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Pool Alarms and Parkinson's Law

The legislators of New York, eager to safeguard us all, have decreedthat, from now on, any new swimming pool deeper than 2 feet must come equipped with an alarm that will raise all hell inside & outside the house should someone (or something) fall in. Thus, Rochesterians who live in the poverty zone (trust me, there are many) who have no air conditioning but several broiling kids, who used to cool them off on a hot day with one of those cheap, inflatable pools, are now protected from that relief, since the price of an alarm exceeds the price of the pool. We just snapped a short spell of 90+ degree weather, with obscene humidity, the first of many this summer. In the air conditioned Albany State Legislature, some legislator is hero of the day. "If it saves one life, it's worth it!" he says. 

Trouble is, there's not many things that won't save at least one life. What of the imposition for everyone else? Mind you, I have nothing against pool alarms. They seem a good idea. It's the mandating of pool alarms!

Folks who remember when you could ride a bicycle without a helmet, indeed, even drive a car without a seatbelt, may need help to know what to make of this. That's why this post is written. In Europe, by the way, where they bicycle far more than we do, nobody wears a helmet. "It would muss up my hair," explained one Frenchman to the Wall St Journal.

This new pool alarm requirement must be looked at in the light of Parkinson's Law, (the 2nd one) which suggests that, having utterly failed to acheive anything of real value, officials nevertheless must justify their existance. Therefore, they redouble their efforts to accomplish nonsense.

Parkinson's Law, derived in the 1950s by C. Northcote Parkinson, is actually a body of business and organizational laws which are usually stated in economic terms, but can be amended to fit swimming pools. The law which specifically applies, the 2nd law, states that the time and money spent on any item in any organizational agenda is inversely proportional to its importance. In his definative book "Parkinson's Law," Dr Parkinson illustrates his second law with a business board meeting:

The lead item on the agenda is a nuclear reactor for the company plant. It is approved immediately, not because it is a good idea, indeed, it is suspect, but because few people on the board know what a nuclear reactor is, and those who do have no idea what one should cost. The two people who do know something have no idea where to begin with explanations. They would have to refer to the blueprints. No one present can read blueprints, yet no one present would ever admit they could not!  Easier just to say "yes." The reactor is approved.  Time spent: about 2 minutes. However, several members have inward misgivings. They wonder if they've really been pulling their weight. They resolve to make up for it with the next item.

The next item is a bicycle tool shed for the employees. Here is something most can get their heads around. They bicker over its design, its materials, its location, indeed, even its necessity, since the ungrateful employees only take whatever you give them and demand more! Time spent: about 1 hour.

The next items concerns the coffee that is served at board meetings: its brand, supplier, and cost. No one is present who doesn't know all there is to know about coffee, and the ensuing discussion lasts the rest of the day!

Now, if we postulate that Parkinson's 2nd law applies, and that requiring pool alarms is an accomplishment relatively trivial, then there has to be some "big fishes" that got away. Are there?

The day before the local paper reported on pool alarms, it reportedon a new "academic excellence" surcharge for nearby SUNY Geneseo State college. The surcharge, which kicks in a year from September, adds $1000 to the annual tuition of $4350, a 23% increase! Where one SUNY college goes, soon the rest can be expected to follow. Lawmakers are clearly not interested in saving that "one life" of a poor child so that he may attend college!

Besides the bruising economic threats people face, there are the ever-growing threats to education quality, public morality and decency, even threats to spirituality. All these areas are ignored while legislators piss away their time on physical safety, a comparatively insignificant area which even a Frenchman knows how to keep in proper perspective so as not to muss up his hair!

As if to underscore the point, New York Governor Elliot Spitzer is crisscrossing the state, challenginglocal citizens to play "Where's Waldo" with their state senator. He'll hold up a picture of the empty Senate chambers. "Where is your Senator," he asks. "He's not here. We've looked all over." He's mad because Senators voted themselves a pay raise and then took off for the summer, leaving stuff on the plate. Important stuff. Necessary stuff. Fundamental stuff. (Most importantly) Stuff Eliot vowed to get done.

They did, however, make it tougher for poor kids to cool off. And that's something.


Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Clamdiggers - Didn't Prostitutes Wear Those?

In the early 1960's, if you wanted to be cool, you wore clamdiggers. A blip in the adolescent fashion world - did they last more than a season or two?  They were, nevertheless, a necessary item. See, they weren't shorts. And they weren't full pants. Neither were they jeans. No, they were sort of cotton, light green or blue, if I remember, with a stripe down the side. They reached to the shin and were secured by a rope, not a belt.

I had a pair or two, so everyone thought I was cool, an opinion I could not elicit otherwise. I returned the favor to other clamdigger kids. But then summer vacation came and the family went down to the farm. The dairy farm, where my Pop's "roots" were, way out in God knows where, where they knew nothing of being cool and cared less. My hillbilly uncle takes one look at my clamdiggers and says: "Hey, how come you’re wearing pedal pushers?! Those are girls pants!"

They weren't pedal pushers, for Pete's sake! He couldn't see that? They were cool clamdiggers!

Of course, the fashion/ fad world, relatively speaking, left kids alone back then. Nothing like today where youngsters are targeted by every stylistic hustler.  So parents, as parents have always done, as I did when I was a parent, dig their heels in. No kid of mine going to dress like......whatever the offending style is! And some of them really are offending,  sordid in origin. The really low hanging pants, for example, the pants that hang so low that if you do a crime, the cops will instantly catch you, since you cannot run with these pants, find their inspiration from the prison world, were some guys are frequently called upon to drop their pants for unsavory reasons.

So parents take their stand. And probably over-take it, in some cases. And the young people chafe, as they always have. Like this one, who, after noting a respected sister in another congregation has a body-piercing wants to know:

"could i rightly get pierced? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY NOT. god, i can't even wear an anklet without someone going... 'you know, prostitutes wore those.'"

HA! Yeah, it is sorta that way. Don't “look just like the world,” and  don‘t “stumble people,” and "he who is faithful in small things is faithful in large," but you don‘t want to cross this line into an  area where people learn to judge by outward appearance. .

I've been there and I've got kids who've been there. There may be some mild hypocrisy to it, at least in its extremes.

I suppose, if absolutely necessary, a person can always do one or two of those small things and then, if people cluck about it, say yes, they admit it, they‘re not all that great of an example, rather than try to "out-righteous" everyone. People will probably move on. (but, alas, maybe they won't) There is a difference between what is important and what is relatively trivial. Of course, I'm not recommending this, but it's an option, and it beats chafing to such an extent that one leaves the congregation,which has happened, as may happen in this case: “Life is just not worth living under restrictions we all just need to break free!!!!!!!!!!”

Unless you're living with your parents - in that case I guess you really can't, or shouldn't, but that time will pass soon enough, and then you can do it if you want. You may not even care about it by then.

Or maybe you can view things like that woman did in "The Scarlet Letter," Hester Prynne. "Letter" is the story of a woman who’d borne a child out of wedlock, fathered by someone she would not name. Those Puritans made her wear a scarlet letter “A” (standing for adulteress) for the rest of her life. We all had to read that book in high school. Nobody liked it at the time, as with anything that is rammed down your throat. Later, though, some of us came to think it was pretty powerful. Nathanial Hawthorne’s short stories read like the “Twilight Zone” of his time

Said Hawthorne about his heroine Hester Prynne: "People who think the most bold of thoughts have no difficulty conforming to outward norms of society." It fits. (the reverse is also true) Jehovah's Witnesses think some very bold thoughts, decidedly different from that of the pack. Conforming to outward norms is not a big deal for many of them.

Still, older ones know that a lot of things they once insisted upon but which their parents opposed eventually entered (not necessarily for the better) the mainstream. Like rock and roll.

I know it’s only rock and roll
but I like it.
Rolling Stones


Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Monkeys, Typewriters, and Shakespeare

The driver behind evolutionary change, we are told, is mutation. Genes foul up in replicating, the theory goes, and the result is a slight tweak on life. Add up enough tweaks, millions upon millions, and look! an amoeba has become an orangutan.

Most mutations, though, are bad news.  And so, natural selection emerges as the determinant of which ones die out and which ones are preserved, to be passed on to the next generation. Only a beneficial mutation is preserved, since only that variety gives one an advantage in the "fight for survival."

Gene replication is amazingly accurate. "Typically, mistakes are made at a rate of only 1 in every ten billion bases incorporated," states the textbook Microbiology. (Tortora, Funke, Case, 2004, pg 217) That's not many, and, remember, only the tiniest fraction of those mutations are said to be any good.

Since gene mutations rarely happen, and almost all that do are neutral or negative, and thus not enshrined by natural selection,  a student might reasonably wonder if he is not being sold a bill of goods by evolutionists. Can benevolent mutations possibly account for all they are said to account for?

Enter Thomas Huxley, a 19th-century scientist who supported Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. Huxley came up with the pithy slogan: "If you give an infinite number of monkeys and infinite number of typewriters, one of them will eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare." Surely you can understand that!

Nevertheless, his assertion had never been tested. Until 4 years ago, that is.  Evolutionists at England's Plymouth University rounded up six monkeys, supplied them with a computer, placed them on display at Paighton Zoo, and then hid behind trees and trash cans, with notebooks, breathlessly awaiting what would happen! They were disappointed.Four weeks produced page after page of mostly s's. Not a single word emerged. Not even a two letter word. Not even a one letter word. Researcher Mike Phillips gave details.

At first, he said, “the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it.

“Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard,” added Phillips, who runs the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies.

They didn't write any Shakespeare! They shit all over the computer!

Alright, alright, so it wasn't a real science experiment. It was more pop art. And they didn't have an infinite number of monkey or computers (due to budgetary constraints). Surely, if you had a infinite number, groused the guardians of evolution, then you would end up with Shakespeare.

Hmmmm. Well, maybe. But wouldn't you also need an infinite number of shovels to dig through an infinite pile of you know what?

University and zoo personnel defended their monkeys. Clearly, they didn't want them held responsible for sabotaging science. Geoff Cox, from the university, pointed out that "the monkeys aren't reducible to a random process. They get bored and they shit on the keyboard rather than type." And Vicky Melfi, a biologist at Paignton zoo, added "they are very intentional, deliberate and very dexterous, so they do want to interact with stuff you give them," she said. "They would sit on the computer and some of the younger ones would press the keys." Ultimately the monkeys may have fallen victim to the distractions which plague many budding novelists.

It's true. I often get distracted working on my book and when that happens I will sometimes, no.....some secrets are too dark to reveal!

******  The bookstore


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Common Sense and the Trinity

Every Witness has, in his ministry, run across the person who will speak of only one thing: the Trinity, and whose capacity to speak of it is inexhaustible. Think we're tenacious? We can't hold a candle to these guys, at least not on their favorite topic.

Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity; that is, they don't believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all actually the same person. A mere doctrinal difference? Hardly. The really fundamentalist churches refuse Jehovah's Witnesses Christian status on that account! When Isaac Newton, a staunch believer in God, began to refute the Trinity, he risked absolute ruin of his career and even his physical freedom. Prison was a real possibility. So he learned to be discreet in his comments.

Yet the Trinity defies the power of reason God gave us. If you have three persons described in different terms, who speak with each other, who are contrasted with each other, who occupy different places at the same time, common sense dictates that they are different persons, not the same. (One of them, in fact, turns out not even to be a person) God speaks to Jesus. Jesus prays to God, for example, when being put to death. "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." And we're to believe they are the same person? Has common sense absolutely died?

Does this "common sense" argument prove that the Trinity is untrue? No. Sometimes unintuitive things turn out to be true. However, it does show that the burden of proof lies, not with me to prove what reason would indicate is obvious, but with you to prove that the seemingly absurd is, in fact, the way matters really are.

And reasonable people will require solid proof. They won't accept things that, in any other context, would instantly be recognized as a metaphor, figure of speech, or personification, since any good book makes liberal use of all these devices. No. They will want solid proof, otherwise, they are simply being gullible.

Since Jesus and his Father speak with one another, occupy different places at the same time, and are said to have different abilities, will anyone not instantly recognize their "being one" as a literary device to convey their close harmony? And if, say, you run across a scripture which says they are "equal," what does that prove? Aren't there myriad situations today in which different persons are said to be "equals"? Does anyone for one second take that to mean they are physically the same person? No! People immediately realize the expression refers to equality of stature, rank, responsibility, and so forth. With regard to the Father and Son, there are hundreds of such literary expressions. You don't plow through each one individually because the same argument applies to them all: a figure of speech in any other context is not enough to override common sense.

What do you do with a person who, when you say "don't beat around the bush," insists on looking for the bush, who will not acknowledge that the "bush" is not literal, since he "reasons" that you say what you mean and mean what you say? What do you do with such a person? I wish I knew.

Jesus has the key role in fulfilling God's purpose toward His creation. "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ." (2 Cor 1:20   NIV)

They've always worked very closely together, even before the Son came to earth. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.   Col 1: 15, 16 [A good analogy. When you see your image in the mirror, you see something which looks just like you. Nobody, however, supposes that it actually is you in the mirror.]

Following Christ's death and resurrection, the closeness with his Father continues and his authority grows: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me," he told his disciples upon his resurrection."  (Matt 28:18)

These scriptures are more than enough to account for the many places in which the Son and Father are shown to fulfill the same role/do the same things. There is no reason to think they would override the obvious: that persons who speak with each other are actually different persons.

Of course, you can always say, and Trinity people do, that the reason you can't figure it out is that "God's ways are higher than your ways." (Isa 55:9) Well, maybe. But can't you use the God's higher ways argument to sell any bill of goods that otherwise makes no sense at all? What's wrong with Galileo's point of view? "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

Galileo, of course, is the fellow who dropped two masses of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa (which leaned less at the time) and took note that they landed simultaneously. Thus, he demonstrated acceleration was independent of mass. He also got into a scrap with the Church for announcing that the earth revolved around the sun, contradicting the latter's decree that just the opposite happened. But Galileo was not an anti-God heretic. Like all scientists of his time, he viewed his work as uncovering God's modus operandi, thus glorifying Him as Creator.

............................*****  The bookstore


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Pop Goes to the Movies!

Pop hadn’t seen a movie in thirty years. We had to act. No one should be so culturally deprived. He would, no doubt, thank us later.

Oceans 11 was playing at the time. At the theater, we kept darting Pop sidelong glances.

Afterwards came the verdict. Pretty violent, he began.

Seconds later: Pretty loud.

And why all that cursing? Why is there so much cursing?

And These guys aren’t cool! You think these guys are cool? Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin (the original Oceans 11), those guys were cool! These guys aren’t cool.

No point trying to argue. We realized we’d chosen the wrong film.

Lord of the Rings was playing. Let’s show Pop what movie makers with computers can do today! But I started to worry during the film. I liked it well enough the first time around, but now it seemed repetitive. Midway through the movie, I heard snoring.

“Hey, Pop,” I shook him, “we don’t have to sit through this if you don’t want to.”

Huh?…what…it stinks? He replied.

He groused all the way home. And what about Gordon? That dragon came after Gordon and they just left him in the cave! How could they do that to Gordon?

It was Gandalf, not Gordon.

What can I say? Some people just don’t like movies.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Richard Dawkins and the Lineage of Jesus

Richard Dawkins is the grand old man of atheism. He's been around forever and he's articulate. His book "The God Delusion" sells heartily. Even Sam Harris (I think) emulates Mr. Dawkins and hopes to grow up just like him. But I am not happy with Mr. Dawkins. I almost lost a spiritual brother to him, not for any noble reason, but because he tried to pass off as a chocolate covered caramel what was really a small turd.

The "turd" is his observation that Jesus' lineage is different in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 3. It's a glaring contradiction! He's amazed everyone doesn't see it and abandon Christianity on that account. Just count the names, for crying out loud, and see that there's 28 in Matthew but 41 in Luke!

Outraged that I'd been lied to for so long by the slippery mind-control Watchtower, I almost fired off my own letter of independence to them, but then I read how the "almost-lost" brother had "hit the books" and what he'd found. Yes, Luke lists 41 names to Matthew's 28. That's because Luke goes back to Adam, the first man, and Matthew only to Abraham! And yes, the two geneologies differ after David (King David). That's because Matthew traces Jesus through his mother's line and Luke through his father's. The Messiah, says prophesy, is supposed to be descended from David. Either way, the two gospels establish, whether through mama or papa, Jesus fills the bill.

C'mon Richard! This is Bible 101. This is straightforward. Sure, it could easily escape the attention of a youngster or someone not specifically looking for it, but how old are you? And this, you claim, is your area of expertise?! Look, I'm sure your book contains some hard-hitting challenges to those in the "God" camp. Such challenges can be made. But this is not one of them. This is schlock, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself for making such strong assertions on something you know so little about!

I learned all this, by the way, through fellow blogger Tom Weedsandwheat. He came across, by sheer accident, some Witness youngster (everyone's a youngster to Weedsandwheat, who's half an ice-age older than even me) who'd decided that the God camp was wrong and the atheists were right. Atheists, for God's sake! (um... for unGod's sake) So he decided he'd better tell the Watchtower off. He had his letter of disassociation posted right there on the internet, building up courage to actually submit it to the brothers. The letter contained six blatant Watchtower "errors." He was worried about the consequences of his letter, but brave enough to face them. Disassociation would mean that few (or no) Witnesses would speak to him afterwards. And he was not sure exactly how matters would unfold.

So Weedsandwheat contacted his blog and told him. And suggested how to better submit the letter. Shorten it. Delete the six points. That way you have the option of discussing them or not at any subsequent meeting with elders. Look, it wasn't a good decision, Weedsandwheat opined, but if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right. Furthermore, Weedsandwheat challenged two of the points. Not vigorously, not snottily (indeed, the specific facts were not wrong, even as the specific facts of Dawkins' geneology rant are not wrong) but's another light in which you might view the facts.

Next thing you know, this youngster has "hit the books," uncovered Dawkins' geneology ruse, (which he emailed to Weedsandwheat) torn up his letter, and deleted his blog! Trust me, Weedsandwheat had no idea such a thing would happen. In fact, he was even a little bummed about it, since he looked forward to posting a few times on this blog. Alas, Weedsandwheat likes to hear himself talk. One of the blog's commenters absolutely nailed it when he observed that Weedsandwheat reminded him of one "of the "too clever" witnesses that were in love with themselves." Right! He is that way. None of us can stand him. And I'm not worried about putting him down publicly this way. He never reads stuff he himself doesn't write.


Tom Irregardless and Me      No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Violet in the Old Folks Home. A Dirty Trick

They like Violet at the nursing home. She's good natured, always says "hi," and doesn't complain. She's lived there four years.

Once she presided over her own country farmhouse kitchen table, peopled with family and neighbors. Though they might not get along in all contexts, the table bonded them, cementing various degrees of familiarity, love, and dysfunction. Over the stove hung a plaque that read "Kissin don't last, cookin do"

Uncle Vic thought it a great joke when I "got religion." Over cards, he would challenge "you're prayin against me, aren't you Tommy? I'll bet you're prayin against me." I was only praying he'd take his turn.

Violet lived for years in that farmhouse after Vic died. Then she lived with one daughter, then another. When she got so she needed round the clock care, the daughters didn't know what to do. She fell a few times - no small matter for someone in their 80s. About that time she entered the nursing home. One daughter or the other visits her nearly every day.

Pop comes over from Rochester, 300 miles away, to visit his sister a few times each year. "Charlie, it's so good to see you! And Tommy, what a pleasant surprise!"  On a pleasant day, we wheel her out to the front walkway, where she remarks on trees and greenery and family history. "Gram will be so disappointed that she missed you," she laments. "Violet, Gram's been dead for years," someone says. "Oh yeah, that's right," and she resumes contemplation. That's how it goes. She freely mixes several generations, some living, some dead. Sometimes we correct her, and sometimes not.

She used to caution as the afternoon wore on "It's getting late. You'd better be going." Lately she's been including herself. "It's starting to get late. We ought to be going." "Violet, you're staying here. You live here now." "Oh that's right," she says.

"So who's cooking tonight," she observes after a bit. "Do you want me to cook?" Pop again explains that the home will cook, the home in which she lives, but she's not so sure anymore.

"Well, we should be going Vi," he says. "Okay, I'm ready, let's go" "You're staying here, Vi. You live here now." "Not me," she says. "You do," Pop says. "You have a room here, for several years." "I know, but I'm not ready to go just yet."

She gets progressively resistant, then alarmed, then pleading, then angry. "Well, that was a dirty trick!" she charges. "I wouldn't have come with you if I knew you were going to stick me here!" In the end, the staff wheels her back.

That evening, sitting at the cousins' own long kitchen table, a table that Violet rarely sees now, Pop wonders aloud how tomorrow's visit will go. Maybe it will be unpleasant. "No," the cousin says, "she will have forgotten all about it." And it turns out just that way.

Until the end of the visit. After initial maneuvering, Pop and the cousin tell Violet we have to be going. But isn't she going too? "Oh no, you're not sticking me here!" she snaps at us. But the nurse distracts her. "Violet, we're having vanilla cookies with dinner tonight. Would you like to have a couple now?" "No thank you," she says. "I'll just wait till dinner and have mine with everyone else."

They all want to go home. But none of them will.


More on Joe in the books GoWhereTomGoes, and Tom Irregardless and Me.


Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Life Saving and Life Threatening Blood Transfusions

In all history, there's never been a JW detractor who's used the noun blood transfusion uncoupled to the adjective life-saving. Thus, from time to time we hear of so-and-so, who's health is in jeopardy because he refuses a life saving blood transfusion. Always, the message is the same: what kind of a crackpot religion would persuade its members to decline a life saving blood transfusion?

But we now know that life-saving is the wrong term. The correct term is life-threatening. Bloodless medicine, where available, is usually the treatment of choice. Largely due to Jehovah's Witnesses, scores of medical centers exclusively devoted to bloodless surgery have cropped up in North America and worldwide.

Everybody knows that blood is a foreign tissue, even when types match, and they also know that the body tries to reject foreign tissue. Suppress the immune system, and that creates other problems. Bloodless medicine avoids the issue, and is thus safer.

The latest authority to weigh in is cardiothoracic specialist Bruce Spiess, addressing the Australian and New Zealand College of Anesthetists. (May 28, 2007) He declares blood transfusions have hurt more people than they've helped. Transfusions, he observes, are "almost a religion" because physicians practice them without solid evidence that they help. "Blood transfusion has evolved as a medical therapy and it's never been tested like a major drug," he said. "A drug is tested for safety and efficacy, blood transfusion has never been tested for either one."

Hurt more people than they've helped! That's an incredible statement, given that transfusions are always given to help and frequently given in the belief that they are absolutely essential, life saving!

He cites a Swedish study of 499 Jehovah's Witnesses which shows their survival rate after declining transfusions is higher than that of patients who received them. Such studies are becoming commonplace.

He told the conference: "If you come to surgery, we should ethically treat every patient as if they were a Jehovah's Witness...."

This "almost a religion" description squares with my own experience. Through the years, I've personally known three people who were told point blank, curtly and without the slightest empathy, that they would die without a transfusion. None of them agreed to one. None of them died. Alright, one did die years later, but she was in her 80's. I've never personally known anyone who was told they'd die without a transfusion and who actually did die. Mind you, I don't doubt there have been such ones. I've just never known any, whereas I have known three with the other outcome.

My point is that the life-giving blood transfusion mantra is overstated. Partly this happens because, if a person dies after refusing a transfusion, the added blood that never was is always reported as the cause! It does not matter if the person passed through a veg-a-matic beforehand. If nobody ever died after receiving a life-saving blood transfusion, I'd be more moved. But as observed above, they die in greater numbers than those who refuse.

Old habits die hard, in medicine and most other areas, due to inertia. The words of Max Planke the physicist are applicable:

People think new truths are accepted when the proponents are able to convince the opponents. Instead, the opponents of the truth gradually die, and a new generation comes along who is familiar with the idea. 

Over time, and almost entirely born from the organized efforts of Jehovah's Witnesses, bloodless medicine will spread, to the benefit of JWs and non-JWs alike.

Watchtower has produced documentaries on what's being done today and why bloodless is safer. This documentary has won a few "film festival" awards. In other words, it is well done and not schlocky.


Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'