A bit about the sanitation of the working class during the Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution refers to the economic changes that took place in regards to the work and life of the British people during the 18th-19th century. A time where changes in manufacturing and transportation began with things being made by hand but instead made using machines in larger-scale factories. It was an extremely difficult time for the working class as due to factories being made many business’ needed workers and this lead to low wages as people were willing to work! Something Karl Marx rebuked and defined as exploitation. (See my blog on Karl Marx for more info)

This was a time where: pollution, overcrowding, diseases, waste disposal, poor quality housing and hardly any fresh water were prevalent. Builders were not diligent when building homes for the poor installing no cavities in place to keep out the damp and wet weather, the walls often cracked as the foundations were weak.There was no lavatory’s or kitchen present, no hall in the houses as well as no storage space.

That is not as bad as it get’s, in fact there was often a pigsty outside of their front door along with human manure; soil men often took out the waste but in poorer districts the waste was normally heaped in a large pile close to the homes of the residents which is referred to as a cesspit. The liquid from the waste heaps seeped down into the earth and contaminated the water supplies and sometimes the ceespit would be located against the wall of the house. This carried disease-causing germs into the water. The most frightening disease of all was cholera, but the cause was unknown at the time.

The cholera epidemic was caused by the microbes in the excreta from patients who had this disease. It was possible to catch by sharing laboratories as well as by drinking the water which was contaminated by excrement. But how did sewage find it’s way into the water you ask? This was due to pumping sewage into the river water, which was then used for drinking. Statics show that nearly half of the people who caught the disease died. In addition to cholera, there was also the smallpox disease thanks to inoculation of the disease it began to die out. Sanitation at that time was extremely bad there was another disease on the rise, that was Typhoid which lingered in croydon in 1852 as it was found in the water supplies. The poor were more susceptible to catching the disease due to being carried by lice, as a result poorer families which were normally dirty caught it. Tuberculous was also extremely common, they were likely to catch the disease if they were malnourished, under mental and physical stress, living in dirty environments as well as being in contact with someone who had the disease, once again affecting the poor resulting in one third of people had dying during that time period.

Why were the precautions not in place ? Pasteur did not discover microbes until 1864, so until then what caused these disease were pure speculation. During that time, they had believed that smell is what caused it but most definitely not the water as the Board of Health has advised people that the water was safe. So Edwin Chadwick’s view on miasma (smell that cause diseases), concluded that Tuberculosis was developed by overwork and stress. As many workers worked in stuffy environments with half dying this concluded that air must of been the cause. The issue with Chadwick’s theories was that he believed all diseases were the same and that they were spread by the foul smell. He has then hastened the Health board to a very bad decision which was to flush the sewage into the river every week and soon the organisms found in the diseases were spread into the river in great numbers spreading like wildfire, 15000 people dying by the end of 1849.

Although a bad decision they were on to something here, the miasmatic theory proved that to get rid of the smell you have to get rid of your dirt. So getting rid of the germs significantly eliminated bacteria!

I hope you enjoyed this brief introduction-
“Social Problems of the Indutrial Revolution” by P.F.SPEED



Blaise Pascal (1623-62)- What is more likely? God exists or not?

Blaise Pascal is best known for being a French mathematician, inventor, physicist, writer and Catholic theologian who held a very convincing argument for the argument of God’s existence.

His justification for his beliefs were as follows: If you toss a coin there is a 50% chance of it to come up as heads or tails. So, it doesn’t actually matter which side you bet on, the same concept applies to the existence of a creator in that, should you risk your afterlife by rejecting God for a small amount of pleasure in this life? Or is it more rational not to believe in God despite a universal idea that a wide majority of the world who do, so there is a pretty high chance that there is; as Anselm suggested using the ontological argument that the fact that we have an idea of God proves God exists. A priori argument (not relying on observation of the world to reach conclusions), yet still very much convincing today. Anyway, back to Pascal, he was a pessimist, his view on reality was very bleak, his view on humanity steamed from the religious story on Adam and Eve betraying God by eating the apple that God commanded not to. Which explained his view of human being driven by sexual desire and humans burdened with anxiety and despair.

The book Pensees (meaning thoughts) was structured by fragments of his work and published after his death. The book unsurprisingly is about his argument for Christianity being the truth. There is not doubt that Pacal was an incredible writer, scientist and he also worked on inventing a mechanical calculating machine. In addition to this, he was a prominent mathematician, focusing on idea of probability, explaining the concept of probability to proof God exists. If you are a rational gambler you should calculate your odds and bet on the highest chance of winning referring to a creator. For him there were two options, you can go through life not believing in God, thus you have lived your life without adhering to religious guidelines and the illusion of an afterlife and not wasting time praying, or you can believe in God and what have you lost ? This would be a win-win way to live, even if the outcome is not correct, you have not lost much he argued. If in fact you are correct, you will enjoy the eternal bliss of the afterlife and have lived your life being ‘truthful, honest and kind’ as most religions advocate. No-one would like to take the risk of disbelieving in that case, although there are many arguments to suggest that this would be living in fear, as Marx described,  religion as the “opium of the masses” and that religion just controls the people. For him, this was an easy decision but this argument can be seen as biased he was so engrossed in religion that he may not have thought about the question, what if you simply do not believe? Should you force yourself in this case? For example, try believing that the tooth fairy exists. You may be able to imagine it or talk constantly talk yourself into coming up with reasons why there would be a tooth fairy, but this is very different from believing that it is a reality. Pascal had an answer for this, he suggested that you should spend your time around religious people, convince yourself that it is in your best interest to believe and soon you will. Pascal saw evidence for God’s existence from the fine tuning of the universe and in nature believing that our heart should lead us to God.

Have you guessed the other issue with his belief? Yes, he did not consider that in by following his view, you may have picked the wrong religion!

I hope you enjoyed this blog
Here is a book I really recommended for someone who is interested in philosophy and wants to know the basics of each philosopher’s belief
Simply click on the image below to purchase

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Internet Addiction

Very interesting

I can't believe it!

How often do you see people with their faces stuck into their mobile phones, tablets, laptops, ignoring the real world around them – even their own children desperately craving attention. It’s become a real problem over recent years. And I can’t really throw rocks, as I can see the addiction in myself – another message, another email, another blog post arrived, a ‘like’ on my post, another important petition, another request for money, a news update, another try at that Candy game…

As this article in Positive News identifies, this is a big problem for many people, life threatening even for some. But the important thing is to become aware of it and do something about it, retain connection with other people and the real world.

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