In a slight departure from regular Smart Drug Smarts convention, in Episode #53, we take a look at “Snake Oil” – the term used to classify fraudulent medicine, or products that claim unverified results.
Jesse speaks to Drew Birnie, Research Scientist and Content Manager at MarkManson.net, a website dedicated to providing – in the words of its founder – “self-help for people who hate self-help.” Drew’s job is to comb through research material in a scientific and data-driven way, in order to separate empirical evidence from pseudoscience. He explains confirmation and survival biases, takes us through his research methods, and highlights for us the value of being proven wrong.
Key Terms Mentioned
- Snake Oil
- This Week in Neuroscience: Neuroscientists And The Computer
- Big Data in Biomedicine Conference
- Avi Roy (Twitter page)
- Lawlerpalooza (Jesse’s Twitter page)
- Smart Drug Smarts (Twitter page)
- Confirmation bias
- Survival Bias
- Even Casual Marijuana Smokers at Risk for Structural Brain Changes
Links From Drew
What is "snake oil?"
This Week in Neuroscience: Neuroscientists And The Computer
Thank-you to Catrine Bergeron
Big Data in Biomedicine Conference
Come say "hi!' on Twitter
Mark Manson – "Self-help for people who hate self-help"
Introduction to Drew Birnie
Challenges and audience expectiations
Confirmation Bias: A cognitive pitfall that snake oil salesmen take advantage of
Survival Bias: Selectively publishing results
Drew's claim assessment process
The power of the placebo effect, and double-blind testing
Jesse's personal experience with Piracetam, and accounting for individual variation
Adopting an empirical method: "Letting go of always having to be right, and realizing the value of being proven wrong"
Accepting falling into the snake oil trap as a trade-off for the temporary spike of hope
Snake Oil - Part 2: Our first-ever video episode teaser
Ruthless Listener-Retention Gimmick: Even Casual Marijuana Smokers at Risk for Structural Brain Changes
Thanksgiving-themed episode teaser