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.

Lippard reviews The Voyage That Shook the World

It’s a very charitable review of a creationist movie, the latest bit of dishonest propaganda since Expelled. It is apparently very professionally made, which means less and less nowadays as digital video gear gets cheaper and easier to get, but I was surprised at one thing: it’s not really a movie. It’s only 52 minutes long! This looks like something they’re aiming at the television market, so look for it sometime soon on TBN or maybe even the History Channel.

Among the usual mangled creationist nonsense, it seems to be arguing for some revisionist history, claiming that science only advocates gradual change, but the evidence supports catastrophism, which is a biblical view. This is ridiculous, of course; the Bible is not a science textbook and provides no supporting body of evidence for anything, while science strives for an accurate model of the history of the earth that includes both gradual events and sporadic major changes.

No surprises. Bad science and bad history, but polished to a nice shiny gloss. If it comes on TV, I’ll probably watch it and take notes, but I’m not going to go out of my way looking for it.

We need a better way to manage public schools

The American education is a hellish mess, run by the ghastly, inefficient school board system that is too often dominated by anti-education hacks (Texas comes to mind as the preeminent example, but really, the problem is everywhere in the country). The system is so bad that Mark Twain was making jokes about it, and nothing has changed since. Could anything be worse?

Maybe. Paddy K has begun a series of articles on the Irish school system. Imagine the chaos of conflicting interests that tug our schools in different directions at every election banished…and replaced with old men in dresses committed to a common, archaic dogma that provides unity of purpose. That purpose, unfortunately, is not necessarily to produce well-educated citizens, but to produce people who will obey the Catholic church.

It could be an interesting series. We have plenty of schadenfreude to go around.