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Monday, October 21, 2013

The foolishness of trusting experts

I am not infrequently criticized for being intrinsically skeptical of anything an expert says, despite the fact that I am, literally, a professional card-carrying "expert" myself. But such skepticism is absolutely justified:
As an economist specializing in the global economy, international trade and debt, I have spent most of my career helping others make big decisions — prime ministers, presidents and chief executives — and so I’m all too aware of the risks and dangers of poor choices in the public as well as the private sphere. But up until then I hadn’t thought much about the process of decision making. So in between M.R.I.’s, CT scans and spinal taps, I dove into the academic literature on decision making. Not just in my field but also in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, information science, political science and history.

What did I learn?

Physicians do get things wrong, remarkably often. Studies have shown that up to one in five patients are misdiagnosed. In the United States and Canada it is estimated that 50,000 hospital deaths each year could have been prevented if the real cause of illness had been correctly identified.

Yet people are loath to challenge experts. In a 2009 experiment carried out at Emory University, a group of adults was asked to make a decision while contemplating an expert’s claims, in this case, a financial expert. A functional M.R.I. scanner gauged their brain activity as they did so. The results were extraordinary: when confronted with the expert, it was as if the independent decision-making parts of many subjects’ brains pretty much switched off. They simply ceded their power to decide to the expert.
And there is the problem. Experts are simply people with more information and experience. But they are not necessarily as intelligent as you are, they often lack some of the most relevant information, and they usually have no skin in the game so they often don't even bother paying serious attention to the matter at hand.

Some of my biggest mistakes have been because, against my better judgment, I trusted the expert to know what he was doing. The main problem, I think, is that the expert is usually making a probabilistic decision based on the averages without bothering to apply the specific details that happen to alter the odds. And this doesn't even include the more serious, but less common problem of when the expert has a financial incentive to make a particular determination.

As we know, someone with a financial incentive to see things a certain way tends to have a very difficult time seeing it any other way, regardless of their level of expertise. The expert investment adviser wants you to invest in something, anything, and the more churn the better. The expert real estate salesman wants to sell your house quickly, with as little marketing expense as possible, and he doesn't care if you get the best price or not. The expert banker wants you to take out the largest loan he can get you to sign for, even if you can't really afford it. The expert IT guy just wants you to shut up, stop asking questions, and do what he tells you.

None of this means that expert advice is useless. Often they have a considerable amount of useful information. But that doesn't mean you should ever let them make your decisions for you. Listen and learn, but do not trust.

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101 Comments:

Anonymous scoobius dubious October 21, 2013 4:26 AM  

Well, there are experts, and then there are experts. An expert airline pilot, for instance, has a different sort of responsibility than an expert musician does. Such as telling some goofball in Alabama that Kim Gordon is a better bass-player than Geddy Lee or Jaco Pastorius, or that douchebag from Primus.

Primus sucks!

You know exactly what I mean.

Blogger Crude October 21, 2013 4:44 AM  

This is the sort of thing kids should learn early in life, and schools are the exact last place they'll ever hear it.

Anonymous Steve Canyon October 21, 2013 4:44 AM  

Expert airline pilot may have a different sort of responsibility, doesn't mean they're immune from the same things described in the article though. Eastern 401 went down in the everglades in 1972. The pilot in command was 50th in seniority at Eastern. They had a technical representative from Eastern on the flight too. The second officer was a 39 year old with more hours on the airframe than the pilot.

None of that helped when they paid too much attention to a burnt out bulb on the gear indicator light, bumped the stick and didn't notice that the auto-pilot was off or that the low-altitude warning chime was sounding.

Once the mind gets into that reinforcement loop where they're trying to make the facts conform to what they think is going on, it's very difficult to get out of no matter how smart or how expert you are.

Blogger Francis W. Porretto October 21, 2013 4:44 AM  

I believe it was Richard Feynman who called science "the belief in the ignorance of experts." Given all that, they can sometimes be useful...just as a tool is useful for a particular family of tasks, and should immediately be put back in the box when the task is completed.

Anonymous scoobius dubious October 21, 2013 4:50 AM  

Steve Canyon makes good points, hard to argue. Hmm, philosophy versus practicality, what do you do? That's why I'd prefer to argue with Nate about bass players.

Anonymous Outlaw X October 21, 2013 4:57 AM  

An Expert Defined:

Some one you see on television or in the MSM that is telling you what happened and why it happened after it happened who never predicted it would happen in the first place.

Anonymous Peter Garstig October 21, 2013 5:40 AM  

Expert: "I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."

Blogger Old Harry October 21, 2013 5:48 AM  

Most experts, be they MDs, pastors, dentists or car mechanics don't appreciate it when you question their judgement. I would think that factors in why many people don't contradict them.

The odd thing that I've observed is the reaction from other people when they find out you're going against the expert. I've seen reactions that range from anger to pleading all because I can't use fluoride toothpaste. Going against the wisdom of the ADA is not something to take lightly.

Anonymous Anonymous October 21, 2013 6:05 AM  

Is that CV expert, or resume expert?

CaptDMO

Anonymous Anonymous October 21, 2013 6:07 AM  

Oh wait...oh wait....
"Award winning" expert?

CaptDMO

Anonymous S. Milgram October 21, 2013 6:17 AM  

Presenting oneself as an expert or authority can let you get away with just about anything, especially in the name of Science.

Anonymous The Great Martini October 21, 2013 6:29 AM  

I agree just about totally with this, which is why I almost never trust salespeople, who are nominally "experts" at fitting you to some product or other but are usually more interested in getting a larger commission or clearing inventory. I've been almost killed by this tendency, when I allowed a sporting goods salesman to sell me a very undersized mountain bike which later collapsed on me.

In terms of medicine, if you are in doubt about a diagnosis (and if it's potentially serious, you should be) get a second or third opinion and make sure the doctors don't know the other's diagnoses or you'll run into the same problem. Force them to come to independent decisions. Granted, this can be difficult to do if you're in a networked health provider. If they all match, you're probably okay. Free expert opinion, like from a family member, is probably much more reliable than outside opinion where the bias variables can be numerous.

Anonymous dh October 21, 2013 6:47 AM  

As we know, someone with a financial incentive to see things a certain way tends to have a very difficult time seeing it any other way, regardless of their level of expertise. The expert investment adviser wants you to invest in something, anything, and the more churn the better. The expert real estate salesman wants to sell your house quickly, with as little marketing expense as possible, and he doesn't care if you get the best price or not. The expert banker wants you to take out the largest loan he can get you to sign for, even if you can't really afford it. The expert IT guy just wants you to shut up, stop asking questions, and do what he tells you.

At least with most of those people, you know their motivations. With many doctors, you don't know their motivations. Do you know what financial stake they have in your treatment? Almost never.

My wife broke her leg. After a long recovery that was going nowhere, the doc recommended an ultrasonic bone-stimulator machine. It was pricey. And only partially covered by insurance. After a lot of research, I determined that the machine is made by a wholly physician owned company. It's covered partially by insurance at the lobbying of doctors. The cost of it at the doctor's office is about $5k. On ebay, they sell used for $180. And worse, the medical literature is very weak that it does anything beneficial.

After asking the doctor if he had a financial stake in his recommendation, several times, she was discharged as a patient.

Steve
The difference with airlines, and with many other industries, is that they are actually accountable for their failures. Pilots who are bad at their job have a non-zero chance of death. And, like in the Eastern case, they improve based on results. That incident led to the development of the modern "Crew Management Model" of airline piloting, which until the Airfrance disaster, was a fantastic way of flying and was very successful.

I think that's the general difference between engineering and quazi-science voodoo. Pilots have check lists, and processes and procedures. They are built, refined, tested, improved almost endlessly. Airlines aren't perfect, but they have done a credible job of wringing out the excess cost of flying while preserving or improving safety. Doctors on the other hand simply hand-waive and convince people that biology is an art, and you can't expect results or repeatable deterministic outcomes.

Anonymous dh October 21, 2013 6:52 AM  

Most experts, be they MDs, pastors, dentists or car mechanics don't appreciate it when you question their judgement. I would think that factors in why many people don't contradict them.

This is a hard thing. I get called on to consult a lot with some technical areas where you could reasonably view me as an expert. It is often very difficult to NOT get angry when questioned. They call you, pepper you with questions.. and then disagree. Design questions to test the limits of what is known or knowable. You have to force yourself to remember - hey, this is the purpose of second opinions. And take a deep breath.

Anonymous VD October 21, 2013 7:05 AM  

It is often very difficult to NOT get angry when questioned.

I don't understand that. I get asked spectacularly stupid questions all the time. And I have no problem when people don't take my advice. Often, I've seen them go down in flames as a result. Not my fault, not my problem.

What makes you angry about being questioned?

Blogger Crude October 21, 2013 7:15 AM  

I think questioning can be easily regarded as annoying when it's some idiot trying out a 'gotcha!' line of questioning, especially if you've heard it before. It's worse if it's about a topic they do not understand, but they heard an argument from a guy who presented himself as an expert (who really wasn't), so when their questioning doesn't work out they actually take it somewhat personally. I think you see this a lot with Gnu atheists - there was a period of time where people would fire the Boeing 747 question at Christians, and when Christians explained why the objection didn't go anywhere, the reaction wasn't 'Oh, okay, I didn't think of that.' but 'You cheated, somehow!'

But if someone is sincerely just asking questions to try and ascertain your response? I don't get that either.

Anonymous VD October 21, 2013 7:19 AM  

Rule #6 violation Phony. Unless you can demonstrate that you have some sort of mind-reading machine, you are not qualified to speak about my thoughts or my motivations. Speak for yourself.

Anonymous dh October 21, 2013 7:23 AM  

What makes you angry about being questioned?

I think it's inferiority complex! Only half-kidding..

..when someone seeks out your advice, pays you good money for a detailed opinion, then nitpicks over it, and then discards it, its like "why bother". Mental masturbation. You get invested in the idea, the problem, the solution.. you expect the payoff.. and then it's a stone cold dead end.

It's like investing lots of equity in a solid 9, starting the close, and then her "we've gotta go" land whale girlfriend snaps her up like an orca devouring a whale.

The same thing happens when you work up a patch for an open source project.. that gets rejected. You see a problem.. you know the answer! Just have to write it up, test it, and get into the tree. People - not many, but a few - will be better off because of you! It's maddening.

I guess I don't know what it's upsetting!

Anonymous Outlaw X October 21, 2013 7:40 AM  

What makes you angry about being questioned?

I never thought about that Vox but I remember many times contractors would question me when I had been doing this civil engineering stuff for years. I even told them why it was a bad Idea and few of them listened. They decided because they were a construction company they knew more, and most of them ate the crow. I got angry for not respecting my experience with failures and didn't want the same mistake to happen. And when it did they blamed it on me and lied about it.

There are people who have expertise in a field but there are no experts. Although I predicted the outcome in engineering projects documented it and it saved my ass.

But the talking heads don't know anything as far as I am concerned they predict many things that don't happen and never see the things that do happen then get on the TV and tell you why what they didn't predict happened.

Anonymous VD October 21, 2013 7:41 AM  

..when someone seeks out your advice, pays you good money for a detailed opinion, then nitpicks over it, and then discards it, its like "why bother". Mental masturbation. You get invested in the idea, the problem, the solution.. you expect the payoff.. and then it's a stone cold dead end.

I understand the frustration. I watched Funcom completely ignore a design plan that was not only in line with what the CEO wanted, but correctly anticipated what has turned into MMO freeplay. And it was even more irritating because I knew exactly why it was happening; a combination of the producer-as-designer mistake combined with not-invented-here syndrome. I even told the CEO to be aware of that problem the day they promoted the guy to Game Director after I'd sat down and spoken with him for a few hours and realized he was totally focused on the production aspects.

It wasn't as if they even disagreed with anything I wrote; no one even looked at what they'd paid for. But in the end, the only person I was angry at was myself. I should have accepted the board position, then stepped in and asserted myself with regards to the problems.

I do sometimes wonder if anyone would notice if I just tucked in 100 pages of the ATOB manuscript inside a cover and table of contents in such situations.

Anonymous VD October 21, 2013 7:42 AM  

I got angry for not respecting my experience with failures and didn't want the same mistake to happen. And when it did they blamed it on me and lied about it.

That's why you get them to put their decisions in writing, via email. Always put people on record. Always.

Anonymous dh October 21, 2013 8:01 AM  

That's why you get them to put their decisions in writing, via email. Always put people on record. Always.

That goes with saying. This is the #1 thing that being independent has taught me. The very first time I was burned I swore it was the last. Some HR bitch tried to screw me. I remember quoting/thinking to myself Eliot Spitzer's one memorable line: 'You think you can intimidate me? Screw you, choose your weapon.".

My mentor in the world helped me with three important things.

1. Get a secretary, who just writes letters and answers your phone, all day long. She follows every meeting, phone call, or appointment with a letter;
2. Record anything you can; (that means a keylogger for my PC and a voice-recorder for the phones);
3. Bill to the minute.

Business is not for sissies.. You can bet the next person who tried to screw with me was surprised that I had IM logs, recorded phone calls, a paper trail, and minute-by-minute phone logs exposing their deception.

Only problem is the indeliable record of every VP post...

Anonymous dh October 21, 2013 8:02 AM  

I do sometimes wonder if anyone would notice if I just tucked in 100 pages of the ATOB manuscript inside a cover and table of contents in such situations.

In those cases I strongly suspect an investor or board member has required outside technical or management review. Of course, those people writing the strings never think of the case where the review is simply ignored...

Blogger rycamor October 21, 2013 8:13 AM  

The expert IT guy just wants you to shut up, stop asking questions, and do what he tells you.

IT guys can be some of the most idiotic authoritarians. Can't tell you how many times I've seen a company railroaded into spending 10 or 20X what they needed to on some aspect of IT infrastructure. And this is often by an in-house IT guy who doesn't even stand to gain financially from this expenditure: he just wants some cool toys to play with, and he wants to throw his passive-aggressive weight around.

Anonymous Outlaw X October 21, 2013 8:31 AM  

Vox, The problem was we are not a regulatory agency in the engineering section of the USDA. We can only shut them down for safety violations (such as no back up alarms and petty shit), other thn that they can do whatever they want even if there is a town of 5000 directly below a dam I had no authority to shut them down (I was basically an OSHA bzzard).

I am a conservative that worked with the government and looked the other way on many unconstitutional things, but when it came to the safety of people down stream I was a hard ass with no authority.

Well that part of my life is over and I wish to forget about it.

Grantee there will be property damage when the Franklin dam fails in Mississippi.if not deaths.

Blogger Jamie-R October 21, 2013 8:40 AM  

You can refine the flaws, Harvard Business School is the best, so I hear. Apart from that, you either read the books the successfully minded write, or find them in person and share in communication. There's also the Christ life, which challenges those who succeed the most in societies formed along his gifts to give up the wolves clothing.

Blogger Jamie-R October 21, 2013 8:43 AM  

It is nice wearing a Money Power Respect t-shirt with Scarface on it though. Drown in the world of worldly power! Then you wake up and every other man wants to kill you. No good.

Anonymous Josh October 21, 2013 8:43 AM  

You can refine the flaws, Harvard Business School is the best, so I hear

I highly doubt that

Blogger Jamie-R October 21, 2013 8:52 AM  

What are you an idiot Josh? No matter what you think of the people who graduated, they make policy, or run key businesses.

Anonymous Anonymous October 21, 2013 8:53 AM  

Expert financial planners still recommend diversifying your portfolio. That's evidence that they can't tell the difference between good investments and bad ones. If they could diversity would lose in favor of the good investments.

--hale

Blogger Jan October 21, 2013 8:55 AM  

Expert. ----> Ex-spurt

An "Ex" is a has-been, and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure.

So my Sainted Momma once told me.

Anonymous Josh October 21, 2013 9:02 AM  

Expert financial planners still recommend diversifying your portfolio. That's evidence that they can't tell the difference between good investments and bad ones. If they could diversity would lose in favor of the good investments.


I remember talking to a recruiter at a brokerage firm after the financial crisis. I asked him how firm was protecting their clients' portfolios as the market was collapsing.

He said that they really didn't do that, and their clients didn't need to worry, because he would have them in the market on its best days and on its worst days, and the market always went up over the long term.

Blogger James Dixon October 21, 2013 9:10 AM  

> The expert IT guy just wants you to shut up, stop asking questions, and do what he tells you.

Well, some of them do. A few actually listen to their users and try to assist them with their needs. :)

> The odd thing that I've observed is the reaction from other people when they find out you're going against the expert.

Get that every time I refuse to take a flu shot because they make me sick.

Anonymous Sigyn October 21, 2013 9:16 AM  

I get asked spectacularly stupid questions all the time. And I have no problem when people don't take my advice. Often, I've seen them go down in flames as a result. Not my fault, not my problem.

Well, yeah, but you're a sigma.

Anonymous RedJack October 21, 2013 9:23 AM  

As I get older and further along in my job, I have developed a decent BS detector. Bring a guy to talk about enzymes? I will listen, ask questions, and if they seem like they know what they are doing, follow them. When they tell me that what I am doing now can not work, and double down when I point out that the process is running now in that situation, I start to suspect them.

Anonymous BillB October 21, 2013 9:24 AM  

Truth is most of the experts have TWS or IBTS. TWS of course is teeny weeny syndrome and IBTS is itty bitty titty syndrome. I taught my students this for 3 decades.

I've heard numerous physicians tell patients,"If you don't do what I tell you, find another doctor." This holier than thou attitude is the cause of the malpractice lawsuit epidemic. Make yourself god and reap the whirlwind.

As a retired professor of chemistry, I've had my share of humbling experiences. Of course, when I made a mistake in front of a class of students, I just told them I was testing them. Right! But many of my peers simply pooh-poohed the error and went on.

A bit of humble pie would aide them. Being humbled always results in an improved person. YHWH well knows how to humble those with the most hubris.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 October 21, 2013 9:25 AM  

At my son's pediatrician's office there was a sign about mercury in vaccines. It basically stated that there is more mercury in breast milk and in tuna than in vaccines.

Let's assume that the premise is true. Do these doctors not understand the difference between ingesting and injecting substances into the human body?

I'm no doctor, never had a desire to be one, but even I know that what you eat does not always end up in your bloodstream. However, when you inject something into your veins, it could easily reach your brain. So ingesting metals, while dangerous, is not as dangerous as injecting metals into your body.

So now I have to take time off from work to ensure that they don't try and scare my wife into vaccinating my son unnecessarily.

Anonymous Daniel October 21, 2013 9:40 AM  

Some of my biggest mistakes have been because, against my better judgment, I trusted the expert to know what he was doing.

Ugh. Just call me patient 1 out of 5 in the medical procedure of life. I don't think I even began to recognize this tendency in myself until my late 20s, despite a good handful of Important Life Lessons. The last time I let this happen in a big way, I lost a year of production killing myself doing all the wrong things, on the advice of several successful and well-meaning industry experts.

Anonymous Anonymous October 21, 2013 9:41 AM  

Going against the wisdom of the ADA is not something to take lightly.

Fear. We make holes in teeth!

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 9:47 AM  


I think it's inferiority complex! Only half-kidding..

Interesting you should say this.

I piss experts off all the time. It is because I vet them and they do not like it. They many times do not take into account that they are not the only person I have spoken to or that I have no experience or education in the area that I am seeking their opinion on. Just because I am hiring and expert has no bearing on whether I am one or not.

I never take one person's advice and always do research before I get to the point where I hire an expert. I then screen the experts. I have found that many experts think that because they call themselves this that their opinions are always right. This is bs.

I have found the people who actually do know what they are talking about understand that they are being paid for their opinion and that they will be rehired if they start to have a tract record for being correct.

I have used my Electrical guy for over 3 years. The first year solid we were testing him. The second year we took his advice and gave him the chance to lead. Now, if he says it we do it.

He never once had a problem with us vetting him but then again he has been in the business for over 30 years and sees people with the same amount of time in doing the wrong thing all the time. He knows we are not experts and that many people claim to be so he just goes with the testing. He turns away clients constantly but has never been too busy for us. For one year of dealing with a pain in the butt, he has gotten tons of clients off of me and more work then he can do for us in ten years.

My Dad used to point out all the time that people with credentials could have passed with D's and you could only tell the real experts over time and testing. Those who are dedicated to it shouldn't have a problem with it. Those who are working with a thin veneer always do.

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 9:54 AM  

Let's assume that the premise is true. Do these doctors not understand the difference between ingesting and injecting substances into the human body?


Food for thought.

My Grandmother was a nurse for over 35 years. She and her co-workers would often joke that they were there to keep the doctors from killing everyone. I have been prescribed the incorrect medication by Doctors no less then ten times. This includes medicine that can kill me that they were told numerous times I could not have less then five minutes before they handed me the prescription.

I have had a pediatrician who claimed that she nursed her children tell me that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a baby to nurse for more then 15 minutes. She also told me it was normal to have a baby throw up every time they nurse. That was the one and only visit with that idiot.

Do your research, trust no one.

Blogger mmaier2112 October 21, 2013 9:59 AM  

From Vox' link:" One study of radiologists, for example, reveals that those who perform poorly on diagnostic tests are also those most confident in their diagnostic prowess.

Confident in their incompetence! How... encouraging...

I think you have to question everything. Sure, it will annoy some folks but who cares?

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 10:04 AM  

I got angry for not respecting my experience with failures and didn't want the same mistake to happen. And when it did they blamed it on me and lied about it.

That's why you get them to put their decisions in writing, via email. Always put people on record. Always.


Not only that. A nicely written thank you note (email or written with a copy in a folder for you) to follow up that says something along the lines of how you are sorry to hear that they have chosen to go another way but you hope to work again with them in the future can be a fun and easy way to CYA.

Due to many non-fun circumstance I have had to be the Queen of CYA. One time of not doing it is all it takes.

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 10:07 AM  


Grantee there will be property damage when the Franklin dam fails in Mississippi.if not deaths.

How about a new career as whistle blower?

Anonymous Outlaw X October 21, 2013 10:09 AM  

Too late I already did and you can thank Trent lott for it.

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 10:12 AM  

Well then, you tried :)

(Marking off the list Mississippi as a future location for family move)

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 10:14 AM  


I think you have to question everything. Sure, it will annoy some folks but who cares?


Whoever gets annoyed I double check. Then rarely, if ever, hire them. Made that mistake once and the guy began unraveling on a job.

I stick to my mission statement (forgive my French) "I do not work with A$$H*)ES".

Anonymous Susan October 21, 2013 10:15 AM  

One of the better examples of your post today is watching a show called Medical Mysteries on either Discovery or History channel. They would have someone with an "undiagnosable" ailment, sometimes very severe. The younger doctors, to a man, kicked the can down the road. They don't have to really work at doctoring because Big Daddy Insurance makes sure they get paid whether they successfully diagnose or not. Time after time, the doctor who saved the patient was one of the "old school, pre-insurance" doctors who actually worked for their money.

Medical insurance might be nice for a catastrophic problem, but for everyday stuff, it kills the incentive for doctors to make you well by doing their jobs. This is also a good example of why it is really bad to have AA doctors.

Maybe Vox can do something in a post regarding the latest scandal regarding Ocare that came out yesterday. Supposedly Obamacare will require segregation of patients and doctors by race. You are white, you get a white doctor, etc. I had to read the article twice. I really hope it was something from the Onion. Because that doesn't even happen in Canada or the UK.

Anonymous Brother Thomas October 21, 2013 10:18 AM  

The Left only reserves their skepticism for God, not for "experts". They would have been the type of Jew who would have packed a bathing suit and a tennis racket for the train ride to Auschwitz.

Anonymous DonReynolds October 21, 2013 10:19 AM  

Vox..."Some of my biggest mistakes have been because, against my better judgment, I trusted the expert to know what he was doing."

You may have been correct in believing that the expert DID know what he was doing. The mistake was in believing the expert would be honest and trustworthy, that you would be able to TRUST the expert to advocate for YOUR personal interests, instead of his own, and advise you even to his own detriment. What we all expect from experts is the TRUTH and usually it is hard to come by. (Medical experts are no different from political or economic experts in this regard.)

Anonymous Anonymous October 21, 2013 10:23 AM  

I don't understand that. I get asked spectacularly stupid questions all the time. And I have no problem when people don't take my advice.

Yeah, I've never understood that either. I'm an expert at various things, but I mostly keep my opinions to myself unless someone asks for them, and it doesn't bother me in the least if someone disagrees with me. I may think he's wrong, but I feel no need to shut him up or call on higher authorities to convince him to agree with me. Occasionally I'm wrong, but since I pick my spots, I'm usually right, and that's good enough for me.

My guess is that it has to do with confidence: the more confident you are in your expertise, the less need you feel to convince people of it. If you're not confident -- which is more likely in fields where it's hard to prove anything, like macroeconomics or climate science -- the more you have to shout down your opponents because you're afraid you might be wrong and end up looking like a fool.

Anonymous DonReynolds October 21, 2013 10:27 AM  

Susan......"You are white, you get a white doctor, etc. I had to read the article twice. I really hope it was something from the Onion. Because that doesn't even happen in Canada or the UK."

I had not read that either.....although......it might make more sense to segregate patients based on religion, especially in Canada and the UK. If Muslim women in health care are not going to be required to roll up their sleeves and wash their filthy hands properly because it violates their "modesty", it makes perfect sense that they would ONLY see fellow Muslims for patients.

Anonymous Jill October 21, 2013 10:38 AM  

This article expresses my sentiments. I am often criticized for not trusting experts. I listen to them for their information, but never trust them.

Anonymous Curlytop October 21, 2013 10:47 AM  

When you question the "experts" what you reveal is that you managed to overcome the Public School's/Society's indoctrination of relying on someone else to do your thinking for you. Children have to have things spoon fed for them. But as the Bible instructs, at some point one has to switch to the real meat. That requires chewing and digesting. Sadly, too many adults still choose to be spoon fed any and all information...to their own detriment.

Anonymous Steveo October 21, 2013 10:54 AM  

Experts are the new propaganda gate-keepers - it's just another credentialed job. There's one and only one aspect to evaluate IMO: fruit on the tree.

You want to make $50 million bucks? Talk to a guy that made his own $50 million bucks. Learn from him.
You want a car to go down a drag strip faster than 4 seconds - find someone that makes them do that, learn from him.
You want to be a world class welder - find the real Maestro around you, the guy everyone says is best and look at his work, learn from him.
You want to build a business that rises fast through the competition in a competitive market? Find someone that did that - learn from them.

Whose teaching college classes?
Answer that and you'll likely throw a brain clot if you're spending $100K+ to get a bachelors somewhere... start talking to your TA's teaching your classes and ask them about their experience with success. Did you look into your professor's successful business? legal? medical? engineering? architectural?... careers?

Holy crap did Bill Gates get a Harvard education or did he leave there and get an education? Figure it out.

Fruit on the tree. Or in today's vernacular:

FOTT

Blogger Chris Ritchie October 21, 2013 11:00 AM  

On topic, but personal. Anyone with advice on selling my house and a rental house For Sale By Owner? Based on what Vox said, I definitely don't want to hand over $ I put into the house to an agent who can't / won't think outside the box in selling my house. It's a foreclosure. It is the largest in the neighborhood by over 1,000 square feet. The reason being is that the previous owner added a second level to a house in a neighborhood where most are 1 story ranches. We got it for a song and are making money on the house, but need to at least recoup what we put into it for improvements. The agent wasn't willing to think of other marketing strategies. He only said that "no other houses in the neighborhood compare to yours, so this is what I'm basing my price suggestion on." Frustrating.

As for the rental, it's a standard 3 bed, 2 bath ranch in a typical exurb.

Anonymous Robert in Arabia October 21, 2013 11:12 AM  

I send them articles about dangers of vaccinations and they run to the hospital to get their chidlren ten more vaccinations.

Blogger rycamor October 21, 2013 11:13 AM  

Nowhere has the failure of expertism been more obvious than in the established diet and exercise recommendations over the past half century. Starve your body of essential fats, put yourself on a high-carb roller-coaster ride of blood sugar spikes, stuff yourself with grains full of inflammatory factors, and spend hour after hour on the treadmill or jogging, weakening your heart, losing muscle tissue almost as fast as you lose fat (or more so), and then try to fix it all with medication after medication.

Oh hey look: At least one modern government has figured it out.

Anonymous Robert in Arabia October 21, 2013 11:14 AM  

http://www.luogocomune.net/site/modules/sections/index.php?op=viewarticle&artid=167
great11 documentary

Blogger WarKicker October 21, 2013 11:15 AM  

" Make yourself god and reap the whirlwind."

Agreed. My attitude with my patients is that it is a privilege and honor that they would seek my advice regarding their health concerns. This requires humility. I am confident in my skills and knowledge, but to the extent that I don't always have the answer. For complex matters, I welcome second opinions rather than being offended by them. After all, the goal is to help the patient, not pad your pride.

Anonymous Kevin October 21, 2013 11:16 AM  

I consider myself an expert when it comes to exercise. I never give unsolicited advice in the gym, but it's not too uncommon for someone to approach me and ask something like, "Hey, how'd you get your tri's to look like that?" or something along those lines. I used to give explanations of the three different muscle heads, their functions, different exercises to target each head, and the optimal set/rep/frequency scheme for hypertrophy or strength gains. Then i realized no one cared about the details, so i started just recommending exercises and a good set/rep scheme. Then I realized no one cared about the set/reps, they just wanted an exercise. Then I realized when I provided the best exercises, they still didn't care, and would continue doing the same ineffective stuff day after day.That used to get frustrating, now i just laugh because I've literally seen the same guys benching the same weight for years and make approximately zero changes in their physique.

Anonymous Robert in Arabia October 21, 2013 11:27 AM  

There were a swimming pool, sport facilities, and thousands of hospital beds for internees of all classifications, also libraries and a post office at Auschwitz.

Blogger rycamor October 21, 2013 11:28 AM  

It really is ironic how people can ignore real evidence and results they can see right in front of their eyes in favor of some expert they've never met, nor know anything about, and who has been repeatedly and chronically wrong his entire career.

Anonymous Josh October 21, 2013 11:30 AM  

Oh hey look: At least one modern government has figured it out.

Great. Now the right wing is going to loudly declare that low carb diets are socialist.

Anonymous Curlytop October 21, 2013 11:31 AM  

@rycamor

I think you may be right on nutrition being the biggest example of the failure of expertism. Was just discussing this during my morning walk today. Know a few Christian family's who have jumped on the NO protein diets..vegans. The father has lost 95lbs since April. Yes, he has some muscle because he is slaving away at the gym. However, he also looks as though he's been starved in the face and neck. His skin and eyes lack that glow of good health. Trying to explain about proper source of food just sailed over the family's head. "Lentils provide plenty," they say, totally ignoring that it's not the right kind of protein for muscle and that fat from meat is needed for more than just muscle tone. Brain health is another area of concern.

which leads to this...

@Kevin
That sounds like what my mother gets when women ask about her skin. She's turning 61 this week and people think she's my sister. No artificial means to accomplish this. I'm turning 36 and frequently receive similar compliments.

Blogger Chris Ritchie October 21, 2013 11:31 AM  

I meant to say above, we bought our current residence off foreclosure. We are not being foreclosed upon.

Anonymous Robert in Arabia October 21, 2013 11:34 AM  

…I survived (six years of imprisonment in ghettos, labor camps and concentration camps as a child during World War II)… When, as a nine-year-old, I spent a month in Buchenwald, it never occurred to me that those of my fellow-inmates who were Gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war, or Danish policemen arrested for helping the Jews escape, were undergoing experiences that were different from mine…..”… But the recent, officially accepted revision of the number of Auschwitz victims from four million to a million or so has made me wonder. One of the precursors of denialism, Paul Rassinier, who died in 1967, asked: “Were Jews murdered?” and answered: “Yes, but not as many as one thinks. Were there any gas chambers? Yes, but not as many as one thinks.” ....... Both of my parents survived, and I had no siblings. I have no tattoo (though I sometimes perversely envied those who had them). I was never beaten or starved. After the War I went on with school at the normal grade level. And when I recently visited the Buchenwald memorial site, the foremost thought in my mind – unrepentant cinephile that I am – was to find the location of the barrack where I saw my first movie; never mind that my first screen image was of a smiling Hitler on horseback, introducing a newsreel. The search for the site of the barrack where I actually lived took second place. ... I spent the last months of the War, after Buchenwald, in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp...
http://www.ce.berkeley.edu/~coby/essays/confden.htm





Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 12:00 PM  

@ Chris Richie

Find someone successful at doing that. Find out what they like (cigars, coffee, a fine wine...etc). Make an appointment to see them and bring them something they like. Ask if they would be willing to look at your property, what the fee would be to do so and offer to pay them for their advice on what to do.

Look for someone successful in what you want to be successful in.

I need to lose weight. I never ask fat chicks how to do it, KWIM?

Anonymous Dr. Kenneth Noisewater October 21, 2013 12:01 PM  

As we know, someone with a financial incentive to see things a certain way tends to have a very difficult time seeing it any other way, regardless of their level of expertise. The expert investment adviser wants you to invest in something, anything, and the more churn the better. The expert real estate salesman wants to sell your house quickly, with as little marketing expense as possible, and he doesn't care if you get the best price or not. The expert banker wants you to take out the largest loan he can get you to sign for, even if you can't really afford it. The expert IT guy just wants you to shut up, stop asking questions, and do what he tells you.

If there's one thing to take from _Freakonomics_, it's this: incentives matter.

Figure out where the bread's being buttered and you stand a very good chance of figuring out any expert's "blind spots".

I don't understand that. I get asked spectacularly stupid questions all the time. And I have no problem when people don't take my advice.

I don't mind being asked just about anything. It's when you're asked the same thing over and over by the same people, implying that they weren't paying attention or respecting your time when you gave them the answer the first time. THAT chaps my ass.

Anonymous dh October 21, 2013 12:08 PM  

Chris R--

The reason why the agent told you the strategy he did is because no matter how much "value" your house has, it is "worth" what people will pay for it. A person who is taking out a mortgage to buy the property must establish the value of the property to be mortgage, and the primary way this is done is by taking a look at comparable sales in your area.

If you have no comparable sales - because it is a house unique to the sales area, you will have a major problem. The home will have no comparable sales, and the appraiser will have to set the value using inferior comparables. The norm for setting values is to find a property worth less, a property worth more, and a property of equal value. This is called 'bracketing'. An appraisal without a "more" bracket means that you will have three brackets - one of a lesser value, and two of equal value.

The bottom line is that any appraiser who values your property outside of the bracket or with bad comparable's risks losing their license. With a low appraisal or no appraisal, a mortgagee will not be able to obtain financing, and you will not have a sale. The real estate agent knows all this, and that's why he wants you to price your home the way you do. Because it is only worth what people can pay for it, and thats largely a function of what people can borrow against the value of the home.

TLDR: Find a cash buyer.

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 12:08 PM  

@ Curlytop

Amen on your comment.
What do you ladies do for your skin :) ?

@ Steve O and Don Reynolds, right on.

As for being upset about someone not taking your expert opinion, I will say that in Outlaw X's case I can totally understand being upset.

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 12:12 PM  

This article expresses my sentiments. I am often criticized for not trusting experts. I listen to them for their information, but never trust them.

Anyone who says to trust them over and over I know is a wack a do. I trust God. Everyone else better bring results.

Blogger Chris Ritchie October 21, 2013 12:22 PM  

Thanks to dh and Carlotta for the second and third opinions. We are planning on having an appraisal of our own done, to help set the price.

Anonymous Kevin October 21, 2013 12:30 PM  

Carlotta, do you actually need to lose weight? Everyone needs to check out http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html. Sorry, I don't know how to hyperlink.

Martin is a fat-loss expert who sells nothing (other than a few affiliate links) and provides all the info one could ever need to lose fat in a healthy and fast way. No one ever needs to buy a single book or ever buy a product to lose fat. Martin is one of the only experts who not only knows his stuff, but gives it all away for free. I personally lost 25 lbs using his approach, and I wasn't even fat to begin with.

Anonymous Josh October 21, 2013 12:31 PM  

Having the biggest or nicest house on the street or block isn't good when you're selling it, for the reasons dh gave. It's going to sell for less than a comparable house on a better street, with larger neighbors.

Anonymous FP October 21, 2013 1:01 PM  

Ahh, real estate. When looking at houses back in 07-08 just before the bust I realized that its mostly a scam and I started rating agents as lower than used car salesman and fast approaching lawyers.

I walked into an open house one Sunday, and ended up getting a lecture from the guy holding it on agent protocol about dealing with looking/buying/selling. "If you're already working with an agent you need to say so and preferably show a card" etc. etc.. Buddy, I just want to look around, I don't care about agents and their rules over who's going to get what % of the sale booty.

Anonymous Outlaw X October 21, 2013 1:06 PM  

Having the biggest or nicest house on the street or block isn't good when you're selling it, for the reasons dh gave. It's going to sell for less than a comparable house on a better street, with larger neighbors.

I don't have that problem it is in the best location at the end of a cul-de-sac. If you ain't coming here you are not passing through. Location is important as well.. Every once in in a while the citizen patrol comes by in their pickup truck as well as the mail man or some lost soul. It is real quiet here.

Anonymous E> PERLINE October 21, 2013 1:10 PM  

Why I don't get angry when my area of expertise is questioned-

1. We become educated, yet we all fall short of the ultimate solution, if there is sich a thing. New solutions keep presenting themselves all the time. They are a result of that mysterious process called "creativity."

3. This guy Fosbury, when competing in the high jump, went over the bar back first. What a shmo.



.

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 1:28 PM  

Thanks Kevin. I will check it out.

Cumulative long term injuries are kicking my butt. But I am working on it.

Anonymous Josh October 21, 2013 1:32 PM  

When looking at houses back in 07-08 just before the bust I realized that its mostly a scam and I started rating agents as lower than used car salesman and fast approaching lawyers.

Basically. They don't provide any additional value, they just skim off the transaction.

Anonymous Kevin October 21, 2013 1:46 PM  

Carlotta, sorry to keep giving you advice, but I cant help myself. I gotta share the wealth.

I don't know if you've ever heard any of the miraculous healing stories of natural sulfur springs, but they are truly amazing. People who know of them travel the world to visit a sulfur spring to partake in it's healing.

But now you don't have to visit a sulfur spring, you can spend $18 to get a sulfur spring in powder form shipped to your door. It's MSM. organic methylated sulfur.

I can personally attest to the healing properties. I was in a car accident where i wasn't wearing my seatbelt. I flew forward and my face broke the windshield. I was going slowly in a parking lot, but it was still pretty bad. I had a huge goose egg on my forehead and my neck was all screwed up. My chiropractor thought it'd take months to get it back to normal.

I immediately started on super high doses of MSM. We're talking like 50,000mg a day. The goose egg on my head went away within an hour. My neck was back to normal in days - not months.

I get my MSM at www.pacificpurity.com

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 3:13 PM  

Thank you Kevin. I appreciate it.

Anonymous REG October 21, 2013 3:26 PM  

Well, in the group confession mode, I had a heart attack, after the stent, I was prescribed blood pressure drugs. I 'white coat' easy and ended up getting a high dosage. With the stent and changing to a more relaxed attitude, the blood pressure really dropped. I began telling the doc that I needed to reduce the meds. Nope, That's not a good idea he said. After about a year of the low pressure, with more than one rejection from the doctor, I went for my regular three mile walk, Hopped on the cycle, went shopping, and back to the house, zoned out, didn't hit the breaks hard enough. Broken nose, totaled bike, ticket for inattentive driving. A couple of thousand dollars in medical bills and I have learned to be responsible for myself. Now, I take advice, not instruction.

Anonymous duckman October 21, 2013 3:33 PM  

Look, as good as it gets, remarks like that belong at Alpha Game.

Anonymous Curlytop October 21, 2013 4:20 PM  

"What do you ladies do for your skin :) ?" ~ Carlotta

Per rules of the blog, I'll answer. Forgive my tardiness. Parenting took over for awhile.

It really is a lifestyle choice along the lines of what Maria Kang demonstrated last week with exercise. Anyone read what that mom of three actually DOES to achieve that body? That parallels with what we do to have healthy skin.

It's the body's largest organ and reveals everything that you are doing or not doing to your body.

We both don't smoke or sunbathe. No sunscreen. But we DO enjoy the sun through various activities. Sun's good for you. Great way to recycle VitaminD. Country living has its perks. :-) Nutritionally, we do what most do here by keeping processed foods down to the absolute minimum, filter the water, exercise, etc. But I've seen many do that and still look sickly.

We began intelligently supplementing about 13 yrs ago, which has made a huge difference. Aging slowed down but we still noticed the signs.Then, about 6.5 yrs ago, we realized all that meant nothing if we turned around to put non-regulated skincare, cosmetics on.

I've never been one to wear much make-up. Think Baroque look. Painted lips, nails and a little mascara for me. But if you must use cosmetics, find one w/o SPF in it as well as other known carcinogens. And remember that the base make-up is the most critical because it actually touches the skin.

Our only vice is that we enjoy our wine. ;-)

Anonymous Golf Pro October 21, 2013 5:07 PM  

"Physicians do get things wrong, remarkably often. Studies have shown that up to one in five patients are misdiagnosed. In the United States and Canada it is estimated that 50,000 hospital deaths each year could have been prevented if the real cause of illness had been correctly identified."

If you want to appreciate just how dumb it is to suggest that experts ought not be trusted, then ask your self how often illness would be misdiagnosed without physicians making the diagnosis.

Anonymous VD October 21, 2013 6:54 PM  

If you want to appreciate just how dumb it is to suggest that experts ought not be trusted, then ask your self how often illness would be misdiagnosed without physicians making the diagnosis.

Stop with the reflexive anklebiting, Golf Pro. It just makes you look retarded. The woman is expressly pointing out THAT THE EXPERTS DISAGREE. What do you do then with your retarded approach, just blindly trust the one who most recently talked to you?

Even you can't possibly be dumb enough to advocate complete trust in every single expert, or even every single medical expert. No one is saying you should completely ignore the experts, only that because too many people trust them far too blindly, you need to learn to listen to them critically rather than take orders from them.

Anonymous REG October 21, 2013 7:04 PM  

"If you want to appreciate just how dumb it is to suggest that experts ought not be trusted, then ask your self how often illness would be misdiagnosed without physicians making the diagnosis."

Late for the party and wearing the wrong dress. Missed the whole point didn't you.

I didn't have a problem with the expert putting the stent in, but, he was wrong with keeping me overdosed. 50,000 died, how many went to the hospital, millions probably. How many of that 50K would have lived with a second opinion. The lesson is to be careful and not have blind faith.

Why don't you get a cat to play with, because, you aren't thinking clearly . I feel sorry for the cat, but, then I don't like cats very much anyway.

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, Johns Hopkins October 21, 2013 7:27 PM  

It's true. Low blood pressure can be just as dangerous. Think of it as water in a hose. Too high, I am chopping the tops of my marigolds. Too low, and I can't water anything.

I've seen reactions that range from anger to pleading all because I can't use fluoride toothpaste. Going against the wisdom of the ADA is not something to take lightly.

Can't use it? Fluoride allergy or something?

My Grandmother was a nurse for over 35 years. She and her co-workers would often joke that they were there to keep the doctors from killing everyone. I have been prescribed the incorrect medication by Doctors no less then ten times. This includes medicine that can kill me that they were told numerous times I could not have less then five minutes before they handed me the prescription.

The real problem is doctors are so poorly educated in pharmacology. "That's the pharmacists job! Let them deal with it!"

Blogger Old Harry October 21, 2013 8:16 PM  

"Can't use it? Fluoride allergy or something?"

I'm not sure. I had suffered with severe mouth ulcers / canker sores all of my life. I tried high does of L-lysine and Vitamin C, but didn't see much change. I had a dentist several years ago (we've since moved away) who told me to switch to fluoride free tooth paste. He told me what store in town to go to and what brand to buy (Tom's of Maine) and he knew because he had the same problem. Within a month, I had zero ulcers.
Two years ago, I went on a business trip. It was an overnight trip and none of our group had planned on checking baggage, which meant I couldn't bring my toothpaste because the tube was larger than TSA allows. I thought using the Colgate at the hotel would be okay just for that evening and morning. WRONG. By the next night I had a half dozen sores in my mouth. While it wasn't truly a blind scientific test, I proved to myself that I didn't need to use fluoride.

I've had three different dentists comment on my teeth and how it looks like I really take care of them. Then they ask what type of toothpaste I use. When I tell them fluoride free Tom's, they frown and ask why. I tell them the story and then the arguing starts.
Dentist: You must use fluoride.
Me: I can't - I told you why.
Dentist: But your teeth need it.
Me: But you just said my teeth look great and I don't use it.
Dentist: You must use fluoride toothpaste. Your teeth need it.
Me: Can I just pay and schedule my next cleaning?
Dentist: You must use fluoride. Your teeth......

Anonymous Dr. Idle Spectator, UPenn DDS October 21, 2013 8:28 PM  

Oh. I suspect you are actually sensitive to the Sodium Lauryl Sulphate in the toothpaste. Let me guess, you get the aphthous stomatitis (canker sores) near wear the teeth rub? Try a SLS-free toothpaste or washing you mouth out really, really, well with water afterward brushing.

The whole fluoride fetish is stupid though, because people have been using baking soda for decades as a good toothpaste.

Anonymous Golf Pro October 21, 2013 9:03 PM  

"Stop with the reflexive anklebiting, Golf Pro. It just makes you look retarded. The woman is expressly pointing out THAT THE EXPERTS DISAGREE. What do you do then with your retarded approach, just blindly trust the one who most recently talked to you?"

It' not ankle biting. It's just correcting. So when you go to the doctor and they proscribe a certain medicine to relieve you of that pain in your stomach, you don't trust them and don't take it? When you see your accountant and they describe the benefits of putting $X.XX in a specific type of retirement account given that you want a specific benefit you don't do it because you shouldn't trust them?

More important is this: "so they often don't even bother paying serious attention to the matter at hand."

You have no basis upon which to make this claim. However, you do have a good reason...to try to use nonsense to make your case. I could have made your case for you in five sentences and I wouldn't have had to make any nonsensical statements.

Anonymous Carlotta October 21, 2013 9:27 PM  

Thank you curlytop. I really do need to start drinking wine ;)

GF Dad same thing here.

REG I have read about controlling blood pressure by eliminating sugar.

Golf Pro so you always do what anyone tells you to without independent thought or observation?

Blogger rycamor October 21, 2013 9:55 PM  

Speaking of IT experts, the Obama administration is wildly flailing now. Having hired a Canadian tech company (!!) to the tune of $360 million and gotten a complete train wreck as result, they are resorting to ridiculous theatrics, such as a call for a "tech surge", and hiring new contractors who have never had anything to do with the code, including of all companies, Verizon. Sure! Adding more experts to a failed project will fix it up Real Soon Now.

Anonymous Different T October 21, 2013 10:19 PM  

In the United States and Canada it is estimated that 50,000 hospital deaths each year could have been prevented if the real cause of illness had been correctly identified.

Another fun fact: close to 100% of easily curable diseases would be easily cured if they were correctly diagnosed.

Wow. Good thing somebody wrote a study about this that could be requoted on the interwebz.

Anonymous REG October 21, 2013 11:17 PM  

Carlotta: "REG I have read about controlling blood pressure by eliminating sugar." I cut the excess meds to half right after the accident caused by my following Golf Pro's advice. The more I change my lifestyle, like not letting 'mommies' like GP put stress on me the lower it gets. Three days of skipping the meds gives me a normal, 135-140 over 70-80. 110-115 over 60-70 with the med. I expect that within the next year, I will be naturally down to 120-70. Yes cutting sugar and grain helps.
The important thing though is as Vox Day states- do not trust the doctor, salesman, or anyone else to run your life for you. Same for exercise gurus even. You have to make your own plan. GP may be happy with other people running his life; but, the rest of us need to take responsibility, learn from more than one and try to make the best choice. Which is, I think the advice Vox is quoting.

Anonymous Anonymous October 22, 2013 8:03 AM  

The whole fluoride fetish is stupid though, because people have been using baking soda for decades as a good toothpaste.

Yep. I'm getting to where I use baking soda for everything: teeth, laundry, shower. It's super cheap, does the job, and doesn't leave behind a residue. About the only thing I still use a commercial soap for is dishes, to cut the grease. For everything that baking soda doesn't do, there's vinegar or bleach.

I figure people managed to keep themselves and their homes clean a century ago before there were aisles full of cleaning products, so how necessary can they be?

Anonymous Michael Maier October 22, 2013 10:20 AM  

Yeah, fluoride just sucks. And it is not at all useful. I didn't go to the dentist for some 17 years or so until this year. I got a cavity in a wisdom tooth and it needed yanked so I got a cleaning and checkup while I was there.

The hygenist said my teeth and gums were in great shape considering no dental visits for so long.

And I haven't used fluoride in my toothpaste for well over 10 years. I've always had a sensitivity to it, I remember getting sick when forced to take that grayish-pink "toothpaste" in grade school. So it's usually Tom's of Maine for me too.

Now when I do use "normal" toothpastes, they usually make me sick. The back of my throat feels like it closes up some and I get nauseated. I usually just floss and brush with just water and baking soda.


But it sure is funny how defensive folks get about "needing" to use fluoride, isn't it? Seriously... why do you care what I don't use in my mouth?

The brainwashing runs deep.

Anonymous Michael Maier October 22, 2013 10:21 AM  

cailcorishev: how do you use baking soda in the shower? As a scouring powder?

I really need a good soap scum remover and I try to limit my chemical exposure.

Anonymous Carlotta October 22, 2013 1:15 PM  

@MM
White vingar is your friend. Try shampoo if that doesnt work.

Anonymous Anonymous October 22, 2013 4:37 PM  

Michael, I meant on myself, with a washcloth. It works on the shower itself too, with some elbow grease, but there's not as much to scrub when you're not using a bunch of soap and shampoo.

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