What percent of viruses cause disease?

I don’t know where to ask this, so if u can direct me to the proper board that would be appreciated. [What percent of known viruses cause disease?] Google and wikipedia’s refuse to answer this. By the question I’m referring to all organisms.

Fret not Nathan. This epidemic is a storm of a century. A one in a hundred years event. It’ll pass. We’ll get a vaccine in a year or so. We’ll manage it like we do flu. And AIDS. Ebola and rabies are so deadly they can’t spread. Smallpox has been eradicated. West Nile disease is on the up in New York as is Lyme disease in the UK.

Hi, Nathan - and welcome to the forum! Your question might more quickly get noticed in a thread directly about the coronavirus (linked below). Even though your question isn’t about that specifically, some of our scientists have been hanging out on those threads lately, and one of them, like @glipsnort, could probably shed more light on it, either there or here.

If you really mean all organisms, then I’d have to say that most viruses cause disease. Most viruses are (I believe) bacteriophages that infect bacteria, and they typically cause harm at least some of the time to their hosts.

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Welcome to the forum ,Nathan. As Steve said, it depends on the perspective. Like so many things in science and theology and life, it hinges on your defination. All viruses depend on the inner working of a cell to reproduce, so technically, all are parasitic in nature and can be thought of as causing disease in their host.
If you limit it to human disease, the percentage is exceedingly small, since it is such a big world with so many viruses.

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The number of viruses that have been shown to ever cause disease in humans is something like 400 (based on faulty memory). That is indeed a tiny fraction of all viruses, the bulk of which are unknown.

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Wikipedia didn’t refuse me.

If I may add to some of the things others have said.

Most if not all of the killer pandemics that have afflicted humans have jumped from other animals. It is said that coronavirus-19 jumped from bats in Wuhan to humans. The bird flu jumped from birds. HIV jumped from the Green Monkey. Small pox from cows.

There diseases were not deadly in the original host, but became so in humans. Humans develop resistance and immunity to many diseases through vaccines and the development of anti-bodies.

Humans have trillions of “non-human” organisms living in and on them that appear to be essential to being human. They are called “symbionts.”

In a sense these organisms are parasites because they live off us, but they also provide services to humans, mostly I expect in warding off disease. Most of the organisms that we experience we normally assume to be foreign and therefore hostile are not, they are part of the symbiotic web of life that makes our existence possible.

Life is not black and white. Not even viruses are all evil, so it does not make sense for God to eliminate all viruses, or all diseares.

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No, cowpox, which confers immunity to it, is. Smallpox came from gerbils.

And why would it make sense for God to intervene in the autonomy of the physical at all?

Have you seen the show on Unnatural Selection on Netflix? Would it be wise to kill all mosquitoes that cause Human viruses through CRISPR?

There are attempts to genetically modify mosquitos with CRISPR.

Here is an article on the lab in Italy that has developed the modified mosquitoes. If it works with malaria, the same technique could be used to combat zika, chikungunya, and dengue, as I understand it.

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But it is unlikely that this is the result of design, but rather a result of co-evolution. When parasites are our companions for millions of years the host adapts to their presence and thus they become a part of how the hosts lives in the world. Thus it can cause problems when these parasites are removed such as with Crohn’s disease which seems to be caused by a lack of parasites in developed countries.

I certainly don’t think it is wise to jump to such a conclusion just because we Christians believe in a God who participates in our lives.

But if God can, and we certainly believe God can do so, then why not? I think it is because life is based on fixed rules and messing with the rules takes away from life. Life requires us to be responsible for our own well-being or we become like the Eloi in H. G. Well’s “Time Machine,” proverbial sheep who cannot take care of ourselves, and thus considerably less that what we can be.

I feel that scripture paints the picture that though God may occasionally intervene in major ways he often pulls back allowing our faith to be tested by trials.

Matthew 6:26-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

I feel these verses do two things. 1 it helps us be encouraged that our father values he and 2 let us know that his thoughts are not our own. It clear God does not mean birds will go without suffering or starving. We see them going through it often.

In the same way . Just like the Teacher it Ecclesiastes states is that good and evil happen to all.

Yes, I think it is different when we actually ask for help. To some degree that represents taking some responsibility for things, by at least making the effort to ask. Of course God likely decides that we don’t need help every time we ask.

In either case… worrying serves no purpose. Either we take action to solve the problems ourselves, or we leave it in God’s hands.

Co-evolution is a term used to try to take credit for symbiosis from ecology. Symbiosis is the way that God uses ecology to design life forms. Design is a word for evolution, except both ID and Darwinism have tunnel vision that keeps them from understanding each other.

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