Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Loaded Questions

Can the way you ask a question influence the response you get? In this clip of the classic British sit-com Yes, Prime Minister, two civil servants discuss how they can decide on the results of an opinion poll before the government has even commissioned it. I imagine it isn't too far from the truth.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Man allows daughter to die while praying

This week (August 2009) a US jury found a man guilty of allowing his his sick 11-year-old daughter to die by praying for her recovery rather than seeking medical care. Dale Neumann, from Wisconsin, was convicted of second-degree reckless homicide of Madeline after he arranged for prayer meetings and put his trust in faith healing rather than seeking medical advice. It was later found that the girl was suffering from undiagnosed diabetes which could have been easily treated with insulin. In similar circumstances, in July 2009, a jury in Oregon convicted a man of criminal mistreatment for relying on prayer instead of seeking medical care for his 15-month-old daughter who died of pneumonia and a blood infection.

The Neumann story, as reported by the BBC can be found here.

Its a sad story all round, I thought; not least because he thought he was doing what was best for his daughter. Many people would argue he was misguided, foolish or naive - but he now faces up to 25 years in prison for his actions. The prosecution argued that he was 'overwhelmed by pride' in his interpretation of the Bible and selfishly let Madeline die as a test of faith. I'm interested in hearing any thoughts on this story, on this blog or in class - particularly the implication that these days it is for our court systems to decide on questions of ethics. Interest in alternative medicine and faith healing appears to be growing and it could be argued in some cases has provided cures where conventional medicine couldn't. Does this mean that anybody who prefers to put their faith in non-conventional treatments could be seen as being criminally negligent?