Proof that Christianity is the wrong faith

This is a sad story but also a story of stupidity, even if John Chau couldn’t have done other than what he did.

What Chau did, as recounted in the story in the Guardian (click on screenshot), was to hire locals to take him to North Sentinel Island, one of the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands that are territories of India.

And that island is home to the Senitelese, who firmly reject any contact with the outside world. They’ll fire arrows at anyone who comes near, including an Indian helicopter investigating possible damage to the island after the tsunami of 2004. Two years later, two Indian fishermen whose boat accidentally drifted ashore on North Sentinel were killed by the locals. It’s not a good idea to go there.

But Chau was on a mission from God: he wanted to introduce the Senitelese to Jesus. He approached the island the day before he was killed, and should have learned his lesson then:

Chau repeatedly tried to contact the tribespeople and managed to reach the island the day before he was killed. He tried to offer gifts of fish and a football, he wrote in his diary.

“I heard the whoops and shouts from the hunt,” Chau wrote in an entry that was given to several media outlets by his mother. “I made sure to stay out of arrow range, but unfortunately that meant I was also out of good hearing range.

“So I got a little closer as they (about six from what I could see) yelled at me, I tried to parrot their words back to them. They burst out laughing most of the time, so they probably were saying bad words or insulting me.

“I hollered: ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you.’ I regret I began to panic slightly as I saw them string arrows in their bows. I picked up the fish and threw it towards them. They kept coming.

“I paddled like I never have in my life back to the boat. I felt some fear but mainly was disappointed. They didn’t accept me right away.”

One of the tribespeople – “a kid probably about 10 or so years old, maybe a teenager” – fired an arrow that struck his Bible, he wrote that night, onboard the boat of fishermen he paid 25,000 rupees (£275) to smuggle him close to the island. “Well, I’ve been shot by the Sentinelese.”

Nevertheless, he persisted, and last Friday made landfall. He was quickly cut down by a volley of Sentilese arrows, and his body buried by on the island by locals. It hasn’t yet been recovered.

This is a Darwin Award for sure, but it was done for God’s glory:

. . . as he prepared to make another approach, Chau wrote a letter to his parents. “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this, but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people,” he wrote.

“Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed. Rather, please live your lives in obedience to whatever he has called you to and I’ll see you again when you pass through the veil.

“This is not a pointless thing. The eternal lives of this tribe is at hand and I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God worshipping in their own language, as Revelations 7:9-10 states.”

Yes, it is a pointless thing, and a stupid one. Sadly, neither the islanders nor Chau get eternal life.

One wonders why, if Christianity be the “right” religion, God allowed a man to be killed who was trying to spread His word. But of course God’s ways are mysterious, or so the theologians tell us. There must have been a reason for Chau’s death, but for the life of me I can’t guess what it might be.

h/t: Jacques

164 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I think the reason for his death was an arrow. 😉

    • Merilee
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      +1

      • Mike
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        He must have pissed off God mightily.

    • rickflick
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      But it couldn’t have been just random gravity and atmospheric forces. It had to be intelligently guided somehow. I’m no theist mind you…but…

    • Posted November 22, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      His fate was determined.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      I think I agree. That’s at the most literal and non-profound level, of course.

      Usually when people speak of a ‘reason’ for some event, they imply it’s part of the Great Scheme of Things, or God’s Plan, or somesuch.
      I don’t think such things are valid on this site though.
      I could accuse PCC of being disingenuous in suggesting there must be a reason for the guy’s death, but I think he’s just being rhetorical. 😉

      cr

      • GBJames
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        I’m pretty sure he was speaking with his tongue in his cheek.

        Which makes me wonder… where does that metaphor come from?

        • rickflick
          Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

          I’d guess the tongue in cheek gesture is used to prevent the joker’s own laughter, the better to create a sense of amusement in the listener.

  2. Posted November 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    This story makes one look at the calendar to check whether it is really the 21st century!

    I feel some sympathy to Mr. Chau. He was not a hypocrite like most Christians I know, he put his life where his mouth was. And though the local culture is hardly charming to outsiders, he didn’t want it to be obliterated completely; he wanted the islanders to keep their language.

    • Posted November 22, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      No one can claim he wasn’t a true believer.

    • GBJames
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I’d say he put his life where his brain wasn’t.

  3. Mike Cracraft
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Another case of personal witness suicide.

  4. Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Fast track to sainthood.

    • W.Benson
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Wrong religion.

  5. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s got Jesus Complex written all over it. This miserable dead Christian Mr. John Chau used these islanders to build himself a legendary status. How can he fail? No matter the outcome he’ll go down as a martyr or a real missionary bringing The Word to savages. Maybe his Christian bro’s called him “JC” & he wanted to live up to the initials. He let it be known how much he loved these islanders – people he didn’t know, rather like the other JC who forgave [allegedly] his tormenters.

    BBC NEWS SOURCE:

    One of the tribesmen shot at him with an arrow, which pierced his waterproof Bible, he wrote.

    In a last note to his family, he wrote: “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people.

    “God, I don’t want to die.”

    He had taken scissors, safety pins and a football as gifts to the tribe, according to a source quoted by Reuters news agency who had access to his notes and asked not to be named.

    He wrote he was “doing this to establish the kingdom of Jesus on the island… Do not blame the natives if I am killed,” the source said.

    The diary detail about the the Bible catching the arrow on a previous encounter – that’s a rather convenient old trope, most likely it’s a bit of hokum embellishment.

    A case of ‘martyrdom by savage’ where he’s careful to let the world know how much he loves his persecutors. That’s Jesus Complex definitely.

  6. Doug
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Why did God allow him to be killed? It’s in the Bible. “Blessed are they who are persecuted for my sake.” “He who would save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for me will find it.” And so on . . .

    Christians are brought up with stories of early Christians being martyred: Christians in Rome being thrown to lions and set on fire to provide light for chariot races; St. Peter being crucified upside down; St. Stephen being stoned; St. Bartholomew being skinned alive [on Michelangelo’s painting of the Last judgement, you can see Bart holding his own flayed skin], etc. etc. etc.

    To be killed for your faith makes you part of a long line of martyrs, going back to the Massacre of the Innocents–and of course, Jesus himself. Jesus SAID it would happen. Such killings reinforce the believers’ faith, not challenge it.

  7. nay
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    “There must have been a reason for Chau’s death, but for the life of me I can’t guess what it might be.” The reason is that he was an arrogant jerk who refused to comply with Indian law or listen to reason(s) and in furtherance of his scheme induced local fishermen to also break the law, becoming complicit in his death. The Senitelese did not need to know Jesus, the Christian god or how to worship them. They made their position clear, but Chau considered himself to be wiser than they, insisting on trespassing on their land and inserting himself into their lives. Did he deserve to be killed? Yes; he sought martyrdom and his wish was granted. He’s not the victim here; the Senitelese and local fisherman were his victims. It’s Thanksgiving Day, but this kind of thing makes me steam.

    • Posted November 25, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Anselm
      Posted November 26, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      My, you’re soft on the guy! If I had my way and he’d survived, I’d haul him off to court charged with attempted murder. Unless the guy had been living under a rock for the last half a millennium, he must have known the appalling risk of deadly disease he was subjecting them to. But that doesn’t matter, of course, ‘coz… well, Jesus!

      Christ, is there anything religion DOESN’T get a pass for?

  8. JezGrove
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Sadly delusional. Undoubtedly the islanders will have some equally ridiculous faith system of their own, but I don’t see why they are not just as entitled to follow it as any other ‘believer’ – or what more they can do to be left in peace.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Good luck to them as it looks like the group has immunity, and it was Chau who was the criminal. [See my longish comment down thread for references.]

    • JezGrove
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      What happened to “turn the other cheek”?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        That pre-dates the Second Amendment to the Bible. (Or some other document, much cited.)

    • Harrison
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      I mean when stupid Westerners vacation in North Korea and wind up in prison or executed there, while there’s always some degree of victim blaming involved, generally we also hold violent murderers to be the ones principally accountable for any murdering that happens. To do otherwise smacks a bit of moral/cultural relativism.

    • Posted November 22, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      It’s the Crusades all over again!

      -Ryan

  9. Mark R.
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Live like a fool, die like a fool.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Take a tip from the Blues Brothers, dude: you wanna go “on a mission from God,” mix it up with Illinois Nazis instead.

  11. Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    If only it was merely pointless. In fact it was arrogant, as religious proselytism always is, and disrespectful. But it also was reckless and may have endangered the Senitelese by putting them in contact with pathogens they have no resistance against. If so, they may soon die, and Christians, including Chau’s parents would then be certain that their loving Jesus and his father would send the unfortunate tribesmen directly to hell for having refused his word. Nice move John.

  12. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Quite the calumny.

    Wikipedia on Sentinelese describes many previous “gift giving” attempts and how they likely are misunderstood, as well as the routine killings of outsiders. This even has a rationale, as described below:

    “On 15 November, Chau attempted his first visit to North Sentinel island, and the fishing boat took him to around 500-700m from the shore.[39] Chau was warned by the fishermen not to go further, but continued his journey to the shore in a kayak, carrying a Bible.[30] The fishermen saw him getting attacked by the islanders with bows and arrows as he reached the shore, but reported that he kept walking despite the attack.[36] After his visit, he returned to the boat later on the same day with arrow injuries on his body.[39]

    On 16 November he made a second attempt to land in kayak. … During this second attempt, his kayak was broken by the Sentinelese, after which he returned to the boat by swimming.[36]

    On 17 November, Chau visited the island again but did not return that day. … No charges can be brought by India against Sentinelese islanders following its declaration as a sovereign state by the Indian government. Furthermore, Chau was in direct violation of Indian law, which dictates that any passage within three miles of the coastline is illegal, and is enforced by the Indian Navy.[44][45]

    The organisation said , “It’s not impossible that the Sentinelese have just been infected by deadly pathogens to which they have no immunity, with the potential to wipe out the entire tribe.”[47][48]”

    [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentinelese ]

    Darwin Award and Wikipedia award epitaph.

    So, yes: “Don’t do this at home, kids.”

    • Posted November 22, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      So I’m assuming PCC(E)’s other spellings are typos.

      -Ryan

      • GBJames
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Only misspellings would be typos.

    • Posted November 23, 2018 at 3:22 am | Permalink

      However, I am much troubled by the thinking according to which the murder of an unarmed trespasser by multiple armed people is justified, people “of color” are entitled to be “left alone” if they wish so (a right that nobody would grant to Europeans or white Americans), and the horror of an actual murder is eclipsed by concerns about very hypothetical pathogens.

      • Posted November 23, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        I don’t see anyone saying the Sentinelese people were right or justified in murdering Chau. That’s surely different from saying that Chau was largely responsible for his own fate given that he knew he was prohibited by Indian law from visiting the island, knew the islanders did not wish him to visit and knew that the Sentinelese were certain to react with great hostility and violence to his attempt to land on their island.

        We may deplore the Sentinelese resort to violence but the only way we could possibly do anything to stop that would be to forcibly subjugate them; I don’t think we have a right to do so.

        One could also comment that there are many territories around the world, governed by people of all sorts of ethnic backgrounds and degrees of technical advancement, where anyone attempting an illegal landing runs a significant risk of being killed. A person who wilfully disregarded multiple warnings against attempting a landing in such a place would, like Chau, be the architect of his/her own fate.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Nobody else has brought race or racism into this. Why did you?

        cr

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          Because race is always brought when Trump supporters don’t want trespassers.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 23, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            And? Why do it here? Nobody was suggesting the Sentinelese should get a pass because they are brown or black or [I don’t even know what colour they are]. That they have a tiny society, isolated from the world, and strongly want to be left alone – that is the relevant point.

            cr

      • GBJames
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        It might be useful, mayamarkov, to invest some time in the Anthropology section of the library.

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          I have read a textbook of physical anthropology. It didn’t contain anything relevant, except that hunter-gatherer tribes are being modernized.

          • GBJames
            Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            There are four sub-disciplines of Anthropology. (At least here in the US.) You need to visit the other ones for the relevant education.

            • Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:59 am | Permalink

              So I should invest countless hours reading PC so that I eventually abandon my opinion and come to the one and only true opinion, that is, yours.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:00 am | Permalink

                PoMo, not PC.

              • GBJames
                Posted November 24, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

                No, but you would be better informed if you had some exposure to the breadth of human culture and the history of contact between societies with “advanced” technologies and hunter-gathers. More importantly, some exposure to the history of disease transmission among long-isolated populations would perhaps alter your understanding of the situation in the Andaman Islands.

      • Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        I know! They should have had signs posted around their island in multiple languages, warning trespassers.

  13. Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I feel zero sympathy. He forced himself on an isolated group whom he put at risk of infection and death just so he could prosletyse and force his superstitions on them.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      +1
      Zero sympathy whatsoever.
      Fuckwit got what he deserved.

      • JezGrove
        Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, but there’s probably a nicer way to express it.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 22, 2018 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

        My thoughts exactly.

        (There’s undoubtedly a nicer way to express it, but why bother? I’d save my consideration for more deserving cases).

        cr

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 1:54 am | Permalink

          …as above…

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 1:54 am | Permalink

          …as above…

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          It would be nice to imagine a world where he would be treated as someone with suicidal tendencies and in need of intervention and monitoring. Regular churchgoers simply have a milder form of the disease.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      +2

  14. zoolady
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    GREAT! He’s a MARTYR! I hope the locals boiled and ate him!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      For their health, we hope not. Or, if they did, that the boiling was extremely thorough.

      cr

  15. grasshopper
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Cease talk of this poor man’s death, lest the promulgation of it cause to form an almighty queue of pure-hearted martyrs willing to die for a lie.

    No man is an island, Andaman is one.

  16. Stephen Mynett
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Not only did he illegally go to the island he has made the place famous and now very likely the target of more idiots, as already pointed out on this thread one Christian group want the islanders prosecuted.

    Before this the place was probably unknown to the majority of people but now thanks to this stupid prank it is high profile in the news. Hopefully Chau did not infect the islanders but I fear it will not be long before someone does as the arrogance and stupidity of religion knows no boundaries.

    • grasshopper
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      The Anadaman Islands were mentioned in a Sherlock Holmes story, so I guess that millions of people are familiar at least with the name of the islands, but no more than that.

    • Posted November 23, 2018 at 3:27 am | Permalink

      The islanders could avoid the notoriety if they had not murdered him. I still wonder that they managed to get into the 21st century with that mentality of “Arthur Gordon Pym” characters.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        I doubt they were aware of what ‘notoriety’ in the wider world means. And, since they chased him away several times and he kept coming back, how else were they supposed to stop him? Take out a restraining order?

        cr

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          They could capture him and deliver him to Indian law enforcement.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 23, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            Oh, FFS! You’re joking, right? They are, by their own choice, isolated. I suspect they know nothing of the outside world, and in particular nothing of Indian laws or of Indian law enforcement (whose helicopter they have shot arrows at in the past). Quite aside from the fact that, in this case, Indian laws had already failed to keep the guy out (can’t really blame Indian law enforcement for that, they can’t be everywhere).

            cr

  17. Frank Bath
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    He’s like the bible bashers who think they can illicitly wangle their way into my entryphone guarded block of flats. They get what’s coming to them. Bile and fury.

  18. Posted November 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, Jesus really sucks at protecting His witnesses. And if God sent this poor benighted dude, then it was a set up. Chalk another one up to God either killing or allowing His own people to be killed.

    • JezGrove
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Yup, his track record isn’t too good. When asked to kill the heretics during the Albigensian Crusade the soldiers famously doubted how they could tell them from the true believers and were reportedly told : “Kill them all, G*d will know his own”. Charming!

  19. Susan Davies
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Removed himself from the gene pool. Good job.

  20. MP
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Notice how Washington Post “white-washes” the story and makes this fool look like a martyr.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/world/2018/11/21/american-believed-dead-after-encounter-with-remote-indian-tribe-hostile-outsiders/

  21. Martin X
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I see this sort of thing as a cognitive dissonance reduction. “If I truly believed, what would I do? I’d go to the most dangerous place in the world to proselytize.” Failure to follow through on that would be to acknowledge that your faith was weak.

    I remember being motivated by this a time or two as a teenager.

  22. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    and his body buried by on the island by locals. It hasn’t yet been recovered.

    Is there any reason – apart from biosecurity – to recover it? And from a biosecurity point of view, I’d really like to see a risk assessment that makes digging his bloated and leaking corpse up a lower risk than has already happened with his burial by the islanders.

    • Jim Jones
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      > Is there any reason – apart from biosecurity – to recover it?

      Only sentiment.

  23. ubernez
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Wow. This site is my haven. Yet so much hate.
    Yes, he is deluded, and believes in things that we do not. Yes, he doed for his beliefs.
    But as a non-theist and a humanist, I would never express the hate and derision that I read above.
    I will argue (vociferously) against religion, irrational beliefs, the Bible…and against evil individuals such as televangelists…but not against an individual who was honest. (That is, I will argue against his beliefs, but not attack HIM).
    Wow.
    (..and now I brace for the inevitable…)
    (I must say though, some of the regular WEIT posters did NOT post here and engage in hate…so maybe it’s a good way to weed out the vile amongst us also…)

    • wendell read
      Posted November 22, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      “Yet so much hate.” You are right!!! It is truly sad to see this hate. Was he deluded? Of course. Does this make him a legitimate object of hate? Of course not! Those espousing this hate would do well to look “inside” themselves and ask about its source.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted November 22, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        You two have a funny idea about what “hate” looks like. Wendell you’re an old timer [Reed class of ’57] – your generation are usually more careful with the application of words.

        Ubernez, did you enjoy your little splurge of indignation against all commentators in this post? Separating out the vile? You did this tar brushing act before in a thread on the Burqa where only you & a chap called Ben were above the fray [in your view].

        Please leave off the inaccurate, unlettered generalisations & unwarranted assumptions about the state of mind of other commentators ubernez. You, an ex-RC, middle aged, humanist, atheist from the ‘land down under’ ought to have something interesting to say on this subject rather than the rot you’ve posted.

        • ubernez
          Posted November 22, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

          Told ya…picked it in one.
          Just vitriol.
          No dialogue.
          (…awaits next volley of abuse…)

          I have been listening to the Dogma Debate podcasts recently. I love a good rant, as much as the next guy – but I am impressed with the exchange of ideas with those vehemently disagreed with on Dogma. I agree with Smalley (the podcaster) that most of the abuse he gets is from fellow atheists. Too many atheists, not enough humanists.

          I apologise for commenting. I retract it – I was just sad to read the responses. Next time, I will keep it to myself. I was at work, and just felt the impulse to respond. Never a good reason, that.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted November 22, 2018 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

            Yeah well, I don’t accept your retraction as heartfelt & genuine – it doesn’t smell like a retraction to me. You seem to be comparing the level of intellectual content here among the commenters with the exchanges you’ve heard on the Dogma Debate podcast [I know it] & we [at WEIT] aren’t coming out of it well in your estimation.

            Please quit putting your humanist self above others here & have the decency & courage to quote the comments that have fallen below your standards.

            I see some interesting conversation here with different angles explored & yet you are “sad to see the comments” – so buckle up & hit me up with some quotes from here that exhibit hate.

            • ubernez
              Posted November 22, 2018 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

              Again, I apologise.

              • ubernez
                Posted November 22, 2018 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

                Nah, f%#k it.

                I apologised twice, but your petulance persists.

                I think it’s clear that you are a teenager – you seem to have trawled through all past posts to find something on me – teenage social media behaviour!

                The rest of your post is just a middling attempt at pretentious word play, also indicative of a youngster’s wish to be taken seriously.

                Well, the Roolz state: “Most important, please try to refrain from insulting other posters, no matter how misguided you think they are. I don’t like name-calling.”

                I mean I get it, you just want to be outraged. So I guess you are an SJW looking for triggers. We all went through those phases during puberty, so we can forgive the pretentious tone that permeates your ranting.

                I just wish you had read the posts before attacking me (and others) personally.

                I was merely voicing my dismay at the tone of such comments as:
                – personal witness suicide.
                – This miserable dead Christian Mr. John Chau
                – The reason is that he was an arrogant jerk who refused to comply
                – Did he deserve to be killed? Yes;
                – I feel zero sympathy.
                – Zero sympathy whatsoever.
                Fuckwit got what he deserved.
                – I hope the locals boiled and ate him!
                – They get what’s coming to them. Bile and fury
                – Removed himself from the gene pool. Good job.

                I even apologised to you. As I apologise to my daughter when I upset her, but remember she is still young and immature, and so allowances must be made.

                Now, make sure you pound that keyboard and ‘have at me’. You need to signal to all the other WEIT following that you can stand up for yourself, and retaliate by attacking, and not take a backward step. Make sure you use a dictionary, as I think you may have depleted your quota of ‘big words’.

                There – is this productive? Is this how WEIT followers should act and talk? Is this what you wanted? Does your own personal anger prevent you from honest, open, civil, and respectful dialogue with those sitting in the same room with you (this is Jerry’s living room, and we are both invited to share it with him and others – try NOT to be the guy who forgets that the words he reads emanate from human beings).

                So let’s not attack each other. Let’s attack the issue. Hard. As intellectual opponents. As people who agree or disagree. As WEIT interlocutors. Even as friends.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:42 am | Permalink

                What a sanctimonious bit of prattery. Quotes the Roolz, then immediately goes on to insult Michael Fisher at some length.

                Not really indicative of moral or intellectual superiority, was it?

                cr

              • Posted November 23, 2018 at 2:24 am | Permalink

                …bye…

              • GBJames
                Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

                The irony runs deep with this one.

          • Posted November 23, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            Ubernez,
            I wish you to continue commenting.

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 5:50 am | Permalink

          “I hope they boiled and ate him” ~ zoolady above.

          I think they do have a point.

          • zoolady
            Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

            This was a facetious comment based on my belief that he had no right to continually assault these people with his religion. Clearly, he was warned and clearly, he ignored those warnings. Eventually, they just gave up and eliminated him.

            This is NOT ”blaming the victim.” And my comment has nothing to do with ”hating” him. It has to do with (once again) an assault on primitive people by religious missionaries lacking the slightest perception that they are unwanted.

      • Jim Jones
        Posted November 22, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        He would probably have wiped out the tribe.

        They have no contact with our diseases, and this is one reason why attempted contact is strictly forbidden.

        SO, if he had survived and killed them by contacting them, yes, he would be hated justly.

        Even now, if they touched his body and buried him they may still suffer massive losses.

      • rickflick
        Posted November 22, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Not hate exactly, in my case, but contempt grounded in the entire western religious culture that helped energize this sad individual.

        And, I’ll agree with Mr. Fisher’s assessment.

    • Posted November 23, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      I also feel disturbed by some of the reactions. I suppose that some commenters have suffered much abuse by Christians for the sake of Christianity and therefore cannot give to a Christian missionary the sympathy they would give to any other murder victim.

      • C. Macias Garcia
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        Except, of course, that this was no murder. It was more like the military of that tiny nation sending troops to their borders with the instruction of using lethal force to prevent traspassers from causing trouble. The traspasser got his comeuppance and there is no crime to prosecute.

        • Posted November 23, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          So Trump was wrong to separate illegal aliens from their children, he should just have used lethal force against them all.

          • C. Macias Garcia
            Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            He was wrong to separate children from parents, and he did authorise the use of lethal force against migrants. The phrasing I used was deliberately intended to expose the irony of pretending to defend the truly indefensible attitude of the would-be missionary. But irony was perhaps not recognised

            • Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:58 am | Permalink

              I do not recognize irony when we are discussing a murder. And I do not defend the missionary’s attitude, just his life. He was a human being who was apparently OK to be lynched because he had views and behavior we do not approve.

              • C. Macias Garcia
                Posted November 24, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

                Again he was not murdered. He died confronting the right of the members of a vulnerable human community to be left alone, not to be influenced by noxious invaders. They probably ignore how big is the risk that their culture is wiped out by zealots, or that their community goes extinct through exposure to foreign infectious disease, but he did know about both risks and wanted to be an agent of the former., He wantonly broke the law, recruited accomplices who then ended up in prison, and ignored warnings from the locals not to trespass. In the US (which is probably your country) people are cleared of the charge of murder if they claim they acted to defend their ground. Why can’t you not grant these tribespeople that right and instead insist in calling them murderers? Is it because the person killed was a US citizen, or because he was a Christian?

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

                It was murder. These islanders certainly knew they were ending a life. They could have easily repelled him rather than murdering him. As far as their culture is concerned, there’s an obvious analogy close at hand. We do consider killings done by Islamic terrorists as murders, regardless of their claims that their religion made them do it or justified it. Do you consider that wrong as well?

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

                He was killed, but not murdered. Their acts were more in line with an execution; their authorities (which may encompass several or even all members of their community) passed on a death sentence. It may even be that they perceive themselves in a state of war with everybody else, and people killed in war are victims, but not of murder.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

                Are you suggesting that the killing was justified? Or do you just prefer not to call it murder?

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

                I think the word “murder” implies culpability. Inasmuch as we do not prosecute for murder the combatants who kill opponents in war, we should also refrain from causing the Sentinelese of murder.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

                Sorry, this doesn’t seem reasonable to me. What crime was he accused of that warrants the death penalty? Was there a trial? Based on your criteria, or lack thereof, practically any group of people could decide to kill someone and justify it as having gone through your kind of due process. Similarly for your suggestion that they were engaged in a war. It sounds like the worst kind of cultural relativism.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

                “What crime was he accused of that warrants the death penalty? Was there a trial? Based on your criteria, or lack thereof, practically any group of people could decide to kill someone and justify it as having gone through your kind of due process. Similarly for your suggestion that they were engaged in a war. It sounds like the worst kind of cultural relativism.”
                Combatants in wars are not served death penalties, but they are killed -not murdered- by their enemies. And it is likely that the Sentinelese perceive themselves to be in a state of war. Now, you may choose to call this argument cultural relativism, but that is not, really, a rational criticism. If you do not accept that they have a right to apply their own rules within the realm of the island they inhabit (I speculate about their perceiving themselves as being at war with everyone not from their community, since clearly they behave as if they do), then, of course, you should refer to their actions as murder and should call for a higher authority to redress their crime.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

                I am not an American. In my country (and I suppose also in the USA), defending one’s ground requires the killed person to have looked as a realistic threat. You are not allowed to kill anyone just because he is a noxious invader and MAY be bringing some pathogens.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

                Which does not mean that their perception of threat was not frightening enough to bring them to such drastic measures.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

                The analogy with lynching is a false one. As far I know, no one was lynched willingly and he was warned by many not to go there as it would kill him. A better analogy might be with someone who walks in front of a bus going 60 miles an hour, claiming that “It’ll certainly stop for me just to hear what I have to say.” We should treat him as a mental illness sufferer.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

                I agree that members of this isolated, Stone Age culture are about as responsible for their actions as a bus, but I do not see why we should accept their standards.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        No, we give him the sympathy we give to someone who plays ‘chicken’ on a railway crossing and gets hit by a high speed train.

        Or maybe to an assassin who shoots himself by accident, since we regard the Christian message as toxic and spreading it as a malignant endeavour.

        cr

      • GBJames
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        A christian missionary who puts the lives of his fellow human beings at risk to “save them” deserves no sympathy beyond regret that his brain was poisoned by faith.

        This has nothing with having suffered by abuse by Christians.

    • Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Sure, but what do YOU say about him? Is he a victim of his religion in your eyes? If not, then what?

  24. Kevin Meredith
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Here to me is the most intriguing line from the story:

    “So I got a little closer as they (about six from what I could see) yelled at me, I tried to parrot their words back to them. They burst out laughing most of the time, so they probably were saying bad words or insulting me.”

    Being amused by the corruption of one’s language by foreigners is apparently universal.

    Also, on the off-chance your target audience is calling you something bad, you probably shouldn’t parrot back in your preaching: “Hey, dickweed, Jesus loves you!”

    • Posted November 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      The missionary father in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible kept mistakenly proclaiming in the local language ‘Jesus is poison!’

  25. Posted November 22, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    This. This is why I oppose religion. Belief systems that lead to this kind of behavior are demonstrably harmful and it justifies strong words and actions to counter. I feel sorry for the guy, more sorry for his family. But if pointing out his stupidity is what it takes to prevent others from following his example, so be it.

  26. Jim Jones
    Posted November 22, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    If you assume that there are gods and they are all knowing and all powerful, clearly they don’t wish us to take any notice of them or attempt to interfere in their plans in any way since we possess neither the knowledge nor the power to do so and since they make no effort to alert us to their presence.

    So I don’t. Which makes me a better Christian than this guy (or any of them)! After all, if Jesus wanted them to know anything, he could have popped by on a winged horse (wrong religion?) or something.

    /sarcasm

  27. Diane G
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    sub

  28. div411
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    This guy got what he deserved. He cried not at all for the health of the tribe, only for himself. I am a professor of religious studies. I ask my Christian colleagues why Christianity, let alone any specific brand, is true and all other 3500 religions false. Their typical answer: because the Bible says so.

    Robert Segal

  29. Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    With no means of writing and preserving a holy book, it may be that the Senitelese hold the view that there’s a lot about the world that they don’t understand but they’re okay with that. And if that’s the case then they hold a more rational view of reality than what any of the world’s great religions would like to teach them. It would be a “we don’t know and we don’t care” position that’s above religion but below science.

    So if that’s the case then John Allen Chau failed in an attempt to drag them a step backward.

    • Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      We have no reason to think they are above religion. As far as I know, hunter-gatherer tribe have their own religions. I even suppose that they have a religious justification to kill every alien in shooting range. (We can only guess what they do to each other. I think the media are too quick to portray them as noble savages.)
      As for dragging them a step backward, this would be difficult, because they are “pre-Neolithic” anyway.

  30. RPGNo1
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    John Chau was warned at least two times by the islanders, that they wished no contact (arrows, breaking of his boat). He ignored the warnings and tried to force himself a third time on the Sentinelese. They killed him.

    I see this as legitemate self-defence within the framework of their culture.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      It might even be legal in some US states under ‘stand your ground’ laws. 😎

      cr

  31. Barry Lyons
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

  32. Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Wow, a group even more xenophobic than the North Koreans, etc. (They have killed Christians too.)

    In this case, a case of prime directive (from ST) applies, IMO. Especially in the disease considerations.

  33. Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Clearly a delusional and irrational quest, but Seth Andrew’s tweet, mocking and exulting in Chau’s death, showed exceedingly poor taste.

  34. ubernez
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Since my comments saying that the response to this event were terrible, it seems there are those that agree.
    It’s also ok to disagree.
    To infinitprobability, GB James, Lord Crankleton, Michael Fisher – you took my post, where I say to obey the Roolz and NOT attack fellow WEIT’s, as evidence that I was doing the same thing.
    I realise not everyone has English as a first language, but it is clear I am parodying Michael Fisher’s post, and end with ‘Is this productive? Is this how we should act?’ – clearly saying we should NOT act that way.
    Sorry for the confusion – here is Australia parody and satire are second nature, and I did forget that it does not translate into all cultures and languages.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Parody and satire are not always obvious in print. Specifically, it wasn’t clear in your responses to Michael Fisher.

      Hence the frequent use of smileys 😉 and pseudo-tags like [/sarcasm] to make it obvious.

      cr

      • ubernez
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:22 am | Permalink

        If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.
        I love you.
        Really.
        You’re my favorite.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      "To infinitprobability, GB James, Lord Crankleton, Michael Fisher – you took my post, where I say to obey the Roolz and NOT attack fellow WEIT’s, as evidence that I was doing the same thing" You write above that I took your ‘Roolz’ comment as evidence for something? But, I haven’t commented at all [until now] after your ‘Roolz’ comment.

      You’ve now decided to analyse me & you’ve come up with this: “signal[ing] to all the other WEIT following”, an “SJW” who exhibits “personal anger” mixed with a dose of “petulance”. I also use a lot of “big words” & I engage in “pretentious wordplay”.

      Remarkable 🙂

      Parody & satire are not an exclusive Aussie trait & if infinite [Kiwi, reasonably well preserved] & me [Brit/Irish, 63 years old] can’t detect it, then you need more seasoning in the recipe you’re using.

      • ratabago
        Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:26 am | Permalink

        FIWW I’m Australian, and I detected not the slightest hint of parody or satire in his posts.

        • ubernez
          Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:17 am | Permalink

          Clearly not a true Scotsman… 🙂

        • ubernez
          Posted November 24, 2018 at 3:17 am | Permalink

          Clearly not a true Scotsman… 🙂

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Thanks ratabago

  35. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I don’t know.
    The Sentinelese are -seen from a pov that knows about history- completely right. In the contact between ‘advanced’ civilisations and ‘primitive’ ones, the latter almost invariably come second best, draw the short straw, as it were.
    I’m sure the Sentinelese have a high mortality rate, due to preventable ailments and violence, but I somehow like their fierce independence.
    What happened on greater Andaman is not rosy: disease, poverty and prostitution (oh yes, these really gorgeous Andaman girls) are rife.
    Chau asked for it (immo), he may have been sincere, but they did not want him there, yet he tried to impose himself. Is that not close to the definition of rape?

  36. Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I was not going to comment on this anymore, but after finding myself (as it regularly happens) in the one-against-everybody position, and after reading about the deadly pathogens allegedly carried by the killed healthy American in so many news outlets that I almost started to believe in them, I’ll add my twopence.

    It is true that pathogens transfered from invading Europeans have decimated native populations in the Age of Exploration. However, this is due to diseases which the late missionary was not expected to harbor. Smallpox is no more, and a number of diseases are prevented by vaccines that Mr. Chau must have had; he could have carried tuberculosis or flu, but either was very unlikely.

    Moreover, I keep reading about some mysterious immunity that European invaders “had” and the natives hadn’t. It is true that virgin land epidemics can be devastating, because everyone is susceptible and because many infections are more severe in adulthood. However, the gene pool of Europeans does not give immunity to any of the infections. The invaders had immunity because they were survivors, but every generation of European babies was decimated by the same infections. Nothing like the situation today.

    I have never seen any data about native populations hurt by banal, mild infections (such as common cold, which some reports claim could kill off the Sentinelese). So, while many here and elsewhere claim that Chau must have known about the pathogens, I think he can be forgiven for not knowing, because I, a biologist, also do not know about them.

    Several decades ago, anthropologists tried to contact the Sentinelese but made a U-turn upon the hostile reception. These anthropologists could also have carried pathogens, but nobody has ever condemned them for the attempt to expose the islanders to risk. To me, this looks like hypocrisy.

    • GBJames
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      “However, the gene pool of Europeans does not give immunity to any of the infections”

      This is simply wrong. Old World gene pools carry many immunities (or resistances) to diseases that originated in domestic animals. Resistance accrued over millennia by evolution in the human community. Native American populations, and other populations that were so isolated, never were exposed and didn’t evolve resistance as a result.

      Is chicken pox a “banal mild infection”? Because it is very much one of those that devastated the New World after Cortez strolled into what we now call Mexico.

      Anthropologist should not visit the island, either. TN Pandit was wrong to do so, IMO.

      • Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        The Old World gene pools carry polymorphic variants for many genes, with various alleles giving various degrees of immunity to specific infections; however, because there are many infections and selection pressure acts in multiple directions, no one allele takes over and there is no full innate immunity to any of the infections (please anyone correct me if I’m wrong, but with a specific example).
        The theory of pathogen transfer from domestic animals to humans was popularized by J. Diamond, with the necessary bending of facts to “support” it. I know just one human disease, measles, that has originated this way. Diamond also cites tuberculosis, but sources say the transfer was in the opposite direction, i.e. bovine tuberculosis originated from human. Other pathogens, such as Plasmodium, evolved together with the human host. Migrating humans often “lost” pathogens and hence acquired immunity, but I do not know about any effect on their gene pools. I am amazed that today, in the era of genomics, such claims are made without any data to support them.
        Any source about the role of chickenpox during the New World conquest?
        I am glad that you acknowledge that Pandit was also wrong.

        • GBJames
          Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

          Bubonic plague, chicken pox, pneumonic plague, cholera, diphtheria, influenza, measles, scarlet fever, smallpox, typhus, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.

          Science Mag

          There are many sources of information on this subject. Google helps.

          • Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            The Science source does not say anything about chickenpox. The other source is just a blog post, a highly unreliable source. Among other things, it states that “Measles, smallpox, and influenza are among the diseases which are closely associated with domesticated animals.” Measles, yes; what about the others?

            “A rodent species is the most probable ancestral host from which the ancestors of all the known Orthopoxviruses were transmitted to the other mammal host species, and each of these species represented a dead-end for each new poxvirus species, without any further inter-specific spread.”
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29446492

            “Type B and C influenza viruses are adapted to and isolated almost exclusively from humans, although influenza B viruses have been isolated from seals and influenza C viruses have been isolated from pigs and dogs (Wright et al., 2007). In contrast, however, IAV infect a wide variety of warm-blooded animals, including birds, swine, horses and humans. Avian IAV in aquatic birds likely serve as the predominant natural reservoir for all known subtypes and probably are the ultimate source of all human pandemic IAV strains (Webster et al., 1992).”
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892379/

            Frankly, I am tired of having to dig into peer-reviewed sources unrelated to my research in order to disprove misinformation found by Google.

          • Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            I’d like to quote the end of the Science article linked by you:

            “In 2014, FUNAI officials made contact with three isolated groups in Brazil. In late June, one of these groups, now called the Xinane, emerged from the forest near the village of Simpatia. The young tribesmen eventually entered the village, pilfering some clothes and metal tools, but they were mainly peaceful. It was their first official contact with the outside world. A day later, FUNAI team members noticed that the Xinane were coughing and looked sick. When a doctor finally flew in 6 days later, he treated them for what turned out to be a relatively mild virus, and the tribesmen recovered. FUNAI officials say that to avoid repeating the tragic history of epidemics, they need the resources for competent and skilled interventions.”

            So they do not recommend keeping the uncontacted tribes uncontacted until they get extinct by some random disaster or plain inbred depression, which seems well under way among Sentinelese.

            • GBJames
              Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

              Inbred depression? Srsly? These people have lived, isolated, on that island for millennia. There’s no basis for your worry about their extinction if they are left alone. The threat they face is from the idiot Christian who you seem more concerned about, frankly.

              On one hand you argue that Pandit was wrong to go there. On the other hand you try to find any way you can to minimize the threat of disease transmission. And they you talk about hypocracy. Frankly….

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

                Various sources say that the Sentinelese population is “in decline” (in numbers). But even if the sources are wrong, the absence of emigration drive would indicate unknown factors elevating mortality and/or diminishing fertility to achieve a stable population on this small territory; either this, or deliberate population control by the islanders themselves, using methods I don’t even want to think about.
                Of course, previous contacts with foreigners may have contributed to the decline.
                Yes, I am more concerned about the idiot Christian, because he was murdered and his murder is being rationalized, and not by the Paleolithic Sentinelese.
                I did not mean that Pandit was wrong, just that those who say Chau was wrong must also admit that Pandit was wrong as well, instead of silently accepting the dichotomy “anthropology good – Christianity bad”.

              • GBJames
                Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

                You exhibit no concern for an entire (small) population. You rationialize exposing them to diseases that they have no experience with. All in the interest of framing this idiot’s death as “murder”.

                It isn’t “murder”. Murder is a legal act that has no meaning in this context. Your (our) laws don’t apply here. This guy was no more the victim of murder than if he had walked into a pride of lions pretending to be Daniel.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

                I meant murder in the ethical, not legal sense. I do not say that any attempt should be made to bring the shooters to justice. (Maybe “murder” was not the most suitable word, I don’t know.) I accept the analogy with the lions and Daniel, but I still regard the Sentinelese as human.

                You are right that I am not concerned about the Sentinelese. There are plenty of people whom I find more deserving of my concern, and anyway they are Indian government’s problem, not mine.

                But if I were concerned about them, I’d think of ways to introduce them to civilization, because I value it. I believe that civilized life is better than Stone Age life. This belief is possibly no more rational or benign than Chau’s, but I nevertheless harbor it.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

                You would have made a good colonizer.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

                What a pity that nobody gives me the opportunity :-).

              • GBJames
                Posted November 24, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

                Honestly, maya, I don’t see a difference between your view and that of the dead missionary. Except he goes in praising Jesus and you go in chanting “civilization”. Neither of you care about these people, just their souls (in his case) or their conforming to your political viewpoint.

        • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Clearly you have not read a thing about the conquest of Mexico. Recent genomics evidence on pathogens spread from Europe that caused epidemics amongst the natives of Mexico can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0446-6

      • Posted November 24, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I’m no expert but I assume that smallpox and others named are just the “popular” diseases and that there are many more infectious organisms, that perhaps don’t even have names, that might cause a previously isolated population trouble. Perhaps even a leaf of Romaine lettuce from California might be enough to wipe these people out.

        • Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          I think this assumption is not supported by data.

          • Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            Is that a joke? It would be immoral and impractical to do such an experiment. We probably don’t have data with whatever “experiments” have been performed accidentally. Having no data is not the same as being unsupported by data.

            • Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

              Why do you think that the accidentally performed “experiments” have produced no data? In the 19th and 20th century, anthropologists did plenty of field work among hunter-gatherer tribes. I think that, if this would get the study subjects extinct, the anthropologists would not be able to cover up indefinitely.

              There were good data about smallpox during the initial New World conquest. I suppose that tuberculosis, measles and flu also contributed. However, I think that the impact would be far less severe if the epidemics were not accompanied by a hostile invasion. In other words, I think that pathogens and warfare/genocide have had a cumulative effect. In a similar way, my ancestors replaced the previous population of our territory in the 6th century BC, soon after the Justinian plague. (Again, like smallpox, this is an infection with unquestioned high mortality to which no human population has natural immunity.) Populations that were not invaded eventually recovered from the plague.

              It is hard to me to agree that today’s policies should be based on presumption of pathogens that should have shown their existence but haven’t. Moreover, if there are “many more infectious organisms”, they would attack the newborns and the immunocompromised from our populations.

              All I want is data, and everyone asks if I am sarcastic :-(.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

                AD, not BC.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

                When somebody contacts an isolated population in uncontrolled circumstances, the invaders’ diseases are unknown, nor do we know what those invaded died from. When a European visits an island population, it is certainly not the case that the islanders are exposed to every bug that exists in the larger European population, let alone the bugs that are present in the specific invaders. If nothing bad happened with one such meeting, it says very little about the next one.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

                I find such a gradual introduction of pathogens a good thing, unless some very virulent one (like smallpox virus or plague bacterium) is among them. Part of the problem with the New World conquest was that the large invading army supplied a package of multiple pathogens at once.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

                I don’t see how this makes much difference. Are we to tell the islanders that we plan to introduce the pathogens gradually and under the supervision of our excellent medicine men (and women)? And that they may get sick and die but but it won’t be anywhere near as bad as what happened in Central and South America? Not very convincing.

              • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

                No; I wouldn’t try to tell the islanders anything. I’d want us to say that it is not OK to kill a person just because he is an unwanted invader trying to push his crazy views down our throat.
                Because once we say it, something worse than a germ is out of the bottle.
                During the 2015 migration crisis, some Bulgarians expressed concerns about infections carried by the refugees. Government told them, essentially, to check their children’s vaccination schedule and shut up. I approved.

              • GBJames
                Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

                By the 19th Century it was already hundreds of years after the pathogen-induced population collapse caused by contact with Europeans. Nearly all ethnographer were visiting the descendants of survivors. It was a rare thing for ethnographer to visit people as isolated as these people.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Here is a very interesting Twitter thread mayamarkov
      It is an intriguing ‘history’ of previous interactions with these very islanders
      I haven’t the time to cross check for truth versus myth – some of it seems dodgy to me, but an enjoyable thread nevertheless

      • Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Worth reading! Let me just mention that other sources date the settlement of the Andaman Islands at “mere” 26,000 years ago.

  37. Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if it’s possible that sometime in the forgotten past the Sentinelese got wind of what happened in the Americas. /s

    • Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think so, but they had plenty of relevant data from the neighboring islands.

  38. Posted November 25, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    “I felt some fear but mainly was disappointed. They didn’t accept me right away.”

    Geez!

  39. Colin
    Posted November 26, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Seth Andrews (The Thinking Atheist) has done a video on this.

    Starts at 0:50 seconds in:

  40. Posted November 26, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    The Inuit had the tradition of killing dumbasses (including British Navy folks who were in the Arctic massively dressed wrong), presumably out of fear of contagion. Maybe these folks do it preemptively.

  41. Posted November 27, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    “One wonders why, if Christianity be the “right” religion, God allowed a man to be killed who was trying to spread His word.”

    Death is not an unmitigated evil. Every one of us will die, but some deaths are better than others insofar as they are more useful to those who survive. Given that you must eventually die one way or another, ask yourself how you would rather go out: as a self-centered and stupid risk taker who pointlessly gets himself into trouble, endangers a number of would-be rescuers, and then dies anyway? Or as someone who bravely lives according to the values that he believes other should live by, pays the ultimate price for it, and becomes an example to all who knew him? My point here is not that Chau belongs in one or the other category (that would be a debate that has no ending), but rather that YOU could wind up in one or the other category. There are people who look up to you whom you will one day leave behind. You can teach those people a great deal during your life, and you can even teach them through the example of your death– a death which is, in any case, unavoidable. May as well make the best of it.


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