Saturday 19 December 2020

Is Carbon Evil? Masks, the Universe and Everything

 I fell down a bit of a theological/scientific rabbit hole this morning. Read some "logic" on masks that was so related to the guano of the Vespertilionidae that it left me wondering whether it was deliberately harmful and manipulative, or the result of such groupthink and such a desperate attempt to control reality that anything, even this utter earwash, was better than dealing with hard facts.

The logic is this: 

  1. Oxygen is God's perfect element. (I know. Don't ask.)
  2. Carbon is evil. (Ditto)
  3. When you breathe in through a mask, you are taking in CO2 that you wouldn't normally (for pity's sake).
  4. Which increases the amount of evil.
  5. Therefore masks are the MARK OF THE BEAST because we all have to wear them to buy and sell.

A little clear thought has eased my mind on number 3, I'll be honest. Because the people who wear masks most, apart from bank robbers, are doctors and nurses. Who on the whole I find to be very nice people, interested in making you feel better. OK, they also tell you to drink less, but that's also well meaning if inconvenient. Nurses in my experience actually go to church proportionately more than other people. So that's also good. 

But why is carbon evil? It turns out (I google this stuff so you don't have to) that the logic is that it's because of its makeup at the subatomic level. Carbon is atomic number 6:

6 protons

6 neutrons

6 electrons.

666 - number of the beast. QED. And because we are made of carbon, and 666 is the "number of a man", it proves that our bodies are evil.

Except of course that that isn't how numbers work. 6 times three is 18. Not a scary number at all. And it's not how our bodies work. We are, after all, more water than anything else. We're less than 20% carbon. But even so - since we don't really keep the CO2 in our breath, we dissolve it in our blood, take it out then we just breathe it back out - even if the level of CO2 through a mask was clinically higher (it isn't) it would have to be massively higher to do any harm.

Our bodies make CO2 from the oxygen in the air, and energy reserves in our body, all the time. If wearing a mask is evil, then any respiratory process is fundamentally flawed. Getting out of bed in the morning, walking an extra mile for someone, labouring in a vineyard, walking down the street handing out made-up apocalyptic tracts - all these things generate extra CO2 and therefore must be evil.

But there's more. This piece of logic does not go down a level. Let's ask ourselves this - what lies below the protons etc? Answer - quarks. How many quarks in the common nuclear particles?

3 in protons

3 in neutrons

Plus one lepton in electrons.

In a carbon atom there are therefore 6 x 7 = 42. The answer to life, the universe and everything. 42 is the number of degrees at which a rainbow forms. The time in minutes that a gravity car would take to go through a tunnel in the earth. The number of stations of the Exodus, the number of lines per page in a Guthenberg Bible.

So carbon is a beautiful, wondrous element - the basis of organic chemistry, of everything living and beautiful around us. The thing that gives diamond its beauty and hardness. That burns to keep us warm. Its use to cook bread gave us civilisation. It made up 16% or so of the perfect body of Jesus.

So don't diss carbon. It's beautiful.

And wear a mask. It's just a part of loving your neighbour.


  1. A scientific answer to the mask sceptics. I have worn a mask since March, and I remain well, apart from my underlying medical conditions like disbelief in sceptics and their idiocy and faith in scientists who are working so hard to keep us safe. And faith in our health service, which we are so fortunate to have, when so many others struggle to see anyone medical while they are suffering. And hope that a vaccine will, eventually help and protect those of us who will have it sooner (about February I understand) while those who are vaccine doubters will continue on their merry way to perdition.


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