Immunology, Immunopathology, and the BoM

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græy
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Immunology, Immunopathology, and the BoM

Post by græy » Fri Apr 22, 2022 10:49 am

I sometimes waste a few (tens of) minutes at work and get stuck in a rabbit hole like this. No new discoveries or ideas, just a quick rant. Sorry for the otherwise pointless post.

TL;DR - Lamanites should not have been so susceptible to European diseases.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and have never played one on TV.

Estimates vary, but pre-Columbian Native Americans numbered somewhere between 8 and 50 million. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors into Central America in the early 1500s new diseases were introduced to the population including smallpox, bubonic plague, influenza, etc. Over the next 400 years smallpox alone killed millions of people from the Native American population. In total disease may have accounted for 80-90% of the total loss of life with outbreaks occurring up until the early 20th century.

The same thing largely happened to people living on the Pacific Islands as well. Hawaii for instance lost 90% of their native population between the 1700s and late 1800s, largely due to disease.

Here's some cool knowledge about these deadly diseases. Many of them were originally transmitted to humans from domesticated animals like cattle, horses, sheep, chickens, etc. The common understanding is that Native American peoples had never had access to domesticated animals and therefore never had the chance to receive those diseases and build natural defenses or immunity the way Europeans or Asian peoples had.

Immediately, the BoM is a bit suspect because it claims that Nephites/Lamanites did in fact have horses, cattle, sheep, etc. With people living in close proximity to those animals they would have certainly come in contact with many of those diseases. While there may have been some variance in the actual disease strains, some defense should have been present.

But that isn't the only bug in the story (pun unintentionally intended).

Many of those diseases are known to have existed amongst humans for a VERY long time. We have evidence of smallpox from Egyptian mummies from more than 3000 years ago, and that is likely the newest of the bunch. Lehi, Ishmael, et al, would have certainly come into contact with theses diseases simply by living in the Middle East where domesticated animals where an integrated part of life. Additionally, many of those diseases where living and transmitting happily among the human population before Lehi's departure. Nephites and Lamanites would have had some protection against these diseases simply due to the time they left Jerusalem. But the evidence does not support that.

What the evidence does show is that Native Americans diverged from the rest of the Eurasian population long before animals were widely domesticated and the various related diseases were established among the people - on the order of 10s of thousands of years ago. With no Eurasian contact, and no domestic animals of their own, native populations would have had no immunity and exposure would have been catastrophic.... and in fact, it was.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populatio ... e_Americas
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Am ... on_numbers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_o ... e_Americas
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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moksha
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Re: Immunology, Immunopathology, and the BoM

Post by moksha » Fri Apr 22, 2022 4:40 pm

Ah, you are basing your argument on the sciences of Humans. The Saints eschew such sciences in favor of bosom burning. Seek ye gastric upset to know the truth of which Græy speaks.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Hagoth
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Re: Immunology, Immunopathology, and the BoM

Post by Hagoth » Fri Apr 22, 2022 6:06 pm

That's a fascinating observation, Graey. The Book of Mormon is like "a voice crying from the dust" because it's dead but it doesn't know it.

ETA: I removed some content because it is a bit of a detour. I'll post it separately in another thread.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Spicy McHaggis
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Re: Immunology, Immunopathology, and the BoM

Post by Spicy McHaggis » Sat May 07, 2022 6:39 pm

Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs & Steel mentions this. Europeans were largely immune because they were actually around livestock that is mentioned in the BoM. The native Americans weren't immune to those diseases because they weren't actually around the livestock mentioned in the BoM.

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moksha
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Re: Immunology, Immunopathology, and the BoM

Post by moksha » Sat May 07, 2022 10:16 pm

Spicy McHaggis wrote:
Sat May 07, 2022 6:39 pm
The native Americans weren't immune to those diseases because they weren't actually around the livestock mentioned in the BoM.
So the story was made up. Just because something didn't happen does not mean it isn't true. Moon probes may still discover the Moon Quakers if given enough time. Reading the Book of Mormon could have sustained them without an atmosphere.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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