My "miraculous" recovery from a 6-week coma through a skeptical and humanist lens, written by a writer published by Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry. When I awoke, I could barely raise my head, and it has been a hard road back. I also aim to educate the public about covert cognition. Too many people who are still conscious are being dismissed as hopeless vegetables, as I was. As many as one in five people with consciousness disorders have covert cognition. For them, there is still hope.
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Erasing the Cartoon While Facing Another
Miracle Girl: Erasing the Cartoon While Facing Another
I surprise even myself at the depth of my anger and disgust at Donald Trump. Erasing the Cartoon While Facing Another flowed trippingly from my fingertips. The ones Trump might have made fun of when I had limited mobility as I recovered from my coma and strokes.
I wish I could say God help us if for some reason the American people lose their minds and decide to hand over the nuclear launch codes to the most dangerous presidential candidate ever.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Benedict Arnold 2.0
Miracle Girl: Benedict Arnold 2.0
I'm still incredulous that Donald Trump would actually beg Vladimir Putin to conduct cyberwarfare against a former Secretary of State. And more than that, I'm angry, not just as a Democrat, but as an American.
Yes, Hillary Clinton is his opponent. But I can't believe the supposedly hyper-patriotic Republicans can get behind this near-treasonous behavior.
Is this really the person they want with his finger on the nuclear trigger? Does he want to hand that to Vlad the Terrible, too?
Monday, July 25, 2016
Hope Trumps Fear
Miracle Girl: Hope Trumps Fear
As I watched Donald Trump's raging acceptance speech last Thursday, a pall fell over me. I admit for the first time in this election season, I began to feel afraid. What if people begin to accept his angry distortions and outright lies?
But in times like these, I always try to remind myself of all the groups Trump has--and continues to--offend. Admittedly, Trump has a certain enraged and hate-filled constituency, but the American people as a whole are a hopeful lot. They fell head over heels for Ronald Reagan's Morning in America.
All they have to do is step outside to see it's not Midnight in America.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Partying Like It's 1968
Miracle Girl: Partying Like It's 1968
Keith and I have been watching the Republican National Convention. We do that every four years, but we've never seen one like this. Neither have most people alive today.
Donald Trump is scary enough, but when I learned he's taking a leaf from Richard Nixon's 1968 playbook, I became truly terrified.
You should be too.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
5 Reasons Why Heaven (Tourism) Isn't for Real
Miracle Girl: 5 Reasons Why Heaven (Tourism) Isn't for Real
My doctors wrote me off as a vegetable during my six weeks in bye-bye land. But as should be well known to my readers, even as they were shining lights in my eyes, I was telling them to leave me alone so I could get back to sleep. But since I was saying this in my coma-dream, they continued to shake their heads.
Instead of seeing angels, I saw miniature zoo animals holding a tea party. What was the difference? Could it be that I had been raised not on religion, but a steady diet of old science fiction movies?
In my latest Miracle Girl post, I present 5 Reasons Why Heaven (Tourism) Isn't for Real, but there are many, many, many more.
Friday, July 15, 2016
In God's Name
Miracle Girl: In God's Name
When Keith came home and switched on the English-language France 24 news when he got home from work, my heart sank.
Not again, I thought. I knew that there had been another tragic attack on France,
As I rode the exercise bike for rehab. And, instead of watching our usual evening entertainment, we continued watching the interviews with experts and the repetitive stream of videos.
There is much the French authorities still don't know about the attacks. But what we do know is that it wasn't perpetrated by an atheist.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Make America More Like Me Again
|Photo credit: Craig Sunter|
Miracle Girl: Make America More Like Me Again
Satire can be a tricky business. As one commenter to my latest Miracle Girl post said, "Stephanie, How close can satire get to the truth before it stops being satirical?"
I don't know, but I pulled out all the stops in the post, which purports to be a guest post by one Homer Whiteman. He's angry white supporter of Donald Trump, who asks where did my country go?
The opinions expressed do not represent the opinions of the author of Miracle Girl, Patheos…or any rational human being.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Miracle Girl: Handcuffing Humanism
I felt I needed to add some wider point to my post, The Blind Leading the Blind. To me, the Amazing Atheist represents a strain of atheism that seems bound and determined to prove the ridiculous slanders theists throw at atheists.
TJ Kirk really does seem to have no moral center. Or at least, he shows no evidence of any humanistic empathy.
To me, humanism is the theology of atheism. Therefore, atheist of Kirk's ilk lack the philosophy that undergirds and binds together the atheist movement.
Friday, July 8, 2016
The Blind Leading the Blind
Miracle Girl: The Blind Leading the Blind
I've been watching with growing anger and sadness the war brewing between YouTube atheist vlogger TheAmazingAtheist and Patheos Atheist blogger Martin Hughes, writer of Barrier Breaker.
My fellow Patheos writers have watched as TAA has done his best to smash Barrier Breaker with his white gangbangers of hate. Helpless to aid him in any other way, we've been writing blogs in support.
The Blind Leading the Blind is my blow against the bullying forces arrayed against Martin and Steve Shives, as well as anyone else who criticized TAA.
As someone who was bullied relentlessly as a child, how could I not defend people being pummeled by the forces of intolerance?
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Jew or Not a Jew
Miracle Girl: Jew or Not a Jew
When you think about it, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. To some Jews and atheists, I can't be Jewish because I'm an atheist who has never practiced Judaism. But to anti-Semites, my heritage will follow me forever.
I learned that at a very young age, when my best friend informed me that his Dad said I killed Christ. Not the Jews, mind you, but I did.
All five years of me.
Monday, July 4, 2016
Washington Crossing the Great Divide
Miracle Girl: Washington Crossing the Great Divide
Biography has changed immensely since the days of George Washington. Nowadays, readers expect a modicum of truth. Or at least truthiness.
This did not bother Parson Weems. He invented the stiltedly false cherry tree story. But he outdid himself in his account of the ascent into Heaven by George Washington.
Saturday, July 2, 2016
No Breach in the Wall of Separation
Miracle Girl: No Breach in the Wall of Separation
It only takes a few seconds of Googling to counter the false claims that the Religious Right makes that Thomas Jefferson didn't mean a solid wall of separation between Church and State. A few minutes more will reveal Jefferson's countless intemperate anti-clerical comments.
Jefferson's own words reveal that he was no friend of Christianity...or the intermingling of religion and politics.
Friday, July 1, 2016
A Less-Than-Saintly Patron Saint of Separationism
Miracle Girl: A Less-Than-Saintly Patron Saint of Separationism
I could fill blogs for months with Thomas Jefferson's anti-Christian and anti-clerical comments. I wonder if the teacher of my 7th grade school chorus knew of this when she decided to put on a production of Tall Tom Jefferson?
I was so proud when I was chosen to be the narrator of the musical, though it meant I couldn't sing with the class.
He's tall Tom, tall Tom Jefferson. He can do it, yes he can," rang the title song's chorus.When it was over, the teacher praised the quality of my narration. That certainly made my ego sing.
But the Jefferson quotes in my latest post in the Founding Fathers series would hardly be sung in the buckle of the Bible Belt, Birmingham, Alabama, where our production took place.
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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.