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Posts Tagged ‘Iridology’

Saturday Stub: Iridology on Dragons Den

Posted by Ethan Clow on September 17, 2011

Welcome to another edition of Saturday Stub where I share a story I came across that warrants a bit of skeptical thinking on a Saturday. Just a bit though, it is Saturday after all.

This week, I came across a bit of pseudo-science on the popular CBC show Dragon’s Den. You can see the offending segment here, the part I’m referring to occurs at the 9:41 point in the video (you’ll have to sit through a view ads unfortunately)

For those that don’t know, Dragon’s Den is a show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (the CBC) which is a Canadian version of the UK show of the same name. Folks come on to the show to pitch products and ideas to some wealthy investors (the dragons) who either invest in the idea or don’t (after usually insulting the person) Actually the show isn’t all that bad. I personally find it rather interesting at times and I’ve seen a fair number of really interested products over the years on it. Occasionally however some practitioner of pseud0-science will come on the show to sell thing. One time a man came on the show attempting to sell magic water that could cure virtually any aliment. The Dragons, demonstrating some healthy skepticism, eviscerated his pitch and sent him packing.

However, in the most recent episode, a woman came on the show advocating iridology. The woman, Becky Thomas, was pitching her “Thomas Compact Herbal First-Aid Kit” Go ahead, watch the video if you haven’t already. I’ll wait.

Welcome back. So as you can see, she’s selling first aid kits made up of “natural” products to heal everyday injuries. Then she states that she does iridology to help diagnosis people’s problems. What’s iridology?

Iridology is a pseudo-science that claims to be able to assess health problems by examining the iris of the eye. According to the Skeptic’s Dictionary:

“Iridology is based on the questionable assumption that every organ in the human body has a corresponding location within the iris and that one can determine whether an organ is healthy or diseased by examining the iris rather than the organ itself. “

Iridology has failed several different controlled scientific experiments (see the article on Quackwatch which discusses the experiments)

On the show, Thomas conducts an examination of one of the Dragons. She claimed that Kevin O’Leary had “fecal matter” in pockets in his eyes…or something. She also told one of them that they had worms or parasites. The Dragons chuckled along with this and made some jokes but I was still surprised by how they responded to Thomas. Instead, they actually encouraged her, suggestion that a first aid kit of herbal remedies is a good idea.

It’s not.

This goes back to my rant on how alternative medicine proponents have (prudently) recognized that its a bad idea to give people alt-med when they need immediate science based medicine intervention. (Like with people who go into Anaphylactic shock)

Anyway, the Dragons are more concerned she doesn’t have a business model, instead of, say a product that actually works. One of them even thought her products were effective and didn’t want to invest simply because there was no business model. At least O’Leary seemed to suspect she was a bit off her rocker.


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