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.
Unseen, you misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that unless you had a psychedelic experience, you're not going to "believe." I was pointing out a pattern amongst individuals who haven't had the psychedelic experience, they always seem to criticize the wrong points. Coincidence? I don't know.
Akers is a very recent member, who by the looks of it, signed up simply to respond to this thread. Took about 45 minutes typing out a response, so I thought I should reply.
Jimmy hello, and thanks for acknowledging. Alas - again, I need to tell you how I feel about your overall drift. You're acting out, with an air of false authority, tossing all sorts of 'infaux' into the mix. I feel you can't reasonably expect to be accorded any credibility that way. If that's no concern, we're okay.
But I need to make clear to you - I don't accept any form of dishonesty, as a form of conversation. So, if that's what I feel you're doing in approach with me - you kind of place me in a position, where there's not much I can tell you - as a matter of good sense and relational responsibility - but how I feel about that. Point being, there are other modes of interaction, and other purposes one can pursue - than deception and manipulation. But I'm not the boss of you now, you're the one who decides how you're going to attempt to converse - and only for yourself.
And it is consequential I suggest, for better or worse - depending on your purposes. If your goal is to be told how I feel about dishonesty, its ethical unacceptability, and the choices-and-consequences dilemma, okay. Your wish is hereby granted, and whether you choose to reflect accordingly or not, is entirely your affair. Your opinions or thoughts, as you pose them, can't really command recognition as such - based on the cultic pattern they express. It is quite consistent, as I find. The entire form and substance of the McKenna preoccupation - its charismatic leader, and its inspired followers alike - is that of a delusional contagion (a folie a beaucoup in psychologese), such as underlies various cults and forms of fanaticism.
I don't try to reason with that, because its a form of aggression trying to act itself conversational. Nor do I think it well to argue with crazy minds, whether their agitation is blatant and obvious, or impersonating some sort of theory or thought. I don't want to convince you of anything, nor do I consider it a reasonably possibility. Not just you, any cultist or fanatic is pretty well beyond reach of rational discussion.
I find you are not able to establish communication with me, by your choice of acting out. I can only conclude, based on your comments, that you're neither able nor interested in conversing per se. Conversation is a two-sided relational form of interaction. You have your commentary, and you're welcome to it. I feel you owe Heather and others here some apologies. But that's about all I can tell you, how I feel. I certainly don't expect you to 'man up' to that, because that's not the sort of thing the anti-social alienation at the dark heart of McKenna's Gold is ready, willing, or able to deal with. No form of cultism or religious fanaticism is. Nor does it have any such intention.
You'd need to knock off the covert and subversive tactics, the dodge and parry - trying to drown out noise with signal, to establish hailing frequencies. I hardly think its a realistic expectation, nor do I have any dog in such a hunt. Kind regrets.
You know, one thing Terence was accused of was logorrhea. It's something we all fall victim to sometimes. Gricean maxims, anyone? I'm not sure how it is you think I'm "acting out." I find it quite risible, actually, that you'd even use that phrase because I don't think I've done any harm or have harangued anyone. I, too, am simply someone speculating this stuff without trying to convert anyone. Even Terence had a certain atheistic attitude against religion and rarely went into western or eastern philosophy at any depth in his talks, nevertheless he studied all religion.
You mentioned that you didn't accept any form of "dishonesty," and I'm not if you were implying that I was dishonest. It's funny to bring that up, 'cause that's the definition of a troll. Deception. And for all I know this is Heather f'in' with me. If not, then obviously you're taking Heather's side. I'm not sure if you've went through the backlog of posts here, but maybe you should before taking some kind of position. What is it exactly do you disagree about? Otherwise I feel a whole lot of what you typed here is, what you accused me of, a harangue.
Jimmy man, you don't seriously think you are so important to Heather that she would go to the trouble of setting up a new account in a man's name after all this time, and totally change her writing style (you do know how writing styles differ, I presume) in order to 'troll' you?
Get a grip on reality, mate. Either dialogue with Brian, or don't - but do try not to get carried away with these wildly paranoid speculations, they aren't worthy of putting down in print.
Actually, Strega, the time has come to reveal that...
wait for it...
wait for it...
wait for it...
*I* am Heather Spoonheim.
Laughing you are both nutcases, but utterly lovable :)
Kind of like that Vendetta movie. We are ALL Heather Spoonheim!
Well, as I noted you can act out, that is one choice. Not the only one open to you, but you're not under my command - you draw your own lots.
I can only reiterate that I feel you're acting out, dramatizing etc - as if some thought or opinion you express to me. That's fine if that's what you want to do, or cant help doing (for whatever reason).
The only thing I can conscientiously, responsibly tell you in reply - based on your choice of how you're addressing me - is that I don't accept manipulation cues or deceit, as forms of conversation. There's a difference between relating and alienating - a regrettable one for you in this instance perhaps. I don't accept the latter, dressed up in some sheep skin costume impersonating the former. That's what I feel you present, and - it is 100% consistent with years of experience and study of cultic forms in psychedelia. Of which MCKennism, with its fraudulent claims and aggression, presents.
I feel you owe Heather and others here an apology. I don't expect to see that from you. Indeed, the social behavioral range of cultism is impaired. Its restricted, programmed by an Us-Them split. Fellow 'instant friends' (who 'get it') exchange cheers and approval. Jeers and scolding - badgering and harangue, as you present here -for the rest - you know, the 'narrow minded'? So its not a hopeful prognosis. I'm sure its nothing you'll do backflips about, but I bear no burden to please or displease you by simply telling you how I feel, and why your messages can't communicate. Its what you've chosen, and I'd predict you'll continue in aggressive mode, heckling and hectoring - its not compelling. But if you're that grimly determined, or your gears stuck that severely - c'est la vie.
Still, you owe Heather an apology, in my view.
I believe Heather owes Terence an apology. I asked a question, and I thought you, being a rational and honest person, the qualities you hold so virtuous, would honestly reply, instead I get the runaround, and yet you still accuse me of dishonesty. I really believe you haven't really read the backlog of posts here, you never said what it was exactly that you didn't agree with, and so forth.
@Strega, maybe it's a really bored Heather. Haha! I mean, are you reading this stuff? I still haven't really figured what this guy is on about. He posts a comment weeks after Heather's last word where she insults me, and then he types that I owe her an apology. It's not that I'm paranoid that someone would go out of their way to troll me, but that it's hilarious that I could imagine it happening.
And I'm trying to converse with Brian here, but I feel there's a lot of circumlocution on his part that we cannot get to any conclusion.
Heather, I sincerely enjoy your rather knowledgeable discussions. Because I think visually (as a result of Asperger's Syndrome) I find words I do not use daily occasionally difficult to recall. Now that I am in my seventies, even my science career is nothing more than a piece of ancient history. Thus I so enjoy your quick and sharp mind. It brings me to attention and I almost applaud at the monitor. Is the internet not an incredible device to bring together distant minds?
I have not read anything by Terrence McKenna, and thanks for saving me the trouble. Junk science so aggravates me that I often wish those who prophesize such garbage, insisting on instilling non-empirical science into the heads of the innocent just to gain a following and an income--should be jailed just as were atheists in the dark ages. Not really, but such revolting debris ought to be illegal in some sense--perhaps through some meaningful and ethical restrictions. However considering our current government, the likeliness of that is not to be. While I believe that free speech is important, I do not go so far as to condone such uneducated and irresponsible selfish blathering in print.
It's just more Blardy, blardy blar. (from one of the Shrek movies, to give due credit). Much like the massive religious following.
Hi Strega - I read your post, and felt it well-meaning in purpose. Apart from that (and greeting) - I couldn't resist one of your phrases, nicely turned and on the verge of exemplifying exactly what I notice, that informs my feeling. It goes to the fact of Jimmy dramatizing (i.e. pretending, as I can only conclude) that he -
" seriously think(s) you are (he is) so important to Heather that she would go to the trouble of setting up a new account in a man's name after all this time, and totally change her writing style (you do know how writing styles differ, I presume) in order to 'troll' you?"
I think you make a telling observation. Its one among a thousand or so that I make - at close, 1000X magnification - in Jimmy's signals. The incongruities and absurdities - along lines you touched - are precisely what informs my sense of dishonesty here.
Its really just not credible, that Jimmy really thinks any such thing. Nor would I credit anyone trying to act that out to me, as if its somehow a genuine representation of something they actually think. Its a defensive reaction, grasping at the flimsiest straws of rationalization. And it conveys clear intent -
Specifically, its a fire alarm, stealth maneuver - 'false issue' ploy. I don't know if you saw my post, I detailed what Fischer's article actually says. That's not some story or opinion, beyond reach of independent verification. Anyone can substantiate that, simply by bothering to read the research itself. It completely, diametrically contradicts the story McKenna told about his findings.
That's a red alert for anyone (such as Jimmy, in this case) trying to extend the web, with spin of their own. There's not much a self-appointed stoned apes bodyguard or hero (gonna rescue it from that deadly danger) - but fabricate false issues, for tactical purposes of distraction, to divert and digress. The strategic idea is to 'change the subject' - from all that to - something contrived for covert purpose.
If you like, please let me know of any thought or feeling you might have and like to share, about what I suggest. That despite any suggestion (a word hypnotists use) to the contrary - indeed, there's neither evidence nor reason to think, that Jimmy really wonders whether I'm a Heather sockpuppet. As I read your post, it seemed you were almost on the brink of that, as the most rational deduction one might make - about such a preposterous notion, that Jimmy would really think anything like that.
Along with a hundred other observations, that's why I can only tell him how I feel, that he's basically trying to engage in a deceptive manner. Which, I hope is clear, I don't accept as a mode of relating. Deceit can only alienate, it has no relational potential. All I find feasible, when any type of guile or con tries to 'discuss' its talking points with me - is set limits, note the 'choices and consequences' aspect - and for every good reason, take up discussion only on common ground, of shared purpose. Too bad UK Prime Minister Chamberlain didn't realize that when Hitler sang to him "Please Come To Munich ..."
From any type forensic test I apply to the 'theorizing' and 'faux-losophizing' - the bread and butter of McKenna and his admiration society - the results are about the same. Civil regards.