Dave Farina (@daveexplains) is on a mission to make science make sense for everyone — whether it’s through his Professor Dave Explains YouTube channel, his Professor Dave Debates podcast, or his new book, Is This Wi-Fi Organic?: A Guide to Spotting Misleading Science Online (Science Myths Debunked).
What We Discuss with Dave Farina:
- How the Internet went from a promising reservoir of unlimited knowledge for all to an insidious superspreader of disinformation.
- Why it’s easier than ever for people to simply deny inconvenient facts that don’t support their worldview.
- How NASA went from the revered public institution that miraculously landed human beings on the moon to the scapegoat for conspiracy theorists who insist the Earth is flat.
- Why synthetic doesn’t always equate with bad, and natural doesn’t automatically mean good.
- Who profits from the proliferation of fake science, and what can we do to separate the wheat from the chaff when we’re bombarded with copious amounts of fact and fiction?
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Humanity’s never-ending quest to understand its place in this wondrous, mysterious universe has led to immeasurable improvements and countless calamities, alike — sometimes simultaneously and, on occasion, a single step toward progress results in two steps regressed. A working prototype of what we now know as the Internet debuted just a few months after man first landed on the moon, and some might argue that 1969 was the year humankind reached its greatest height just as it was laying the foundation for its capacity to sink to its lowest depths. Now, some people unironically use the Internet to spread denial that anybody could have made it to the moon at all, harnessing the miracle of global connection to convince yet more people that the very Earth beneath their feet isn’t even a globe, but a flapjack of dirt and ice somehow floating in the firmament — maybe on the back of a giant tortoise or something. Best of all, they’ve done their “research” and they’ve got the “facts” to prove whatever nonsense they’re trying to sell.
On this episode, we’re joined by Dave Farina, a brainy fellow who crusades against this very kind of idiocy by helping make science make sense for everyone through his Professor Dave Explains YouTube channel, his Professor Dave Debates podcast, and his new book, Is This Wi-Fi Organic?: A Guide to Spotting Misleading Science Online (Science Myths Debunked). Here, we discuss what kind of misinformation is being commonly peddled to the masses, who profits from its proliferation, and what we can do to increase our scientific literacy so we’re not suckered into believing weaponized hogwash and passing it off to our friends and family as fact. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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Thanks, Dave Farina!
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Resources from This Episode:
- Is This Wi-Fi Organic?: A Guide to Spotting Misleading Science Online (Science Myths Debunked) by Dave Farina | Amazon
- Professor Dave Explains | YouTube
- Professor Dave Debates Podcast
- Dave Farina | Twitter
- Dave Farina | Instagram
- The Jetsons | Prime Video
- Star Trek | Prime Video
- Looking for Life on a Flat Earth | The New Yorker
- Flat Earthers: What They Believe and Why | Scientific American
- 5 Questions About Believing In a Flat Earth That You Were Afraid to Ask | Colorado Public Radio
- Five Worst Arguments in Flat Earth Debate: Analysis with FTFE | Professor Dave Explains
- Are We Living in a Post-Truth Era? Yes, but That’s Because We’re a Post-Truth Species. | TED
- The Rise of Fake Scientists | Ness Labs
- The Weird History of Psychic Surgery in the Philippines | Esquire
- Neil deGrasse Tyson | Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization | Jordan Harbinger
- Bill Nye | The End is Nye | Jordan Harbinger
- Flat Earth Conference | All Gas No Brakes
- History of Astronomy Part 3: Copernicus and Heliocentrism | Professor Dave Explains
- Anderson Cooper | The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty | Jordan Harbinger
- Conspiracy Theories: The Reptilian Elite | Time
- The Conspiracy Theory about 5G Causing Coronavirus, Explained | Vox
- Debunking COVID-19 Conspiracies (Coronavirus Update #2) | Professor Dave Explains
- The Five Most Poisonous Substances: From Polonium to Mercury | The Conversation
- Horseshoe Crab Blood Is Key to Making a COVID-19 Vaccine — But the Ecosystem May Suffer | National Geographic
- Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins | Professor Dave Explains
- Dr. Drew Pinsky | Give the World the Best You Have Anyway | Jordan Harbinger
- What Is LD50 and LC50? | OSH Answers
- ‘Toxins’ in Vaccines: A Potentially Deadly Misunderstanding | The Conversation
- Chemtrails | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- The Mechanisms That Drive Tribalism | TheraminTrees
- Suspicious0bservers is a Pseudoscientific Doomsday Cult | Professor Dave Explains
- Reiki Healing | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- The Disturbing Reason Barber Poles Are Blue, White, and Red | Reader’s Digest
- Bloodletting Is Still Happening, Despite Centuries of Harm | National Geographic
- James Randi: Homeopathy, Quackery, and Fraud | TED 2007
- Lies People Tell About Water – Part 3: Structured/Hexagonal Water, Water Memory | Professor Dave Explains
- Quantum Mysticism is Stupid (Deepak Chopra, Spirit Science, Actualized.org) | Professor Dave Explains
- Deepak Chopra Dubs Conan a “Narcissistic Authentic Fake” | Conan on TBS
- Joseph “Joe” Dispenza | Encyclopedia of American Loons
- iVegetarian: The High Fructose Diet of Steve Jobs | Psychology Today
- Everything You Need to Know (And Forget) About Vaccines | Professor Dave Explains
- The Discredited Doctor Hailed by the Anti-Vaccine Movement | Nature
- Debunking the Electric Universe | Professor Dave Explains
- Is Big Pharma Evil? (Featuring David Leibly and Mat Edgar) | Professor Dave Debates
- John Abramson | How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care | Jordan Harbinger
- Dr. Ramani | How to Protect Yourself from a Narcissist Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Dr. Ramani | How to Protect Yourself from a Narcissist Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
745: Dave Farina | Debunking Junk Science Myths
[00:00:00] Jen Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Dave Farina: Phobia is rampant. And so this idea of chemists, you know, the mean evil scientists in the lab coat and they're tinkering and making a Frankenstein's monster of a molecule that's evil and it's going to hurt you is shockingly prevalent. And so I think that's why synthetic has come to have a negative connotation where it should have a neutral connotation. The most potent toxins, no demand are of natural origin.
[00:00:31] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with scientists and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional legendary Hollywood director, national security advisor, former jihadi, or gold smuggler. And each episode turns our guest's wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:00:58] If you're new to the show or you want to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episodes starter packs as a place to begin. These are collections of our favorite episodes organized by topic that'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show — topics like persuasion and influence, crime and cults, abnormal psychology, and more, just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:21] Today on the show science communicator and YouTuber Dave Farina, we're engaging in one of my favorite vices; namely, exposing pseudoscience and cognitive bias, and just a lot of BS from a lot of different places on the Internet and in science and otherwise. If you've been listening to the show for a while, you'll see that this episode is very much in the vein of getting past our own traps in thinking, mistakes we make when it comes to beliefs, especially with respect to scientific beliefs, and ruthlessly shredding ignorance. We'll explore dichotomies like synthetic versus natural, the misplaced fear of so-called chemicals and toxins, as well as exposing other non-scientific mumbo jumbo that a lot of charlatans might use to sell you a bill of goods under the guise of medicine or of science. This is a fun and relaxed conversation that I think you'll enjoy. Here we go with Dave Farina.
[00:02:13] Science used to be this beacon and still is this beacon to all of future progress and promise, right? When I was a kid, we used to watch The Jetsons and I don't even know, Star Trek, I guess was the thing. I wasn't much of a Trekkie, but basically, when we watched sci-fi, most of it was utopian. I guess that's changed now with the cyberpunk stuff, but then it seems like that happened with political shenanigans. There's other nonsense where we are politicizing science and we're doing environmental damage, and it's just sort of, would you agree? It disillusions us. It makes us jaded when it comes to science, which is actually the opposite of what we need right now.
[00:02:49] Dave Farina: Yeah, it's true. Science used to be Tomorrowland at Disneyland.
[00:02:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:02:52] Dave Farina: And now it's sort of this hodgepodge. I mean, I think we definitely retained some optimism, but it's mixed in there with all the other things. Partially due to legitimate sentiment regarding corporate behavior and, you know, the environmental movement, things like that. And coupled with the fact that large industries do unethical things. But no, there is this anti-establishment sentiment that leads to blanket science denial, which is enormously problematic and seems to be growing.
[00:03:17] Jordan Harbinger: When I was a kid, we agreed largely on lots of things, and we were able to teach science or learn science. And look, maybe different perspectives are great, but I think a lot of the different perspectives we have now, especially when it comes to science are — I mean, I know that some of these different perspectives are actually funded by industries that want us to have a different perspective that is not necessarily representative of where most/almost all scientists think we're going. Especially once you disclose all the funding that all the scientists get, you're like, "Wait a minute," it's like 99 to one in a lot of these areas. And that scares me a little because it mirrors what happened with the Internet, right? The Internet when I was a kid, when I was 13, there was no web you could click on anything. Netscape was sort of a text-based navigator. It was a giant library. Libraries had the Internet. There was a lot of chat rooms and stuff like that if you knew where to find them. But most of it was for librarians or for people in libraries, and it was repository of truth and knowledge—
[00:04:13] Dave Farina: Back when it was just for nerds.
[00:04:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, when it was just for nerds and look—
[00:04:17] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:04:17] Jordan Harbinger: —I don't miss those days. I think things are definitely better now with the Internet. Don't get me wrong. I'm not like, "Oh, the days when you couldn't use the mouse to navigate." That's not what I'm talking about.
[00:04:25] Dave Farina: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:25] Jordan Harbinger: But now again, you wrote this in your book, it's like a fun house mirror or a magic mirror that just confirms what we wanted to find when we went looking. And that's so disappointing because like I said when I was a kid I was blown away by this. I knew it was going to be something we used every day. I still make fun of my dad because I told him about Yahoo when that first came up. He's like, "Everybody can go to the library. No one's going to use this." You know, it was just the promise of unlimited knowledge that was so incredible. And now we have unlimited absolute nonsense that you can find to support the most ridiculous idiotic beliefs ever. And that's why we see like flat earth now and it's like, come on, we moved past this in 1530 or whatever.
[00:05:04] Dave Farina: Yeah. The point is to just, you can find every single narrative that there is, right? Is this company ethical? You can find yes, you can find no. Is this product safe? You can find yes, you can find no. You go on Yelp. Is this restaurant good? Bunch of five-star reviews, bunch of one-star reviews, right? Where are they coming from? Maybe the good reviews are legitimate. Maybe it's the restaurant themselves, you know, pumping it up. Are the ones legitimate or is it some other restaurant trying to, you know, ruin their reputation? It's just whatever you want to find on the Internet, it's there. All the truth and all the lies, so it's a big problem.
[00:05:35] That's why we're in the post-truth era. It's no longer the case that there's this, you know, small set of sources where we go for information and we trust the validity of information, whether it's the news prior to the 1980s or, you know, Encyclopedia Britannica or whatever it is, where we go, "Okay, this is where the facts are. I can trust these facts." The Internet's not like that anymore. So you need to be equipped with some ability, some set of skills to be able to discern the validity of information, right? Particularly scientific, also political, but I don't have much of a political background, but obviously, we all know the problems in that sphere, just the rampant lies all over the place, so it's very, very hard to navigate. And I think it's the biggest problem fishing mankind, personally.
[00:06:17] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds hyperbolic, but I do tend to agree because the Internet can confirm your conclusion, support your own bias, provides ammo to take down sources that come to alternative conclusions, even if those are the correct ones. I don't want to pick anything controversial that's actually controversial, so I'll pick on flat earth because look, I still get emails about flat earth and how I'm wrong and how everyone else is wrong. "I'm a pilot and the earth isn't curved and all," you know, stuff like this. And it's just—
[00:06:41] Dave Farina: No, you are not a pilot.
[00:06:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm like, "Mmm, I don't know about that. I mean, look, I just don't know how a pilot could possibly come to that conclusion because you can't navigate with a plane if you believe the earth is flat, but I digress.
[00:06:53] Dave Farina: Yeah, no, there is no such thing as the pilot that thinks the earth is flat, but they're all liars. You know, I have a lot of experience with these people.
[00:07:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Why? It's like, why say that when that's just not true, and then it makes you think like, "Oh, I'm actually talking to somebody who's full-on delusional. Not just trying to good faith argue a different point." And it does land us in the post-truth era like you mentioned. We are discarding science and we're discarding experts for charlatans, influencers.
[00:07:19] And normally, I'd say, you know what, If you're dumb enough to believe — and I'll get to some of these guys later in the show — this guy who says you can heal your spinal injury with your mind, you know, that's tragic, but also like stupid as, as stupid does. But now it starts to fool intelligent people because we don't always know who to trust. And of course, with certain ailments, medically speaking especially, we were just desperate, reminds me of the Andy Kaufman biopic where he goes to like Cambodia to have his cancer pulled out of his body by the witch doctor, you know? And he sees the guy palming the chicken and he just starts laughing.
[00:07:51] Dave Farina: I love that movie, by the way.
[00:07:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. He starts laughing because he like had to fly to the middle of nowhere and he's like, "this was a freaking scam the whole time."
[00:07:57] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:07:57] Jordan Harbinger: And he just starts laughing while he is on the bed.
[00:07:59] Dave Farina: The final joke was on him.
[00:08:01] Jordan Harbinger: The final joke was on him, yeah, and it's really tragic. The other problem here is that when disinformation or misinformation is now shared by people we trust on social media because they're also having the same problem, knowing who and what to trust, that bad info slips through our usual filters, which makes it that much more insidious and dangerous.
[00:08:18] Dave Farina: Yeah. And then that's also coupled with the problem that because there is so much false information on the Internet, it's very easy to just facelessly claim that legitimate information is false. Because all the time we're going, "No, that's fake. That's fake. That's fake. Here's something real. No, that's fake." We're just so used to disregarding information. I'll explain basic science to flat earthers and they'll go, "Oh no, that's fake." "What do you mean? No, no, that's fake. It's demonstrably true. I can demonstrate for you how true it is," but we're just in this place, epistemologically, I suppose, where we can just say no to any information that is inconvenient to the worldview that we've decided to ascribe to. That's hugely problematic because it makes it really hard to change anyone's mind because they'll just go, "Nope, I don't like that. I don't like that story.
[00:09:04] Jordan Harbinger: I can't remember who this was. It wasn't Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye or one of those guys, but it was somebody in that same sort of science influencer thing and they went to a flat earth convention or a talk, and one of the guys was like, "Well, da, da da. What about gravity?" And the guy in front of him turns around and goes, "Don't get me started about gravity." And it's like you're sitting in a chair, man.
[00:09:24] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:09:24] Jordan Harbinger: You're sitting in a chair that is on the ground. Can you tell us briefly why, what these people say about gravity? Because I'm thinking this is a really tall order to explain that gravity does not exist. It really is.
[00:09:35] Dave Farina: So most of them say density. So denser things go down, right? Displaced, right? So the obvious question is why down, right? If I'm holding an object, the air above it is also less dense. Why does it not go up? It's almost like there's this incredible thing pulling everything down towards the earth. What would that be? That's called gravity. You know, they're not receptive to even the most basic logic that a small child would understand. Yeah, so the denial of gravity, the denial of everything. I mean, the denial, you know, it has to have an anti-establishment bite to it. It has to be a conspiracy.
[00:10:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:10:09] Dave Farina: So they need an institution. So for them, it's NASA and governments and things like that, which is insane because NASA was formed in the 1950s and we've known the earth as this sphere since like 400 BCE. So it's like, it's just insane to bring that up.
[00:10:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:23] Dave Farina: All the pictures are fake. All the videos are fake. I mean, they're not obviously, but also, who cares? We don't need them, right? We've known, since long, long ago, way before there were such things as photographs. And then just the lies compound, right? One guy says, "No. We've always known it's flat. We only started teaching. It was a globe in the 1960s." It's like, no, what are you talking about? There's globes that are thousands of years old. "My man, my man, you're just lying." But yeah, this is the bottom of the barrel.
[00:10:52] Jordan Harbinger: I would say, no, we knew the earth is round since 1530. It's actually more like, would you say 400 BC? So it's literally been like—
[00:10:59] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:10:59] Jordan Harbinger: 2,500 years at this point.
[00:11:01] Dave Farina: No, the 1500 is heliocentrism. That's when we figured out that the sun is the center of the solar system.
[00:11:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay.
[00:11:06] Dave Farina: Which is hard, it's hard to do. So this is what I like to say when I'm in other podcasts that want to talk about flat earth, I feel very confident that I could figure, figured out the earth is his fear by myself, with only just naked eye observations and basic logic. Bring me back to 400 BCE. I could have figured that out. I definitely couldn't have figured out heliocentrism. That involves really subtle, really sophisticated calculations, observations with telescopes that were, you know, powerful or at least the most powerful at that. That was very hard to figure out, a lot of math, very abstract. But that the earth is this sphere. Observe the sunrise and sunset, observe the rotation of the celestial sphere. You know, just very basic observations of the night sky is what shows us that the earth is this sphere. So these are the kinds of talking points I use in my flat earth debunks.
[00:11:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oh gosh.
[00:11:54] Dave Farina: That I just drive them wild.
[00:11:55] Jordan Harbinger: It's got to be exhausting. And you're right, it's institutional resistance. Nobody says, "Hey man, we're just all mistaken here. It's always, this is a coverup. Everything is fake. Look at this thing in the rock and the moon landing. So it shows that it's a prop and that's fake." And it's like, "You don't think when they were setting up the shot, they noticed this rock had a number etched into it and that this is supposed to fool the entire planet. They didn't check the shot.
[00:12:17] Dave Farina: Moon landing conspiracy, as dumb as it is, just has nothing to do with shape of the Earth. Even if the moon landing were faked, the Earth would still be a sphere, right? And we've known this for thousands of years, but again, they need it to have this conspiratorial tone to it. Now, what cover-up? Who is manipulating my naked-eye observations of the sky? That do not depend on anything but my own eyeballs. This is why flat earth is the bottom of the barrel because I'm sure later we're going to get into anti-vax and like all kinds of other things where—
[00:12:46] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:12:46] Dave Farina: —it's also wrong, but it's much more narrow. We're talking about the behavior of a particular industry, you know, unethical something or other where it's like, okay, this group of people is doing this thing, right? And that's like, I can understand how people can fall for propaganda of that nature, but this one we're talking about with flat earth, it's just so insane. You're disregarding basic observations.
[00:13:10] Jordan Harbinger: The fact that Russia, China, and the US all seem to agree that the earth is round. I mean, that's a great, these conspiracies though, those NASA guys know how to build relations. We should follow them for everything, right? If they're able to get all of these — we can get the Ayatollah Khomeini to agree the earth is round, right?
[00:13:25] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:13:25] Jordan Harbinger: It's like great—
[00:13:26] Dave Farina: Great diplomats, they are.
[00:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: Amazing.
[00:13:28] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:13:28] Jordan Harbinger: Vladimir Putin will stake money on the earth being around, you know, Ronald Reagan, RIP, still will believe that the earth is around.
[00:13:36] Dave Farina: They're all puppets. They're all puppets.
[00:13:38] Jordan Harbinger: They're all puppets.
[00:13:38] Dave Farina: Installed by the lizard people. I don't know, whatever.
[00:13:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Well, the lizard people thing is another thing where I thought — I was talking to Anderson Cooper a while ago and I was like, "Have you seen the conspiracy that you are actually a lizard person along with—?" Who else? Hillary Clinton and basically everybody who's been in Power Anywhere and or is the CEO of a big company.
[00:13:57] Dave Farina: Sure.
[00:13:58] Jordan Harbinger: Or a world nation leader is actually a reptile and they travel underground. And I hear people talk about this and then talk about how COVID was caused by 5G towers and things like that. And I'm just thinking this is like mental illness, but people who don't have a diagnosable mental illness seem to be falling for it. This is a different show that I planned on doing by the way.
[00:14:18] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:14:18] Jordan Harbinger: But it's just such a weird thing to see. It's like a mass psychosis and I guess probably that's a different show for a different expert here, but it just didn't make sense that people who are, you know, maybe just otherwise normal, started to believe absolutely batsh*t crazy theories or at least entertain them. And so it makes sense. That has to do with people who think their life is out of control, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:14:42] Dave Farina: Yeah. Well, there's so many gradations of it, right? There's so many doors into the conspiratorial thought where you can then go down the rabbit hole. So with COVID or something, you've got so many people saying viruses aren't real. So this is insane. It's insane to claim that viruses aren't real. Because you have the whole field of virology where we do nothing but study viruses, we know what they are. We sequence their genomes. We use them in medical technology. So that's insane, but then you go a little higher up, okay, cOVID was engineered and then disseminated deliberately as a bioweapon to destabilize the global economy. All right. Also, quite a big pill to swallow, but objectively less insane than viruses aren't real, right? So that's a door in, and then you can travel downwards from there because platforms like YouTube have had to make adjustments to their algorithm because they have come to understand how much they have been facilitating this destruction of our sociological fabric by allowing people to travel down these rabbit holes and, you know, made some adjustments.
[00:15:46] I think that was the right thing to do. Of course, everyone screams censorship but I think that's absurd because they don't actually delete any content. But we're having to reckon with the fact that the Internet is doing this to us. It's very much a double-edged sword. It's giving us all the information. And so it's very hard to like, you know, censor things politically. Like if there's a country that's, you know, the government is behaving unethically to the people, they're going to record their videos and look at what's happening, and then it's on Twitter and then the whole world knows. So that's great. But then also we have all of these, you know, lies and charlatans and this stuff propagates like wildfire and it's an enormous problem.
[00:16:26] Jordan Harbinger: We can't just even decide if a product is safe to use, right? We can't look online because both yes and no are there for us to find. And you kind of mentioned that earlier. I want to talk about how to comprehend the explanations given, whether they track with reality because this is difficult to do. And I would love to get some guidelines to keep in mind. Maybe go over some of the common things that trick us when we're researching something. And I think a good place to start is the word synthetic. Why it doesn't mean? And why natural doesn't necessarily mean good? Because these are used in marketing all the time. And in fact, I have also been quite fooled by, well, this is synthetic, so you don't want to use that. It's not as good as the natural one, which turns out is just a, yeah, bullsh*t.
[00:17:06] Dave Farina: Yeah. It's just marketing. Natural means made through natural processes without human intervention and synthetic means made by humans or human-built machines where we can also synthesize molecules and that's it. Those terms aren't inherent to a particular substance. It's just circumstantial. Like water obviously is natural product, but we could also synthesize water, right? We could take hydrogen and oxygen with a spark and make water, and that would be synthetic water, right? You could call it that. It's just talking about a process by which a molecule came to be. But the properties of a molecule have nothing to do with how it came to be, right? Nature builds molecules, we build molecules. It doesn't matter. Molecules, just a bunch of atoms put together. And then the properties of a molecule have to do with its composition and its shape. It's going to interact with biological systems in a particular way. But, yeah, the pathway to it coming to exist is just completely irrelevant.
[00:17:59] Chemophobia is rampant. And so this idea of chemists, you know, the mean, evil scientists in the lab coat and they're tinkering and making a Frankenstein's monster of a molecule that's evil and it's going to hurt you is shockingly prevalent. And so I think that's why synthetic has come to have a negative connotation where it should have a neutral connotation. The most potent toxins, known to men are of natural origin. You know, nature makes really nasty stuff as well.
[00:18:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. What are some natural, I think it'd be good to give some examples because when I think toxic now, of course, the first thing that comes to mind is fentanyl, which is not something that is made by nature. But I don't know, cyanide seems pretty toxic. I've heard of that before. That's in what? Apple seeds?
[00:18:42] Dave Farina: Yeah. I mean it's ubiquitous. It's just, yeah, very small molecules. Yeah, I mean the most potent ones are these compounds that are in frogs and snakes.
[00:18:51] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, sure.
[00:18:52] Dave Farina: Or the botulinum toxin and Clostridium botulinum, that is actually the number one most toxic that we know.
[00:18:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:18:59] Dave Farina: You know, a gram of it will kill a million people, something like that. It's obviously, completely natural.
[00:19:04] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to say, isn't that botox? Obviously, they water the botox down.
[00:19:08] Dave Farina: It's obviously unbelievably minimal amount but, you know, it's killing cells. But we have a romantic view of nature, right? It's a sunny meadow and the sun and all, you know, pretty flowers and things like that, but nature is pestilence and natural disaster and destruction and death, right? It's a dichotomy. It's all of those things. So, you know, nature can be pretty rough to us. We have to unfortunately know enough about chemistry to be able to examine any molecule on a case-by-case basis and go, okay, these are the properties of this compound. This is what it does. Doesn't matter if I found it and nature doesn't matter. If it has never existed in nature and is purely synthetic, we invented it ourselves or it is a natural product, but we made it ourselves. So it's a synthetic version of a natural compound. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter at all. You have to look case by case, See what that molecule does, how it interacts with biological systems, which changes depending on the species, by the way, right? Something that is harmful to us may not be harmful to bacteria or vice versa.
[00:20:09] Jordan Harbinger: I'm trying to think of something that we make synthetic that is slightly different than the natural version, but the molecules, of course, and the active ingredient are the same.
[00:20:17] Dave Farina: Right. So this is where I think that the negative connotation comes from things like this where we have like synthetic fabrics or something like that, that might be imitations of some, you know, cotton, wool, whatever, stuff like that. But they may be mimicking a particular substance, but they're not the same on the molecular level, right? When we make a synthetic molecule, there's some vitamin or, you know, whatever it is, and we're synthesizing it. We're making that molecule. It's not a different substance. If it's those atoms arranged in that way, it's that molecule. It doesn't matter if nature — because nature also has to build the molecule. Nature also has biosynthetic pathways where it takes tiny molecules and builds them, whether it's inside an organism with enzymes or enzymes are little machines and they will build molecules. Then we also can build molecules in the lab in a little flask, and we can put whatever we want in there and do stuff. But if it's that structure, it's that structure. There cannot be any difference in the properties of the molecule.
[00:21:12] Jordan Harbinger: So how the molecule actually comes to be is irrelevant, basically.
[00:21:17] Dave Farina: Correct.
[00:21:17] Jordan Harbinger: What does that thing that they found, like Japanese moss, they discovered and is like, "Oh, something, something hydroxychloroquine comes from this"?
[00:21:24] Dave Farina: Well, sure, I mean it's becoming less so, but at one point in the latter half of the 20th century was the primary mode of drug discovery and development is we would find interesting natural products with interesting properties. So you scuba dive down to the bottom of the whatever and you find a sponge and you extract something and you take it back to the lab. And okay, we got these molecules. Wow, here's a weird molecule. And it has these properties that could be medicinal, potentially.
[00:21:50] All right, well, that's great, but we want to make medicine with it. We can't be scuba diving to look for all these sponges. Let's build this molecule ourselves. So then there's the challenge where you have to come up with a synthetic pathway from very cheap, readily available starting materials you build that molecule. And when you get that molecule, you have that molecule, right? So we forego the natural process, whatever is going on in the sponge to make that molecule or in the tree in the rainforest or whatever it is, any other place on earth. And we find a synthetic pathway to make that ourselves. And we can mass produce it, which means we can use it as medicine. We can, you know, disseminate it around the world.
[00:22:24] Sometimes that's cheap enough for it to be economically viable. Sometimes, it's not very cheap. The compound is too complex structurally.
[00:22:31] Jordan Harbinger: I remember learning about — in the beginning of the pandemic, they were talking about horseshoe crabs and that there's something in there we need for vaccines.
[00:22:38] Dave Farina: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:38] Jordan Harbinger: And I was like, how on earth are we still digging up horseshoe crabs out of the ocean? Extracting or processing them? Hopefully, not killing them, I don't know, to get something for a vaccine. Like how are we not making that in a giant vet in Idaho somewhere?
[00:22:51] Dave Farina: Well, hopefully, we are.
[00:22:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, hopefully, now.
[00:22:52] Dave Farina: That's the incredible thing about the 21st century is we're coming up with all these alternate strategies whereby synthesis and drug development, the way it has been done in the 20th century is it may not be the case anymore. We're figuring out how to do things like synthetic biology where we genetically engineer a particular microorganism and sort of install a suite of enzymes in it where we can then feed it some super cheap starting material and it builds the molecule for us.
[00:23:20] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:23:20] Dave Farina: Right. We can give it the enzymes and you just put it, it's like brewing beer
[00:23:24] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:24] Dave Farina: Obviously, it's very expensive and very difficult to figure out which enzymes and figure out how to make it do the thing, but once it's doing it, you just put in the raw material and it makes your product for you. It's astounding.
[00:23:35] Jordan Harbinger: That is astounding. It's crazy to think there's some bacteria in a giant vet somewhere with one of those little stirring things. Just like a brewery.
[00:23:43] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:23:43] Jordan Harbinger: And you're dumping in, I don't know, sugar and barley and some other stuff.
[00:23:48] Dave Farina: Yes.
[00:23:48] Jordan Harbinger: And it's spitting out—
[00:23:49] Dave Farina: This incredible life-saving drug potential, right?
[00:23:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:23:52] Dave Farina: Or honestly, usually, you know, plastics and other materials.
[00:23:55] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:23:56] Dave Farina: Like it's utilizing material science a lot, but we can do anything with it. We can install whatever enzymes we want to make it build whatever we want, you know? It's incredible.
[00:24:06] Jordan Harbinger: I was talking about microplastics a long time ago with a friend of mine, not even on the show. And I was like, "Can we build bacteria that eat the plastic that's floating around in the oceans and lakes and then make it safe enough that we can release it and it ends up just eating the plastic, and then it eventually just dies when it runs out of plastic to eat after reproducing a bunch or doesn't, you know, whatever it is.
[00:24:26] Then I thought we were trying to think of all the problems associated with that, and we realized anything that's plastic that's in the ocean, you know, a, a buoy, a part of a dock, some floaty thing is just, it's only going to last—
[00:24:35] Dave Farina: Mm-hmm.
[00:24:36] Jordan Harbinger: —a few months or a year because it's going to get eaten a lot. It's going to get eaten by these living organisms eventually.
[00:24:41] Dave Farina: Right.
[00:24:41] Jordan Harbinger: But I guess we'll just make something that they can't eat. I don't know.
[00:24:43] Dave Farina: Hopefully, it can be localized. I mean, these are all practical problems, but I mean, this goes back to what you're saying about, you know, the misinformation being the biggest problem because you can even take something like climate change, which I think that would be probably the number one answer on Family Feud. What is the biggest problem facing mankind, right? It'd be 87 say climate change. That obviously is an enormous problem, but there are solutions. These are already being kicked around in scientific circles, like, you know, genetically engineering microorganisms that suck up CO2 at a hundred thousand times the rate or whatever it is, and then just poops them out as little pellets down to the bottom of the ocean.
[00:25:17] So we have ways of reducing the carbon content of the atmosphere, but the barriers to implementation are funding public sentiment, all you know, there are political problems. And they're political problems largely because the public is uninformed or unmotivated to try to elicit the change from the powers that be. So that's why it's the biggest problem because that problem is the barrier to all the other problems getting solved, in my view.
[00:25:43] Jordan Harbinger: Let's talk about toxins. We kind of mentioned this before. We hear about toxins all the time, but I don't really know what they are. And I think it was Dr. Drew and I mentioned this on his show. What is toxic? Is it a poison? And he's just like, there's no such thing as toxins. I mean there, there are toxic substances, but when people say toxins, they can never tell us what the thing is that's toxic.
[00:26:04] Dave Farina: Yeah. Well, it has a definition. So this is the problem is people use toxic and toxin interchangeably, but toxin means a poisonous substance that is generated by a biological organism. So when people use toxin to mean like a synthetic scientists made it thing, so what I was talking about was the poisonous compounds made by snakes and frogs, things like that.
[00:26:24] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:25] Dave Farina: Those are toxins. Bacteria produced toxins. They're necessarily natural, naturally occurring compounds, and then they have some deleterious effect in other biological systems.
[00:26:35] So the concept of something being toxic or poisonous, this is also widely misunderstood. I think people have these categories in their minds of these ones are safe, and then these ones are bad and nasty, which is not really true, right? Because any compound can be harmful in a high enough dosage, right? There's something called the LD50. That's an amount that would kill 50 percent of a test population. And every single compound has an LD50, even things that we need to survive.
[00:27:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:05] Dave Farina: So like water, you need water to live. Everybody knows that. There is an amount of water you can drink that will kill you, right? And that's not drowning. I'm saying water intoxication, it disrupts brain function and you'll die. Oxygen, if you breathe pure oxygen for a few hours, it's very harmful. You can die, right? Even stuff that we need to live can kill us if you have too much of it.
[00:27:26] Now, obviously there are things that are very, very poisonous and only a tiny little bit will kill you. So that's a much higher toxicity, and we need to identify those compounds. Many of them are natural. Of course, we can synthesize bad things too, but you have to examine each on a case-by-case basis, see what is happening in the body. You know, in the case of lead, it's interacting with hemoglobin in such a way that that is unable to transport oxygen, so that will kill you. That's very bad, but there's always a reason, right? A molecule is not inherently poisonous. It's poisonous in the context of how it interacts with your body. What enzymes or what receptors does it interact with such that it disrupts some biological function? And that, again, may change from one organism to another, right? Antibiotics kill bacteria because it disrupts cell wall formation, but our cells don't have cell walls, so they don't hurt us. It kills bacteria, not us. It depends entirely on the structure of an organism.
[00:28:21] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Dave Farina. We'll be right back.
[00:28:26] This episode is sponsored in part by Grammarly. I'm always trying to increase productivity, and Grammarly is a top tool that I use to help save me time and improve my written communication. Yeah, I here and there get called the pejorative grammar nazi. I thought I was an expert at using the English language. Of course, we all make mistakes. At first, I didn't really think Grammarly was going to benefit me too much because you know, I know where commas go most of the time. But then I tried it and I got hooked because Grammarly is far more advanced than just a spell checker. It's like having somebody over my shoulder gently reminding me that I can make my writing more clear, more concise, more professional. Grammarly will suggest better synonyms to use that make me sound smarter. And Grammarly's tone detector checks how your message actually comes across, which comes in handy for me because sometimes I'm firing things off without thinking. It's easy to implement because it runs in the background in everything that I write. So email, web, it just sort of lays over the hold darn computer. I wish I had this in high school or college because it would've been a game changer for me. Also, a listener wrote in and told me that it's changed her life because they were diagnosed with dyslexia, struggled in school, as well as of course, in their professional career. And once you start using Grammarly, you're probably going to be better than your English teacher. And I highly recommend this to everyone, especially students and professionals. So get more time in your day and more confidence in your work with Grammarly. Go to grammarly.com/jordan to sign up for a free account. And when you're ready to upgrade to Grammarly Premium, get 20 percent off for being my listener. That's 20 percent off at G-R-A-M-M-A-R-L-Y.com/jordan.
[00:29:56] This episode is also sponsored by Lands' End. I attend a ton of conferences. I always come home with a bunch of promo items. The cheap quality stuff gets donated sometimes, unfortunately, gets tossed. Promotional items can be a powerful way to break through the clutter of conferences and leave attendees with a clear, memorable experience. But none of this is possible when you stuff your swag bag with thoughtless low-quality items. I mean branded pens that break after three uses, anyone? Create an extension of your brand with high-quality custom apparel from Land's End Business. Get fully customized clothes, accessories, and promotional products featuring your logo and colors, elevated by decades of experience. I think all of us remember customizing our Land's End backpacks back in the day as well. Furthermore, thousands of businesses from major airlines to mom and pops use Land's End Business for their uniform needs. Whether you're a carpet cleaner, a mechanic, moving company, corner pizza shop, they've got you covered, well, literally with branded apparel. We use Land's End for holiday gifting. Jen gifts their open-top canvas tote bags customized with a monogram or a logo, fill it up with goodies. People just love these things, high quality and useful.
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[00:31:15] Jordan Harbinger: If you're wondering how I managed to book all these amazing thinkers and authors and creators every single week, it is because of my network and I'm teaching you how to build your own network for business, for pleasure, whatever it may be for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. This course, it's about improving your networking skills, your connection skills, and inspiring other people to develop a personal and professional relationship with you. Naturally, it'll make you a better networker, but more importantly, it'll make you a better thinker. That's jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, many of the guests on the show subscribe and contribute to this course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:31:51] Now, back to Dave Farina.
[00:31:55] I hadn't really thought about the idea that we take things that are toxic to other things inside our body deliberately, but yet that's what it is. I mean, that's what medication, or at least antibiotics—
[00:32:04] Dave Farina: Antibiotics.
[00:32:04] Jordan Harbinger: —actually are.
[00:32:05] Dave Farina: Certainly, yeah.
[00:32:05] Jordan Harbinger: Marketers use the term toxins. I'm thinking of when they try to sell you like activated charcoal water. "Oh, you're not feeling so good. Take this and it'll absorb toxins." Or, "Take this kind of vitamin that I sell and it will gather toxins out of your blood, and then you can excrete them because it's something, something binds to the toxins. And it's like, well, what's the toxic thing that it's binding to? And they can never really answer that question.
[00:32:29] Dave Farina: Any toxin, right? By what mechanism?
[00:32:31] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And it's like, well, wait, if toxins are different molecules, then how does this one molecule bind to only toxic things and then get rid of them? And why doesn't it bind to, I don't know, red blood cells that I kind of need to live, or white blood cells for that matter, or other molecules in my body? Why doesn't it bind to those? And the answer is, it doesn't. It's freaking water that's got food coloring in it—
[00:32:49] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:32:49] Jordan Harbinger: Or something and then I pee it out, but it's seven dollars.
[00:32:52] Dave Farina: If only everyone could apply this level of scrutiny that you just have. That is a very healthy thought process that you just applied there. Yeah, that's what I'm rooting for everybody to be able to do that.
[00:33:01] Jordan Harbinger: I still had to ask Dr. Drew about this.
[00:33:03] Dave Farina: Okay.
[00:33:03] Jordan Harbinger: Because I was like, "What am I missing?" And he's like, "Nothing. It's a bunch of bullsh*ts." You know, like it's a bunch of nonsense.
[00:33:07] Dave Farina: Yeah, it is. It's marketing. See chemophobia has become so prevalent. It's just a really easy way in like any other anti-establishment narrative, right? There's the nasty stuff trying to harm you, and this is the nice, clean, pure nature stuff that is going to be good for you.
[00:33:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:23] Dave Farina: It's just such an alluring narrative. It's so easy to pedal. We want it to be true so bad. We want the loving nature mother to take care of. It's just not the case, right? It's just there's bad end, good stuff everywhere. It has nothing to do with nature, synthetic, anything like that.
[00:33:38] Jordan Harbinger: In my conversation recently with Neil deGrasse Tyson, we talked about the LD50 concept as well. I thought that was fascinating, that there's an amount of everything that will kill you if you ingest it, which of course, I'd never thought about that either. And we talked about Ben & Jerry's because people were freaking out about Ben & Jerry's ice cream, having some GMO corn syrup, which had like some tiny amount of, I can't remember what it was, but it was like glyphosate, something in roundup.
[00:34:02] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:34:02] Jordan Harbinger: And it turns out that by the time you ate, you have to eat like 400 million pints or something of—
[00:34:09] Dave Farina: Right.
[00:34:09] Jordan Harbinger: Ben & Jerry's, the flavor that has the GMO corn syrup in it, but it would've killed you after eating like 37 pints at once instead of—
[00:34:18] Dave Farina: From cholesterol, yeah, exactly.
[00:34:19] Jordan Harbinger: Four million or 40 million or whatever it — no, no, you would die from just sugar.
[00:34:22] Dave Farina: Just sugar and some other substance in there.
[00:34:24] Jordan Harbinger: Like die immediately after filling your stomach.
[00:34:27] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:34:27] Jordan Harbinger: If you even could with that amount of Ben & Jerry's. Meanwhile, you couldn't, in your lifetime eat enough Ben & Jerry's of that flavor to die from the glyphosate or gly-phosphate—
[00:34:35] Dave Farina: Glyphosate, yeah.
[00:34:36] Jordan Harbinger: —molecule that you're absorbing. It's physically impossible.
[00:34:39] Dave Farina: This concept of concentration is lost on the vast majority of people. This is what happens with anti-vaccine activists as well, so they'll identify some component of a vaccine like an adjuvant that contains aluminum and they go, "Aluminum is toxic. This is terrible. This is in the vaccine." It's like you have thousands of times more aluminum circulating in your bloodstream currently than is in this. It's such an unbelievably minuscule amount.
[00:35:04] So it's the other side of this of the same coin. Even the things we need to live can kill you if you have enough of them. Similarly, the things that are the most toxic in unbelievably tiny amounts are not harmful. There's that LD50. If you're well below the LD 50, it's not going to be harmful. And even these very toxic things are in your body right now.
[00:35:25] There was a famous study in like, I forget, it was like the '80s or '90s, looking at the compounds that are present in just like apples and pairs and things like that.
[00:35:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:33] Dave Farina: And like the amount of formaldehyde in an apple is just so much more than people had thought. It's still not harmful, but it's a funny thing to compare to when people look at a vaccine or a drug or something, whatever it is, and try to look at it, you know, identify an ingredient and go, "This is in there. That's going to kill you." Look at an apple. It's way more, you know, of any one of these harmful things, you know. We have stuff like that in our bloodstream at all times. It's there.
[00:36:00] Jordan Harbinger: I didn't realize we had aluminum in our bloodstream, but I guess it makes sense. I mean, you can't not, it's such a natural, I heard it's in a bunch of — what was this thing? We did a Skeptical Sunday about chemtrails.
[00:36:09] Dave Farina: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:10] Jordan Harbinger: And people say, "Oh, they're spraying," they, the ubiquitous, they—
[00:36:13] Dave Farina: Right.
[00:36:13] Jordan Harbinger: "—government, whatever, is spraying us with chemicals." And they, the crazies proved it by taking a sample of some lake after they saw this. And it was like, "There's a lot of aluminum in this lake bed." It turns out that any dirt sample pretty much anywhere on earth is going to be absolutely loaded to the gills with aluminum.
[00:36:31] Dave Farina: It's one of the most abundant elements in the crust. Aluminum is everywhere in Earth's crust.
[00:36:37] Jordan Harbinger: So if you're ingesting any amount of dirt in anything, you're ingesting aluminum just because it's freaking everywhere.
[00:36:42] Dave Farina: Well, that's the other thing that is lost on a lot of people is that aluminum-based minerals, or, you know, another one with vaccines was thimerosal which has a mercury atom in it. People don't seem to understand that compounds with an atom of a particular element present. It just has nothing to do with that element in elemental form. So people would think that thimerosal has a mercury atom in it. Therefore, it behaves like elemental mercury, which is very toxic. In the thermometers, we don't want to touch it, which is not the case.
[00:37:11] The elements in a compound don't inform the properties of the compound in the same way that those elements behave. You have sodium metal is a highly corrosive and reacts, you know, explosively with water and chlorine gas was, you know, mustard gas in World War I, two highly toxic elements in their elemental form. You put them together, sodium chloride, table salt, yum yum powder. Sodium chloride has sodium in it, it has chlorine in it, therefore it's bad. You know, that's not how chemistry works.
[00:37:40] Jordan Harbinger: I suppose also kidneys sweating your liver, they clean toxins out. You don't have to buy the thing from the fancy supermarket in Los Angeles.
[00:37:48] Dave Farina: No.
[00:37:49] Jordan Harbinger: That's $19 to do that same thing.
[00:37:51] Dave Farina: Anything that refers to detox is almost invariably bullsh*t. Yeah, if you have kidneys and the liver, you're, that's what those organs are for.
[00:37:59] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned the word chemophobia. So chemical is almost like another word for toxins where we just abuse — by we, I mean, marketers online especially, they abuse the word chemical to make us scared.
[00:38:10] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:38:10] Jordan Harbinger: Because chemicals, when I think chemical, I'm thinking like sulfuric acid or some chemical something of WD40 that I'm spraying on the wheels of my bicycle. I'm not thinking of the chemicals that I eat all the time.
[00:38:22] Dave Farina: Oh yeah.
[00:38:22] Jordan Harbinger: Because literally, everything is a chemical.
[00:38:24] Dave Farina: Not literally everything, but everything, you know, like light is not a chemical. Neutrinos are not chemicals, but anything made of the chemical elements on the periodic table.
[00:38:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:33] Dave Farina: If it's made of those things, it's a chemical. So water is a chemical. All your food is all chemicals. Oxygen is a chemical. Like anything that we interact with on a daily basis, the things that we touch, they're all chemicals.
[00:38:46] Jordan Harbinger: Is there anything that I can eat that is not a chemical? Probably not, right?
[00:38:49] Dave Farina: No.
[00:38:50] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:38:50] Dave Farina: There are particles of matter that are not chemicals because chemicals are made of atoms. So if it's non-atomic matter, right? There are other kinds of particles, but those are not things that we interact with on a daily basis unless you're a particle physicist.
[00:39:03] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's been a while since I've had a black hole for lunch or dark matter or whatever.
[00:39:08] Dave Farina: Right.
[00:39:08] Jordan Harbinger: A friend of mine will say, and I mean Internet acquaintance here, but whatever, if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it.
[00:39:15] Dave Farina: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:15] Jordan Harbinger: But there are so many things that sound horrible that are very common and harmless and plenty of things that I can pronounce easily, that I definitely would not eat like cyanide. I can say that. My kid can say that. He's three. It's just not that hard. I don't want that for breakfast, at least not in large amounts, dosage is everything as you mentioned before, but vitamins and things like that are very hard to pronounce. I still, vitamin C, is it ab-sorbic or abs-corbic acid? I still don't know which one it is.
[00:39:40] Dave Farina: Ascorbic.
[00:39:41] Jordan Harbinger: Ascorbic.
[00:39:41] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:39:41] Jordan Harbinger: So I guess I should never eat that again and die like from scurvy.
[00:39:45] Dave Farina: From scurvy, you will die—
[00:39:46] Jordan Harbinger: Like in 15th century.
[00:39:47] Dave Farina: That's correct. Yeah.
[00:39:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:48] Dave Farina: That's the thing. I mean, obviously, it's a rubbish mantra. It's completely meaningless and not good advice as you said, you will die. But the other problem is that there are different kinds of vernacular, right? There's the language of the chemist, right? We have the IUPAC nomenclature of compounds, right? Where we very rigorously name it, but then we give things common names, right? We have common names like the vitamins, right? Vitamins are nicknames. So vitamin C is the vitamin nickname for L-ascorbic acid. They are synonymous, right?
[00:40:18] Chicago, Windy City, it doesn't matter, right? They mean the same thing. But then you'll get these people that are like, "No, no, Vitamin C is not L-ascorbic acid. That's the shell of the vitamin C complex." I mean, they're just making things up. It's just complete fantasy. But it's very alluring. It's very alluring narrative. Like, oh no, the people in the lab, they're so arrogant thinking that they can match the power of nature, but no nature, this is the real thing. And no L-ascorbic acid, right? It interacts with the enzyme for collagen synthesis, right? That's why you get scurvy. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, so it's just, it's a big part of your body.
[00:40:55] So that's why if you can't synthesize collagen, you start to get all those lesions all over your body. Your body can't make more body at a fast enough rate. You know what I mean? Because your cells are dying all the time. So you need to be constantly producing collagen to build new cells and keep your body like your body is supposed to be.
[00:41:13] Yeah, that must have been terrible hundreds of years ago being out at sea. And so you didn't have any citrus, you didn't have any, you know, vitamin C and there're people going, "What is happening to me? What is going on? Why is my body falling apart?" And then they had to figure it out. And I mean, can you imagine how incredible it is that they figured it out? There's this compound in here and you're not getting it, and that's why that's happening to you. And now let's synthesize it in mass amounts so it can be distributed all around the world. So even if you don't have access to citrus fruits, you can still take a supplement and have plenty of vitamin C.
[00:41:42] Jordan Harbinger: How do you think they found that? Did someone just go, "Oh, we're transporting these lemons and I want to put one in my tea every day," and that guy didn't get scurvy? How do you figure that out?
[00:41:50] Dave Farina: Yeah. At that stage of chemistry, that was very much pre-modern chemistry. It probably was still some kind of observation like that or some kind of trial and error. Really, we had no understanding of molecules at that time, of course. So probably it might have been something like that. Yeah, yep.
[00:42:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm so interested, I guess that it might even predate somebody bothering to write about it and how they figured it out. Maybe they just said, "Hey, drink this lemon water we keep on the ship because your sailors won't fall apart and bleed everywhere." And it's like, "Okay, whatever." But back then it was like — and also make sure that you are aligning the stone, the magic crystals on your ship deck in the right way. Because one of those things is doing something.
[00:42:31] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:42:31] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not sure which one is.
[00:42:32] Dave Farina: And the latter didn't work. We ruled that out.
[00:42:35] Jordan Harbinger: Right, right.
[00:42:36] Dave Farina: If they were empirical about it and they isolated the variable. Yeah.
[00:42:39] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I'm thinking, do they bother with that or do they just keep doing the crystals? Other marketers or activists will often malign something that's in like a detergent. For example, my wife buys these detergents. I don't know. They're somehow more natural and we're about to stop overpaying for those, I think, after this episode. But one of the reasons was there's carcinogens in certain kinds of soap and, well, carcinogens are bad, they cause cancer. But it sounds like dosage is everything, as you mentioned, as we've mentioned a couple of times here. So maybe there's more formaldehyde in an apple that we are feeding my baby for breakfast than there is in all of this detergent—
[00:43:13] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:43:13] Jordan Harbinger: That is maybe touching my clothing, which then touches my skin, depending on what washes on—
[00:43:18] Dave Farina: Which we don't ingest, yeah.
[00:43:19] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:43:19] Dave Farina: Yeah. And so the lesson is we don't necessarily have to freak out about the apple either. These are principles of chemistry in the molecular world that are lost on the masses, that creates this hysteria, which is then exploited to sell products.
[00:43:33] Jordan Harbinger: So we don't need to ban apples.
[00:43:35] Dave Farina: No.
[00:43:35] Jordan Harbinger: And even though my son is drinking chemicals, including carcinogens—
[00:43:38] Dave Farina: Correct.
[00:43:38] Jordan Harbinger: It's just not that big of a deal at that dose.
[00:43:40] Dave Farina: We ingest carcinogens every single day, every minute of every day. That's happening. It's not just ingesting things, right? There is nuclear decay happening inside our bodies at all times, and we're accumulating mutations to the DNA at all times on all the different cells. You know, it's just about a rate of mutation, and where are the mutations, and then do the repair mechanisms in the body catch them? And on a long enough timeline, every biological organism would get cancer. If you didn't die from something else, you'd eventually get cancer. because you cannot maintain the fidelity of the genome indefinitely. You'll accumulate enough mutations that cancer will result. It's just a given.
[00:44:17] Jordan Harbinger: And that's something for all of us to look forward to, I guess then at that level.
[00:44:20] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:44:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Great. Thanks for that.
[00:44:22] Dave Farina: If we make it a couple of hundred years.
[00:44:23] Jordan Harbinger: Why is this misplaced fear problematic? Yeah, nobody's really thinking about banning apples. Maybe we're unnecessarily scared of detergent. It seems manageable. Okay, we waste some money, but there's a bigger issue here. Tell us what that is.
[00:44:37] Dave Farina: Well, it's just exploitation. I mean, you can have anybody pedaling any product and it's just a continual division of the masses, right? Just, these people are saying, "No, that's bad and that's unsafe." And these people are saying something else. If we can, we want to try to be relatively aligned on our conception of reality and you know, the way things work, the way our bodies work. Otherwise, there are those who will take advantage of us at every turn. That can snowball into, there can be political ramifications and certain lobbyists relying on misinformation to enact some control of the government or whatever it is. Yeah.
[00:45:10] Jordan Harbinger: We look at the wrong things as causing harm and we end up ignoring real harm or other things that cause real harm because let's say we're really up in arms about the GMO corn syrup in the Ben & Jerry's because of the, Is it again, glyphosate? Is that what it is?
[00:45:26] Dave Farina: That's right.
[00:45:26] Jordan Harbinger: But then those same people, they mean well, right? They're trying to keep people safe from this dangerous thing, but their time is being taken up yelling at Ben & Jerry's over there in Nantucket or wherever the hell, and they're not focused as much on—
[00:45:38] Dave Farina: We're just the ice cream guys. What are you talking about?
[00:45:41] Jordan Harbinger: Come on, we're the left-wing ice cream guys. Like, go yell at somebody else. There's a lot bigger problems out there, but then—
[00:45:46] Dave Farina: Go yell at Breyers.
[00:45:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right, yeah, but they're keeping those same people from maybe focusing on, I don't know, the fact that there's other serious problems that could use the attention of an activist that gives a crap.
[00:45:58] Dave Farina: Absolutely. Yeah. When you wrap your identity around a false cause, you are eliminating yourself from some other possible contribution that you could be making. Yeah.
[00:46:07] Jordan Harbinger: The other thing is, especially on this show, I just realize it, it is a hundred times harder to unshare somebody than it is to scare them in the first place. And there's a lot of money in scaring people, and we see this in politics all the time. We would be having this conversation on my yacht if I were like, "And it's these guys on the other side of the aisle that are doing this," because my audience would be 10X or even larger than it is now because there's so much money in creating a tribe that is against another tribe.
[00:46:35] And I won't do that because it's bad for society. And I think it's — talk about, speaking to cancer, the cancer we have now is people becoming tribalized like that and pointing at the other side as saying they're causing all the problems. And we see this and like show about how civil wars start and it's like each side is pointing at the other side. And that's a huge problem. I'm trying to do the opposite, which is bringing people together and fortunately, it's working. You know, I'm able to make a living doing it, but man, I do look at some people who have worked half as long at this and they're 10 times as big or twice as big. And I go, "How'd you do that?" "Oh, oh, you just picked an enemy—"
[00:47:07] Dave Farina: You're a demagogue.
[00:47:08] Jordan Harbinger: —and you picked a bunch of bullsh*t and you're scaring everyone. It's very difficult to uns scare people, which is kind of what I'm trying to do on the show. And it's really hard to do because people, even if you successfully unscared them in one area, they'll go, "Well, what about this totally equally not scary area that I'm now scared about? Thanks for solving that myth about chemicals. I'm going to turn over here and be scared of this other thing now," because there's so many things on the menu.
[00:47:31] Dave Farina: Yeah. Hopefully, we don't get bogged down by this sense of futility. I'm in a similar boat. I don't know if I'm necessarily trying to unscare people, it's more just I like to debunk things, right? Which I guess is unscaring.
[00:47:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:44] Dave Farina: You know, if you fell for this—
[00:47:45] Jordan Harbinger: That is unscaring.
[00:47:45] Dave Farina: —you know, apocalypse, peddling guy on the Internet, right? I want to be there to go, "No, this is lies. This guy is lying. What are you talking—? Come on, get rid of this." Hopefully that eventually, you know, permeates your thought process and you can start to be a little bit more skeptical, but yeah, I don't think it is pointless. I understand. Yeah, I'm with you in that there is a sense of futility sometimes, but, yeah, we should remain driven and encourage others to do the same.
[00:48:13] Jordan Harbinger: It's not even futility, it's just the easy road to do that, but it's not fair, it's not beneficial to society to do that. So whatever, that's a different soapbox for a different episode. Alternative health people like to say, they like to say things like western medicine treats the symptoms and not the cause. What are they talking about and how accurate do you think that statement is?
[00:48:34] Dave Farina: It's largely inaccurate. I mean, it's not entirely inaccurate. Obviously, we have palliative medicine, we have medicine that is to treat pain and to alleviate pain.
[00:48:42] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Yeah.
[00:48:42] Dave Farina: I mean, that exists. The second part of what they are implying is that it's actually the alternative medicine that is treating the underlying cause, which is 100 percent fabrication. Alternative medicine is exclusively placebo based. It is just, I believe this should be working, so I feel a little better. And it is not correlated whatsoever with the mechanism or whatever that product is. So whether it's reiki or homeopathy or whatever it is, It is 100 percent placebo. Whereas modern medicine, science-based medicine, again, yes, we have painkillers, but we also have these incredible drugs that circulate throughout the body or they're directed towards a very particular part of the body. They interact with some protein, whether it's a receptor or an enzyme that elicits a physiological effect that directly negates the cause of the condition. Whatever it is, if you have asthma and it's widening the bronchioles, you know, things like this, we're manipulating the body on a very fundamental level.
[00:49:41] That's what a drug is, right? A drug is something that induces a non-nutritional, physiological effect on the body. It changes something about what's going on in the body, except not nutrition, that's just a different category, but it's doing something to the body. It's causing the airways to open up or it's constricting the blood vessels, or it's doing something that has a very measurable, tangible effect on what's going on in the body. These other things, alternative medicine, they don't do that. They don't do anything, right? It's just I have magic powers, or take this magic water and it's nothing. It's placebo. And they initially only gathered some steam, like homeopathy in particular because they came about in a time where there were alternatives to things that were specifically harmful, like sculpture panning or things like this were really hurting, you know, bloodletting, things like that.
[00:50:28] Jordan Harbinger: Bloodletting?
[00:50:28] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:50:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:29] Dave Farina: Okay. Homeopathy is better than bloodletting.
[00:50:30] Jordan Harbinger: Would you do it at barber, by the way? Right. Didn't barbers bloodlet back then? Like, I can't even imagine—
[00:50:35] Dave Farina: I'm not sure.
[00:50:35] Jordan Harbinger: —going to my barber. Yeah. Well, the reason that the barber pole is blue and red is they — you know what, I'm going to look this up. I'm almost certain that barber's, one of the services was actually bloodletting. Barbers performed a wide variety of functions at that time. In addition to cutting hair, a barber might — oh my god — a barber might pull teeth, perform surgery on minor wounds, amputate limbs, or administer leeches. Already prepared with the tools needed to perform venesection, barbers developed a thriving blood bloodletting practice from the year 1100 to 1500.
[00:51:09] Holy smoke. Thank god they only cut hair now. Can you imagine being like, "You know, I really do need a little high and tight, but also my back tooth is bothering me—"?
[00:51:19] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:51:19] Jordan Harbinger: Get that thing that you use on everyone else that you don't even wash.
[00:51:22] Dave Farina: And get this pesky leg out of here.
[00:51:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I've got a bad leg. Oh god.
[00:51:26] Dave Farina: This is what blows my mind. Like to live in the modern era where we have hospitals and we have surgery. Like my wife had open heart surgery. They stopped her heart and took it out of her body and did stuff to it and put it back in and she didn't die.
[00:51:40] Jordan Harbinger: Amazing.
[00:51:41] Dave Farina: I mean, what are you kidding me? That we can do this stuff? It's astounding.
[00:51:44] Jordan Harbinger: That is.
[00:51:45] Dave Farina: And you want to disregard, you know, science-based medicine and science-based medical practices for what? You know what I mean? Rub a leaf on it. I don't. But that's the romance of it. Yeah.
[00:51:57] Jordan Harbinger: I thought bloodletting was only from 1100 to 1500 based on that little Google snippet.
[00:52:01] Dave Farina: I think later than that.
[00:52:03] Jordan Harbinger: Turns out 3000 years, self-taught physicians and barber-surgeons, which is a thing, I guess back then held the practice of bloodletting to high regard and depended on it as the panacea for all maladies. It was not until the 19th century that this practice was phased out. Can you imagine?
[00:52:19] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:52:20] Jordan Harbinger: That's not that long ago, man.
[00:52:21] Dave Farina: No, it's not.
[00:52:21] Jordan Harbinger: And that was a long time they used bloodletting. Holy crap.
[00:52:24] Dave Farina: Yeah. It was based on humorism, which honestly when humorism came about, the idea of the humors, the bile and the blood and the phlegm, all that stuff was actually a step forward in medicine because prior to that it was all about divination and spirits. So it was the first time that medicine took the stance that it's not spirits, it's actual physical mechanisms in the body that we can control. Now, obviously, humorism is wrong. It's not correct—
[00:52:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:52:51] Dave Farina: —but it was a step forward for the ancient Greeks, right? But then, yeah, it stuck around a little too long. But what are you going to do? I mean, we didn't figure out, you know, people don't really seem to appreciate that. It was really around the middle of the 19th century, the turn of the 20th century, where we really actually started to figure out human anatomy and physiology and chemistry and all these things that are the way that we view the world now in an enlightened way. So a rejection of that progress is always something that really, really aggravates me.
[00:53:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It would seem to me that remedies that predate science, or at least even remotely modern science, also predate our understanding of disease and medicine. So—
[00:53:29] Dave Farina: Correct.
[00:53:30] Jordan Harbinger: —if you're thinking that it is spirits causing something and that bloodletting lets out these negative spirits, then you're just not taking any science into account, and that's significant. But when we talk about things like homeopathy, and I'd love to hear your takedown of homeopathy, because again, a thing I never understood that people swear by that my friend who's studying to be a doctor in Canada is taking a class on, and I thought, "How is there a whole class on this thing that's not real?"
[00:53:53] Dave Farina: It's astounding, it's astounding. This is what money does.
[00:53:55] Jordan Harbinger: What the hell?
[00:53:55] Dave Farina: That people want to take that class or that program, they'll start offering it. With the humorism thing though, it wasn't spirits though, it was about manipulating the levels of the four humors. It was a physical mechanism.
[00:54:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right, no—
[00:54:06] Dave Farina: But it doesn't matter anyway. Yeah, Homeopathy—
[00:54:07] Jordan Harbinger: I meant before that, I suppose.
[00:54:09] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:54:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:54:09] Dave Farina: But homeopathy is this idea that the thing that is harmful is also going to cure you, but we got to dilute it and we dilute it and dilute it and dilute it and dilute it. So we're talking about an amount of dilution. So you make a little solution and you have a little bit of the thing, and then you dilute it a hundred times. You know, you take a little bit, put it in a new thing, water, and then you do it again and again and again. We're talking about millions and billions and maybe trillions of times diluted to the point where it is objectively the case that there are zero of that molecule in there anymore. It's not there. So forget the fact that mechanistically speaking, it's insane to think that this thing was going to but now, it's not even in there.
[00:54:50] And so homeopathy relies on this concept of water memory. The water remembers what's in there, which is just abject insanity. That's not the case. And there are a lot of spinoffs with water memory, all kinds of other charlatans trying to sell some stuff with water memory. And then you administered that, whether it's the solution or a little sugar cube thingy or whatever it is. And that's supposed to cure you. And so it doesn't, and it's a placebo. That's it. That's homeopathy in a nutshell.
[00:55:16] Jordan Harbinger: Still better than bloodletting, which can kill you, I suppose.
[00:55:18] Dave Farina: Yeah, right. Yeah, that's true. And that's why it gained traction. That's what I was saying earlier is that—
[00:55:22] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, really?
[00:55:23] Dave Farina: —it came about in a time where it's like, "Well, homeopathy does better than bloodletting, so maybe there's something to it." It's like, "Yeah, because you let all the blood out of that guy and he died," and homeopathy does nothing and nothing is better than killing you. So it doesn't mean that it's—
[00:55:37] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Or they told him to drink a bunch of water with the diluted thing and it, and he was at least more hydrated and his body was able to fight off whatever ailment it was rather than just letting him bleed out—
[00:55:47] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[00:55:47] Jordan Harbinger: —at Jerry's barbershop and do a bunch of pulled teeth and a leg on the floor.
[00:55:51] Dave Farina: Yeah, that's right.
[00:55:55] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Dave Farina. We'll be right back.
[00:56:00] This episode is sponsored in part by HVMN. You may have heard buzz about ketone supplements and how they can boost your workouts by helping your body use fatty acids for fuel. But did they work? I was skeptical at first until I tried it. So I've been taking HVMN's Ketone-IQ supplement before my workouts in the morning and I am, yeah, I guess I'm a believer now. Just take a shot of Ketone-IQ. You get energy, you get focused. The feeling is kind of like being in the zone without the anxiety and jitters of coffee. A lot of you have written in and told me you're having the same experience with this stuff. Ketone-IQ does come in portable, convenient shots so that you can carry it around. You can throw it in the backpack. And HVMN wants you all to know that it's back in stock. I know it was out of stock for a long time. I'll take partial credit for that. It's perfect for on-the-go cycling rides, a long run, even running from meeting to meeting. One fair warning, and I've said this before, the taste is bitter. Let's just say it tastes like it actually works. They know that, they are aware of that. They don't try to hide the flavor with sweeteners that are disgusting. I guess the product is pure. You can look at it that way. I don't want to scare you away from trying it. Just be prepared for the taste. It does suppress some appetite, so you won't feel the urge to cover that taste with much of anything afterwards, anyway, better endurance. No slow down towards the end, nearly as quick. So if you're working out hard, you're training for something, definitely give Ketone-IQ a try. I'm very curious. Write in and tell me what you think.
[00:57:17] Jen Harbinger: For 20 percent off your order of Ketone-IQ, go to HVMN.com promo code JORDAN. Again, that's H-V-M-N.com, and use promo code JORDAN for 20 percent off Ketone-IQ.
[00:57:30] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Practical Stoicism podcast. You ever wake up in the morning and dread the day or struggle with feelings of discontent? Of course, I have. I'm sure you have as well. There's a podcast you can check out called Practical Stoicism, which delivers straightforward, practical advice about how to live a more fulfilling life. Every Saturday morning host, Tanner Campbell examines the ancient texts of stoicism, which were practiced by kings, presidents, entrepreneurs, and more. But don't be intimidated by those that came before you, with the dense texts, you can benefit and learn from the principles of stoicism, just like George Washington and Adam Smith did. Practical Stoicism is a podcast designed to help newcomers get comfortable with a practical aspect of the philosophy. Listening to practical stoicism is an incredible way to make a habit of self-reflection and constant learning, and it's a great way to press pause on the stress of your everyday life. Check out Practical Stoicism on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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[00:58:49] Now for the rest of my conversation with Dave Farina.
[00:58:54] That makes more sense why that gained traction. Now, the fact that it has not lost traction is the part that's, I think, upsetting. I'm not mad at the person who went to the barber for bloodletting in the year 1100.
[00:59:05] Dave Farina: No.
[00:59:06] Jordan Harbinger: I understand why you had a tooth pulled and a leg amputated.
[00:59:09] Dave Farina: That was state of the art at the time. That was cutting edge.
[00:59:11] Jordan Harbinger: That was state of the art, yeah. Now, you have doctors or well, soon-to-be doctors being like, "Yeah, we're studying homeopathy." And I'm like, "Well, is it a five-minute class where they tell you that it's not a real thing anymore?"
[00:59:22] Dave Farina: Mm-hmm.
[00:59:22] Jordan Harbinger: Or is it, you know, okay, maybe an hour-long lecture on what the history of it and why it doesn't work? "No, it's a whole class on why, maybe, there's something to it, man." And I'm thinking, this isn't a person studying to be a doctor in North Korea. This is a person studying to be a doctor in Canada. What are you doing? Why does this exist? Why is there a teacher teaching this who also teaches actual medicine? It's mind blowing. And of course, they are implementing a little bit of skepticism into the course because they know it's not real. It's a freaking medical school for God's sake. And yet they're charging, of course, tuition for this, because why not?
[00:59:56] Dave Farina: Yeah, I mean, it's usually more questionable institutions. I'm sure Harvard Medical School doesn't have any courses on homeopathy. I hope not. it's usually, you know, a little like trade schools and technical schools and things like that, but it's there because of the demand. It's just money. People think it's real and they want to do it, and so it'll be offered, right? If somebody's going to spend money on something, somebody will take it. So schools offer it cause they will get the money from the people who want to do that. And so that has a ripple effect throughout society. It's given an air of legitimacy and then it escalates from there. But it's big problem.
[01:00:31] Jordan Harbinger: I see a lot of other new age healing these days, and I want to talk about this a little. The idea that quantum something, something can have an effect on your body as in like, okay, you can heal your spine with your mind something, something quantum physics, and I don't understand quantum physics really, and not many people do, and I think that's why they use this as the newest line of bullsh*t. Because if I look at delusion, I go, okay, I understand that concept because I've made Kool-Aid before and thus I understand delusion and therefore homeopathy. But quantum mysticism, it's harder to wrap your mind around, which I think makes it more effective for duping ruse.
[01:01:07] Dave Farina: Well, it's just a little black box, right? It's "I don't understand quantum physics, so it's magic. And I want this other magic to be real, so I'll tether them and use the word quantum to make my magic seem like science," right? Because we have this very mysterious realm of science, which honestly, it's hyped up a lot. Like, yes, the Quantum Revolution was a really incredible time in physics, and there were a lot of empirical results that were at one point surprising and mystifying, but it's nowhere near as mystical as is pedaled to the public. But nevertheless, it's reported with this air of mystery and magic and wonder. And so it's just a side door, whatever magical thing you want to be true, just use the word quantum and now you've justified yourself. That's basically quantumism in a nutshell.
[01:01:50] Jordan Harbinger: If someone uses the term quantum and is not a physicist, is it safe to say they don't know what they're talking about and they're trying to sell you something?
[01:01:56] Dave Farina: If they're trying to sell, yeah.
[01:01:57] Jordan Harbinger: If they're trying to sell you something and they're using the word quantum—
[01:01:59] Dave Farina: I am not a physicist and I use the word quantum and I try to do so very accurately but—
[01:02:04] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:02:04] Dave Farina: Yes. If it's in the context of trying to sell you something almost invariably you will, you know that it's bullsh*t. Yeah.
[01:02:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Not a lot of physicists are online trying to pedal a quantum of anything. They're too busy researching quantum physics and trying to figure out how it all works.
[01:02:18] Dave Farina: Yeah, I mean, quantum computing, that's a real thing. You know? There's stuff that, there are definitely applications to quantum physics, of course, but yeah, in the realm of the healing and the alternative arts, no, there's no legitimacy there.
[01:02:33] Jordan Harbinger: I love that you call out Deepak Chopra. I'm surprised how popular that guy's nonsense is. There's a funny clip of him on Conan O'Brien. He's basically projecting a bunch of insults at Conan O'Brien and Conan, of course, it's his show. He's taking it in stride. But it's really funny because he's trying to like psychoanalyze Conan. And Conan is handling it really well.
[01:02:53] And if you know who Deepak Chopra is, you realize he's just talking about himself. He's like, "You have a narcissistic personality and you need to be the center of attention." It's like, mmm, is that Conan O'Brien? Maybe. But it's definitely Deepak Chopra—
[01:03:05] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[01:03:05] Jordan Harbinger: —as well.
[01:03:06] Dave Farina: Yeah. But Conan was not lying, right? He's just trying to make people laugh.
[01:03:10] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah.
[01:03:10] Dave Farina: Yeah. No, Deepak is, he's one of the quintessential charlatans of the movement. Yeah. Absolutely. And he has amassed quite a tidy net worth from it.
[01:03:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yes. There's another fake doctor Joe Dispenza. Have you heard of this guy?
[01:03:25] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[01:03:25] Jordan Harbinger: He's extremely popular. He's a quantum nonsense peddler as well, but it's more dangerous because his line of bullsh*t, one of many, is that he healed a spinal injury by using his mind, which is just absolute nonsense. And the problem is when people go to those courses to learn how to do it, they become practitioners or whatever, but they're also ignoring real medical advice in favor of quantum mysticism. And that's dangerous.
[01:03:50] Dave Farina: Correct.
[01:03:51] Jordan Harbinger: That can actually kill people but he doesn't care. He wants to make money.
[01:03:53] Dave Farina: Like Kaufman in Man on the Moon.
[01:03:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[01:03:56] Dave Farina: If he had taken the correct path to medical attention, he could've survived. Maybe, I mean, we don't know, but definitely, he had—
[01:04:02] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe
[01:04:02] Dave Farina: —would've had a better shot if he took, got the right treatment. Yeah.
[01:04:05] Jordan Harbinger: It's a shame because we see, I mean, smart people fall for this. Look at Steve Jobs. I don't remember exactly how it went in his bio, but—
[01:04:12] Dave Farina: Absolutely.
[01:04:12] Jordan Harbinger: He was all, I'm not going to deal with this cancer in the right way. I'm only going to eat fruit. And then it was like, oh, that was not smart and now I'm going to die.
[01:04:19] Dave Farina: That was a bad idea. Yep.
[01:04:21] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I have a buddy that is very much anti-vax, doesn't want to wear sunscreen because of what's in it, all this other stuff. And he got cancer and he's like, "I'm going to cure it naturally and then I'm going to tell everybody how to do this." And all of these other sort of friends in our circle — because he's a very good person, but I just misguided on a lot of this. A lot of other people in that circle went, "Oh yeah, you can't, don't mess with cancer, just take chemotherapy."
[01:04:45] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[01:04:45] Jordan Harbinger: And he had to be convinced to do it. And he is very much alive now because he did chemo and it was really hard in his body. And he still swears that all these other things are bad. And I'm like, "You're alive because of chemotherapy and modern medicine, but okay, old habits, especially belief systems, they die very, very hard.
[01:05:02] Dave Farina: Yes. Because we wrap our identities around them, right? I'm crusading against this thing. The mean companies are trying to hurt us. I'm the underdog. This is how I derive a certain portion of my self-worth is the concept of me raging against this authoritarian power above me.
[01:05:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:05:20] Dave Farina: It's very attractive narrative, right? It gives you sense of purpose, but it's not real.
[01:05:25] Jordan Harbinger: I was more in the camp of cognitive bias is a hell of a drug, but you're right, it is more identity based. It is more I'm the person that solves problems by just having a great attitude and thinking about it and eating healthy. And it's like it doesn't work with cancer because cancer doesn't really care what you believe in, unfortunately.
[01:05:42] Dave Farina: Yeah. If you don't adjust your mentality immediately given new information, it's because you've based your identity around it, right? If somebody is like, "Oh, I thought New York City was the capital of America." "Oh no, it's Washington D.C." "Oh, okay. Yeah. Okay. Sorry. I know that now." Because their identity wasn't wrapped up in it. If you say, "No, vaccines don't cause autism." "No, but they certainly do. And let me show you all this." Okay, well, your identity has clearly been wrapped up around this because no they don't. And here's how we know this is who Andrew Wakefield is. This is how he lied. This is how he cashed out. That's it. Once you know the story, you can stop believing in this. But it takes some doing.
[01:06:20] Jordan Harbinger: For people who don't know who Andrew Wakefield is, he's the guy who wrote this completely fabricated fake paper about how vaccines cause autism and he did so — was it on behest of the lawyers who wanted to file a lawsuit? And then he went, "Okay, it's a bunch of crap. I got paid to do this."
[01:06:33] Dave Farina: Injury lawyers, yeah. They paid him half a million pounds.
[01:06:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And he lost his medical license, but now he's the keynote guy at all these conferences.
[01:06:40] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[01:06:41] Jordan Harbinger: And cashing in like crazy. And so what if a bunch of babies get measles or mumps and die—
[01:06:47] Dave Farina: Yep.
[01:06:48] Jordan Harbinger: —I'm making money and I can't let go of the wolf I've created—
[01:06:51] Dave Farina: He's a monster.
[01:06:52] Jordan Harbinger: He's actually a monster. He's a sociopathic, horrific, horrible person who's responsible for the death of children.
[01:06:58] Dave Farina: The reason he initially agreed to do that study on top of the half a million pounds is that he had a patent on a measles-only vaccine. He wasn't even saying we shouldn't be inoculating against these things. He was saying, "Let's stop MMR, the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine. And by the way, I have a measles vaccine patented, so maybe you guys can use this one and I'll make a bunch of money off that."
[01:07:19] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[01:07:19] Dave Farina: So it was just money. And then he lost his career. And so what was he going to do? He just made a bunch of money. He wants to make more. Let's just keep lying. And now he's, you know, with Elle Macpherson and they go and do these cruises and lie to these rich idiots. And yeah, he's a charlatan to the core.
[01:07:37] Jordan Harbinger: What about the Tesla quote that people love to misuse, or they say something? It was, "If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration." Great. But I assume he's talking about real energy, frequency and vibration, not the vibration of the universe, the frequency of your thoughts, the energy that mysteriously can't be measured, that you're radiating from your hands when you're doing fake reiki healing or whatever.
[01:08:01] Dave Farina: That's a hundred percent correct. Also, let's acknowledge that Tesla was a little bit nutty. There's this bizarre Tesla warship happening in our culture right now, and that is at the base of some weird stuff like electric universe and things that I debunk, but staying in the, you know, normal camp.
[01:08:17] Yeah. Tesla said these things and you know, these are real words that have real scientific meanings, but they're not understood by the public. So frequency in particular, right? People will say, you know, I'm operating on a higher frequency or something like that. Frequency of what? Frequency is number of cycles per unit time. We're talking about some cyclical mechanism. Something is happening a certain number of times per second or whatever it is, right? So like light has a wavelength and then it also has a frequency. So a number of waves passing by per unit time, right? We can measure in hertz or whatever it is or sound or any of these things, anything that has cyclical behavior. So when you say frequency, but you don't say frequency of what, it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't mean anything.
[01:09:01] So people use these things, you know, higher frequency or this room has good energy or you know, I'm on another vibration, they're these phrases that are okay when used metaphorically. And I think initially, what were phrases that came about as metaphors? You know, I can say this room has good energy, it just means it has a nice aesthetic that pleases me. It doesn't mean there is a glowing energy emanating from it that can physically affect me. You know, something like that, but the literalization of this kind of metaphorical usage of these terms is rampant, especially in the quantum mysticism and the alt-health communities that use these words all the time.
[01:09:40] Jordan Harbinger: I know we're getting short on time here, but I would love to get your take on the conspiracy theory that big pharma is hiding the cure for X disease, you know, cancer, Crohn's disease, whatever it might be in order to keep treating the symptoms because there's more money in that. I'm sure you've heard this before.
[01:09:55] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[01:09:55] Jordan Harbinger: But it just seems very far-fetched that a company is hiding or ignoring something beneficial because of that level of conspiracy because, one, it's so sociopathic that it would take a lot of sociopaths all agreeing on one thing to be in one industry to do something like this. And also when I've researched drug research or talked about it with people on this show like Dr. John Abramson, who's on episode 709, it takes billions of dollars to find a cure for something. You don't find the cure for a bunch of different types of diseases by accident and then go, "Whoops, guess we better hide that," and then spend billions more dollars making something less effective so that you can sell it for a longer period of time. You would just cure cancer and then move on to the zillion other diseases and ailments that hurt and kill humans.
[01:10:38] Dave Farina: Yeah. Well, cancer is a quagmire, so we'll leave that one aside, but yeah, definitely, that there are. Yeah, that there are these cures that are being hidden. It's very easy to debunk because pharma is a dynamic marketplace, right? The pharmaceutical industry is not one entity with like one guy going like, "Hmm, I will do this. And no, you can't have." No, It's like a bunch of different companies and some are big. And then you have startups and they're all trying to vie for, you know, they want to make these products that will be lucrative.
[01:11:04] And drug development is insanely expensive and insanely difficult. It's like the hardest thing in the world to do, to develop a drug that will be effective for some malady. And everybody wants to make the next hot drug, right? And so this idea that we have a cure for cancer — first of all, people who say about hiding a cure for cancer, I mean, what kind of cancer? Like, what does that mean? Like cancer is not like the common cold, you know what I mean? It's a very intricate genetic situation. It's not like a pathogen or something, you know? So people who say that just don't really have an understanding of what cancer is fundamentally on the molecular level, but you can take other stuff.
[01:11:40] I mean, there's other things that have been cured. You know, they came out with a cure for Hep C, not too long ago. They're trying to generate products that will be lucrative for them. These are things that will treat conditions and it's not like, they're not like, "Oh, we want to help people." No, they want to make money. That's why you can't hide a cure for something because if you discover it and you hide it, someone else is going to find it. Everybody's working with the same information, the same understanding of anatomy and physiology and biochemistry. And everybody is racing towards these different discoveries, these different medical discoveries. And so someone else finds it and hides it. Somebody else is going to get there and they'll make a lot of money from it.
[01:12:19] It's like pharma, like any other enormous industry, does unethical things. There are unethical things that we can talk about with pharma, but I find that none of the common talking points, the common anti-pharma talking points amongst the public have any legitimacy whatsoever. There are other things they do that are bad that we can talk about, but the main ones like this kind of hiding the cure stuff is just nonsense. It doesn't mean anything.
[01:12:42] Jordan Harbinger: I've done whole shows on why big pharma is bad, but from doctors who talk about studies and the skewed of this and that and it's never, they're hiding the cure for something. It's usually—
[01:12:52] Dave Farina: No.
[01:12:52] Jordan Harbinger: —some totally different set of topics. I would say they're hiding the cure for this doesn't even make the top list of fake criticism of big pharma, right? There's so many more real ones. I just think it's conspiratorial thinking.
[01:13:05] Dave Farina: Yeah. They bribe doctors for off-label prescription. You know, they make more money that way.
[01:13:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:13:10] Dave Farina: Prescribe it for this other thing. Well, it's not really for that. We'll do it anyway. We'll give you money. You know, that's unethical.
[01:13:16] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:13:16] Dave Farina: But it's, yeah, I don't know. It's become this boogeyman in a way that's not really legitimate, at least not more so than any other enormous industry.
[01:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: Especially, and maybe I'm naive here, I think most scientists working on drugs, yes, they're there to make some money and hopefully a big discovery. But the one that makes a big Nobel Prize-winning discovery that's going to make him a billionaire is not going to go bring that to his boss, and then they're going to go, "Look, look. We're going to pay you a lot of money over the course of your career. Bury this one for us."
[01:13:47] Dave Farina: Right.
[01:13:47] Jordan Harbinger: "And the company has your back for life." They're going to be like, "Nah, I'd rather have a fleet of private jets and live on in history for the next thousand years.
[01:13:54] Dave Farina: Nobel Prize winners typically don't become billionaires.
[01:13:57] Jordan Harbinger: True. But if you're working for a drug company, you know you're going to get notoriety. I'm exaggerating, but you're going to get notoriety and you're going to get a lot of money.
[01:14:03] Dave Farina: Sure. You get notoriety, you get a lot of opportunities and, yeah, you become much more successful. Yeah, of course.
[01:14:08] Jordan Harbinger: It's capitalism. You're going to cash in on the cure for any sort of cancer.
[01:14:11] Dave Farina: Yeah, of course.
[01:14:11] Jordan Harbinger: You're not ever going to hide that because you can make another drug that's going to sell for longer. It's just, and again, maybe I'm naive, but it doesn't make sense economically. Even if you're a sociopath, you wouldn't do that because you would make more for yourself.
[01:14:23] Dave Farina: Yeah.
[01:14:23] Jordan Harbinger: And get more validation for yourself, bringing that cure to light than hiding it.
[01:14:27] Dave Farina: Yeah. It ultimately comes down to money, and that money skews any kind of narrative of supreme evil or supreme good, right? It's neither of those things. It's just a capitalistic marketplace.
[01:14:37] Jordan Harbinger: Dave, thank you so much for coming on the show here, dispelling some of these myths. I feel like we are just constantly bombarded with this nonsense. And yeah, after a while it gets tempting to believe some of it because it's so prevalent. I start to think I'm the crazy one for resisting it, and I think a lot of people are in that boat.
[01:14:53] Dave Farina: Yeah. Happy to be here and happy to help rally everyone around a sense of sanity.
[01:15:01] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this one, but before I get into that, here's a sample of my interview with Amanda Knox, who is coerced into wrongfully confessing that she was at the scene of her roommate's grizzly murder without being made aware of her rights or being given access to a lawyer. Here's a quick look inside.
[01:15:18] Amanda Knox: I was 20 years old. I was studying abroad in Italy. The day after Halloween, I came home to find a murder scene. The cops arrive, they break down my roommate's door and find her body there. And for the next five days, I was at the disposal and mercy of the police officers who unbeknownst to me had targeted me as a person of interest.
[01:15:50] My thought was to just take direction. I did what I was told and what I was told was by the police to come in every day for questioning, and I sat for hours and hours and hours and hours. I often worried that maybe the reason that they were upset or short with me was because I just wasn't speaking Italian well enough. I thought that was the reason why they kept asking me questions over and over and over again. No matter how many ways I answered the same question. They never seemed happy with it. I just sort of submitted myself to what was ultimately a very coercive interrogation technique that culminated with an overnight interrogation and broke me.
[01:16:40] I was made to believe that the reason they were upset with me was because I didn't remember correctly. I realized that the truth didn't matter and that I couldn't count on the truth to save me. People believed it. I was convicted. I spent four years in prison.
[01:17:05] Jordan Harbinger: Amanda Knox joins us to discuss how she put her life back together and how she lives with the residue of tabloid infamy, even after being acquitted of this terrible crime. For more, including why it's not uncommon for an innocent person to give a false confession to a skilled interrogator, check out episode 386 on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:17:25] You know, I think it's always just such an interesting way to look at any kind of problem, anything through a scientific lens, every biological process, no matter how complex, is simply A, and can be explained by a series of chemical reactions. When you break our whole body, our amazing brain down, it's just a series of chemical reactions, which in itself is fascinating.
[01:17:45] We talked a little bit off-air about reiki. We did a whole Skeptical Sunday episode on this. I hadn't thought about this before, but it's so funny. People who think they have special powers, psychic, healing, whatever supernatural type stuff, they may have energy work that they can control, it is a little interesting. You know, some of these people mean well, but a lot of these folks, especially the charlatans, are inherently narcissistic. I mean, just imagine thinking that you or thinking you can get away with telling people that you have supernatural powers. You're the special one. It's just so peak narcissism somehow, especially after our episodes with Dr. Ramani. It all starts to make sense.
[01:18:19] I don't want to disempower people on this show in general, but I do think that it's important that we realize that we simply do not create our own reality. And that's in Internet air quotes, but you know what I mean? Magic is not real. Even when we're sick, even when we're lonely, even when we're desperate, but this is okay because we don't need magic. We have science. We have so many beneficial things going for us here in the modern age. We don't need supernatural healers. We don't need magic pills and supernatural powers. We just don't need that. We have something better, something that actually works. It's so important for you, for people in general to be scientifically literate, conspiracy-minded people, the undereducated, these are the easiest people to manipulate, the easiest people to control. Ironically, they're also the ones who think that they are not cheap and they're not being misled, and not being manipulated and not being controlled, but there's not a whole lot we can do about that right away.
[01:19:13] Of course, we also need to know what industries are doing with our science. That's the thing about science. It belongs to everyone. It's knowledge. It belongs to the world. We got to remove pseudoscience from academia, remove it from professional circles. We need to know what corporations are doing with our science, and so that it's not used as a cudgel or a weapon against us. And just to make money from us. This is our science. We need to take it back. And the way you do that is by making yourself scientifically literate. And I hope this show is contributing to that in a positive way.
[01:19:44] Big thank you again to Dave Farina for coming on the show. All things Dave will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes videos up on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, and discount codes, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I've said it once, I'll say it again. Please consider supporting those who support this. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or connect with me right there on LinkedIn.
[01:20:07] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using the same software, systems, and tiny habits that I use every single day. That's our Six-Minute Networking course, and that course is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig the well Before you get thirsty and many of the guests on the show, subscribe to the course, contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[01:20:29] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who believes in some of the stuff we debunked today, just maybe loves a good debunk, or is a science geek like me, share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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