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Old 30th November 2012, 04:37 AM   #1
Zeuzzz
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The Stoned Ape Theory of Human Evolution - Terrence Mckenna

I should first point out this is NOT having a go at evolutionary theory, it's just proposing a new mechanism through which natural selection may have worked in our ancestors.

The main content for this thread is in this video.

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For those averse to watching youtube links, I summarized the main points in a previous post here:

Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
I'm not so sure of the veracity of the theory but I can still see how it would work theoretically.

The reason being that physically in terms of evolution there is no food that readily drastically alters your brain / mind / consciousness or physiology like psychedelics do, apart from maybe toxins or poisons.

If for example we were talking about the possible evolution of our ability to run then a food in our diet that we found which doubled blood flow to you legs would have provided a tremendous advantage for natural selection. Or if talking about the evolution of art and language then altered states of consciousness would have provided a tremendous advantage in terms of natural selection. If talking about foods with an effect on gene expression then populations that ingested the food that randomly increased genes relating to brain size would be more likely to survive in terms of mental capacity evolutionarily.

The one thing that has profound effects on consciousness totally across the board are these primitive psychedelics. Our brains are wired for them, you could even argue that the consciousness altering states and wiring has evolved in part due to us evolving with them. Receptors definitely came about first. They have endogenous ligands, so there's no reason to believe that an exogenous substance would be needed to cause their development, especially seeing as how a good deal of neurotransmitters (serotonin, GABA, dopamine, etc) are almost ubiquitous among mammals. For example the endocannabinoid system regulates, among other things, appetite and the sensation of pain. Its endogenous ligands include anandamide, 2-AG, and NADA.

GHB is actually a naturally occurring substance in the CNS; it's produced in the brain via the reduction of succinic semialdehyde. If a drug doesn't interact with existing neurotransmitters in any way, then no effects are elicited, and as such, there's no reason for the user to continue consuming the substance. DMT is another neurotransmitter already in our brains, there are many others, and mushrooms are simply 4-HO-DMT.

Now the reason why mushrooms in particular are good candidates for this is that at low threshold dosages they drastically increase visual acuity (Fischer, Roland; Hill, Richard (1970). "Psilocybin-Induced Contraction of Nearby Visual Space". Agents and Actions 1 (4): 190197). For a species of tree dwelling primates and hunter gatherers this would provide a tremendous advantage in hunting for food and climbing trees. And they would have to come down out of the trees out of their comfort zone to do this, as the only place this miracle hunting food grew was on the floor of the forest, thus starting the human evolutionary process.

I can see very little way round the fact that one of the greatest things to influence the evolution of consciousness would have been one of the things that most drastically alters it. Mckenna called this the stoned ape theory of human consciousness.

Comments and criticism welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 30th November 2012, 04:53 AM   #2
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And how exactly did it change reproductive success?
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Old 30th November 2012, 04:59 AM   #3
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4-HO-DMT increases arousal and sexual drive in threshold dosages. So what you get from a group of mushroom ingesting apes, apart from the technological advantage to visual acuity and hunting, is increased instances of successful copulation. Which is another factor that likely propelled them further up the the evolutionary pipeline than their counterparts.

So here you have a factor that increases the number of their offspring. the animals eating the psilocybin will be more sexually active, and thus tend to out breed the non psilocybin ingesting members of the population.

It made us better survivors, better hunters and better breeders.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:13 AM   #4
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Atheist and rock art expert Prof. David Lewis-WilliamsWP books The Mind in the CaveWP and Inside the Neolithic MindWP discusses the archaeological evidence for his hypothesis that the evolution of consciousness and specifically the religious experience and abstract representation(art) involved various methods used to alter consciousness including entheogensWP.

Lewis-Williams also recently wrote a book Conceiving God (http://www.thamesandhudson.com/Conce.../9780500051641) which summarizes his hypothesis with regards religion very nicely.

Here are some interviews with him.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
And how exactly did it change reproductive success?
As I have explained and you have dodged, changes in consciousness effects communal/social behavior which in turn effects group selection.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:26 AM   #6
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This is a brand new thread on this subject, so lets try to avoid what people may have dodged or argued against in other threads, and keep the arguments here more objective.
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Old 30th November 2012, 05:52 AM   #7
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Those youtube links were very informative Kaggen. I don't fully agree with his interpretation about religion vs science, as if they are that diametrically opposed, whereas non religious spirituality is in fact totally in support of science; some of his points about religion seem more an argument from incredulity than an empirical argument based on science. You are more likely to get an objective 'meaning of life' and purpose from Neil deGrasse Tyson here. Thanks for the links anyway.

Last edited by Zeuzzz; 30th November 2012 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 30th November 2012, 06:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Now the reason why mushrooms in particular are good candidates for this is that at low threshold dosages they drastically increase visual acuity (Fischer, Roland; Hill, Richard (1970). "Psilocybin-Induced Contraction of Nearby Visual Space". Agents and Actions 1 (4): 190197).
I don't have ready access to this article.
Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
4-HO-DMT increases arousal and sexual drive in threshold dosages. So what you get from a group of mushroom ingesting apes, apart from the technological advantage to visual acuity and hunting, is increased instances of successful copulation.
With "threshold dosages" presumably you are talking about doses where there is an effect but there are no gross distortions of spatial perception and where other major effects are not significantly in play (ability to see patterns where none exist, etc.). I'm not sure if increases visual acuity. I would not be surprised if it may increase visual arousal the ability to perceive details and such things as motion. If it does, I would not be surprised if it came at a cost (possibly with a higher level of false positives) though I doubt it would be significant at a threshold dose.

I've certainly never noticed greatly increased sexual drive but this may be a context specific effect and YMMV.

In any case, I find it highly unlikely that, even with threshold doses, the perceptual changes would be likely to be an improvement over the normal state as I would expect the normal state to already be fairly optimized by evolution. It does not seem believable that it would be otherwise.

Nevertheless, even if a minor positive effect, in the sense of being adaptive, existed (which, again, I consider highly unlikely), its significance has to be greatly reduced to nothingness merely by the fact that our ape ancestors are very unlikely to have spent most of the time almost tripping. That is, any positive effects would be drowned out by all the time spent in an unaltered state and by the few times when the doses consumed were higher than a threshold dose.

If any evolutionarily significant effect existed (which has to be incredibly speculative) it would have to come from serious tripping and it's long lasting effects on the incipient cultural milieu. People can be changed by this and the changes can be long lasting and I have no reason to believe that this would have been any different for out ancestors.
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Old 30th November 2012, 07:22 AM   #9
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Nonsense and rubbish science!
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Old 30th November 2012, 07:55 AM   #10
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Just as another aside, any beneficial effect would have to be counter-acted against the negatives:

The non-zero number that cross the threshhold dose and die due to hallucinations or overdose
The non-zero number that die because they eat the wrong mushroom unknowingly
The non-zero number that die due to fights ocurring over mating rights due to an increased sex drive

When you're discussing marginal benefits, marginal detriments have to be considered as well. Dunno which would win out (even assuming the benefits are exactly as stated).
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Old 30th November 2012, 08:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by !Kaggen View Post
Atheist and rock art expert Prof. David Lewis-WilliamsWP books The Mind in the CaveWP and Inside the Neolithic MindWP discusses the archaeological evidence for his hypothesis that the evolution of consciousness and specifically the religious experience and abstract representation(art) involved various methods used to alter consciousness including entheogensWP.

Lewis-Williams also recently wrote a book Conceiving God (http://www.thamesandhudson.com/Conce.../9780500051641) which summarizes his hypothesis with regards religion very nicely.

Here are some interviews with him.
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He seems to be referring to a time when we already were "modern humans". Am I mistaken in drawing this inference?
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Old 30th November 2012, 08:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Perpetual Student View Post
Nonsense and rubbish science!
I wouldn't say it's nonsense but calling it science might be giving it too much credit.
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Old 30th November 2012, 10:58 AM   #13
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I shouldn't be here, but I had a thought to lay out:

In the early human experiment, when 'we' were spreading out into new ecosystems, we naturally encountered all manner of new foods. I would imagine they were approached with caution. Surely, there had been some bad memories of bad berries and such.

Thing is, in my hunch, all manner of foods that we now have no problem eating, initially, were somewhat toxic, and possibly sort of psychedelic. Is it possible that our digestive system has evolved and still is? Somewhere, I read that tomatoes were poisonous for awhile, and were shunned.
But I have little doubt that early hunter gatherers ran into psychoactive plants. They sure aren't rare. Certain ones were probably kept around for special occasions, or to force the shaman into an alternate perception, for whatever reason.
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Old 30th November 2012, 11:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Thing is, in my hunch, all manner of foods that we now have no problem eating, initially, were somewhat toxic, and possibly sort of psychedelic. Is it possible that our digestive system has evolved and still is? Somewhere, I read that tomatoes were poisonous for awhile, and were shunned.
Tomatoes were distrusted as food and considered potentially poisonous at one point in the New World (by Europeans in colonial America, IIRC) but that doesn't mean that they actually were poisonous. If I remember correctly the Scientifc American issue from August 1978 had good coverage of the history of tomatoes but I cannot find this online.


As for toxic phytochemicals, domestication tends to reduce those. It's not so much us adapting to plant phytochemicals (though, undoubtedly, we do) but of us adapting plants through artificial selection to suit our needs.
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Old 30th November 2012, 11:48 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Just as another aside, any beneficial effect would have to be counter-acted against the negatives:

The non-zero number that cross the threshhold dose and die due to hallucinations or overdose

It is literally impossible to die of an overdose of psilicybin mushrooms. Check out the LD50 for it here.

Anytime you're wondering if something is a poison by society's standards, search for the drug's name with LD50, then compare to the LD50 for caffeine.

Bam, done. No need for pesky semantics.

I will elaborate.

The LD50 stands for the Lethal Dose that is requied to kill half of an exposed population to a particulare agent or drug.

The LD50 for Psilocybin: From the Merck Index 12th Edition

LD50 285 mg/kg i.v.(mice)
LD50 280 mg/kg i.v. (rats)
LD50 12.5 mg/kg i.v.(rabbits)

We most often extrapolate, from rats to humans. So let's stick with convention and use the rat data to compute how many grams of dried mushrooms would be necessary to reach an overdosage of psilocybin.

Psilocybin content in dry mushrooms varies from species to species and ranges from 0.2 - 2.37%, 2.37 being the highest reported.

Lets take 1% as the median for "average" percentage and use the 280mg/kg i.v. as the LD50.

We must keep in our minds the LD50 considers intravenous dosage and not oral dosages, and that it's done on rats and not humans. Though rats are most often the animal models for humans.

Our question then is, how many mushrooms would one need to eat, if one weighed 60kg to reach the LD50. Since the dosage is listed as mg/kg, we must multiply our body weight in kg by the LD50.

280mg/kg x 60kg = 16800mg (or 16.8g) of psilocybin. The units of kg cancel by simple math properties and we're left with an amount of pure psilocybin that would be required to kill a "rat" that weighs 60kg.

Since we know the amount of pure psilocybin that it would take to kill a 60kg "rat" and we have a range of psilocybin content present in dried mushrooms, we can now figure out a total dried weight of mushrooms that would be required to reach the LD50.

A simply dimensional analysis problem can be setup to solve this:

?g of mushrooms = 16.8g of psilocybin
16.8g psilocybin / (1g of psilocybin / 100g mushrooms) = 1680g mushrooms.

Thus we've determined that using the data for rats and accepting a median of 1% potency, that it would require the consumption of 1680g of mushrooms to reach the LD50 for a 60kg rat. This amount of mushrooms is enough to provide a "normal" mushroom trip to roughly 650 people.

Some things to keep in mind: Not all data can be extrapolated from rats to humans, but this common practice and generally accepted. Note that the LD50 incorporates route of administration. Therefore our answer of 1680g of mushrooms or 1.68kg of mushrooms is likely an underestimation of the oral dose required to kill a 60kg rat.


Quote:
The non-zero number that die because they eat the wrong mushroom unknowingly

The care that apes took to choose their food very carefully (like any other species on Earth) would have been passed down and inherited by numerous generations.

This is why any mammal does not eat highly poisonous species of food, and only tends to stick to established dietary sources.

Quote:
The non-zero number that die due to fights ocurring over mating rights due to an increased sex drive

Vs the non zero number instances of productive sexual copulation to balance out the violence. In any society where arousal is culturally enhanced we get more offspring, not less. Sure mating rights will tend to increase with the mating rate too, but it will always tend to chase the offspring count.

Last edited by Zeuzzz; 30th November 2012 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 30th November 2012, 12:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by cosmicaug View Post
Tomatoes were distrusted as food and considered potentially poisonous at one point in the New World (by Europeans in colonial America, IIRC) but that doesn't mean that they actually were poisonous. If I remember correctly the Scientifc American issue from August 1978 had good coverage of the history of tomatoes but I cannot find this online.


As for toxic phytochemicals, domestication tends to reduce those. It's not so much us adapting to plant phytochemicals (though, undoubtedly, we do) but of us adapting plants through artificial selection to suit our needs.
That's what I thought. I looked up potatoes and cassava. It looks like we've bred varieties of potatoes that are sufficiently low in toxic compounds for us to safely eat them, while with cassava the issue of toxicity has been dealt with by learning how to prepare it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato#Toxicity "The concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans. [...] Some varieties of potato contain greater glycoalkaloid concentrations than others; breeders developing new varieties test for this, and sometimes have to discard an otherwise promising cultivar. Breeders try to keep solanine levels below 200 mg/kg (200 ppmw)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava...g_and_toxicity "Societies that traditionally eat cassava generally understand some processing (soaking, cooking, fermentation, etc.) is necessary to avoid getting sick."
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Old 30th November 2012, 12:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
4-HO-DMT increases arousal and sexual drive in threshold dosages. So what you get from a group of mushroom ingesting apes, apart from the technological advantage to visual acuity and hunting, is increased instances of successful copulation. Which is another factor that likely propelled them further up the the evolutionary pipeline than their counterparts.

So here you have a factor that increases the number of their offspring. the animals eating the psilocybin will be more sexually active, and thus tend to out breed the non psilocybin ingesting members of the population.

It made us better survivors, better hunters and better breeders.
And the distribution of said mushrooms, and the studies which show increased sexual arousal are?
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Old 30th November 2012, 12:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by !Kaggen View Post
As I have explained and you have dodged, changes in consciousness effects communal/social behavior which in turn effects group selection.
Maybe you should actually discuss the behavioral changes involved that lead to reproductive success rather than vague arm waving.

food storage technolgies will impact reproductive rate at a much higher level.
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Old 30th November 2012, 12:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by !Kaggen View Post
As I have explained and you have dodged, changes in consciousness effects communal/social behavior which in turn effects group selection.
True, but almost certainly not nearly as much as you think. If you'd care to quantify this, I'd love to see it. No joke here--this would probably be the single most important development in psychology.

As for the theory, it's a Just-So Story. Interesting, possibly worth looking into, but I'm not buying it.

Originally Posted by Zeuzzz
4-HO-DMT increases arousal and sexual drive in threshold dosages. So what you get from a group of mushroom ingesting apes, apart from the technological advantage to visual acuity and hunting, is increased instances of successful copulation.
I HIGHLY doubt this is all there is to these things. You're completely ignoring the detrimental effects of this type of drug. If I had to guess, I'd say the copulation and any minor advances in technology wouldn't be nearly enough to make up for the number of people too stoned to notice the snakes, tigers, and other wildlife out to eat them. And any technological advancement comes at a cost (ie, some people screw up and die). At best, it's likely a wash. Most likely, it'd be detrimental.
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Old 30th November 2012, 12:50 PM   #20
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Have you tried 4-HO-DMT mushrooms in a social situation where other people are not on them Dinwar?

If so what did you notice about your reaction times and visual acuity vs non 4-HO-DMT people?

It's hard to put into text the change in consciousness it produces, but I have numerous subjective stories that can verify the train of thought in the OP.
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Old 30th November 2012, 12:58 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
And the distribution of said mushrooms, and the studies which show increased sexual arousal are?

Trust me, mushrooms at certain dosages increase libido and arousal. I've witnessed many trends in various mushroom parties where arousal happens far more spontaneously between girlfriend and boyfriend, or random people, than usual.

The problem with your question is that such incidences would never be easily reproducible in a clinical setting for scientific study. You could put a woman and male in the same room and give them both mushrooms, but the fact that they know they are being scientifically studied and monitored would stop them openly having sex like they would normally.

Thus the best scientific tool we have to evaluate this claim is peoples subjective experiences. Just google it to find a wealth of people supporting this view, and very few belittling it.
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:00 PM   #22
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One thing I take away from this thread, I think Zeuzzz might be pretty cool to know in real life. There would be no lack of interesting conversations that's for sure.
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by cosmicaug View Post
Tomatoes were distrusted as food and considered potentially poisonous at one point in the New World (by Europeans in colonial America, IIRC) but that doesn't mean that they actually were poisonous. If I remember correctly the Scientifc American issue from August 1978 had good coverage of the history of tomatoes but I cannot find this online.


As for toxic phytochemicals, domestication tends to reduce those. It's not so much us adapting to plant phytochemicals (though, undoubtedly, we do) but of us adapting plants through artificial selection to suit our needs.
Potatoes and tomatoes (and eggplant and some others) are from the nightshade group; often toxic; often containing brain altering alkaloids.
On the long journey to domestication, and less toxicity, there may have been some weird after dinner hours.

Fungi, even more so.
Hungry people likely ate the wrong toad on occasion....as well as rye that sported a certain smut.

Getting high, for lack of better terminology, and the urge to do so, is likely the biggest business on Earth.
I doubt we just suddenly stumbled into this trend.

It's somewhat hard-wired.
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:08 PM   #24
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He's growing up on this forum. It's like watching me five years ago...not sure if that's a good or bad thing
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:10 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by jdc324 View Post
That's what I thought. I looked up potatoes and cassava. It looks like we've bred varieties of potatoes that are sufficiently low in toxic compounds for us to safely eat them, while with cassava the issue of toxicity has been dealt with by learning how to prepare it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato#Toxicity "The concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans. [...] Some varieties of potato contain greater glycoalkaloid concentrations than others; breeders developing new varieties test for this, and sometimes have to discard an otherwise promising cultivar. Breeders try to keep solanine levels below 200 mg/kg (200 ppmw)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava...g_and_toxicity "Societies that traditionally eat cassava generally understand some processing (soaking, cooking, fermentation, etc.) is necessary to avoid getting sick."
Even with cassava there is some breeding has reduced the levels of cyanogenic glycosides to some degree in the form of sweet cassava varieties. However, with such varieties there exists an issue with reduced pest resistance.
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:18 PM   #26
quarky
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Yes,
The nasty alkaloids in various otherwise edible plants are there mostly to escape insect predation. Not surprisingly, the insects evolve faster than we do.

In preparing cassava leaves for consumption, it is advised to provide adequate ventilation.
Shame is, there are more nutritious and less toxic tropical plants to exploit.
Old habits die hard.

For that matter, most insect assaults on food crops represent an added bonus, nutritionally speaking.
One man's plague of locusts is another man's all you can eat buffet.

Last edited by quarky; 30th November 2012 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:33 PM   #27
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
It is literally impossible to die of an overdose of psilicybin mushrooms.
Bad term on my part. The point was when they ate more than just the bit that would add benefits, to the point of hallucinations or other non-beneficial effects (which could lead to death, especially while hunting, for example).

Quote:
The care that apes took to choose their food very carefully (like any other species on Earth) would have been passed down and inherited by numerous generations.

This is why any mammal does not eat highly poisonous species of food, and only tends to stick to established dietary sources.
There are many similarities between mushroom species, and even today you have situations were knowledgable people pick the wrong variety. I'm sorry, but I don't believe in your fantasy that there would not be accidents and mistakes.

Quote:
Vs the non zero number instances of productive sexual copulation to balance out the violence. In any society where arousal is culturally enhanced we get more offspring, not less. Sure mating rights will tend to increase with the mating rate too, but it will always tend to chase the offspring count.
Possibly, but where's the data to support this? As I stated, I'm not saying any one side wins out, but unless all these possibilities are addressed, it's nothing more than a "just-so" story. Even with these possibilities addressed, it dosn't become much more until evidence arises.

As one example, if this was something that was beneficial, I'd expect to have seen it being cultivated once agriculture starts. Instead, in the cultures where use is recorded, it's often in limited supply, reserved for "special" occassions, usually tied into religious visions of some sort. Not exactly the best strategy if it improves hunting skill and mating ability.
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Potatoes and tomatoes (and eggplant and some others) are from the nightshade group; often toxic; often containing brain altering alkaloids.
On the long journey to domestication, and less toxicity, there may have been some weird after dinner hours.

Fungi, even more so.
Hungry people likely ate the wrong toad on occasion....as well as rye that sported a certain smut.

Getting high, for lack of better terminology, and the urge to do so, is likely the biggest business on Earth.
I doubt we just suddenly stumbled into this trend.

It's somewhat hard-wired.
Yes, you are restating I wrote.

As an aside, your example of the nightshade family includes diverse sets of alkaloids (such things as scopolamine, nicotine & atropine) which, despite traditional use, are probably not a great choice to alter one's consciousness given the fact that the window in which they are active without killing you tends to be rather narrow (unlike the example of psilocin & psilocybin --which, as Zeuzz points out, is almost impossible to lethally overdose on). I ignore if this would ever have been the case with the ancestors of our food plants from that family, however (perhaps their ancestral chemical cocktail would have been less hazardous than that of other members of this group). But, like I wrote, the fact that some of the non-food plants in this group can be rather hazardous has not stopped them from being used by shamans & the like.

This probably might also apply to non psilocybian mushrooms (and even psilocyban mushrooms have serious issues having to do with issues of misidentification of LBM's). Nevertheless, some of these have been used as psychotropics (at least this is the case with Amanita muscaria --even though some consider that there might be some geographic variation in toxicity which might make some of these mushrooms more easily lethally toxic in some localities).

And yes, Claviceps spp is just asking for trouble since its effects go well beyond the psychotropic. I doubt that this has ever been commonly used for its psychotropic effects. I would suspect that when it has been consumed it has been done mostly by accident (though I think I recall reading speculation regarding the possibility it might have been used at the Oracle of Delphi).
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Old 30th November 2012, 01:51 PM   #29
quarky
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Originally Posted by cosmicaug View Post
Yes, you are restating I wrote.

As an aside, your example of the nightshade family includes diverse sets of alkaloids (such things as scopolamine, nicotine & atropine) which, despite traditional use, are probably not a great choice to alter one's consciousness given the fact that the window in which they are active without killing you tends to be rather narrow (unlike the example of psilocin & psilocybin --which, as Zeuzz points out, is almost impossible to lethally overdose on). I ignore if this would ever have been the case with the ancestors of our food plants from that family, however (perhaps their ancestral chemical cocktail would have been less hazardous than that of other members of this group). But, like I wrote, the fact that some of the non-food plants in this group can be rather hazardous has not stopped them from being used by shamans & the like.

This probably might also apply to non psilocybian mushrooms (and even psilocyban mushrooms have serious issues having to do with issues of misidentification of LBM's). Nevertheless, some of these have been used as psychotropics (at least this is the case with Amanita muscaria --even though some consider that there might be some geographic variation in toxicity which might make some of these mushrooms more easily lethally toxic in some localities).

And yes, Claviceps spp is just asking for trouble since its effects go well beyond the psychotropic. I doubt that this has ever been commonly used for its psychotropic effects. I would suspect that when it has been consumed it has been done mostly by accident (though I think I recall reading speculation regarding the possibility it might have been used at the Oracle of Delphi).
Glad you mentioned the Amanita discrepancy. Siberian shamans used this fungi for altered states.
In the so called 'new world', the same mushroom has no effect, other than the non-desirable side effects.
This is an interesting side-bar:

Did the fungi change?
Or did we?
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:03 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Bad term on my part. The point was when they ate more than just the bit that would add benefits, to the point of hallucinations or other non-beneficial effects (which could lead to death, especially while hunting, for example).

Can you cite empirical evidence in scientific literature that ingestion often leads to death?

Quote:
There are many similarities between mushroom species, and even today you have situations were knowledgable people pick the wrong variety. I'm sorry, but I don't believe in your fantasy that there would not be accidents and mistakes.

I totally disagree with your straw man fantasy.

Sure, some uneduated people pick the wrong type of mushrooms. If they are unfortunate and pick a seriously poisonous variety then they will die. They also win the Darwin award.

Thus the uneducated fools will tend to die out. And the more knowledgeable and intelligent members of the population that inherit real knowledge about which mushrooms to safely ingest will tend to out breed the naive mushroom ingesting population.

Quote:
Possibly, but where's the data to support this? As I stated, I'm not saying any one side wins out, but unless all these possibilities are addressed, it's nothing more than a "just-so" story. Even with these possibilities addressed, it dosn't become much more until evidence arises.

The theory is exactly that. Just so.

And just so what? Please expand this point further.

Quote:
As one example, if this was something that was beneficial, I'd expect to have seen it being cultivated once agriculture starts. Instead, in the cultures where use is recorded, it's often in limited supply, reserved for "special" occassions, usually tied into religious visions of some sort. Not exactly the best strategy if it improves hunting skill and mating ability.

Please don't bring religion into this. This is a scientific thread grounded in empirical evidence of psychopharmcology and it's potential role in evolution.

Improving hunting capability and mating ability will always be an evolutionary advantage over other species.
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:23 PM   #31
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I hope this doesn't sound crass:

In a tribe, if some young people imbibed in a questionable alkaloid, they would be afforded a degree of protection as they explored their intoxication. They would be excused from their normal chores and duty, on account of being all messed up.

So,
What are the young couple to do?
Tripping balls and ovaries; no nintendo; no tv; no mall...

Hmnn.

How about going through the motions of reproduction?

Unless I have evolution all wrong, it isn't a moralistic teacher.
If you manage to reproduce, via your devil may care attitude, and are eaten, shortly after, due to your hangover...

You become our freaking ancestor.

And we will get revenge, at thanksgiving super, you bastards, etc.

All about sciency-ness,

quarkenstein.
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:30 PM   #32
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It seems to me that for being drugged out to make a significant impact on evolution, that the subjects would need to be stoned all the time. This doesn't lend itself to much improving the species.(though I do suspect it may have a lot to do with the evolution of Doritos)

Being stoned makes you vulnerable in the natural world. Being stoned makes you a liability really. If nature had selected via a vulnerability it seems humans would have gone extinct
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:33 PM   #33
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You seem to be confusing being stoned with the empirical facts of the effects of the aforementioned drugs I supplied. Being 'stoned' is a totally unscientific term that just stereotypes any altered state of consciousness into a single word.

Each state of altered consciousness has totally different profiles than simply 'being stoned'.
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:37 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
You seem to be confusing being stoned with the empirical facts of the effects of the aforementioned drugs I supplied. Being 'stoned' is a totally unscientific term that just stereotypes any altered state of consciousness into a single word.

Each state of altered consciousness has totally different profiles than simply 'being stoned'.
How many magic mushrooms have you ingested during your life?
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:40 PM   #35
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dude, if anybody on this board knows a thing or two about drugs it's this fella. However, let's remove personal anecdotes .

Being on mind altering drugs isn't going to make an affect on brain evolution, unless it was constant usage by a fairly large population. This present a large amount of challenges:

1) being on mind altering substances impairs judgement, in nature ,impaired judgement gets you eaten

2) being on mind altering drugs can impair balance and depth perception, in nature, being physically impaired gets you eaten

3) being on mind altering drugs can result in death due to overdosage, improper preparation of the drugs, or allergic reactions, this doesn't lend itself to anything but being eaten by scavengers

4) an entire tribe of mushroom eaters doesn't seem like they would be too successful at fighting off neighbors, growing/gathering/hunting food, nor at building or finding shelter.

I just don't see how this can be properly advocated as a possibility for the progression of the human brain.

Last edited by StankApe; 30th November 2012 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:41 PM   #36
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by Zeuzzz View Post
Can you cite empirical evidence in scientific literature that ingestion often leads to death?
I don't have to. FIrst, i never claimed often; that's your straw. Second, I don't know any exact numbers. But this apparently is something that hasn't been considered in this theory, therefore it's unknown. As such, the theory can't be considered proven or valid unless all possibilities are taken into account.

In other words, data needs to show that there is a net beneficial effect, rather than a net detrimental one.

Quote:
I totally disagree with your straw man fantasy.

Sure, some uneduated people pick the wrong type of mushrooms. If they are unfortunate and pick a seriously poisonous variety then they will die. They also win the Darwin award.

Thus the uneducated fools will tend to die out. And the more knowledgeable and intelligent members of the population that inherit real knowledge about which mushrooms to safely ingest will tend to out breed the naive mushroom ingesting population.
Great! So you're saying that none will ever make mistakes. Wonderful. DO you have evidence for this utopia you've discovered?

Again, I'm not syaiong this is an often occurrance or even significant. I don't know. And that's the whole point...if it has been considered, it needs to be.

Quote:
The theory is exactly that. Just so.

And just so what? Please expand this point further.
That means that while the data presented so far may be logically consistent, is there any evidence that this is what actually happened? There are an abundance of just-so sotries about why paritcular things evolved, or what advantage they would give, but unless there's evidence of it, they're just stories.

Quote:
Please don't bring religion into this. This is a scientific thread grounded in empirical evidence of psychopharmcology and it's potential role in evolution
Okay, I'm done. If your level of reading comprehension is this abysmal, or your level of dishonesty this low, then I have no further interest in discussion.

I DID NOT bring religion into this. I simply pointed out that if ingesting these mushrooms provides advantage in the form of mating and hunting ability, then why isn't it used for that? Instead, the cultures where these (and other) substances are used tend to reserve them for ceremonial uses, not practical ones.

Quote:
Improving hunting capability and mating ability will always be an evolutionary advantage over other species.
Yes, assuming everything else being equal, and it's that part that I'm pointing out has not been proven. What are the long term effects of use? What are the downsides, and how often do they occur? Just how big, quantitatively, is the advantage confered? Is it enough to make a difference? Does it outwiegh any potential negatives? Speaking of mating ability, you only mentioned desire for mating...is there an effect on actual ability, and if so, what is it?

And just as another point, does increased mating desire mean increased children? Or better survival? I would say not necessarily. Pregnancy was high risk until modern medicine...increased numbers of pregnancies would lead to a lower average life expectancy for women. Is this significant? I don't know, but it's yet another question that needs to be addressed. Extended family does make a difference in successful rearing of children, as older relatives can take over caretaking duties (as well as pass on knowledge).

As to increased hunting ability (in the form of visual acuity), how much of a difference does that make? If unimproved vision is adequate out to the ranges avaialble with the tools used, how much difference does a slight increase make? Are there any disadvantages conferred with this clearer vision, such as increased sensitivity to light or glare? Does a few percent difference really make that much of a change to the fitness ability?

AS I stated before, I don't know if the theory is correct or not. I have no dog in this race. But there are a LOT of considerations that just don't seem to be covered, and that need to be addressed before I'm willing to make a judgement.
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:43 PM   #37
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Must we ignore post # 31 in this?

Or cheap beer, and back seats of big American cars, at the Drive -In Movie?

Intoxicants breed breeding, shameful as that maybe.

Let's not even drag cocaine into the argument.
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:46 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
Must we ignore post # 31 in this?

Or cheap beer, and back seats of big American cars, at the Drive -In Movie?

Intoxicants breed breeding, shameful as that maybe.

Let's not even drag cocaine into the argument.
cocaine only breeds breeding when the person who wants the drugs has no ability to pay the dealer.

Whilst imbibing there is a particularly occurrence that is common in males....

(it kinda rhymes with "rope trick")
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:48 PM   #39
Zeuzzz
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
How many magic mushrooms have you ingested during your life?

Enough to know what they are about.

What is the point of this question?
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Old 30th November 2012, 02:52 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
I shouldn't be here, but I had a thought to lay out:

In the early human experiment, when 'we' were spreading out into new ecosystems, we naturally encountered all manner of new foods. I would imagine they were approached with caution. Surely, there had been some bad memories of bad berries and such.

Thing is, in my hunch, all manner of foods that we now have no problem eating, initially, were somewhat toxic, and possibly sort of psychedelic. Is it possible that our digestive system has evolved and still is? Somewhere, I read that tomatoes were poisonous for awhile, and were shunned.
But I have little doubt that early hunter gatherers ran into psychoactive plants. They sure aren't rare. Certain ones were probably kept around for special occasions, or to force the shaman into an alternate perception, for whatever reason.
Uncooked tomatoes made me sick as a kid. As my mother liked them and they were cheap, we tended to get them often (liver was a similar story).

I can keep them both down these days, if there's no choice, but I'm very wary of them and avoid them if possible. How much of this was physiological and how much psychological , I don't know. I suspect if you eat something and get sick, there's a strong tendency to avoid it thereafter, even if later experience shows it won't make you sick.
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