Phil Friedman

7 years ago · 6 min. reading time · ~100 ·

Phil blog
Self-Ascription, Self-Certification, and Snake Oil

Self-Ascription, Self-Certification, and Snake Oil

If I Do Say So Myself

Soco-Phiosophical Musings With an Edge

Reflections on Social Media.

Self-Ascription, Self-Certification, and Snake Oil


Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage...
Amy Jo Martin,  CEO of Digital Royalty

Social media may be the Great Equalizer, but it is also a playground for those who are fully prepared to fake it, while they try to make it. People who invent and reinvent themselves — and their training, skills, and experience — at will, with a few thousand keystrokes and mouse clicks on a computer. The scammers, the delusional, and the completely unrealistic daydreamers and wannabes.

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This post, however, is not about them. It's about the rest of us.

About how we need to sharpen our skills and resolve at withholding belief. How we need to look for substantiation and evidence for claims made by people on social media about who they are and what they can do for us, whether on a paid or unpaid basis. Before we engage them to do anything.

Yes, I said unpaid as well as paid. Because accepting even unpaid services or advice or consulting or counseling usually involves a significant residual cost to the recipient, especially when the advice, consulting, or counseling is badly misinformed and proffered without any basis in experience or reality.


Because someone is not an expert doesn't mean what they say is false...


That is true. Just as a stopped timepiece can be correct twice a day, non-experts, indeed the completely inexperienced, can be right ... at times.

But that is not what matters when we're looking to benefit from the accumulated wisdom and recommendations of others. What matters then is expertise and experience.

Experience is almost always key because it's not only knowing what to do that is critical, but just as much knowing what not to do. And the only way to find that out is by doing.

Granted, I'm likely preaching to the choir here because I think everyone agrees that expertise and experience are critically important. Even those who fake up their profiles and resumes. For if the posers didn't appreciate the value of expertise and experience, they wouldn't go to such pains to self-ascribe and self-certify that expertise and experience.

There are more than 230,000 posts on LinkedIn about spotting "fake" profiles...

Yet, most of them, I suggest, miss the point entirely. For most of them treat the faked up profile as being, in and by itself a danger. Which it is not.

I've personally never heard of a fake profile jumping off the page and mugging or strangling anyone. No, if there is a danger associated with faked up profiles, it is in regard to what we do with, and how we respond to them. Which is why I say we need to sharpen our skills at remaining skeptical and seeking always to substantiate the claims as to expertise and experience made in the profile of anyone whom we are even considering hiring as a consultant. Or buying from as a vendor. Or listening to as an advisor or coach.

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You might assume performing that kind of due diligence is onerous and time-consuming, but in reality, it is much simpler and less time consuming than you think. For it can be broken down into two main components:  1) Verifiable samples of prior work, and  2) Letters of recommendation (not "endorsements" of the LinkedIn variety, for those are less than useless) from identifiable, real people, particularly colleagues of the person in question, who are themselves known in a given business or social sector and can be contacted directly for verification.

Moreover, performing the kind of due diligence I'm talking about is a lot less time-consuming and costly than having to reconstruct a good portion of your business or life after having paid for and followed patently bad or incompetent advice.

Whenever someone tries to verify a claim about his or her expertise, qualifications, experience. or X-Men level super-powers by simply repeating the original claim(s) bolstered by an increased volume and tone of certitude — and perhaps a "trust me" or two — I recommend running, not walking to the nearest exit. For I've seen too much harm done by the self-ascribers and self-certifiers to believe that their's is only a harmless game.

Which brings us to the subject of snake oil...

The term "Snake Oil" is generally taken to refer to useless remedies of the 19th and 20th centuries, and also known as "patent medicines". But it turns out that the term "Snake Oil" did not always carry the connotation of being, at best, a placebo or, at worst, a scam.

According to an article published on National Public Radio (, "The 1800s saw thousands of Chinese workers arriving in the United States as indentured laborers to work on the Transcontinental Railroad. According to historian Richard White's book Railroaded, about 180,000 Chinese immigrated to the United States between 1849 and 1882 ... Among the items the Chinese railroad workers brought with them to the States were various medicines — including snake oil. Made from the oil of the Chinese water snake, which is rich in the omega-3 acids that help reduce inflammation, snake oil in its original form really was effective, especially when used to treat arthritis and bursitis. The workers would rub the oil, used for centuries in China, on their joints after a long hard day at work. The story goes that the Chinese workers began sharing the oil with some American counterparts, who marveled at the effects."

Somewhere along the way, a "salesman" named Clark Stanley began entertaining crowds at carnivals by killing rattlesnakes on the spot and rendering oil from their bodies into what he referred to as "Snake Oil Liniment".

The catch was that rattlesnakes did not have the same kind of body oils as the Chinese water snakes, and Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment was, in fact, mostly mineral oil — and totally ineffective as a homeopathic cure for anything.

Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment was a fraud from start to finish, but so well known that the name eventually morphed into a generic term for any outrageous scam remedy. It was, however, only one of a host of purported cures of questionable value, known as "patent medicines" — perhaps the most well-known and longest enduring of which was Carter's Little Liver Pills.


Before Writing Comes Thinking

Carter's Little Liver Pills were the subject of much argument between the company and U.S. regulatory agencies over decades, until 1951 when the Federal Trade Commission forced the company to remove the word "Liver" from the name as being deceptive. Then, Carter's Little Liver Pills became simply Carter's Little Pills.

All of which may be, I suppose, historically interesting, but may cause you to ask what relevance it has in this discussion...

The relevance is that snake oil and patent medicines are concrete examples of how completely unsupported claims can take hold in the public mentality and be accepted as fact and truth. All that appears to be necessary for that to happen at times is a sufficiently slick and persistent huckster who repeats the claims loudly and often enough — and who finds an appropriate platform like, say, a carnival fairway. 

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The bottom line is that social media — with its tolerance of, indeed encouragement for self-ascription and self-certification —  can be a modern-day version of a carnival fairway. Where anyone with enough chutzpah can claim to be anything and able to do anything. And the only defense that stands between us and delusion is a healthy dose of Missouri-style don't-just-tell-me, show-me skepticism. — Phil Friedman

Postscript:  It is inevitable that some people will take offense at this post, each such person thinking that it is specifically aimed at him or her.  However, I assure you that it is not, and suggest that, if you are moved to take it that way, well ... you might just ask yourself why that is the case. For if the shoe doesn't fit, why in the world would you insist on wearing it?   —  PLF

Author's Notes:  Several writers on beBee have inadvertently provided inspiration and encouragement to me for this post. They include:  1) Jim Murray and Don Kerr, who are tireless fighters of BS on social media in general and beBee in particular.  2) Kevin Pashuk, who also exhibits zero tolerance for bull chips, and who recently published a great article titled "I'm Looking for Genuine People", which I highly recommend.  3) Wayne Yoshida, who is a terrific science and technology writer, and who found and shared one of the best videos I've ever seen on the difference between opinion and advice. I cannot recommend too highly that you take a few minutes to watch it at  4)  Graham Edwards, a self-professed "contrarian" who books no baloney either, and who recently published a great piece as well, "Disruption, Dislodgement and Optimism". And last but not least, 5) Gerald Hecht,  my favorite mad scientist, who is a champion of authenticity and scientific integrity. I owe all of these writers a debt, but remind you that I alone am responsible for the views and opinions expressed in this article.

If you found this post interesting and worthwhile and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. Better yet, elect there to follow my blog by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Should you be curious about some of my other writings on social media, you're invited to take a look at the following:

"On the Limits of Free Expression"

"On Trees, Trolls, Trust and Truth"

As well, feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other articles — whether on beBee, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post.

About me, Phil FriedmanWith 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.

In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.


Before writing comes thinking.  ( The optional-to-read pitch) :  

As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement... all of which I have found to be natural precursors to improved writing.


For more information, click on the image immediately above. And to schedule an appointment for a free 1/2-hour consult email: I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Text Copyright © 2017 by Phil Friedman  —  All Rights Reserved
Image Credits: Phil Friedman, Google Images, and


Phil Friedman

5 years ago #66

Thanks, Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador, for your good work and earnest concern over beBee.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #65

Not sure why this piece popped up again in my notifications... but it might be appropriate and timely, given the current trending interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #64

Milos, to quote from the article that you cite: "This is an 'alternative' treatment for arthritis and similar conditions, and one that has gotten a bad name for itself and became synonymous with phony medications and, in fact, all bogus products." As I point out in my post, the oil preparation derived from the Chinese water snake was brought to Canada and the U.S. by Chinese who came to work on the construction of the trans-continental railroads, appeared to have value. However. because charlatans and carnival midway barkers made up and sold useless imitations to the marks who came to carnivals and fairs, the term evolved to designate fake medicines and other bogus cures. Which is the sense in which I use the term in this piece. Thank you for supporting the historical background of the expression, which I noted in the article. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

6 years ago #63

We'll be back Gerald Hecht :)

Milos Djukic

6 years ago #62

"Health Benefits of Snake Oil" by Theodoros Manfredi, PhD. A licensed physician at Fractal troll :)

Milos Djukic

6 years ago #61

I am a self certified fractal troll :) Cheers Phil Friedman, my No-Muzak friend.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #60

Well, Mark Anthony, look at it this way: When in Honey Land, do as the Bees do. And remember, that buzzing in your ears is not tinnitus.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #59

Michael, I'd rather drink Hemlock. And that is a universal Truth. I know. Trust me.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #58

Bee careful, Gerald Hecht, when the Thunderbees are swarming -- especially when they are dropping Honey-bombs.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #57

Gerald Hecht, my Sicilian step-father used to tell me with great glee that Canada was in "da uppa U.S." :-) Seriously, he thought that almost as funny as cement overshoes.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #56

Yes, Gerald, the damage toll is ever so much higher than most believe. The worst, of course, are those who seek to sell bogus products and services. But just behind come those offering free guidance and counsel, but have no grounding in experience or reality. Like "Hey, connect with me on Skype and I walk you through a self-lobotomy no charge." As I said in this piece to those who believe it targets them, "I thenshoe doesn't fit, why insist on wearing it?"

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #55

Yes, Kevin, I know... like the form fitted trunks you knitted tecently in the image of an elephant's head (and trunk). You Canucks are warped!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #54

The odd thing, D-L, is that people used to have to be told not to believe everything they read in print. So strong was their faith in the press. Now it seems few people believe anything they read... except what denizens of social media tell us about themselves. That apparently is accepted at face value. Perhaps because to question someone else's self-ascriptions would necessitate questioning one's own as well. Cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

7 years ago #53

I'm not sure I want to show you my 'bona fides' Phil... I am a prudish Canadian after all. We don't wear speedos (or as we call them up here - budgie smugglers). Our bathing suits are, well, modest and usually come down to the knees.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #52

Someone has characterized this post as an attempt to stop others from "making a living" with an online business. I don't see that anything said or implied here advances that thesis. As I see it, the only recommendation is to check someone's bona fides before retaining them in any capacity. What do you think?

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #51

I suppose, Gerald, that the issue may ultimately be moot, since at least one of the people who feel targeted also claims in print to be a representative of the next evolutionary level and part of a group that will take over the world within the next 20 years. I think we've heard that before... it was back in the 1930s.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #50

CC: Kevin Pashuk

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #49

Yes, Debasish, there are those who have now come forward to say that this and several recent posts by others target them and seek to prevent them from "making a living". But that is false. All I have said is that one should look for verification of claims that anyone makes about their skills, expertise, and experience before hiring or paying that person for consulting or counseling. If that advice prevents someone from "making a living", then it can only be because such a person is unable to provide such verification for the claims he or she makes here on social media. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #48

Thanks for the kind words, Aleta. Be my guest. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #47

It's why they roll out the big propaganda guns when it comes to the Canadian healthcare system — which is a single payer system and which also has the government negotiating on an annual basis drug prices. [To the tune of Mr. Sandman] Duh, Mr. Trumpite, give me a break, why you think the drugs that you take... cost ten times more than those of Canuckies, and medibusiness is eating your cookies?

Randy Keho

7 years ago #46

Wow. Tough crowd. I like to keep my testes private Phil Friedman. As you know, my mental state remains in question. Perhaps, even mangled.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #45

Randy, one sign of early senility is the inability to recognize the difference between "tests" and "testes" — i.e. testicles. Have you ever thought of writing a manual about how to mangle a joke?

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #44

Thanks, Kevin, for saying so. But it just isn't true. I think you and I (and Jim, and Don, and Wayne, and a number of others) provide complementary perspectives on a very important subject. And I for one am pleased and proud to be part of a community of writers who exhibit intelligence and depth. Cheers!

Randy Keho

7 years ago #43

The tests will be revealed after they study my brain after death. Similar to the studies being conducted on the brains of professional football players who have suffered concussions and exhibited irregular behavior.

Kevin Pashuk

7 years ago #42

I'll leave a longer comment this time. I was rushing out the door at 6:30 this morning, and thought I'd just pause in my commenting... then apparently hit the share button by accident. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that this is a great read on the topic that is near and dear to me lately, that of people being genuine and not posing or pretending. You did a much better job at it than I did Phil Friedman.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #41

Wayne > "I like to think I have an open mind for new ideas, but at some point we have to ask the purveyor - 'Where's the Beef?' " Yep, spot on, Wayne. And we have to train ourselves to know, as Jim Murray is fond of saying, the difference between sh#t and Shinola. Thanks for reading and joining the conversation. And thanks again for finding and sharing that great video at:

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #40

Yes, Gerald Hecht, there have been attempts made by some purveyors of snake oil to create a movement to squelch free expression and discourage people from asking precisely the kinds of questions that I recommend in this article. Documented.

Harvey Lloyd

7 years ago #39

I do agree that i jumped in a rabbit hole but its all Gerald Hecht's fault :) I agree with the fact that BS is not always benign. I was really gravitating towards the drama that always seems to be encircled around BS. The theme always seems to be some emotional tag that either you don't have or need. This is usually my litmus test for BS. If the pitch starts out with something i can achieve via a purchased product and if i don't i will be set aside, well you know the rest.. A sailors hat and a splash of Old Spice will get you any where you need to go tonight. Or so the "mad scientist" said.

Wayne Yoshida

7 years ago #38

Phil and Praveen Raj Gullepalli I think about the ethical part like this as an example: When having a dinner party or pot-luck gathering, does the host have an obligation to consider the health aspects of what's being served to the guests? As most of you know, I am an avid BBQ-er. And although I do BBQ vegetarian, I prefer beef and pork. Do I make something for a vegetarian - or not? My traditional answer/thought it this: I am the host, you are the guest. You are welcome to this party, since the focus is not entirely on the food, but the camaraderie of the people attending. This is a BBQ and this means meat. If you are offended by this, please feel free to not attend, or bring an acceptable dish for yourself and others to share. But, as a guest, I will appreciate you not spreading or sneering or bashing what's being served - and eaten. If you feel the need to preach the benefits of eating vegetables instead of meats, you can be the host next time, and feel free to express your opinions to your guests. . . . In other words, if one has a strong feeling about something - could be anything - and the passion or belief is so strong - does the person share it with others, to convince them of something, usually to agree? The answer is -- maybe. This depends on who's watching or participating. On social media, there is the un-follow, unlike, un-friend, report or mute button. Or maybe even the Shut down button can be used. Hmm. Sounds almost like a 7-Up commercial.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #37

Chilling thoughts, Gerry.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #36

Thank you, Don, for reading and commenting. I do notice that you are drawing ever nearer to being a soul-brother of Gerald Hecht. Which in my book is not a bad thing, since to my mind you are both authentically good guys. Seriously. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #35

Well now, Jim Murray?

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #34

Testimonials, perhaps, Randy. But are you prepared to supply your testes?

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #33

Testimonials, perhaps, Randy. But are you prepared to supply you testes?

Wayne Yoshida

7 years ago #32

Thank you, Phil Friedman. I like your statement about "Missouri-style don't-just-tell-me, show-me skepticism." Just like desktop publishing, personal publishing and self-publishing - social media has enabled anyone with a computer and internet access to create an audience for bull chips and other stuff. I like to think I have an open mind for new ideas, but at some point we have to ask the purveyor - "Where's the Beef?"

don kerr

7 years ago #31


Jim Murray

7 years ago #30

Bitch Bitch Bitch....get over it Aurorosa. :)

don kerr

7 years ago #29

Phil Friedman I knew. I just knew it. A rare and seldom seen Rasputin impersonator.

Randy Keho

7 years ago #28

I can't understand why the FDA refuses to accept my decades of research into various Schedule I narcotics as legitmimate. I'd be glad to provide testimonials.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #27

Gerry, I believe I follow most of what you say in #36. And I guess there is a significant risk at times to subjects of double-blind studies of potentially therapeutic drugs. But as to the acceptance of Big Data as a method, does that not require uncontrolled experimental use as a precursor to the accumulation of the Big Data? And if so, how does that reduce or eliminate risk? If, in fact, it does?

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #26

Thank you, Kevin, for saying so -- even if a bit on the hyperbolic side. And for sharing the piece. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #25

Gerry, thank you for the links to your writings on the subject. They confirm my faith in you as an authentic defender of genuinely ethical medicine and scientific research. It blunt terms, someone who really does know the difference between "shit and Shinola". Keep the faith, my friend, and keep writing and posting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #24

Harvey, thank you for reading and joining the conversation. You make excellent points about medicine, drugs, and the merchants of snake oil. However, as a cohort of the Master of Metaphor, Dr. Ali Anani, you should understand that I am using patent medicines and snake oils as a metaphor for the general merchandising of BS on social media. And my main point is that bogus people peddling BS ideas are not necessarily harmless. And while such persons have a right to express themselves, the rest of us have a right to evaluate them and what they say... and to reject or ignore it. For not all wacky-doo ideas promulgated via social media are harmless. Cheers!

Kevin Pashuk

7 years ago #23


Phil Friedman

7 years ago #22

Gerry, you make several strong points about the insidious forces at work in medicine and medi-business these days. It is no accident that 90% of the traveling drug company representatives who visit physicians these days are busty babes with plunging necklines. (Oops! Not PC, I know.) It is no accident that certain drugs cost ten times in the U.S. what they cost in Canada, even when they are manufactured in the very same plants. It should be a huge concern that, as you say, "Recently, the FDA lowered the burden of proof (scientific rigor) required to bring new "ethical" medications to market by Pharmaceutical Companies." For it was not too long ago that the FDA approved Thalidomide, while a stubborn, dedicated agent in the Canadian drug regulatory agency refused to do so because of questions about the reported test results. With the result that the number of malformed babies in the U.S. rose to ten or twenty times higher than in Canada, before the FDA backtracked and forced cessation of its widespread use by pregnant women. I am personally not a big fan of public regulation because it is too often simply a matter of seeking restriction of entry into a given field. But in the area of medicine and drugs, it seems to me the far lesser of two evils -- the other being turning our health and welfare over to the snake oil merchants of medi-business. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #21

Praveen, I agree with you that it is not possible, indeed is not our province to attempt to disabuse every person we meet (online or otherwise) of his or her personal delusion. For example, if I meet someone who believes that he or she is the next evolutionary quantum leap forward, sort of like an X-man, I am not moved to argue the point, however, silly I may personally find that to be. However, at the same time, I reserve the right to choose those with whom I engage and associate, for one is known, for better or worse, by the company one keeps. For some of us have a business or professional profile to tend and nurture. And I for one do not accept that I have to treat everyone with a "personal story" on social media in the same way. I guess the moral and ethical issue becomes at what point is it our place (responsibility?) to speak out against BS, when it is being aggressively propagated around us. And at what point do we have to say to those in whose midst we find ourselves, "Hey, get real! Look at what this person is pushing and trying to sell..."? Sure, everyone has the right to speak freely. But we are not obligated to treat what they say as legitimate or harmless or even worthy of attention. As always, thank you for reading and for joining the conversation. Cheers!

Harvey Lloyd

7 years ago #20

You have brought to light the craziness of media and its ability sell anything through emotional attachment. The early anti-depressant commercials made me feel like i was missing out on something because i didn't take the medicine. I just added an extra shot of tequila to the afternoon diet. Great thoughts here Gerald Hecht. I believe healthcare is something we need to take back from blind following of the medical community. Their motives may be pure but that seems to be influenced by many other aspects of their practice. The purity of the profession has many more layers of filters to traverse before it gets to you these days. What started out as a grape and should have turned to fine wine is now peanut butter when you experience the outcomes. Not a swipe at the profession but rather a understanding of how policies, insurances and many other aspects of healthcare prevent the doctor from providing holistic care.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #19

Always happy to beifaervice, Chas. Will watch for yourpiece.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #18

Yes, Aurorasa, that's my point. It's up to us to not be taken in. And, IMO, to speak out and send the snake oil salesmen on their way.

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #17

Milos Djukic - The snakeoil artist :)

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #16


Phil Friedman

7 years ago #15

Milos, much of Dali's work was satirical, with the most frequent target being the art establishment. As to snake oil and the like, Dali was known to paint knock-offs of his own most famous and valuable paintings... when he needed the money badly enough. Which raises an interesting question: Is a copy of a Dali original a forgery when painted by Dali himself? Indeed, is it a copy or an original in its own right? BTW, did you know that the best Dali collection is at the Dali Museum in, of all places, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA — the home of the newly-wed and the nearly-dead. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #14

Phil Friedman, I am more troubled by that then by people. Today, science is everywhere, but rarely on the social media. This is not a product.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #13

Not to be sorry for anyone. Nobody is innocent when it comes to the spread of BS. Only lazy. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #12

David, I personally don't feel sorry for either. The snake oil salesman is a scammer who deserves no sympathy, and the rest of us need to learn to protect ourselves. As to LinkedIn, I am specifically talking about their point-and-click "endorsements" which are 9 times out of 10 made by people who don't have a clue about your background or professional qualifications. Finally, as to Alfred E. Neuman, what me worry? Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #11

Phil, Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #10

"The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali... and time "But remember that Dali would often make up ridiculous explanations for his paintings to purposely mislead people. The Camembert is an example of just that. By doing this Dali not only opened the doors for discussion of multiple interpretations of his art, but also made criticizing his work nearly impossible for people he thought who possessed lesser intellect than that of himself." - from "Meaning and interpretative analysis of a surrealist oil-painted artwork "The Persistence of Memory" by Salvador Dali from around 1931" at (

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #9

Jim, no thanks from you are necessary. It is I who owe you and the others mentioned my thanks for your efforts and inspiration. I hope you liked the "Learning the Difference" illustration, for you are the only person (old enough?) beside me to have used the expression "doesn't know shit from Shinola". Best and cheers!

David B. Grinberg

7 years ago #8

Nice buzz, Phil, I really enjoyed reading it. Unfortunately, as PT Barnum famously said, "There's a sucker born every minute." I'm not sure who I feel more sorry for: the snake oil salesman, or the naïve victims who fall for their BS? Moreover, I agree with you about being vigilant on linked out...I mean LinkedIn. That's why I make sure to have specific recommendations from specific people I have worked with closely who are alive and kicking today. There's been a lot of good information written recently about how to build a successful brand image. Well, the worst and fastest way to ruin it is by misrepresenting oneself and/or flat out lying. It's not easy to regain trust once it has been lost, and a reputation of being a huckster is a tough one to turn around. Lastly, if you see Alfred E Neuman please remind him that he still owes me a 🍻 🍺 ✌️️🇺🇸

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #7

Milos, I have no doubt that is true. However, I am personally not so troubled by that as by people who claim to be scientists or scientific experts with absolutely no basis for doing so, other than their own assertions. While science is founded, in part, on repeatability, credibility has to be founded on verifiability. Thank you for reading and commenting. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #6

Milos, like a broken timepiece, Wikipaedia can be right twice a day. Cheers... and thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing.

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #5

Absolutely no doubts about that here, Aurorasa. And bully for you, too. Cheers!

Jim Murray

7 years ago #4

Thanks for the shout out Phil. This article is absolutely brilliant. A little too late for all the Americans who bought the Trump brand of snake oil, but very relevant, especially on beBee, where we all have a chance to keep this site relatively above board. I really wish, and I'm sure Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr does too that we were anything but 'tireless fighters of BS on social media'. But it seems that there is a constant supply of it and it just keeps on coming in all kinds of interesting/disgusting forms, especially those bride kidnapping specialists and metaphysicians. (Smiley face emoticon goes here)

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #3

"One of these gems is the Academy’s reiteration (in this newly charged context) of the conclusion of many researchers that “science as an institution possesses norms and practices that restrain scientists and offer means for policing and sanctioning those who violate its standards,” while “those who are not bound by scientific norms have at times intentionally mischaracterized scientific information to serve their financial or political interests.” - from "We Must Learn How to Talk about Science--Fast" by By Paul A. Hanle at (

Milos Djukic

7 years ago #2

I am very offended Phil Friedman. As you known, I'm a universal expert who rarely expresses his opinion about something he has "no idea" :) "In metaphysics, a universal is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. In other words, universals are repeatable or recurrent entities that can be instantiated or exemplified by many particular things." - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

Phil Friedman

7 years ago #1

FYI — Jim Murray, you guys are mentioned in this post. Cheers and thanks!

Articles from Phil Friedman

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6 years ago · 2 min. reading time


5 years ago · 2 min. reading time


6 years ago · 1 min. reading time


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