The modern skeptic needs to be well armed to deal with the array of woo being spewed these days. Biblical criticism is pretty much a solved game but the new-agers can toss out faux-facts faster than you can say, “Bullshit!”
One flavour making the rounds here recently has been the junk science of Terrence McKenna. An incredibly articulate ethnobotanist of the late 20th century, he was able to public several books that garnered the attention of aging hippies and which seem to have renewed their popularity with contemporary new agers. As a self-described psychonaut, his writing mostly revolved around his ever more desperate attempts to instill perceived empirical value to the observations he made of his own consciousness while higher than a kite.
His timewave zero and novelty theories tied into eschatological prognostications for 2012 – a prophecy failure that his devotees overlook as quickly as the adherents of Benny Hinn overlook his. Perhaps the most entertaining of his drug-addled ramblings was his ‘Stoned Ape’ conjecture.
In his Stoned Ape conjecture, McKenna tried to convince himself that use of magic mushrooms was the catalyst that sprung homo-sapiens into existence from homo-erectus. He starts by assuming that the magnificent shrooms appeared on the African savanna 100,000 years ago and made their way into the homo-erectus diet – both assumptions being supported by zero evidence. He then misrepresents a scientific study about visual perception to suggest that use of these mushrooms increased visual acuity in our early ancestors – thereby making them better hunters.
Based on his first two unfounded assumptions and an outright fabrication he then jumps to the conclusion that the results performed a miraculous one-time instance of Lamarckian inheritance, altering the offspring of psilocybin-gobbling hominids enough to speciate them from surrounding populations of homo-erectus. It just goes on and on, and he actually managed get published for it in 1992 - Food of the Gods.
I feel this load of malarkey is worth our attention, as skeptics, so we can be better prepared to counter the ridiculous claims of McKennites that we may encounter. I know there is one with us lately and felt he might like to put his thoughts on display here for all of us to observe the workings of such a mind.
I was talking to someone who was pretty amped up on McKenna. Then another guy walked in and was all about ancient aliens must have cut rocks up with lasers (like the ancients didn't have like 100 slaves polishing these stones). It's like if your car doesn't start it must be a government issued electromagnetic pulse (not your dead battery). What the hell? I looked up some of McKenna's stuff, saw a vid of him speaking, blah, blah, blah, sensory deprivation, yada, yada..., shrooms man, blah. blah
I'm amazed these crackpots get followers. I mean I realize the followers are also crackpots but I just don't understand what entices them to follow another crackpot when they could equally well make up their own malarkey.
There is a story about a novelist who, upon hearing of the creative benefits of shrooms gave it a try. In the midst of the high, he had an incredible idea for his next novel. He wrote it down and then lay down to sleep. When he woke up he ran over to the pad to read "boy meets girl."
That's funny - I've had similar experiences with alcohol and writing that have led me to greatly limit my alcohol intake when writing seriously. When I began getting serious about writing, I thought of Hemingway and figured that a few extra drinks might unleash my creative processes. When I reviewed my writing the next day, it was pure shit.
My solution: write first, drink later.
Had forgotten how grating her voice is.
This thread made me chuckle a little honestly, this is some goofy nonsense. To me they sound like nothing more then men who aren't smart enough to distinguish their hallucinations as just that. Similar to a little kid who has a bad dream, wakes up, and runs to mommy and daddy because he has no idea his dream was... just a dream.
As an example, DMT is one of the strongest hallucinogens known to man, and these people think it's a good idea to derive theories about reality from a trip on it. Brilliant.
As to 'shrooms' being an aid to hunting I would conjecture that the increased intensity of colors and other effects of the psyche would be a detriment to successful hunting. I have ate my share of shrooms in days long past and would not entertain the notion of hunting while under their effects.
The best condition for being a successful hunter of game is to do so with no food in your gut and the uncomfortable feeling of hunger pangs. It increases one's concentration for obvious reasons.
I'm not going hunting with anyone who's under any kind of chemical influence, especially one which can induce halucinations. If I had to, I'd rather go hunting with someone with a booze buzz than someone who's on a mushroom high.
I'ld go hunting with someone who was on mushrooms but I would replace their rifle with one that fired nerfs - it's not as though they would know the difference.
"WOW, man. My bullets are bouncing off the elk! I wonder if he is a shape-shifted shaman?"