Wednesday, November 25, 2009

When stupid people blog ... yadda yadda yadda ... Blogging Tory.

Here's Blogging Tory and hysterically credulous Christian apologist Richard Ball, practically squeezing out a load due to the sheer excitement of it all:

NEVER call someone a vegetable

... This comes to [sic] late to help Terry [sic] Schiavo who was, effectively, murdered (or something very close to it) with the support of a substantial percentage of American society.

I know ... let's do something very un-Dick Ball-like, follow that link and, you know, read what we find:

'I screamed, but there was nothing to hear': Man trapped in 23-year 'coma' reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious

Yes, that is awesomely impressive. However, unlike Mr. Ball, we will not stop at the title. We will continue reading because, well, we here at CC HQ are not irresponsible, scientifically illiterate idiots. Onward:

A car crash victim has spoken of the horror he endured for 23 years after he was misdiagnosed as being in a coma when he was conscious the whole time.

Rom Houben, trapped in his paralysed body after a car crash, described his real-life nightmare as he screamed to doctors that he could hear them - but could make no sound.

'I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,' said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.

Wait for it ... wait for it ... wait for it ... ah, there it is:

'I dreamed myself away,' he added, tapping his tale out with the aid of a computer.

I could lovingly eviscerate this obvious example of facilitated communication but I'll just give props to long-time CC HQ commenter Stimpson who starts us off here, then pop over to PZ's take on it here, then (as PZ suggests) go watch the video here which makes it disgustingly obvious what a load of bollocks this is, then (if you want) pop back to the Daily Mail article, where the commenters have clearly had enough of this farce:

I am glad people are pointing out that this is hoax. The real question is how can media be so easily duped? All you have to do is watch a video and you can see the helper is really the one doing the typing. How can we force the media produces to think a little before they publish or broadcast nonsense? ...

I have seen a whole room full of profoundly Austistic people apparently using facilitated communication to spout advanced poetry. These people were not even looking at the keyboards they were 'using'. Carers were directing the hand (whether knowingly or not) to type out complicated messages to the outside world. This is sick and a terrible abuse of the persons human rights. How dare they put words in someone's mouth. In some cases it may be a totally appropriate tool ( I know people with cerebral palsy who have physical disabilities only and benefit greatly from similar ideas - but with much less facilitation! - if the hand needs total guiding we should be very suspicious of who the message is coming from...

This IS a hoax. Please stop. It's called "facilitated communication" and was debunked YEARS ago. Many other have beaten me to it but I am repeating to make sure these terrible false hope stories of him communicating keep spreading through the media. It's not true. There IS brain activity similar to a fully conscious person but there ISN'T communication via a keyboard. ...

This is a hoax, as are most cases of so-called facilitated communication. I can't believe mainstream media is buying this story. ...

In other news, Blogging Tory Dick Ball finally wrote something coherent and intelligent but, curiously, it required the use of a computer and a facilitator who wasn't a moron.

BY THE WAY, there is a trivially simple way to verify all of this one way or the other. Note, from the Daily Mail article, the utterly vapid, Hallmarkian content of Houben's "statements":

" ... I dreamed myself away ... All that time I just literally dreamed of a better life. Frustration is too small a word to describe what I felt."

Generic, content-free rubbish. Instead, why not ask Houben to tap out the answers to some simple questions that only he (but not the assisting facilitator) would know. What were his parents and grandparents names? What were the names of his pets? What dojo did he attend for his martial arts training? Questions that would resolve this in a matter of seconds.

Instead, what we get is Oprah-style pap, designed specifically to gull the rubes. And, by George, it did work, didn't it? At least for a day or two.

P.S. PZ also reminds me of an even easier way to debunk this idiocy: Ask Houben to identify objects that are visible only to him and not the facilitator. As I said, this could all be settled in, literally, seconds.


thebanana said...

Even the editors at the Globe and Mail fell for this one. See today's edition.

Backseat Blogger said...

good post. I missed the updates to the story.

it was richard ball's looney comments on terry schiavo that caught my eye.

a very sad story all told - both of them.