Insight on the News
Is Smarter Better?
● Three women in the eastern United States were among the first to become pregnant under a California millionaire’s plan to increase the number of “people at the top of the population.” He convinced five Nobel Prize-winning scientists to donate sperm to a special repository. “Intellectually advanced” women whose husbands are sterile were solicited to receive the “superior” sperm by artificial insemination. The women could choose anonymous numbered sperm on the basis of such things as the scientists’ IQ, age, weight, height, and eye color. One woman reportedly said: “I’m very excited about this . . . I’m tentatively going to select No. 13 because he’s the youngest of the donors and has the highest IQ.”
Even aside from the adulterous moral implications of this arrangement, does high IQ necessarily mean high quality? One authority on ethics observed: “There’s no guarantee that high IQ people produce better people or a better society. It is not the retarded kids of the world who produce the wars and destruction.” In fact, the last person to promote a “master race” died in a Nazi bunker at the end of World War II.
Medical Tide Turns
● The medical journal “Żyjmy Dlużej” (Live Longer) of the Polish People’s Republic recently commented on a growing medical trend away from blood transfusions, saying that doctors have come “from naïve faith in the saving value of blood” in the past, “until our day, when sober judgment shows that blood can also be very dangerous.” The writer, Professor Franciszek Smolarfk, M.D., added: “There was a time when the healing progress was measured by liters of transfused blood. Today we see the real truth, that blood is a foreign tissue . . . able to cause far-reaching immunological reactions.”—August 1979, p. 14.
Similarly in North America, Professor Horace Herbsman, M.D., of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, confirms this changing medical view. He writes in “Emergency Medicine” magazine: “Indeed, perhaps our experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses might be interpreted to mean that we do not need to rely on blood transfusions, with all their potential complications, as much as we once thought.”—January 15, 1980, p. 76.
And in Canada, after interviewing a number of surgeons on the subject, reporter Marilyn Dunlop of the Toronto “Star” asks: “How great a risk to the lives of their children or themselves do Jehovah’s Witnesses take by refusing on religious grounds to accept blood?” Her answer? “There is growing medical evidence that it may not be as great as the rest of society and the medical profession has long assumed.”
Such changes in thinking are not uncommon in any field of science. And this is not to the discredit of physicians who sincerely wish to give their patients the best form of treatment possible. No doubt when they become convinced that alternative treatment is better, they will say as did one heart surgeon interviewed for the “Star”: “There is an advantage to doing it that way [without blood]. Blood is not good for people. If you can do without it that is great.”—February 24, 1980, p. A10.
● In February, Massachusetts became the first state to attempt the reinstituting of prayer in schools since the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed such in 1963. The Massachusetts law lasted six weeks before it was struck down as unconstitutional by the state Supreme Judicial Court. Under the now defunct law, teachers were to ask for a volunteer to lead the class in prayer each day, and allow those who did not wish to participate to leave the room.
But many resented such legislated religion. In fact, as columnist Norman Lockman of the Boston “Globe” observed: “The self righteous are trying to use public schools to teach children to be pharisees, people who pray for show.” This echoes Jesus’ comments about the prayers of the original Pharisees 1,900 years ago: “When you pray, you must not be as the hypocrites; because they like to pray . . . to be visible to men.”—Matt. 6:5.