Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday morning shorts

Here at Worldwide Wacko Watch, we've got our eyes on three stories.

First, there's a story out of Nigeria that should be highly alarming to my male readers; sorcerers may be trying to steal your genitals.  (Source)

Four young men were walking along a road near Rumuola and came across a disabled gentleman who was sitting in a wheelchair hoping for a handout from passersby.  One of the four young men came up to give the beggar a few coins, and as he dropped coins into the man's hand he suddenly realized that his penis was missing.

Alarmed, the young man started to beat up the poor guy in the wheelchair, and when his three friends came up  to see what was going on, they realized that their penises were missing, too.  So they joined in, shouting (this is a direct quote from the article), "Help!  He has stolen our pricks!"

Fortunately for the poor man in the wheelchair, who by this time had been knocked to the ground, some policemen came onto the scene and stopped the younger men.  (The young men had apparently been ready to lynch the man.)  When the policement heard the young men's story, he ordered them to drop trou, and lo!  There were their wangs, after all!  "Ha ha," the young men said.  "Now don't we feel foolish!"

No, not really.  Superstitious morons never give up this easily.  The young men did reluctantly admit that their penises were still in the customary location, but they claimed that the beggar had bewitched them and now they didn't work.  As a demonstration of this, one of the young men tried to take a piss and couldn't.  So the policemen sent all four of the young men to a hospital to be checked, and (it is to be hoped) the beggar got himself right the hell out of there before they could return and finish what they started.  After examination, doctors said that there was nothing wrong with the young men's equipment, although their brains could certainly do with some looking after.

Next, we have an interview with Tony Wright, author of the 2008 blockbuster Left in the Dark, in which the claim is made that humans are losing touch with the spirit world because we like to eat fruit.  (Source)

Fruit, Wright claims, is a "highly advanced molecular engineering cocktail" that affects our hormone levels and causes our brains to shrink.  Additionally, the "DNA transcription factors" in fruits are gradually taking over our bodies, shifting us "from a typical mammalian developmental environment to more of a plant developmental environment."  Wright says this has caused problems:
This has severely limited our perception and compromised many abilities. The evidence suggests those abilities as well as a wholly different sense of self lie dormant in the right side of our brain and is only occasionally glimpsed by a tiny minority of people. Unfortunately this also creates a paradox. The dominant side of the brain is assessing itself and so while the concept of specialist abilities appears initially to make some sense on further investigation all is not as it appears and this doesn’t hold up. I have proposed that the abilities and perception facilitated by the left side of our brain are a more primitive and greatly reduced or distorted version of what still remains locked away in the right. Instead of separate senses a unified and highly advanced system that perceives everything all at once without any problems was the norm.
 How can we access this lost ability to see Everything All At Once?  It's simple, Wright says, and takes only two steps:
  1. Stop eating fruit.
  2. Take hallucinogenic drugs.
He particularly favors ayahuasca, he says:
Psychedelics like ayahuasca seem to be a powerful means of re-accessing these lost perceptual abilities (any wonder our left brained society has made these things illegal?). It’s been said that shamans for example who work with it enough can eventually bring in an altered state of consciousness willingly, without even drinking the brew. The beta-carbolines in ayahuasca alone are powerful MAO inhibitors with psychoactive properties by themselves (along with many other beneficial effects). We’re chronically deficient in not only a complex cocktail of plant MAO inhibitors but also the ones that our pineal glands would have produced in much higher amounts as well, given that flavonoids stimulate this gland. Pinoline is just one example. 
Oh, okay, I will dump out my fruit smoothie and go take some hallucinogens right away.

One last note about Wright; his book costs $30 from Amazon.  Myself, I think you could find better uses for $30, which would include taking three ten-dollar bills and setting fire to them.

Last, we have a story out of Arkansas, where a guy leading a search for the Boggy Creek Monster got fined for forgetting to apply for a park pass.  (Source)

Matt Pruitt, a team leader with the Bigfoot Field Researchers' Organization, was on an expedition with 31 other squatchers, trying to find some relatives of the stars of the truly atrocious movies The Legend of Boggy Creek and Return to Boggy Creek.  The only hominid he ran into, however, was an annoyed park ranger, who informed Pruitt that in order to take a group into the park, he needed to apply for (and pay for) a permit.  Pruitt was given a ticket and ultimately had to pay a fine of $525.

It was, Pruitt said, "an innocent mistake," which is undoubtedly true.  And I think he could well afford the fine, because each of the prospective Bigfoot hunters had paid him between $300 and $500 for the privilege of wandering around in the woods and not seeing any monsters.  So Pruitt still came out ahead to the tune of about $12,000, even taking the fine into consideration.  So it could have been worse.

Way worse, actually.  He could have had a banana with his breakfast, and had his brain shrink.  Worse yet, he could have passed a guy in a wheelchair on the trail, and had his penis stolen.  So it's all a matter of perspective, and I think we can all agree that by comparison, Pruitt was pretty lucky.


  1. I think reading this blog may be having a different effect on me from what you might have intended. I see story after story of what kind of silliness people will swallow, and I am more and more of the opinion that anyone so willfully obtuse probably deserves to be fooled.

    Maybe I should invent my own antigravity beverage or homeopathic automobile fuel line treatment or something. It would see to my retirement, at any rate.

  2. Hilarious!

    Last paragraph synopsis FTW!

  3. You got Tony Wright's theory exactly backwards: we stopped eating fruit, hence problems.

    Not sure if that helps or hurts.