Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Two Studies in Naiveté

One blog post. (Link a bit lower).

First about John Chau:

[A] man wearing a white crown possibly made of flowers [took] a “leadership stance” by standing atop the tallest coral rock on the beach. The man yelled, and Mr. Chau tried to respond, singing some worship songs and yelling back something in Xhosa, a language he apparently knew a few words of from when he coached soccer in South Africa a few years ago.

Comment by the Atheist blogger:

That’s an interesting linguistic advance. It makes no more sense to address the Sentinelese in English, of course, but Chau’s choice of Xhosa — a language spoken by black people five thousand miles away — seems to point to the neo-colonial notion that the vast cultural differences between darker-skinned people can be papered over with a little bit of “primitive” argot that the white (or Asian) visitor, in his magnanimity, has taken it upon himself to learn.

I tend to agree. This linguistic naiveté parallels the historical one when an Evangelical thinks an observation about 300 AD (there was a Church which as yet owed nothing to Constantine) or an observation about 1400 AD (lots of common people speaking neither Latin nor Greek, presence in some places of sects opposed to Catholicism, at least one attempt of translating Bible to modern vernacular language) is a valid comment on the situation in 400 AD and criteria by which to judge the Church that owed part of their position to Constantine and Theodosius (variously known as Catholic or Orthodox, depending on whether Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical or Anglican is presenting it).

Now, next item of naiveté, this one is on the Atheist blogger himself, not on John Chau:

Above all, by attempting to foist himself upon the tribespeople, he risked wiping out every one of them, as the hyper-isolated islanders likely have no resistance to viral illnesses like the measles and influenza.

In all appearance he was a healthy man up to when a certain arrow or sth put an end to it. There is no indication he had measles and certainly no indication he had a flu.

But, suppose (which I don't, but I am not a med student, I am only the son of one), there really was such a risk, how naive is it to justify the killing by pointing this out? If the guy himself had no idea about it, how likely is it the Sentinelese tribe had so? And how naive is it to judge a man as jeopardising other peoples' lives if the "salient" fact is not so salient to anyone outside med school.

Yes, if you come to a tribe with a flu, a measle infection, a small pox infection - as happens when a lot of Europeans come to a country - you do jeopardise the health and even lives of people without that resistance. But John Chau is not a lot of people and was visibly not carrying any ongoing infection. And if invisibly carrying a virus you are immune to and are not sneezing out in flu is at all likely to affect anyone else, even if you don't go out of your way to positively infect them, that would be something we people outside med school are blissfully unaware of.

A University education is not the same thing as a med school education.

Dead Missionary John Chau’s Last Letter Home Reveals Outsized Zeal and Naiveté
By Terry Firma | November 24, 2018

I think that this site (Friendly Atheist) was started by Hemant Mehta who is med school - former such - but it seems that Terry Firma isn't even into med school. I think (up to upcoming evidence to the contrary, medical articles) that the danger here proposed is simply hearsay, projected from historic happenings which had a much more contagious background. I suspect Terry has some mysophobic or bacteriophobic traits ...

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Holy Martyrs of Antioch
Bishop Basil, Auxilius
and Saturninus

PS, I was trying to trace the issue, and it seems part of the thing really is about contact with slightly ill forreigners and also, this part is at most a part of why the Indians were restricting access to the Andanese tribe. Resham Sengar will write one article with a loose claim, Philip Whiteside and Alix Culbertson will cite and uncritically link to Stephen Corry, whose activism - for such it it - has very many other problems to face than idealistic, single handed missionaries risking their own lives. Guaraní in Brazil have more pains from present day governments, for instance, than from the 16th to 17th C. Jesuits. And yes, they are one of the people on Stephen Corry's list of actions. The fact is, Jesuits were the Stephen Corry's of their time and really did protect Guaranís from exploitation and from visitors bringing diseases. And the Reductions were worse attacked by Portuguese than by Spanish colonies, and unsurprisingly, the Guaraní he is advocating for are in Brazil, while in Paraguay Guaraní is everyone's second or first language. It is still not at all clear how John Chau, being in full health, could have posed a medical risk to the tribe. It looks more like a "Chinese whispers" or "telephone game" situation./HGL

PPS, here is what I found : Sentinelese on wiki links to Know how 60,000 year-old human tribe of secluded North Sentinel Island behaves with outsiders by Resham Segar and to Sky News which links to Stephen Corry's Survival International where I see this on Progress can kill involving a suicide statistic on the Guaraní of ... Brazil./HGL

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