Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Benevolent viruses? Not on your life!

Wednesday 2nd May 2012.

Sickness & Diseases - Health & Miracles

Having dispensed the forgiveness of all sins to all mankind (on the Internet) in yesterday’s blog, I was reminded again, by a TV documentary of an American asking what wiped out the entire Mayan population in Mexico in 1210AD – that we love a really nasty, deadly global pandemic. Several million Mayans died – (they are the ones like the Incas who built stepped pyramids and revelled in gory human sacrifice) – but they died not of The Black Death, The Plague, Spanish Flu or German Measles imported by the Conquistadores, but died of drought; in the middle of a tropical rain forest. Apparently when the North Pole gets very cold, the rains fail in Mexico and the Mayans had no rivers, lakes or aquifers and relied on cisterns and ponds to store the winter rain. Three years of drought killed almost everything.

But I digress. The researchers found a large pit full of skulls – heads without bodies; the type of mindless violence we like to indulge in, in hard times, when we have no TV game shows to amuse us – and speculated if they would find a deadly virus or bacterium in the bones. Similarly, about ten years ago, Norwegian scientists dug up deep-frozen human corpses in Greenland that had died in the Spanish Flu global pandemic in 1918-20 (after World War One). They did find dangerous bugs related to H5N1, or the killer bird-flu. Naturally the diggers and medics took precautions against being infected. They fully believed, they “knew”, and were counting on the fact that the bugs, germs, viruses or bacteria when thawed from the bones would still be viable and capable of starting another pandemic.

It is now widely accepted by science that our DNA, within our cells, bathed in seawater, has acquired and tamed and married innumerable bits of virus DNA or RNA – many of which were once dangerous enemies to us – and would have caused pandemics. It is also accepted that we swap DNA continually, all the time – through body contact, food sharing, water and breathing; criminals famously daub DNA on every surface, for the convenience of detectives. When dealing with bones from diseased victims, we have recently learned to be cautious. Those invisible, minuscule, squirming, reproducing, parasitic nasty life-forms, packets of foreign DNA, can do us to death. We are all quite comfortable with the knowledge that the bones of old sinners can fatally infect us with their altered or malevolent packets of DNA.  We gleefully list the 100 top killer diseases – and try to avoid and eradicate them.

But what of the old bones of Saints, or the DNA of living Saints?  Are there benevolent strands of DNA that we share? Can we be infected with goodness? If not -Why not?  

Our existence and reproduction are evidence that benevolent DNA is ubiquitous and universal. Our parents generally bequeath good or benevolent packets of DNA that enable our lives. By malevolent, I mean harmful to our life, and by benevolent mean life enhancing. Perhaps the company we keep is more important than we yet fully realise. Perhaps the famous billionaire recluse, Howard Hughes, had a point. And perhaps the millions of medieval pilgrims, walking thousands of miles to revere saintly remains, hanks of hair, cups used by Saints and chips off The True Cross and other Holy Relics, though mired in ignorance and deluded by spivs, had a glimmering.

But – NO!  We can believe in nasty killer pandemics; we love a great malevolent virus to fight; we like to be shocked as we pile up the innocent bodies – But benevolent viruses that help us? …Not on your life!

SCALE: A human cell as big as a house contains bacteria as big as a football, viruses as big as golf balls and DNA strands like human hair. DNA is very small.

2nd May 2012.

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