Skeptics with a K: Episode #130


Wikipedia, Proton Beam Therapy and Skeptics in the Pub.  Plus science outreach, travelling light and talking to people you disagree with. Flying by the seat of our pants, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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  1. #1 by Luke on September 12, 2014 - 01:13

    While I agree with you it’s not good to make a judgement call without enough evidence…I can’t help but let my personal experience cloud my thoughts on the Ashya King fiasco.

    Knowing how the Jehovah’s Witnesses are, it’s very likely it had something to do with the church and their beliefs. There’s no way he would have had a blood transfusion (if he had, the family would have been ousted from the church and cut off from all their friends and family) and if that was even on the table, that would have been motive enough for them to run from the hospital, I’ve seen first hand cases where young people are almost on their death bed (crazy low platelet count etc after car crash) and they refused a transfusion, the girl survived and of course they touted it as a miracle of god, you just have to have faith and he helps you.

    So…I can’t help but feeling that the church and their beliefs are implicated in this mess.

  2. #2 by Justin on September 12, 2014 - 02:14

    Ex-Jehovah’s Witness here, really felt I needed to chime in on the first story. It may be a bit ramble-y, but this is a pretty emotional subject for me, as you may well imagine.

    Not only is it common for JW parents to abduct their children from hospitals in order to prevent them from undergoing blood transfusions (or other treatments the parents object to), but they are actually praised by the Watchtower organization for doing so. I know this because such a family attended my own congregation when I was still a member. Whenever a big story like this happens, the Watchtower runs special articles commending the families for their bravery and faith.
    Often, the families of the sick or injured children will point to other reasons why they needed to remove their child from care as a way of distracting the media from the Watchtower organization’s damaging beliefs.

    I know you’re thinking that the attitude Jehovah’s Witnesses have around blood transfusions can’t be as bad as everyone says it is, but it is so much worse, believe me. Children have zero autonomy, and are essentially seen as the property of the parents. Most kingdom halls have a “spanking room,” usually the library, or a smaller room off to one side in which smaller gatherings take place, in which mothers hit their infants or toddlers until they stop acting up during meetings. This has been true in every single congregation I’ve attended. The abuse of children is so institutionalized within the Jehovah’s Witness religion that there really is a culture of seeing kids as expendable, especially when it provides a chance for their parents to display their faith publicly.

    Sorry if this is a bit much, but as I said, this topic tends to tweak me.

  3. #3 by Rob B on September 12, 2014 - 09:44

    I’m disappointed with you all on this episode….
    If you could choose one woo to be real then it’s homeopathy! Curing all the worlds diseases with water FTW!

    Of course we’d need to be wary of big Evian.

  4. #4 by Chris on September 12, 2014 - 17:56

    I have a small carry-on that is designed to hold a laptop in an outside pocket. It even has wheels and a pull out handle, and can be used to carry another bag.

    I found it very handy when trapped in a hotel for a weekend with two teenage girls. I was their official adult guardian for a cosplay convention. In the morning after breakfast I would grab one of the lobby chairs near a power outlet and connect the laptop to the wifi. There I did homework for a graduate class, watched videos, surfed the internet and watched those in costume walk by.

    Also like all the other parents who did the same thing, I was available to hand over cash to the children, as long as they brought me beverages and snacks. Or guarded my laptop when I took a short break.

  5. #5 by Justin on September 13, 2014 - 02:51

    Luke :
    While I agree with you it’s not good to make a judgement call without enough evidence…I can’t help but let my personal experience cloud my thoughts on the Ashya King fiasco.
    Knowing how the Jehovah’s Witnesses are, it’s very likely it had something to do with the church and their beliefs. There’s no way he would have had a blood transfusion (if he had, the family would have been ousted from the church and cut off from all their friends and family) and if that was even on the table, that would have been motive enough for them to run from the hospital, I’ve seen first hand cases where young people are almost on their death bed (crazy low platelet count etc after car crash) and they refused a transfusion, the girl survived and of course they touted it as a miracle of god, you just have to have faith and he helps you.
    So…I can’t help but feeling that the church and their beliefs are implicated in this mess.

    Just want to point out that if the blood transfusion was forced on the child without the parent’s consent, that isn’t a disfellowshipping offense.

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