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.

Views: 7323

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


"Are you making an offer of illicit drugs?"

I asked would you try it - NOT do you want some.

"Or if there isn't a term covering that, there soon would be."

Ok ..

"Now, why would I want to alter my mind? So that I can have a flashback? So that I can experience tachycardia? So that I can risk a bad trip? So that I can do something that might endanger me or others?"

Ive been searching around for some negative opinions on LSD - the only place I can find anything is in places like Christian Forums.

They say things like:

"Don't know, not been there. With God why the drugs? I just get high on God."


Try harder:

Psychological: Hallucinations, increased color perception, altered mental state, thought disorders, temporary psychosis, delusions, body image changes, and impaired depth, time and space perceptions. Users may feel several emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. “Bad trips” may consist of severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, and despair.

Physiological: Tachycardia, hypertension, dilated pupils, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, tremors, speech difficulties, and piloerection.

Side Effect Profile: Rhabdomyolysis, renal failure, prolonged mania, panic, impairment in color discrimination, and residual visual effects have been described. LSD users may manifest relatively long-lasting psychoses, such as schizophrenia or severe depression. (source)

Once again you aren't paying attention.  Please actually read what I'm writing before you respond to avoid wasting my time.  I stated I had just started a stretch of 12 hour shifts when this thread got hot so I made a bulk reply to trends I was seeing - and now you are acting like I've been reading every post all day long.

You said Dawkinds and Harris had something to contribute to this discussion and I asked you for a link.  If such a link existed, I assume you would have posted it - but we all know how you react when asked for a citation.  Typical theist.



Who's not paying attention?

Who are you talking at?

If its me - then I dont give a rats ass about your 12 hour shifts - Not my problem.

This is your thread - your responsibility. - Im not wasting my time walking you around your own thread to show you where things are..   Are you for real? -

You go back and read everything or go ask one of your minions.


Again, same zero evidence response - typical.


lol -  You sure sorted me out then ...




I've followed this thread from the start, but it has become long enough that not everyone will have time to read all the posts.  In order to comment further, I'd like to summarise the position as I see it (feel free to correct me).

1. That psilocybin (mushrooms) affect the mind in a positive and potentially enlightening way, i.e. by enhancing creative scientific productivity.

2. That psilocybin creates an awareness of an external existentialism, i.e. an experience not confined to the physical subjective mind of the 'user'.

3. That certain ancient hominids ingested psilocybin and this explains their enhanced development, separating and speciating them apart, causing their evolution to homo sapiens.

@Strega That sounds about right.

I want to post some talks where Terence McKenna, himself, distills these concepts himself. I feel that Heather close-mindedly just announced this BS. She didn't address a lot of the more important points that Terence has made. So, instead of saying, "I think this is bullshit, but here's the set of concepts Terence talks about and what they're about, and so decide for yourself." She just simply announced it "Bullshit!" Well, making outrageous statements is a good way draw attention to your thread, I suppose, but I think people should decide from themselves. So, I'll post a couple of links to some talk where Terence distills his concepts...

The short version:

Seeking the Stone

The long version: 

Plants, Consciousness, and Transformation

Thanks Jimmy.

The "short version" is 1 hour 43 minutes.  The "long version" is 8 hours 7 minutes.  Interesting though these may be, I truly don't think many of us would have the time to devote an entire day to watching them.

Are there any points in these videos that you could direct me to so that I can understand the gist of them without spending that kind of time?

Are there any points in these videos that you could direct me to so that I can understand the gist

"Man whoah, I was high man trust me this is the meaning of life man. Like wow."

You'd have to be ON pot to have the patience to even watch a talk nearly 2 hours long much less one 8.

Instead of a couple movies, how about a peer-reviewed scientific study?


© 2015   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service