Edmund (Pseudo)Scientific at it Again: This Time They’re Selling an “ESP Lamp”
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 20, 2011
You may recall that I made a blog post in 2009 – titled Edmund (Pseudo)Scientific Sells “Ghost Detectors” & Other Woo – wherein I strongly criticized the science teaching outlet called Edmund Scientific for caving in to the “ghost hunter” fad. They started to sell all manner of goofy things: ghost detectors (which are actually just electromagnetic field meters) and even DVDs on remote viewing. And all of this from a science teaching catalog – you might as well turn to the biology section and see creationist materials for sale!
[**Addendum (6/28/11): to get a good look at why I view such claims about EMF meters "detecting ghosts" so skeptically, take a look at this post - Convergence/Skepchicon Day 2: Ghost Hunting & Evidence Review - which outlines that so-called ghost hunters, when pressed, basically admit they aren't doing any serious science. But they want to look like it]
Well, not to be outdone in their tumble down the rabbit hole, Edmund (Pseudo)Scientific now has for sale an “ESP Lamp”. I kid you not – they claim this thing can actually read your thoughts… as in extra-sensory perception… as in psychic woo-woo… and it only costs about $200! But don’t take my word for it. Read their own description of the product:
Lead your own experiments in the mind’s possible influence on machines, PSI testing, and more with this colorful LED lamp. Four different color LEDs are lighted dependent upon a random number generated from a miniature Geiger counter included on the back. You may even figure out how to use it to tell the future. And, when you need a break from the lab, it makes a very interesting lamp too.
I’ll agree that it makes an interesting lamp, but that’s about the only thing in the description that’s factual. Everything else is pretty much pseudoscientific gobble-dee-gook because many decades of research has clearly shown that no such phenomenon as ESP exists. And that part about “telling the future”? I suggest just saving your money and buying a Magic 8-Ball, because it would cost a LOT less and give you just as accurate results!
But, sadly, that won’t appear to stop Edmund (Pseudo)Scientific from catering to the lowest common denominator in their quest for a quick buck off the gullible. Unfortunately for them, they don’t seem to have done the math on the other side of things: how do they think science teachers across the country are going to react when they see this sort of garbage for sale in their catalog? I know that I’ve spoken to a large number of science teachers who are quite upset about this (and justifiably so) and who are boycotting Edmund. I’m among them, and I encourage all of my skeptical colleagues (especially those teachers among us) to do likewise: until Edmund (Pseudo)Scientific pulls products like this “ESP Lamp” and their “ghost meter” from their shelves – or at least until they advertise them in an honest and scientifically-accurate fashion – we should refuse to give them any business.