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

Jamie Cunliffe cunlij at
Fri Feb 11 10:43:50 EST 2000

In article <8812qr$nr1$1 at>,
  iayork at (Ian A. York) wrote:
> Kuhn was wrong.
> His views made a big splash, but his predictions turned out to be
> wrong.  When you actually look at the structure of scientific
> they don't always--or even often--follow Kuhn's predictions.   If
> going to quote philosophers of science, you might want to quote some
> ideas aren't obselete.
> I've talked to a few people about the danger theory.  This sort of
> invariably comes up.  It turns out that the "danger" signals they
cite are
> in fact the products of the day-to-day stresses of living, things that
> happen every day, every minute, and that we don't notice.  A rat given
> warfarin will (if it's not resistant) bleed out, because of the tiny
> micro-damage to capillaries that happens all the time.  Is that
> danger?  Sure, if you think that DNA per se is a danger sign.  Is it
> abnormal?  No. It's "normal damage".
> A signal that's there all the time is not a signal, it's background.
> very careful about what you're defining as "danger"
> Finally, you have misinterpreted the experiments.  The DNA per se was
> *not* acting as a danger signal; unless, that is, you feel that DNA
> a cell is a somehow abnormal, because the DNA iteself dd not trigger
> immune response.
> Tsk.  Either you believe Kuhn, in which case the fact that history is
> against me makes me as likely to be right as wrong, or you don't
> Kuhn, and you're playing silly little word games to try to strengthen
> your theory.
> The immune system can't be encapsulated into 25 words, or 100 words.
> a product of evolution that does the things it does without
consulting a
> little instruction slip.   There *is* no fundamental principle to the
> immune system, other than "helping the host reproduce".
> If you want to play word games, go somewhere else.  If you want to
> biology, go understand evolution, and then we'll talk.
> But I wouldn't be idiot enough to demand you encapsulate evolution in
> words or less.


Ouch! That's shot me up good and proper. Lots of authoritative-
dismissive bullets there. I guess I shan't make you doubt your

As for "Kuhn was wrong" - I'll buy that if nothing changes in 10 years.


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