Monday, 9 March 2009
Good meat or good blood. You can't have both.
Once in a while, Jehovah's Witnesses visit me. They give me free comics, Watchtower and another one I can't recall the name of, and I give them copies of New Scientist in return. They're a nice enough bunch. One of them is pretty. They've invited me to their clubhouse a few times but I've never been. I suspect there might be an argument - there usually is when they visit - and there'll be a lot more of them than me if things turn nasty.
One of the things about the Witnesses is that they don't accept blood transfusions. It's on purely religious grounds but they do try to justify it with 'science' even though there's really no need. If that's your religion, stick to it. Hindus don't eat beef, Muslims and Jews don't eat pork, Jews I know won't eat lasagne (they can't mix meat and dairy) and there's no need for any scientific-sounding justification for any of that. It's just the rules of the religion and with religion, you either believe it or you don't. No justification is needed. I eat anything. No justification needed for that either. Which reminds me, I must ask the Witnesses how they feel about black pudding next time they come.
The Witnesses and the blood thing did make me investigate and you know what? There's no real science behind blood transfusions other than blood type matching. It's something that worked a long time ago and it just carried on being done. There's never been any kind of serious study of it as far as I can tell.
The thing is, if you're about to die from blood loss, would you turn away a transfusion even if it might contain something dangerous? I wouldn't, on the basis that without the transfusion I'm certain to die, whereas with it I might or might not. Playing the odds, I'd take the transfusion. Even if it gave me AIDS, I'd live longer with it than without it. I would like to think that the donor blood has been checked for deadly diseases where possible. It's not always possible but hey, we all have the same risk where a blood transfusion is concerned, right?
Via Mummy, it appears this is not to be the case in future. The Righteous will get the blood that's unlikely to contain vCJD, the rest of us can make do with used engine oil or Mazola or whatever they can find. There is to be a hierarchy of those worthy of saving in future and if you eat meat, you're not worth the trouble.
Take care not to cut yourself and remember, in an accident, don't worry about name, address or blood type. Just make sure to tell them you're a vegetarian.
That's the only religion the Righteous will accept.