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Journal of No. 118


November 24th, 2009

Two bits of fraud @ 01:38 pm

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A bizarre update on the census worker found hanged in Kentucky. Looks like there's very good evidence he committed suicide in a bid at insurance fraud.

And then there's this story: "a Belgian man who was diagnosed as comatose for 23 years typed out a message Tuesday that he felt reborn after decades of loneliness and frustration."

Good Morning America offered a completely credulous account of the story this morning, while the newslink above fortunately makes the obvious connection to Facilitated Communication, a discredited practice easily liable to fraudulent (albeit usually unconsciously so) usage, with horrific results. For all I know, the interpretation of the brain scans could be valid and he's totally aware inside, but if he's actually doing the typing, I'll eat my hat. Watch the video. FC was discredited more than 15 years ago, but it's still around.

Crap is evergreen and legion.

Time for an antidote. I miss you, Butthead Astronomer!
 
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:November 24th, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
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I saw this at PZ's, too. Even though I knew nothing of FC, I sensed from the video that it was shite.
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From:ono_sendai
Date:November 24th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
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What's worst about this situation is that if the brain scans are reasonably valid (which they seem to be), which is a possibility, then this poor guy is close to fully conscious of this horrible FC garbage being done to him. Now THAT'S pretty horrifying.
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:November 24th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
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People on PZ's site seem to be calling the brain scans into question, but yeah. If true, it's horrible.
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From:ono_sendai
Date:November 24th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
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I checked some of the publications out there - looks like the fMRI stuff is considered questionable but certainly not crazy or impossible. I have no idea to what extent the researchers are involved in the FC/media frenzy, however.
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From:ono_sendai
Date:November 24th, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
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Here's his personal website:
http://www.coma.ulg.ac.be/home/steven.html
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From:edgyspice
Date:November 25th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
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WTF? None of the stories about the Belgian guy that I'd seen up to this point mentioned the "facilitated communication" angle. God damn but I hate being rooked by the media. >:[

Journal of No. 118