Miracles from Heaven

One of our wonderful Year 11 students who has almost finished her time at Thomas Knyvett College has emailed to let us know there’s a great film to revise Religious Studies Unit 1 Section 1 ‘Believing in God’ called Miracles from Heaven.  Apparently it shows evil and suffering, miracles as well as unanswered prayers. Could this be a good revision film to watch for Year 10 students before Thursday?

On IMDb it says: MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN is based on the incredible true story of the Beam family. When Christy (Jennifer Garner) discovers her 10-year-old daughter Anna (Kylie Rogers) has a rare, incurable disease, she becomes a ferocious advocate for her daughter’s healing as she searches for a solution. After Anna has a freak accident, an extraordinary miracle unfolds in the wake of her dramatic rescue that leaves medical specialists mystified, her family restored and their community inspired.

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Early pronuclear transfer given the green light

This is one of those new stories which links to numerous school subjects, and reiterates the importance of concentrating and trying your best in everything you study and learn about.

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In GCSE Religious Studies we investigate medical ethics in our Unit 8 course and specifically about transplant surgery and fertility treatment. It is the latter which links to ‘early pronuclear transfer’. It might be our science knowledge that is going to assist us in understanding this one!

Early pronuclear transfer involves removing the parents’ key genetic material from an embryo within hours of fertilisation, leaving behind the woman’s faulty mitochondria.
The parental DNA, which contains all the key genes responsible for character and appearance, is then transferred into a donor woman’s embryo, which has its nucleus removed but contains healthy mitochondria.

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The BBC reports on this developing IVF technique which will help women who don’t want to pass on a genetic disorder to a healthy baby. It made the headlines because there will be 3 people providing DNA for the embryo and baby. What do you think religions will make of all this?

Human Organs Grown in Pigs

An incredible coincidence again, that our section 2 topic in Year 10 is about to be medical ethics and organ transplants. Freaky!

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This was some amazing news on Monday: that human organs are going to be grown inside pigs to be used later as organ transplants. Wow!

The BBC have a short video clip to explain how human stem cells have been inserted into pig embryos to produce human-pig embryos, called chimeras. This research has been going on in the US to attempt to overcome the worldwide shortage of organs for donation.

The Guardian also reports on this story, explaining that from the outside they will look like normal pigs but one organ inside it will actually be human. There are heaps of ethical issues with this. For example what happens if the brain is human inside a pig’s body? Obviously from an RE perspective there are questions about meddling with nature and God’s creation, or whether if God gave us this intelligence and free will it is actually acceptable?

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Quickfire Genetic Engineering Videos

Need a quick peek at informative videos about genetic engineering? Here are some easy videos for Unit 8 Section 1.

Gene Editing

Horizon – Playing God This is just a commercial for the TV programme

Horizon – Are we still evolving? This is just a commercial for the TV programme

Nature Vs Nurture 5 minutes BBC documentary

GM Food Debate 

Should we make designer babies?

Everyone deserves human rights, even a cold blooded killer

A few weeks ago we reported on the the Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breiviks who’d successfully argued that his human rights were being denied in prison because there’d been so much isolation forced upon him. Some people feel that if you’ve killed someone that you no longer deserve the same rights as a citizen who keeps to the law and respects others. Meanwhile others take human rights law exactly as it says: all humans are born equal and deserve their rights no matter who they are or what they’ve done.

Anders Behring Breivik arrives in court on fifth day of trial

Well a survivor of Breiviks killings, where 69 people died, has spoken out that he thinks it shows Norway’s strength that they’ve taken Breivik’s complaints seriously:

“We can see his grievances separately from his acts. We can say that everyone is equal before the law in Norway, including Breivik. He should be treated with the same respect for human rights as any other inmate in our prisons.”

Why are local elections important?

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On May 5th 2016 there are local elections in 124 boroughs; but most people are still only talking about the EU referendum later in June. The BBC points out the numerous reasons we should care about the local elections, and if you are over 18 years old make sure you go and vote. In our GCSE RS Unit 8 Section 1 we need to be able to explain why voting is important. Below are some ideas from different sources:

WhyVote

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Elections Landing Page Final_tcm15-48930

 

Free Will all an Illusion

An article in the Independent which questions whether we actually have free will, might hurt your brain trying to fathom out. Scientists in the Scientific American magazine say that the idea of free will may have arisen because it is a useful thing to have, giving people a feeling of control over their lives and allowing for people to be punished for wrongdoing.

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However scientists believe that it might only be quickly made choices that don’t require much thought where we really have choice, and in fact bigger decisions might give the illusion of choice even when there isn’t. Complicated arguments.

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We use the argument of Free Will quite regularly in our GCSE RS answers because it can explain why people, and Christians, might make their own decisions about a moral situation and not necessarily follow the Bible, Church and Situation Ethics. It allows us to understand that people decide on their actions and they are not puppets to a greater being like God:

puppet freed