Wednesday, March 05, 2008

High on the mountain

I'm not quite sure where to go with this...

The biblical Israelites may have been high on a hallucinogenic plant when Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai, according to a new study by an Israeli psychology professor.

Writing in the British journal Time and Mind, Benny Shanon of Jerusalem's Hebrew University said two plants in the Sinai desert contain the same psychoactive molecules as those found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.

And then, as if that wasn't enough fun, the good professor just has to explain how he knows what these effects are:
Shanon wrote that he was very familiar with the affects of the ayahuasca plant, having "partaken of the ... brew about 160 times in various locales and contexts."

So now we're asserting that taking hallucinogenic drugs makes someone a subject matter expert. I wonder if he can get SME fees in court for this kind of knowledge.

Of course, leave it to a good Rabbi to have the best last word:
Some biblical scholars were unimpressed. Orthodox rabbi Yuval Sherlow told Israel Radio: "The Bible is trying to convey a very profound event. We have to fear not for the fate of the biblical Moses, but for the fate of science."
This whole thing just begs for a fisk, but there just isn't enough meat on the bones to even make it worth boiling them. One does wonder from where the funding for this study came - someone may be looking for a refund. What some people won't do in an attempt to disprove the Bible...