Tuesday, November 29, 2011



First, let's look at this article on Time: Hypertime -- why we need 2 dimensions of time and Physics with Two Time-like Dimensions

The question is not, is THIS specific case true or not. The point is that we cannot eliminate such possibilities because we LACK knowledge. Can you demonstrate conclusively that Time is a single-dimensional and linear property of the Cosmos having all and only those properties that would support the Kalam argument?

So, WHAT is Time? What causes "Time"? What do we really know about Time and Simultaneity?

It HAS been demonstrated that there is a Relativity of simultaneity.

How are these issues accounted for in the Kalam when it draws conclusions that would be deeply dependent on such facts? It seems to very much gloss over everything technical and its supporters like to quote scientists who make statements favorable to their position but those opinions are not yet facts.

So what they present as a 'simple' premise is actually a complex series of premises with dozens if not hundreds of presumptions.

Time is still very much a deep mystery so right off the bat we're dealing with an argument that depends on our ignorance rather than our knowledge and instead presumes to insert our common sense notions of Time in place of actual understanding. Nor can we conceive of what it means to "exist outside of time" or be immaterial. You can't just assume something CAN be immaterial, you have to PROVE it (or at least demonstrate it to a reasonable level of satisfaction).

This same 'common sense' notion failed spectacularly in both the case of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity and we know for a fact that the current Standard Model is incomplete. How much more evidence of the limits of our knowledge do we need?

If you are measuring the spin orientation of electrons in a Graphene matrix then the Standard Model is the best model we have at present. Theories are only accurate within the Realms in which they have been tested. Extrapolations are proposed TESTS of the Theory, not scientific fact. There are at least 20-30 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE of phenomena yet to explore below where we can currently probe. If we thought the Standard Model explained it all we wouldn't be building LHC's to try to probe these domains.

Hypotheses about M-branes, colliding universes, multiverses, Many Worlds, String, Spin Loops, etc abound - they remain hypotheses because we have NO empirical data that can point the way forward. Funny thing that empirical data, eh?

So any premise based on these notions which exceeds the realms in which we have tested these theories is patently absurd. We might excuse Kalam for he wrote at a time when we had a profound lack of knowledge about these realms, but that is no longer an excuse. We are aware of where our ignorance lies. M-Theory sits on VASTLY firmer ground than Kalam.

It seems a nasty little bit of word play, nothing more.

Hume wrote:
[T]here is an evident absurdity in pretending to demonstrate a matter of fact, or to prove it by any arguments a priori. Nothing is demonstrable, unless the contrary implies a contradiction. Nothing, that is distinctly conceivable, implies a contradiction. Whatever we conceive as existent, we can also conceive as non-existent. There is no being, therefore, whose non-existence implies a contradiction. Consequently there is no being, whose existence is demonstrable.

Statements like "Either matter is created or it is eternal or self-generating. There are no other alternatives" are false dichotomies (trichotomies?). YOU DON'T KNOW is the only honest and intelligible thing we can say.

Let me give you an example that illuminates a KEY issue this person is missing. We exist INSIDE the Cosmos, we can only see it from the INSIDE. We have no (known) way to access a deeper mode of viewing and understanding our Cosmos (which could provide limits on how much we're able to actually know about it). How bad is this "inside view"? Imagine that you actually existed inside a computer simulation - you would have access ONLY to the sensory data the computer provided you. You could "see" atoms pushed around by forces exactly like the forces we observe. But beyond the reality of your senses and instruments you would know NOTHING about the computer upon which the simulation was running. Much would be hidden from you. mass-energy would be an illusion, not what it seemed to actually be. The conservation laws would be a mere consequence of circumstance. Your entire understanding of the universe could be shifted, but you would never be able to know it. We're limited to describing the observed forces.

So you cannot honestly say that these are the ONLY options, they are the only options YOU can think of. You don't have to imagine that the universe actually IS a computer to understand that there could be a deeper level of understand that isn't 'visible' from the inside. This is not solipsism either - it is a discussion about the limits of our knowledge.

One last point (for now), Kalam also contains a very serious equivocation fallacy on the nature of 'begins to exist'. The things that 'begin to exist' in our experience do not necessarily 'being to exist' in the same sense that spacetime itself would. All we observe is the shifting of already existing patterns. So we're speaking about TWO very different levels of phenomena.

We do not know what the implication of quantum virtual particles are on this question. In some senses they MAY just be further shifting of existing spacetime. But we have absolutely ZERO knowledge about what would happen outside of a spacetime so we cannot say much about it. What we do know is that universe APPEARS to have ZERO total energy - which could indicate that the origin of spacetime was something LIKE a quantum fluctuation that was sufficiently large to leave behind the universe due to some asymmetry in the laws of physics outside our spacetime.

Kalam hides behind a very classical view of causation and time that is not strongly supported by the physics and there are a large number of implicit assumptions that are highly questionable and unresolved. And though it pretends to rest on 'simple empirical observations' it extrapolates far far far beyond any reasonable expectation of their applicability.

Ockham would not be amused.

(Also posted by me as comment on DebateGod)

No Evidence? (bad science, bad!)


I found this article because it was being cited as "proof that Evolution is false" so I wanted to give my usual rant about poor science journalism.

Dr Eric Bapteste, an evolutionary biologist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, said: "For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life. We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality."

Really? So... I didn't come from my parents? That doesn't constitute a certain amount of evidence?

Any genius can tell that where it takes two to tango then it's not a LITERAL and STRICT tree, but to say there is "No evidence" is rather absurd.

Are there additional complexities? Sure, we know more about things like lateral/horizontal gene transfer, retroviral changes, epigenetics and all sorts of things but those don't change the fundamental observation that things come from their parents in critically important ways.

Dr Bapteste said: "The tree of life was useful. It helped us to understand evolution was real. But now we know more about evolution it's time to move on."

This is a more accurate statement but even then, there is no denying the inheritance. The 'tree' doesn't go away here, it just is filled in with more details.

I get what they are saying but this nonsense is incredibly misleading. It sounds like they are perhaps pandering for publicity. [one of the evils produced by poorly funded science]

Why can't they just say "the tree of life is growing more complex with X, Y, and Z additions"? And we've KNOWN this for over 80 years!! "First discovered in 1928 by Frederick Griffith, lateral gene transfer is the process by which bacteria can pass genetic material laterally." Why are they acting like this is a revolution?

The article should have begun: "Since 1928, when Frederick Griffith discovered lateral gene transfer in bacteria, scientists have known that..." Do you feel the difference in tone and level of accuracy about reality that makes? But this wasn't mentioned AT ALL. Instead, this article basically lies (perhaps out of ignorance or lack of time) but certainly omits many extremely relevant facts. And these are supposedly quotes from competent biologists? I wonder if their views are being fairly and accurately represented but some of the quotes seem difficult to take out of context. Perhaps there are language barriers?

And on the flip-side of that Gonorrhea has picked up human DNA (and that’s just the beginning) also points out that some of the gene transfer studies may have actually been contaminated (and also discusses the role false contamination has played in some studies).

Here are a whole bunch of studies on gene transfer. So clearly science isn't ignoring this although it may be underestimated how important of a role it could play - and being a Human could also mean more than just your genes; we also rely on the bacteria that inhabit our body (symbiotic on many levels).

This statement pulls the article out the frying pan a little bit - but I still think it's very misleading:

Both he and co-researcher Dr Ford Doolittle stressed that downgrading the tree of life doesn't mean the theory of evolution is wrong just that evolution is not as tidy as we would like to believe.

Anyway, we learn more, our knowledge grows -- this is a good thing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Check my math but...

One of the primary reasons people took slaves was to work. Why would they do that? Because the cheap, extracted labor of others produces enormous wealth for the individuals who control the labor market. Obtaining and keeping slaves entailed certain costs but they were minuscule compared to the wealth produced by each individual.

Obvious right? [even as it is equally ethically despicable]

So why isn't it equally obvious that when you work for substantially less than your VALUE you are an economic slave [I mean this in no way to take away from the horrors and abuses of physical slavery], you have simply outsourced the cost of obtaining and keeping slaves as a nominal fee now paid to you.

My point here is that we have to fight to ensure that our labor is not undervalued.

Meanwhile, corporations are posting a continuous stream of record profits: http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/corporate-profits-q3-2011-21

If corporations are sitting on ~1.8 trillion dollars, that would fund 25 million jobs at $72,000/year - the vast majority of which would flow Right Back into the economy, fueling economic growth, boosting the flagging GDP, remove dependence for millions on social support structures (unemployment, health care) thus lowering the social burden. But we seem to be taking every possible action to ensure the exact opposite processes are engaged.

Are they just fearful, stupid, or evil?

What I'm absolutely certain of is that the GOP have blockaded the recovery of the economy every step of the way. The stimulus was a clear win for economic policy, now what is holding us back is partly the fear-mongering of the GOP combined with their refusal to allow anything even remotely resembling sane policy to pass the Congress.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Illogical Cosmology

Why can't we just argue God into existence based on Logic?

Because a small error in the beginning is a great one in the end ~ Aristotle

Let's take an example of something we know at least a little bit about the universe, the properties of quantum mechanics and relativity.

Can you form a LOGICAL argument, completely absent ANY premise grounded in empirical findings, that supports the conclusion that the universe will have either of these rather surprising properties?

I sincerely doubt that you can for the reason I stated, conclusions must be based on facts, not on logical propositions which merely alledge facts.

When we propose that we can, through pure reason and logic, conjure what are rightly factual premises that demand supporting evidence out of our conclusions we make a grievous error from the very beginning.

And neither can a LOGICAL argument, in the absence of facts, discern the origin of the cosmos. For any conclusion of LOGIC to be valid the premises have to be grounded in fact. Mathematics and logic themselves are grounded in an observation of the universe, not the other way around. 1 + 1 equals 2 based on observation, not arbitrary fancy. We then made further observations and (over a very long period of time) discerned a set of rules (axioms) that appear to be self-evident (which demands that they correlate with observation) from which all other conclusions follow. The same goes for the axioms of logic. If we adopt axioms which are directly contradictory to observed fact then we will reach absurd conclusions. Now sometimes we might 'try' out an axiom on a what-if basis and conclude that the results are entirely consistent with reality (what-if the square root of a negative number is a valid concept? well that allows us to use mathematical notations that are isomorphic with observed reality so we conclude that it is a valid axiom).

There is a saying in computer programming that applies here: Garbage In - Garbage Out. If you feed Garbage In like "that which begins to exist", then you get Garbage Out. You have absolutely no observational knowledge about what "begins to exist" *really* means, you just assert it because it sounds nice. But you simply cannot extrapolate from our observations from WITHIN the construct of the Cosmos that mere rearrangements of things (mass-energy and spacetime) - which is what we are talking about when we say a pencil "begins to exist" - must necessarily follow the same rules as the origin or eternal existence of the mass-energy or spacetime itself. That is the equivocation at the heart of these arguments. These are entirely different categories of phenomena. You cannot assert based on any actual knowledge that mass-energy or spacetime (aka a universe) begins to exist in the same way that we observe mere rearrangements of pre-existing mass-energy and spacetime (aka a pencil). The more logical conclusion is that there is something deeper to the Cosmos in which these universes exist or come into existence that we have absolutely no knowledge about at this time.

You cannot even begin to talk about it because have no concepts to even begin to speak about such things.

Explain magnetism to me. Deeper. Why? Why? Why? How far down can you go? You think you understand it? I can assure you with some certainty that you do not understand it, you only pretend to understand it at some high level. Our very best physics only gives a mathematical description of the forces and force mediators. There is no physical description you can give that will account for magnetism and be accurate. It simply isn't known. We know even less about spacetime, it is extremely difficult to measure such things and our sciences are only just starting to scratch the surface. There are possibilities that describe MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS OF TIME. What does that even mean? How can you pretend to talk about the origin of the universe when you don't know what time is, you don't know if it's an independent thing or part and parcel, or even for certain if there is only one of them. Furthermore, Einstein destroyed even our notions of simultaneity within time - we can't even necessarily say two things happened "at the same time". In my reference frame A happened before B and in yours B before A.

And yet, you want to pretend to know enough to say that you know everything "came into existence" at the Big Bang? That isn't even what the Big Bang *actually* states. Prior to that there was possibly a singularity or something - we don't really know. We don't possess even the mathematical description that will account for this supposed singularity state. It's a handle we use to talk about this unknown state. We only posit it exists because we measure the universe as expanding today, and rolling time backwards the logical conclusions is that it was smaller and smaller as we go backwards in time. Now we do have a very accurate description of the physics of OUR universe - it's not perfect, we know that, but it IS accurate enough (based on measurements from things like the LHC, and the energies involved) to roll back the clock a very long ways. And then our present model of physics ceases to be applicable - but that only happens when the "everything" that we know, was in a tiny microscopic little bubble of spacetime and at least near infinite energy and density. Before that? We Don't Know. And on our ignorance it's entirely UNreasonable to conclude that it magically all popped into existence due to the will of some being who wants to watch us Masturbate and send us to eternal punishment if we get about it too often. That is an absolutely, fatous, insane leap of illogic.

We Don't know that spacetime or mass-engery was created, as I've already argued. There are some hints that it wasn't per se. One such hint is that if you take the totality of energy that we can measure in the universe today, it sums to JUST ABOUT Zero (and the error bars of that measurement allows for a Zero value). Now just imagine, what if the total energy of the universe turns out to actually BE Zero? If that's true then there is one phenomena that we observe today that might be relevant to the discussion and that is the Quantum foam of virtual particles that we MEASURE as necessarily existing for the measurements of QM to work out properly. These virtual particles necessarily sum to Zero total energy and they burst briefly into "existence", leaving only their fingerprints on the Quantum field and then ultimately annihilating and ceasing to exist (for lack of our deeper understand and the words to express it).

You might read this and shrug it off but it is a rather astonishing result, possibly the most astonishing in all of human history.

There is no theoretical limit to the size of these fluctuations but QM theory does presume that the greater the energy of the event the shorter the duration. That generally holds true (this result is built-into the equation of QM field theory) but there is a possible loop hole. If there are certain types of symmetry violations that are possible (and we're just today beginning to reach the energy levels required to measure them) then a fluctuation of unimaginably large proportions could leave behind a tiny remnant, a "new universe" that explodes "into existence", ripping spacetime itself out of the quantum plenum (as it were) and then expanding, at least in the case of our universe, as per modern inflationary Big Bang cosmology has been able to discern.

The scientific theories will stand or fall based on the strength of the evidence we discover going forward, either supporting them or rendering them untenable.

Ultimately, the only thing I see these types of Cosmological arguments demonstrating is that we are limited by what we can measure of the universe from the inside. There is almost certainly a greater construct within which the entirety rests but I think it is unreasonable to assume that greater construct is outside of the universe rather than merely being that part of the universe that is inaccessible from the inside. Imagine a cellular automata executing on some hardware system, carrying out the instructions that form the laws for that 'universe'. Those laws might result in patterns that store and process information about their surroundings and those patterns might eventually discern the patterns that define the apparent 'laws of the universe' that act upon the cellular automata. But NOTHING is revealed that represents the instructions running the cellular automata itself, nor anything about the computer system upon which it is running. But the cellular automata is not external to nor independent from the totality of the system. It's just that from within the construct you CANNOT access the information that would be necessary to truly understand the whole - that is, you cannot jump up a level. No amount of logical reasoning from inside the cellular automata could deduce the proper conclusion.

The 'beings' existing inside this cellular automata could ponder the origin of their universe by presenting these SAME fallacious arguments, but they would be entirely wrong in their conclusions. They would be making arguments from ignorance about the very nature of their own universe.

So I PROFOUNDLY doubt that we can say anything at all meaningful about the kinds of beginnings necessary to say anything meaningful about the origins of either our Universe or the greater Cosmos as a whole [which does NOT mean we cannot say ANYTHING meaningful about the universe either, it means that we must use the strongest observable facts when we draw conclusions - and where we lack knowledge we can only postulate a vast array of possibilities which we then must test against reality, not just pretend that one of the more absurd of them is true]

The Cosmic Triangle: Assessing the State of the Universe

(Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy on the Babel fish) Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanished in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

Douglas Adams

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nonbelief In A Nutshell

A Work In Progress - I think this is a good rough draft, I'll refine it over time, add references, links, and citations. In the meantime, feel free to help me by pointing out any errors or defeating arguments (or even just linking to other resources in the comments).

But here are a few foundations for my Nonbelief:


If "objective moral values and duties exist" then the question of god is irrelevant because, being objective, they cannot depend upon god. They would have to exist as facts of the matter, independent from any god, or else they are not objective. This argument is the same as saying 'if matter objectively exists, then god". It is a non sequitur.

Nor do I grant that objective morals exist. All evidence is that we follow something closer to empirical consensualism (the proposition that, I and others have a say in the nonsense you try to pull on us which we can legitimately base on the facts of the matter). I believe that GIVEN THE HUMAN CONDITION (which by definition means we're not talking about the objective - a human who, for example, lacks a sense of empathy would not likely share our values) that there are moral imperatives that we can discern through observation. I believe there are good, empirical arguments to be made for such imperatives but ultimately they depend on shared values. If we cannot agree on a value position then we will not agree on the conclusions regarding ethics or morality. Nor does a morality existing necessarily imply that there is some arbiter of them. They are JUST principles of behavior. Some behaviors we don't always like, but we tolerate in others (belief in religion, free speech, non-belief in religion, blasphemy). Other behaviors we find so contrary to human existence that we're willing to enforce them upon others, even when we're not directly affected (murder, theft, assault, rape, fraud, child abuse, slavery, etc).


Slavery is one of the best arguments against the Bible as a source of moral authority. I will let Marvin Wheat make that point for me: "emancipationism [or] abolitionism is atheism" 'The progress and intelligence of Americans', Marvin T. Wheat. Bravo Mr. Wheat, I couldn't have said it better. The rejection of slavery is the rejection of the Judeo-Christian values that underlie it (neither group invented slavery, they merely codified as if it was the will of god). This Atheism is the claim that we have grown beyond the narrow-minded claims of iron age, theocratic despots asserting their power and exploiting the ignorant/uneducated/undereducated masses of the time. Yes, I Very Well understand the draw - for a finite payment today, and draw from infinite perfection tomorrow - you know, after you're dead so we don't have to actually prove anything. And the bad people will get punished (since we failed to hold them responsible) and the "good people" (defined invariably by EVERYONE as those on YOUR side, it's always the other guys who are evil) will be rewarded. Oh, and it's conveniently undetectable and unprovable (despite 1 Kings 18), so you'll just have to take their word for it. I mean, nobody would Die for a false belief would they? (*cough* 9/11 *cough*, Opps, deploy the Special Pleading police to clean that one up). And let's ignore the fact that it's not REALLY the bad people who are punished, they merely have to confess their sins and accept Jesus and get a Free Pass. It's those evil atheists who want to take responsibility for their OWN sins and not scapegoat them through a Human Sacrifice that will receive infinite punishment for their finite transgressions against the make-believe. What god really hates is someone who thinks for themselves, not the murderer, or the rapist, or the child abuser.

But a bare and unsupported assertion that ones moral claims are grounded in their god is fatuous and empty. You must provide and argument or demonstration as to why your claims of moral ground in YOUR God are substantial, whereas all the other tens of thousands of such claimants are in error.

The fact is that the religious methodology (be it revelation, gnosis, or otherwise) is wholly unreliable and demonstrably leads to mutually exclusive conclusions. I might as well be a Scientologist or Mormon or follower of Jim Jones or Sai Baba as all such claims rest on the same, deeply flawed, methodological footing (that of making things up and deciding to believe in them ON the absence of evidence and contrary to all rationality).

What Passes For Biblical 'Morality'

On Christianity, what one must accept is that commanding someone to murder their own child is a moral action (if not, then god is immoral; or if it's moral for god to do it and it's not moral for you then it is NOT an objective standard). And if you argue that it was ok because God stayed Abraham's hand then you fail to account for the thousands of infants murdered by and on account of God: The first born of Egypt; in the presupposed flood; by the Israeli soldiers against the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; or amongst the 100,000 Syrians; or the 1 million Ethiopians; etc (2,476,636 in total explicitly numbered in the Bible, which doesn't account for the flood or first born or many other mass murders and genocides in the bible). God doesn't care much about the lives of humans, infant or otherwise.

Even if you presume the Canaanite (et al.) adults deserved genocide (which is a prejudiced and abhorrent conclusion to begin with, and is baseless in fact), there is no argument by which you can convince me that it was thus a good and moral action for the poor Israeli soldiers to also slice open the children with a sword. Such murders (presuming they actually occurred, which also fails the factual history test) would be immoral. Period. Inexcusable. I DARE you to pick up a sword in your hands and hold it over an infant and even CONTEMPLATE bringing that sword down with force. If it doesn't make you ill just thinking about it then you need mental help because you are abnormal.


The Bible shows every evidence of being plagiarized from older mythologies and events from history (e.g., from Gilgamesh, Judas the Galilean, Egyptian sources, etc).

The utter lack of contemporaneous corroborating historical accounts is also devastating to the claims. Nobody else thought to mention the graves opening up and the dead walking among the living? Josephus was far too late (and either plagiarized or dishonestly modified), Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were TOO late, written anonymously, and we have every reason to suspect them (ask any Jewish scholar for their opinion of Christian re-interpretation of their own works). The Church's violent suppression of dissenting voices (just ask the Arian's) and destruction of contradictory evidence likewise condemns them. And then the Church, as further evidence of their systemic (commanded by the authority of the Church) immorality, for the next 1700 some-odd-years rules via murder, torture, and intimidation and destroys innumerable cultures around the globe under the pretense that it is God's Will (Manifest Destiny, Requerimiento, etc).

And please do not try to pretend like Protestants escape any of this, read Luther's 'On the Jews and their Lies' and 'In Bondage Of The Will' for starters. Then we can move to the Thomas More / William Tyndale screeds against each others respective religion. Calvin's vicious theocracy is likewise well documented (cf. Michael Servetus).

In the end it doesn't matter if there was a historical personage that the character of Jesus was based on or not. It is irrelevant to the question. I think the best evidence argues for an amalgamation (especially the evidence for Judas the Galilean). You can legitimately disagree because there is no conclusive evidence. Claiming the Biblical texts as prima facie evidence for Jesus buys you no more than the prima facie evidence for the gods in the Hellenistic texts. Once again, the religious methodological failure is fantastic and profound.

Scientific methodologies converge on answers while religious methodologies obfuscate, diverge, and bifurcate.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Magic Mushrooms & Caveats

re: http://www.livescience.com/14606-magic-mushrooms-treat-depression-addiction.html

First, thanks to @RachaelRettner for even covering the story. Don't take my criticism as being unappreciative. I'm trying to be constructive here - as well as point out the facts that I'm aware of... [and I understand that, unfortunately, your ability to state facts may be limited by politics]

So I guess I feel like this is pushing some of the myths a bit far, from the referenced article on LiveScience:

However, use of the substance, called psilocybin, is not without risk. Its side effects include paranoia and delusions

and then later quoted a researcher as saying:

"Someone having an adverse reaction might be so scared they might run across a highway and be hit by a car,"

Seriously? And exactly how many times has that ACTUALLY happened? What is the ACTUAL risk? 1 in a billion? Sure, it COULD happen, in theory... but come on. You could also watch a sad movie, have a tear in your eye, and not see a car and get hit by it. That's a risk, it COULD happen - how often is that Risk highlighted in a movie review? The problem is that they present this like you are completely out of your gourd or something, that simply isn't even in the ballpark. You would have be very sensitive and take an absolutely massive dose and just be really unlucky to reach that point.

What is risk of an overdose and complications associated with Acetaminophen? According to http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=an0NgFGyErgU&refer=worldwide

Acetaminophen overdose was linked to 458 deaths and 26,000 hospitalizations annually from 1990 to 2001

How many deaths from psilocybin are there annually? 0.1 maybe? if you stretch the facts a bit. By some accounts it is Zero.

150 people die from food allergies every year in the US. There are maybe half-a-dozen TOTAL cases in the world where psilocybin mushrooms MIGHT have been related to cause of death. An investigation into one of them found issues: http://www.erowid.org/plants/mushrooms/mushrooms_journal5.shtml.

National Survey on Drug Use & Health, 2009 data suggests that 8.1% of the population had used psilocybin - that's 24.9 MILLION people in the US alone (and potentially over 500 MILLION people world-wide). And we know use of these mushrooms is MUCH higher in South America where they have been used for centuries as medicines.

The vast, vast, vast majority of dangers associated with psilocybin ONLY exist BECAUSE it is illegal (proper identification, purity, etc). It is an absolutely absurd situation in my opinion.

The risk of death from psilocybin overdose is virtually nonexistent – there remains no conclusive evidence of any fatalities despite ingestion (often accidental) of dosages greatly exceeding the effective amount. No apparent physiological damage from the use of psilocybin has been observed from the limited research conducted to date (Grinspoon and Bakalar 1997; Stamets 1916)

I'm NOT saying it's harmless (here comes my own CYA), a trip can certainly be extremely intense (I would say for a majority of people, a full dose trip would likely be THE most intense experience of their entire lives) and the person should be aware of what is going to happen and take appropriate precautions. Yes, it is prudent to have a "sitter".

These are the kinds of cautions and facts that should be given as a reservation or caution. Real facts, not the propaganda. As always, check out http://www.erowid.org/ for detailed drug fact info.

Human beings have used psilocybin for at least many thousands of years (direct evidence of use as far back as ~9,000 BCE), if not tens or hundreds of thousands (paleolithic, shamanistic cave paintings in Chauvet Pont d'Arc, Lascaux, Altamira, Chauvet, Magura, et al.: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/clottes/page7.php). Yes, there is risk - but we don't need hyperbole or propaganda that seems rampant in this line of research and reporting today (no doubt due, in part, to the racist and politically motivated "Drug War").

Beyond that, let's be honest - the hallucinations not a "side-effect" they are the effect.

If you have never "been there" (an apt metaphor) it would probably be wise to speak with someone who has so they can give you a better/deeper explanation.

It is always amusing (in a sad and disappointing sense) to read the clinical list of 'effects' of these types of substances like "increased heart rate, disorientation, lethargy, giddiness, euphoria, joy". That's like describing an orgasm as "muscle spams". These capture nothing of the essence of the experience.

How often to do you see ecstatic, noetic, unity, ineffability, awe, astonishment in the list (The Johns Hopkins studies actually do)? You can be utterly transported to 'elsewhere', you can feel the greatest joy or greatest sadness, or greatest fear or sometimes all three at once. It is incomprehensible to someone who doesn't have the experience against which to compare notes. It's like describing color to a person blind from birth - the description just doesn't replace the "felt presence of immediate experience" (to borrow a phrase from McKenna).

I hope this is helpful in some ways to someone.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


In 415 CE, the Archbishop Cyril of Alexandria has his monks incite a Christian mob to murder the last scientist/librarian of the Alexandrian Library, Hypatia. The Christians, led by Peter the Magistrate, strip Hypatia naked, drag her through the streets to the Christian church Caesareum, where they flayed her body with ostraca (while she is still alive, they stripped off her skin with pottery shards), tore her body into pieces, and then finally burned the remains.

It was only 391 CE when Emperor Theodosius issued his edict closing down all Pagan temples, which immediately resulted in the temple of Serapis in Alexandria being razed to the foundation. And from there, only 19 years of internal ROT until the Visigoths sacked Rome.

These are the same ideological, fundamentalist Christians trying to get into power in the United States today. This is our History and our near Future if we fail to pay attention to the very clear warning signs of rising Christian nationalism, claims of religious supremacy, and promulgation of theocratic leadership.