Monday, January 11, 2016

My latest Free Inquiry essay is out

Notice the final name listed on the cover.
Free Inquiry: Sympathy for the Devil-Believers

In late October, 2015, Free Inquiry editor Tom Flynn sent me an email asking if I wanted to add a reference to a widely publicized Gallop poll that came out after "Sympathy for the Devil-Believers" had been accepted for publication in their February/March issue.

While I opened the essay with a much-discussed 2014 Pew poll showing that more than half of the American public wouldn't vote for an atheist for president, a 2015 Gallop poll showed that 54% would vote for an atheistic presidential candidate.

Wahoo--only 46% to go!

I added the Gallop poll to the essay because I'm a perfectionist, but my larger contention about the negative views held against atheists still stands. This is a point that is immediately obvious to most nonbelievers who are "out." Many, if not most, have personally confronted bias.

I recounted some of my own incidents of prejudice in "Sympathy."

Tell me your own stories in the comments section!

5 comments:

  1. I saw this after writing a post that in my mind theistic morals are actually inferior. http://tinyurl.com/htnsyq9

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  2. Well elucidated.

    Are you a subscriber to Free Inquiry? I suspect you would be interested in theme of the current issue (in which my essay, "Sympathy for the Devil-Believers" appears). It's about theodicy.

    I would also called the defence of God's goodness in the light of the existence of evil simply idiocy. ;-)

    By the way, my next post for the Secular Spectrum (when I've written it) will touch on the subject as well. That post will also be related to "Sympathy."

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am surprised that they didn't use any of any coma pictures, considering it's a column about death and all things morbid to essay writers. Maybe that would've made it look sensational, instead of being about the fascinating aspects of the coma experience.

    ReplyDelete

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Coma Girl

Coma Girl

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In July of 2013, I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died. When I awoke from the coma, I could barely lift my head. It has been a hard road to recovery. The doctors advised my loved ones to give up all hope for my full recovery, but while they were shining lights in my eyes to gauge my level of consciousness, I was telling them grumpily to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep...in my coma-dream. I was experiencing covert cognition, and the coma-dream was my version of a near-death experience. I'm a skeptic, so I saw surreal images instead of spirits or dead loved ones. According to my research, as many as one in five people with consciousness disorders have covert cognition.

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.