Transplant Surgery

organ-donation-transplantation

What is a transplant? It’s a surgical operation to introduce organ or tissue from one person (the donor) to another (the recipient). It may also refer to the transfer of tissues from one part of a person’s body to another part of the same person’s body.

Way back in 1908 Alexis Carrel came up with a way of transplanting organs but most of the organs he transplanted from one animal to another failed, as organs were eventually rejected. From the 1950s onwards organ transplants gradually became more successful with the development of drugs (e.g. cortisone) to help organs be accepted in the recipient’s body. The first successful heart transplant happened in 1967. For 18 days the patient Louis lived with the heart of a 25 year old woman beating inside him. Nowadays this would be seen as a failure, but back then this was a huge breakthrough. By 1984 heart transplants had become common place around the world and even children were having heart transplants.

In the second half of the 1900s development has continued with the options for transplant surgery growing. Artificial hearts have been with us since the 1950s. Since the late 1970s it has been possible to offer some deaf people the chance to hear with the aid of cochlear implants. In 1981 the first successful heart-lung transplant was performed in Stanford.

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Despite this, replacement surgery remains a highly technical and very specialised profession. Its success also depends on the availability of suitable organ donations, and in many places in the world there are not enough to meet the demand. The NHS website explains which organs people can donate  as well as what the main faiths teach about organ donation.

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This can raise serious ethical questions and, some fear, lead to the body being treated as a commodity.

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There is much debate within Islam on whether organ donation is halal or haram.

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This has lead to a shortage of organs for Muslims with them having to wait on average an extra year for an organ compared to non-Muslims. The reason for this is that of the three million Muslims in Britain most have a South Asian ethnic background: so if less Muslims of this ethnic background donate organs there’ll be less organs which match people of that ethnic background who need them. Hospitals have had to urge Muslims to donate because the shortage of organs is so severe.

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Difficulties of an Interfaith Marriage

When learning about Community Cohesion and how people in society can be pulled together with racial harmony and no fear of sexism, racism and homophobia, students consider the benefits and pitfalls of interfaith marriage. It is when people of different faiths get married, such as a Christian and non-Christian or a Hindu and Muslim.

Students consider the difficulties of choosing an appropriate marriage ceremony for both people; which faith their children will be brought up with; how there may be conflicting food rules; the difficulty of attending a place of worship on different days and not as a family; and how the extended family and local faith communities might respond. It can be tricky.

Well the Daily Mail reports a story today of how a divorced couple are arguing over the religious upbringing of their child as the mother, a Muslim, does not want her ex-husband to take the son to a Christian Church as it will confuse him. Derby County Court agreed with her and he risks visiting and custodial rights to his nine year old son if he takes him to a Christian Church. The father who cannot be named for legal reasons says:

‘My son is being indoctrinated and the only way I can show him other things is to take him to other places. If I don’t show him other types of life he will become just like a dumb sheep. I want him to see and learn about different cultures.’

The boy lives with his mother but sees his dad at weekends. The court case specifies that the father must not take the boy to any religious event. It decrees he must provide only Halal food and reassure the child he is ‘an ordinary Muslim boy following Muslim rules’. There has been uproar from the Christian community who’ve said that if it was the other way round, there’d be a bigger public backlash and cries of Islamophobia.

It’s an interesting debate. How much should parents decide the religious upbringing of their children and until what age? What should happen if the two parents are of differing faiths: should one dominate? The New York Times had a well written article in 2013 where they said Interfaith unions were really a mixed blessing. The political scientists Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell reported a significant positive of Interfaith Marriages: that the more Americans got to know people of another faith, the more they liked them. The New York Times journalist’s research showed that marrying someone of another faith tended to improve one’s view of that faith.

Let’s understand the Christian viewpoint!

Looking at the Christian teachings on Interfaith Marriage St Paul advised the Christians at Corinth to avoid entering significant relationships, such as marriage, with unbelievers. There you have it: Don’t marry an unbeliever—that is, someone who doesn’t share the basics of Christian doctrine and practice. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 in the King James Version of the Bible it says: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

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To explain that a little a yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the taller, stronger one, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are unequally yoked, they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.

 

 

Environmental Ethics Revision

You can use some of your Unit 1 Section 1 knowledge about creation and the environment when dealing with Unit 8 Section 2’s topic of Environmental Ethics.

Big Bang – Scientific theory of how the world began
Evolution – Scientific theory of how humans have evolved from other less complex organisms Genesis – Book in the Bible containing creation stories
Myth – story with a deeper meaning
Creationists – literally believe the world was created in 7 days as in Genesis
Natural Selection – Darwin’s idea of survival of the fittest
Omnipotent – God is all-powerful
Stewardship – looking after the world and creation. Some Christians believe God gave humanity the responsibility of looking after the earth.
Dominion – having control/power over creation. In the Bible God gave humans dominion (power) to subdue and use the earth.

From that strong basis you’ll need to add a few more Unit 8 specific words:

Environment: the surroundings in which plants and animals live and on which they depend for survival.
Natural resources: naturally occurring materials. such as oil and fertile land, which can be used by humans.
Global warming: the theory that the earths atmosphere is warming because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels.
Pollution: releasing harmful substances into the air, sea or earth.
Conservation: protecting and preserving natural resources, animal life and the environment.
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Watching some simple youtube videos to understand Global Warming and Climate Changeis sensible as it’s been included as an exam question a few times in recent years. There’s even one by David Attenborough on how Climate Change might affect Britain.
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This youtube video has a horrendous variety of computer generated voices but does keep it short and sweet about the different types of pollution!
Plasticised tells the story of a section of the Pacific Ocean which has a huge floating plastic island of plastic trash. A similar focus is a documentary called The Plastic Age featuring Pharrell Williams.
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There are some incredible clips about pollution in China and stories about how some Chinese are actually buying clean air from Canada.
Pollution

Where’s our sympathy towards Turkey?

First there was this cartoon by a French artist to show solidarity with Belgium after this week’s terrorist attack.

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Then came another version of this cartoon which questioned why nobody was showing such solidarity with Turkey…

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It does seem unfair that when there is a terrorist attack right on our doorstep, Paris and now Brussels, our Prime Minister speaks out and famous landmarks get lit up in a nation’s colours to show our sympathy. But when a country that little bit further away is attacked repeatedly it goes largely unnoticed.

“Miss we’re not allowed to say hot cross buns anymore!”

Today at school a student claimed we weren’t allowed to say ‘hot cross buns’ anymore as it would offend Muslims. I questioned where he’d got such a story from and then demonstrated that we were allowed to say both hot cross buns and Easter eggs without offending anyone.

So where had he got this story from? I’ve tried to find the story online but failed. What I did find was a newspaper article in the Express from 2007 which explained how a hospital banned hot cross buns to not offend ethnic minorities. This didn’t go down well with religious leaders saying how ludicrous it was and Muslims saying how they’re not offended by hot cross buns and often eat them themselves.

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Meanwhile in 2003 the Telegraph reported how lots of local councils were banning their schools from putting hot cross buns on the menu to avoid offending non-Christians. Again this move met with lots of criticism: The Muslim Council of Britain called the decision “very, very bizarre”. A spokesman said: “This is absolutely amazing. At the moment, British Muslims are very concerned about the upcoming war with Iraq and are hardly going to be taken aback by a hot cross bun.

“Unfortunately actions like this can only create a backlash and it is not very thoughtful. I wish they would leave us alone. We are quite capable of articulating our own concerns and if we find something offensive, we will say so. We do not need to rely on other people to do it for us. British Muslims have been quite happily eating and digesting hot cross buns for many years and I don’t think they are suddenly going to be offended.”

Making the whole furore more ridiculous is the fact hot cross buns were probably around first as a pagan snack before being adopted by the Christians in England. It wasn’t until Queen Elizabeth I that hot cross buns were pushed to only be eaten around Good Friday. You can find out more hot cross buns and Simnel Cake from a website about England’s history.

In the staffroom today we all enjoyed a hot cross bun: teachers and TA’s of all faiths and none. Nobody broke out into song though! Off school on Wednesday when my son was ill we went to rhyme time at Woking library and sang along…

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Becky Watts’ dad “I’d pull the lever myself” if death penalty available

The father of murdered schoolgirl Becky Watts said in a Newsnight interview that if the death penalty was available in the UK he’d pull the lever himself to kill his stepson, so that nobody else would feel the guilt of killing.

He explained how his family had been completely destroyed and justice still hadn’t been done. “I don’t think I’ve had justice. If they were going to hang him I would pull the lever so nobody else would have that guilt,” said Mr Galsworthy.

Which 5 animals are close to extinction?

In Year 8 RE we’re looking at creation stories, stewardship, animal rights and battery hens this half-term. We’ve talked in class about which animals have their welfare protected by the law and which animals are lawfully allowed to be used in scientific experiments. Debating whether animals and humans are equal as well as thinking about self-consciousness and autonomy, has led some students to really think about which animals of the world need special protection because they’re so few in number.

The BBC iwonder series have a superb investigation, perfectly timed for us, about which 5 species are most under threat in the world, as well as links to mini-documentaries  and articles about zoos and Charles Darwin.