Death, the tsunami, and (for believers) God
(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 010505)

The recent tsunami has centered the world's atten-
tion on a most tragic, unwelcome, and in some
measure (through warnings) preventable disaster
insofar as initial loss of human life was concerned.

The threat to life is also now preventable with suf-
ficient effort on the part of the rich countries of the
world, and its citizens.

The tsunami death toll is now estimated at over
150,000, 1/3rd of them children.

- - -

However, with a quick glance at the leading causes
of death in 2001, one can easily grasp how the
deaths caused by this tsunami rank very low rela-
tive to other causes of death.

If focused on deaths of children in developing coun-
tries, it's clear that the greatest risk is being born,
with ~2,375,000 deaths occurring due to perinatal
conditions (occurring in, concerned with, or being in
the period around the time of birth).

---
Leading Causes of Death in Children
in Developing Countries, 2002
http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/impact/
---

 1. Perinatal conditions ....... 2,375,000 ... 23.1%
 2. Lower respiratory infections 1,856,000 ... 18.1%
 3. Diarrheal diseases ......... 1,566,000 ... 15.2%
 4. Malaria .................... 1,098,000 ... 10.7%
 5. Measles ...................... 551,000 .... 5.4%
 6. Congenital anomalies ......... 386,000 .... 3.8%
 7. HIV/AIDS ..................... 370,000 .... 3.6%
 8. Pertussis (whooping cough) ... 301,000 .... 2.9%
 9. Tetanus ...................... 185,000 .... 1.8%
10. Protein-energy malnutrition .. 138,000 .... 1.3%

Other causes ................... 1,437,000 ... 14.0%

Total ......................... 10,263,000 .. 100.0%

- - -

Put another way, for those who believe God was
involved in the tsunami, God's method of death,
while frightening and tragic, ranks very low rela-
tive to the way God 'normally' takes human lives,
both those of adults -and- those of children.

And, I must add, for those convinced God -and-
some afterlife exists, the taking of human lives is,
if they're correct, a passage to either

o a better life in the hereafter (hooray)

-or-

o an unbearable life akin to being stuck forever
   in church, without free will (boo)

-or-

o a life of immortal torment (yikes)

-or-

o immediate oblivion (oh well, what will be will be)

-or-

o oblivion via a toss into a lake of fire after judge-
   ment (bummer - death, judged, death again;
   sheesh, makes one wonder if not being born
   would've been a helluva lot better than being
   around a God of death; fortunately, of course,
   God is myth, and for better or worse, it's up to
   humans [and whatever other intelligent species
   we happen to have the good or bad luck to have
   contact with] ...

... to figure out ways to make this one and only
*sure* chance at life as pleasant as possible [in
the best scenario], or, unfortunately, in the worst
scenario, things could get really bad either via
naturalistic disasters, human-inflicted disasters,
or disasters inflicted by aliens who have little to
no interest in the welfare of humans)

- - -

---
Leading Causes of Death in 2001
http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/health/cause.php
---

- - -

Developing Countries

 1. HIV/AIDS ....................... 2,678,000
 2. Lower respiratory infections ... 2,643,000
 3. Ischaemic heart disease ........ 2,484,000
 4. Diarrhoeal diseases ............ 1,793,000
 5. Cerebrovascular disease ........ 1,381,000
 6. Childhood diseases ............. 1,217,000
 7. Malaria ........................ 1,103,000
 8. Tuberculosis ................... 1,021,000
 9. Chronic obstructive
    pulmonary disease ................ 748,000
10. Measles .......................... 674,000

- - -

Developed Countries

 1. Ischaemic heart disease ........ 3,512,000
 2. Cerebrovascular disease ........ 3,346,000
 3. Chronic obstructive
    pulmonary disease .............. 1,829,000
 4. Lower respiratory infections ... 1,180,000
 5. Trachea/bronchus/
    lung cancers ..................... 938,000
 6. Road traffic accidents ........... 669,000
 7. Stomach cancer ................... 657,000
 8. Hypertensive heart disease ....... 635,000
 9. Tuberculosis ..................... 571,000
10. Self-inflicted ................... 499,000

- - -

Source: WHO World Health Report 2002.

Countries grouped by WHO Mortality Stratum,
with Developing Countries representing regions
with High and Very High Mortality, and Developed
Countries representing regions with Low and
Very Low Mortality

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