Law School/Medical School Reading Book on Genetics and Jehovah's Witnesses

by Justitia Themis 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I used alternative medicine when I was ill. My doctors emphasized it as an aid to Western medicine. Did it help me? I will never know. It made me think of holistic healing which can't hurt Western medicine. Alternative medicine can mean so many things. I did mineral and vitamin supplements, a special diet, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and Qi Gong.

    The problem is when people rely solely on alternative medicine. Indeed, I saw a pain management doctor. Some medication was making me very nauseous. The prescription medicine to treat the nausea was available for $200/day. The manufacturer had no special programs. The hospice nurses called me and recommended Chinese herbs and pickled eggs. It was chilling that people with the means can swallow a tested pill for relief and those without can go to Chinatown.

    Western medicine is embracing alternative medicine more and more. When I was young and the polio vaccine was developed, my father who had been at Bethel was opposed to it. Polio was the better alternative. My mom forged his signature and had us swear we would never tell him that we were vaccinated.

    There is Witness literature and Witness culture.

  • james_woods

    It should be of interest to note whether the authors think that genetic profiling itself (like the search for "cancer genes" described above) has ethical issues...for example - should these women be subjected to pre-emptive mastectomies because they have this tendency?

    Should people be tested for "homosexual genes", "alcoholism genes", etc...?

    Should ia totalitarian government be allowed to abort all fetuses who will have Down's Syndrome?

    At what point have we allowed "genetic engineering" to take over natural human society?

  • Justitia Themis
    Justitia Themis

    May I ask what was the reaction of your classmates?

    BOTR, classes started just last week, and the book is recommended, not required reading, so I don't have any feedback yet. However, the required text deals extensively with the legal and ethical issues surrounding JWs, autonomy, minors, informed consent, treatment choices including blood transfusions, etc.

    I'll be sure to update the board as to how those discussions proceed.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Please do. I would have loved such a class in law school. Your classmates themselves will be such an aid. It will be interesting to hear how people entering different fields relate to the material.

  • gone for good
    gone for good

    Band - good for your Mom.

    When we were new witnesses - circa 1970, my wife had just graduated as a Registered Nurse. Her medical text books were still everywhere in the house and she would tell me about the proceedures and medical decisions made at our wonderful, local hospital where she worked - all very scientificaly impressive proceedures by serious professionals.

    One of the elders at that sametime, was a Rutherford era relic, who bad-mouthed doctors at every possible occasion. This man became ill with escalating pain and his trusted Quackopath diagnosed a HUGE tapeworm, and treated him with the acceptable homeopathic 'cures'. His condition, and pain increased to where he could only function in a semi-standing position in a lazy-boy. All this at his home, as he had no use for hospitals and medical doctors. (both of which were free in our province).

    He died a very unpleasant death -of untreated cancer , such ignorance, sad.

  • Justitia Themis
    Justitia Themis

    the authors think that genetic profiling itself (like the search for "cancer genes" described above) has ethical issues...for example - should these women be subjected to pre-emptive mastectomies because they have this tendency?

    I suspect this will be discussed. So far the book has addressed only the genetic counselor meeting with the family to explain how genes really work: it takes two "hits" to develop cancer. Having the gene is one hit, and then something in the environment (MRI, ingested chemical, etc.) causes the second hit that turns off this suppressor gene which then allows the cancer to grow.

    On the ethical side...the author is Jewish, and he conferred with Dr. Harry Ostrer (also Jewish), and the irony is not lost on them both that geneticists (mostly Jewish) have created Hitler's dream test.

    One of the advisers to my book project is Dr. Harry Ostrer of the New York University School of Medicine. An expert both on the genetics of Jewish populations and of heritable disorders, Dr. Ostrer has extended his investigation to Hispanos. Recently I helped him organize a DNA-sampling meeting in San Luis Valley. I discuss the implications of this research in my book.

  • scotoma

    Too bad Jehovah didn't explain to Adam & Eve (by word, dream or vision) that by eating the forbidden fruit they opened the door to all sorts of genetic mutations. That certainly would have been an excellent preventive for all our sickness and could have avoided billions dying from war, pestilence and starvation.

    No special pleading will get God off that hook. He showed later on that he was pretty handy at getting his point accross with dreams, visions and sacred secrets.

  • Justitia Themis
    Justitia Themis

    I finished the Jehovah’s Witness relevant part of the book, and the blood issue never arose. She delayed seeking diagnosis, was non-compliant with her proposed treatment plan, argued with her doctor, sought ‘natural’ treatment in Mexico, and then she and her family blamed her treating physician for not responding correctly to her emotional outbursts.

    The author accurately portrays Jehovah’s Witness culture. My favorite was his critique of the Sunday Watchtower ‘study.’ Reading between the lines, it seemed to creep him out. He specifically mentioned there was no debate, and that congregants merely regurgitated back canned answers.

    I highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to understand the migration of the BRCA gene and its Jewish roots, with the added benefit of the author’s insight into JWs.

    The class itself proved very interesting. It was seminar class, meaning it had only around 13 students, so the discussions were incredibly indepth, the subject matter controversial, and the debate intense, but respectful (unlike what sometimes happens here). It was co-taught by the bioethicist in charge of the attached university teaching hospital and a law professor who was a long-time emergency room physician.

    The subject of Jehovah's Witnesses surfaced regularly in the context of the mature minor doctrine, informed consent, and organ transplantation, and I was able to correct several misconceptions.

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