If / then question - philosophy students grab your books...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by nfable, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. nfable macrumors regular


    Apr 9, 2007
    Reading that swine flu is endemic of pigs... to me this means h1n1/swine flu ONLY originates in pigs. So here's the argument:

    If all pigs are destroyed, then H1N1/swine flu would cease to exist.

    T / F ? and help explain please... medical jargon welcome.
  2. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Swine flu originated in pigs. The flu evolved to its current form using some pig DNA, and that's why we call it "swine flu." (Although they are increasingly finding that this may not be the case, but this is what was thought at the time the name was given)

    That's very flawed reasoning because the virus can clearly infect humans and already has. Ergo, killing all pigs will not eliminate the virus.

    The only way this works is if you construct it as follows:

    If swine flu is only present in swine animals, then killing all swine animals will eliminate the swine flu.

    Of course we know the conditional part of that statement is false, and hence killing all pigs won't solve the problem.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    h1n1, started off as a swine virus, but then mutated and is now a virus that attacks/affects humans. exterminating the pigs makes no sense, since the flu is now out in the wild, so to speak, infecting people.
  4. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    First, I think you misunderstand the term "endemic." In infectious disease epidemiology, endemic means a particular disease is self sustaining in a given population. This can mean different things, depending on the type and virulence of disease to which you are referring. The incidence and prevalence for an endemic disease can vary wildly depending on a large number of factors. Endemic cholera, malaria or measles are very different slices of the population.

    Even if you are referring to endemic in the broader, ecological sense, no. Swine flue is so called not because it "belongs" to swine. It is called swine flu because some of the first virological assays indicated that the majority of the DNA present in this particular virus originated from a swine flu. The knowledge changed, but the name stuck. More on this later.

    Second, there may or may not have been a time when the primary reservoir for this particular virus was swine. This has not been the case since the point it became transmissable between humans. In fact, the only reason you know about this at all is because its human to human transmissability. If the primary mode of transmission was still from a swine reservoir to humans, this would barely rate a news story. Swine don't move around so much. People and birds do.

    Third, from what I understand of the evolutionary history of this strain, it's still known with any degree of certainty what the original reservoir was in the first place.

    Remember during the early days when the Egyptian government mandated the slaughtering of all pigs? That was and remains the height of asinine responses. By that point in the spring, the pigs weren't the problem, people were.
  5. nfable thread starter macrumors regular


    Apr 9, 2007

    Thanks guys; I knew it was a flawed argument. I'm writing an article about health care and debating in general and am using the swine argument to outline the absurdity of some people's debate logic...

    "A man dies after waiting 34 hours unattended in a Canadian ER, thus socialized health care does not work."

    And other such myopically generalized statements that idiots spew. I thought the best way to do that would be to draw an absurd comparison. I just wanted to make sure that came thru and in this case is truly baseless.

    thx again,

    sig11 - thx for the detailed breakdown, you learned me there!
  6. c-Row macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    I think we should still try, one pig at a time.


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