Skeptical about Coma man?
I have been following this case for the past couple of days mainly because of a sense of terror at being stuck inside an unresponsive body for 23 years while being fully concious! He is apparently able to type his words on a computer, and is even planning on writing a book. This sounded so amazing that at first I was willing to just accept the mass media reporting.
However, after the initial shock and horror wore off I started following some of the more skeptical blogs out there to see what was really going on.
This story has made world headlines, but there are still so many questions that need to be asked regarding the truth of this story. If you look at the video footage of the man 'communicating' through the computer, you can see that it is actually his facilitator who is doing the typing, and most of the time Mr Houben is not even looking at the screen. This has lead a lot of skeptics to criticise the stories being reported through the media. The basis of the criticism is the use of 'Facilitated Communication' which Randi debunked in the early 90's.
My problem with this criticism is that just because the FC is not valid it does not mean that Mr Houben is not awake.
If you look a little deeper you will see that Mr Houben has been communicating for almost 3 years, and in some cases without the help of a facilitator, using a mouse he operates with his foot.
For a nice report have a look at this blog
I cannot imagine being trapped like this for 23 years, and I hope for Mr Houbens sake that new technology will enable him to communicate effectively with his family.
There are so many questions that remain to be answered about this case, and I think that we have to trust the neurologists who are caring for him to fully test his level of conciousness and his ability to communicate through a facilitator.
I will be watching this case closely and update with any new information. Needless to say you should not trust anything you hear in the mass media, and you should even be skeptical of the skeptics at times.