Shidaku's avatar
theres no real way to actually measure what they're experiancing, or the relative importantness of what they're basing the argument that 'shrooms are great against. In short, the experiment was not scientifcly accruate, since any dumbfuck who knows two cents about the brain can tell you that various chemicals can mess up the delicate balance of chemiclas that already exist in your brain causeing your percpetions to go all wonky.

this dosent prove that shrooms are good or some magical path to enlightenment, it just means that a bunch of voluenteers got to do drugs and then said it rocked.
Peacefroggie's avatar
In psychology it's not always possible to do the really strictly scientific sort of tests you can do in the other sciences. Often you have to rely on a subject's description of what they are going through. Like say someone has a brain injury that alters their behaviour, you'd definitely have to take into account their description of their own mental state as well as look at what had physically changed in the brain. In this case, a group consensus as to what the experience felt like subjectively is enough to conclude that, as the study does, that drugs can cause powerful "mustical experiences."
Shidaku's avatar
true, but we all know that 'shrooms contain chemicals that affect your brain, and the resulting experiances you feel are caused by the brain activity triggered by the change in chemical levels. I dont recall if actual scans of brain activity were done in this study, but I feel they are necessary.

If this drug does indeed activate a "positive" portion of the brain, then it should be made known what part of the brain that is, so that perhaps we can engineer something that is less toxic, but just as effective, and perhaps do some good.
Peacefroggie's avatar
Sure, we know to some degree what goes on in the brain with psychedelics...they cause the brain to release an excess of serotonin. Obviously there are other factors involved which are less understood due to the 40-year research ban. But the guy who did the John Hopkins study wants to do more research including MRI scans, etc., as soon as he can get government approval and more funding. Could be tricky though...FOX News already has a headline reporting that psilocybin causes a high that lasts for months :)
evolvearth's avatar
Not exactly a fair assessment. The entire purpose is for people to have positive experiences. Human behavior is predictable at a certain point, and professionals, while not at 100% accuracy, generally are good at picking out the liars. If the volunteers claimed to have positive experiences, then what is wrong with relying on that data? While positive experiences are relative to people, they are mostly similar than they are different. If more studies are conducted, more results come in. If the volunteers continue to praise the effects of the drug, then that adds to the credibility.

I think it is more hopeful than realistic to assume that human experiences cannot be quantified in any meaningful way. We're still products of nature and are far more similar than different. Humans are predictable creatures, and I think that grinds of the nerves of many. Therapy and medicine seem to be pretty effective because of studies like these.
Shidaku's avatar
perhaps, but I still think that without actual brain chemical level testing the results are questionable. Maybe I'm asking for them to cut open people's heads and see what's ticking. Perhaps a cat scan of the active brain areas during the experiances and then their responses afterward to see what areas activate, and why pleasureable, instead of negative experiances are brought about.

But more to the point is that I have never liked the idea of chemicla use, be them illegial or legal ones to improve the way you see the world. There are people who need drugs to make their brain function in the same ways as everyone else, but I dont think that because "life sucks" or that the world is harsh should be an excuse to screw with your mind in order to avoid it. Avoidance is no better than apathy and apathy is bad.

Also, it brings up too many mental images of Brave New World where everyone does drugs and nobody cares whats going on cause everyone is "happy" all the time. There's actually a song about that in Secret of NIMH 2, relating to the electroshock therapy that was so prevalent in the past, it was a twisted and creepy song, especially for an animated show.
Peacefroggie's avatar
Yes, except in Brave New World the drug they took ditracted them from what was heppening...psychedelics turn you inwards and force you to reflect on yourself. I don't see how they would possibly act like in Brave New World, they're too profound and difficult and frightening. Huxley wrote Brave New World early on in his life, but he wrote Island later on, after he'd experimented with Mescaline...and it offers a much more positive take on the possibilities of drug use in society.
Shidaku's avatar
Maybe he just did it to show there were different possibilities. Youd have to ask him if drug use improved him. As you said, testimony is about all you've got to go on.

I wouldnt say that all drugs affect all people the same ways, which is one of the main problems with relying on tesitmony, it would be better to see how the brain was actually reacting.
Peacefroggie's avatar
Well that's why you ask a wide variety of people...then you can establish common elements in their testimony, which makes for reasonably convincing evidence. Combine that with some MRI imaging or some sort of brain scan, and you've got some seriously good scientific information to base your assumptions on, right?
Shidaku's avatar
yes that sounds pretty correct.