Saturday, November 11, 2006

Why we need the theory of evolution to explain HIV

If you are wondering why the HIV virus unlike other viruses kills you and if you have not accepted the catholic explanation that all Africans who get aids are sinners and deserved it you might want to continue reading.

The reason that our otherwise extremely impressive immune system is not able to cope with the HIV virus in the long run, is that the virus has a very high mutation and proliferation rate. Following any type of virus infection, the number of viruses in your body will go up exponentially, however, once your immune system is able to recognize the virus it will mobilize its troops (the white blood cells) and destroy the invader.

The same thing happens when someone is infected with HIV, first the number of viruses go up, then down. However, because of its rapid mutation rate, some of the HIV viruses will change so much that the immune system no longer recognize the virus. This new virus, which has evolved by natural selection will proliferate. Our immune system will soon be able to recognize the new invader, but then yet a different virus will be present. This constant race will go on for about ten years. At that time the HIV virus will have killed of so many white blood cells (the HIV virus is specifically targeting white blood cells) that the body can no longer defend itself against otherwise non-fatal infection, and you will die, perhaps, from a simple flu.


Anonymous said...

the catholic explanation is NOT that the person suffering of any disease would be sinners, any more than others. The catholic explanation is the SAME as the scientific one:

AIDS comes from the HIV virus, transmitted through blood & transmitted through sex.


rasmussenanders said...

Here is a quote from

"Personal sin is not the only cause of the spread of HIV/ AIDS. In fact, its role pales in comparison to the structures of poverty and gender discrimination that placed most HIV-infected persons at risk." These strong words of moral theologian Lisa Sowle Cahill may startle many of us. Surely we must be responsible for our choices concerning sex and drugs."

Notice especially the first sentence, where they say "personal sin is not the only cause of...". So sure, I did overstate it, but in essence what I said was true.

Anonymous said...

No, i don't believ the statement: this person is ill, it must be due to that he/she has sinned. I believe bad things just happen, this is not paradise, it's this world we're all living in.

I mean if you visit a person (smoking three packs a day) who has lung cancer at Lunds lasarett, do you say to her: "This is because you are smoking...etc"
No, i don't think you would, because she probably began smoking due to grouppressure, or so.

As i see it, a woman in e.g. south africa, is not allowed to say NO, it's the way they see women This exposes women to hiv/aids. :(


rasmussenanders said...

I realize that you do not believe that AIDS is caused by personal sins, however, it is false to say that catholics as a group does not believe this. This american catholic organisation evidently thinks that personal sin is one of the things that causes AIDS...

I agree with your version, but our version apparently do not agree with the catholic version.

Anonymous said...

Seriously dude. Get a clue. Getting HIV today isnt a death sentence. Stop spreading your ignorance. Think for a moment before you publish bs like this since there are people in the world who actually have this decease and might become scared.

rasmussenanders said...

Thank you for your comment,
What you are saying is not entirely true. If your government is willing to spend about 600.000 USD on you (which in some western countries is the case), then life expectancy is 24 years. So yes it have increase, but a quick google search shows that life expectancy is not normal...

For the majority of those infected with HIV, the life expectancy is still 10-12 years.

Beda said...

I should also add that even for those with access to the latest anti-virals, HIV is hardly a walk in the park. It involves absolute faithful adherence to a sometimes complex drug regime, and this treatment can in any case fail. Furthermore, there are some signs that the long battle of the immune system that Anders admirably describes takes its toll: in people who have been infected for a long time, there are somewhat increased risks of other illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Anders: the article you quote's main point is to stress that HIV/AIDS is *not* a punishment for sin:
"1. Deeply embedded in some streams of Hebrew thought was the sense that good deeds led to blessing and evil deeds to suffering. If a person was experiencing sickness or other trials, then that person must have sinned in the past. The Book of Job, however, challenges this tradition; Job suffers despite his innocence (Job 31 especially).

Jesus too challenges this belief. In the exquisite scene described in chapter nine of John’s Gospel, Jesus heals a blind man. Jesus declares that the man’s blindness was not due to his or his parents’ sin (John 9:2-5). Neither Job nor Jesus explains away the pain of suffering, but neither views sickness as a punishment from God".


"Our reflections have led us to three specific points concerning HIV and AIDS.

1) We resist the temptation to judge and condemn people. HIV/AIDS is not a punishment sent by God. This change of attitude is where we start. This respect does not mean, of course, denying responsibility. Prevention is still the key to dealing with HIV and AIDS, so creative and culturally sensitive educational programs must encourage people to take responsibility for their actions."

Still, the basic point remains: that promiscuous sex is a very important reason (not by any means the only one) why HIV and other STD's spread. Even so, as the article points out (this follows from the bit you quote):

"Indeed, we must. Cahill’s statement, however, can help us appreciate that in some situations, freedom is severely limited by cultural and economic conditions. In many countries, for example, women may be forced into sex with unfaithful and infected husbands or into prostitution to support their family.

Again, the great percentage of the earth’s HIV-positive people do not have access to the life-saving antiretroviral drugs. The roots of this situation lie in political and economic choices and structures. Some countries have chosen to violate international patent laws or to work out some kind of compromise in order to produce generic forms of the drugs at a much lower cost. Other countries are too poor even to do that.

What most of us take for granted—food, clothing, shelter, education, participation in politics—is lacking in the lives of hundreds of millions of the human family. The power of economic and social structures perpetuates poverty and limits personal freedom. Pope John Paul II has named such conditions “structures of sin.”"

rasmussenanders said...

Thanks for the comments Beda,
I am sorry that I haven't answered all your comments yet (I can't promise that I will either), your comments, though critical are welcome.

On this issue of where the responsobility for AIDS lies I agree with you that society as a whole as well as the individual has power to prevent HIV to some extent. Don't have sex and you won't get AIDS. If having sex is personal sin then sure I guess that the radiacal catholics are right.

Nevertheless, many people believe that HIV/AIDS has nothing to do with sex. That if you live a sinful life then you will get punished through HIV or otherwise. That is the view I am objecting to.

Now I admit that my original statement could and should have been more careful. The majority of catholics I think knows that HIV is an STD, and I should have pointed that out I suppose...