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!


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

  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."

  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.


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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.