Recently I was reading a “Reality Sandwich” blog post written by a Brian Akers from 2011 titled: “Concerning Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Apes” ” which attempted to de-bunk Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape Theory”. I am a proponent of at least some concepts that lie within this theory, specifically that the ingestion of psilocybin cubensis, i.e., “Magic mushrooms” (as well as other psychedelics) played a role in altering the course of early human and/or pre-human (i.e. homo-erectus) evolution. Needless to say I was interested in hearing what Akers had to say, as he was critiquing one of TM’s best works titled: “Food of the Gods”, which discusses this theory in detail. Akers went to some length to explain the flaws in TM’s theory, based on Akers’ idea of how evolution “really works”, and he also questioned the credibility of some of TM’s claims based on a lack of citing enough references to support his position, and also questioned the credibility of some references he did have. I agreed with some of the points that Akers made but I took issue with some of the reasoning that Akers used in refuting the theory, specifically regarding the mechanisms behind sexual selection and evolution in general. Here is the first excerpt I disagreed with:
Even if psilocybin did enhance visual acuity however, or make you more “horny,” such effects could not play a role in selective processes along lines TM argued. Why? Beyond false facts lies a general problem of fallacious reasoning from misconceptions about evolutionary processes. Such misunderstanding is not uncommon, TM and his audience hold no monopoly on it.
In this light, suppose this attention-grabbing ‘horny’ claim were true. “Horniness” neither produces children, nor success in competition for mates. Just ask males of a sexually dimorphic species like lions, who must fight each other tooth fang and claw in a run-off that ends in only one having breeding privileges, the rest left to console each other, out of luck. They can be as “horny” as they want, it makes no difference whatsoever for chances of their genes passing into the next generation. The predicted winner is the bigger, more powerful male, with thick mane — not “horniest” (that’s irrelevant). For possible adaptive advantage, ‘visual acuity’ enhancement seems less nonsensical, by comparison.
It appears that Akers has implied at least three things here: 1) the mating and sexual selection characteristics of a sexually dimorphic species such as lions matches (or closely resembles) that of humans, 2) which animal is the “horninest” is irrelevant to sexual selection (changes in the gene pool), and 3) physical competition (i.e. fighting) is the dominant, if not the only, mechanism for sexual selection.
Since when do all sexually dimorphic species share the same mate selection criteria and mechanisms? I can’t remember fighting another male such that I could have sexual intercourse with a potential mate. All of my relationships (especially those that led to sexual intercourse) were built upon a foundation of dialogue, shared experiences, and some level of mental and physical attraction. Has Akers never “won” over a mate by utilizing some degree of either good looks, charm, wit, and/or other intellectual prowess? If he has only physically fought other males in order to have sexual intercourse with a potential mate, then I don’t think he has had an experience like most, if not all others that are taking the time to read my (as well as Akers’) post. Akers also needs to realize that there are different degrees of dimorphism which are correlated with completely different types of sexual behavior.
If Akers really thinks that “horniness” is irrelevant to evolutionary changes in the gene pool, then I’d like him to support this position with sociological data that demonstrates that humans with a high libido (and little or no access to birth control) have no correlation with higher pregnancy rates. I don’t think the data is there to support this, especially given the fact that, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, humans often are not physically fighting over mates. If the relationship is mutual and/or an open relationship with multiple sexual partners, then libido will certainly be a large factor when predicting which genes are most likely to pass on to the next generation. “Horniness” is far from irrelevant. One could go so far as to argue that in the case of the male lions, having a high libido may actually increase their physical aggressiveness in the fight to come. However it’s not necessary to limit sexual selection mechanisms to that of physical competition.
Akers has implied that physical competition is the dominant, if not the only mechanism affecting the fate of the gene pool. Another huge mechanism that Akers failed to consider for natural selection is that of sperm competition.
If we want to hypothesize what our early human or pre-human (i.e. homo-erectus) ancestors may have been like in terms of their sexual selection mechanisms and sexual behavior, it would be reasonable to look at the behavior and anatomical differences of other primates living among us now. Bonobos for instance have a degree of sexual dimorphism that is similar to that of humans (e.g. a level around 15-25 percent), whereas gorillas and orangutans (which tend to fight over mates and have harems dominated by an alpha male) have a much larger degree of this dimorphism (e.g. a level which is around 100 percent). Bonobos are incredibly promiscuous where the females often copulate with a large number of males, sometimes as often as 50 times a day, and the evolutionary trade-off that primatologists propose is that this sexual behavior increases the level of social cohesion between the males as well as the females. Even the females are often seen rubbing their own genitalia against one another to increase this cohesion. It’s easy enough to see that if the males are not fighting in a pecking order or battling over “who gets the booty”, then they are able to form strong symbiotic relationships and bonds which foster more cooperation thus benefiting the group overall. In effect, the sperm competition between males is nature’s way of eliminating the external physical battle, and moving it to a scale that no longer risks the elimination of the gene’s vehicle (i.e. the battling males).
The loud vocalization of female bonobos (and human females) during orgasm suggests an audible invitation for other males to join in on the fun. There doesn’t appear to be any other advantage, as making noise in the wild often draws attention to predators and thus the benefits of this “female call” may compensate for this predatory vulnerability. Also, the fact that it takes women as well as female bonobos a significantly longer time to orgasm when compared to the males of the same species also supports the idea that we are perfect for promiscuous sexual relationships with multiple males copulating with each female. This is not a type of behavior that we see in polygynous or monogamous species that simply fight over mates, and thus this behavior is again seen as another example of sperm competition in action.
The sperm count of humans and bonobos are also much larger than that of orangutans and gorillas, which is not necessary if we evolved to fight and win over a mate with which we could copulate with as often as needed to impregnate. Human males also have a penis with unique physical characteristics that support sperm competition. For example, the glans (or head) of the penis is shaped like a plunger which sexual and evolutionary biologists believe is perfect for creating a vacuum in the vagina in order to pull out previously deposited seminal fluid and sperm such that the male is able to impregnate the female with his own deposit. This theory has actually been validated in a laboratory setting with artificial molds of a penis, vagina, and corn-starch based seminal fluid (some tests showed as much as 90% of seminal fluid was displaced after a single thrust). The relatively large number of thrusts during human sexual intercourse as well as the duration when compared to many other primates amplifies this seminal displacement effect.
The fact that human males have their sperm production sites and testicles located in an external, physically vulnerable location is correlated with an increased number of sperm and is correlated with primates that are promiscuous. There is even a form of rapid-reaction DNA present in humans which mediates testicular tissue development allowing humans to rapidly change their testicle size and sperm production capabilities in evolutionary time scales often thought to be too short (thousands of years). This rapid-reaction DNA is not present in monogamous or polygynous primates for obvious reasons.
Let’s not forget about some characteristics of the human female’s sexual anatomy. The complexity of the human cervix which filters sperm by creating countless hurdles suggests sperm competition and selection is at play. Women have anti-sperm leucocytes located in their reproductive tract who’s sole purpose is to kill sperm, such that only the strongest (or chemically compatible) sperm will survive to the end in order to fertilize the egg. It seems that in this case, whether or not a male is stronger or able to fight over a mate is less relevant than the compatibility between the male’s sperm and the woman’s egg. In this case, the woman is actually choosing the sperm on several levels (physical filtration, chemical filtration, and even the sporadic occurrence of an egg “enveloping” a reluctant sperm).
So clearly, by looking at the facts, sperm competition is much more likely as the dominant mechanism behind evolutionary changes to the human gene pool. It is also likely that this was the case with our closest ancestor (i.e. homo-erectus). Many similarities can be seen in bonobos which live among us today and share so many other characteristics of human beings. It’s more appropriate to hypothesize our immediate ancestors as being similar to these primates rather than to those that are similar to the dimorphic lions (e.g. gorillas) which Akers assumed.
The Baldwin Effect
Next, Akers makes some more narrow-minded claims about how natural selection operates in the following excerpt:
But it’s nonsense still, because of how evolution actually occurs. In favoring adaptive traits, it’s the genome selection operates on, across generations in a reproducing population. If an individual carrying whatever gene reproduces, he or she serves as a means for its transmission to the next generation. Biological evolution = change, to any degree, from one generation to the next, in proportions of GENES in a population. To my knowledge TM never proposed a gene for “eat psilocybin” in the hominids who in his fanciful scenario ate mushrooms, vs. those who did not. Genes may render some particular food(s) indigestible, but no gene governs that we eat mushrooms or don’t. Without a gene that could be selected if adaptive, there’s nothing to inherit from eating fungi; thus no toehold for selection, regardless how many offspring.
Akers has completely failed to consider the Baldwin Effect on evolution. If there are any benefits provided by eating these psilocybin-containing mushrooms including but not limited to: increased visual acuity, increased libido, increased social cohesiveness due to ego-boundary dissolution, or otherwise, then by learning the behavior of eating those mushrooms, and having that behavior imitated by other individuals in the population — one can change the gene pool. If a species gains any advantage at all by eating these mushrooms, and these advantages are spread through the population by those that imitate the behavior, then only those that have the ability to imitate this behavior will gain the advantage. If this is the case, then those that have this ability will be more likely to reproduce if said advantages exist. The same situation applies if a species learns how to evade a new predator which it has not evolved to avoid with instinct alone. If certain other individuals in the population learn that new advantageous behavior, eventually the gene pool will start to show a greater proportion of individuals that imitate this behavior. Thus the ease of learning a particular behavior affects evolution of the species — even if the ability to learn this new behavior is mediated by genes (which mediates brain wiring, its level of plasticity, etc.). Learning is just another dimension of ontogenic evolution that affects the gene pool based on the success of the meme, as long as the behavior learned provides some advantage. So if eating psilocybin cubensis has any positive effects whether it’s stress relief, ego-boundary dissolution promoting social cohesiveness, increased visual acuity (or other visual changes), synesthesia, increased hearing acuity, linguistic thinking (leading to better organization of thoughts as well as more complex levels of thought), beneficial altered perceptions of space and time, increased libido, etc., then those organisms that pick up the behavior of eating that food preferentially over other foods may be more likely to survive longer and/or reproduce.
I do appreciate Akers’ research into the credibility of some of TM’s claims as there were certainly a few instances of either misinformation or poorly formulated claims within the theory, but his theory, at least in part, still stands. There may be flaws in his theory, but that doesn’t mean that we can dismiss the theory in it’s entirety, that is, that mushrooms played a role in human evolution. The fact that humans eat mushrooms and they are/were present in Africa where our early hominid ancestors originated implies that it is certainly possible. The fact that there are some attributes of a psilocybin cubensis trip (under certain dosages) which may be advantageous to a species implies that it is certainly capable of altering the gene pool through the Baldwin effect, and thus it is quite plausible that it may have altered the course of human evolution for these aforementioned reasons.
I took a look at the cited Akers post. My reaction — tl;dr
Going by what you quoted from Akers (I admittedly did not read his whole blog post), I think you are misinterpreting him. I read him as arguing that horniness is of little significance here. He illustrates that with example, but I think you are reading far too much into the examples. I see them as only attempting to discredit the relevance of degrees of horniness.
Beyond that, I don’t have any comment on the “Stoned Ape” theory, other than that it seems a bit implausible. I would want to know about supportive evidence (paleontological evidence, for example).
Akers mentioned that “horniness” is irrelevant when looking at another sexual dimorphic species such as lions. I argued that it is far from irrelevant, as we aren’t like lions, we operate with sperm competition being dominant, not physical competition. Akers implied that we are likened to lions. Akers specifically mentioned the case of lions, as if it were to apply to human sexual behavior. His thoughts that a high libido is irrelevant in the case of lions implies the same case for humans (otherwise he would have mentioned the dramatic differences between species that have different levels of sexual dimorphism). In the case of sperm competition, “degrees of horniness” are extremely relevant. This was my first main argument with what I read on his thread.
The degree of truth to TM’s is irrelevant here. What I was arguing more than anything else was Akers’ misconceptions about how evolution “really works”. As for the theory itself, parts of it are certainly valid. Psilocybin ingestion, under certain dosages, does increase libido which would effect the reproductive rates of sperm-competitive ancestors. This may in turn effect the number of individuals ingesting those mushrooms if the users obtaining these positive effects are naturally selected over time. If they ate these mushrooms, which I don’t doubt they did (at least SOME of our ancestors), then this would have played a role in the evolution of our species. The linguistic thinking, synesthesia, and ego-boundary dissolution that ensue from a magic mushroom trip would also have catalyzed the evolution of language, complex thought, and social cohesion — three things that almost define what it is to be human. So in my opinion the theory has merit. It is mainly the details of the theory that have some flaws, and the need for evidence in order to validate it as being true. What I think is most important is the reasoning people use to refute the POSSIBILITY of the theory, as Akers attempted to do fallaciously. Saying a theory has little or no evidence to support it is one thing, but trying to disprove the theory with fallacious reasoning is something else entirely.
You are right that I read deeply into the example he gave, mainly because he only gave one example which mentioned what he expects from sexual dimorphic species — hence Akers saying “Just ask males of a sexually dimorphic species like lions”, etc. Since he only gave one example, all the reader can infer is that this one example seems most important to the point he’s trying to make. His giving only one example definitely made it easier for me to refute it (it was less time consuming on my end). It also means that Akers put all his eggs in one basket, which is his fault not mine.
While I still think you are reading too much into what Akers wrote, I’ll grant that Akers went way overboard in his post and invited that kind of misunderstanding.
I’m not sure why Akers felt he had to write so much. “Stoned Ape” is a speculative hypothesis. The use of speculative hypotheses is an important part of science. Most such hypothesis are dropped after a while. It seems pointless to try to debunk such an hypothesis. He could have said that he doubted the hypothesis, with a far briefer account of why he was doubtful. And he could have pointed out the kind of evidence that would be required to support parts of the hypothesis. That would have been a better contribution to science.
I agree with that.
Often, speculative hypotheses are proposed as a way to persuade people to break from conventional thinking. An attempt to refute such an hypothesis on the basis of conventional thinking seems to completely miss the point.
I don’t think that I’m reading too much into what he wrote. I am merely analyzing the type of reasoning he used, and that includes the type of reasoning he used in his “sexual dimorphic” example. I’ll never know if I misunderstood him or if he meant every word that he wrote (unless he replies to the comment I left him on that thread). Regardless, I thought it fitting to point out the errors in his thinking, because a lot of people have misconceptions about how evolution operates, its mechanisms, and limitations.
I agree, absolutely! I believe that this was McKenna’s main intention and Akers seems to have missed this point. While doing so, he also failed to consider all of the facts regarding evolution, which further compromised the credibility of his post.
Lage thanks for your interest in CSA. Quoting it:
“Some of TM’s more educated fans have heard of (epigenetics) and a few stake last-ditch hopes on it … I’ve learned of other ‘creative’ embroideries … citing other research in confused fashion. Nor are the purposes or interests involved clear in some cases, raising further issues …”
Baldwin effect … sigh (chuckle). Well, theater is as theater does, Forrest Gump’s mom always said. Great ‘resonance;’ fine sounding piece of talk. I don’t know who thinks it makes an impressive noise. Some who don’t know much about biology, like your avg Joe Scientific Creationist, like to act a good game they do. You heard of that, you know about that?
And do you realize what you just got on your shoe, stepping in ‘Baldwin’? (For a hint – consult nostrils.) Nothing original either, as the excerpt from CSA above hints. Indeed – others have tried your Baldwin ploy, please don’t think you’re the first. Its among the maneuvers I alluded to, in that quote.
For your reference, one such prior is preserved via the magic of internet. See replies to my review of FOOD OF THE GODS- where guy tried same maneuv, brought it up like something the cat drags in.
Of course, surprise – he had no reply to informed rebuttal. He just disappeared, Exit Stage Left. Sigh … With no capability to engage, what else to do? TMism, always gets that egg on its face, comes after it. At least he didn’t go hostile, acting out trying to provoke (lamely); as so many posters here reflect. When Animals Attack (Verbally). No ‘road rage’ from him, Flight not Fight.
Epigenetics can’t save Stoned Apes, and wouldn’t touch it. But at least there is such thing (bases methylated or not, etc.). Baldwin effect is another matter, unfortunately for your ambitions. A few have tried to find evidence for it, but not with any success. There’s abundant, rich evidence pertaining to evolution – massive data and powerful methods of analysis. You won’t find anything about Baldwin effect in it.
Maybe a little perspective – you’re really going almost mediaeval.
Baldwin was not a biologist – the science to which we owe our knowledge and understanding of evolution. Baldwin was a psychologist – way back in early days of psychology.
(Cue player piano sound track): Baldwin lived in the Victorian era. The 1800’s – AKA 19th century (to some people). It was a simpler time, before the invention of flying machines.
Natural selection was a new idea, exciting a lot of talk, but as yet in its infancy. Nothing was known about genetics. With his peas, Mendel had just made two discoveries about heredity – segregation, and independent assortment. The first dim stirrings …. But neither Mendel nor anybody knew what was assorting and segregating; nobody’d ever seen chromosomes. The word didn’t exist yet.
Oh well, so much for Baldwin effect … toss another beautiful idea on the junk heap, along with the bodies of so many others that haven’t made the cut. You might as well try to save Stoned Apes with talk about consumption being caused by imbalance of humours in the liver.
If you ever look into the neo-Darwinian synthesis, relating genetics with evolution and forming the integrated foundation of modern biology … beware of disappointment, if you expect to find anything about ‘Baldwin effect’ in there.
Nor how many DMT elves can balance on the head of a pin, or evidence for various theories about why the sea is boiling hot, etc.
Thanks again. Best luck with stoned apes, they need it. Its not even treading water in the sea of inanities it spawned in, splashing around …
On reflection, I’m not sure – how any ‘theory’ could ‘still’ stand that – was never standing in the first place … Nor, ever had legs to do like that. DOA from the gitgo …
Clearly you don’t know much about biology if you are somehow trying to negate the impact of the Baldwin effect. The Baldwin effect operates through natural selection, so it is really just another dimension of natural selection (much like sexual selection is as well). If learned behaviors increase the chance for survival, then all of the members of that population that are able to learn the behavior will be more likely to survive, hence natural selection operating via learning mechanisms. Natural selection is seen as the main mechanism behind evolution, so if you’re trying to discount natural selection, your cry will only fall on deaf ears. There is more evidence to support natural selection in evolution than anything else. You seem to assume that the Baldwin effect is not consistent with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, but this is a false assumption. The Baldwin effect is merely another channel for natural selection to take place (just as sexual selection is).
I never said that the Baldwin effect was an original idea. It is not MY idea, although Akers clearly forgot the impact of natural selection via the Baldwin effect. I felt it necessary to set the record straight. Also, I never used a “Baldwin ploy” as you put it, because I’m merely regurgitating facts here. It is no ploy. It is incredibly elementary within evolutionary biology. I simply reminded those around me about the Baldwin effect as it is just another form of natural selection.
You’re not going to see me disappear. I’m well aware of the facts, which is why I’m debunking your weak rebuttal. All you’ve done is say that the “Baldwin effect” is a fallacious ploy. I’ve explained how it works. What is your counter rebuttal? Will you have one, or will you simply “Exit Stage Left”? You explain to me why the Baldwin effect is B.S. and then I can form a rebuttal. Trying to form a rebuttal to your simple denial of the Baldwin effect is hardly worth addressing. You need reasoning to back up your denial.
Actually the Baldwin effect has nothing to do with Epigenetics. Clearly you need a crash course in biology before attempting to discredit what I’ve wrote. The Baldwin effect DOES involve changes in nucleotide sequence through natural selection (and mutation due to copying errors, and other environmental influences). Epigenetics is irrelevant to the Baldwin effect. Clearly you didn’t know this or you wouldn’t have brought it up.
Actually the rich evidence pertaining to evolution via natural selection contains the Baldwin effect within it. As I’ve mentioned several times already, the Baldwin effect is simply another channel of natural selection. There is a lot of evidence to support natural selection, and concerning the Baldwin effect specifically — take a look at the human race. Human evolution has involved the Baldwin effect directly because the ability to learn genetically beneficial behaviors (e.g. behaviors that promote increased population-density due to technological capability) is genetically selected over people that aren’t capable of learning this beneficial behavior. For example, the advances we’ve made in sanitation and water purification are probably the biggest cause behind our increased life expectancy over the last few hundred years. That means that people that adopt these behaviors will be more likely to survive to reproductive age. Those that ignore this new behavior (or have trouble learning how to execute it) will be more likely to die sooner. This affects the gene pool considerably and it does so based on differences in learned behavior among other things. Based on the ability or desire to behave a certain way (mediated by genes that created a brain with a certain level of plasticity, certain cognitive capabilities, etc.), one can either increase or decrease their fitness in the environment relative to other individuals by adopting certain memes. Then the memes themselves become a primary factor in the resulting gene pool.
This is not relevant. I don’t care if Baldwin was a potato farmer. Good ideas can come from those that work in completely unrelated fields or occupations. This is what scientific collaboration is all about. It does not matter where the ideas come from. There’s no room in this blog for any kind of elitism. Also, to say that biology is the only science to which owe our knowledge and understanding of evolution is completely misguided. We also owe appreciation to geology, anthropology, and archeology to name a few. Geology is probably right up there with biology in terms of evolutionary knowledge because the knowledge of the past is LARGELY mediated by fossilized evidence of animal life, atmospheric conditions, extinction events, ice ages, etc. You should give credit where it is due, and you should not focus on someone’s field or occupation when it is the idea that they are presenting that deserves your focus. When it comes to the Baldwin Effect (which is a specific channel of natural selection), you should focus on its consistency with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis (the most highly regarded theory of evolution).
Yeah, there is so MUCH for it! You can toss this idea on your junk heap, but I’ll stick with the evidence and theories that are consistent with natural selection and the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. When you have a real argument to try and refute the Baldwin effect, let me know so I can gladly rebuttal.
Were you intoxicated when you wrote this? (not just this one excerpt here, rather I’m referring to your whole comment)
Hi Lage – Thanks for your reply. I look forward to furthering exploration of this interesting, deep diving dark abyss. For the moment, my role is response (not reaction) – to tell you how I feel about what you’re saying, and how you present. Maybe lift the stage curtain in your theater.
The Sci Crea paradigm again: Science is only pretend ‘interest’ for them, as a subject to coerce and torture, forcing it into their agenda. Much the same, I find with your biologizing, on behalf – not of the bible, but the Must Love Terence cult mission. I feel you make very clear your prejudicial bias; every bit as Sci Creas do. Or, should we think they’re fooling anyone; that their story “Is Too” a real theory (!) – per your Stoned Apes exhortation?
I feel your entire focus boils down to nothing but ideological axe-grinding. Like Sci Creas, yours thrives on a basic and abysmal lack of knowledge about evolution. And Just Like Them, despite the pretense I find you betray no discernible interest in biology — except to exploit for your holy cow; not Jesus but – You Know Who.
The analogy you and TMism offer to Sci Crea is – a shabby grab for science’s credibility. Impostors envy that with a cold calculating eye, wanting it for their own but unable to command or earn it.
I feel you weave a massively tangled web, pardon me for not treading in it. Your whole discussion is, I can only determine from what you say and how – ‘inspired’ (angry) noise imitating signal, all garbled. On clear impression (and from my fairly educated background), I wager you’d be severely challenged even to pass a freshman level course in biology. And yet – imagine the irony – you grandstand up a storm as if, exactly like our ever-loving creationists.
I feel you’re pretty deeply invested in playing ‘know it all’ – and you do so in glaring, blundering fashion. You’ve trapped yourself with this ‘Balderdash effect’ line – stuck like flypaper to your investment in it. Your entire Stoned Apes salvage operation hangs on it like an imaginary thread – no wonder you’re so emphatic on this fractured fairy tale – the Contribution That Biology Forgot (?) from your gaslight era psychologist. Without it your entire stage, whole act, falls down and goes boom.
But I find, that’s merely symptomatic, a drop in the bucket of the pseudoscientific backwash you’re splashing in.
Your commentary reveals nothing of substance, no valid considerations just empty posturing. Other than sheer personalizing conceit with no sense of shame, its impoverished and comes off as a spasm of angry attitude, pretending to be a discussion about evolution – as if you have something to say about it.
That type put-on is very familiar and common as crab grass. It has nothing to offer critical conversation interests such as my own. Your own oppositional defiance to the very idea of pursuing better mutual understanding – which indeed, I feel you seek to undermine — neutralizes you. It makes you unable to participate in any real discussion, that doesn’t give seat to shenanigans of ‘pushme-pullyou’ imitation intellect. The sort of pathological ‘anti-reason’ propaganda broadcast has no such intention as real discussion. Quite the contrary – all disinfo, all the time, is its standard of ‘integrity.’
Such devious deceit wants just one thing – to manipulate and rip off real authority of hard won knowledge. Its like the evil twin of the good king, wanting to depose him and take the throne, seize power. Because, it can, and nobody can stop it (cue cackling). I find such guile as unethical to the core, in fact reprehensible. Its not what I do, and I don’t join it.
Cunning ‘stealth attempts’ on truer purposes and prospects of verbal interaction, ultimately on the higher human potential itself – are completely unacceptable. Those aspiring to some futile power struggle, since they can’t make any sense, want to draw others who can into their little web – and it does rile aggressors when the web they weave is perceived and illuminated. They work so hard to weave it, put so much into their impersonations of educated thought or reason.
You have a right to hear this, since you’ve opened door to conversation with me. So, I speak to you.
What you’re doing is hardly unique. However definitive of TMism such pseudo-critical word sport is, it fits a much larger pattern. That’s one reason the sort of lines you cast and spin are so familiar and easy to spot, for what they’re all about – we’ve seen it before.
But please be clearly advised: I find acts like yours abysmally self-exposing, and dubious at best. And reprehensible on the whole. Whether you’re doing it for TM, ID, or whatever — this whole blueprint and game plan of high-tone disinfo theatrics, acting like you know better when you don’t have a clue — and couldn’t care less (that’s not the droids you’re seeking) — is tired stuff, same old same old.
But keep beating that dead horse, maybe it’ll get up and carry you.
I’m taking a moment to tell you this in direct response to your reply to me, and your entire discourse – now featuring overt insolence, I see – your ‘anti-drug’ finale, wow you’re going to try on the rhetoric of TM’s great enemy, culture, the Establishment how bizarrely interesting (psst: that ploy’s called Play Both Sides Against the Middle, in some manuals).
TBS – I feel response is not your cup of tea though; and not what you want from me in this exchange. Seems pretty clear, ‘getting a reaction’ is what you try (not too skillfully) to elicit – and sure enough, by typical ‘button-pushing’ gestures, as if that can work with me. You’re more likely to chip a nail. But i do feel you’re clearly (and incompetently) aspiring to offend, and see no harm in telling you: I don’t take offense, no need. I take notice, and reply accordingly, to say if you want to cut your own legs off that way, ok. But don’t be surprised when you find you can’t even stand up – or, with no ground underfoot anyway, maybe its not a concern for you?
Well, well – and so; my report made you unhappy, very unhappy (how about that?). As if pleasing or appeasing you was any standard it would ever have to pass, your purpose for my writing it. So now, having blasphemed your paragon of inspiration – its personal for you.
And that’s all it is. Nothing to do with evolution, nor anything real or substantive. Alas, you can’t do a single thing about how peeved you are apparently, other than huff and puff.
Really, how’s that working for you?
If unconscious reactive behavior is your cup of tea, fine, swim in it – you don’t even realize your brain is unplugged. I find no sign in evidence of any capability for reason, no power of thought, nothing that would hold a drop of water – only emotion and attitude. Rationalization, not rational – and the audacious mimicry, your imitation of rationale … But all that is merely standard form – the entire content and ‘meaning’ of TM ‘genius’ and ‘ideas.’
If getting worked up (unable to competently rebut or critique CSA), trying to incite or instigate is the best you can do – fine, whatever. But kindly know I don’t take offense or get offended, why should I? I don’t need to; besides you’re offended enough for a whole roomful. Telling you how I feel about your theatrics — that you’re simply acting out in egotistical ‘know better than biologists’ fashion, with ‘button-pushing’ aggression — is simple enough, quite adequate, and appropriate.
Indeed, with messengers of deception, its the right thing to do and the only responsible option.
Serendipitously, and despite your apparent means and motives – you’ve marvelously exemplified the TMist straight-jacketed “Fight or Flight” reaction, with a 24 carat display of the very incapability I find so consistent, specifically constellated in the TM circus tent.
Never mind that you can’t read and comprehend my discussion, end up leading yourself on wild goose chases, after imaginary points you’ve projected (as one of your correspondents above alludes to). You seem unable to put any meaning into even your own to your words (other than “I’m pushing your buttons, what are you gonna do about it??”). You can’t squawk “evidence, evidence” but can’t marshal any facts of any avail. Empty talk, helpless to adduce evidence or even make coherent sense.
If I had any specific concern for you, it’d be for possible concussion you could sustain – if you can’t stop banging your head. I’m not saying do or don’t; whatever – its fine with me either way. All I’m saying is, if you can’t find a minimally honest, self-critically functional approach with me, you could end up sending yourself into a tailspin. You’re banging your head pretty furiously, compulsively it seems.
By all indicators, lot of data – I don’t predict that you can get a grip on yourself or will be able to cool off. Mostly your sort can only get angrier (think: Hitler). They like that stuff, its what they know, maybe the only thing they can do. The Azande say a witch is born with that malignity, and experts in psychopaths say much the same of that malady – born that way, can’t help them, only set limits.
I doubt you can find your coordinates, there’s a Point of No Return beyond which cognitive dissonance and deepening thought programming may be inevitable. And that seems classic of TMism top to bottom: Lost in Hyperspace.
TMism has no conscious response capability – only Fight or Flight reaction, run away silent ignore pretend and retreat — or forward, more and more hostile. Not much hope in either, especially with one who has traced the outline of that rough beast – because animal reflex isn’t able to reason, think, or even be humanly aware.
What I’m telling you may not be to your liking. But be advised: to please or displease you or any cultist of any kind is no burden I bear. From what you say and how, my part in this exchange thus far is to simply point out how fallacious and overt I find your pseudocritical discussion. Its emotionally fueled, offended and displeased but has to act like it has some sort of rational basis, can’t face itself and its issues. So build your case on ludicrous fallacies, primate chest-beating. That’s what I find in your lines and between them; it puts rhyme and reason to the emphatic falsity and self-contradiction you present.
Once again you’ve failed to provide any evidence to support your opinions against the claims I’ve made including the various interpretations associated with the Baldwin effect (as well as the various opinions of genetic assimilation that ensue), sperm competition, behaviorism within the scope of evolutionary natural selection, etc. As for what Baldwin actually proposed regarding genetic assimilation in his original conceptual framework, this was nothing more than Lamarckism in disguise. I do not agree with the portions of his theory whereby he describes how any genetic assimilation of the culturally inherited traits occurs. What I agree with is that behavior influences the gene pool via natural selection in multiple ways, which Akers failed to consider (Akers also failed to consider sperm competition and instead chose to focus on a radical sexual dimorphism in one of his main examples regarding libido). If you were more familiar with Simpson’s, Deacon’s, and Dennet’s re-description of the Baldwin effect, you’d see that there are multiple interpretations for how it could exist as well as means of genetic assimilation (or change) that are not Lamarckian at all. You however are clearly not that familiar with these various interpretations and re-descriptions which mean that you need to read more about the Baldwin effect, rather than merely Baldwin’s original theory which in its entirety has little validity. I’m not even sure you’ve read that far. You may just be spewing rhetoric from other “anti-Terence-McKenna-nites”. I haven’t actually heard any evidence regarding evolution in your responses, so I am inclined to believe the latter (but perhaps you can illustrate otherwise with an actual coherent argument). If you continue to merely criticize with derogatory comments that have no relevance on the topic at hand, you will get nowhere my friend.
You seem hell bent on assuming that I am defending TM to the death with prejudicial bias. Everyone has prejudicial bias, including your assumption that I am speaking on behalf of some “Must Love Terence” cult mission. I am only pointing out the misconceptions about evolution that Akers used in his reasoning to refute TM’s theory. I am not saying that I agree with everything that TM says in his theory. I’m mainly suggesting that TM’s theory needs defense from the simple minded refutations which are purportedly based on evolutionary facts (but in fact are NOT facts, or are incomplete and misleading). Akers missed a few details in his reasoning which I pointed out. What this means is that my defense of TM’s theory was mainly a de-bunking of Akers refutation. His refutation was full of holes that were worth discussing. You still have failed to give any reasoning to refute my arguments. I’ve given reasoning, but you have not. You merely attempt to give a narrative description of irrelevant events that have nothing to do with the argument at hand.
So far, I’ve demonstrated that I know a lot more about evolution than you do. I’ve demonstrated my knowledge, but you have only proven that you have time to write a long response (“not reaction”) of vacuous nonsense. You should at least attempt to present some arguments that actually refute the claims I’ve made regarding sperm competition and natural selection. I’m still waiting…
You are exploiting Biology if you fail to consider the evidence, and fail to use ANY arguments to defend the biology that you claim to defend. The fact that you haven’t demonstrated any knowledge of evolution or biology means that you clearly have no interest in it, nor do you have a desire for de-bunking misinformation (I do however).
Enough of the poetic filler. I’m still waiting for an argument. Questioning my education? Clearly you have no argument or you wouldn’t have stooped to that level prior to presenting any argument at all. I’ve taken several courses in Biology, NanoBioTechnology, Biochemistry, and I’ve demonstrated a minute fraction of this knowledge. I’m still waiting to hear your arguments (if you have any at all). I’m certainly more justified in assuming that you’ve never taken any biology courses whatsoever, since you’ve provided no arguments to refute the points I’ve written in my post. You’ve only dragged in an emotional element, perhaps because you are incredibly angry about something, or some other reason I have no means of knowing (I don’t want to make assumptions about you as I don’t know you). It would be best for you to avoid making assumptions and claims pertaining to my credentials and education, as this behavior only illustrates that you have no ability to stay on topic, and that you have no argument. Is this some petty attempt to rile me up? If so, it is futile to try and do so. I’m willing to engage in an intellectual argument, but I need an actual argument from your end in order to do so. You should defend your convictions with evidence and arguments (at least one argument would be nice).
You seem to have quite an issue with Baldwin (I couldn’t care less about him as it is only the re-descriptions of his theory and some of the tenets of his original theory that I find interesting and which contain some merit). You also have an issue with theories involving Stoned Apes. Are there some insecurities I should know about to better explain your ill attitude toward unorthodox theories — theories that need not be taken with an all-or-none approach (an approach that you seem to prefer over the acceptance of tenable portions within a theory). I pity your attitude (based on what I’ve gathered so far). Scientific boundaries have only been broken by questioning conventional wisdom, and introducing radical ideas to think about things from various perspectives. If all scientists in our present and past had your attitude, we wouldn’t be where we are today — period. Just as people thought that Galileo, Newton, and Einstein were all crazy – they pushed through artificial close-minded boundaries by questioning the conventional wisdom. I beg you to open up your mind, use reasoning and engage in open dialogue which questions the validity of claims based on arguments, not attacking the character of those you disagree with. Your approach is far less productive for obtaining or spreading inspiration or insight. Keep that in mind.
Give me an example of a claim I made in my post that is pseudoscientific. Then we can go from there.
I’ve provided arguments and the opportunity for open dialogue. I’m still waiting for your arguments against any claims I’ve made. You certainly make use of a plethora of derogatory adjectives to describe what I’ve written, yet I’m still failing to see any argument presented on your end. No creativity or substance at all.
You are right about this discussion failing. I’m still waiting to discuss the content of my post with you, and you have failed to present an argument regarding any claims I’ve made within my post. How long will this go on exactly? I’m starting to wonder if this is some sort of practical joke, rather than an attempt of intellectual discussion.
True. I’ve had many intellectual conversations with various people from different backgrounds and education. I’ve engaged in productive open dialogue countless times. The conversation we’re having however is quite unique, for it lacks any substance on your end and is largely a waste of time. If you wish to speak about something specific within my post that you want to share ideas over, I’m open to that. If you feel that you’ve been backed into a corner and that you need to engage in unproductive derogatory discourse, I implore you to reconsider.
I’m still waiting for an argument. Do you have one, or are you out of tricks? My arguments and discussions are in the interest of open dialogue and open mindedness. I have no agenda to perpetuate TM’s theory as a whole, nor ID (I’m not sure why you thought I had some ID agenda, but I doubt your going to tell me).
Right now I’m smiling and laughing at your comments. I still think this has to be a practical joke of some kind. Is this a friend playing a joke? If so, well played. It has been slightly annoying, but you got me. If this isn’t a joke, then I’m at a loss for words. I refuse to huff and puff over this as I find it better to avoid emotional involvement in debate and open dialogue. I’ll leave that for you, as you’re doing a great job. As I’ve said before, it’s not very productive – and I know this can change if you simply present a specific argument to discuss. Why do I think this is never going to happen?
I’m still waiting for an argument.
Why does it appear that this “head banging” is all coming from your side of the aisle? If you want to try a functional approach with me, try starting with a specific argument against a claim I’ve made (whether regarding natural selection, sperm competition, etc.). I’m all ears. If you refuse this, then there is no functional approach possible, due to the lack of a “two-way street”.
One of the main points in my post (which you seemed to have completely overlooked) is that learning new behaviors allows a breathing space for organisms to reach a part of the fitness landscape that would otherwise be impossible to reach. It means that natural selection can select organisms that are better learners of particular behaviors — that is all. If eating psilocybin cubensis allowed an evolutionary advantage, it would provide an even greater advantage to those that mimicked the behavior and thus those that were best able to learn that behavior. Natural selection would then favor organisms that have a particular learning capability that is more effective than other members of the population. You don’t teach an organism to learn. It is an instinct. It was not always an instinct however. At some point learning became an instinct due to the inefficiencies of certain hard-wired behaviors or hard-wired trial-and-error methods (albeit trial-and-error with no retention of the solution afterward). Once learning began, natural selection operated on degrees of learning capability. The Baldwin effect (mainly the re-descriptions of the theory that have been presented by numerous scholars over the years) explains one mechanism for gene frequency change. If you also take the time to realize that humans are capable of controlling the environment beyond the level of any other organism, you’d see that the natural selection that controls the gene pool is largely mediated by human behavior. This is another element to consider — why humans (and perhaps the species we evolved from) are so unique when it comes to natural selection, because we have language, self-consciousness, memes, etc., which all play a role in the evolutionary path we take over time. I hope you can understand that this was one of the main motivations behind my post. I have a thirst for knowledge, new ideas, and fellow open-minded individuals willing to engage in a productive debate. I still invite you to join me, despite any derogatory claims you’ve made. Let’s begin with an argument against (or for) a claim I’ve made in my post, and we can go from there.
Peace and love “Guess Who”!
Lage, your repetitive invitation to argue strikes me immature and silly. A bit parrot-like too. RSVP – no thanks, I find nothing in your exposition of substance. Name-dropping especially. Who do you think you’re going to impress with that, and how?
The way you handle yourself suggests you’re pretty young, maybe twenty-something (?); and not necessarily so grown up for your age. Based on your fallacious critique of my CSA article, and your posts, I find you either have poor reading comprehension in general, or you’re just not too concerned about accuracy or honesty. Maybe all of the above?
In any case, you offer heat not light. I wouldn’t touch the dense tangle of rhetoric and confusion you’ve laid out. Thanks for inviting me to argue, but the maze of tortured ‘reasoning’ you’ve lured yourself into doesn’t beckon — suppose you step out into the light instead? If you rather keep shaking your fist and shouting from the dark, okay. Let’s check it out, see how that works for you.
Again, I feel you’re just acting out, deceit and unmanaged anger. Trying to rationalize, all you’ve done is work up a lather. Like so many Sci Creas I’ve crossed paths with, this self-impressed knowledge of biology comes off a fatuous ego trip. Your entire purport shows you lack significant knowledge, and ability to engage with divergent perspectives – like one that doesn’t help gild your sacred cow.
But I speak as one with a phd in biosciences, perhaps I should be more intrigued by the wealth and extent of your great knowledge eh? I mean, with only doctoral education, years of research and so on, I’m obviously I’m disadvantaged compared with the likes of a McKenna or a Baldwin — or towering above, your own dubious self?
Your ongoing reaction with no significant content only goes to confirm — you’re just wanting to go back and forth. That’s it, period. Okay its your railroad, run how you see fit. Try to provoke argument, with no basis but rhetoric and drama — hey, that’s what Sci-Creas, why should they have all the fun right? Go ahead, solicit or bait, push “argue” button – to your heart’s content. That’s all you’re doing, and its easy enough to see and say.
But by way of reply, be very advised — that kind of sandbox bs is not of least substantive or informed interest. But its true to form, I’ll give you that in abundance. Sci Creas act like junior experts, throw around a bunch of vocab … drop names too. It doesn’t work for them either except — to their choir.
You’re significantly mixed up about more than just biology, I find. Science in general is about evidence, which means data and analysis. Not arguments or power struggling – Science just isn’t about being enraged and going postal — just because some sneaky fake attempt at imitating theorizing, trying to pass itself off as some great ‘contribution’ — gets its chops busted (and rightly so). After it tried sooo hard to fly below the radar ….
Science and disciplinary study in general (whatever subject) — isn’t about egotistical presumption of fraudulent expertise. Acting out isn’t the only thing a human being could do, but it is among your menu choices. So if its what you prefer fine, have at – for whatever satisfaction you think can get from it. Especially trying to play that on a biosciences phd – a specialist in plants and fungi (for example)? Maybe its the big audience out there in internet-land, your theater has hopes pinned on?
I assume you’re young, obviously wet behind the ears, by the overt immaturity you express — perhaps twenty-something? And evolution is a subject that has provoked fits of pique from voices of ideological prejudice – ever since Darwin proposed natural selection. Your discussion can’t shed light, only heated emotion trying to act as if it knows better. That’s the sort of thing that rushes in to fill a vacuum of knowledge and understanding. Perhaps more fundamentally, a lack of respectable interest and honorable purpose pervades your exchange.
But I wouldn’t dream of trying to change your interest, or manner of self expression — its yours. I don’t happen to share it, and telling you so is the only responsible thing I can reply — to all that frothing nonsense you’ve whipped up. There really is no credibility in your script; I doubt you’ll have any future in Hollywood (without some serious acting classes).
So far you’ve not achieved, nor even attempted (I doubt you can dig down to either) – any genuine communication signal, just verbal noise. All you’ve done is act out how impressed you are with yourself; and how much you think you know. Like you have some expertise in biology or something. Yeah, right.
Go ahead and argue if you’re so driven. It can’t command serious regard. So far all you’ve done is to stamp your feet, cast a verbal net. I find you don’t know much about biology at all, compared to how self-impressed you act. You seem to think its all about arguing, as philosophers like to do (like that Dennett you quote (he’s not a scientist either, any more than Baldwin or McKenna).
But, pay no attention to comments from behind a curtain, no droids of interest to you. Go ahead with your show, its all the same to me. Pointing out you come off as a sideshow barker, is about the only thing I can tell you in reply to your broadcast — loud, pseudo-intelligent noise of immaturity. But go ahead, as I say – try and pass that off as some kind of thought or argument or clever whatever. Have fun and enjoy “smiling and laughing” (um, yeah, that’s real credible too) and call it brilliance. Play up, dress up and masquerade, like you know something about biology — try to impress whoever if you can.
Stoned apes, yeah – right… I feel you’re not just mad because you like that stuff, and my article put the light on it — showing how its worse than just idiotic or wrong. As TM told, admitted in that one interview: “It was consciously propaganda” …
Wow. I still haven’t heard any argument presented from your end. You are obviously nothing but a blog troll obsessed with “Sci Creas” (in one way or another, as you have mentioned this term countless times now for some reason). I’ve seen more derogatory comments, but no arguments. What a surprise.
Arguments which defend a position are what give an open dialogue substance and direction. Debating and arguing (in a civil way) are all a part of productive open dialogue. That’s the whole point of having a blog (in my opinion). It is to share ideas and invite responses from others willing to share their views so that some level of inter-subjective communication can occur. This allows us to learn more about each other, as well as ourselves, in the process. When I invite you to join the argument, it is because you haven’t yet provided any arguments against some specific point made within my post. All you’ve done is reply with derogatory poetic filler accomplishing nothing more than evading the topic. The fact that you consider my invitation “immature and silly” suggests that you may never have engaged in a mature debate (clearly this is the case or I would have heard at least ONE argument from you in order to support your position). It does not matter who is right or wrong. I never intended for my blog to be a platform to embarrass you. It is merely a platform for sharing ideas. If you lack this ability to share your ideas and embrace a civil discourse, then you are merely wasting your time trying to troll. I may choose to delete these “troll” comments of yours at some point but in the interest of sh!+s and giggles, I’ll let them remain for now. This way anybody interested can see what a bright and insightful person you are.
Peace and Love “Guess Who”!
Lage, I’m sorry but your discussion lacks interest, has no substantive or factual or informative content – simply spoiling for power struggle, that’s all. Not just unscientific or uneducated, there’s no sign of respectable purpose.
Instead of evidence, you offer frivolous argument – and you really seem to think you’re entitled to be joined in such. As if your petulant demand is somehow binding on anyone else, can constrain or dictate form of reply. Or, you can just elicit whatever reaction you want by baiting, lame provocation, get some satisfaction that way.
By way of reply, I prefer to simply remark on that, and tell you how it comes off to me – there’s no other opening for intelligent answer. I feel digging yourself in deeper is maybe all you can do, just getting angrier and trying further tactics, more masks. Like switching from insolence at sign off, as I see, to acting out sarcasm and sneering – Mr. Peace and Love. Nice euphemisms for alienation and rage – trying to prove, what, you’re incorrigible? As if that makes a point?
To your credit, it appears you’ve at least figured out you’ve not gotten an argument. Indeed I don’t offer reaction just response. Next breakthrough for you, if you can figure it out – you won’t get argument, there’s nothing real at issue – you can say whatever but words aren’t magic wands. You need stuff like clarity, purpose, meaning, informed perspective, or – all you can do is, as you have. Science isn’t about being immature, or trying to prove how smart you are, or acting out in aggression, trying to push buttons to make someone argue with you. Its interest is intelligent and purposeful, seeking to discover not argue. Its focus of attention is squarely in evidence, what can be shown by data and analysis – not specious claims or empty incoherent rhetoric — its not ‘sound and fury signifying nothing’ nor are its satisfactions ‘sh!+s and giggles’ either – that’s McKennism – and its giggles are fake at that.
No wonder you’ve opted for empty argument – its one way of avoiding evidential standards, the basis of scientific knowledge understanding and perspective. For what you’re jawaing on about, “Baldwin effect” etc – there’s no accepted evidence, argue schmargue. Anyone can consult comprehensive treatments of evolution, authoritative sources, see for themselves. Its a no brainer. Leading specialists – names like Futuyama, SJ Gould etc. Latter’s STRUCTURE OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY, for ex. His magnum opus (1400+ pp) – Index lists ~60 names under ‘B’ – and guess who doesn’t rate a mention. Same all around – Futuyama’s text EVOLUTION, 600 pp, not even a nod to your Stoned Apes Rescue Racer.
Evolution is also of broader nterest in other disciplines, like theology and philosophy, humanities and social sciences. Those fields don’t have such an integrated foundation like biology. They’re oriented toward issues, questions -real ones – and educated debate. But again, ideologically-driven propaganda, stuff like Sci Crea and your cherished stoned apes – are a far cry from it. And educated scholars in any field know it. Pseudoscientific disinfo doesn’t fool anybody, not even it constituents like yourself, I submit. On one level, ideologues trying to rip off science might fool themselves, or try to – like Lugosi on set of DRACULA, in his cape, telling his mirror: “I AM Dracula!” – good method acting. And sure enough, stoned apes, Sci Crea etc, is an act everybody knows. Just a question of who can face it, and who can’t.
Apart from the lack of knowledge you reflect, I find a tribute to Concerning Stoned Apes here, however unwitting. Your fit of pique at it now, surfacing more than a year after it appeared in RS – where it became their most replied-to-ever feature — testifies further to its ongoing impact and charge depth. A laurel you bestow, wily nily. And you haven’t even touched it, hard as you try.
I like your title “Misconceptions about Evolution” – its so fitting, in ironic sense. Bravo for life’s little laughs. Of course you made clear from gitgo, you’re a stoned apes partisan. So misconceptions galore are what you’ve stocked up with.
You sound unhappy; no wonder you try to act like you’re having fun. Believe I mentioned, all you’d be able to do with this bankrupt business you’ve invested in — is try and get a Fight going, or take Flight. Animal reaction trying to pass for reason (or ‘theory’) doesn’t leave itself many options, doesn’t have much to work with. Psycho-driven prejudice and emotion can try to mimic discussion or intelligent interest, but all it can do when capably engaged – is either escalate in anger, or head for the hills, “run away.” If it can’t instigate or deceive, its whole house of cards collapses. It comes unglued, game over.
Power of deletion is all you’ve got now to try and save face. And that, I feel, demonstrates by reflection, how incapable you are of engaging Concerning Stoned Apes. You’ve got a problem when you try to play science, with no clue, just attitude – and encounter competent, educated voices who can actually speak for it — like a phd plant/fungal specialist in this case. No need to explain – I can well understand, how you’d want to perhaps play “Little Boy Who Cried Troll” now, and just erase posts. You’ve fallen down and can’t get up. Delete is about all you’d be able to do, to try and save face, after such a crash and burn. If you only had a clue what you were talking about, or a shred of knowledge you pretend to in biology – if there were any merit to your case, situation would be different. It isn’t, so you’re in a pickle. You’ve neither substantive info, nor can you engage real content and questions.
You’ve put your eggs in the stoned apes basket, and its all yours, you’ll just have to carry it — I wouldn’t dream of trying to change your mind. I don’t believe there’s much hope. That’s how it is with harpoon-barbed hooks of thought control. They drive endless cycles of rationalization, cognitive dissonance effects exactly as described for apocalyptic cultism, in Festinger’s WHEN PROPHECY FAILS.
If feel you’re pretty reeled in by the McKenna mojo, desperately. I don’t think can’t get off the hook if you wanted. I feel too, you’re quite the hardliner – still stumping for stoned apes being a ‘theory’ as it was presented. Most McKennites have re-written its script for ‘damage control’ – now they’re calling it ‘poetry’ or ‘story-telling’ or something, admitting its nonsense in its own express terms. Even your fellow TMers mostly can’t deny its nonsense in its own terms, and are writing new hymns of praise for it in other lyrics. But of course its still a great and brilliant work of genius, whatever kind – the song remains the same. Fanaticism, same old thing.
You say this and yet you thought that it was worth it to not only read my post, but also to reply with almost 5000 words. As derogatory and insulting as you’ve been despite my repeated attempts at starting a civil dialogue, you have clearly demonstrated that you have no intention of actually discussing anything specific with regard to my post. Rather you appear to only hold interest in writing thousands of words to a person you deem uneducated
You refuse to point out something specific in my article and yet continue to write such a long and drawn out reaction. Ordinarily I see comments as a response, but your’s is clearly a reaction or you wouldn’t have even taken the time to write it. I’m sorry if you were offended by my post. I was just being honest and setting the record straight. The “Baldwin Effect” and it’s relevant characteristics regarding behavior were only a fraction of my post. I took issue with several points of view and examples you gave because they were either irrelevant or misleading. Either way, I appreciate you giving me almost 5000 words over this. Clearly my article had an effect on you. I just wish it was more positive.
I’ve politely asked you to join a discussion by presenting a coherent argument, and you’ve only written it off as “lame provocation”. You don’t appear to have anything of substance to say, as is implied by your avoidance of actually presenting an argument (a mature discussion contains arguments for or against a position on an issue, where an immature discussion contains derogatory commentary, avoidance tactics, etc.).
Perhaps you just have a problem with the term “Baldwin Effect” as you only associate it with Baldwin’s original framework in mind. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are multiple interpretations in use by several scholars and not only have you made far more out of this than is justified, but you haven’t presented anything specific I’ve said that you took issue with. You mention the “Baldwin Effect,” but I need specifics. What specifically in my article did you disagree with (quote me if you’d please).
Evolution is not a subject that biologists have any monopoly over. There is a lot more to evolution that simply biological aspects. Biology is limited to the genome, DNA, etc. Evolution (i.e. change over time) works on multiple levels including with behavior, memes, etc. which are within the domains of psychology, memetics, etc. Your experience with fungi do not make you an expert on evolution, despite your assumption that it does. What it means is that you more than likely have more knowledge relating to psilocybin cubensis (from a biological perspective). I never argued that I knew more about mushrooms than you did. This is an argument about evolution which is a far reaching subject that your field holds no monopoly in. You’ve not once mentioned that I said anything fallacious regarding the biology of mushrooms, so your credentials are irrelevant (despite how highly you may think of your education).
Again, biology holds no monopoly over evolution. If you’d like you can pat yourself on the back for the doctoral education, but let’s stick to the discussion rather than trying to place oneself on a pedestal.
I do believe that Dimethyltryptamine (and other chemicals), which our brain has many receptors for is significant and related to our ancestors diet. At the very least, diets that included hallucinogens and other psychotropic substances played a role in evolution because of how they change the vulnerability and fitness of various organisms in the gene pool (in terms of natural selection, etc.). So yes, I’m a “stoned apes partisan” in that sense.
Why do you think I sound unhappy?
I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve decided not to delete any of these posts you’ve left thus far. As I mentioned earlier, I want everyone to see what a bright and insightful (as well as “competent” and “educated”) person you are. I appreciate that you feel you are very learned in the field of plants and fungi biology (and continue to share this), but it is not relevant. Neither the post, nor your qualm is about fungi or plants, rather it is about evolution and “The Baldwin Effect”, and is perpetuated by the truncated view that you hold over what this effect actually is (even though there are multiple interpretations including those given by Simpson, Dennett, Deacon, etc.). Your credentials are irrelevant here, and your mention of them (repeatedly I might add) have only illustrated how you want to present yourself to others. You’re not interested in open dialogue. You are only interested in derogatory discourse (much like a “Troll”, hence my use of the term in an earlier reply to your reaction).
I only agree with portions of the theory, as I’ve mentioned countless times. Some minds in the world inspire others to think outside the box and to challenge orthodox philosophy and authority. Other minds serve as a way to keep thinking within the conventional lines drawn, inhibiting the maximum potential for insight.
Peace and Love “Guess Who” (Akers)!
I’m a little late, but tell me something. Did ‘Guess Who’ end up being a trolling friend of yours (hence his name)? Or just a troll?
After reading your responses I was expecting an intelligent discussion to eventually unfold, but it never got there. It just left me hanging. Well congrats to you for remaining composed. I would have flipped or just stopped talking to him.
In any case, I like your take on McKenna’s theory (and I like this blog). I’m by no means a student of biology or even psychology (Just a lowly Software Engineer / Musician, and now a ‘blogger’). I was swayed after reading Akers’ well thought-out argument against the theory, after which I considered the theory to be McKenna’s attempt at a ‘speculative hypothesis’, as Rickert called it in a comment above, “a way to persuade people to break from conventional thinking”, but nothing more.
Because of your post, I feel like opening the lid again and exploring this theory a little more. If you have a little time to waste on me, could you answer a few questions (as many as you can)?
1. You mentioned in one of your comments above that psilocybin definitely increases libido? Could you point me to any research that suggests that? How are you so sure? I believe according to Akers, there’s nothing to back that up. Then again, I only glazed over his article, so perhaps I didn’t quite understand it.
2. How controversial is the Baldwin Effect in biology? Wikipedia seems to suggest that it’s still quite controversial. I’m wondering if it’s gaining any momentum.
3. In your mind, which parts of McKenna’s hypothesis of evolution sound credible, and which parts don’t?
4. This is the question I’m most interested in. I love the man, but I question the intent of his theory. What do you think is McKenna’s real relationship to his theory? Do you think he was more focused on inspiring people to ‘break from conventional thinking’ or do you think he was actually very invested in his own theory? Or both? In the world of theories, things can easily become contrived. I’m wondering how much you think he added in there (to his genuine beliefs) to form a complete whole for the sake of finishing his book, and how much was ‘genuine’, ‘raw’ Terence McKenna.
That last question is weird, I know. But I like trying to get inside the man’s head. It helps me better understand his ideas and his beautiful poetic dialogue. And I’m interested to hear your informed perspective after reading your comments.
Also, I started a blog recently that deals with some of these topics, and at some point I’d like to be able to write about the Stoned Ape Theory and present an opinion on it. I know too little at this point and I don’t want to ‘feign’ knowledge, hence some of the weird questions. I may quote you and link back to your blog if you don’t mind 🙂
Believe it or not, but “Guess Who” was actually Brian Akers, the author of the post I criticized. My opinion of his character has only changed for the worse after that discourse ( I already thought that he was at least partially incorrect in his criticism, but after several comments of his, I thought that his entire character was lacking to say the least). I tried to keep it civil and asked that he present a counter-rebuttal and instead he attacked my credentials, strayed away from the actual content within my post, resorted to name calling, and other immature behavior. I would still say that he was a troll, despite his relationship to the post I criticized. It certainly didn’t help his case at all.
I’ll start by saying that in my post, I never mentioned that psilocybin “definitely” increases libido — but rather I mentioned that if it did, then it would have an effect on reproduction and subsequent changes to the gene pool. In one of my responses to a comment made by “Neil Rickert”, I did say “Psilocybin ingestion, under certain dosages, does increase libido which would effect the reproductive rates of sperm-competitive ancestors.” In retrospect, I should have said that it CAN increase libido under certain dosages. It certainly isn’t a definite effect in every individual (regardless of dosage).
As for references regarding libido and psilocybin, first, I have personally experienced these effects under light dosages (although only rarely) and have read about others having similar experiences. Most of the “evidence” out there is personal testimony because there hasn’t been a lot of controlled experiments involving hallucinogens — let alone those that are illegal. Regardless, some research on psilocybin/psilocin (the principal hallucinogenic chemical found in Stropharia Cubensis, i.e. “magic mushrooms”), and related compounds has been performed. One of the related compounds which has undergone more research is a synthetic version that metabolizes into psilocin. A summary of some research findings for this chemical can be found at:
Sexual arousal is one of the positive effects listed in that summary. On a more general note, psilocin (a tryptamine alkaloid) serves as a serotonin-releasing agent. Increases in serotonin have been known to increase libido and better regulate sexual function. It should be noted that if Serotonin levels are too high, it can actually have the opposite effect and decrease libido (e.g. SSRI’s in anti-depressant meds). Another source that mentions the potential positive effect of serotonin (therefore psilocybin) on libido is in:
J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jun;31(3):187-99
It is still very controversial as far as I know. The term “Baldwin Effect” has been associated with both plausible and implausible mechanisms/explanations. People that are not as well versed in biology may say that the Baldwin Effect is analogous to Lamarckian evolution which is completely false. It is simply another dimension of natural selection involving cultural meme transmission and the brains best able to utilize those beneficial memes. I’m not sure if it has gained any substantial momentum, as it seems that it is very difficult to prove the efficacy of this effect. Part of the difficulty is trying to establish a difference between The Baldwin Effect and any other mechanism of natural selection, as if they are different things. I believe more or less that the Baldwin effect is simply another facet of natural selection, therefore they aren’t really different things, and thus it has already been proven to exist. It clearly depends on one’s definition of the term, and how they are trying to differentiate it from any other mechanism within natural selection. To me, they are one and the same.
As I mentioned in this post, I think that the Baldwin effect in general is entirely credible within his theory. Specifically, any effects passed onto the early hominids ingesting Psilocybe Cubensis that increase the rate of survival and reproduction (e.g. enhanced visual acuity, libido, increased social cohesiveness, linguistic thinking, etc.) means that any other hominids learning the behavior of eating these mushrooms will benefit as well. If some hominids ignore this behavior or are in some way repelled from the mushrooms, only those with the compatible genetic make-up to partake in and learn this behavior will benefit. In particular, if hominids learned to do this from other users, they wouldn’t have to go through the trial-and-error process of eating this and that and seeing what happens. Rather they would just receive a benefit from learning to eat this particular food.
I think it is entirely plausible that these mushrooms were a catalyst for the development of language as well since two side effects include: synesthesia (mixing visual stimulation with auditory stimulation potentially promoting the creation of sounds or words to represent objects in the environment), and speech propensity (making people more vocal, etc.). Another side effect associated with ingesting Psilocybe Cubensis is an increase in linguistic thinking (which can increase the complexity or levels of thought/thinking).
Many of these advantages, once learned by others, can be practiced indefinitely after the effects of the drug have worn off. Those genetically endowed to learn those new behaviors (e.g. to communicate better, think in more complex ways, increase cohesion, etc.) will be more likely to survive and reproduce. So I think that the Baldwin Effect is the most credible mechanism behind the bulk of McKenna’s theory.
As for McKenna’s idea that vibrations from speaking could have caused the precipitation of impurities from the brain to the cerebro-spinal fluid, thus further mutating the brain — I think that while this may have some merit, it is probably a less likely factor in terms of the evolution of our species (if it has any efficacy at all). I’d need to see more research related to this hypothesis before coming to any conclusion myself. On the surface, it seems somewhat plausible, but there’s no way for me to quantify its impact in the grander scheme of things as I don’t have enough background information on this concept.
This is a good question, and one that I can’t hope to sufficiently answer at this point. I haven’t read enough details related to McKenna’s personal life, anecdotes, memoirs, etc. (whichever of those may exist). I think that he seemed to feel strongly about his theory, as it seemed to fill in a lot of the gaps that evolutionary theory has failed to address adequately and/or specifically. Based on some of the other theories of McKenna’s, it’s easy to say that he is not a conventional thinker. He has some seemingly bizarre (if not bizarre) thoughts and theories about human evolution and the fate of human history. I’m not sure if he was trying to inspire others to break away from conventional thinking so much as he was trying to get others to see the world his way which just happened to be unconventional. It is a good question, but that’s probably all I could say at this time based on what I’ve read. He’s a bit of a black box, that’s for sure.