thus children with many 'fathers' tend to survive more than children with one. Which again is related to checks and balances and population)

The note on ages I can't really comment on, as I don't know, but I would imagine that in cases where the adult population is mostly healthy, it's because the sick and weak ones have died as children and infants. There IS a reason why in a number of cultures, children weren't named until they were about a year old - just surviving until the age of one was impressive. Incidentally, I find myself not believing that thing about the land of grandparents - menopause is too well established as part of our species. The last few thousand years in Euroasia and Africa are not normal, as far as our species goes.

The thing is, trauma was one of the most common cause of death...in adults. Most children died before the age of two. Once you got into adulthood, usually you just had to worry about childbirth (women) or warfare or hunting (men). Well, usually - there were still colds and other infectious diseases, and lets not forget that something as simple as a broken bone can kill you... and speaking as a female, the childbirth statistics terrify me, so it's nothing to be sneezed at. Actually, as the Na'vi are bipedal, I would imagine that they have similar problems in childbirth that we do. Anyway, that's off-topic. Child mortality is repeated again and again and again. It's got nothing to do with the climate, except that the diseases will be different. What differs in climate is the food-supply, which is another kettle of fish (pun unintended).

Which is (to bring it all back on topic, so I don't continue the derailing. Sorry, guys!) a large reason why I was asking. I'm curious as to the checks and balances on Pandora for keeping the populations steady. In humans, it was (and in third world countries were immunization isn't as present, still is) mostly disease. I'm not talking plague, but common illnesses (and an EXCELLENT list can be found at here <-- this is the kind of thing I'm thinking about). But if the Na'vi DON'T have them...there has to be something else that is keeping them in check. I was actually surprised that there seemed to be so FEW Na'vi children seen in the movie - if the group that followed Jake was different to the one that ran to meet Grace, we're talking....maybe a dozen. And one of those was the young female hunter who joined Jake to get her Banshee. I'd really expect there to be more kids.

And yeah, Sothis, I'm pretty sure you are right there on the romanticizing nature and the joys of being "uncivilized", but I'm one of those annoying writers who tend to drag reality into things, along with poking things until they start to make sense *g*.

And like I said, if there AREN'T diseases, then that offers a whole other bunch of ideas of what is keeping the population under control. Such as Neytiri's comment of "Eywa keeps the balance of life" taken to logical extremes - She LITERALLY keeps the balancing by controlling the fertility of those who live on her (via the trees, I would imagine). Or other things as to how the Na'vi practice birth-control. But if there is no disease, there has to be something, and that's what I'm poking about.
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  #22  
Old 01-18-2011, 12:35 PM
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Sothis/Ashen - There's a couple threads on AF where people on my side of the aisle and your guy's side of the aisle have pretty good back-and-forths on this issue, people with a lot more knowledge than I. I'll post them in a few hours when I'm on my computer (rummaging through AF is a bitch on the iPhone).

Here's one.

Human paradox?

EDIT - Couldn't find the others, but here is a good blog on the issue of native health.

http://ryan-koch.blogspot.com/search...&max-results=7

I'll find the others tomorrow. In closing I will say this - as much as people like to bitch about "noble savage" romanticism being a fallacy, "savage savage" Hobbesianism can be equally a fallacy, as well.
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Mike Malloy, a voice of reason in a world gone mad.

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." - Inception

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden

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  #23  
Old 01-18-2011, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tsyal Makto View Post
Sothis/Ashen - There's a couple threads on AF where people on my side of the aisle and your guy's side of the aisle have pretty good back-and-forths on this issue, people with a lot more knowledge than I. I'll post them in a few hours when I'm on my computer (rummaging through AF is a bitch on the iPhone).

Here's one.

Human paradox?

I'll find the others tomorrow. In closing I will say this - as much as people like to bitch about "noble savage" romanticism being a fallacy, "savage savage" Hobbesianism can be equally a fallacy, as well.
*blinks* Just for the record? By stating that there is a high child mortality without modern medicine, I'm not accusing anyone of being 'a savage'. That would be exceedingly racist and bigoted of me, not to mention inaccurate. I am merely stating a medical and historical fact. Not having the technology for surgery (which I do grant that the Native Americans - of both continents - would have a slightly easier time of, thanks to mostly being the same blood-type so that blood-transfusions are more likely to be successful) and not having the technology for immunizations or chronic illnesses like diabetes, not having the technology to keep women from dying in childbirth, not having the tech to make sure that broken bones don't get infected and kill the patient, and not having the means to deal with parasites is not a judgment. It's just what happens when you don't have the same technology.

I am also wary when people go about saying things about "Original Wisdom", without stating which group they are talking about. To blur the peoples of two entire continents into a single culture is...problematic. Granted, there can be similarities - like the peoples of Euroasia and Africa having domesticated animals - but still. Like I said, the Aztecs and Inca are just as much Native American as the semi-nomadic groups up in the far north.

Buuuut this is all getting off-topic, given the Na'vi AREN'T a Native American tribe, merely apparently based off various groups. Unless you happen to know how various groups in the Americas kept their numbers down apparently without disease? I do know that nomadic groups tried to space their children apart by four years, so the child doesn't have to be carried when the mother has another, but that's involving a large combination of things, up to and including infanticide. And I think if I suggest that about the Na'vi, I'd have the whole forum descend on my head
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  #24  
Old 01-18-2011, 10:21 PM
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Ooh, ooh! I forget exactly where I read this, but the na'vi apparently do have birth control. I'll try to find the source so I can link it, but it was something about "plants that can promote fertility, or suppress it." If so, and if it actually WORKS reliably, that could be a big difference between the na'vi and humans, and it would be part of your answer. It did strike me as interesting that mo'at and eytukan only had two children that we know of (neytiri and sylwanin), so perhaps there is voluntary population control.
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  #25  
Old 01-18-2011, 11:09 PM
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Ooh, ooh! I forget exactly where I read this, but the na'vi apparently do have birth control. I'll try to find the source so I can link it, but it was something about "plants that can promote fertility, or suppress it." If so, and if it actually WORKS reliably, that could be a big difference between the na'vi and humans, and it would be part of your answer. It did strike me as interesting that mo'at and eytukan only had two children that we know of (neytiri and sylwanin), so perhaps there is voluntary population control.
Ah-hah! Yes, that would go a very, very long way to explaining things, yes. I do admit that I didn't much take note of them only having two children that survived into adulthood - again, I figured if they had more, the children had just died.

But birth control would explain a lot. Particularly combined with a number of homosexual pair-bonds, which are mentioned in the Pandorapedia on the blu-ray (and in that case, the m/m and f/f bonds could also help support the children of the clan, which boosts their survival rate, which means you don't need as many children in the first place. Thanks for mentioning that, Sothis!
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:58 PM
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Remember that by being subject to natural selection, the individuals that DO survive are the stronger ones. Once people in those situations survive past childhood, then they live just as long as people today. As for disease - they don't live in such close proximity, so transmission of disease is far lower.

Back on topic: The Na'vi have nearly no disease due to having a sustainable population level, less prevalence of Disease on Pandora, and a stronger immune system.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:34 PM
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There's got to be some endo/ectoparasites, bacteria, and viruses.

It would be foolish to say that they have organisms like roundworms, flukes, parasitic protists and the like, because Pandora has its own phylogenetic tree.

It wouldn't be too far-fetched to say the same about bacteria and viruses, because they are so simple that something like them would have to have been one of the first life forms to exist on Pandora (and viruses aren't really organisms anyway).

As for the Na'vi, they'd have to get sick occasionally, but like some people said, pandemic outbreaks would only occur if something disturbed the ecosystem enough to allow that to happen/released a dormant contagion from underground/the Na'vi became overpopulated.

Since they are generally in balance with the ecosystem, this probably doesn't happen very often. If you look back at large dieoffs of humans from pandemics, it almost always had to do with something that we had done to allow the spread of the contagion responsible.

But, despite Pandora being beautiful, there has to be something ugly somewhere. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing JC make some nasty worm or giant predatory insect or something to balance. I don't really think anything in nature is truly ugly anyway.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:38 PM
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Since they are generally in balance with the ecosystem, this probably doesn't happen very often. If you look back at large dieoffs of humans from pandemics, it almost always had to do with something that we had done to allow the spread of the contagion responsible.
*g* I actually wasn't think about their version of the plague, just your perfectly normal, low-level, nasty illnesses that can be fatal. Particularly in childhood (which we in the first world don't have so much anymore, thanks to immunizations). And die-offs happen when a new disease is on the block, yes, because the local population hasn't built up an immunity yet.

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But, despite Pandora being beautiful, there has to be something ugly somewhere. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing JC make some nasty worm or giant predatory insect or something to balance. I don't really think anything in nature is truly ugly anyway.
There are a couple nasty bugs around, which makes me think there would be other nasty things floating around. Pandoran ticks, for example, and things like that.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:48 PM
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There are a couple nasty bugs around, which makes me think there would be other nasty things floating around. Pandoran ticks, for example, and things like that.
Oh!

I forgot about wolf ticks!

I wanna see if they make into Av 2. Giant Acarids FTW!
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:01 PM
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Look at it from an evolutionary point of view.

Generally, an organism that lives inside the body of another organism does not want to kill its host. Pandora is a very stable environment where things have remained relatively unchanged for long periods of time. What generally happens over long periods of time is that "bugs" and their hosts tend to evolve in such a way that the host receives no ill effects from the bug. Now granted the "bug" still leeches nutrients but its no longer a disease in the sense that there are no longer any symptoms.

Humans have tended to be a migratory people. They arose in one region and migrated all around the world. Quite often disease came from "bugs" that lived in animals or were present in the environment in other. These bugs caused hardly any ill effects on their original host; however, it so happened by coincidence that they could also live in a human body with different results.

Cholera is perfect example of what I am talking about. Its a bacteria that lives perfectly fine by itself in an aquatic environment but it just so happens by coincidence that it can live in a human host with devastating results. The two species lived isolated from each other. History is full of recorded massive outbreaks of cholera; however, the more dangerous forms of the disease tended to be so deadly that it killed itself out once it could no longer get away with infecting new hosts. Think of the extremely deadly SARS virus that killed itself out very recently.

When you have a sparse population where transmission is limited to within a clan, anything too deadly and virulent will easily kill itself out. Likewise, having ill effects on a host could be devastating because if the host becomes weak as a result of illness, it could die from predators. The tendency would be to evolve towards masking itself with as few ill effects as possible.

Theres no doubt in my mind that there are "bugs" in the sense that they take nutrients from their hosts, its just that they have no noticeable effects on their host to be called a disease.

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