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Old 12-02-2003, 01:14 AM   #1
Klered
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I have nothing to say except -


If you saw a man selling snake oil in the street, and you heard him say it would cure your ails, then you probably wouldn't believe him.

But -

When you went home, your neighbor for 35 years, who is like a brother to you tells you he bought the snake oil because it will cure all ails, and wants you to buy his bottle so you can see for yourself - would you?

Don't you trust that person? What is the difference between the guy on the corner and the guy living next to you. Snake oil is snake oil.

Maybe it just boils down to everyone wants to sell you snake oil because it will fix everything.

It all boils down to snake oil in the end.

Comments?
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Old 12-02-2003, 04:17 AM   #2
Amnon
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The guy on the street is someone you don't know - Most people today try to scam you into buying things you don't need.

Your neighboor is someone you know. You'll know if he's just trying to scam you, and if he's your friend as well as neighboor, I doubt he will. Why would he?

Trust is something you earn, and that's what it's all about.
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Old 12-02-2003, 04:36 AM   #3
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You have to evaluate the entire chain of trust before making a decision, not just the node with which you interact directly. For instance, your neighbor could've been fooled (good speech, placebo effect, or perhaps your neighbor is just naive) by the same snake oil salesman you know to be a fake. If you buy the oil from your neighbor based on the fact that you trust him you're just as screwed.

People basing their decisions entirely on the level of trust they have in adjacent nodes is, for example, what makes Ponzi schemes so successful.
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Old 12-02-2003, 05:56 AM   #4
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I didn't say I'll instantly buy it from my neighboor... I meant it depends on the person, that's why you have to know them first.

If I know that person is reliable and doesn't get screwed too easily, than sure, I'll believe him. Otherwise, I'll just have to have him prove it to me.
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Old 12-02-2003, 07:32 AM   #5
Jazuela
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If this guy is telling me it'll cure all ills, why is he trying to sell his bottle to me? You'd think he wouldn't part with a bonafide miracle cure for any amount of money. Fuggedaboudit. He can keep his snake oil in a bottle, and I'll go on getting sick like normal human beings do - with the few coins in my pocket still intact.
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Old 12-02-2003, 11:30 AM   #6
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I don't like my neighbours so I won't buy snake oil from them. In fact, they probably ARE the guy on the street in the first place.
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Old 12-02-2003, 01:42 PM   #7
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Well, OBVIOUSLY it completely depends on what TYPE of snakeoil it is. I mean.. lets face it... gardner snake oil? Bah. of course it's fake! But giant Chinese Pa Snake oil? If it doesn't work then the world is backwards!
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Old 12-02-2003, 10:05 PM   #8
Klered
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Tez -

In the story, you don't know if the snake oil in the bottle is real or fake. It looks like snake oil. It smells like snake oil. It has no label, but is said to cure all ailments. So do you trust your close friend who is a believer or shun him away for being a fool.

Remember who is the fool - the fool or the one who follows him

I believe trust is a key component but trust can be decieving no?

here for example, and I quote from a write-up found in google search -

"Snake oil is a worthless preparation fraudulently sold as a cure for many ills. Nineteenth century medicine shows notoriously peddled all manner of tonics and physicks to cure everything from bunions to cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was established ostensibly to protect the public against such hucksters. But nowadays the FDA is also treating companies and people who want to communicate scientific findings about nutritional supplements to the public as though they, too, are snake oil hawkers."

So if the FDA is your brother in the above example - Then you trust them to tell you which brands are good and bad, and if they don't like what your selling, then your a snake oil salesman too - So who wins -

What If in our example, that your neighbor/brother is treated as the common snake oil salesman so therefore he too will be/should be treated as the stranger right?

Why do we except things at face value only 90 percent of the time - the other 10 percent, as humans, we are probably at our most weakest. Instinct takes over.

I am trying to discover , not what the oil really does , but whether one should believe a total stranger any more than your brother, regarding this bottle of black snake oil said to cure all ails.

What we discover might surprise you.
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Old 12-03-2003, 04:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Klered @ Dec. 02 2003,22:05)
I am trying to discover , not what the oil really does , but whether one should believe a total stranger any more than your brother, regarding this bottle of black snake oil said to cure all ails.
My brother is 10 so no. I wouldn't believe him
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Old 12-03-2003, 07:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
What is the difference between the guy on the corner and the guy living next to you.
The difference is that the guy living next to you has more to risk by lying. The nature of trust is that you place it in those who are most likely to reward you for doing so. And the fact that it's snake oil is irrelevant; if you already knew it was snake oil, then you wouldn't be trusting anybody about it anyway.

The rest of what you've said seems to be as relevant as the "if a tree falls in the woods" kind of philosophy.
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Old 12-03-2003, 10:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Tezcatlipoca @ Dec. 02 2003,13:42)
Well, OBVIOUSLY it completely depends on what TYPE of snakeoil it is. I mean.. lets face it... gardner snake oil? Bah. of course it's fake! But giant Chinese Pa Snake oil? If it doesn't work then the world is backwards!
And this is exactly why I keep coming back to this board.

Thanks for livening up an otherwise dreary morning.
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Old 12-03-2003, 11:42 PM   #12
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Y'all be snake-hating fools! Long live snake oil! Asclepius forever!
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Old 12-04-2003, 03:11 PM   #13
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It isn't about trust, it is about gullibility and the easiest person to fool is yourself. If someone tries to sell you something or give you something the first question is a) is it recognizable as medicine. If it is a "nutritional suppliment" then odds are it will have side effects when used with real medicines (or even something like caffine), won't work at all, or will work, but far less effectively that a medicine that has been specifically fine turned to produce greater effect. If it is labelled a suppliment, then you are basically taking your health into your own hands, since the FDA isn't required to regulate such suppliment, unlike real medicines.

The second question is b) Is there any real evidence to show it works? Often the only 'studies' about things ranging from Accupunture, to theroputic touch, to taking Ginko Biloba suppliments consists entirely of taking a bunch of people, giving them a convincing speach and asking them after if the 'feel better'. Real test have shown that it is the speach, ritual and expectation felt by those taking such treatments that appears to affect their answers. No attempt to measure placebo effects are ever used, since the effect is little more than a placebo effect to begin with.

The last question is c) Do you really have a clue what is in it and what those things do? This goes back to the issue in question A, about side effects. Even Vitaman E can have serious health consequences if taken in even normal doses in some instances. It functions as a blood thinner, making it difficult to stop bleeding. If you then tack on some herbs that do the same thing and add in some medication that is used for high blood pressure, then a relatively minor injury that causes internal bleeding will kill you, since even though very small, the wound won't stop bleeding. And while a cut on the skin won't cause you to bleed to death, it will take longer to heal and bleed for far longer than normal, because it won't clot properly.

All in all, your neighbor could be worse than a complete stranger, since as I said, the easiest person to fool is yourself and you can't really truly trust that your neighbor isn't in this instance being a complete and utter fool.
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