By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent
LONDON (Reuters) – Valerie Curtis is fascinated by faeces. And by vomit, pus, urine, maggots and putrid flesh. It is not the oozing, reeking substances themselves that play on her mind, but our response to them and what it can teach us.
The doctor of anthropology and expert on hygiene and behaviour says disgust governs our lives – dictating what we eat, wear, buy, and even how we vote and who we desire.
In science, disgust has languished unstudied – it was once dubbed the “forgotten emotion of psychiatry” – while emotions like fear, love and anger took the limelight.
But Curtis, who refers to herself half-jokingly as a “disgustologist”, is among a growing group of scientists seeking to change that by establishing the importance of the science of revulsion in everything from sex and society to survival.
“People are disgusted by things without even realising it. It influences our lives in so many subtle ways, and it’s really important that we understand how great that influence is,” she told Reuters in an interview.
PARASITE AVOIDANCE THEORY
Curtis’s somewhat revolting interests stem from her many years of work in public health, seeking to improve hygiene and reduce unnecessary death and disease around the world.
As a director at the internationally respected London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, she has conducted research into hygiene behaviour in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, China, India, Uganda, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan.
In 2002, she founded a global public-private partnership involving the U.N. children’s fund UNICEF, the World Bank and the household product multinational Procter & Gamble to promote hand-washing.
“I’ve been trying to understand disgust for 30 years, and what I’ve found is that people the world over are all disgusted by similar things: body products, food that has gone off, sexual fluids – which, with a few exceptions, we don’t tend share with other people – bad manners and immoral behaviour,” she said.
In a book to be published this month entitled “Don’t Look, Don’t Touch”, Curtis argues that while revulsion at rape and disgust of dog poo seem at first glance to be very different things, they have common roots in what she calls a “parasite avoidance theory” of disgust, or PAT for short.
It looks at disgust from an evolutionary perspective, arguing that our most repulsed ancestors were aided in the “survival of the fittest” race by their disgust instinct – avoiding disease, deformity and death – and thereby living longer, having more relationships and producing offspring with a sense of “healthy squeamishness”.
Curtis compares the disgust response with fear and its flight or fight response – which makes us instinctively run away from or avoid things that might eat us.
“Even more importantly for our evolution was disease,” she said. “Disease is something that will eat us up from inside – and what’s important is that disgust keeps you away from them.
“Disgust is an organ – like an eye or an ear. It has a purpose, it’s there for a reason,” she said. “Just like a leg gets you from A to B, disgust tells you which things you are safe to pick up and which things you shouldn’t touch.”
MICROBES TO MORALITY
Avoiding dirt and disease also requires us to avoid each other, to a certain extent, Curtis says, which is how disgust also drives manners and socially acceptable behaviour.
“Every time we come into contact with other people we do a sort of disgust dance – where we want to get close to people and have social interaction with them, but at the same time we are also terribly careful not to disgust them.”
And so, she argues, evolved manners and social behaviour.
“With disgust, you start with microbes, go on to manners and then on to morality,” she says. “It’s an emotion that teaches you how to behave. It helps build the moral framework of society.”
It’s this all-encompassing reach, according to Curtis, that makes disgust so fascinating – and that has brought it in from the cold as far as serious academic research is concerned.
While 10 years ago, there were probably fewer than a handful of research papers on disgust or revulsion published in scientific journals, now there is a vast scientific literature and many books dedicated to picking them apart.
“It’s actually now become a bit of a plaything of scientists,” says Curtis.
In the lab, she adds, where scientists seek to observe and analyse causes and effects of human emotions, it is difficult and dangerous to generate real fear, and nigh on impossible to induce genuine love, but disgust is far easier to create.
“Disgust is fascinating because it’s a model emotion,” she said. “It tells us a lot about how all the emotions work.”
(Editing by Pravin Char)
More BS and archaic chatter from Catholics, ignorant as they are… TGO
Refer to story below. Source: Reuters
By Elias Biryabarema | Reuters
LUWERO, Uganda (Reuters) – Over the past century, the Catholic Church has been growing fastest in one of the regions other Catholics know least. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for only one percent of the world Catholic population in 1910. By 2010, that had jumped to 16 percent.
The faith here has a strength and exuberance that reminds some of early Christians. “These people are living a kind of New Testament experience,” says U.S. theologian George Weigel.
It is also highly conservative. Interviews in Luwero, a town in central Uganda, elicited moral stands so strict they would surprise Catholics in the West, as well as deep concern about poverty and justice.
“Modernisation has spoiled Catholics a little bit and they think they have to do whatever they want,” said Joseph Lwevuze, 58, who grows pineapples, coffee and other crops in a nearby village and teaches catechism at his local church.
“Homosexuality is a globalization issue,” he said to illustrate his point. “It’s a virus, if I can use today’s computer language. It’s a computer virus that’s spreading. Even animals do not do it.”
Demands from Europe or the United States for reform of Church attitudes meet stiff opposition here. “The new pope needs to maintain and even tighten traditional Church teaching,” said brickmaker Frederick Lule, 25, who struggles to feed his wife and two children but honors the Catholic ban on artificial birth control and abortion.
“I think those pills they give women bring diseases,” said Joanina Nansubuga, a 35-year-old mother of seven, one of few who did not object to the idea of married priests.
“If you allow priests to marry, then the Catholic Church will start to crumble,” objected Edward Sindamanya, 64, who walked from his hamlet to Our Lady Queen of Peace Cathedral to pay his tithe and say a rosary. “I’ve also heard women want to be allowed to be priests. That can’t be.”
What these Catholics wanted most from the next pope was more help to fight poverty and provide better education and health facilities.
“The Gospel should be translated into action so there are equal opportunities for the African farmer to sell coffee to Europe and get better prices,” said Rev Gerald Wamala, 36, a local priest and head of the local church AIDS program. “It would be great for the new pope to speak out on equity in international trade.”
(Edited by Tom Heneghan and Sara Ledwith)
Medals won by each participating country…
Source: Yahoo Sports
|47||Trinidad and Tobago||1||0||3||4|
|86||Antigua and Barbuda||0||0||0||0|
|86||Bosnia and Herzegovina||0||0||0||0|
|86||Central African Republic||0||0||0||0|
|86||Democratic Republic of the Congo||0||0||0||0|
|86||Independent Olympic Athletes||0||0||0||0|
|86||Papua New Guinea||0||0||0||0|
|86||St. Kitts and Nevis||0||0||0||0|
|86||Sao Tome and Principe||0||0||0||0|
|86||St. Vincent and Grenadines||0||0||0||0|
|86||United Arab Emirates||0||0||0||0|
|86||British Virgin Islands||0||0||0||0|
|86||U.S. Virgin Islands||0||0||0||0|
One can only imagine the level of human degradation that goes on in third world countries, especially in overly populated cities in certain parts of the Far East, where sexual abuse and the exploitation of women and children is commonplace. TGO
Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian police said Tuesday they have busted a sex slave ring and rescued 21 Ugandan women who were forced into prostitution after being lured to Malaysia with promises of jobs as maids.
Criminal investigation chief Bakri Zinin said in a statement that police found the women, aged between 19 and 42, holed up in four apartment units in central Selangor state during a raid on Friday.
He said three Ugandans — two women believed to be pimps and a man suspected of being a customer — were detained.
Initial investigations showed the 21 women were promised jobs as maids in homes and hotels with a salary of $1,000 a month, but instead forced to become “sex slaves” to pay off travel fees and other costs totaling $7,000, he said.
The women were brought into the country via China, and were threatened verbally and physically to stop them from running away, the statement added.
A police official said Tuesday that investigations were focused on how long the ring had been in operation and who the masterminds were. The official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the women have been temporarily placed in a welfare home and would be deported later.
It was not immediately clear what charges the three detained Ugandans would face, but human trafficking in Malaysia is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
This Southeast Asian nation has constantly been under the spotlight for human trafficking.
In 2009, it was placed on the U.S. list of countries with worst human trafficking records for a third time — meaning it faced possible sanctions unless its record improved. Last year, Malaysia was upgraded to a “watch list” after authorities stepped up efforts to combat the sexual and forced labor exploitation of women and children.