The Mazatec people, among others in remote rural areas of Mexico had a long tradition of
using Psilocybemushrooms in ways that were intended to help people deal with physical and emotional problems. Through the work of Richard Schultes, Gordon Wasson and others, the world became aware of the hallucinogenic properties of these mushrooms. This discovery and others that followed added to the sum of human knowledge, but also had negative consequences. Outsiders traveled to Mexico to seek access to hallucinogenic mushrooms, disrupting the lives of local residents and making it more difficult for them to continue traditional practices that had been a part of their culture for many generations. Elsewhere in the world, hallucinogenic mushrooms were abused to the point that most governments elected to make their possession illegal. Your assignment is to address the following questions.
1) Do you think the dissemination of information about Psilocybe mushrooms following their discovery in Mexico should have been handled in a different manner? If so, explain how this could have been done in a way that might have engendered fewer negative consequences. If not, explain why you think the manner in which the situation was handled was appropriate.
2) In general, do you think it is desirable and/or necessary to deny or restrict public access to certain information? If so, under what circumstances would this be justified, who would make this decision and how would limitations on access be accomplished (e.g., through laws, standards of professional conduct, or education to achieve shared societal values)? If you favor making all information freely available, explain why you think this is a better policy.
You can refer to your notes from recent lectures for background information related to these questions. You can also draw on other sources of information if you wish, including those that are available on Canvas: Resources / Optional reading / Lectures 13-16. No references are required, but if you take ideas or quotations directly from any source other than lecture notes, a citation of that source should be included. Any style of citation is acceptable.
Your answer to each question should be presented in paragraph form. There is no upper or lower limit on length. You should aim for an answer that is complete but concise. Be sure your ideas are clearly expressed. Proof-read your answers carefully to avoid errors that will compromise your intended meaning.
The assignment is worth 80 points, 40 per question. For each of the two questions, points will be awarded as follows:
In my opinion, the information dissemination concerning the Psilocybe mushrooms should have
been handled in a different manner. I stand by this because in such a case, the mushrooms are…