The Instigator
Akhenaten
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
bigdave
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

The black death was caused by a volcano and not by germs.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
bigdave
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/21/2017 Category: Science
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 464 times Debate No: 104533
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (1)

 

Akhenaten

Pro

The Black Death was caused by a volcano and not by germs.

https://www.theguardian.com...
bigdave

Con

I will argue that the "Black Death" was NOT caused by a volcano.
Debate Round No. 1
Akhenaten

Pro

Quotes from reference source - The Guardian

It appears that my challenger hasn't read the included article.
Thus, I await his response to this information and data before adding any further comment.

Scientific evidence " including radiocarbon dating of the bones and geological data from across the globe " shows for the first time that mass fatalities in the 13th century were caused by one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the past 10,000 years.

Such was the size of the eruption that its sulphurous gases would have released a stratospheric aerosol veil or dry fog that blocked out sunlight, altered atmospheric circulation patterns and cooled the Earth's surface. It caused crops to wither, bringing famine, pestilence and death.

Mass deaths required capacious burial pits, as recorded in contemporary accounts. In 1258, a monk reported: "The north wind prevailed for several months" scarcely a small rare flower or shooting germ appeared, whence the hope of harvest was uncertain... Innumerable multitudes of poor people died, and their bodies were found lying all about swollen from want" Nor did those who had homes dare to harbour the sick and dying, for fear of infection" The pestilence was immense " insufferable; it attacked the poor particularly. In London alone 15,000 of the poor perished; in England and elsewhere thousands died."

Surprisingly, perhaps, the volcano's exact location has yet to be established. Mexico, Ecuador and Indonesia are the most likely areas, according to volcanologists, who found evidence in ice cores from the northern hemisphere and Antarctic and within a thick layer of ash from Lake Malawi sediments. The ice core sulphate concentration shows that it was up to eight times higher than Indonesia's Krakatoa eruption of 1883, one of the most catastrophic in history.

Some 10,500 medieval skeletons were found at Spitalfields market, the site of the Augustinian priory and hospital of St Mary Spital, and the remains suggest there may have been as many as 18,000. The excavation between 1991 and 2007 by the Museum of London Archaeology (Mola) was the largest ever archaeological investigation in the capital. It was a member of that team, osteologist Don Walker, who discovered the link with a volcano.

He now believes that mass burials in medieval pits across Britain and Europe might also have been caused by the same disaster.

When the skeletons were found, he said: "People immediately thought Black Death, or battle graves, but there wasn't enough evidence of injuries."
Radiocarbon dating revealed dates around 1250. "So we thought 'what could it be'?"

Delving into documentary evidence he found references in 1257-58 to "heavy rains" and "a failure of the crops; "a famine ensued" many thousand persons perished". Specific diseases of malnutrition " scurvy and rickets " were also found among some skeletons, although malnutrition would not have been the sole cause of death during famine. Many would have suffered hunger-induced diseases, such as dysentery, and diseases which are more a product of social disruption caused by famine, such as typhoid fever.

In exploring the cause of such devastation, he discovered that volcanologists had been trying to locate the site of this massive volcano. He said: "What is new is linking the cause of the deaths of so many thousands to this volcano. No-one has linked it to archaeological evidence " and specifically to these mass burial pits. Documentary evidence is not necessarily reliable, whereas now we've got physical evidence."
bigdave

Con

CON has in fact read the article posted by PRO. CON is not disputing the facts in the article, but rather CON disputes the conclusion reached by PRO. To wit the article states that "" Scientific evidence " including radiocarbon dating of the bones and geological data from across the globe " shows for the first time that mass fatalities in the 13th century were caused by one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the past 10,000 years."" The article clearly relates to "mass fatalities in the 13th century ".

If one were to check on the dates of the Black Death one would find that it was a " pandemic that ravaged Europe between 1347 and 1351, taking a proportionately greater toll of life than any other known epidemic or war up to that time." (1)

Note well the 14th century dates. 1347 was almost a century after the "heavy rains" of 1258 to which PRO's article refers. Perhaps the 13th century event did occur, but it is NOT the historical "Black Death"

Further information from Britannica states..."The next great plague pandemic was the dreaded Black Death of Europe in the 14th century." (2)

Therefore since the PRO article refers to a 13th century event, and the Black Death was a 14th century event, CON has clearly shown the merits of his argument that the Black Death was NOT caused by a volcano.

(1) ...https://www.britannica.com...

(2)....https://www.britannica.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Akhenaten

Pro

1. My article does mention the Black Death which has included the possibility of volcanic causation. Reference quote -
"When archaeologists discovered thousands of medieval skeletons in a mass burial pit in east London in the 1990s, they assumed they were 14th-century victims of the Black Death or the Great Famine of 1315-17."
Thus, my opponent is misrepresenting the evidence given. Note - The Balck Death occurred in the 14th century.

2. The graph below shows a history of global climate history. Note- That the global climate peaked in around 1200 AD and declined in temperature by about 1.5 degrees by 1600 AD. Thus, we could easily say that the global population reached its peak in 1200 AD and declined in periods of crop failure due to persistent rainfall during periods of harvest which leads to periods of famine known commonly as 'plagues'. Due to the uneducated population, it was assumed that germs were the cause of death. Little was known about vitamins at this time in history.

http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu...

https://faculty.history.wisc.edu...

3.Note - Increased volcanic ash in the atmosphere causes an increase in rainfall.

https://www.nsf.gov...

4. Thus, I have proven that an increase in rainfall and a cooling of the global temperatures will cause massive crop failure and lead to conditions described as 'plague'. Germs, rats and fleas are blamed as being the cause of these events due to ignorance of vitamins and how the human body functions.

5. It has also been proven that fleas are incapable of moving at a speed 5 kilometres per day which was the rate at which the Black Death spread.

6. The Dark Ages caused by 2 large volcanoes.
https://motherboard.vice.com...

Thus, we can plainly see that all the major catastrophes were the result of volcanic activity and had nothing to do with germs. "Germs are the result of a disease and are not the cause of it" Antoine Bechamp.
bigdave

Con

I will now take your 6 points.....

#1 .( PRO states .."When archaeologists discovered thousands of medieval skeletons in a mass burial pit in east London in the 1990s, they assumed they were 14th-century victims of the Black Death or the Great Famine of 1315-17.") PRO failed to read on in the article that he himself cited, too wit, " Now they have been astonished by a more explosive explanation " a cataclysmic volcano that had erupted a century earlier," (1) . The article clearly indicates that the researchers initial assumption that they had discovered "Black Death victims" was WRONG.

#2 ( PRO states .." The graph below shows a history of global climate history. Note- That the global climate peaked in around 1200 AD and declined in temperature by about 1.5 degrees by 1600 AD. Thus, we could easily say that the global population reached its peak in 1200 AD and declined in periods of crop failure due to persistent rainfall during periods of harvest which leads to periods of famine known commonly as 'plagues'. Due to the uneducated population, it was assumed that germs were the cause of death. Little was known about vitamins at this time in history.") PRO seems to be saying that a volcano caused deaths in Britain from 1258 to 1351. CON is stating that there may have been at least 3 distinct events during this time ..1. the 1258 volcano (2), 2. the 1315 famine (3) and 3 the Black Death (4)

#3 ( PRO states .."Increased volcanic ash in the atmosphere causes an increase in rainfall." ) CON fails to grasp how this is relevant data.

#4 ( PRO states..."Thus, I have proved that an increase in rainfall and a cooling of the global temperatures will cause massive crop failure and lead to conditions described as 'plague'. Germs, rats and fleas are blamed as being the cause of these events due to ignorance of vitamins and how the human body functions.") CON will argue later about how the physical impacts of "starvation" are far different for the impacts of the Plague.

#5 (PRO states.. "It has also been proved that fleas are incapable of moving at a speed 5 kilometres per day which was the rate at which the Black Death spread.") CON argues that while fleas may not move this fast, their hosts certainly could.

#6 (PRO states .."The Dark Ages caused by 2 large volcanoes.") CON states that the debate is not about the Dark Ages. Also PRO's source refers to a 6th century event. (5)

The " pi"ce de r"sistance:" is that the physical impacts of "starvation" are far different for the impacts of the Plague. "In 14th-century Europe, the victims of the Black Death had bleeding below the skin (subcutaneous hemorrhage) which darkened ("blackened") their bodies. The Black Death was characterized by gangrene of the fingers, toes, and nose." (6)

and "DNA tests on 600-year-old teeth from victims of the Black Death have confirmed that Yersinia pestis was indeed the cause of the Black Death." (7)

(1) https://www.theguardian.com...
(2) Medieval volcanic eruption may have caused a year with no summer in 1258..https://www.slashgear.com...
(3) http://www.medievalhistories.com...
(4) http://www.history.com...
(5) https://motherboard.vice.com...
(6) https://www.medicinenet.com...
(7) https://www.medicinenet.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Akhenaten

Pro

Gangrene of the fingers, toes and nose. Hmmmm???????
Sounds like frost bite to me! Now, that would be a more logic explanation. Rather, than the fantastically impossible disease hypothesis. Thus, the volcanic causes of climate change would be a more logical explanation. Scientists know that if a volcanic eruption caused a dry mist to block out the sun, then the Arctic winds would blow down from the north and cause a sudden and unexpected cold snap in otherwise temperate regions which are unprepared for such a change. Those persons that had adequate clothing and resources survived the plague and those that didn't have adequate clothing and resources died. There, now, with this more logical explanation we don't have to get caught up in the disease hysteria that caused people to go insane and kill all the Jews and blame it on all the traditional enemies of mankind which include - rats, fleas and Asians while Asia being blamed as the origin of the scourge. Note - Madness and rumours spread faster that any pestilence. Note - The Catholic Church went bananas and blamed the disease on the Jews. Result - All Jews were either murdered or exiled.

https://www.giss.nasa.gov...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

http://theconversation.com...

Fleas are the cause?
The facts just don't add up. Black rats don't live in Northern Europe - Thus, the fleas have no way of travelling and spreading through this region. In those days they didn't have knowledge of how the human body functions. They didn't have any satellite information about weather patterns. They didn't know what a vitamin is. The word "germ" hadn't even been invented yet. The word germ wasn't used until about the 17th century. Thus, the concept of a germ plague was only something that the followers of Luis Pasteur would comply with. I myself, believe in the Antoinie Bechamp theory of disease which states that - "Germs are the result of a disease and are not the cause of it."

Modern studies have proven this to be true. It is only greedy medical authorities and pharmaceutical companies that keep alive this old and redundant concept of germs causing disease. This is done because there is a lot of money to made from the germ theory of disease causation.

Note - The world population graphs indicate that the Black Death didn't even register a small deviation in population density and growth overall. Thus, the whole event was mostly just religious propaganda and reasons to purge out unwanted individuals and was part of the religious inquisition which was going on at that time.
bigdave

Con

Pro states "Gangrene of the fingers, toes and nose. Hmmmm??????? Sounds like frost bite to me!" Pro failed to take the statement from Medicinenet in it's entirety....to wit "the victims of the Black Death had bleeding below the skin (subcutaneous hemorrhage) which darkened ("blackened") their bodies." (1) Neither starvation nor freezing causes subcutaneous hemorrhaging. Therefore CON has shown that the symptoms of Black Death contraindicate both "starvation" and "Famine" and by extension the volcano theory is negated.
*********************
Pro states " . Black rats don't live in Northern Europe - Thus, the fleas have no way of travelling and spreading through this region. " CON responds "The primary culprits in transmitting this disease were oriental rat fleas carried on the back of black rats." (2)
However rats and fleas were only one vector out of three for the Black Death. "The plague presented itself in three interrelated forms. The bubonic variant (the most common) [was spread by fleas]. ............ A second variation - pneumonic plague - attacked the respiratory system and was spread by merely breathing the exhaled air of a victim. It was much more virulent than its bubonic cousin - life expectancy was measured in one or two days. Finally, the septicemic version of the disease attacked the blood system."(3)

Therefore CON has demonstrated that the extent of the rat niche is irrelevant.
*******************
Finally Pro states "The world population graphs indicate that the Black Death didn't even register a small deviation in population density and growth overall. Thus, the whole event was mostly just religious propaganda and reasons to purge out unwanted individuals and was part of the religious inquisition which was going on at that time."

CON refutes this via this source..", the mysterious Black Death would kill more than 20 million people in Europe"almost one-third of the continent"s population." (4) Obviously losing one third of a population is hardly "just religious propaganda" as pro asserts.

(1) https://www.medicinenet.com...
(2) http://www.pests.org...
(3) http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com...
(4) http://www.history.com...
Debate Round No. 4
Akhenaten

Pro

1. When a person dies, their internal bacteria gut bacteria will take over and decompose or consume the entire body. This will turn all the internal organs into a soup. Thus, if a forensic scientist comes along 600 years later and examines a tooth and decides that that person died due to bacteria, then one must take this analysis with a grain of salt. Thus, it is impossible to know the true cause of death of a 600 year old corpse. The only exception would be if the corpse was frozen in ice and preserved the tissues. Therefore, I would not take my opponents so called 'scientific evidence' seriously.

2. When a person gets gangrene and the problem is not treated quickly, then, the gangrene will soon poison the whole body and the infection will spread rapidly. Thus, a person who has untreated gangrene can die within a few days. Thus, my analysis is still relevant to the Black Death symptoms and time of death.

3. My opponent has not specified where "bleeding below the skin" took place. Therefore, fingers, toes and nose still applies. Note - Untreated gangrene spreads infection throughout the body soon after if not treated.

4. Note - Plagues mostly only started to occur when cities became over populated. Could just be a result of over population and pollution of water supply etc.

5. Gangrene can also be caused by eating a diet which contains too much grain and not enough meat, fruit and vegetables. This would cause blockages in the fine blood vessels of the body's extremities. Thus, if the sun is blocked out, people would have to rely on stored grain food to survive for long periods of time. This would cause a diabetic type of disease to become prevalent.

6. The religious aspects of the deaths can't be ruled out. After all, the so called disease started near the Vatican and spread from there. Thus, it could have been a military operation to eliminate the Jews and other unwanted individuals. Note- Hitler's Germany hated Jews and associated Jews with rats and vermin. Also note - The Vatican supported Hitler and antisemitism.
bigdave

Con

CON will now comment on each of pro's notions.

1. Pro asserts that 600 year old DNA evidence is suspect.

According to the journal Nature. DNA has a half life of 521 years.(1)
Collecting DNA is a delicate procedure, and not all attempts are successful. However the results can be "pass / fail". If DNA is present, then an analysis is possible. If DNA is not found the result is ZERO. Researchers found some DNA in some corpses that were historically identified as plague victims and found flea DNA concurrently present. Thus CON has proved that it is accepted that fleas and plague are linked.
**************************

2. Pro asserts that gangrene would explain Black Death, however, according to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of the two are very different (2).
******************************

3.Pro states " My opponent has not specified where "bleeding below the skin" took place. Therefore, fingers, toes and nose still applies. Note - Untreated gangrene spreads infection throughout the body soon after if not treated."

CON answers that ". These are found in the neck, armpit or groin ..." (3) and these are areas that are not the extremities associated with gangrene.
**********************

4. Pro then posits " Note - Plagues mostly only started to occur when cities became over populated. Could just be a result of over population and pollution of water supply etc."

CON counters that in its Bubonic manifestation where lymph nodes are affected ..."The stricken lymph nodes are near the flea bite." (4)
***********

5.Now pro puts forth a dietary cause of gangrene where gangrene was mistaken for the plague.

But gangrene has already been negated as a cause since the symptoms are different Also gangrene affects the extremities while the plague occurred in the body core. Gangrene spreads from the "outside in": the plague spreads from "inside out".
*******************

6. Here pro finally argues for non medical causes of the plagues . Pro states ". After all, the so called disease started near the Vatican and spread from there."

This is so WRONG . The plague came from Asia. ""The pandemic is thought to have begun in Central Asia, and spread to Europe during the 1340s. The total number of deaths worldwide is estimated at 75 million people, approximately 25"50 million of which occurred in Europe. . . . It may have reduced the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400." (5)

Pro then argues tangentially about a" military operation to eliminate the Jews and other unwanted individuals." And later that " The Vatican supported Hitler and antisemitism."

These assertions are made by pro without any supporting documents. As these are not even part of the debate issue as put for by pro ( i.e. volcanoes and such ). CON will not comment on these issues.

As an ancillary note....outbreaks of the Bubonic plague have occurred in Madagascar as recently as 2017 (6)

Therefore CON has refuted each and every claim by pro, via citations and actual logic. I ask voters to consider this issue as warranted.

(1) http://www.nature.com.... Collecting DNA
(2) https://results.searchlock.com...
(3) https://www.livestrong.com...
(4) ibid
(5) http://www.historyofinformation.com...
(6) http://www.who.int...
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bigdave 3 months ago
bigdave
"Unless the reporter wishes to justify his assertions in a PM, further reports will be ignored."
Posted by Akhenaten 3 months ago
Akhenaten
No lies???????????
The whole concept that germs cause disease is a lie which I easily disproved.
Posted by whiteflame 3 months ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: ConserativeDemocrat// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Con takes this one. Con effectively proved that while a volcano may have caused many deaths in a similar time period, the Black Death happened well afterwards. Con also brings up 2 main arguments, neither of which were effectively rebutted by Pro. 1) The Black Death was caused by fleas carried by rats from Central Asia. Pro had no legitimate counters to this. 2) There are pieces of evidence of 14th century corpses that show they were killed by the Bubonic Plague. Pro is unable to rebut these pieces of evidence, nor are they able to show volcanos caused the injuries/causes of death brought up by Con.

[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter clearly assesses arguments brought up by both sides in the debate and makes a decision on that basis. Contrary to the report, there are no clear "blatant lies about the debate" to be found in this RFD.

Note: This is the second time this vote has been reported. Unless the reporter wishes to justify his assertions in a PM, further reports will be ignored.
************************************************************************
Posted by bigdave 3 months ago
bigdave
????????????????
"Note - Sneaky last minute vote added. "
???????????????????
Vote Placed by ConserativeDemocrat 2 weeks ago

Do you now have a time comprehension problem as well?
Posted by Akhenaten 3 months ago
Akhenaten
Don't buy any medication. That includes vitamins. You don't need any medications or vitamins its all just a money making scam. Nature provides all the vitamins that you need. Note - Sneaky last minute vote added. i see that you have been working overtime in the corruption department. lol Just like the people that you are trying to defend!!! lol Note - Every step you take makes my position a little bit stronger. lol
Posted by bigdave 3 months ago
bigdave
So buy vitamins to avoid "Big Pharma"?

Read on Ank ( or have someone read it to you).

" Vitamins, Supplements Made by Big Pharmaceutical Companies" http://www.foxnews.com...
Posted by Akhenaten 3 months ago
Akhenaten
Big pharma 1. Democracy and health zero. And you call that a victory? lol
Thanks all those prepubescent numskulls with no knowledge of health and vitamins for letting big pharma score another empty victory.
Posted by bigdave 3 months ago
bigdave
Thanks for voting.
Posted by Akhenaten 3 months ago
Akhenaten
Take bigdave's advice and don't listen to him! lol
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ConserativeDemocrat 4 months ago
ConserativeDemocrat
AkhenatenbigdaveTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con takes this one. Con effectively proved that while a volcano may have caused many deaths in a similar time period, the Black Death happened well afterwards. Con also brings up 2 main arguments, neither of which were effectively rebutted by Pro. 1) The Black Death was caused by fleas carried by rats from Central Asia. Pro had no legitimate counters to this. 2) There are pieces of evidence of 14th century corpses that show they were killed by the Bubonic Plague. Pro is unable to rebut these pieces of evidence, nor are they able to show volcanos caused the injuries/causes of death brought up by Con.