“Awww, come on guys, it’s so simple maybe you need a refresher course. It’s all ball bearings nowadays. Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads, and I’m gonna need ’bout ten quarts of anti-freeze, preferably Prestone“. — Fletch (film, Chevy Chase)
Have you ever met someone who thinks they know what they’re talking about, yet something in your gut (your BS detector) tells you they don’t really have it all figured out?
Scientists are notorious for this sort of thing. They throw around a few equations, add a few big words, and we all assume they’ve figured something out. Cops are as bad as scientists when it comes to acting like they’ve got it all figured out—but more on that later.
There are several scientific fields that can trigger a reasonable person’s BS detectors. For example, evolutionary psychologists claim that people love golf because the open spaces make humans feel safe. Hum. People get paid to come up with this stuff? How do I get in on this?
Neuroscience has jumped into the pure speculation game, as they now claim that everything is reducable to brain activity. Hey, you fell in love and finally engaged in that special first kiss? Well, it really isn’t that special, neurologists will tell you that they’ve found the “first kiss” neurons located in the bottom right corner of the frontal cortex. Oh, you had a religious experience? No you didn’t. In the most condecending tone imaginable, some neurologist will pat you on the head like you’re their pet doggy, and explain that this life changing experience was just temporal lobe epilepsy.
But when you dig deeper into these so-called scientific explanations, they’re really not explanations at all. They label things, sure enough, much like an engineer can label the data transmissions of your home modem. But they’re not really telling you anything about what’s really happening.
Recently, I saw a neuroscientist “explain” how they’ve figured out what is going on during a psychedelic experience. Psychedelic drug research is super interesting, and it utilizes drugs like psilocybin (mushrooms), MDMA (extasy), and DMT/Ayahuasca.
Anyway, the “breakthrough” discovery is this: all of these drugs react on our brain’s 5-HT2B receptor. Amazing, right? That’s an impressive word, 5-HT2B receptor.
But there’s only one problem with this discovery.
Once a psychedelic drug hits the brain’s 5-HT2B receptor—we know absolutely nothing about what happens next. It’s like some doctor “discovering” that once I drink some water that same water will eventually come out another orface. Ok. But what happens in between? Does the water go to a kidney or two? Is there any sort of processing? The only thing we know about the brain’s reaction to psychedelics is that they hit the 5-HT2B receptor. All knowledge ceases right there.
Still, its impressive to listen to neurologists toss around the term “5-HT2B receptor”. Just saying this word increases your perceived IQ by several points, but fundamentally, this “discovery” sounds only slightly more credible than Fletch’s explanation of the Fetzer valve. Continue Reading