I'm talking of course, about groups who deny various historical or scientific facts despite mountains of evidence. Holocaust deniers, Intelligent Design proponents, Flat-Earthers, heliocentrism deniers (they think the sun revolves around the Earth), and moon landing conspiracy theorists are just some of the representative groups that I usually think of in this context.
I guess I sort of knew about HIV/AIDS deniers, having heard of them once or twice on NPR, but I didn't think about them much. But they are out there. One of them testified in a trial in Australia recently, voicing the view that:
The group's key claim is that HIV has never been isolated and identified as a
retrovirus. HIV is the result of the misinterpretation of laboratory phenomena
and experiments, the group says.
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos says AIDS is a disease that results from the oxidising of the inside of the body from repeated exposure to semen resulting from passive anal intercourse. It is not a "virus" and cannot be "transmitted" from one person to another during sex.
And, apparently, she's willing to risk her life (at least in theory) on this belief:
She was asked by prosecutor Sandi McDonald whether "you would have
unprotected vaginal sex with a HIV-positive man".
"Any time," replied Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos.
She's clearly not a very sophisticated denier, though, because her answer should have been: "There is no such thing as HIV, so I don't believe it is possible to have unprotected vaginal sex with an 'HIV-positive man.'" But still, this is a medical worker who is, in effect, denying the germ theory of disease! Amazing.
These denial groups are really all the same. They use the same flawed logic, the same emotional arguments, the same tautological reasoning to arrive at their positions. The fact is that the particular topic they choose to focus on, be it the Holocaust or HIV, is pretty much a MacGuffin. It could be anything, really. You could deny anything with the sort of reasoning Holocaust deniers or creationists use. And someone out there is doing just that right now on just about any topic you can think of.
Once again, I have to say, no wonder alien intelligences haven't visited us. Jeesh.