As I indicate in our latest edition of Drunk Ex-Pastors, I have always been something of a skeptic about the issue of “raising awareness” of a disease. In most cases, it is some form of cancer of which awareness is attempting to be raised, and yet I can’t remember the last time I heard about a form of cancer I was not already aware of (with the possible exception of Al Pacino’s portrayal of Lefty in Donnie Brasco, who insists he has “cancer of the prick”).
I will admit, though, that a huge amount of awareness has been raised this summer about Lou Gehrig’s Disease, due in no small part to the Ice Bucket Challenge that has been sweeping social media of late. And along with this awareness has come millions of dollars for research of the deadly disease.
Now I don’t know what causes ALS (and neither does anyone else, apparently), but I do wonder if it, like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and so many other western diseases, has its root in some aspect of our everyday lives that we take for granted, and in particular, some aspect that is connected to technology in some way or another.
Does anyone doubt that cancer is caused by things like processed foods and cell phone towers? Does anyone doubt that diabetes and heart disease are also caused by the insane amount of chemicals we ingest on a daily basis?
I’m all for awareness, and for donating money to help fight these kinds of diseases. But I can’t help but think that if scientists discovered a cure for them, we’d only be breaking even, since we would be unlocking science’s powers to solve problems that unlocking science’s powers caused in the first place.