Gay groups that do not believe in AIDS have been forming throughout the country. When I first heard of such organizations, I thought that I was being lied to or that their constituents must be insane.
But, lo and behold, articles in Time magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer have erased my doubts. These people actually exist.
Essentially, they view AIDS as a construct created by the upper class or pharmaceutical companies that has no basis in reality. Their belief is that the disease’s symptoms are a product of the anti- AIDS drugs that are given to patients diagnosed with HIV, and not by an actual disease.
Conspiracy threads the anti- AIDS theory together by stating that it is either the money-grubbing pharmaceutical companies, the anti-gay government, or just error- prone doctors that have enacted the false epidemic. Thus, these new groups hold that HIV has no connection with AIDS whatsoever.
Obviously, there are holes in this theory.
But the reason that people, especially those who suffer through AIDS, believe in such a theory is that they have nowhere to turn. They have to take incredibly large quantities of pills daily to combat their illness, change their lives completely, and sometimes live as pariahs.
And to what end? For the sake of a few more miserable years of futile life.
But the anti-science movement of today does not exist solely in the minds of a few fringe HIV patients. It lives in the minds of “spiritual healers,” most notably Deepak Chopra, who claim that “more holistic” methods of treatment are better and more time-tested cures for illness than modern medicine.
It lives in the hearts of the devoutly religious who are forced to admit that televisions work and that coelacanths exist. But these people still hold firm in their belief that God, and not physics, controls the universe.
It also lives in the rebellious tongues of students who question whether science’s piecemeal, skeptic method of deriving “universal truths” is, as Voltaire posited, becoming just as sacrosanct and hierarchical as religion was in centuries past. I must admit that I vacillate between the two spheres of knowledge.
Sometimes, I argue that homeopathic healing is a farce that only exacerbates diseases. Other times I believe whole-heartedly in modern medicine and sanitation’s broad effects on the world as we know it, and gaff at its naysayers.
Still, there is a way for science and its doubters, whether they be religious or otherwise, to coexist. After all, as Galileo claimed, if science is observable than it should be able to hold its own.
However, lest we fall too far into the construct of a panoptic society, we mustn’t believe all that we see or “observe.” It is important to note that we have viewed the effects of both electrons and God but have yet to actually view either. Further, we believe in things that we cannot see such as the concept of truth and the axioms of geometry.
Is this all to say that AIDS isn’t real? No, but it is to say that we need to stop blindly following one set of precepts or another and start viewing the world around us with truly critical minds.
In this light, those who would doubt the existence of AIDS can be seen as innovators– even if their reasons for doubting lie on shaky ground.