Spirituality

What if a pill can change your politics or religious beliefs?

One challenge stands out: psilocybin seems to make people more liberal. Scientific reports associating psychedelic use and liberal values stretch back as far as 1971, and although these findings have been replicated more recently, a noncausal explanation is readily available. 

If psilocybin does change political values, the significance of this effect goes deeper than which politicians or media outlets will seek to support or impede psilocybin-assisted therapy. A well-established consensus on the secular democratic state is that it should remain neutral and agnostic on a number of matters, allowing a diversity of values, political attitudes and religious beliefs among its citizens. Where such states have universal health care systems, is it permissible to not only endorse, but fund through taxpayer contributions, a treatment which shifts values in one direction?However unusual a treatment’s consequences, shouldn’t we prioritize the preferences of an informed, consenting patient? Yes, I understand that this might change me in strange ways. But my depression is debilitating. I will roll that dice. Putting aside the matter of how well-informed one could really be about such radical transformations, political realities make things more complicated, with the case of psilocybin – currently a Schedule 1… showing vividly how values, politics and social narratives can influence the development of biomedical science.

Original Article (Scientific American):
What if a pill can change your politics or religious beliefs?
Artwork Fair Use: Hai1 Crafts

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