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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I can see how it may seem like a No True Scotsman, but I've written an entire page on another atheist forum as to why it's not, and I could link you, if you'd like, but again, you've avoided the question. I've already said that there is no way to prove this concept, but that doesn't mean that it's not plausible.

Are you going to answer the question or are you going to insist on the false claim that it's a "No True Scotsman" fallacy?

No, I asked for you to describe your "beyond heroic dose" experience that YOU claimed you had, which once again you've avoided. And I'm not trying to "shift the burden of proof," I'm simply curious to hear what you have to say about your experience, if you did, in fact, have one that is. While Terence did present this idea to biologists, Nobel laureates, geologists, archaeologists, etc., he did understand that it was something that couldn't be scientifically investigated, so Heather's argument was moot from the beginning, because if you're going to say Terence attempted to somehow scientifically prove this, that's untrue.

Oh, and here's the link as promised. I interject the notion of "Perennial Philosophy" which was a take on this phenomenon that Aldous Huxley entertained after he had undergone his experience of "ego death." The "No True Scotsman" thing is mentioned on page 3, but I start the discussion on Perennial Philosophy on page 2. You'll find that it's met by a bit more open-mindedness than I've received when I mentioned here on the "God's Will and Human Freedom" thread.

They recently made it so you have to be a member to view the page, so if you don't want to take the time to sign-up, you may borrow my ex-girlfriend's log-in. I don't think she uses it much anymore.

Think God thread @ forum


Password: master1

Jimmy, you do realise that is also her email account login password, don't you? 

It's not, so it's okay for Gallup to use it. I trust he's not going to troll with it... I hope.

It doesn't lay out the ground work for the No True Scotsman fallacy, Terence McKenna only fiercely defended it as speculation, you and Heather are the only two that think it simply "junk," just because you don't agree with it, doesn't mean it's not a possibility, and the account I've given you is free to use, so please, indulge yourself. The e-mail account is no longer active, but you should be able to still log-in to view the thread.

So, once again, you've avoided the question… I'll ask one one more time, and I'm going to have to point out to you that this isn't attempt to "shift the burden of proof" or "lay out the groundwork for a fallacy," etc. I'm simply interested in what you have to say even if you don't think it's relevant. So, would you mind describing your experience?

But I assure you, the experience of "ego death" is DEFINITELY not woo-woo, it's a tried-and-true phenomenon that occurs in consciousness if one avails themselves of the shamanic tools that are available to us in the here and now.

Is your lengthy absence of a retort due to a lack of opportunity to respond or is it because you don't want to retract your statement about having "beyond the heroic dose"? Hmm…

Of course, you don't want to be so open-minded that the wind whistles between your ears, but I think if you had reasonable open-mindedness, you'd visit the forum I linked you to that goes in much more depth about this concept of "ego death" that seems so alien to you… probably due to not having this experience, I'd suppose.

And once again the theist attributes the lack of a theistic experience to the lack of faith.  Give it up, no one is buying your bullshit here.

They don't have to listen to what I have to say about these things, the shamanic tools are there and they speak for themselves.

Oh, now there is a full ritual to your religion - and a ceremony that promises to be very cool but which delivers no measurable change but which you still proclaim is some sort of salvation.  We'll just call this new religion Terencism.

Ok, you can't describe the experience itself, but, in that the experience has had a marked effect on you, perhaps you could describe some of the changes the experience has made to you, personally? Are you more patient? More forgiving? Less judgemental? What?

MikeLong, yes, more patient, more forgiving, less judgemental are some of the qualities you can come back with. Terence McKenna once put it this way:

"The shaman visits the end. All that precedes the end, in other words, it's like turning to the last page of the novel and finding out how it all comes out, once you know how it all comes out, you're free from the ordinary anxiety of worry and concern, you return to your place in time more like an actor on a stage rather than a person caught in a universe they can't understand. That's the key thing, they shaman understands the universe in which he or she is living and the rest of us are only provisionally groping to understand, and this understanding is achieved through this higher dimensional view point. The shaman literally looks down on time as a king looks down on his kingdom from his castle."

@Heather I'm sorry, but your very naïve comments here in the forum and in the chatroom about Terence's "Stoned Ape" SPECULATORY concept just proves that you never really understood it at all in the first place.

That's the key thing, they shaman understands the universe in which he or she is living and the rest of us are only provisionally groping to understand, and this understanding is achieved through this higher dimensional view point.

Hero worship and psychobabble.


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