Police are investigating an 11-year-old girl's death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor.That is, Ms. Neumann has nothing against doctors except when it came to calling upon one to treat her daughter's plainly obvious and easily manageable condition. Yet consider for a moment just what evidence Neumann had to conclude that "healing comes from God." This claim is nothing more than unfounded faith, utterly devoid of any reason or proof. In contrast, modern medicine is nothing more than the scientific method applied to physical health—the process of systematically identifying and obeying nature so as to be able to properly command it. And here we have abundant proof that science makes human life better; after all, our entire modern civilization, from CAT Scans to iPhones, is built upon the practical benefits of this truth.
An autopsy showed Madeline Neumann died Sunday of diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that left too little insulin in her body, Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said.
She had probably been ill for about a month, suffering symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness, the chief said Wednesday, noting that he expects to complete the investigation by Friday and forward the results to the district attorney.
The girl's mother, Leilani Neumann, said that she and her family believe in the Bible and that healing comes from God, but that they do not belong to an organized religion or faith, are not fanatics and have nothing against doctors. [Robert Imrie, Associated Press Writer]
So how on earth could Madeline Neumann's parents conclude that God alone would save their daughter and that medical science was unneeded? Just how much evidence did they (and let's be honest, their daughter too) willfully choose to ignore in order to engage in their deadly flight of mystic fancy? And most importantly, what cultural forces led them to such a horrific conclusion, and why were they unwilling to act upon the proper (and seemingly obvious) alternative?
As this story develops, it will be interesting to learn just how Neumann's parents were able to internally rationalize such an outrage. In the mean time, we are faced with a very troubling truth: in a nation where the practical benefits of reason, science and technology surround us, seemingly everyday Americans are nevertheless willing to engage in Stone-age mysticism and irrationality—and do so at the price of precious human life. Even if there is tremendous outcry against these parents, I can't help but take the fact that this girl died in the first pace as a troubling sign.