The neural basis of seeing God?


A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.

According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the patient stopped taking his anti-convulsant medication. Here’s how the authors describe what happened:

While lying in bed, the patient abruptly “froze” and stared at the ceiling for several minutes, stating later that he felt that God was approaching him. He then started chanting prayers quietly, looked for his Kippa and put it on his head, chanting the prayers more excessively. Then, abruptly, he yelled “And you are Adonai (name of the Hebrew God) the Lord!”, stating later that god had revealed to him, ordering him to bring redemption to the people of Israel.

The patient then stood up, detached the EEG electrodes from his skin, and went around the department trying to convince people to follow him, stating that “God has sent me to you”. When further questioned, he said that he does not have a concrete plan, but he is sure that God is going to instruct him what he and his followers should do on their way to redemption.

The full article is here. The Times of Israel also has this story.

A Floating Food Forest


Swale, a collaborative floating food project, is dedicated to rethinking and challenging New York City’s connection to our environment. Built on an 80-foot by 30-foot floating platform, Swale contains an edible forest garden. Functioning as both a sculpture and a tool, Swale provides free healthy food at the intersection of public art and service. With Swale, we want to reinforce water as a commons, and work towards fresh food as a commons too.

Swale is an artwork. Art is integral to imagining new worlds. By continuing to create and explore new ways of living, we hope that Swale will strengthen our ways of collaborating, of cooperating, and of supporting one another. At its heart, Swale is a call to action. It asks us to reconsider our food systems, to confirm our belief in food as a human right, and to pave pathways to create public food in public space.

This is a great way to get fresh, healthy food to known food deserts. Have a look around Swale’s space, and donate if you can.


Medicine as Metaphor


© Sara Landeta.

A most poignant series by Sara Landeta. Her description:

The project includes a collection of 120 boxes of drugs that have been consumed by different patients to overcome their illnesses. All boxes are illustrated inside with a broad classification of birds from different families, being the only animal that although it gives it a meaning of freedom, because it is the only one able to connect with the earth and the sky, is also one of the main animals in captivity. This juxtaposition of the natural and the synthetic interprets the patient as a captive animal, and the bird as its metaphor.
Draw a collection of birds inside these boxes holding a single reflection ; l will learn to be birds in captivity, but they are wanting to fly, and that is what keeps them alive. 
I can’t speak for every chronic pain person out there, but this touches me deeply. There’s more at Colossal Art and The Jealous Curator.

Rape Pregnancies A Silver Lining From God

Ugh. I can’t even suppress the nausea induced by this mess of a person.

via YouTube Republican State Rep. Tila Hubrecht held a press conference Thursday to defend her views on rape pregnancies.

During an intense Tuesday floor debate on the measure, Hubrecht made the case that women should not be allowed to abort pregnancies caused by rape.

“When God gives life he does so because there’s a reason, no matter what,” she said. “Sometimes bad things happen, horrible things, but sometimes God can give us a silver lining through the birth of a child.” Because, yeah, rape sucks, but there’s nothing like nine months of living with your rapist’s baby growing inside you to help you get over it!

Full Story Here.

No Cancer Prevention For You!

The Food and Drug Administration is using young lesbians, drag queens, and transgender individuals in a $36 million advertising campaign to encourage the LGBT community to quit smoking.

The government launched the “This Free Life” campaign Monday, which encourages young people to “find their own truth” and not smoke cigarettes.

“This Free Life is a campaign that proudly celebrates the lives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community,” the campaign’s website states. “We wave our colors high and seek to improve LGBT people’s health by encouraging tobacco-free lifestyles.”

It is pointed out at the website, and in all the articles about the campaign, that the campaign is being paid for by tobacco taxes. Facts have never seemed to stop those who aren’t in the habit of reading comprehension or thinking, though, and thanks to Franklin Graham, a passel of Christians are very upset over the preferential treatment towards those people, why the nerve, trying to keep them alive and healthy when there are straight Christians out there who are…smoking? From OpposingViews:

Graham wrote on Facebook:

Can you believe it? Our Federal Food and Drug Administration is spending $36 million of taxpayer money on an advertising campaign featuring lesbians, drag queens, and transgender individuals to encourage the LGBT community to quit smoking. Doesn’t everyone need to quit smoking, not just this group?

They’re calling it the “This Free Life” campaign and they’re encouraging young people to “find their own truth.” The only way any person is going to find true freedom is through repentance and faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The real truth is, this lifestyle is not healthy—spiritually or physically. We need to believe God’s truth, not find our own truth as this campaign encourages.

Graham’s Christian followers were not swayed by the facts and slammed the cancer prevention program as he did:

“Throwing away our money on less than five percent of the people living a lifestyle we don’t agree with!!! True salvation is in Jesus Christ alone!!!”

“Just another contribution to our ever growing national debt!”

“Yes I can believe it! One more example of the government wasting tax payer dollars!!”

“Just another something unwanted being rammed down our throat by this administration. The anti-christ is here and in the white house.”

“Spend as much money as humanly possible…to crash the economy…to bring in the Jesuit New Wold Order..that has been the plan…..keep us busy at every turn, with every crazy sinful and destructive thing while building their army with our labor.”

“Wow, does our government ever spent money any more that does any good, that is so very wasteful.”

“Oh, so maybe that’s where the $$$ went instead of for a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year!!”

“They still don’t get why we’re so angry? This is why! Quit using our money for things like this! I know a lot of people who could use money for medicine or to go see a doc.”

“This is just sickening.”

“Truth, so right that God’s Truth is what everyone needs, yet satan can’t stand the truth, it is true that he is a lair and the father of lies.”

Truth and transgender at age 70

Kate and Linda Rohr sit down for breakfast on Valentine's Day at their home in Fort Bragg, Calif. Later that week, Kate would have her gender-affirmation surgery. (Amy Ellis Nutt / Washington Post)

Kate and Linda Rohr sit down for breakfast on Valentine’s Day at their home in Fort Bragg, Calif. Later that week, Kate would have her gender-affirmation surgery. (Amy Ellis Nutt / Washington Post)

For months, Bill Rohr kept three clocks running on his iPad. One counted down the days to his retirement as a surgeon: Dec. 31, 2015. Another counted up the days since he and his wife, Linda, married: June 15, 1968.

The third clock, the most recent addition and the one that most occupied Rohr’s thoughts, showed the days until his Feb. 17, 2016, surgery at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center south of San Francisco.

At age 70, Bill would become Kate.

It was an operation he’d long ago dismissed as unattainable – but one Linda said he deserved to have. She’d traveled the arc of his life, supportive even after his bombshell confession.

Wonderful Story (and video) Here.

Fetal Idolatry

The Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple (Screenshot/YouTube)

Anti-abortion activists were met head-on in Detroit by the city’s chapter of the Satanic Temple, who trolled them by dressing up in baby gear and decrying “fetal idolatry.”

According to the Temple’s Detroit chapter leader, Jex Blackmore, “the anti-choice movement’s obsession with, and mischaracterization of the fetus obscures medical reality and a woman’s constitutional right to choice.”

Full Story Here.


If there’s demonic activity…


According to Slate, this gap in American health care has created an opportunity for unregulated religious facilities posing as mental health clinics to take a dangerous role. Slate’s Jennifer Miller interviewed 14 former staffers, ex-clients and families for Nashville-based Mercy Ministries — recently renamed Mercy Multiplied.

The charity serves as an in-patient setting for exclusively female clients, aged 13 to 28. An insight into the philosophy behind the program can perhaps be gleaned from a speech by its founder, Nancy Alcorn, who in 2008 said,

If there’s demonic activity, like if somebody has opened themselves up to the spirit of lust or pornography or lots of promiscuous sexual activity, then we’ve opened the door for demonic powers. And secular psychiatrists want to medicate things like that, but Jesus did not say to medicate a demon. He said to cast them out. And that’s supposed to be a part of normal Christianity.

One former patient, Hayley Baker, suffered from a plethora of diagnoses, including major depression and an eating disorder. She also suffered a history of child abuse when she entered a Mercy facility in 2009.

Baker says she was denied prescription Xanax by staffers while suffering nighttime panic attacks, and instead given a sheet of paper saying, “Peaceful Sleep,” bearing a line from the book of Psalms: “He grants sleep to those he loves.”

Baker, like other patients, was told prayer could cure her problems. In fact, staffers approached all problems with this one-size-fits-all religious approach. When one facility experienced an outbreak of mononucleosis, residents were made to walk through the halls and call for banishing of the evil spirits that were causing it.

Baker, who was molested as a little girl, said part of the treatment she was expected to perform was to imagine Jesus being present during a traumatic event in her past and absolving her of guilt associated with it.

“I couldn’t make up Jesus saying something to me,” Hayley told Slate. “I didn’t blame myself for the abuse.”

I’ve had mono. By the time I was diagnosed, I’d had it for some time, and my spleen was enlarged, a common situation with mono. You need to have care, so you don’t rupture your spleen, which is a life threatening situation. “Banishing evil spirits causing mono”. What in the effety eff do you say about that? What happens when the “evil spirits” result in a spleen rupture? This is willful stupidity. It’s dangerous stupidity. It’s devastating to think of all the women who are being so maltreated, especially when they have troubles enough weighing them down.

Their rating at Charity Navigator is 85.97. The recent name change to Mercy Multiplied reflects on how much this fake clinic is branching out. They have even set up in Canada. There’s some very good insight into this travesty of so-called mental health help here. A lot of women end up at MM because there’s simply no other option – they don’t have the money for proper care. There’s more information here and here. There’s also Mercy Survivors.

Slate in depth storyFull Raw Story.

Sunday Facepalm


Rep. David Brumbaugh. Wikimedia.

Oh hey, God will pick up the tab, no worry.

I guess ‘God’ only cares about economy of Oklahoma, and will only care if good ol’ Dave there legislates all those potential sluts into order. Perhaps the pile drive of the patriarchal thumb is what will fix economies all over. That’s a theory of economics, ennit?

Abortion rights groups warned that the legislation is unconstitutional and that it could invite a legal challenge if signed into law. A 2011 Oklahoma law that essentially banned drug-induced abortion was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court.

“I’ve heard almost every argument today about judicial challenge to this legislation and after much prayer and study, I ask myself this question,” Brumbaugh said. “Do we make laws because they’re moral and right, or do we make them based on what an unelected judicial occupant might question or overturn?”

Supposedly, laws are made to ensure freedoms, rights, justice, (yeah, I know) and to protect people. Those pesky freedoms and rights have been dismissed, there’s no concern for justice, certainly no empathy or mercy to be found, so who is it you’re trying to protect? Oh, clumps of cells. Forgot about those blobs for a moment, what with them not being people or anything.

He compared passing the abortion legislation in the face of a possible legal challenge to the abolition of slavery, the Civil Rights Act and the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

“Don’t let people tell you, ‘Unconstitutional arguments, Roe v. Wade,’ all this,” Brumbaugh said, referencing the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

I swear, one of these days I will actually drop dead from irony poisoning. Oh well, Dave’s bottom line message? Ignore the law until I make up one I like!

Judo Jesus and The Spitter

I’ve often written about the Red River Clinic  in the comments at Pharyngula. It’s the last clinic standing in ND, and they always have anti-choicers hanging about. (Any and all pennies you might have to contribute to keep the clinic open would be more than appreciated). Then there’s Jesus, but for a change, he’s on the right side…


Nik Severson

In this Forum file photo, Fargo police responded to a disturbance between Tyson Kuznia, left, and Nikolaus Severson, right, outside the Red River Women’s Clinic in downtown Fargo, N.D. on Sunday, October 25, 2015.

FARGO – A judge has ordered a Fargo man to pay a $400 fine for fighting someone outside the downtown Red River Women’s Clinic last year.

In October, Nikolaus Severson was goading anti-abortion protesters picketing outside the only clinic that performs abortions in North Dakota when a passer-by spit in his face.

Severson “grabbed the victim, threw him to the ground and sat on him,” prosecutor Ian R. McLean said in Municipal Court on Thursday, April 14.


Tyson Kuznia, who spit on Severson before being tackled, was also ordered to pay $400 and granted a deferred imposition of sentence when a Municipal Court judge found him guilty Jan. 14 of a misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Kuznia said he felt compelled to spit on Severson because Severson was harassing anti-abortion protesters.

[Gosh, those anti-choice protesters, not harassing anyone, no, not at all, nope.]

Severson irritated the anti-abortion protesters for several days, holding up signs like “F— these haters.” In an interview late last year, Severson said he has no stance on abortion because he is not a woman. But he said, “I just don’t like people using God to shame women.”

Full Story Here.

The importance of pets

Naeila El Shatir considers her cat Sherry to be part of the family. (CBC)

Naeila El Shatir considers her cat Sherry to be part of the family. (CBC)

Thanks to Tim Gueguen for the heads up. Naeila El Shatir, a Syrian refugee, was very happy to be going to Canada, but she also had a great need to ensure another refugee made it with her, her cat Sherry.

“This cat suffered as we suffered in the war. He was always afraid,” she explained. “He spent a very difficult time with us. He always looked at me to ask, ‘When will all of this end?'”


For El Shatir, who counseled refugee children with psychosocial issues, taking care of Sherry became a form of therapy and a way of honouring her sister’s memory.

In February, El Shatir and her elderly mother were accepted as government-sponsored refugees in Canada, but pets were not allowed.

“There is no chance,” El Shatir said. “There is a big list of what you can bring and can’t bring. I can’t bring cats or plants.”

El Shatir was torn over whether to leave Sherry behind. In the end, she entrusted Sherry with her brother who promised to complete the extensive medical screening and paper work required to ship a cat to Canada.


“I thank Canada, its people, its government for giving the Syrian people a chance to restart our lives again. To have a chance to live in a normal way and a safe way. Also for giving my cat another chance to live.”

There seems to be a prevailing sense that any refugee should be damn glad to be out of a bad situation, who cares if they are treated like human beings floating about. It’s good to see there are people who do understand how difficult it is for refugees, and something like a beloved pet can make all the difference to a person, especially one who has been subjected to ongoing trauma. You Canadians are serious nice.

Sunday Facepalm

Doctor with a syringe (Shutterstock)

Doctor with a syringe (Shutterstock)

This is not remotely amusing, it’s fucking infuriating. As a pain patient myself, I know the lengths people will go to in order to live something resembling a pain-free life. Pain can consume you, it becomes your whole damn landscape, internally and externally. For this…disgrace of a person to be allowed to carry on with this should be a crime, and he should not be allowed to practice in any way.

A man known as “Dr. Mike” in Edmond, Oklahoma is being questioned by the community about the ingredients of what he calls a “Jesus shot.”

The full name of “Dr. Mike” is John Michael Lonergan, and in 2005 he had his license to practice medicine revoked in Ohio after he was convicted of eight felony counts of tax evasion, mail fraud and health care fraud. After he was released from prison, “Dr. Mike” moved to Oklahoma, which granted him a license to practice medicine on a provisional, supervised basis.

According to News 9, “Dr. Mike” has been injecting local residents with something he calls the “Jesus shot,” which allegedly cures all pain for life. At his clinic, he has been charging people $300 per “miracle injection.” […]

Last month, one Oklahoma resident curious about “Dr. Mike” posted about him in a forum devoted to “outing people who falsely claim military service.”

“Nobody knows anything about this guy,” she wrote, “but he claims that he is a Former Special Forces Doctor and him and another Special Forces Doctor developed a serum for the military called Jesus Juice and it has been used in the military for years and it cures any ailment.” […]

The Oklahoma Medical Board terminated its supervisory agreement with “Dr. Mike” in March of last year, News 9 reports, but the terms of that agreement allowed him to continue to practice medicine, unsupervised, for another 12 months.

The rest of the Raw Story article is here.

A later report, from National Pain Report has this to add:

It can’t be substantiated but a Dr. Schrick told reporters that it is a mixture of Kenalog, Vitamin B12 and dexamethasone. Oh, and it had another less exciting name: inflammation protocol.