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Old 01-17-2011, 09:32 AM
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Default Illness on Pandora?

I came across something - and I really can't remember WHERE or what it was - that said that on Pandora, there are few (if any) illnesses and diseases on Pandora.

Can anyone else either confirm or deny this? If not, what are your thoughts?

For example, I can see the Na'vi refusal of the RDA's offer of medicine coming from two places - either they don't accept it because they believe in the will of Eywa, or they simply don't have the need like similar-level humans would.

EDIT: As clarification, I mean Pandoran illnesses for Pandoran life, not human diseases.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:36 PM
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I'm sure there's better examples than this, but I know that something of the sort was mentioned in Project 880:

Quote:
It's not all grim here, he says. As of today you will never get another cold or flu. We don't get them here. Pandora has somehow reacted to the introduction of our viruses by creating a countervirus for each which wipes them out. In fact, the Consortium has the patents on these counterviruses, and when the FDA approves them, everybody on Earth will be buying them. That's the sort of thing we're looking for here. So please stay alert to the commercial possibilities of your research.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Empty Glass View Post
I'm sure there's better examples than this, but I know that something of the sort was mentioned in Project 880:
Oh, I knew Eywa is getting rid of HUMAN illnesses - it makes sense, as part of her 'humans are awful and I want them GONE' thing. I was wondering about PANDORAN illnesses that would affect the Na'vi and other creatures.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:36 PM
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Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Empty Glass View Post
Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying.
My own fault! I didn't make it clear. I'll do so now.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:39 PM
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I just don't see how there would be no disease. There basically has to be. Weren't we told that Eywa only protects the balance of life? Bacteria and viruses are certainly part of the balance of life here. There is more bacterial biomass than any other kind. Advanced animals only make up a tiny percentage. I just can't come up with a scenario where this would not be the case on Pandora as well.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:42 PM
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I just don't see how there would be no disease. There basically has to be. Weren't we told that Eywa only protects the balance of life? Bacteria and viruses are certainly part of the balance of life here. There is more bacterial biomass than any other kind. Advanced animals only make up a tiny percentage. I just can't come up with a scenario where this would not be the case on Pandora as well.
That's basically my thought, too - although I think no disease could be fun to play with in the sense that maybe Pandora is ultimately unnatural. But I'm sure I read somewhere that the Na'vi suffer from few illnesses, so I'm just curious if there was anything supporting this.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:01 AM
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I'm fairly sure it was in the survival guide somewhere, or possibly in one of the sources on the design of the Na'vi.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:26 AM
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I'm sure there is. There pretty much has to be bacteria on Pandora for the system to work and if by some chance that bacteria gets into the body, it will probably wreak some havoc. As for viruses. I don't know. Pandora is very diverse and dangerous, I would be willing to assume that it has those as well. But what I wonder is the nature of them. Are there many types and they are mild or very few they they are very deadly. There has to be balance somewhere in there. But then again, who knows? It's an alien world.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:08 AM
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They are likely relatively few (conditions on Pandora are not perfect for disease transmission as they are on Earth), but the Na'vi immune system is also much stronger than the human one.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:32 AM
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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.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
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.
...this is not true AT ALL. People used to die of things like the common cold all the time, and the rates of infant mortality considered "normal" would've been indication of some kind of horrible crisis if they were to occur today. There's a grain of truth in your last sentence, in that you'd be much more likely to die a violent death in many hunter-gatherer societies. So in that sense, you'd be less likely to die of disease... not because you are more immune, but because you are more likely to die some other way before you get the chance. Many of the leading causes of death today (heart disease, cancer, etc) have become leading causes because we are now living long enough to experience them in large numbers. Life expectancy used to be 30 - 40 years in many hunter-gatherer societies.

Also, you seem to have forgotten that it was disease - not violence - that was the most devastating killer of Native Americans when Europeans arrived on their continent.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:34 AM
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In response to Ash's question... of everything I've seen in the canon and pseudo-canon, the excerpt posted by Empty Glass is the one that most directly relates (note that I haven't read the entire survival's guide). Obviously, Project 880 is not canon, but it's an interesting concept and one that I've kept around in my personal canon. But even so, that only covers viruses... I haven't seen any mention of diseases caused by microorganisms, positively or negatively. So I guess it's left up to us for now. However, I do believe James Cameron has said that the Na'vi life expectancy is longer than the average human's, which is impressive given that modern humans' have nearly doubled in life expectancy since our own hunter-gatherer days, and the Na'vi STILL have us beat. So maybe that could point to a low prevalence of disease.

If so, this is the sort of thing that pushes Avatar into fantasy territory, making it less like science fiction and more like "Lord of the Rings." (Seriously, have you ever heard any mention of sick elves?) To me, it seems that the true engine of Avatar's appeal isn't our longing for nature per se... rather, it plays upon our longing for a mythic, romanticized version of nature -- nature as we want it to be rather than nature as it is. I think many people have an overly idealized vision of what "unspoiled," "uncivilized" nature is like. Yes, it's often beautiful, but it can also be nasty, cruel, uncaring, inexplicable, horribly uncomfortable, and really, really gross. (And this is coming from me, despite being a nature-lover all my life.)
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:15 AM
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I don't want to turn this into a debate, but actually Sothis and Tysal Makto are sort of both right.

By far the largest improvement in life expectancy is the elimination of most causes of infant mortality. I don't know about hunter gathers, but if you look at life expectancy starting at 40 the results are kind of startling. In western societies that life expectancy has not increased all that much over the last few hundred years.

Another big factor is transportation. We move around a lot and can spread disease to the entire world in just a few days. Hundreds of years ago we did not move around nearly as much. An example might be the Hawaiian islands. When the first Polynesians reached the island they did not bring many viruses. They had no flu and for the most part no cold viruses either. It was in some ways a parallel of what we are talking about on Pandora.

They still had bacteria in Hawaii. Injuries got infected just as easily as anywhere else.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:59 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 Eisdom" or talk to auroraglacialis, she's kinda the forum expert on this stuff.
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