"Danger" or "Alarm"?

Jamie Cunliffe cunlij at my-deja.com
Wed Mar 1 02:58:24 EST 2000

In article <38AC84C2.C0BFCAC8 at home.com>,
  D Forsdyke <forsdyke1 at home.com> wrote:
> The word "danger" is currently popular among immunologists.
> However, "alarm" (Forsdyke, 1995) may be preferable, since it
> conveys the sense of a distinct call to action, whereas
> "danger" is an attribute which leads one to beware, or keep away.

Anyone following the "Danger" or "Alarm" or "The immune system is dead
…." Threads might find the following article illuminating. Here, I
guess, that I, too, have been guilty of skimming or reading with
blinkered eyes. Ibrahim et al in viewpoint paper in April 1995,
published in Immunology Today, 16:181-185+ outlined (essentially) the
mess/non-mess concept in language and a depth of understanding that
was, to my mind, spot on.

I would suggest that all contributors to these debates should read and
digest this article carefully. Personally, I wouldn't be tempted to
change a word in their article - either in respect of its "plain
English" or its conceptual content. It’s a pity that I had not
appreciated its content when devising the bibliography for my last
three articles. Perhaps I was just not conceptually ready for it.


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