How were those doctors in the 1920s "manipulating nature"? They were just trying to treat sick people in an undeveloped region.
There are a lot of hospital-originating diseases even today (e.g. drug-resistant TB in Russia).
Creating a vaccine and injecting it into people's bloodstreams to try to gain an advantage over a virus' spread can be seen as manipulating nature. There is plenty of nature manipulation that goes on in the development and reproduction of a vaccine.
Doing anything will likely have unintended consequences, I would hazard a guess that vaccinating people has saved more lives than AIDS has claimed. Now that we have an AIDS vaccine, should we not vaccinate people for fear of causing an epidemic 80 years from now?
I suppose that is not possibe but can you imagine chicken bacon?
This "natural == not human" thing is fine (bullshit, but fine), until you start trying to use it to make moral/ethical arguments.
It's not like animals don't bring about their own ecological collapse some times.
So you have to define some dividing line, or at least a scale, telling when humans exercising their "natural" intelligence leads to "unnatural" results.
I don't know if I'm disagreeing with you or not. It's just a tricky idea that needs to be defined.
I think the issue is that people confuse "natural" with "able to sustain human life". The planet Mercury is perfectly natural, but humans can't live there. In the same vein, we can do lots of natural things and our environment will find a way to balance things out.
Where I feel people are short-sighted is that eventually that ecological balancing act precludes the existence of human beings in this planet.
My point is that it's an uphill battle to declare any given real phenomenon as unnatural at all.
To date I believe there are only insect cases that have done this (less outrage when you kill off a new species of roach)
That being said, given the AIDS virus in apes, given that apes were being hunted, and given that there was lots of needle re-use going on, the rise of AIDs as a scourge was pretty much a 100% probable, regardless of 'who' was the alpha 0 patient.
Now that isn't to say that a toxic waste dump is good (it is not) or healthy (it is toxic) or desirable (parasites are natural and certainly not desirable).
The program that he is linking to the initial outbreak wouldn't be the first vaccination program, surgery, antibiotic, or pain relief drug to cause harm.
> How were those doctors in the 1920s "manipulating
No? Well the chimp-fucking hypothesis is possible, but it's unlikely.
> What is meant by that?
Exactly what was said. He might have contracted it by quartering a chimpanzee (and having chimpanzee blood wash over cuts or scrapes, thereby infecting it). Having cuts, scrapes or tears is pretty likely when you're in the forest fighting chimps.
It seems like their theories are slightly different, but both involve vaccination programs as the cause of the epidemic.
-the law of unintended consequences
Keeping it contained in Africa for a bit longer, getting rid of the infected plasma selling organization in Haiti, and a different initial population, might have made all the difference -- imagine if a monogamous/non-needle-sharing person got infected, disease ran its course with first-world medical facilities, and became a research curiosity.
I meant if there were a limited population of humans exposed to chimpanzees (in Africa), and maybe it crossed over and stayed in a pretty localized group.
Then, in the lucky alternate universe, the first patient from outside being infected being a ~60 year old western/rich visiting professor who doesn't do drugs, and maybe doesn't even have sex with his wife, and is basically a closed system. Returns home HIV+ but doesn't spread it to any other humans before AIDS develops, he goes to a hospital (where there's already reasonable biosafety against blood-borne pathogens), and someone figures out there's a new virus in Africa which can only be contracted through relatively direct contact.
Then, a few tens of millions of dollars of treatment (practicing better biosafety in Africa, letting US medical device manufacturers send needles/etc. paid for by the government, etc., would probably be enough to keep the whole thing contained, and maybe eventually eradicate it.
Unfortunately that's not what happened.
The only reason AIDS was even detected was because of a pattern with many people who were in similar groups got infected. The similar groups part is critical - that's what tells people it's infectious.
A disease that hardly infects anyone is unlikely to even be detected.
And even if we assume your scenario of detection, your second scenario would not play out. With billions of dollar of prevention we can't stop it - you really think millions would do it? All it takes is a little sex tourism - which despite the risks and the knowledge still happens today.
And finally, none of that would erase the stigma because the reality is that AIDS is mainly transmitted by low status individuals, and changing the origin would do little to change that.