Yesterday, my dad and I were in the kitchen. I have a journal the I write his ramblings about, about his childhood, his coming to Canada, all sorts of memories since he has no childhood photos of any kind or souvenirs from his youth. So, I was writing away when he asks, "Who made man's blood red?" He's basically asking why god chose red for man's blood. I told him (and I was told this a long time ago, so correct me) that when your blood is exposed to oxygen, it turns red and that it's actually blue. He didn't acknowledge if I was right or wrong, but he just wanted a religious answer to his religious question and I gave a ration scientific one.

I find myself trying to answer religious questions with rational answers in general, not just from my dad, although they mostly come from him, but in general. To use a religious answer is to say you don't really know so your answer would be approved by your religious leader or 'god'.


I can see it as if I were to ask where babies come from and then told about the stork or the cabbage patch and then disregarding those answers, so to come from a religious state of mind is the reverse.

How often do you come up against these types of questions and how do you handle them?

Views: 27

Comment by B. on April 16, 2010 at 8:13pm
You're blood isn't blue, it's almost red. In your body it's a little bit darker, like a purple-black red rather than the bright red when it contacts the air.... well, actually that depends where you cut, also. It's always going to be redder in your lungs than in your feet...

Anyway, yeah not blue.

And it's red because of the iron in hemoglobin in your red blood cells. This is what's oxidized when it contacts air, giving that really bright color. (Same as iron in rust or in the ground is red!)

Tell you're dad no one "made" Iron red, it's that way in different oxidation states because of the electrons in its d orbitals.
Comment by B. on April 16, 2010 at 8:14pm
just realized I didn't answer your question.. and I used you're instead of your.. twice... lots of failing on my part today, sorry about that.
Comment by Matthew on April 16, 2010 at 8:15pm
I believe that your explanation of "who" made blood red is an urban myth. Blood is red. It doesn't matter whether it is inside or outside your body. It doesn't matter if it is oxygenated or deoxygenated. The myth comes from the color our veins appear to us from outside the body, but that blue color has more to do with how light passes through blood and tissues and not the actual color of the blood.
And our blood is red because the oxygen carrying molecule in humans (and most earth creatures) is called hemoglobin and uses iron to carry the oxygen around.

8/04/why_are_veins_blue.php" target="_blank"">Here's a really ni...

So not only is a supernatural explanation inaccurate, it's totally unnecessary because we have a firm understanding of blood's color.

As a science teacher I come up against these types of questions and answers all too frequently. I do the same thing you do and try to give a scientifically accurate answer. If I don't know the answer, I find it and let the person know later. But I never allow the supernatural or superstitious answers prevail just because an answer is not available immediately.
Comment by B. on April 16, 2010 at 8:16pm
oh yeah and I meant "always" not "almost".

What is almost red anyway?

Next time I promise to link more coherent things like matthew did =(
Comment by Matthew on April 16, 2010 at 8:16pm
Comment by James on April 16, 2010 at 11:16pm
I always try to give a science or logic based reply to everything. And if I don't have an answer, I simply state that I don't know. I do love giving scientific replies though. They can sometimes be long-winded, but the dumbfounded look on peoples faces is priceless.
Comment by Galen on April 17, 2010 at 12:54am
I wouldn't know how to give a non-scientific answer. Religious answers aren't "answers" at all, they're cop-outs. Scientific answers are the ONLY answers to such questions.
Comment by M on April 24, 2010 at 9:43pm
Love B's replies... :o)
Comment by Venus Lovejam on April 27, 2010 at 2:32am
I'm glad to know it's not blue, in that as I was explaining it to my dad, it sounded wrong coming out of my mouth. Since I'd heard about that many years ago, my understanding of it was completely off.


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