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Please Get Your Goddamn Shot


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On 9/29/2021 at 5:18 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

At the risk of being political (we shall see if my post get deleted I reckon, haha)(but hey, behold, this whole thread would already qualify as political in some circle, how strange), I think many ill informed people are falling victim to evil propaganda here...

When the problem is so clearly and unarguably being made worse by and capitalised on financially by one of the two major US political parties, then any "no politics please" rules should be enthusiastically broken at every opportunity. And I didn't think Alastor's Skull forum had a no politics rule anyway did it?

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On 9/28/2021 at 5:32 AM, Lloyd Dupont said:

I can imagine. My sister is one of those... 😞 
Worst I think there is evil propaganda at work. From people who are not particularly crazy....

Science Teacher here.

Today we were discussing the school's ethos and our part in it.

I suggested that a big bit of 'being a Scientist' is not mindlessly swallowing what you're told but looking for evidence, analysing and drawing justifiable conclusions. And that regardless of whether our kids go to be astronomers, biochemists, physicians or office cleaners we want them to take the critical, evidence based attitude with them into adulthood.

My colleague responded "They might not ever develop a vaccine but they'll bloody well take it"

At which point a third colleague pointed out that three colleagues in Maths (which is a Science for goodness sake) were anti-vaxxers, and the room went silent.

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3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

When the problem is so clearly and unarguably being made worse by and capitalised on financially by one of the two major US political parties, then any "no politics please" rules should be enthusiastically broken at every opportunity. And I didn't think Alastor's Skull forum had a no politics rule anyway did it?

I think we have to be nice but I am okay with that

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

When the problem is so clearly and unarguably being made worse by and capitalised on financially by one of the two major US political parties, then any "no politics please" rules should be enthusiastically broken at every opportunity. And I didn't think Alastor's Skull forum had a no politics rule anyway did it?

I think 'The Skull' is a 'be very careful about it' zone rather than 'forbidden'.

You can see political parties all across the political spectrum in multiple countries trying to make hay out of the COVID epidemic. And this is in no way new.

I can understand some push-back in the US over governmental intrusion into the private lives of citizens, I really can. In the course of my lifetime [I'm in my mid-50's and started becoming aware enough of the news to have a reasonable opinion in the Jimmy Carter era] I've seen a constant barrage of legislation that seeks to control, channel, impede, or abolish freedoms that were assumed in my parent's day. Between the political Left's 'Nanny Welfare State' to the Right's moralistic Evangelical pontifications, it seems like the only thing government wants to do is tell me how to live my life.

But a fucking plague is the wrong thing to push back on. This isn't abortion or guns or eminent domain or socialized medicine. This is common sense. Yes, the precautions are an inconvenience. Yes, there are some side effects to the vaccine in some people. I had a couple side effects from the COVID vax, but it was NOTHING compared to my 'adverse reaction' to the typhus shot I got in Basic Training.

And you know, I don't see measles or smallpox killing people much anymore and there isn't much of a market for iron lungs either... With a track record like that, I'm alright trusting science rather than the Playmate of the Year.

Not that Jenny McCarthy wasn't a lovely looking Playmate, but until she gets a degree in Epidemiology.... It's kind of a 'stay in your lane' situation.

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3 hours ago, Al. said:

Science Teacher here.

Today we were discussing the school's ethos and our part in it.

I suggested that a big bit of 'being a Scientist' is not mindlessly swallowing what you're told but looking for evidence, analysing and drawing justifiable conclusions. And that regardless of whether our kids go to be astronomers, biochemists, physicians or office cleaners we want them to take the critical, evidence based attitude with them into adulthood.

My colleague responded "They might not ever develop a vaccine but they'll bloody well take it"

At which point a third colleague pointed out that three colleagues in Maths (which is a Science for goodness sake) were anti-vaxxers, and the room went silent.

The problem with Mathematicians is that they're looking for nice clean solutions to the universe in a theoretical environment. Theoreticians have a huge fucking problem when they actually have to their proverbial or literal hands dirty and APPLY their theories Real Life [tm].

Vaccines and epidemics are not nice and clean and defy every attempt at creating solutions. Why? Because biologicals are messy. Especially people.

And, 'The Big Bang Theory' aside, I'm not about to ask a mathematician or physicist about dating advice. Or medical advice. Or mechanical advice.

BTW, I'm a historian. I know all about Ivory Tower types that lose their minds when stupid things like facts bugger up their precious theories. I get up in schools in a very liberal Western US state and talk to high school kids about race relations in the United States. Talk about 'messy', and the facts almost never match the perceptive opinion...

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3 hours ago, svensson said:

The problem with Mathematicians is that they're looking for nice clean solutions to the universe in a theoretical environment. Theoreticians have a huge fucking problem when they actually have to their proverbial or literal hands dirty and APPLY their theories Real Life [tm].

Could be.  "But where's the proof?!?"  Which is an instance of the popular human pastime of goalpost-shifting and confirmation bias.  If I want it to be true, a theory or a surmise will suffice.  If I don't want it to be true, it requires a seven-sigma beyond even an unreasonable doubt mathematical theorem, and anything short of that can be instantly dismissed as "no evidence".

3 hours ago, svensson said:

Vaccines and epidemics are not nice and clean and defy every attempt at creating solutions. Why? Because biologicals are messy. Especially people.

The XKCD toon springs to mind.  "Science" is shown in positions 3.5 to 5.  Medicine and maths straddle it from opposite sides.  https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/purity.png

purity.png

But mostly, I think it's people being people.  Throw enough compartmentalisation and cognitive biases -- omission/commission is a big one here, I think -- at something and people can believe any combination of things.

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6 hours ago, Al. said:

At which point a third colleague pointed out that three colleagues in Maths (which is a Science for goodness sake) were anti-vaxxers, and the room went silent.

It may have a rigorous background, but to me it (math) doesn't quite fall into the "start with an hypothesis, consolidate evidence to validate or disprove hypothesis and formulate a theory if validated, use theory can provide predictions for which experiments can be proposed". It's more of a background tool used by physics (with some applicability to chemistry, biology -- physics encompassing things like mechanical engineering, orbital mechanics, et al.). Statistics, OTOH...  That allows for hypothesis->theory development.

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4 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

Unfortunately a colleague of mine (a week before UK's first lockdown) said - "Oh, it'll be alright.  It won't be as deadly as Spanish 'flu." 

As though that was the sole measure of concern.  Plus the pandemic sure as hell ain't done yet.

also your colleague has now been proven dead wrong?

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Not an easy thing to prove in UK terms, actually.  Spanish 'flu is reckoned to have killed 228,000, and at the moment the Government figures for Covid are 136,986, BUT there has been big concern that the Government has narrowed the definition of a 'Covid death' to lessen the impact on public morale.  The figure should be significantly higher.

As has been said, these issues are worldwide.

Either way, one 'excess' death is one too many.

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4 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

also your colleague has now been proven dead wrong?

Well, Qizil, the Spanish Flu was deadlier for several reasons. As I understand it, neither the CDC, the Royal College of Medicine, nor the Pasteur Institute has an original Spanish Flu serum for study. I might be wrong, but I remember reading that several servicemen during the post-War One Russian Intervention [1918-1920] died of the Spanish Flu and there was serious talk of digging up their corpses to see if they could find a viable sample.

In any event, the Flu was more virulent and deadly for several reasons:

a] Epidemiology was in it's infancy and Public Health laws to stem the spread of disease were weak at the time;

b] The overall health of **everybody** was depleted due to World War One. The soldiers had endured months of cold wet or hot fly infested conditions from living outside in literal charnal pits in the trenches. Civilians were living with severe rationing and therefore their calorie count was low and vitamin deficiencies were rampant. Also remember that this is before refrigeration, so food supply and diet was seasonal... you got certain greens and fruits in the right seasons, fresh protein was limited to slaughter times, etc. If it wasn't for the railroads being able to move food quickly from the farm to table, it was almost medieval.

c] There was almost no understanding between the differences in bacteria and viruses, and damned little treatment for either one. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 and it wasn't stabilized for use until World War Two. Even Sulfa based drugs weren't fully fielded until 1935, and they're much less effective overall than penicillin. And, of course, neither of these drugs work on viruses anyway, just the secondary infections. The only real treatment was supporting the body's own immune system, which exposed that many more people to the virus.

So, if we were in 1918, yes, I think the COVID virus would probably as or more deadly. But there's a lot of factors to that as well.

What we do know is that this is the disease we're confronting. It comes at a very unfortunate time for everyone, although I can't think of what a good time for it might be. Civil unrest was rife in the G8 nations to begin with over lots of different reasons. The free world is facing challenges from Russia, China, and other autocratic states and non-state actors that are profiting from that unrest. Social media is being used as a tool by several groups and interests to spread disinformation and doubt in the democratic institutions and the rule of law. And, of course, you can rely on a large percentage of homo sapiens of doing stupid shit to prove 'you're not the boss of me!'

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10 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

Unfortunately a colleague of mine (a week before UK's first lockdown) said - "Oh, it'll be alright.  It won't be as deadly as Spanish 'flu." 

As though that was the sole measure of concern.  Plus the pandemic sure as hell ain't done yet.

Yeah, that's a very common one.  And it kinda started with "it's just the common cold", then "it's comparable to seasonal flu", and now they're clinging up by their fingertips that it's not closed in on the 1918 H1N1 total fatalities -- though it's certainly an appreciable fraction already, anywhere between a tenth and a quarter.  If it did kill 50m they'd still have the Black Death to comfort themselves with!

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1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Racism! Really!

 

The overwhelming historical evidence tells us that the Spanish Flu had almost no effect in Africa, South America, and Asia. China saw a lot of deaths, but some real pockets of colonialism really did dodge a bullet. The only infection locations in all of Africa, for example, were large cities... Algiers, Cairo, and Cape Town.

And, because history has a sense of humor, Spain had one of the lowest mortality rates due to Spanish Flu in Europe.

NONE of which is any kind of excuse to avoid COVID protocols, of course. It's just historical trivia.

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10 minutes ago, svensson said:

The overwhelming historical evidence tells us that the Spanish Flu had almost no effect in Africa, South America, and Asia.

Have never seen this evidence, overwhelming or not... here are a few figures from Wikipedia that sound more like what I have seen since I first read (and since) of the spanish flu in the 60s...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu

A 2009 study in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses based on data from fourteen European countries estimated a total of 2.64 million excess deaths in Europe attributable to the Spanish flu during the major 1918–1919 phase of the pandemic, in line with the three prior studies from 1991, 2002, and 2006 that calculated a European death toll of between 2 million and 2.3 million. This represents a mortality rate of about 1.1% of the European population (c. 250 million in 1918), considerably higher than the mortality rate in the US, which the authors hypothesize is likely due to the severe effects of the war in Europe.[132] The excess mortality rate in the UK has been estimated at 0.28%–0.4%, far below this European average.[4]

Some 12–17 million people died in India, about 5% of the population.[191] The death toll in India's British-ruled districts was 13.88 million.[192] Another estimate gives at least 12 million dead.[193] The decade between 1911 and 1921 was the only census period in which India's population fell, mostly due to devastation of the Spanish flu pandemic.[194][195] While India is generally described as the country most severely affected by the Spanish flu, at least one study argues that other factors may partially account for the very high excess mortality rates observed in 1918, citing unusually high 1917 mortality and wide regional variation (ranging from 0.47% to 6.66%).[4] A 2006 study in The Lancet also noted that Indian provinces had excess mortality rates ranging from 2.1% to 7.8%, stating: "Commentators at the time attributed this huge variation to differences in nutritional status and diurnal fluctuations in temperature."[196]

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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Posted (edited)

All legitimate points, Bill.

But I want to point out a couple of things especially concerning India....

Firstly, while there were railroads and so on in India, food distribution was FAR more medieval in nature in the subcontinent than in more developed countries. British colonialism treated India as a resource, not an asset, and much of the transportation system was set up to remove resources from India rather than to distribute resources to Indians.

Secondly, India provided the Empire with over 30% of her fighting troops, especially infantry. When those troops came home, they brought the disease with them. This made India a locus for infection far outweighing just the colonial [white] presence.

Thirdly, the Hindu caste system so prevalent in India actually helped spread the disease among the poorest and least able to fight it.

Lastly, yes, there was a great deal of racism in 1918, and that racism was a major cause of disease mortality. But that was on the part of EVERYBODY. Every single adult of all races was prejudiced against somebody for some fault, real or imagined. It is absolutely true that the most egregious offenses were done by white Anglo-Saxons and Europeans, but let's not trivialize those same offenses committed by Africans, Arabs, Hindus, Native American tribes, and so forth. 'Racism' is not solely a 'white man's crime' no matter what the current New Liberal narrative might say. In the US today, there are evangelical Black churches that are just as anti-Semitic as any neo-Nazi. Africans were still enslaving Africans to Arabs until the British Empire put a stop to it. When India was granted independence from the British empire, the very first thing it did was commit pogroms with Hindus versus Arabs and Arabs versus Hindus.

The fact that we here in the 21st Century find such things to be reprehensible is called 'social progress', and in 1918 that progress hadn't been made yet. And we both know there's still a Hell of a lot more work to do.

Please note: I am using 'racism' in it's 21st Century definition. A lot of people were not racists by the standards of their day, but would still be considered racists now. Benjamin Franklin founded the first abolitionist society on the North American continent, but he still wouldn't accept a Black man, no matter how well educated, at table for Sunday dinner or accept a mixed race child as a grandson. Standards change as progress moves.

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21 minutes ago, svensson said:

Firstly, while there were railroads and so on in India, food distribution was FAR more medieval in nature in the subcontinent than in more developed countries. British colonialism treated India as a resource, not an asset, and much of the transportation system was set up to remove resources from India rather than to distribute resources to Indians.

 

As I said, racism

 

21 minutes ago, svensson said:

Secondly, India provided the Empire with over 30% of her fighting troops, especially infantry. When those troops came home, they brought the disease with them. This made India a locus for infection far outweighing just the colonial [white] presence.

 

Interestingly, as you say the flu did not affect the English overlords as badly as their loyal servants. I have heard a program on CBC radio called Ideas (well respected for almost as many decades as I have been around) that mention the resources and wherewithal was available to help the occupied population but was not made available to them. This next thought is partially conjecture on my part as I do not remember how the program put it, I think it was not considered a good idea or a good use of resources to assist the rabble.

Side note

Ghandi got so sick during this period he almost died and when he came back from the brink, he forsook his previous racist beliefs and adopted ones we know him for today.

Addendum to the note: It is not believed he had the flu.

21 minutes ago, svensson said:

Lastly

Alas, your penultimate paragraph is not a rabbit hole I wish to visit. Not because I can not or do not have adequate material at my disposal, but I will simply note I strongly disagree with much here but, will leave it for a good place elsewhere (sites that I must admit, I do not frequent). Not saying I am a supporter of a New Liberal agenda... but I do avow beliefs I have seen you disparage. We will have to glower at each other from across the aisles on these points. 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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9 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

As I said, racism

 

Interestingly, as you say the flu did not affect the English overlords as badly as their loyal servants. I have heard a program on CBC radio called Ideas (well respected for almost as many decades as I have been around) that mention the resources and wherewithal was available to help the occupied population but was not made available to them. This next thought is partially conjecture on my part as I do not remember how the program put it, I think it was not considered a good idea or a good use of resources to assist the rabble.

Side note

Ghandi got so sick during this period he almost died and when he came back from the brink, he forsook his previous racist beliefs and adopted ones we know him for today.

Addendum to the note: It is not believed he had the flu.

Alas, your penultimate paragraph is not a rabbit hole I wish to visit. Not because I can not or do not have adequate material at my disposal, but I will simply note I strongly disagree with much here but, will leave it for a good place elsewhere (sites that I must admit, I do not frequent). Not saying I am a supporter of a New Liberal agenda... but I do avow beliefs I have seen you disparage. We will have to glower at each other from across the aisles on these points. 

Well, my friend, you brought the 'R-word' into the convo, so I felt the need to address it.

And please understand that my views on racism are American in nature. The British experience with it is gonna be different from the French or German or anyone else.

As a reenactor and historian I'd be a fool if I didn't acknowledge that racism is central to any discussion about history. Unfortunately, the subject is now being used as a one-question litmus test on almost any event since 1700.

And I don't 'glower' at anyone, Bill. I'm perfectly happy to let someone have and say their own views for their own reasons and I don't consider 'I disagree' to be an insult. And I hope you've noticed that when you or I or anyone else have been in the teeth of a discussion, I NEVER revert to calling someone a name or disrespecting their opinion. I try very hard to keep it to the facts as I know them, and keep my own opinions malleable to new information as it arrives. After all, only one of us Judeo-Christians ever 'got it in writing', I don't suppose myself to be Moses in any form. 😉😆🤣 I may have opinions, often strong ones, but those opinions are based on facts as I know them.

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I was born in Myanmar, which at the time was part of 'British India' so I consider that I have a dog in this fight.

The British didn't administer India, we systematically looted it.  Their railways were built for the purpose of taking goods to the coast so that the mills of England could churn out goods to sell to the poor benighted souls of the Colonies, America and Europe!  They are still trying to unpick the oppressive laws that we bequeathed them.

I would have to say that the caste system no more concentrated influenza than did the dire class systems of Europe and north America.

Race is a human construct.  Its definition and the racism it engenders have varied over time, but remain insidious.  I still favour the uz over the eco-terrorists of the forests, but there you go....

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Not sure I want to get too deep in the trenches on this one, but in the spirit of "pointing out a couple of things"...

3 hours ago, svensson said:

the current New Liberal narrative

Uh-oh.

 

3 hours ago, svensson said:

In the US today, there are evangelical Black churches that are just as anti-Semitic as any neo-Nazi.

I strongly suspect that's not a propositional-logically correct statement, parsed literally (as to verify we'd need to compare the doctrinal, or even the average congregant's, stance of an entire church with the most antisemitic neo-Nazi anywhere in the US.  Which is quite the prospect.  Even read loosely, it's pretty iffy.  But more significantly, I think, this very much conflates structural racism with ad hoc prejudice.  As is very popular to do, especially in the Old Conservative narrative!

 

3 hours ago, svensson said:

When India was granted independence from the British empire, the very first thing it did was commit pogroms with Hindus versus Arabs and Arabs versus Hindus.

As you were going for "especially concerning India", maybe good to get the distinction between South Asian Muslims and Arabs straight.  Also handy when it comes to Iran, and... well, lots of places, actually!

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3 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

I was born in Myanmar, which at the time was part of 'British India' so I consider that I have a dog in this fight.

The British didn't administer India, we systematically looted it.  Their railways were built for the purpose of taking goods to the coast so that the mills of England could churn out goods to sell to the poor benighted souls of the Colonies, America and Europe!  They are still trying to unpick the oppressive laws that we bequeathed them.

I would have to say that the caste system no more concentrated influenza than did the dire class systems of Europe and north America.

Race is a human construct.  Its definition and the racism it engenders have varied over time, but remain insidious.  I still favour the uz over the eco-terrorists of the forests, but there you go....

And yet, the British Empire was one of the bastions of democracy as Western civilization knows it. And they inherited THAT from the Saxons and Vikings.

And they introduced the idea of qualification and promotion without reference to caste in India.

And they suppressed the Thuggee.

And they built the hospitals, schools, railroads, and other infrastructure that underlays Indian independence to this day.

I'm **certainly** not saying that the British were benevolent dictators. They were not, and every single piece of historical evidence proves that. But India and all of the Crown's former domains DID get positives out of the deal. Say what you will, but the gift of English Common Law beats the shit out of tribal traditions and rule of some peacock-feathered rajah all day.

Besides, if you want to discuss who got eff'd over by the British Crown the worst, India is gonna have to long hard talk with Ireland before they figure out who's in line first.

I would like to hear what growing up in Burma was like, though. One of my best friends' father was in the US State Department and he spent part of his childhood in Rangoon. Even had a Boy Scout troop there!

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32 minutes ago, Alex said:

Not sure I want to get too deep in the trenches on this one, but in the spirit of "pointing out a couple of things"...

Uh-oh.

 

I strongly suspect that's not a propositional-logically correct statement, parsed literally (as to verify we'd need to compare the doctrinal, or even the average congregant's, stance of an entire church with the most antisemitic neo-Nazi anywhere in the US.  Which is quite the prospect.  Even read loosely, it's pretty iffy.  But more significantly, I think, this very much conflates structural racism with ad hoc prejudice.  As is very popular to do, especially in the Old Conservative narrative!

 

As you were going for "especially concerning India", maybe good to get the distinction between South Asian Muslims and Arabs straight.  Also handy when it comes to Iran, and... well, lots of places, actually!

Point taken about Pakistanis, Afghans, etc. They're not 'Arabs' per se.

As for evangelical churches in the US, I agree it's on a case by case basis. But something to remember is that many of these Black churches welcomed Jewish money and support during the Civil Rights marches era. They walked arm in arm with B'nai B'rith, and American Jews got fire-hosed, beaten and murdered for the sake of the rights of Blacks to vote. Now the grandchildren of those same clergymen are calling Jews 'Christ killers'. So I personally find that hypocrisy just stunning and have no problem whatsoever calling them out on it.

You don't get to cry 'RACISM!' out of one side of your mouth and preach hatred with the other. It simply doesn't work like that.

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5 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Have never seen this evidence, overwhelming or not... here are a few figures from Wikipedia that sound more like what I have seen since I first read (and since) of the spanish flu in the 60s...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu

A striking thing about the Wikipedia article is how big the error-bars on the estimated death tolls are.  I know that wikipedia gonna wikipedia, but it does look like they have pretty genuine and pretty up-to-standard sources on this.

Of course, a mere factor of six between 17m and 100m is as nothing to the extent of the "inaccuracies" some people seem to think are involved in the Covid-19 numbers.  After all, some hospitals got grants for treating patients affected by the pandemic, so obviously, absent the slightest evidence of the career and criminal-penalty consequences of anyone being on the fiddle for that for no actual personal gain, let's just assume they're multiple orders of magnitude wrong.  See also "election fraud", I suppose.

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1 hour ago, svensson said:

Point taken about Pakistanis, Afghans, etc. They're not 'Arabs' per se.

Not so much 'per se', as 'at all'.  Not even speakers of the same language family, for example -- Bengalis and Brettons have more in common in that respect.  Which is only one axis of dissimilarity, of course -- much like religion is only one point of commonality.

 

1 hour ago, svensson said:

As for evangelical churches in the US, I agree it's on a case by case basis. But something to remember is that many of these Black churches welcomed Jewish money and support during the Civil Rights marches era. They walked arm in arm with B'nai B'rith, and American Jews got fire-hosed, beaten and murdered for the sake of the rights of Blacks to vote. Now the grandchildren of those same clergymen are calling Jews 'Christ killers'. So I personally find that hypocrisy just stunning and have no problem whatsoever calling them out on it.

It's one thing to call stuff out when you see it.  But when you're pivoting back to it -- more than a little hyperbolically -- in the middle of a discussion of something else entirely, the whiff of "ah but what about" might potentially be discerned.

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10 hours ago, svensson said:

Well, Qizil, the Spanish Flu was deadlier for several reasons.

I meant we've now surpassed their number of deaths in the US. People kept saying, "It's not like we're going to do the numbers of the Spanish Flu" and we did. They keep saying "it's just the flu", and now they're sort of correct in that 675k Americans died of the 1918 Flu and to date, the official numbers, which are certainly undercounted, are 704k Americans have died of COVID-19.

Hell, Florida had more deaths on the anniversary of 9/11 in this year than the actual casualty total of 9/11.

And we have advanced medicine, oxygenation machinery, vaccines, and treatment programs.

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