Tag Archives | Science

Norwegian Scientists Say LSD Might Be Good for Some

At the very least, it doesn’t no harm to one’s mental health according to the scientists:

Via The Local:

“There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, or use of LSD in the past year, and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes,” Pål-Ørjan Johansen and Teri Krebs from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim concluded in their study published in the PLOS One journal on Tuesday.
“Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with a lower rate of mental health problems.”
For the study, the researchers analyzed data on the more than 130,000 Americans who took drug use surveys between 2001 and 2004, of which 22,000 had used a psychedelic drug at least once.
“Despite popular perceptions, expert harm assessments have not demonstrated that classical serotonergic psychedelic substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline are demonstrated to cause chronic mental health problems,” Johansen told The Local.

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‘Brain Dead’ Might Not Mean the Brain is Dead After All

LiveOrganDonationI’m an organ donor, but stories like this one (and that one) sure give me the creeps. I’m happy if my spare parts can help other people, but I’d like to think that I’ll be done with them before they come to take them out.

Via Newser:

An intriguing new study out of Montreal might redefine our concept of being “brain dead.” Researchers for the first time think that the brain remains active even in patients whose EEG lines have gone flat, reports the Los Angeles Times. The study sprang from an unusual case in Romania in which a patient lapsed into a coma, then got put into a deeper coma by doctors. Much to their surprise, doctors then detected cerebral activity in his hippocampus, never before seen in such a deep coma. The University of Montreal study replicated the feat with cats under heavy anesthesia.

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The Forgotten Radical Science Movement

science for people

Via the Guardian, Alice Bell on the 1970s movement involving some of the UK’s top scientists:

“We have to face the fact that there is a crisis in science today.” So said Maurice Wilkins on 19 April 1969 as he opened the one-day inaugural meeting of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS). That’s Nobel Prize winner Maurice Wilkins. Other early supporters of the Society included JD Bernal, Francis Crick, Julian Huxley and Bertrand Russell.

The hall was full to overflowing with more than 300 delegates. Two hundred signed up there and then, with membership reaching over a thousand by the following year. They started publishing a newsletter and BSSRS branches popped up across the country.

What distinguishes the BSSRS from other campaigns is that it was not simply a matter of scientists calling for more research funds or demands for their voice in public policy. Rather, they aimed to open up the politics of science to scrutiny so it might change and improve.

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Coming Out of the Dark Ages, Psychedelic Science, and Freedom Over Consciousness: Introduction to the Benefits of Cannabis, Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, LSD, DMT, and Ibogaine

via chycho

Psychedelic Science1

Robert Anton Wilson, summarizing the works of Dr. Timothy Leary, stated in “The Eight Systems of Consciousness” that we are living through the Dark Ages “like the scholars of the Inquisitorial era”.

“None of Dr. Leary’s most important studies have either suffered refutation or enjoyed confirmation, because enacted law, statues enacted after and because of Dr. Leary’s research – makes it a crime for any other psychologists or psychiatrists to replicate such research. I know you’ve heard that the Inquisition ended in 1819, but in many areas of psychotherapy and medicine, the U.S. government has taken up where the Vatican left off.” – Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson: Consciousness, Conspiracy & Coincidence

The tides, however, are turning. With the federal government stating that they will not interfere with the legalization of cannabis in Washington State and Colorado, and corporate shills like John McCain and mainstream pundits like Dr.

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Scientists Get a TASTE of the Transcendent

its-full-of-stars“The potential for a mystical experience is the natural birthright of all human beings.” Stanislav Grof

“Man may intellectually argue himself in and out of anything. But he can only defend it as long as he has not experienced the fact that he is wrong. Once he has come to the interior realization that a situation is not right, he cannot rest until he does something about it.”Manly P. Hall

“Its persuasiveness seems to hinge on an experience of this interconnection…”Richard M. Doyle

 

What has been generally termed a “mystical experience” is something that has been reported throughout time and across disparate cultures.  At its core, it’s a direct, non-verbal experience wherein an individual feels an expansion of the self to union with, to borrow a phrase from Alan Watts, “the whole works.”  Themes of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness are commonly relayed, along with the ultimate ineffability of it all.… Read the rest

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Just Thinking About Science Triggers Moral Behavior

k-bigpicLooks like they’ll have something to talk about in the atheist church this Sunday.

Via Scientific American:

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara set out to test this possibility. They hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit — its emphasis on truth-seeking, impartiality and rationality privileges collective well-being above all else. Their new study, published in the journal PLOSOne, argues that the association between science and morality is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more moral behavior.

The researchers conducted four separate studies to test this. The first sought to establish a simple correlation between the degree to which individuals believed in science and their likelihood of enforcing moral norms when presented with a hypothetical violation. Participants read a vignette of a date-rape and were asked to rate the “wrongness” of the offense before answering a questionnaire measuring their belief in science.

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British Guy Takes Mescaline, Polite and Measured Reflection Ensues

It’s been said that one of the reasons Humphry Osmond gave Aldous Huxley mescaline was because he knew Huxley had a mastery of language and was uniquely capable of conveying the experience in a way better than most others. The outcome, of course, was hallmark of psychedelic literature The Doors of Perception. Well, here Osmond is at it again with another gent possessing a gift of the gab.

Christopher Mayhew had been the president of a debating society while attending Oxford and at the time of the taping was, believe it or not, a Member of Parliament. Commenting on his experience decades later, he remarked:

“Perhaps half-a-dozen times during the experiment I would be withdrawn from my surroundings and from myself and have an experience, a state of euphoria, for a period of time that didn’t end for me. That didn’t last for minutes, or hours, but for months.”

See some of the original footage, including a follow-up interview decades later, here:

For some more interesting background, from the video description:

Humphry Osmond was the British psychiatrist who coined the term “psychedelic”.

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The Emotional Lives of Animals

I HAZ A SMILEVia orwellwasright:

After over a century, mainstream scientists finally got around to acknowledging something anyone with pets or has watched nature documentaries has known all along – animals are conscious beings.

A year ago at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference, evidence of this obvious conclusion was presented by self-congratulatory scientists, despite the fact that only one of them had actually bothered to do any field research into wild animals and that field researchers had already made the same conclusion years before. As Michael Mountain at the Nonhuman Rights Project, which seeks to change the common law status of some nonhuman animals as “things”, stated: ”Science leaders have reached a critical consensus: Humans are not the only conscious beings; other animals, specifically mammals and birds, are indeed conscious, too.”

Two of the primary reasons why it has taken so long for the scientific establishment to come to such self-evident conclusions are the nature of the study of psychology and consciousness itself, and the historical cultural values towards animals in the Western world.… Read the rest

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Study Finds Atheists More Intelligent Than Believers

Richard Dawkins

Well, as it turns out, atheists have one more thing to be smug about.

(Where is your god now?!)

VIA Yahoo

Religious people are less intelligent than non-believers, according to a new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades.

Previous studies have tended to assume that intelligent people simply “know better”, the researchers write – but the reasons may be more complex.

The studies used in Zuckerman’s paper included a life-long analysis of the beliefs of a group of 1,500 gifted children – those with IQs over 135 – in a study which began in 1921 and continues today.

Even at 75 to 91 years of age, the children from Lewis Terman’s study scored lower for religiosity than the general population – contrary to the widely held belief that people turn to God as they age. The researchers noted that data was lacking about religious attitudes in old age and say, “Additional research is needed to resolve this issue.”

As early as 1958, Michael Argyle concluded, “Although intelligent children grasp religious concepts earlier, they are also the first to doubt the truth of religion, and intelligent students are much less likely to accept orthodox beliefs, and rather less likely to have pro-religious attitudes.”

A 1916 study quoted in Zuckerman’s paper (Leuba) found that, “58% of randomly selected scientists in the United States expressed disbelief in, or doubt regarding the existence of God; this proportion rose to nearly 70% for the most eminent scientists.”

The paper, published in the academic journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, said “Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme—the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who “know better.”

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