Jehovah's Witnesses

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Rye
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Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by Rye » 2008-06-29 07:38pm

Now, if anyone from here has been watching my recent responses on SB, you'll recognise the recurring theme of me and An Ancient arguing, and boy howdy does it annoy me that I can't really call him a fuckwit over there.

It hasn't been totally fruitless, however, while I've suspected it for a while, this thread has confirmed that Jehovah's Witnesses, much like other creationists, have a dedicated misinformation system of mined quotes from various individuals and a few studies (and wikipedia articles, of course) that inform them that blood transfusions should be abandoned wholesale. To quote An Ancient, they literally believe: "Which is riskier? Transfusion or not? Transfusion it would seem."

Now, I always knew they were against them and their children receiving it, but I used to think they understood that it was actually a majorly important part of modern medical practise and rejected it out of some bizarre piety. It seems, though, that they actually brainwash their followers to think blood transfusion is actively harmful relative to their abstinence. Here's an example of their quote mining:

"Bloodless surgery is not only for Jehovah's Witnesses but for all patients. I think that every doctor should be engaged in it.'—Dr. Joachim Boldt, professor of anesthesiology, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

"Blood transfusions are basically no good, and we are very aggressive in avoiding them for everybody," says Dr. Alex Zapolanski, of San Francisco, California.

Dr. Shander: "Members of my anesthesia department said: 'These patients who are not getting blood are doing just as well and maybe even better. Why do we have to have two standards of care? If this is the best care, we should apply it to everybody.' So now we are looking for bloodless medicine to become the standard of care."

Mr. Earnshaw: "It just so happens that bloodless surgery is particularly relevant to Jehovah's Witnesses. However, this is how we want to treat everybody."

Now, while I suspect that the case is that if I tracked down these quotes to their original contexts, it would be a case of hyperbole and misrepresentation, I don't have the time or will to do that, and in context they may be right, I mean if you can use keyhole surgery to fix a knee and therefore not require blood transfusions, then great, I would be all for that. It saves the blood for an emergency after someone severs a leg or something. But he thinks that these quotes somehow prove that ALL surgery can be done bloodlessly, that all treatments for cancer will be beneficial for the patients without transfusion.

I must say, beyond quoting the various authorities like the WHO, the NHS and AABB, I'm at a bit of a loss about how to show him that it's vital. The thing is, I am from a medical family, my mum's a haematologist, so I've known since I was a small child that this stuff is complete bullshit and blood transfusions save millions of lives. My own dad had a motorcycle accident before I was born, lost an arm, much of his leg and survived in large part thanks to the blood transfusions he received. I didn't mention this in the thread, of course, it's little to do with the subject matter, but it's to elaborate my connection to the subject matter and why his attitude is like an outside context problem to me.

So I guess I am asking for a few things, here (I would ask my mum for the blood-related ones, but she's away for two weeks):

What are the alternatives to transfusion across the board, and how do they not accommodate for all the requirements of human blood transfusion?

How should I respond to the blatant quote mining and his whole general argument? Is the burden of proof on him that blood transfusion doesn't work, or should it be on me to prove that it does work, and if so, where would I go for something that seems to elementary and obviously true to me due to my closeness to the subject matter?

Has my response been generally appropriate? How could it have been done better? I don't usually go for this sort of thread, but some objectivity from around here might do it the world of good.
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Post by Kitsune » 2008-06-29 10:55pm

Look, I left Space Battles because of him as much as anything else.

He argued about eight months ago that he was an engineer and that he as a civil engineer can give a valid opinion about ship engineering. This was about the US Burke class taking more hull damage from bow slamming than expected. He stated that the US engineers basically totally screwed up the design even though the hull design was a new one designed to give more volume with less displacement.

All of his arguments about blood transfusions has been long turned around and he was proven to not know what he is talking about. He believe in the Witless party line no matter what evidence he is sent.

He is also intensely intellectually dishonest. I got him a year ago on a discussion of US heavy shells being superior to a lighter German shell especially at longer range due to the simple kinetics involved.
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Post by starslayer » 2008-06-30 06:21pm

Try bringing up organ transplants. They can literally require hundreds of pints of blood in some cases, and in nearly all of them, IIRC, you need more blood than exists in the human body (way more, in fact). He doesn't seem to realize that the human body only has about 5 liters of blood, and it is possible to lose that much in minutes or even seconds if something vital gets hit, or your entire chest or abdomen is cut open, like in a lot of surgeries. In other words, to show him that it's vital, you will have to dig up figures of the general amount of blood lost during various surgeries. Anywhere where it is more than 50% of a human's total blood (more than 2.5 liters or 5-6 pints), a transfusion is necessary to maintain enough blood for body function.

Anyways, now he seems to be trying to argue that open heart surgery should be thrown out as an example based on it being without transfusions on a newborn. Newborns really don't have much blood to begin with, while adults have far more, bleed far more (many, many more blood vessels being cut), and thus almost inevitably require transfusions. You could try throwing that in his face, but this is An Ancient. He once tried arguing for variable-yield cannonballs in the Nimitz vs. Black Pearl thread. He's so dishonest that I doubt you'll be able to convince him, if that's your goal.

Your responses have been fine. Everything you have said would have convinced an actual thinking person that transfusions were necessary, even after your first post dealing with it. The burden of proof is also always on the person who does not represent the status quo; i.e., it is on him because the medical community accepts transfusions wholeheartedly.

I'm not sure that you can respond to the quote-mining without hunting them down in detail.

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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-06-30 08:07pm

Why not simply demand that he produce the quotes in their original context, with several paragraphs of context for each quote? If he can't, then all he's got is quotes out of context, which in turn means that he has never seen the original statements of these people in any source other than the JW propaganda he's obviously been copying and pasting from. In this situation, he can't even confirm that they are authentic quotes.
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by higbvuyb » 2008-07-05 11:41am

Zuul wrote:"Bloodless surgery is not only for Jehovah's Witnesses but for all patients. I think that every doctor should be engaged in it.'—Dr. Joachim Boldt, professor of anesthesiology, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Mr. Earnshaw: "It just so happens that bloodless surgery is particularly relevant to Jehovah's Witnesses. However, this is how we want to treat everybody."
I think I've seen one of these quotes in a newspaper article a while ago, in a different context.
The context was that it is better for the patient's health if you try to minimise the amount of blood loss in the first place, and to recycle the patient's blood back into their body, and that there were some cases where doctors were excessively using blood transfusions; it certainly didn't say that transfusions were useless, or are always worse than no transfusion.

As above, two major alternatives to transfusion are to use surgical techniques to minimise blood loss, and also recycling the patient's own blood.
Neither of those are going to help you if you've lost enough blood at the site of the accident that you cannot supply your organs with enough oxygen to survive much longer. They both require that you have enough blood when you enter the hospital. 'Bloodless surgery' also apparently requires preparation and planning time, and complex surgery must be done in sections, with recovery time in-between; time you don't have in the case of an emergency.

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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by Isolder74 » 2008-07-20 01:48pm

higbvuyb wrote:
Zuul wrote:"Bloodless surgery is not only for Jehovah's Witnesses but for all patients. I think that every doctor should be engaged in it.'—Dr. Joachim Boldt, professor of anesthesiology, Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Mr. Earnshaw: "It just so happens that bloodless surgery is particularly relevant to Jehovah's Witnesses. However, this is how we want to treat everybody."
I think I've seen one of these quotes in a newspaper article a while ago, in a different context.
The context was that it is better for the patient's health if you try to minimise the amount of blood loss in the first place, and to recycle the patient's blood back into their body, and that there were some cases where doctors were excessively using blood transfusions; it certainly didn't say that transfusions were useless, or are always worse than no transfusion.

As above, two major alternatives to transfusion are to use surgical techniques to minimise blood loss, and also recycling the patient's own blood.
Neither of those are going to help you if you've lost enough blood at the site of the accident that you cannot supply your organs with enough oxygen to survive much longer. They both require that you have enough blood when you enter the hospital. 'Bloodless surgery' also apparently requires preparation and planning time, and complex surgery must be done in sections, with recovery time in-between; time you don't have in the case of an emergency.
Most of the time 'bloodless' surgery often includes for several months before collecting and holding the patient's own blood as a reserve just in case extra is needed. Even with recycling the person's blood during the surgery, tey still will come up short and need to use more to fill in the gap.
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Post by Kanastrous » 2008-07-20 03:15pm

Is it really promoting the common good, to argue the point?

Refusing necessary medical care = fewer survivng Jehovah's Witnesses = a net positive, for the species in general.

Plus, more blood products available for transfusion, to people who both need and appreciate it.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-07-20 07:59pm

Kanastrous wrote:Is it really promoting the common good, to argue the point?

Refusing necessary medical care = fewer survivng Jehovah's Witnesses = a net positive, for the species in general.

Plus, more blood products available for transfusion, to people who both need and appreciate it.
From what I've heard, JWs usually buckle when their own lives are on the line. They only hold the line to the death when it's their children on the operating table, not themselves.

Yeah, I know. It's disgusting.
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Re: Jehovah's Witnesses

Post by mr friendly guy » 2008-07-23 08:29am

Zuul wrote: What are the alternatives to transfusion across the board, and how do they not accommodate for all the requirements of human blood transfusion? .
Usually when we mention blood transfusions, we mean the red blood cells, although there are other types of infusions eg fresh frozen plasma which are also blood products and forbidden by JW's (yeah I encountered a few of them at work). I will limit my discussion to the former, however if you want info about the latter, feel free to ask.

If he is asking in a surgical context, the answer is to try and minimise blood loss. This might be an option in operations which can be done laparoscopically, but in major operations, say Whipple's procedure, I find that very unlikely.

If someone is bleeding profusely, some saline or gelofusion might help (it can be used until blood is crossmatched, which is prefered to just giving O negative blood blindly). It would help pop up blood pressure, so what little red blood cells you have there can get around the body and supply vital organs. Unfortunately as these are just fluid, they don't have the oxygen carrying capacity of RBCs so eventually you need more blood (packed cells to be more specific).

In other situations, say in kidney failure, one could try EPO (the same good stuff tour de france cyclists take) plus / minus iron to try and get the blood count up.

In iron deficiency it may be preferable to give iron and wait for the blood count to pick up (thats because blood is a precious resource), unless in some situations eg a) they are iron deficient because they have lost blood through bleeding, and the source of bleeding just started spewing out big time or

b) they have a history of heart disease (eg previous heart attacks) where the low blood count is just screaming out to "heart attack, heart attack" (its because less red blood cells = > less oxygen carrying capacity => less oxygen to the heart => bad).

Generally though, the situations where you might avoid transfusions (as I listed) are limited and special conditions.
Zuul wrote: How should I respond to the blatant quote mining and his whole general argument? Is the burden of proof on him that blood transfusion doesn't work, or should it be on me to prove that it does work, and if so, where would I go for something that seems to elementary and obviously true to me due to my closeness to the subject matter?.
In medicine lectures and ward rounds, its not uncommon for the student and doctors to be asked to back up their assertion with the relevant study, unless its old and commonly accepted knowledge.

Since he has obvious read up on these quotes, he can ask from which study (and maybe journal too) did these doctors got their information. After all, a study which turned medical practice on its head should be much discussed among medical circles. Also ask him in what context these quotes and study were made, since its suspicious that JW's simply quoted out of context.
Zuul wrote: Has my response been generally appropriate? How could it have been done better? I don't usually go for this sort of thread, but some objectivity from around here might do it the world of good.
Well I don't feel like reading through any more of Ancient's stuff, especially on SB.com where anti bullshit culture isn't as rigorously enforced as here. But this is the guy who proposed that ancient people ie Noah had technology comparable or better than today, hence Noah's ark obviously could take so many animals, so go figure.

Why don't you invite him here for a colloseium debate. He is clearly a member here, I have seen him around (unless there just happens to be another user here who uses the same handle).
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