Paul Stamets: visionary or crank?

A friend sent me a couple of links about the American mycologist, Paul Stamets. I’d not heard of this man or his ideas and, on the face of it, they seem either revolutionary or too good to be true. However, considering the recent suggestion that the herbicide, Roundup™, may be after all not so safe to use perhaps his ideas are worth exploring.

 

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5 thoughts on “Paul Stamets: visionary or crank?

  1. Probably not a crank, but we read about cures for nearly everything nearly every day. Just over optimism. Hot fusion, cold fusion, one is real, but always out of reach.

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  2. I watched his TED talk and read a few links. I’d say he’s not a crank but has an idea or 2 that’s a bit flaky, such as his statement that the mycelium is ‘conscious’ There is undoubtedly a lot of cool interesting things about fungus and levels of complexity that we don’t appreciate…but that’s just silly
    He reminds me a bit of John Lilly who did good work on dolphin behavior in the 60s and 70s but thought dolphins were telling each other epic poems etc. ( Carl Sagan repeated some of these ideas uncritically in Dragons of Eden)
    The thing he said that blew me away ( I looked it up to verify) is that there is evidence that some fungus can use radioactivity directly as an energy source.
    I once gave radioactivity as an example of an energy source that no organism on earth could use!

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  3. RodW: I once gave radioactivity as an example of an energy source that no organism on earth could use!

    Apparently some microbe or other can exploit any energy source, Such as the bacteria that can live on electricity.

    Not so much kook as hype. Any time something is going to cure AIDS or cancer, no. Those claims are a bit like perpetual motion.

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  4. The ‘big nasty corps don’t like my ideas’ thing is odd – I would have expected them to leap all over this. Biologically derived pesticides are already used (e.g. Bt), and this is no difference. Possibly there are problems in making them in large quantities.

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  5. Bob O’H: The ‘big nasty corps don’t like my ideas’ thing is odd – I would have expected them to leap all over this. Biologically derived pesticides are already used (e.g. Bt), and this is no difference. Possibly there are problems in making them in large quantities.

    My suspicious mind wondered why, if Paul Stamets is on to something really revolutionary, Monsanto had not bought his silence and his patents.

    Long time no see and welcome back, BTW.

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