It's an excerpt from a transcript in which a member of the Followers of Christ church (Worthington) is tried for manslaughter after he neglects to take his baby daughter to the doctor for pneumonia and an infection "that could have been cured with antibiotics." (That's the first hint that I'm supposed to think something.) I assume we're supposed to point and laugh at the religious nut, but the thing is, he kind of makes more sense than the prosecutor (Horner):
WORTHINGTON: I would probably never use modern medicine myself. I've never felt that I've needed it. It wasn't because somebody forced this on me. It's because I've seen for myself, as I was growing up. When I was anointed, I felt better, so that trained me to have faith in it.He continues to basically berate the guy (which, I realize, is what prosecutors do), incredulously asking for clarification, when the guy's position is clear. I hate when people act confused to make a point. I mean, I'm an atheist, and I think religions that reject any and all medical intervention are stupid, of course, but the guy's position is remarkably consistent and lucid, compared to most nutjob Christians.
HORNER: Has your position changed as a result of what happened to your daughter?
WORTHINGTON: No, it's still the same.
HORNER: So the fact that you did not get your daughter to a hospital Saturday night, and she died a day later, has not changed your position on modern medicine?
WORTHINGTON: Well, it hasn't changed the way I feel. I've seen nothing here that's proved to me that it would have been any different had we taken her in. When a doctor can't do nothing for you, you usually put it in God's hands anyways, so that's where I'd had it the whole time. [Emphases mine]
HORNER: Even in retrospect, even knowing the outcome, you wouldn't change how you handled her medical condition?
I think the part above in boldface is rather brilliant. Worthington essentially calls bullshit on Horner's hindsight fallacy (i.e., since you know the outcome now, obviously you should have acted differently) and simultaneously points out the hypocrisy of most pseudo-Christians who rely on doctors first and then only pray to God as a last resort. (I think he even implies that "anoint[ing] someone with olive oil" and a fair amount of "modern medicine" work on the same principle: faith, AKA the placebo effect.)
My question is, do the Harper's editors see this? Do most of their readers? Or are they mostly just snickering and shaking their heads at the backwoods dude who killed his baby?
P.S. I in no way advocate withholding antibiotics from infected babies. Also, I knock Harper's, but it is pretty much my favorite magazine. After Lucky. The other night I said to John, "I love reading Lucky. It's a pure experience." Meaning that I do it purely for pleasure, not because I feel like I should (which is true for at least half of what I read). And he nodded and said, "Yes, unsullied by crass commercialism." Ha ha! Lucky comes with little sticker tabs so you can mark all the shit you want to buy. AWESOME.
P.P.S. Someday I'm going to count up all the incidences of the word "wildly" in an issue of Lucky (as in, "wildly sensuous" or "wildly affordable"). It will be staggering.