the legacy of radical puritanism, nanoferries and target cells, fire dragon tattoo

Radical Puritanism ‘Rediscovered’: Elements and Legacies of Extremism and Anti-Egalitarianism

Abstract
The paper approaches and reexamines Protestant Puritanism in terms of political extremism or radicalism. The paper argues and demonstrates Puritanism as an English-American offspring of Calvinism represents political extremism or radicalism, interlinked and mutually reinforced with its moral-religious absolutism. It ‘rediscovers’ Puritanism as an extreme or radical, anti-egalitarian  and authoritarian rather than, as widely assumed, moderate, egalitarian and democratic type of politics and ideology, just as relatedly an absolutist morality and religion. It does by exploring Puritanism’s elements and legacies of political extremism or radicalism, including anti-egalitarianism, in historically Puritan societies, especially America and in part Great Britain.

[   ]…In addition, recent sociological analyses identify and evidence neo-Puritan radicalism and absolutism in contemporary America in the generalized form of (once again) revived and expanded Protestant fundamentalism or sectarianism (Friedland 2001) which hence continues and even reinforces and expands its predominance in American history (Lipset 1996), up to the early 21st century. In particular, some sociologists adduce the “evangelist churches of the Bible Belt” (Bauman 1997:1984) as an instance of neo-Puritan or later-day Protestant political radicalism, absolutism and totalitarianism by placing them, alongside the “Islamic integrisme of ayatollahs”, into a “wider family of [proto] totalitarian solutions” to what they condemn or experience as the liberal “evil” (or “burden”) of individual liberty in (post) modern society (cf. also Davis and Robinson 2006; Friedland 2002; Smelser and Mitchell 2002; Turner 2002).

Like most academic papers this one is a little dry, but a valuable addition to the history of religion in America. That history, with the media’s acquiescence and laziness, become absurdly oversimplified into the mantra we’re a Christian nation. Modern day Calvinism, also noted in the full paper, has become entangled with neoconservatism. Thomas Jefferson had a rather low opinion of Calvinists of which colonial era American Purtaitanism and modern day American fundamentalists have their roots. In a letter to To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, June 26, 1822 concerning Calvinists, Jefferson wrote,

These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.

2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.

4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.

In another letter Jefferson wrote to W. Short in 1820,

The Presbyterian clergy are loudest; the most intolerant of all sects, the most tyrannical and ambitious; ready at the word of the lawgiver, if such a word could be now obtained, to put the torch to the pile, and to rekindle in this virgin hemisphere, the flames in which their oracle Calvin consumed the poor Servetus, because he could not find in his Euclid the proposition which has demonstrated that three are one and one is three, nor subscribe to that of Calvin, that magistrates have a right to exterminate all heretics to Calvinistic Creed. They pant to re-establish, by law that holy inquisition, which they can now only infuse into public opinion. ( emphasis mine)

Presbyterians were originally a branch of Calvinism founded in Scotland. Heretics in this context meant anyone who was not a Calvinist.

natural symmetry

Microscope shows how nanoferries invade cells

Nanoparticles are so small that many barriers in the body simply can’t stop them. They can also use the bloodstream to reach any part of the body. Researchers and doctors alike hope that these tiny vehicles will one day be put to work in therapies carrying drugs directly to the seat of a disease. “Even genes can be transported this way,” says Plank. “That means we could be seeing new breakthroughs in gene therapy soon, which has seen more than its fair share of setbacks. After all, lacking most are functional transporters.”

Once you have developed one of these nanoferries or vehicles and inject them into the body how do get them to go where they’re supposed to go. A tiny GPS device with a map of the body is probably out of the question. This research team is not quite there yet as far as guidance, but they have been able to use and watch the paths taken by tagged magnetic nanoparticles in real time until they reach a cell and bind with its protein then enter the cell. Knowing how the magnetic field of the nanoferries work gives scientists a much better idea of how to optimize them to reach their target.

fire dragon tattoo

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