Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Flea, tick, and baloney repellent

Do you subscribe to views of medicine that involve the words "frequency" and "vibration?"  Do you think that when you're ill, it would really be a good idea to take a "remedy" from which every last potentially useful molecule has been removed?  Do you think that when you get the sniffles, it's because you have a clogged chakra?

Do you have pets?

If you answered all of those questions "yes," you will be thrilled to know that the woo-woos have now extended their wacko ideas into treating Fido, Mr. Fluffums, and your other furry friends.

A friend of mine sent me a link yesterday advertising "Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea & Tick Tags," available for $71.99 (on sale), should you have no better uses for 72 bucks, which in my opinion would include using it to start a campfire.  Here is the pitch, which (for the record) I am not making up:
Protect your dogs and cats from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes naturally! The Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea & Tick Tag is a safe, chemical-free way to keep harmful pests off of your pet. Using state of the art holistic technology, the EasyDefense Tag utilizes your pet’s own energy to create a natural barrier to pests. There are no chemicals or pesticides involved. It is completely safe for pets and humans in the household...

The EasyDefense tag is treated with a bio-energetic process and sealed in an electro-magnetic shielded envelope. When opened and placed on your pet, it uses your pet's own inherent energy to send out frequencies that repel pests. The process operates with quantum mechanic's [sic] refined frequencies, and is somewhat similar to the basic principles of homeopathy. (It does not use traditional energy forms like electrical, chemical, thermal, magnetic, or radioactive.)

This holistic energetic approach combines the knowledge of Eastern medicine with advanced Western technology, and is the result of more than 10 years of targeted research in collaboration with renowned doctors and scientists. This quantum energy approach has been used in Europe for many years to enhance human health and wellness through the energizing of objects, water, drinks, and supplements.
Okay.  I do have a few questions about this:

1)  Seriously?

2)  I kind of doubt that my "pet's own energy" repels much of anything.  I own two dogs that seem to be magnets for dirt, filth, burs, and dead animal residue, so I think if this tag somehow enhanced my "pet's own energy," every bad-smelling thing in a five-mile radius would suddenly fly through the air toward my house, sort of like the last scene in the movie Carrie only way more disgusting.

3)  Saying that something you're promoting is "somewhat similar to the basic principles of homeopathy" is not a selling point, okay?  This is a little like a person running for political office saying that his fiscal policy is "somewhat similar to the basic principles of fraud."

4)  What is a "quantum mechanic?"  Is this a guy who wears a jumpsuit with "Rick" embroidered on the pocket, who works on atoms?  "Well, it's gonna be kind of expensive.  I had to rotate your quarks, and your electrons' spin kinda had a bit of a shimmy, so I replaced the bearings, and then tuned up the nucleus and lubed the neutrons.  She should run pretty smooth now."

The advertisement then goes on to say that the EasyDefense tag is "completely safe for your pet, with no possible side effects."  I'm sure this is true.  In fact, in my opinion, they should broaden that statement to read, "completely safe for your pet, because it has no effects whatsoever."

It is unclear to me whether there should be a point where the government steps in to prevent hucksters from making claims that are clearly false.  However, being that caveat emptor seems to be the general rule, there's nothing to stop anyone from claiming anything, even if it's total baloney (although there are some restrictions with respect to human health -- you are required to state, "The FDA has not evaluated these claims" if, in fact, what you are claiming is patently untrue).  In general, the law sides with the seller -- for example, just last week, a Louisiana judge ruled that the claims of fortunetellers and mediums to be psychic are protected free speech.  [Source]  This makes it all the more important that people learn critical thinking skills early -- because that is the only thing I know that acts to repel frauds, fakes, and phonies.  And it does so without even having to resort to using "quantum mechanic's refined frequencies."


  1. Rick really sounds like he knows what he's doing... Think I'll have to schedule a diagnostic!

    "How did your day go today, honey?"

    "Bad. Bill was working on an atom next to me. He had it up on the lift and he wasn't paying attention and it rolled off onto mine..."

    "So what happened?"


    "Oh my! Well I'm glad you're okay... Was there alot of radiation?"

    "Yeah, but the boss says that if I grow a third arm he'll give me a raise."

    Did the advertisement say what the tag was made of? It's obviously worthless, just wanted to know HOW worthless (plastic bobble from crackerjacks?).....

  2. My local dog guru pointed me to this website, even though she had never used the product herself. I was aghast just reading this combination of technobabble and voodoo.

    Did you clean up the excerpt you included? Because what's there today is even more illiterate than what you have -- including "homopathy" and "flee" instead of "flea."

    What's amazing to me is that if you google "easydefense tag", the first 40 or so hits are all postings from goo-goo magical thinkers extolling the wonderfulness of this product. Wow -- how immoral can fraud actually be when there are hundreds of people out there screaming, "Defraud me! Defraud me!"…?

    1. Interesting -- no I didn't clean it up, I always cut quotes directly from my sources, spelling errors and all (and put [sic] on the errors I catch). So the author must have gone back & edited it, and made more errors in the edited version than in the original... And yes, it's amazing that people fall for this stuff...