What are the side effects to eradicating Polio? Is there a way we can put Polio to a good use?
It is intelligent and important to present and consider different viewpoints before making vital decisions. Having watched the presentation about Polio, I want to commend the merits and efforts to prevent Polio from hurting people. The episode lead me to raise this question: If we completely eradicate Polio, what would the side effects be?
Some side effects would be positive, like suggested by the presentation. However, what are potential negative consequences to its extinction? There are things we do not yet understand. For example, it is possible Polio could be used for good at some point, maybe even as a vaccine for some other disease or future disease. Is there a way we can put Polio to a good use? Completely eradicating another species (even a virus) is extreme. Completely eliminating any group is defined as genocide. While it may not seem likely, it is possible, that it could lead to human dismay.
Polio exists. Is there a way we can coexist or create a symbiotic relationship? I don’t have the answer this question, so I’m asking it. The same question could be posed for anything hated by humans. I support the humanitarian approach as I caution people to think about potential positive uses for Polio and possible side effects to completely eradicating it.
Are motives behind eradicating the virus based on fear? During the presentation on TED, images were shown of people in iron lungs, covered with bumps, and paralyzed, and Mr. Aylward said “this disease was terrifying” and it caused public panic. Is fear beckoned by lack of understanding? What can we do to better understand the other life forms on Earth, specifically viruses like Polio?
It was the man stricken with Polio himself, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom is notoriously quoted for saying the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear is an important innate instinct and we have it as a cautionary defense mechanism. As we respond to this instinct, it is important to be motivated also by hope.