Snake oil came first. By a likely ~ +50k years


The entire path re professionalism, in all possible ways... is rooted in the thing that came first ---- snake oil. Something that was in play the whole time....of predating ideas on professionalism -----for a likely 50,000 plus years.

To attack the very thing that bought about and formed -hell no, Defines- human intellect?

Study suggests shamans acted as the first professional class in human society
 
Could be an interesting discussion but I expect degeneration will set in quite soon.
teo_audio
Relativity which has held up amazingly well so far despite the most rigorous testing may one day get partially refuted. But that won't make it snake oil. Nor if the same happens to Quantum mechanics.

Science is an actual discipline without which we couldn't have these exchanges let alone listen to recorded music. Sure it isn't always unbiased, not with big $$$$$$$ and political interference at work, but some of the nonsense audiophiles are subjected to would be laughed at and instantly disproved in any undergrad faculty. 

Snake oil salesmen (cables, amps, DACs, Hi-Res purveyors, non-pro music press etc) know fully well that the claims they imply are false, unlike the shamans who may have honestly lead the way into experimentation.

Even the late Peter W Belt never claimed his products were better, (how could they be?). He claimed he merely presented them as an alternative way to listen, at a cost. Nothing wrong with that, but for most of us here I guess,  not much right either.

It's also worth bearing in mind that when it comes to audio it's one thing to say something is better technically and quite another to say that we can hear it. For example, I know that 320kbps mp3 must be better than 192kbps mp3 but I can't easily hear it. 

On the other hand I can easily identify the 1987, 2009 and 2018 versions of the Beatles White album (even when level matched).

So the next time an ad or a review, one backed by science, catches our attention it might be worth asking ourselves do we really want to pay for an expensive theoretical improvements that no human can hear?
A lot of shamanism and snake oil have no real physical science behind them whatsoever. But that has never meant that they do not lack effectiveness when applied at the right time to the right person.

Many people are ’healed’ because they think they are healed. We tend to scoff at that and see it as weakness in the patient and devious by the practitioner.

Placebo is an extraordinarily powerful phenomenon which is largely untapped in modern medicine and considered unethical in most cases. Of course it happens all the time but in ways that are not admitted by patient or practitioner and are not officially sanctioned.

The B12 shot is probably the gold standard. It is a bright red liquid given by injection and millions of people claim and swear that its effects are tangible. And yet, the science says otherwise. If your B12 level is normal, them more B12 does, can do, nothing for you from a pharmacological or metabolic standpoint. But countless patients will pay cash for it and tell you they feel terrible without it even though their B12 levels have always been normal.

And B12 is harmless as a substance.

As a new audiophile, coming from a lifetime medical background, I have a hard time believing that a lot of what is seen as beneficial or detrimental in this area are closely akin to placebo and nocebo effect. Why would we think the audiophile arena is exempt? No other similar areas are.

And in the end, if you pay big money for a dubious tweak that makes your system sound better than it ever has, who is to say that it doesn’t sound that way to you and that it wasn’t worth every penny?

Now, claiming that peach pit extract will cure stage 4 lung cancer, and whatever hi-fi scam fits that analogy, is not okay. Desperation and ignorance open the door to abuse.
cd318
Even the late Peter W Belt never claimed his products were better, (how could they be?). He claimed he merely presented them as an alternative way to listen, at a cost. Nothing wrong with that, but for most of us here I guess, not much right either.

>>>>Yeah, right. Like you know.
n80
Now, claiming that peach pit extract will cure stage 4 lung cancer, and whatever hi-fi scam fits that analogy, is not okay. Desperation and ignorance open the door to abuse.

>>>>Now I’ve seen everything. Are you high? 
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Geoff, we all know you'd seen everything long before this thread rolled around.
I just thought it was interesting that the odd one out is what made it happen - one might say.
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n80895 posts12-11-2018 6:46pmA lot of shamanism and snake oil have no real physical science behind them whatsoever. But that has never meant that they do not lack effectiveness when applied at the right time to the right person.

>>>>Gosh, that’s awful decent of ya. By the right person one assumes you mean a very gullible one or one very susceptible to the dreaded placebo effect. 😬

But seriously, can you give me an example of an audio device or tweak that doesn’t have science behind it? Assumed you looked for an explanation, which you probably didn’t. If a thing works it must obey science, no? Or do you mean no explanation can be found in a text book. You are not an engineer or physicist so maybe you’re not really a good candidate for finding a science explanation. Even the Teleportation Tweak has an explanation. 

Now, you personally might not know what the science is behind some outrageous audiophile tweak but that’s another issue. I did not create reality. We did not know what gravity was until Newton cane along. Even after he figured it out we didn’t know the whole story. The science community for new observations and new concepts can take a very long time to catch up. 🐛

“I looked for a scientific explanation but I couldn’t find one.” 😳 - Naysayer’s lament
Whoa! Even Wikipedia gets involved.

ControversiesEdit

There is substantial controversy on the subject of audiophile components; many have asserted that the occasionally high cost produces no measurable improvement in audio reproduction.[20] For example, skeptic James Randi, through his foundation One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, has offered a prize of $1 million to anyone who can demonstrate that $7,250 audio cables "are any better than ordinary audio cables".[21] In 2008, audio reviewer Michael Fremer attempted to claim the prize, and said that Randi declined the challenge.[22]Randi said that the cable manufacturer Pear Cables was the one who withdrew.[23]

Criticisms usually focus on claims around so-called "tweaks" and accessories beyond the core source, amplification, and speaker products. Examples of these accessories include speaker cables, component interconnects, stones, cones, CD markers, and power cables or conditioners.[24][25]

There is disagreement on how equipment testing should be conducted and as to its utility. Audiophile publications frequently describe differences in quality which are not detected by standard audio system measurements and double blind testing, claiming that they perceive differences in audio quality which cannot be measured by current instrumentation,[26] and cannot be detected by listeners if listening conditions are controlled,[27] but without providing an explanation for those claims.


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Read this thread then went to sleep.
@geoffkait : " But seriously, can you give me an example of an audio device or tweak that doesn’t have science behind it?"

Everything has science behind it right? So that is hardly a qualifier. Of anything. 

" You are not an engineer or physicist so maybe you’re not really a good candidate for finding a science explanation."

So only engineers and physicists can use science? Not at all surprising that you would look at things that way. 

But since, according to you, there is a scientific explanation for absurd audio tweaks....and if you're not sure what I'm talking about I can refer you to a website that's full of them...then just pick one.....even from that website....and enlighten us.

"I did not create reality."

Geoff, we all know false modesty when we see it.
I find it interesting re the the path into professionalism.

We had this separate oddity, the thinking man, exploring, being different, being separated out, and so on. People always bringing that shaman the difficult questions. Not specifically looked up to, maybe even feared in some cases, but considered the ’designated expert’. The very first pro trial witness brought to the court.

One might consider that this was the pattern that emerged.

And that the shaman was exploring ways to expand the mind, to find the new, to be that new and so on.

Meter, memory, measurement, observation, record, all of that flowed from the shaman. Astrology and human observation, recognition of patterns in people, the weather, the world.

Then came numbers, geometry and so on. That the scientific method came from that odd person out in the tribe. Medicine, etc. And the drugs, the poultices, quite likely.

And the problem of the shaman always being right when sometimes he is wrong, but it is not recognized by the tribe. This is a standard human problem, or scenario.. that exists to this day. Trust in science, when science gets it wrong. The overall intent driven by desires that generally contain integrity, helps correct things, eventually.

The hero’s tale, re Joseph Campbell, the ingraining of this into the scenario of the shaman and connections of such in the group. That the hero’s tale is tied to being scared by the predator in the bushes and is a basic fear and relief story, where the hero has to win, to be able to record the tale.

This becomes instinct, over hundreds of thousands of years, which is why the hero’s tale exists deep inside all of us. Natural selection shapes the physical neural aspects of baseline psychology. (this would be pre shaman, most likely, but not spoken, not recorded until the shaman comes along)
The origins of class, separation, entitlement, religion, torsional and twisting stresses of the emergent culture and society, etc.

You can’t remove the shaman and then see a modern world, period. IMO.

It would be something else, we don’t see and would not know how to recognize, it would be alien to us. Humanity would be of a different shape, and possibly by quite a bit. It might not have happened at all.

No driving force or system of note, record, and collation, the library itself... to cause and be expansion of consciousness and world view. The shaman as living book of history and world, and so on.

We are wired to strive for order, to keep the group coherent, and to get upset when our autonomous pattern of existence is threatened. We are forced, under duress... to bring our temporary ’high energy use’ system on line :the evolving complex brain.

To find the solution that helps us complete the hero’s tale of escaping the jaws of death. the shaman can cut both ways, to offer comforts (defined rigor of religion), or offer up scary tales, scary answers. The shaman as the psychical embodiment of the pressures that are evolution itself.

That science, this evolution of the shaman, can try to offer comforts (defined rigors of religion, ie engineering--the literal embodiment of the desire to not be eaten by the animal), or the dangers and issues of difference, which is the new ’to be explored’ in science.....the use and taxing of the intellect. The intellect... which exists solely for that purpose. Literally.

The shaman as the embodiment of group focus and intent, and of course, more....what we see as complexities in life today, arises from those earliest scenarios. Things we rarely put voice to. Autonomous aspects.
I think those are all possible explanations for the development of knowledge but I also think there are serious gaps in the historical record to assume that was a de facto scenario across all cultures and situations. Of course, some of that depends on how broadly 'shaman' is defined.

I think an equally good argument could be made that in some cultures, or even sub-cultures, shamanism has kept them in the dark rather than extracting them from it. 

Of course 'science' can do the same thing.
If one really follows through with what goes on, in these modern extrapolations of the old and origins, we find some interesting things.

It’s a bit of a logic leap or a very long set of dominoes to analyses..but..what it comes down to is that People like Geoff, are the ones doing all the heavy lifting in the directions of new. Like the shaman.

And Geoff will get all the lighting strikes of derision thrown at him and derives none to little of any benefit from fallout.

And the silence on the now, of some, will become their benefit in the future, when they utilize the cleared grounds that people like Geoff have done all the heavy lifting on.

A well known example is Alan Turing. Jack Parsons was an oddity to say the least, but modern space exploration can’t and wouldn’t exist without him.

Thousands of examples of the same exist in the record. It’s almost the norm. I’m trying to be polite. It is the norm itself.

" “When a great genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." --Jonathan Swift.

Let’s be clear, I’m not calling Geoff genius, nor am I calling him a bozo, re the Sagan quote. ( “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” -Carl Sagan)

It is discernment the capacity for such, that can make distinctions... and realize that there is no need for vitriol. It takes some minimal talent to exist in comfort, not strong emotions injected into reason. As that..is not reason. When you see the vitriol, you generally see some limit of an intellect being announced to all. That..in the end, the physical body rules the mental equation.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/genius
This thread follows the pattern. Professional help advised.

n80, of course I’m not saying that physics and electronics are the only fields of science. Give me a break.. What I am saying is for audio related devices and tweaks the most obvious fields of science that apply are physics and electronics. Duh" Unless you wish to represent yourself as having expertise in mind matter interaction, Thu, you actually don’t qualify as an expert in audio devices or tweaks or explanations thereof. The placebo effect might be your last hope of expertise for pharma but not so much for audio, sorry to disappoint.

Knowledge is what’s left after you subtract all the stuff you forgot from school.

glubson, if we require amateur help we’ll let you know.

Only half of the audio equation has to do with production of sound. The other half is hearing plus perception. I might have some qualification in that regard.

And to suggest that the placebo-type effect does not have a role in audio perception is not only silly, it is a bit naive. 

"sorry to disappoint"

Geoff, you have never disappointed me. It isn't even possible.
geoffkait,

Unexpectedly, when advising about help, I did not have you on my mind. However, if you need help, I am really not the one to call. You just do not fit the category of who I can help.
I have to disagree , shamanism is not the oldest profession. 
Everything has a shelf life.

I thought the world’s oldest profession came before any other. I don’t recall that they were shamans.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity is not all theory; it is put in practice 24/7/365 in order to keep the timing of data transfer for geostationary communication satellites intact, otherwise there would be no internet, no cell phones, and frankly, we would not be having this discussion.
"professionalism’. ie formalities witnessed or known by all. Training, passed on, which has a name and shape. Repeatability, formal, of some sort.

The oldest professionalism, not profession.....
Snake oil is the audiophile code word for lies and deceit.

Nothing positive can be based off lies and deceit.
What is the point of this thread again? To give snake oil credibility?

OK fine. Let the snakes have at it.
@mapman Do you think it is always lies and deceit? Don't you think some purveyors of snake oil actually believe in its potency? 
I still disagree it is not the oldest professionalism. Training, passed on, has name and shape, formal...yes, yes, yes, yes all buttons clicked. 
n80, you have expertise in hearing and perception? You don’t say? Care to explain to the folks at home what you think the difference is between hearing and perception? Or are you still talking about pharma and placebos?
I thought the shaman things of origins in professionalism was quite interesting. And I decided to put the snake oil comment in the title as is is part of the problem the shaman suffered.

Looking at the origins of snake oil, which is the far east... it is deemed to be a real and well known effective balm with good science behind it.

Rather, it is western ideas and histories on the word pairing of ’snake oil’ that has fault or it’s own but essentially -incorrect meaning. Nevertheless, it is a descriptive.

Which is tied to the attack of the shaman, even though the shaman is the source. Probably THE source. The main point of human concentration of effort, thought, contemplation, inspiration and so on. Beyond critical. There are other interpretations, this is just the one I’m writing at the moment. You might see or write something else.

Multifaceted, it is...where people can plant their own complex ideas on it and call their viewing point complete and well founded (they can see for miles!-all clear!)... and then emerge as righteous with their wrath upon it, in whatever way such may manifest.

The thread has no point, rambling is the point.

Everyone knows the best conversations at the party happen in the kitchen. It’s where the cooking is going on. And that meal might have anything in it, and probably should.

Keeping to the party analogy, the thread will likely degenerate to some of the more willful engaging in fisticuffs outside and the police will have to be called. But it can be fun for a while. All good parties tend to ride the ragged edge.
The study was intertesing adding snake oil to it wasn't . 50K years ago it wasn't snake oil it was how we began to understand our universe , today the shaman, prophet, holy man, witch doctor, whatever you want to call them  peddle snake oil and know it. There are differing opinions some say the soldier is the beginning of professionalism , some the Priest though that would also be the shaman. 
This thread cannot degenerate.
When I was in grad school I had an excellent Econ professor.  Aside from her, most other academic economists I read seem to have a pre-conceived notion and find "facts" to "support" that point of view...with their "snake oil".  She was from the "real world" and dispensed with opinions.

As far as "snake oil" in our audio field.  I wonder if some people have spent so much on an item, it's just what they go thru to rave about how great an item is, so they feel better about that purchase.

Just sayin'
Gosh, people sure have a lot of pent up psychotic energy. 😬 This is supposed to be the season to be jolly. 🤗
It's the ubiquitous epistemological crisis of the most-modern world.
@geoffkait :" Care to explain to the folks at home what you think the difference is between hearing and perception?"

Surely you know and are just being a....well, just being a Geoff. But just in case:

First, obviously, hearing is a form of perception but all perception is not hearing. But, generally speaking ’hearing’ is simply the ability to detect vibration while perception is considered the processing and interpretation of those vibrations in the central nervous system.

A good example of the difference would be someone who has a central nervous system lesion in an auditory or visual processing area. Such a person would be considered deaf or blind even though their ears or eyes function perfectly. And in the case of vision such a person will visually perceive absolutely nothing but if something is thrown at them they will duck because of a reflex tract that can be preserved even when higher visual processing is lost. So they can perceive but not 'see'. Get it?


As a freshman I had a very important Econ prof and his 101 class came
right after my Logic 101 class .After about a month I was in total confusion as everything I learned in Logic class was the opposite of what we were getting in Econ .I went to Econ Prof's office hour and told him exactly that .He looked at me and a sly smile spread over his face as he said:
"Yes it is a bunch of lies BUT they are agreed upon lies"  .
"Gosh, people sure have a lot of pent up psychotic energy."
Remember my "professional help advised"?

It took you a while to figure it out.
n80
First, obviously, hearing is a form of perception but all perception is not hearing.

Duh?

n80
But, generally speaking ’hearing’ is simply the ability to detect vibration while perception is considered the processing and interpretation of those vibrations in the central nervous system.

>>>>You will forgive me for saying this but that is actually incorrect. Hearing cannot occur until the brain gets involved. Therefore, it’s probably best to use my interpretation - hearing is the same thing as perception of sound. A deaf man would not hear even though acoustic vibrations impinged on his ears.

I should add that hearing/perception of sound is influenced by other factors than acoustic waves impinging in the ears. Including psychological factors, but other factors as well. I’m surprised you left psychological factors out. 😬
Guys, try to use "interpretation" instead of "perception" and it may get less tricky. Not ideal, but simpler.
Gosh, glubson, take it easy. You’re going to burn that thang out if you’re not careful.
I am only trying to help you.
@geoffkait "Duh?"

You asked. Sherlock.

"  it’s probably best to use my interpretation - hearing is the same thing as perception of sound"

Not really.You can perceive sound without a functioning auditory system. Not many people would call that hearing. So your interpretation is not precise either. The semantics can get dicey. 

My point in differentiating the two is to point out that two people can hear the exact same thing and respond to and describe it differently even with both of them having equally sensitive auditory apparatus. The signal is received or perceived if you will (hearing) but is processed (perception) differently. This is consistent with the dictionary definition which give both: awareness of the elements of the environment through physical sensation -AND-physical sensation interpreted in light of experience.

"Including psychological factors, but other factors as well. I’m surprised you left psychological factors out. "

I didn't. That's why I said hearing and perception. See above. Quit being such a Geoff and this won't be so hard. 
n80,

With some experience, you will interpret and perceive geoffkait differently. There is a lot of semantics involved. geoffkait, Geoff, Kitty...
Thanks, glugson, Semantics is the word I was looking for! n80 is playing a semantics game with me. We are on an audio forum and when asked to differentiate “hearing” from “perception” he gives me this whole vision perception spiel. For someone who fancies himself an expert on physiology he didn’t do a very good job with hearing and perception, as I already pointed out, and left himself wide open to attack. Plus n80 lost a golden opportunity to blow his placebo horn. 🎺 I’m guessing he thinks he’s still back on his photography forum. Let’s try to focus here.
@geoffkait :"n80 is playing a semantics game with me."

It only feels like a game to you geoff. I doubt anyone else was struggling to parse terms just so they could attack someone.

"he gives me this whole vision perception spiel".

My bad. Did not know that you were analogy impaired. I guess that's why you don't get the whole snake oil/ sham audio tweaks thing. 

"For someone who fancies himself an expert on physiology he didn’t do a very good job with hearing and perception"

Hardly a "fancy". I've got the credentials to back it up. But that's beside the point isn't it? We know who has the only credentials that count. Everyone else's are pretense, right?

And the only reason you think it wasn't a good job is because as always your initial impulse in virtually any thread is to attack. And this time, like so many others, it failed and made you look rather, well, Geoffish.

"left himself wide open to attack"

I guess it still seems counterintuitive to have to protect myself from "attack" in a hi-fi forum. Were it not for you that would not have become a necessity here at Audiogon.

"Let’s try to focus here"

Strange comment from the primary disruptor of civil conversation on this site. Apparently you are irony impaired as well.



geoffkait, n80,

I abstain from this hearing/perception war but I did see an opportunity to use placebo.

When it comes to physiology, many mention it, it is almost inevitable when talking about humans which listening to music actually is. Sometimes, statements are a bit off, but, so far, I have encountered only one member who is certifiably clueless about it. And arrogant to match it and then some. All be glad he has not started spilling his wit and wisdom on this particular thread. Taking it into perspective, geoffkait sometimes does make a point. Two of you can decide if that is now, but I am just saying "it can get much worse".
No worries, glubson, you were not really in this discussion anyway. You’ll pardon me for saying so but you can barely put two sentences together. So emotional! 😥
Could be an interesting discussion but I expect degeneration will set in quite soon.
Rather, immediately. Despite the OP's valiant efforts to keep it on track, wannabe shamans took it in their direction. 

Everybody wants to rule the world....

All the best,
Nonoise

geoffkait,

"...but you can barely put two sentences together."
My consolation is that I am still twice as good as you at that. Or at anything else. Which is not much of a virtue, but at least I am not at the bottom.
Good comeback, glubson. You da man!