(Rant On) I can’t stand pseudoscience scams, in large part because it scares me to think we still have so many people who are so gullible, uneducated, and ignorant. I was tipped off by a friend to a concept unfamiliar to me called “earthing” so I looked it up. There are books and web sites about this subject, and even an “M.D.” after one of the names connected with it, though it is a ridiculous piece of pseudoscience anyone with a high school science education would see at once is crap. There can be only a couple of reasons for this notion even seeing the light of day: some people are sociopaths who have no qualms about robbing others, some people are seriously deluded, some are too dumb to see through the scam, and some may be desperately struggling with health problems and grasping at straws. It’s a sad thing to see.
Earthing is a complete misinterpretation of electrical grounding. Basically the claim these people make is that somehow, by being in contact with the earth (bare feet on bare ground, for example) we get some poorly specified electrical health benefit. They sell “earthing mats” and quite a few other items you have to electrically ground by connecting them to the 3rd (ground) pin in an electrical outlet, and which you then sleep, sit, or stand on to obtain the purported benefit.
Of course, this is a complete scam, and the proponents are either ignorant and slightly nuts or purely in it for the money (robbing innocent people who don’t know any better). The concept is totally transparent and without value except perhaps via the placebo effect. They offer no scientific proof of benefits, but surround the concept with a lot of “woo woo” pseudoscientific claims and anecdotal reports from users. This proves nothing.
Scammers avoid public comment. It is worth noting that their website has no place for public commentary except for carefully selected reports from users that all read like delusional malarkey. They’ve published a book touting their “discovery” as “The most important health discovery ever?”, and I was glad they put the question mark on that subtitle, because the concept is pure BS. All of these people need to take a beginning science class that covers electricity fundamentals, or a class that teaches how scientific proofs are made. In either case they would quickly see what an empty rip-off this so-called “Earthing” is (unless they’re nuts, which is also a reasonable possibility).
That such scams succeed is a failing grade against our educational system. The saddest part is what the existence of such a scam says about Americans and our educational system. For decades religious fundamentalists and the lunatic fringe have attacked our educational system again and again with vouchers, “schools of choice”, private schools, standardized testing, and the arcane provisions of laws like “No Child Left Behind” (which really was the opposite of what its name says, like a lot of conservative initiatives). Schools have been forced to be less focused on real education and more focused on other things such as standardized tests. School funding has been slowly leached away along with students now attending private schools, usually corporation-owned, degrading the capabilities of public schools. On top of that there is an extreme fundamentalist element in the religious right (can you say “Taliban”?) that constantly tries to kill public education because it doesn’t support their religious views. This small but very vocal minority have driven the Republican Party into extremist territory, and threaten the existence of the party even more than they threaten to have their views forced on us.
Isn’t the increasing number of know-nothings in our population bad enough? Not for the religious right, since ignorance is the gateway by which they recruit and brainwash new adherents. I recommend that anyone who thinks “earthing” as described on the website has any real benefit get their head checked. If you think your health will improve because you put your feet on a grounded mat I have a big bridge I’d like to sell you.
As always, if you think I am off base please educate me. — Tim