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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Well, it's the contention of Strassman, McKenna and others that the "heroic dose" does elicit this kind of "spiritual experience," and I've often said that if you don't like the word "spiritual" then this colossal transformation of consciousness, and by the way, this is not something one can addict to. The experience is far too powerful and unbearable, even.

It's not something that you're going to rush to try again once you've done it. You may never return to it, and if you do, it may take years before you decide to do it again. But this is definitely NOT a recreational dose that these people are referring to. I'll leave a link below of Terence McKenna describing a typical psychedelic experience, typical meaning that if you were to take up this endeavor, you, too, would have this experience.

The Shamanic Method of Using Psychedelics

 

Are they still going on about "visual acuity"?

Its like that God of the Gaps thing that the religious do isnt it.

The LSD experience IS something they can try for themselves. They could do that and then come back with some experience to talk about. But nahh - thats not what they really want - what they really want is a reason to discharge aggression. Thats the whole agenda behind this post from the beginning. A nasty set-up.

(They think we didnt notice that.)

These are the apes that didnt use mushies. Thats why they're still dragging the club around.

This thread is reminding me more and more of that Dawkins and Wendy Wright interview.

That no matter what Dawkins was saying to Wright - she had some kind of hidden agenda going on about her and she just would not listen. Then she tried to use scientific mistakes made in the Victorian era as proof that she was right.

Even when Dawkins said to Wright - "you can go to the Museum in Kenya to see for yourself - Wright immediantly turns deaf and changes the subject because the truth doesnt suit her.

Well - what are you going to do - youve got to ignore the belligerent types.

 

Are they still going on about "visual acuity"?

Its like that God of the Gaps thing that the religious do isnt it.

God of the gaps is an argument which states that the mechanism for X is unknown/ unknowable/ allegedly impossible, therefore it must have been caused by a god.

The visual acuity claim was relevant to McKenna's Stoned Ape explanation of hominid evolution and progression, so its veracity needs to be established in order to lend support to that view. If* the claim is false, it diminishes support for McKenna's position.

So no, it isn't anything like 'god of the gaps'.

*A legitimate 'If': I haven't read the study (studies?) regarding visual acuity, so I have no opinion on whether or not the statement is true. I am simply explaining the differences in the arguments here.

 

Thank you Kris

Your a fast typer.

Although I still claim that the question was not raised from a point of genuine enquiry rather as an excuse for an argument.

It's possible. I guess I've hit a point in my life where it doesn't concern me too much though. Motives are difficult to gauge. I find it easier to focus more on the validity of the argument or line of inquiry instead.

 

Thanks Kris

I'll take some of that on.

I like those little whispers of wisdom.

 

 

Just to be clear, do you consider me belligerent? I consider myself "wide open" on this. Please, someone, convince me that this drug experience, while very different from other drugs, is any more than an "Oh-Wow-Man" drug experience.

 

No Mike -  not you -  your good : )

Mike -  remind me again - what was it that you took -

I know a lot of people who got nothing from their first few pot experiences too - Not sure why that happens.

"what was it that you took"

On which day? I had virtually every drug available - some more than others (in the 60s and early 70s - none of the more recent drugs) . I've had all the addictive ones but managed to stay away from addictive frequencies. I've had LOTS of hallucinogenics and have had experiences which sounded very similar to McKenna's talk (the most recent link). I feel that I learned from the hallucinogenics, the ego loss - the understanding of the part I play in the universe, but I haven't seen anything put forward in this thread convincing me that there is more than that to be gained from hallucinogenicst. The idea that hallucinogenics altered human evolution SEEMS far-fetched, but I'm perfectly happy to be taught.

(No I haven't completed the 8-hour talk. I think I might need to be motivated by something a bit more concrete before making that investment.)

Citations please - oh, I forgot - that offends you and constitutes stalking.

Ok. Listened to that. (Not a huge investment. I invite all to take the 10 minutes), except this description gives me NOTHING - except possibly a bit a DIScouragement to try a large dose. This strikes me as exactly what I would have expected - a very strong hallucinogenic rush. Been there. Done that. No hint of any revelations or anything to be learned. 

WTF??

What about DMT, MikeLong? Y'ever had any experiences with DMT?

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