23 June 2006

37th Skeptics' Circle

The 37th Skeptics' Circle is up!

This fortnight it's at Autism Diva's blog, and may I just say that she's done a spectacular job, particularly with the fishy subtext.

Yes, I apologise for that particularly bad pun.

Of interest to me this month is one by Skeptico where he criticises a book by a guy named Daniel Pinchbeck, a bloke who appears to be what's technically described as a "major kook".

Pinchbeck appears to have had an apocalyptic revelation, strangely coinciding with an intake of ayahuasca.

Skeptico has since published a sequel here.

One issue that it raises is, can you legitimately criticise something that you haven't read?

Personally, I haven't read Mein Kampf or Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but I believe that I know enough about them to be able to say without reservation that they are complete Croco-Stimpy's.

In the case of Pinchbeck, when you add what Skeptico has written about this book to what Pinchbeck himself has posted on these two posts of Skeptico's, you really are left with the conclusion that Pinchbeck is one certifiable melonfarmer.

I'm going to disclose that I haven't read Pinchbeck's book.

Notwithstanding, I'm also going to disclose that I believe it to be 100% rubbish of the silliest possible kind.

Apart from this, as always, there is all sorts of wonderful stuff for everyone here. Get amongst it.

Read it here:

37th Skeptics' Circle


Anonymous said...

"...Pichbeck is one certifiable melonfarmer."

Jesus, that made me laugh my ass off. Where the hell did you put that one from?

Just read skeptico's latest post as well. Mayan calander malarky? Give us a break.

Dikkii said...

Ha ha, if Pinchbeck wasn't so eager to believe the shit that he's shovelling, then I'd think that he was a very bad con artist.

But knowing that hallucinogens were involved really says a lot.

I would suggest Aldous Huxley's book, The Doors of Perception, where he writes about tripping merrily along on mescaline. A musician from California named his band after this book, I believe. This musician was Ray Manzarek. You know the rest. I don't think I need to mention Jimbo. Or maybe I did.

"Mayan calander malarky?"

You'd better believe it. Or not. ;-)

Anonymous said...

No need for the hints Dikkii. My little brother is a hardcore Doors tragic. He holds Morrison up to the same kind of reverence that other misguided fools hold for Jesus.

I was going to read The Doors of Perception. Is it worth the bother, or is it just a load of woo, as it sounds? I wasn't overly impressed with Brave New World, although I'm sure it was well ahead of its time conceptually.

Dikkii said...

Hi Adam,

Yes, Huxley's book is a load of woo.

But it's a good historical document in that when Huxley wrote this, not a lot was known about the pharmacology of hallucinogens and their biochemical effects.

Huxley had a pre-conceived mental picture of what a supernatural/religious/woo experience was supposed to be. Huxley didn't, understandably, have a clue about the effect of hallucinogens on the cerebral cortex. So Huxley put two and two together and came up with several trillion.

I'll let him have this in a historical context.

Pinchbeck on the other hand has done exactly the same thing, but is about 50 or 60 years too late. Therefore, he looks like a goose.

Anonymous said...

Hehehe... That was good. AS you've probably read elsewhere though, Mayan stories can make good parallels for some of those in the bible. The woo just keeps goin' round and round, don't it?