When someone offers to pay over $100,000 to someone for proving something that is already incontrovertible, it makes me wonder.
In this case, a "biologist" in Germany offered a cash prize, not for proving a fancy mathematical conjecture, but for proving that measles is an infectious disease versus a disease of social separation (!). This scenario is odd for numerous reasons that include:
- Rhazes, before the year 1000, counseled people to avoid the disease lest it become an epidemic.
- The virus that causes the disease was isolated in the 1950s.
- Instead of social separation being a cause, as conjectured by this biologist, it is social interaction that abets the virus as a susceptible population of a certain size is required for the virus to sustain transmission.
That, in the 21st century, we are faced with a debate over a fact of reality long established is more than just a curious novelty--it is evidence of an erosion of the intellect and a true return to the primitive in which nebulous causes for diseases held sway and humans lived in a demon-haunted world.