The immune system is dead! Long live the immune system!

Jamie Cunliffe cunlij at
Thu Feb 10 09:00:44 EST 2000

In article <Pine.A41.4.10.10002041536300.133212-
100000 at>,
  "J. Ricks" <jricks at> wrote:

> I'm not sure that the two models offered are really that different.
> not necessarily a good idea to anthropomorphize the immune system by
> giving it "intent."  It is an evolved system that does what it does.
> all can it do and how does it do it, and what can go wrong ?

On anthropomorphising, the established view has more guilt than the new

> The system has evolved to deal with BOTH bugs and with
internal "messes."

That is just the perception that you are missing! Bugs don't
automatically make a mess! Those that don't, don't have their antigenic
signatures fast tracked to aggressive anamnesis. Pathogens DO make a
mess. That is why their antigenic signatures are fast tracked into
aggression.  I contend that almost everything we have regarded as a bug
hunting system can be interpreted as a mess (other-than-healthy-self)
seeking system. You might say this is just semantics BUT it does stop
perceptions being driven up blind alleys.

> Let's not forget the idea that the immune system is also part of a
> neuro-endocrine-immune system that works to maintain homeostasis.
All of
> the systems had to evolve together.

Agreed but I want to keep things relatively simple here. My response is
to leave that for others with more knowlegde to tackle.


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