19 Oct, 12 | by Iain Brassington
Two apparently unrelated new and new-ish papers in the JME have caught my eye over the last few days. One of them is this one: Salilah Saidun’s “Photographing Human Subjects in Biomedical Disciplines: An Islamic Perspective”. We’ll come to the other in a little while.
There’s a couple of puzzling things about the paper. One is that I’m not sure what the tone is supposed to be.
It could be a descriptive piece, along the lines of “Look, here’s what Muslims might think about medical photography, and if you’re going to take or use medical photographs, you might want to keep it in mind.” Of course, it’s by no means certain that all Muslims think alike, or that if (mirabile dictu) they do, it has anything much to do with Islam – but we’ll put that to one side. Similarly, the fact that some people do think this won’t tell us much about what practical implications there ought to be, beyond keeping it in mind. It won’t tell us that we ought to adhere to those opinions. Islamic rules might provide a reason to behave in a certain way; but there might be other reasons to behave in a certain other way – and they might sometimes be more compelling. I’ll put that to one side, too, though. As a descriptive paper, it might very well be the sort of thing that’s useful on the wards.
But a descriptive reading won’t explain the passages that appear to have a more normative dimension: more…