Survival Of The Sickest Rhetorical Analysis

1478 Words 6 Pages
Throughout the New York Times Bestseller, Survival of the Sickest, the author Dr. Sharon Moalem makes many claims in regards to disease and their connections to historical events or causes. Although some of his claims appear to logically connect, others don’t. For example, Dr. Moalem discusses the links between the presence of sickle cell anemia in individuals living near the Mediterranean Sea and their ability to protect themselves from malaria due to this trait. He also speaks of the connection between weather and diabetes. These are claims that can be supported by further evidence. On the other hand, Dr. Moalem provides claims that don’t seem to hold logically or scientifically. An example of this is found when he speaks of the connection …show more content…
For the duration of this essay, Dr. Sharon Moalem’s claims will be investigated further and proven to be more or less correct.
Malaria is a disease commonly acquired by the neighboring residents of the Mediterranean Sea. Dr. Moalem claimed that “In Africa, where the heat was an evolutionary argument against denser body hair, people are prone to sickle-cell anemia, which, as we’ll discuss, offers some protection from malaria” (Moalem, 2007). This assertion can be found accurate in a logical and scientific manner. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine stated that the genetic mutation associated with sickle-cell anemia occurred thousands of years ago and continued to pass down through generations. The mutation holders were less likely to be affected by malaria (Kapes, 2009). More research on the effects of sickle-cell anemia and malaria was conducted by Dr. Allison of the British Medical Journal. He found studies in Northern Rhodesia, an area greatly affected by malaria, that indicated a positive connection between sickle-cell anemia and malaria. 9.8 percent of sicklers had
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Moalem made a claim regarding sickle-cell anemia that could be upheld by scientific research, not all of his assertions could complete the same task. For example, his claim on hemochromatosis and how it helped lessen the catastrophic deaths of future epidemics. He said, “The growing percentage of hemochromatosis carriers--potentially able to fend off the plague--may explain why no subsequent epidemic was as deadly as the pandemic of 1347 to 1350” (p. 15). In this statement, Moalem is basing the decrease in fatalities during epidemics solely on the growth of hemochromatosis carriers. It is well known that there were several factors that aided to the decrease. One factor that was key to lower death rates during later epidemics was the increase in the quality of life. Heather Whipps of the Live Science Journal noted that, “Those who survived benefited from an extreme labor shortage, so serfs once tied to the land now had a choice of whom to work for. Lords had to make conditions better and more attractive or risk leaving their land untended, leading to wage increases across the board” (Whipps, 2008). Higher wages allowed for the once extremely poor serfs of Europe to better their lives in multiple ways. They could now afford to pay for food instead of spending a majority of the year malnourished. This aided in the fight against disease as the body was stronger and more equipped to fight back. More money also meant that the people could afford better living

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