Gerin oil

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Gerin oil or geriniol is a fictional drug used as a device to criticize religion in articles written by Richard Dawkins. The word is an anagram of "religion".

The first article, Gerin Oil,[1] was published in an American secular humanism publication, Free Inquiry, in December 2003 (Volume 24, No. 1). It was popularised in an article titled Opiate of the Masses.[2] It describes a dangerous legal drug "Gerin Oil" or "Geriniol." Dawkins blames its effects as being responsible for historic acts of violence such as the September 11th attacks, massacres of native South Americans by conquistadors, and the Salem Witch Trials.

In Dawkins' satirical description, users are often introduced to the "drug" at social gatherings such as weddings and funerals. In small amounts it is considered harmless, but its usage may increase over time. Medium usage of "Gerin Oil" is said to cause a disconnect with reality where users expect private wishes expressed to come true, and may be accompanied by spasmodic muscular movement or contraction. In large doses it is said to cause aural or visual hallucinations. He also links its use to child mutilation, sexual prohibition, and the tendency to smile when convicted of mass murder.

Christopher Hitchens included Dawkins' essay in his compilation The Portable Atheist.

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