The epidemic of the “I Know All” expert | Mikhail (Doctor Mike) Varshavski | TEDxMonteCarlo

The epidemic of the “I Know All” expert | Mikhail (Doctor Mike) Varshavski | TEDxMonteCarlo


Translator: Thành H. Châu
Reviewer: Leonardo Silva You wake up. Before you even grab your cell phone, you say, “Today is the day. Today is the day
that I’m going to be proactive. I’m going to take control of my life. I’m going to go see the doctor. I’m going to get healthy.” So you sacrifice a day off work, you sit in one-hour standstill traffic, you even wait 30 minutes
in the office to see the doctor. Finally the doctor walks in, and all of that built-up
anxiety begins to fade. In the midst of your conversation, you ask the doctor a few questions, “Doctor, what’s the healthiest diet?” You get back, “I don’t know.” You say: “Okay, doctor.
You say I have a respiratory virus. Which virus is it?” Again, you get, “I don’t know.” Your mind begins to wonder whether or not this doctor
was properly educated. Finally, you ask, “Doctor, what is the reason
that the rate of autism is increasing?” You hear, “I don’t know,”
and your frustration hits a peak. Let’s stop this hypothetical for a second. I’m going to explain to you right now
why you need not be frustrated, and instead celebrate those who are not
afraid to say, “I don’t know.” The theme of this conference
is “License To Know.” But hopefully after this talk, you’ll be proud to say that you have
a license to say, “I don’t know.” My name is Doctor Mikhail Varshavski. Like it was mentioned earlier,
most know me as Doctor Mike. I’m an actively practicing
family medicine physician out of Overlook Medical Center
in the United States. I also happen to be the most
followed doctor on social media, with 3.5 millions subscribers. This gives me unique vantage point to witness an epidemic
within the healthcare space that receives so little attention, and that’s the epidemic of IKA, the epidemic of the “I Know All” expert. There are too many
of these experts out there, claiming to have all of the answers when the rest of the scientific
community has questions. Now, this may surprise you. But you and I are both
partially, if not more so, to blame for this epidemic. When someone says to us
they don’t know, we’re quick to judge,
we’re quick to dismiss. And in even a less cognizant way,
we support them with our clicks. We click on the catchy headlines, we click and purchase
those miracle cure-all products. Within medicine, there are two specific situations
where these IKA experts flourish. The first is the gray zone. That is when a question
within the field of medicine has not yet had a complete answer
by modern science. Take the increased rate of autism. You ask an honest, up-to-date doctor,
they’ll tell you, “We don’t know.” Now, you ask an IKA expert,
they’ll throw you a theory, and they’ll do it
in a very convincing fashion, so much so that they might even further
their career in one way or another. That’s the problem with these IKA experts. The second way that they do this is they do it in moments
where good medicine has proved that tangible positive effect
is only achieved through hard work and dedication. Take diet, take exercise, take sleep. The way to improve all of these things
is through hard work. But the IKA expert
will give you a shortcut. And I’m sure many of you here today
have heard of these shortcuts. Take, for instance, the shortcut
of the miracle weight-loss diet known as the cookie diet. Or better yet, the miracle detox plan that will detoxify your body
through a juice cleanse, will boost your immune system. How do these IKA experts cause you to ignore legitimate
scientific evidence and advice and listen to their theories? They do so through stress. When your mind is stressed,
your mind is very easily influenced. There’s a great book called
The Influential Mind. And there was a great example
from this book I’d like to share with you. Take September 11th, 2001,
in New York City, one of the worst
terrorist attacks of all time. The day after those terrorist attacks, distress in New York City
has an all-time high. It takes only one person to run and scream
to get hundreds to do the same. Now, if you take that same person
one day prior to the terrorist attacks, what will you get? You’ll get a lot of New Yorkers
looking at this person running and saying, “Ah, just another crazy New Yorker.” Your mind does not respond well to stress. As a survival mechanism, your mind uses stress as a way
to be influenced by the majority. So what these IKA experts do is they throw around words
like “cancer,” “disease,” “death,” even get your family involved at times. And that’s how they get you. Now, because of my social media fame, I find myself at a very
interesting crossroads between marketing and medicine. A marketer’s job is to sell product
or to push a brand, and they do so by studying
your human psyche to figure out the best way
to accomplish that. They often pair celebrities with products
in order to get better results, because they know that when you hear
advice from a familiar face, they’ll sell more products. I’m going to be honest
with you here today. I’ve received some of these offers
in near seven-figure totals to support the IKA products. Me! Imagine what a true celebrity gets
if I’m being offered these deals. Forget that. Imagine what these companies
make from IKA products that they’re able to pay
these huge sums of money. Look, I get it. We live in a fast-paced world. We want quick answers
and even faster results. But before you go on this desperate search
for answers and shortcuts, let’s talk about what a true expert is. A true expert not only looks at the current, most up-to-date
scientific evidence, but also looks at history as a guide. How many times have you heard
doctors go back and forth on the health benefits
and risks of coffee, something we all drink every day? In 1981, the New York Times
published a study that said two cups of coffee
increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. In 2017, we claimed
that coffee extends your life. Doctors used to advocate smoking
as a stress reliever. We used to believe that bloodletting,
a.k.a letting a patient bleed out, was a way to cure an infection. This doesn’t mean
that doctors are not smart. What this means is that expert opinion is and should be
considered the lowest form of evidence. That is what our job as a true expert is:
to explain that to the general population. Take any PhD in this room
and they’ll all tell you the same thing. The more years they’ve spent
studying a subject, the more they realize they don’t know, the more questions you have, because they more questions you have, that’s the sign of intelligence. Now, look, this isn’t just
a theoretical discussion, where we’re going to talk
about philosophical change and things of that nature. I’m going to have some
practical tips for you as well. Number 1: ask better questions. A doctor prescribes a treatment
or tells you not to go for a treatment. Ask, “Hey, doc, why do I need
these antibiotics? Do I even need these antibiotics?” When an IKA expert claims there’s
a miracle cure for whatever ails you, ask how is it possible that there are
millions of doctors across the world, whose sole mission,
and it’s the same mission, to eradicate diseases
and restore optimal health, don’t agree with them. Why is it the same five IKA experts
you see appearing in documentaries, talking about doom and gloom
from all the things that ail you. Second: understand basic research. Oftentimes these IKA experts
will tout a single study, and try and convince you
of their theories. Take the recent uproar of autism
and childhood immunizations. This uproar started from a single study, with 12 subjects, which was done by a doctor who’s been discredited
and lost their license. And yet, children are dying. So it’s your job to be
aware of this research. And here I’ll tell you how to do that. Know that the best form of research
is a metaanalysis. It’s a combination
of studies, not just one, which allows for the decreased likelihood
of chance and bias within the results. Note that newer studies are not
necessarily better than older studies. Know that studies
that focus on disease markers are not nearly as good as studies
that focus on outcomes and developments of disease. And no matter what media tells you
is a breakthrough, there is no single study that will influence
the field of medicine enough to change the standard of care. It can guide us, it can put itself into the context
of the entire body of evidence. to allow us to figure out what the true results are
and what they mean. And lastly, third: do not write off health professionals
who say “I don’t know.” Instead, what you should infer
is that this doctor is self-aware, this doctor acknowledges
scientific limitations. And most importantly, this doctor is not interested
in slimming your wallet. Let’s move away from the era
of juice cleanses, and move to an era we judge doctors
not by the answers, but by the quality of their questions. Do not be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Thank you. (Applause)

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100 thoughts on “The epidemic of the “I Know All” expert | Mikhail (Doctor Mike) Varshavski | TEDxMonteCarlo

  1. This should be applied to life in general.. I say idk all the time lol but people who act sure all the time on subjects they obviously don't know much about really annoy me.

  2. I dismissed several psychologists because they jumped to conclusions and stuck with the one who asked quality questions. A well thought question can be very impressive and really show someone's expertise.

  3. This talk is so relevant nowadays, but not just in medicine… When you look at social media in general, there are so many IKA "experts" giving their hot takes on subjects, often feeding into outrage culture. News media are some of the worst offenders thanks to social media "news" encouraging fast reaction reporting instead of fact-checked reporting.

  4. I wonder how these speakers always completely remember their speeches when I blunder on a 4 minute speech with palm cards

  5. Truly inspiring! Amazing speech, great presentation of today's world thinking. We all know that Dr. Mike is a very busy and hard working person, have u noticed his red tired eyes during the speech? This makes me sad but at the same time motivated idk

  6. Doctors that listen and care is so hard to come by. They just want to throw painkillers at you and push you out the door. You have to be a genuine human being to be a good good doctor.

  7. Dr. Mike,

    I really love everything related to your videos: the outward image, the polite, friendly, humorous but at the same time full of understanding and respect that treats people (your colleagues, your guests), how who present facts of your personal and professional life. The camera loves you, highlights the inner and outer qualities that God has provided you with. Adorable how you treat Roxi and Bear.

    I would still like to tell you what I feel and think about the help that many doctors give to poor people (and unfortunately, 70-80% of the world's population is in this category) ….

    They become NO HELP.

    You will probably explain to me all the costs that the hospital / medical cabinet has to treat such a patient, the profit the hospital wishes to do in the services it offers …

    Every human being wants to live as much as possible, and as much as possible, healthy …

    A poor man or a middle-aged man who allows himself to live, to share his money from one salary to another but having an internet home will take any recipe from the internet that can help him feel better in any way.

    Many of the tips we take from these videos have nothing scientific. There are recipes or tips that people have experienced in everyday life that they have improved through many attempts and observations and that really often help us.

    Most simple people do not buy those expensive products that companies advertise through corrupt doctors simply because they do not allow them financially.

    Life is the most precious gift we have. And when "money" – better said their lack – does not allow us to be treated humanely when we are as well as when we are not sick, we do and resort to any method that helps us to survive.
    As for those doctors who respond with "I DO NOT KNOW" ….

    Perhaps I will admire and respect their sincerity, but it will not help me, as an individual too.

    I will seek to exist indifferent by what method or whose recipients / counsel.

    We as individuals just want TO EXIST.

    PS. Sorry for the English I'm addressing to you. I used google translate. I was born in Romania.

  8. The part about having more questions as the degree goes on is so true!! 1 year into my nursing studies and I have more questions then I had at the start of my degree, and for every question answered; two more pop up.

  9. I’m going to be honest, I never knew his full name, and I’ve never heard him talk like this, but he is awesome

  10. I was shook when I saw this, I watch his channel and he really practices what he preaches. It IS hard to say "I don't know" and I feel like this talk has helped me be more open to admitting it.

  11. He’s a 100% right. As a recent PhD graduate, the more I researched my dissertation topic, the more I realized there was to explore. If anyone ever views themself as an expert with nothing left to learn, they are doing themself and those they interact with a giant disservice.

  12. Logic gap: "Ok to claim to not know the reason of something and be skeptical of IKA experts." 
    Claims to know why people are influenced by IKA experts

  13. I just realised that I was just staring at him for almost 10 minutes not realizing what Dr. Mike was speaking about.

  14. Problem is that the people that get sucked into these scams are incapable of understanding why they are scams.

  15. My prior therapist used to ask me really weird questions and when I said "I don't know" she would ask me "but what if you DID know?"
    It was so annoying, I actually stopped going to her

  16. Same in every other field tbh. And society feeds this trend. If you admit you don't know something in a professional setting, 9 times out of 10 you'll be punished — chastised, ridiculed, demoted, fired… — while an overconfident faker gets all of the praise.

  17. I follow Dr. Mike's channel, it's pretty good :D, and ya this talk he did was high in quality, intelligent, and most importantly, completely accurate, but i do have one criticism, which might just have been a result of him feeling like he had to sound absolute when addressing a non-medically trained crowd about this, but my critique is that the whole talk came across in this extremely sure way where what was being said was portrayed as certainly correct and that the audience needs to heed his words, which wouldn't be too bad normally, a little arrogant but ok lol, it gets weird though when you consider that the whole talk is about praising people who are uncertain of the answers and you shouldn't trust people who pretend to know it all and portray all the things they say as certainly correct, which when talking about these people and what you should say to a doctor, the way he phrased it made him actually come across similar to the people he had been discrediting the whole talk imo. and when you consider the talk this way, it gets really meta lol.

  18. He makes me think of my gp.. I always get told "it must be stress", "it's anxiety".. Dr Mike, come to South Africa please???

  19. He didn’t say “beewoop” this speech is unwatchable

    Jk I love doctor mike’ videos, and this is great

  20. Doctor Mike, what is your thoughts on fasting? And don't you say I don't know lol it's been studied for decades.

  21. Guys please listen to what he says and stop taking the emphasis away from what he is saying by repeatedly pointing out how good looking he is. Yes he is fine but he is also saying something many people need to understand so let's please pretty please focus on that

  22. I’ve never gotten a doctor like what he described. All my doctors “know” what’s wrong, “treat” or test me, tell me I should be fine, and then I’m not any better

  23. Diet, exercise and mental illness are all so complicated, there are so many different factors to consider and nobody can just give you a straight answer. There is no "best diet" or "best exercise regiment" or a way to prevent mental illness or autism because there are so many circumstances that you need to consider. Lying by saying that you do know all, that you have the ultimate cure, is intellectually dishonest and needs to stop.

  24. I like to say, "I don't know, but I will". Because I genuinely mean that I will find out. Because I don't have all the answers but I do have the drive to find the answer.

  25. “There’s no royal road to science but if you are willing to climb its steep paths,” you will not get to the top but you’ll see how far you can get from the bottom (yea I forgot the quote, but you guys see how much of this message he’s getting through to us?)

  26. A lot of medical conditions have the word 'idiopathic' in the name (Meaning "I Don't Know what causes it"), simply because science hasn't figured out why they happen, only able to figure out how to treat them symptomatically. Though if your doctor like my last GP back in England who doesn't know how to manually take your blood pressure correctly (or smart enough to know that an impossible value means you f***ed it up), those you don't listen to.

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