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 couldnt have wished for a better introduction to rock music than that era. He did well.

The 1920s produced things like Gershwin - Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong.  The classics never get old.

I have a 13 year old daughter so now Im a 1Direction fan. They are very cute and exactly the same concept as the Monkees.

 

"The classics never get old."

You say that now, in this world, at your age, but it damn sure wasn't true in the 60s. 1920s music was totally irrelevant to those times - as I would have HOPED Led Zeppelin would be to these days. I expected that, 40 years later, that music would be as relevant as a tie-dyed tee shirt.

Again. Not trying to be belligerent - just surprised at the way time has passed in music. (My son was also a bassist. :-)

@MikeLong  

"The classics never get old."

You say that now, in this world, at your age, but it damn sure wasn't true in the 60s. 1920s music was totally irrelevant to those times.

Oh, really? The 1920's not relevant to the 1960's? Most of the best music I listened to then would have been possible without the delta blues music of the 1920's. From Led Zeppelin to The Rolling Stones to The Yardbirds to Cream to Fleetwood Mac to The Beatles. They either WERE blues bands or were very influenced by the blues, much of it from the 1920's.

Just take the influence of Robert Johnson (1911-1938) alone. 

@Unseen

I didn't say anything about influence. I said, and I will continue to maintain, that this music was not relevant to the culture of the 60s. 

@MikeLong  I'm wondering if you could explain a little more how music so influential on 1960's musical culture could be, in your estimation, irrelevant.

@Unseen

not relevant to the culture of the 60s

Let's wait and see if anyone else has trouble understanding the difference between historic influence and cultural relevance. 

@MikeLong  I think both apply.

I think what he's trying to say is that almost no one in the 1960s generation actually listened to 1920s music.  You wouldn't be caught dead listening to your parents' or grandparents music back then, and that was for the most part true in the late 70s and 80s as well (though one could reach back to the 1960s without being uncool).

Yet today many young people listen to music that's 40 years old. 

When will you show me some non-anecdotal evidence by a dispassionate researcher that there is some undeniable benefit to taking psilocybin or LSD? There are anecdotal stories about pyramid power and crystal power, too. These are things I'm proud to have a closed mind about.

So, apparently we're past the idea that the bad things about these drugs is just theist conspiracy theory. There actually are medical considerations. Yes, I do take aspirin and other drugs, but they have been researched and risk/benefited so that safe dosages have been established. Also, I'm as aware as I want top be about the risks of taking drugs. You don't even seem to want to hear about any potential risks of modifying your brain. 

If I take a drug, it's going to be for a predictable and scientifically established benefit and not on a "I wonder what will happen" basis.

You should be careful: there isn't that much difference between being open-minded and having a hole in your head. None of those quotes above were anything I said. You're just having a pissy fit because I actually was able to find an official medical site (not a Christian site) with an honest discussion of possible risk factors. Looking at those risk, I can't think of any reason to take them. I'll leave it to people who aren't happy with their brains "as is."

 

Why are you ignoring the information that Roberts provided?

I dont need to add more to that do I?

I would definately listen to the opinion of a Biologist over you or anyone who wasnt a biologist. (re: your remark about Dawkins)

"If I take a drug, it's going to be for a predictable and scientifically established benefit and not on a "I wonder what will happen" basis."

Good for you Unseen - Nobody is forcing it on you.

"I'll leave it to people who aren't happy with their brains "as is."

I am happy with my brain Unseen - why are you acting like a 16 year old about this anyway - Really

Imagine someone going into your cat blog and calling you out or running you down about your claims that cats make you happy just because they've got some personal gripe against cats.

If drug taking makes you feel uncomfortable - then just say that. You dont need to claim a high ground about it.

 

 

 

 

"When will you show me some non-anecdotal evidence by a dispassionate researcher that there is some undeniable benefit to taking psilocybin or LSD?"

How about this?

Or this?

Furthermore, there are negative side effects for all drugs. It's been proven multiple times that LSD and psychedelic mushrooms are FAR less dangerous than alcohol, which I've seen you admit to enjoying in other posts.

The way you go about debating is increasingly off-putting; I've not seen Angela once attack or reply condescendingly towards you, yet you feel the need to throw in little jabs with your comments.

 

Wow - Thank you very much for defending me Worst. I really appreciate that.

I may have started to get just a little condescending a few minutes ago but it usually takes some provoking before I do that.

I really like Unseen and I'm going to put this down to a sensitive personal issue about drugs.

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