Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rom Houben not communicating; blogger suppresses the evidence

It has now been demonstrated, as no surprise to skeptics, that Rom Houben was not communicating via facilitated communication, a discredited method by which facilitators have typed for autistic children. A proper test was conducted by Dr. Steven Laureys with the help of the Belgian Skeptics, and it was found that the communications were coming from the facilitator, not from Houben.

A blogger who was a vociferous critic of James Randi and Arthur Caplan for pointing out that facilitated communication is a bogus technique and who had attempted to use Houben's case to argue that Terri Schiavo also may have been conscious is not only unwilling to admit he was wrong, but is deleting comments that point to the results of this new test. I had posted a comment along the lines of "Dr. Laureys performed additional tests with Houben and the facilitator and found that, in fact, the communications were coming from the facilitator, not Houben" with a link to the Neurologica blog; this blogger called that "spam" (on the basis of my posting a similar comment on another blog, perhaps) and "highly misleading" (on the basis of nothing).

As I've said all along, this doesn't mean that Houben isn't "locked in" and conscious, but facilitated communication provides no evidence that he is.

(Previously, previously.)

1 comment:

Eamon Knight said...

The comparison to Schiavo is especially silly, given that both pre-mortem cranial imaging and post-mortem physical exam indicated that substantial portions of her brain were simply MIA. AFAIK, this is not the case for Houben, nor for the recently-reported cases of brain scans detecting apparent concious activity in similar patients.