Of Viruses & Men

The Truth About Our Malfunctioning World

Man is a demonstrably fallen creature of habit and desire. Dependably, he sooner or later forgets the lessons he has learned from hardship, especially if they require a measure of vigilance, sobriety, and discipline in their application. Modern man assumes that life must progressively become more comfortable, convenient, and entertaining. He also measures the health of society by its levels of spending and consumption—the more, the better. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon has often noted that the goal of unlimited growth is "the philosophy of the cancer cell," whose growth makes it deadly to its host.

There must be limits. For the children of men are not the products of blind chance and randomness. We have been formed in our mothers' wombs, and our form has a shape, a pattern, from which it may not deviate without consequences. Some of the consequences, such as disease, may be survivable, even curable. But if a virus overwhelms our body's antibody production, it will kill us.

At the core of the viral epidemics that have long plagued mankind is what we moderns call misinformation, bad instructions. A virus is "a sub-microscopic piece of DNA or RNA, a piece of genetic material," explains biochemist Michael Behe, with a shell made of protein. Genetic material is information, coding. A virus is one-ten-thousandth to one-millionth the size of the human genome. In itself, it is not alive. Behe says:

[A virus] needs to get into a cell in order to reproduce. The information it carries in its DNA or RNA highjacks the machinery of the cell, and the cell reproduces the virus for it and sends copies of the virus out to infect other cells. That process oftentimes wrecks the host cell, and that's what causes the damage.1

Behe notes that we have no idea how viruses arose in the first place. Problems occur especially when a virus that is common to one species jumps (sometimes aided by mutation) to another species. Since the new host is not familiar with the foreign virus, it lacks effective immunities and antibodies. Many experts believe the new coronavirus can be traced to bats sold in a "wet market" in China. (Chinese food markets are filled with every imaginable wild creature.)

Amazingly, our bodies work at the genetic level to develop immunities as quickly as possible, almost as if a software security program had been installed for just that purpose.

Scientists have long theorized that genetic sequences in our bodies that look like viruses are discarded DNA segments ("junk DNA") from our ancient past. But now they're discovering that the "junk" plays positive roles in the human body. Therefore, says Behe, "we can't say that definitely viruses are all bad."

We might think of viruses as smaller units of information or coding that, if misplaced or mutated, mess up an organism's operation in much the same way that computer coding that is incorrectly situated or out of sequence messes up the operation of the program. All such bits of information may either serve to assist proper functioning or find their way into places where they do not belong and thereby wreak havoc. We've all heard of malware.

The very first malware targeted at humans was, "You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:4–5). It was false information. It was also dead, for it had no basis in reality—until it found a host, who accepted and acted upon it. Then it went "viral." So it has reproduced and mutated, spreading one falsehood after another. A deadly legion of lies about good and evil has spread in the 21st century. Salvo's mission as a cultural antibody is to combat those lies for your mental and spiritual health.

1. Interview with Michael Behe: discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2020/03/michael-behe-on-covid-19-and-why-are-there-viruses-anyway.

is the executive editor of Salvo and the  Director of Publications for the Fellowship of St. James.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #53, Summer 2020 Copyright © 2024 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo53/of-viruses-amp-men


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