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.

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Mushrooms aren't plants, and spores can actually survive very cold temperatures, temperatures you'd find in space, in fact. The organic casing of a spore approaches that of a metal, and the violet exterior can withstand high amounts of radiation, and so forth. Why isn't it plausible to think that spores can drift through a kind of Brownian motion like cosmic dandruff?

Mushrooms are, however, eukaryotes and as such share some basic genetic similarities with every other eukaryote on the planet.  The evidence that they evolved here, with us, from a common ancestor is overwhelming to everyone except theists.  Don't be fucking ridiculous.

What she said.

Don't be fucking ridiculous.

Come on, Heather. Jimmy operates at the frontier of science. You don't have to bother with pesky details like burden of proof, supporting evidence, testability, falsifiability, or even providing a clear explanation of what you're talking about.

The Space Alien Mushroom hypothesis is subjective. I'm sure Jimmy would explain further, but anyone who has never squatted in a submarine at the bottom of the deepest trench in the Pacific ocean while having a hazelnut coffee enema could never understand it anyway. Or whatever.

Yes, and the implication being that this common ancestor may have been an extraterrestrial common ancestor, but you've obviously overlooked this possibility.

LOL!  At the last two posts.

Another caveat would be the fact that these things contain psilocybin, a substance that occurs nowhere else in nature but in these mushrooms.

Another caveat would be the fact that these things contain psilocybin, a substance that occurs nowhere else in nature but in these mushrooms.

And let's not ignore that seawater occurs nowhere else in nature but in the sea. Gigantic space alien tanker ships must have made it and transported it here. Sure, there's no proof and no way to test this hypothesis. But fuck it. It's plausible.

Besides, if you've never licked the underside of a movie theatre seat after a showing of "High Noon' on a Tuesday afternoon in the Bronx, you'd never grasp the concept anyway. Or whatchamacallit.

Well, I'm glad you mentioned that, it's also been speculated that water itself may have also derived from asteroidal impacts.

There is a serious scientific hypothesis that bacterial spores left over from the previous solar system survived to drift onto our planet 3.5 billion years ago.  This is because of the apparent suddenness with which bacteria appeared.  It doesn't sound so far-fetched to me, considering we've had prions and mad-cow disease in the past 20 years.  Prions can survive being autoclaved, and come back to give you mad-cow disease. 

Unseen is right when he points out that M-theory is controversial among scientists and it's for exactly the same reason: it cannot be tested. So you'll find a sizable crop of scientists that don't consider it to be science, either. The controversial aspect is that different models of M-theory actually can be tested, but only by using mathematical equations.

Basically, while there are such things as proofs in math, they just prove the math and have no implication for science without some actual measurements or quantities to use in place of the terms of the formula. 

@Jimmy

How about this then....

You state the key points of 'Stoned Ape' as you understand it so we can analyze it, ok?

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