August 2, 2009

Succinctly Put

Biologist and universty professor PZ Myers writes a blog (on Science Blogs) titled Pharyngula. I'll leave it to the reader to look it up. Today he writes on a young life lost due to superstition and ignorance:

A little justice in Wisconsin


Last year,
Kara Neumann died of juvenile diabetes. Her death was slow and painful, and entirely unnecessary — her parents believed in the power of prayer and allowed her obvious symptoms to go untreated except for entreaties to an invisible and inert god. They weren't opposed to technology in general, since they did sent out an email to an online ministry requesting 'emergency prayer', but they did neglect the only technology that mattered, a simple injection of insulin.

There was some concern at that time that there was actually a loophole in Wisconsin law that seems to say that Christianity was a treatment comparable to modern medicine. Fortunately, the jurors in the trial of the parents saw the neglect that led to the death of their daughter, and
convicted the Neumanns of second-degree reckless homicide. I don't think the father helped his own case with his sincere testimony.

Neumann, who once studied to be a Pentecostal minister, testified Thursday that he believed God would heal his daughter and he never expected her to die. God promises in the Bible to heal, he said.

"If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God," Neumann testified. "I am not believing what he said he would do."

He believed. He was theologically informed. He was a member of a church (even if it is an
insane organization). He was missing one important thing: the awareness to question. And for that, a young girl died. Religion matters, all right, it matters in an evil way.

How could a father allow a daughter to die to support a belief in an unseen entity, when the evidence of modern medicine surrounds him? How could a mother allow this fool and idiot to do this to her child?

Prison is too good for idiots.


Ambulance Driver said...

Religion matters, all right, it matters in an evil way."

I like to read Pharyngula occasionally, but this kind of stuff is what turns me off.

He gets to frothing, and in his own way, is as bad as the religious zealots he disdains so much.

Religion does matter to a great many people, and not in an evil way.

But you wouldn't know that from reading PZ Myers.

You'd think someone, somewhere, would have spoken to Mr. Neuman in the only language he seems to understand:

"God is helping your daughter, by giving some of us the knowledge and tools to save your daughter. He gave some of us the gifts to become doctors."

Mule Breath said...

Sorry AD, but I couldn’t disagree more.

He gets to frothing, and in his own way, is as bad as the religious zealots he disdains so much

Not all of us find PZ to be “frothing”, but if that is what it is, perhaps this is what it takes to batter down the walls of ignorance and foolish superstition that have be erected by 2 millennia of religious mumbo jumbo.

Religion does matter to a great many people, and not in an evil way

I would submit that in the eyes of a believer, nothing they do is evil. Ask Brother Neumann if he thinks his actions were evil. AD, we both know how he would answer. Every religious zealot in the world feels completely justified in their actions. This latest is but a small example. A larger example might be Hitler and the Holocaust.

You'd think someone, somewhere, would have spoken to Mr. Neuman in the only language he seems to understand

Of course we will likely never know, but I’d bet a thick steak and a cold beer that someone had that very conversation with the Neumanns at some point in the little girl’s ordeal, but it changed Preacher Neumann’s mind not nary a bit. The degree of zealotry required for this sort of result usually claims a personal pipeline directly to God and listens to no man. Much like the Shrub when confronted with the failures and potential unconstitutionality of some of his administration’s actions. His reply: ”I answer to a higher authority”.

The Word of God: Surprisingly indistinguishable from one’s personal opinion, actually. H/T Pundit Kitchen

Mule Breath said...

For further perspective, visit the website of the Neumann’s church and read what has been written by the church, the mother of the child and the mother’s stepfather.

Anonymous said...

Any thing offered by any one in an attempt to justify the death of a child is evil.
Holy Shit! The stuff posted by Neumann's supposed church is unbelievable. I have no descriptors for such and no understanding. It is the heaviest blow against my optimism that I can remember. I won't forget it, but I'll do all that I can to put it out of my mind.

Anonymous said...

I propose to A.D.: have a brew with P.Z., and some quiet conversation.

Mrs. Who said...

I do practice a faith...but I'm afraid I must be judgmental and say those parents didn't practice a faith. If they truly believed in God, they should have believed in the gifts God gave others. They believed that THEIR PRAYER would save their daughter, not their God. Selfishness which killed their daughter.

Mule Breath said...

My lack of belief in deities has never been a secret. I find such belief a waste of time, but at the same time I will begrudge another's faith only when someone tries to force it on me (as in using my tax dollars to incorporate mythology into textbooks) or use it as an excuse for stupidity. This is the Neumann’s crime. Stupid, blind faith was used to murder the Neumann’s daughter, or perhaps to encourage the girl to commit suicide, if the mother’s account is to be believed. I have no tolerance for such. The act was criminal and the parents need to face prosecution.