Breaking: Kent Hovind in Solitary

From Kent Hovind’s outfit, Creation Science Ministry’s Facebook page comes word that Kent is now in solitary:

Creation Science Evangelism Pleas pray for Dr. Hovind. We were just informed that he is solitary confinement. We are not sure why he is there and how long he must stay. He is need of your prayers. Thank you!

No word on how prayer is supposed to help, or what he did this time, though I’m sure we’ll be seeing a selectively-edited account of the events at some point.

(And just to keep the schadenfreude from getting out of control, I should add that solitary confinement is not something I’d wish on anyone.)

Update, 17:17: According to this thread at the JREF forums, this isn’t the first time Hovind has (been said to have been) placed in solitary. And given creationists’ penchant for repeating ancient and out-of-date information, for all I know this latest instance may be referring to something that happened three years ago.

US Legal System Says Prayer Doesn’t Work

From the
Associated Press:

WAUSAU, Wis. — A Wisconsin man accused of killing his 11-year-old daughter by praying instead of seeking medical care was found guilty Saturday of second-degree reckless homicide.

Dale Neumann, 47, was convicted in the March 23, 2003, death of his daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes. Prosecutors contended he should have rushed the girl to a hospital because she couldn’t walk, talk, eat or speak. Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family’s rural Weston home as people surrounded her and prayed. Someone called 911 when she stopped breathing.

Neumann’s 41-year-old wife, Leilani, was convicted on the same charge in the spring and is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 6. Both face up to 25 years in prison.

The six-man, six-woman jury deliberated about 15 hours over two days before convicting Neumann. Jurors submitted four questions to Marathon County Circuit Judge Vincent Howard before reaching a verdict. In one, the panel asked whether Neumann’s beliefs in faith healing made him “not liable” for not taking his daughter to the hospital even if he knew she wasn’t feeling well.

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.”

(emphasis added.)

There have been a number of cases recently in which people were
charged with criminal negligence for praying instead of providing
medical care. And for the most part, I think sanity has prevailed, and
parents who chose superstition over medicine have been convicted. This
case is one more example of that.

And what I find interesting is what this says about the US legal
system and American society. What people do is a better indicator of
what they believe than what they say. If I say that I think the stock
price of Amalgamated Widgets is about to skyrocket, then short their
stock, that means I don’t really believe the company’s doing well. If
I say that the world will end in five years, tops, but am socking
money away in a pension plan, then I don’t really believe what I’m

In the Neumann case, I’d wager money that a majority of the jurors are
Christians, and that some significant number of them would say that
prayer has beneficial effects. And yet, when push came to shove, they
found Neumann guilty of reckless homicide. The message is that prayer
doesn’t work nearly as well as medicine, and that Neumann should have
known this.

It’s disappointing, though, that push has to come to shove before
people call bullshit.

UMD to End Graduation Prayer

According to the not always reliable
(hey, whaddya want? It’s a student paper), the University of Maryland
senate has voted to stop having prayers at graduation ceremonies. This
doesn’t affect individual colleges’ ceremonies, though.

It seems to have been a pretty decisive vote, too: 32-14.

The main arguments against the move seem to confuse secularism with

“We need to be careful not to send the message that
secular language is seen as superior and acceptable while religious
language is seen as inferior and unacceptable,” [the university’s
Episcopalian chaplain, Peter Antoci] said.

It’s quite simple, really: if I’m at a staff meeting, and others are
talking about last night’s basketball game, and I say “Could you
please stop talking about basketball so that we can get on with the
business at hand and get out of this meeting early?”, I’m not saying
that basketball is a Bad Thing, or that talking about basketball is
bad. I’m just saying that it’s irrelevant to the purpose of the
meeting, so please do it on your own time.

According to the article, the university still employs 14, count ’em!,
14 chaplains, and I’m not aware of any movement to fire or censor them
(unless your definition of “censorship” includes denying them a
captive audience).

Of course,
some people
are appalled that this happened around the same time that
a porn flick was going to be shown on campus:

Great: Porn is ok; prayer is not.

I guess I’ll mark this one as “straw man”, since no one is suggesting
that porn be shown at graduation ceremonies.