Respectful Insolence

Pseudoscience fights back

The guys over at Medgaget are guys after my own heart. After commenting on a dubious-sounding device called the emWave Personal Stress Reliever, which, as its makers claim, is Scientifically Validated:

Stress creates incoherence in our heart rhythms. However, when we are in a state of high heart rhythm coherence the nervous system, heart, hormonal and immune systems are working efficiently and we feel good emotionally. emWave Personal Stress Reliever helps you reduce your emotional stress by displaying your level of heart rhythm coherence in real time. But emWave does more than just display coherence levels. It guides you toward stress relief by training you to shift into a coherent, high performance state.

All that for only $199!

Of course, as Josh pointed out, the manufacturer neglects to provide any–oh– actual scientific papers in peer-reviewed literature to back up that claim). He also discovered that sometimes pseudoscience fights back, and his response to emWave’s public relations flack, who somehow found out his phone number and called him at home, is priceless:

In retrospect, we think it was the “pseudoscience” label that really ruffled emWave’s feathers. When a company stamps the term “scientifically validated” on their product, shouldn’t we just blindly accept that? Who would betray the sacred realm of scientific principles just to hock wares? Don’t ask questions. Don’t inquire. Blind faith got us this far, so just close your mind and enjoy the now stress-free ride. Honestly, to expect a company to back that up with even one legitimate publication is preposterous.

Of course Josh should! After all, we should take all advertising claims on faith, shouldn’t we? Indeed, I would suggest that alties should apply the same level of skepticism to advertisements by pharmaceutical companies that they do to ads for devices such as the emWave.

Josh’s description of his conversation with the emWave P.R. flack reminds me very much of a similar encounter I had with a P.R. flack for Ameriscan after writing to a radio station carrying its ads to point out many inaccuracies in Ameriscan’s claims. Funny how P.R. people for such dubious products fall back on the same sorts of strategies when challenged, regardless of what the specific product is.

Comments

  1. #1 EoR
    July 3, 2006

    But, why would anyone lie about something like this? It must all be true. Really. And it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than the LIBRA LITROU Balancing Bath ($US1600 and up) which I refuse to provide a link to (but you can read about it at http://barista.media2.org/?p=2618).

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