Talk:Essay:Greatest Myths of World History

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Just pointing out, this list has two "1"s, when it should have a one followed by a 2....--IScott 11:56, 18 February 2009 (EST)

Smallpox

I don't think there's any real support for the idea that Europeans routinely and deliberately infected Native Americans with smallpox, but the idea that smallpox was communicable *was* well known, so much so that variolation against smallpox was practised in Europe from the 1720s. Pepperlynn

You can't jump from that to intentionally spreading the disease to Indians with blankets, as anti-Christians claim.--Andy Schlafly 22:29, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
I'm not trying to jump anywhere; I agree that it's a myth. I'm just saying that the lack of knowledge of germ theory is neither here nor there. Incidentally, the *idea* dates to the 1760s-- there just isn't any evidence that anyone actually tried it. Pepperlynn 22:46, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Your edit of the content page was hyperbolic, and unsupported, and missed the point. Hence the reversion.--Andy Schlafly 23:07, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
It is not hyperbole to suggest that smallpox needed no help to rampage through a population with little immunity. What is the point that I'm missing? Pepperlynn 00:26, 19 March 2009 (EDT)
When and where "germ theory" was "discovered" is not the point I think. Besieging armies had been catapalting plague-ridden corpses over city and castle walls for many centuries, and even when there was no plague, the effect of a putrifying animal flung by trebuchet into the defenders' water supply was well known throughout the Middle Ages. I have always tended to think the deliberate use of pox-ridden blankets was either a myth, or at most a very scarce occurrence, but there were certainly precedents. AlanE 00:41, 19 March 2009 (EDT)
I'm with you-- I have no idea what difference germ theory could possibly make-- I pointed that out above. Basically, I add information to the article, and user:Aschlafly takes it away-- only now, it's a myth perpetuated by "Anti-Christians". Pepperlynn 20:21, 19 March 2009 (EDT)
Leaving any matters of "intention" aside, I came across this passage while reading Richard Mead's 1720 "Discourse on the Plague:"
"About the Year 1718, a ship from the East-Indies arrived at that Place: In the Voyage three Children had been sick of the Small-Pox: The foul Linen used about them was put into a Trunk, and lock'd up. At the Ship's Landing, this was taken out, and given to some of the Natives to be washed: Upon handling the Linen, they were immediately seized with the Small-Pox, which spread into the Country for many Miles, and made such a Desolation, that it was almost dispeopled."
So by the 18th century, they knew that smallpox infected cloth could and did decimate native populations. RatselF 23:00, 23 March 2009 (EDT)
Your conclusion does not follow from your quotation. There's no disputing that the germ theory of disease was not discovered and accepted until the 19th century.
By the way, the quotation is plainly false itself: smallpox has a minimum incubation period of a week.
Looks like the anti-Christian myth is not going away easily.--Andy Schlafly 23:17, 23 March 2009 (EDT)
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