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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No, I asked for you to describe your "beyond heroic dose" experience that YOU claimed you had, which once again you've avoided.

A description of my drug use as a university student has as much relevance to your explanation of Stoned Ape as does a description of your bathroom use as a grammar school student.

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.

You're simply laying the groundwork for No True Scotsman. No True Scotsman could trip on mushrooms and not come away with a complete understanding of ego death. No, it can't be that. So I'm either a liar or I didn't have the right sort of trip. Woo-woo, Jimmy. Woo-woo rearranged.

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.

Agreed. Stoned Ape has no supporting evidence; McKenna made it up. And that goes no matter what the credentials of those he "presented" it to. How exactly does that render moot Heather's point that Stoned Ape--  and Space Mushroom and Timewave Zero-- are not science?

Read McKenna's work and interviews. He asserts these thin-air proclamations as though they are true, just like you do, only (as you pointed out) coupled with the intellectual cowardice of disowning the burden of scientific proof. The real kicker about McKenna is that sometimes he had the audacity to moan in the face of criticism that he wasn't being serious. So besides making shit up and ducking the burden of proof, he expected everyone to guess if he was joking.

To call that junk science seems increasingly fitting as a phrase and even a bit generous of Heather not to strike out the latter word as such: junk science

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.

My mind is open, Jimmy. But not so far that my brains fall out.

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.

Please take down that password and re-post your work here on TA. I'm not going to log into another site under an account I don't own. Even if you trust me-- which you've already indicated that you don't-- you're compromising the account by posting the password here for all to see.

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.

@Unseen Perhaps to you it may sound that way, but one thing I thought that Terence McKenna really did was point people to this experience, so I believe it's totally pointless to discard things like this as psychobabble or "hero worship" or any other criticism one might have and instead (if you truly wish to have a say) actually have the experience for yourself, then decide how to judge it. Otherwise, the basis from which you speak from is purely prejudice, ignorant and bias.

Some of us have had the experience, however - but if we don't share in your faith & worship, you simply discount our experience, suggesting we didn't follow the ritual properly -> exactly like every other theist who can't understand why we don't share their faith.

Your and McKenna's words describe pretty precisely how I go though life. The only REAL difference is that I don't see my life, boundlessly happy though I am, to be of any real importance. So how could any "revelations" about my life be so earth-shatteringly important? Your position, on the other hand, like Heather says, seems closer to worship. The changes to your life, while good, are, like your life itself, similarly unimportant (no offense).

But, if this is what entertains you, I think it's grand.

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