Why proponents of intelligent design and climate change skeptics are not getting fair treatment.

More ranting on the BBC Sport "technically dead" issue. This post just collects some of the notes I made about the association between parapsychology pseudo-science and usage of the term "clinical death".

Proponents of intelligent design are not getting fair treatment.


Because any previous creationist attempts to introduce anti-scientific cods-wallop into the national lexicon quickly gets shot down. As soon as some religious nut pops up with a theory about bananas or peanut butter as being evidence for a designer God, the internet deployed the Hitch or Dawkins to rip them a new one in some glorious moments of ass kickin.

But the efforts of  and Near Death Experience proponents seem to get a free pass, in fact free repetition on major news channels.

In some of my previous posts I had noted that the term "clinically dead" and its wikipedia article are little more than a sham to anchor a whole bunch of near-death-experience nutters with some pseudo scientific credibility.

Defining "clinical death" or "clinically dead" as being current medical terms for the cessation of blood circulation and breathing has no basis in the literature, in law, or in medicine.

The current authoritative guidance for the United Kingdom is set out in the document "A Code of Practice for the Diagnosis and Confirmation of Death" published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges 2008 which provides the following definition of death:
"Death entails the irreversible loss of those essential characteristics which are necessary to the existence of a living human person and, thus, the definition of death should be regarded as the irreversible loss of the capacity for consciousness, combined with irreversible loss of the capacity to breathe. This may be secondary to a wide range of underlying problems in the body, for example, cardiac arrest. "

And this document also confirms that
"The current position in law is that there is no statutory definition of death in the United Kingdom. Subsequent to the proposal of the ‘brain death criteria’ by the Conference of Medical Royal Colleges in 1976 the courts in England and Northern Ireland have adopted these criteria as part of the law for the diagnosis of death."
And if you see my previous blog on this subject, its pretty clear the US medical and legal situation is fairly similar.

However if you search the term "Clinical Death", there is a vast body of usage in both mainstream and cod-science context. The wikipedia article entitled "Clinical Death" has 177 articles linking in to the page, and has Google page rank 5/10

Web Page URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical_death
The Page Rank:

(the page rank value is 5 from 10 possible points)

If "Clinical death" were in the parapsychology section of wikipedia, then I could kind of understand, but its purporting to be a mainstream definition:

If you create a tag-cloud of the categories of the incoming links you end up with something like this;

Tag-cloud for "clinical death"
created at TagCrowd.com

Tag-cloud for a similar medical condition "Asystole"

created at TagCrowd.com

So to summarise there appears to be a group of writers who use what is prima facie, a very literal phrase, in a counter literal sense.


Facco, E., Zucchetta, P., Munari, M., Baratto, F., et al. (1998) ‘99m Tc-HMPAO SPECT in the diagnosis of brain death’, Intensive care medicine, 24(9), pp. 911–917.

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