Tom Easton

The new strain of fact-resistant humans, first reported in the New Yorker in 2015 (…/scientists-earth-endangered-by-…), is actually an infection by Wohlbachia credulensis, according to my story “The Nature of the Problem,” in Alternative Truths III: Endgame, just out from B Cubed Press (

Wohlbachia is a type of bacterium known to interfere with fertility in many insects and in fact is being exploited to try to reduce populations of mosquitoes and thus the transmission of malaria, dengue, and other mosquito-borne diseases. It also affects mate choice, sleep behavior, and the frequency with which parasitoid wasps lay eggs in fruit flies.  

Other bacteria and parasites also affect behavior. Toxoplasma is infamous for splitting its life cycle between mice and cats. An infected mouse loses its fear response to cats and will actually walk toward its predator. Lunch on legs!

It sounds strange, but nature works with what works. The only goal is successful reproduction.

So let’s get back to Wohlbachia credulensis. According to my story, it is found in the brains of both humans and domestic dogs. In humans it increases credulousness, the willingness to believe whatever one is told.  In dogs, well… When dogs were first domesticated, they were food animals. In some countries they still are.   They had to be infected at the time, or they would never have believed the first human who said “Nice doggy! Want a treat?”  The standard story says that from then on, the dog got fed and helped with the hunting, and everybody reproduced like mad.

But from that moment, it took very little time before the dog licked the human and transferred the germ.  It is perhaps no surprise that at about the same time people developed religion.

If you doubt that dogs are credulous, just consider their reaction when you hold a ball or stick in your hand and fake the throw.

People respond the same way, speaking of religion.

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