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Anesthesiology Residency and being Catholic

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by bluecephas, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. bluecephas

    bluecephas New Member 7+ Year Member

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    For Catholic anesthesiologists out there, please help me out. Did you experience any ethical dilemnas during your residency? I'm specifically thinking of elective sterilization procedures like BTL. Is this something that is avoidable during residency, or can one choose not to be involved in such cases as a resident? Also, what about cases involving elective abortion? Please this post was not meant to debate these issues. I just want to get some honest feedback from Catholics in the field. Thanks so much.
     
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  3. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    At my institution, I recall a few anesthesia residents declining care for elective termination of pregnancy. I don't think it was a big deal, as long as you have the support of your PD and fellow residents who would have to cover for you. Truth be told, it was even more difficult to find an OB attending to do the procedure. I think there was only one willing.

    As for the BTL, I never heard about a resident declining the case. Of course, I only saw them performed in conjunction with a C/S, so it's not like they could step away for that portion of the procedure. Otherwise, probably same situation as above.
     
  4. nutmegs

    nutmegs ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    I'd be happy to provide appropriate, nonjudgemental care to your patients (just don't ask for my respect).
     
  5. MD Dreams

    MD Dreams Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I think this is a great question because I, myself have been debating for a while. I'm not catholic, but I do not feel comfortable with elective terminations of pregnancy cases . I don't really have anything to contribute to the forum, I'm just glad the question came up.
     
  6. Stimulate

    Stimulate 2+ Year Member

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    We have had a couple of residents request that they not be involved in elective terminations of pregnancy, and the program has always accomodated this request. There are usually multiple residents on this service so other residents end up switching cases and covering for them. I don't know what would happen if say there was nobody else available to cover for the resident.

    The problem with BTL may be more difficult to schedule around. This is a very common procedure in OB and may be hard to avoid.

    I don't think you'll catch hate for your beliefs but perhaps mentally preparing for having to be involved in one of these cases may be advisable.
     
  7. Gasboy07

    Gasboy07 2+ Year Member

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    For me pragmatism is more important. I know that regardless of my role, the case will happen. Thus I just go ahead and do the list anyway. Besides, it's better that a 14 year old has an elective termination than go on with it - after all that is two lives ruined. I'm catholic myself so I have thought about.
     
  8. delicatefade

    delicatefade ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Wait a minute. It's not OK for a physician to politely decline a procedure without making any kind of value judgment toward the patient but it's OK for you to judge the resident in the name of being tolerant and non-judgmental?
     
  9. urgewrx

    urgewrx 2+ Year Member

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    I wasn't aware that the catholic church is against BTL's. They get somebody else to do the terminations. Don't worry, you will just be a nuisance.
     
  10. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    I'm pretty sure the Catholic church stands against all forms of contraception.
     
  11. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    Even abstinence?:)
     
  12. badgas

    badgas Member 5+ Year Member

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    ESPECIALLY abstinence!! Ask any priest or alter boy! :laugh:
     
  13. Gator05

    Gator05 Resident 7+ Year Member

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    Wow, this forum has sunken to a new low. We're billing ourselves as professionals to the public, yet have no problem taking sophmoric pot-shots at a very timely and pertinent posting involving personal beliefs and the practice of medicine?

    OP, I think you'll find it rare for anyone in medicine to be forced into providing/assisting with elective termination of pregnancy.

    That said, I think it becomes a slippery slope beyond this. Cases involving pharmacist refusal to dispense Plan B have been hitting the headlines for months. What about "medically-indicated" termination of pregnancy? Involvement in certain organ-procurement situations? Involvement in futile care?

    The public now sees healthcare as a right. What aspects of healthcare? The right to years of medically futile care that someone else has to pay for? The right to purely elective procedures? (Legally, is there a difference in the right to early ToP versus the right to a boob job?)

    Like I said, timely and mature posting, some embarassing replies.
     
  14. badgas

    badgas Member 5+ Year Member

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    I agree. All joking should be strictly banned from internet forms. No laughing. Everyone should act as though they are at a funeral 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Thanks for opening our eyes gator.
     
  15. Gern Blansten

    Gern Blansten Account on Hold 10+ Year Member

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    Actually, I am at a funeral. I sat on the back row so I could surf SDN.
     
  16. nutmegs

    nutmegs ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    I said it was fine, and I would be happy to cover them. At what point did I say it was not OK? While I do believe I am obligated to provide patient care, I do not believe anyone is obligated to respect anyone else, as is the case here. And so that this thread may remain on topic, I will not discuss that further.

    Just for fun, I don't have a problem with OBs who don't want to do those procedures, as long as they advertise their practice as such. The anesthesiologist has an entirely different set of job objectives and it is my personal feeling that providing pain relief and sedation really can't interfere with anyone's religion. In my mind, it is losing sight of the forest but clearly the OP has a different mindset.

    My DEEPEST apologies to whomoever was "embarrassed" by my honest expression of my feelings regarding this poster's question.

    :rolleyes:
     
  17. swpm

    swpm Now with extra snarkiness 10+ Year Member

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    Interesting comment from someone who has chosen House as his avatar.

    I'm with nutmegs.
     
  18. cchoukal

    cchoukal Senior Member Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    There are academic programs affiliated with churches, which might make it easier to avoid procedures that certain religious doctrines would have us believe are incompatible with acceptance. Loyola in Chicago (catholic) and Loma Linda (7th day adventist) come to mind. Surely there are more.
     
  19. delicatefade

    delicatefade ASA Member 10+ Year Member

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    Touche;)
     
  20. Monty Python

    Monty Python Blissfully retired 10+ Year Member

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    Nowhere particular

    When JPP and I worked together it was at a large Catholic institution. BTLs were absolutely verboten unless the admitting physician jumped through all sorts of hoops with hospital administration to get permission, and 99% of the time was in conjunction with a scheduled C/sec.
     
  21. nolagas

    nolagas Member 10+ Year Member

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    The church is not against BAO's in conjunction with medically necessary TAH's which is most of what I've seen.

    It's an interesting enough question though. I think it's ok to pass on a case as long as there is someone else to do it instead. If you are the only one available, then I think you have to do whatever case comes along whether is BSO, elective abortion, etc.

    You don't have to agree with the case being done, but it isn't your place to insert your moral judgements onto others or to obstruct the excercise of their rights. I don't think it's moral to do trachs an pegs on comatose vegetable-types with no hope of a meaningful life, but it isn't my place to block them. You aren't the morals police and can't block someone else's decisions anymore than Christian pharmacists should refuse to dispense contraception or Muslim grocery store checkers can refuse to check out your bacon. We all chose our jobs and we get to do them or find a suitable substitute.
     
  22. nutmegs

    nutmegs ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    oooooooooooooooooooooooooh how much I agree with this :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  23. DOAnestMan

    DOAnestMan Junior Member 2+ Year Member

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    Interesting how you don't have a problem looking down on a procedure on someone you deem a "vegetable" and not having a meaningful life to you, but if someone has a legitimate moral objection to an elective abortion, then you are able to look down on them for having the courage to act on their own values. Oh how nice it must be to not be bounded by logic and consistency.
     
  24. Planktonmd

    Planktonmd Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I know this is not going to be popular, but I have to say that I don't think being religious is compatible with being a scientist.
    You can either be religious and do whatever rituals they want you to do, or be a scientist, question everything, and search for logic.
    We all agree, I think, that medicine is science, so I just can't see how you can be a physician and at the same time apply non scientific concepts to your every day practice.
     
  25. Gasboy07

    Gasboy07 2+ Year Member

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    Plankton - I agree. Science and religion are mutually exclusive. It's fine to have religious beliefs, but this cannot be applied to medical practice.
     
  26. Pilot Doc

    Pilot Doc SDN Angel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    That's not contraception. That's removing a diseased organ. (We'll set aside the issue that a TAH renders a woman sterile +/- the BSO, but the same reasoning holds for a BSO alone.)

    The catholic doctrine forbids activity - surgical or medical - with the primary purpose of separating sex from procreation.
     
  27. mille125

    mille125 7+ Year Member

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    actually it is the "art of medicine". the practice of medicine is an art which is based on science
     
  28. fval28

    fval28 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I don't provide anesthesia for elective abortions and have never done a "medically necessary" one either. I do provide anesthesia for BTL's and I was raised a Catholic. I received a bit of static from one person I worked with at a job very early in my career (she wanted me to do an AB on a girl with an anencephalic child- I expressed my sympathy and declined to do the case) everyone else I have worked with has not had an issue with my choice. Most of the people I talked to who were higher ups in any department I worked told me that this issue is treaded upon VERY lightly and if someone decides they don't want to do AB's, thats pretty much the end of the discussion.

    I think separating BELIEF from DOCTRINE will clear up alot of the confusion (it did for me). The Catholic church has been wrong about a lot of stuff over the years and IMHO, contraception is one of them.
     
  29. nutmegs

    nutmegs ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    Reading comprehension not being your strong suit, I'll help you out: I don't have a problem with him or her being ethically opposed to the procedure. And I would still do the case on the all but braindead patient. If I refused to do the case, it would not be labled "courage" by any stretch of the imagination, even if the moral footing is equally solid (and it is). Who lives logic-free now?

    And since you've come out swinging, you uh, haven't done much ICU time, have you? Just taking a stab in the dark there with your use of "vegetable" and "meaningful life" in the same sentence.
     
  30. badgas

    badgas Member 5+ Year Member

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    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
  31. Planktonmd

    Planktonmd Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Good, so it's based on science, so you agree with me don't you?
     
  32. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Fantastic. I love it. Someone with some cojones--I agree 100%. Ten years of Catholic Catechism was debunked in a single afternoon as molecular biology major. The particularly damning evidence was the symbiotic theory of the development of mitochondria. How simple yet profound...

    Please, I mean no disrespect, but, honestly, I think all moral and ethical dilemmas can by discarded by the Catholic anesthesiologist if he is not ready to address THE SUPERLATIVE ethical and moral conflict--the continued maintenance of his religious beliefs versus every scientific bone in his body!

    Contrary to popular religious belief, rather than 6000 years old, the universe is 14 billion years old. Furthermore, if you believe string theorists, who, after the Large Hadron Collider comes online in November of this year may transcend the realm of mere theorists, there exists at least 7 extra dimensions in addition to the three spatial and one temporal, in which we live! This is not Start Trek, this is mathematics. And to preempt a response, Intelligent Design is the intellectual Christian's crutch--it allows him to hobble along barely clinging to the best of hist scientific and religious training.

    Insofar as one's beliefs about creation and the physical laws of nature allow one to accurately and reproducibly interact with the external world, science, and not religion, has been most successful, in terms of PREDICTING future events based on current information. Science is dynamic, preparing for the 21st century and beyond. Religion is static, stuck in the 13th century and older. The Dalai Lama has been quoted as stating that, in cases in which Buddhism and Science conflict, Buddhism must yield. That, my friends, is transcending religion.
     
  33. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Fantastic. I love it. Someone with some cojones--I agree 100%. Ten years of Catholic Catechism was debunked in a single afternoon as molecular biology major. The particularly damning evidence was the symbiotic theory of the development of mitochondria. How simple yet profound...

    Please, I mean no disrespect, but, honestly, I think all moral and ethical dilemmas can by discarded by the Catholic anesthesiologist if he is not ready to address THE SUPERLATIVE ethical and moral conflict--the continued maintenance of his religious beliefs versus every scientific bone in his body!

    Contrary to popular religious belief, rather than 6000 years old, the universe is 14 billion years old. Furthermore, if you believe string theorists, who, after the Large Hadron Collider comes online in November of this year may transcend the realm of mere theorists, there exists at least 7 extra dimensions in addition to the three spatial and one temporal, in which we live! This is not Start Trek, this is mathematics. And to preempt a response, Intelligent Design is the intellectual Christian's crutch--it allows him to hobble along barely clinging to the best of hist scientific and religious training.

    Insofar as one's beliefs about creation and the physical laws of nature allow one to accurately and reproducibly interact with the external world, science, and not religion, has been most successful, in terms of PREDICTING future events based on current information. Science is dynamic, preparing for the 21st century and beyond. Religion is static, stuck in the 13th century and older. The Dalai Lama has been quoted as stating that, in cases in which Buddhism and Science conflict, Buddhism must yield. That, my friends, is transcending religion.
     
  34. nutmegs

    nutmegs ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    you might have had a beautiful post and all, but I LOVE your username!!!! :thumbup:
     
  35. kelaskov

    kelaskov Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    :thumbup: :clap:
     
  36. mille125

    mille125 7+ Year Member

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    Actually..........i do disagree with you....The practice of medicine is an art and NOT a science...I dont know how you can refute this..Just listen to many of the wise doctors who have practiced long before you were even thought of..


    Secondly, we do not have to be atheists to be doctors.....I think that you have gone over the deep end a bit.



    However, going back to the original question...this never seemed to be a problem in my residency...we had one devoutly catholic resident...he was not interested in even being involved in D & C's (which I dont know how this qualifies as birth control or contraception, usually the woman had miscarried)....I disagree with his point of view but these were his beliefs and he is entitled to them (we live in America)..there were three residents on call and he would simply be assigned another case later in the night...there was never an issue that I am aware of........
     
  37. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    He is entitled to his beliefs, but I don't think he is entitled to withholding life-saving care for his own morality. Sure, he seemed to have a nice arrangement, but what if the other two were occupied in a code and/or trauma? What will he do when he enters private practice, is the only MD on call, and a young girl presents while hemorrhaging?

    I'm so sick of this attitude that we are all entitled to our own beliefs, others be damned. You have to understand that your actions do indeed have a significant impact on others. This impact often outweighs any complaint of entitlement or cry of morality. Physicians in particular should understand their duty to society when weighing these beliefs.
     
  38. swpm

    swpm Now with extra snarkiness 10+ Year Member

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    No ... but in order for a religious doctor to be a competent doctor, he has to discard superstition and magical thinking, at least while he's at work.

    I think that we can all agree that science and logic should guide our clinical decision making, and that practically every religious doctor is able to compartmentalize their religious beliefs and do this.

    I just think it's odd - and sad - that so many intelligent scientists and clinicians set aside that objectivity and rationality when it comes to deciding whether or not to believe in a resurrected Jesus, Allah, Zeus, Odin, tree sprites, angry volcano gods, pyramid-building space aliens, or an infinite number of turtles supporting a flat earth on their backs.
     
  39. kelaskov

    kelaskov Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    I'm fed up as well and that's why I'm making sure not to do any of my rotations at Catholic hospitals and I won't consider any residencies affiliated with Catholic institutions. I refuse to be trained in institutions that provide incomplete care. The stories I'm hearing of women having to undergo double surgeries because a Catholic institution refuses to do a tubal at the time of C-section sickens me. Not to mention the stories of women expecting to get their tubes tied during a C-section and finding out, after the fact, that it wasn't done....is absolutely unethical and extremely poor care..I can't believe more people aren't outraged about this. Yet these things are happening more and more with the increasing mergers of Catholic hospitals with community hospitals.

    Almost all patients affected by those withholding care for "ethical" reasons are women..... the services people "choose" not to provide or refer for always target women's reproductive health. I know Catholic hospitals under the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (basically all of them) aren't supposed to provide vasectomy services but it seems that the majority of the people who are refused care are women..(no tubals, no BC for unmarried women, of course no abortion care or referal, etc.)

    Aside- what about a physician who is a Jehovah's Witnesses refusing to provide blood transfusions?? Both procedures are seen as lifesaving although a physician refusing to provide transfusion would probably lose their license if they weren't immediately driven out of med school first..whereas the one refusing to do a D&C gets special privilege......OUTRAGEOUS! We're just propagating the problem by allowing these catholic/ultra-religious physicians to opt out of providing comprehensive care.

    This past summer I rotated in a supremely rural hospital (no specialists- even OB's or Peds..within 80 miles..) formerly run by nuns. The woman I lived with who had birthed all her children in the hospital told me, 20-30 years ago, the nuns wouldn't let her breastfeed in the hospital because it was too sexual. They also refused to let her husband in the room during or after birth. Her husband mentioned that he had been instructed by his local priest that, everytime he masturbated, he was killing his unborn children. Providers with similar beliefs- who propogate false info and withold and keep patients from receiveing care are out there and it's absolutely frightening.
     
  40. nutmegs

    nutmegs ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    here's how naive I was: when I was in africa, I thought these things only happened at the catholic hospitals there!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  41. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks. I, of course, must defer all credit to the most clever writers in recent television history, those of the formerly critically acclaimed but seldom watched Arrested Development. Unfortunately, Bob Loblaw was already taken, so I improvised...

    _________________________________________________________________
    Michael Bluth (to his brother in-law Tobias, who has covered his face with blue paint in order to try out for the Blue Man group): Oh, great, so you made the group?

    Tobias: No, I just blue myself.

    Michael Bluth: There's gotta be a better way to say that...
    _________________________________________________________________
    Michael Bluth (to his brother Gob, who recently purchased a yacht with company money. Concurrent to this, their mother, a notorius trouble-maker and drunk enters the room): Gob, get rid of the Sea-Ward (pun= C-word)

    Mrs. Bluth: I'll leave when I'm good and ready
    _________________________________________________________________
     
  42. Planktonmd

    Planktonmd Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Yes, medicine used to be mostly art based on anecdotes and common wisdom, but it evolved and became as you called it " art based on science" it's based on science so profoundly, that it does not exist without it.
    I am talking about modern medicine, which we all practice, unless you are practicing something like traditional Chinese medicine or natural healing.
    I did not say you need to be an athiest, you can believe in whatever you want, but if you are going to apply religion to medicine you will be depriving your patients of many benefits that science had brought to medicine and that's not fair.
     
  43. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

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    Reminds me of a Family Guy episode.

    Brian: She's a whiney little runt isn't she?
    [Lois gasps]
    Brian: What? I said runt.

    By the way, Family Guy has referenced the word 3-4 times by my count. I do miss Arrested Development, though.
     
  44. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Great post. The suspension of disbelief required for an appropriately trained religious "scientist" to actively repudiate all his training as it pertains to the creation of the world is AT LEAST AS LARGE as the suspension of disbelief required to passively avoid the question altogether. Today, it is clear that any rigorous biological or physical scientist must choose between logic and religion--they are incompatible. Ask your neurologist or cognitive scientist friends where the soul resides, I mean physically exists. It's exact location. Although I'm sure he'd think differently now in light of recent evidence, Descartes thought ithe soul existed in the ether and communicated with the body through that reknowned receiver, the pineal gland.

    I had a wonderful discussion with a colleague who had posed me this ethical dilemma:

    A 60 y/o diabetic gentleman presents to a primary care office asking for a prescription for Cialis. He is quite promiscuous, with history of HBV and HCV, as well as Gonorhea and Chlamydia. The GP ask him whether he will continue with risky sexual behaviors, and he says he refuses to wear condoms. Should the GP write the script? I said that I wasn't sure whether I would, but I didn't think it was unethical to refuse to write the script and offer to set him up with another physician who might be more comfortable. To this, my religious inquisitor said, "But who are we to play God, " to which I promptly responded: "Play God? How do you know that his impotence isn't God's punishment for immorality? I would think that he'd be getting off easy--back in the day he'd be burned to a pillar of salt."
     
  45. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    I have to silently laugh when my wife refers to her grandfather as Pop-Pop, as I am constantly reminded of the episode when George Michael, at that time much in puppy-love with Anne Veal and simultaneously harboring George Sr. in the attic, says to his dad:

    George Michael: I have Pop-Pop in the attic.

    Michael: The mere fact that you are calling it that tells me that you are not old enough to be having it.

    Memories...
     
  46. bluecephas

    bluecephas New Member 7+ Year Member

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    I think we should see science in its proper perspective. What is science? Here’s the definition from my Stedmans: The branch of knowledge that produces theoretical explanations of natural phenomena based on experiments and observations. From these experiments and observations, scientists come to conclusions based on deductive or inductive reasoning. Having said that, we have to ask – what is the object of science? Stedmans states that science produces explanations of natural phenomena, e.g. what causes Type I DM?, what did it rain today?, why are the planets in such an alignment?, etc. In short, science explains the IMMEDIATE CAUSALITY of natural phenomenon. This is true of all empirical sciences, whether it be genetics, social sciences, medical science, industrial science, geology, or astronomy. Yes astronomy explains certain natural phenomena as far as trillion years ago, but this is still natural phenomena, and it is still IMMEDIATE CAUSALITY. Empirical sciences, based on experiments and observations, cannot explain ULTIMATE CAUSALITY of any phenomena. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Is there a rational designer / a prime mover? Doctors and scientists, as hard as it may be, must humble themselves on this one.

    With regards to religion and science being incompatible, let me say this. What is the purpose of religion and science? Ultimately, it is to attain truth. The object of honest philosophy and religion is to attain the ULTIMATE truths about the universe, and honest science attempts to attain certain truths about the IMMEIDATE truths of the universe. There’s no conflict there. So why is there a conflict in our experience? Because many times the pursuit of knowledge is adulterated by imperfect means and ends, e.g. irrational thinking, misinterpretation of scripture, misinterpretation of history, erroneous experimentation, misinterpretation of data, biased studies. More importantly, when the end becomes something else other that the attainment of truth, then that predisposes for an imperfect means, e.g. when we apply science for the pursuit of monetary gains as the primary end (instead of monetary gains as a means). You get my point. People of faith and people of science are not a separate bunch of folks. The pursuit of truths by different means should, essentially, complement (not contradict) each other.

    Much more to say but I have to study my sciences now.
     
  47. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Sorry for the multiple posts, I will self-censure after this. You, sir, are again, spot on.

    There are certain beliefs about which those informed by fact and reason can make judgements about the validity of said beliefs. For example, if you believed, and by believed I mean truly thought that it were a true representation of the actual state of the universe, that magnetism, and not gravity was the force responsible for our terrestrially-bound predicament, we could all agree that this was a 'bad' belief. Similarly, if you believe that the world was created in six days 6000 years ago, I can prove to you that it is much, much, much older, armed only with an equation, a constant, and a sunny day. This, too, is a 'bad' belief.

    The refusal to accept blood based on a 'bad' belief is, in my opinion, at worse potentially suicidal and at best a societally-accepted, albeit misguided, delusion. People have no problem dismissing Bertrand Russel's impossible Cosmic Teacup, yet burning bushes that talk are all the more likely...
     
  48. Planktonmd

    Planktonmd Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I agree partially:
    Science is a sincere pursuit of truth.
    Religion is a set of rules and regulations designed to lead the masses effectively toward certain political objectives.
    During the early stages of human evolution religion was necessary to regulate society and prevent people from killing each other.
    Today, unfortunately, the only purpose of religion is politics.
     
  49. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

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    Apr 18, 2006
    I respect your attempt to merge the best of both worlds, but I would suggest that religion does not uncover truths to ultimate causality--it creates them. Unfortunately, there is no ultimate causality to our existence. It is a happy accident based on the occurence of events that had very low probabilities of occurence, but a veritable eternity of trials for realization. We must understand that we, as humans, are a particularly fortunate species of animal imbued with a unique talent of narrative construction. This talent has provided us with a "consciousness," as well as the ability to create stories of our creation (please see Daniel Dennett's discussion of the Center of Narrative Gravity). We have been fortunate to populate this planet for, let's ballpark here, 300,000 years. This is 0.0075% of the chronological history of this planet, and 0.002% of the chronology of the universe. If you only consider the history of this current civilization, let's say, 6000 years, these numbers fall to 0.00015% of the history of the Earth and 0.000042% of the history of the universe. That, friend, is humbling.

    For hundreds of years, intellectuals have searched for answers to empirical questions. What is the shape of the earth? Which revolves around which, the Sun or the Earth? How did our world come to pass? In the past, those unable to answer the question would resort to created reasons, like God, or magic, yet never once has that strategy worked faithfully. Why should our inability to answer this question at this time be answered in the same fashion? We do not resort to this type of fanciful thinking in any other instance in our lives, especially as scientists. When we see something that defies all logic of our existence, like a clever Copperfieldian illusion, we don't say "That, my friends, is magic!" We appropriately and skeptically say, "I don't know how he did it, but there has to be a perfectly reasonable explanation." Scientific progress has slowly and methodically debunked each magical theory, with religion sheepishly acquiescing. Are we truly to continue to believe, as Catholic Doctrine insists, in the actual transmogrification of the Communion Wafer into the physical cells, organelles, and DNA of Jesus Christ?

    There are some popular science books about the creation of the world and I would urge anyone interested to read them. One is "Fabric of the Cosmos," by Brian Greene, and the second is "Warped Passages," by Lisa Randall. They are fantastic and eloquently summarize current theory in the creation of the universe. One particularly interesting idea is the proposal that black holes are essentially the reproductive entities of the cosmos. Because of the incredible gravitational fields, matter (and, hence, tremendous amounts of energy) is compressed to the size of a fraction of a fraction of fraction of a the period that ends this sentence, providing the energy necessary to Bang in a Big way. In fact, in the earliest fractions of seconds defining the beginning of our universe, all the matter in all the cosmos (read: every atom that makes up you, me, the Earth, the sun, and every other planet, star, and comet in the universe [please note: this matter is, itself only a fraction of all the matter in the universe, the rest of it is so-called dark matter which Conservation of Mass predicts must exist!]) was compressed to this fraction of period, as well. In less than 10^-19 seconds, the universe had expanded exponentially.
     
  50. Robert Loblaw

    Robert Loblaw Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    216
    1
    Apr 18, 2006
    Or to give people a reason to kill each other.
     
  51. nolagas

    nolagas Member 10+ Year Member

    914
    197
    Aug 13, 2004
    This is among the most absurd posts I've ever read. The sad thing is that it is so widely believed. Science may or may not be able to explain ultimate causality, but religion's baseless, false, often destructive explanations of ultimate causality are worse than none at all.

    Science is indeed the pursuit of truth. Religion is not and has never been the pursuit of truth. Religion is an shared-ignorance to substitute for the lonely ignorance of people unwilling or unable to accept that much is unknown. Science seeks the best possible explanation available in the real world. Religion creates baseless 'truths' that shut people off from rational thought and critical reasoning and ultimately obstruct the search for truth. For people afraid and facing the unknown (death primarily but also the reason for existence) religion provides and answer. It is a completely made up answer with no basis whatsoever in reality, but believers feel that they know something (though they don't).

    I don't understand your inclusion of scripture in the discussion. Scripture is a collection of public wisdom gained through years of experience by groups of people (the rules parts of scripture) together with the ravings of people who were more ignorant than school children are today; these so-called prophets were in all likelihood either political deceivers, bipolars in a manic episode, or schizophrenics.

    You can believe what some convincing psych-case or con-man said just because it was written down a long time ago, but it shouldn't interfere with your practice of medicine. If religion opposes something ethically wrong, then great. If religion favors something unethical, then there's a problem and ethics should trump religion. For example, you couldn't argue against BSO's in ethical terms.
     

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