This liberal douchebag is my Yale classmate David Quammen. Quammen can write very well. Quammen can do a terrific job of research. He just can’t think straight. He can’t make sensible judgements because his head is stuffed full of stupidity.
Quammen is currently poised to make a potfull of money. He is a long-time Nature writer, and has recently made a personal specialty of publishing books on zoonotic diseases, diseases like rabies, Ebola, influenza, West Nile, which originate in wild animals and then are transmitted to humans. He’s got a new book, Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus, coming out on October 20th, which could hardly be better timed to sell like hotcakes.
But, when you are deciding whether or not to buy David Quammen’s latest screed, first note the perspective that the author recently shared with NPR:
Human behavior is causing this problem. More and more, we’re going into wild, diverse ecosystems around the world, especially tropical forests.
Some scientists believe that each individual species of animal, plant, bacterium and fungus in these places carries at least one unique virus, maybe even 10 of them.
We, humans, go into those wild ecosystems. We cut down trees. We build mines, roads and villages. We kill the animals and eat them. Or we capture them and transport them around the world.
In doing that, we expose ourselves to all these viruses living around the world. That gives the viruses the opportunity to spill over into humans. Then in some cases, once the virus makes that first spillover, it discovers that it might be highly transmissible in humans. Then you might have an epidemic or a pandemic.
Dave Quammen is a typical 1960s Yale genius. You can’t isolate or quarantine Liberia during an epidemic of an extraordinarily dangerous, usually lethal, disease, no, no, no! It would never work and besides, it would be WRONG. But you can, tra-la! isolate the natural world generally, and especially all tropical wildernesses, from all human economic activity, residence, or new colonization. The latter is perfectly feasible. Right, Dave!