Wednesday, January 13, 2016

At Sea in the Gulf of Understanding

Here there be creationists.

The Secular Spectrum: At Sea in the Gulf of Understanding

If I knew that my now-former friend didn't understand that she had subscribed to my secularist posts when I brainlessly asked her--along with my other Facebook friends--to like my Facebook page, I might have suggested to her that she unlike my page. I tried to suggest that later, but by that time she had already blocked me.

She thought I was sharing anti-creationist posts to taunt her.

Indeed, if I had thought about it, I never would've asked her to like the page in the first place. I knew that my Facebook page would be aimed at my skeptical and atheistic readers. And she was far from that.

"Penny" was on the extreme edge of Young Earth creationists.

Our differences had kept us from friending each other until then. And sadly, our friendship couldn't survive our friending.

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Coma Girl

Coma Girl

Not a miracle recovery, but a miracle of modern medicine

In 2013 I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died after I contracted legionella. The Legionnaire's disease was in turn triggered by immunosuppression caused by the prednisone I was taking for my rare autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.

I suffered a series of strokes on both sides of my brain when the sepsis caused my blood pressure to plummet. I fell into a deep coma. My kidneys and lungs began to fail, as my body was began dying one organ at a time. My doctors told my loved ones to give up hope for my full recovery. They expected me to die, and even if I somehow lived, I would remain a vegetable or at best left so hopelessly brain-damaged that I would never be same. But unbeknownst to them, while they were shining lights in my eyes and shaking their heads, I was telling them in my coma-dream--my secular version of a near-death experience--to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep. I was experiencing what is known as covert cognition, the subject of my Skeptical Inquirer article "Covert Cognition: My So-Called Near-Death Experience," which appeared in their July/August issue.

But it wasn't a miracle--despite what so many continue to believe--that I recovered so fully. I owe my life not to God, but the miracles of modern medicine, as well as the nature of the watershed-area brain damage I suffered, as I detailed in my article and in this blog.