Edmund Scientific selling pseudoscience?

| 39 Comments

I probably made my first purchase from Edmund Scientific in 1956, when they sold a lot of military surplus optics. Since then, they have grown into a fairly respectable supplier of scientific instruments to both professionals and hobbyists. I was dismayed, therefore, to learn yesterday that they also sell pseudoscientific instruments:

Remote Viewing DVD. Remote viewing is described as “similar to clairvoyance or ESP.”

EMF Ghost Meter for detecting “paranormal presences.”

3-in-1 Paranormal Research Instrument for hunting ghosts.

This is appallingly bad stuff, but especially so for a scientific supplier. It is as bad as lying to people about evolution. Edmund’s allows comments, and if you wanted to let them know of your opinion, I would not try to stop you.

Acknowledgment. Thanks to Glenn Branch for the tip.

39 Comments

Left a comment on their site comparing the 3in1 Paranormal Research Instrument to a Ouija Board. I’ll be interested to see if it gets past moderation.

I also left a message and I asked if “Edmund Scientific” was going to change its name to “Edmund Pseudo-Scientific.”

I my little comment will pass moderation.

Edmund Scientific used to be such a cool company, but it looks like they are on their way to kookdom.

Anything for a dollar, I guess.

**I doubt my little comment will pass moderation.

“Listen! You smell something?”

Remote Viewing DVD. Remote viewing is described as “similar to clairvoyance or ESP.”

Worse than that, it’s “a natural ability everyone posesses.” Not only is that wrong, it’s not even spelled correctly! And what the Hell is “intuitive science?”
What’s next, E-Meters licensed from the Church of Scientology?

Something else caught my eye, they’re selling killifish eggs under the name “Magic Fish.” But they only promise “your own Killfish with the Magic Fish instant fish kit - just add water for days of fun.” Days? Killifish usually live quite a bit longer than that, even the annuals; the shortest-lived get at least three months, most double or triple that.

Rather than leaving comments on the individual products, why not contact Edmund’s directly? Their contact info directs general questions to [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Good idea, Wheels.

I’m off now to send ‘em a flaming arrow e-mail about their slide into crackpottery. … .

Oh my! Edmund Scientific was one of my favorite sources for good gadgetry when I was young.

They even put out some good instructional materials in various areas of physics, especially optics.

Now this?

Ok, so times are tough; hafta make a buck. But at the very least couldn’t they place their stock in well defined categories and maintain some semblance of integrity?

Like Pseudo-Science (for stuff like this).

Entertainment (whoopee cushions, shake-hand buzzers, etc.).

Wow…a “3-in-1 Paranormal Research Instrument”.

I guess my 2-in-1 PRI is obsolete.

The good news is that I could not find those products while just browsing around their website. The bad news is that I found this:

Mark Beshara and a team of physcologists analyzed the behavoir of the brain when experiencing euphoric feelings. They then recreated this behavior by duplicating the sound waves that trigger automatic Astral Projection.

Behavoir is a French word meaning how you behave. I do not know what a physcologist is.

I think they meant “behavoir of teh brain…”

fnxtr said:

I think they meant “behavoir of teh brain…”

Ooo! Good one!

Maybe its for Halloween costumes?

BobbyEarle said:

Wow…a “3-in-1 Paranormal Research Instrument”.

I guess my 2-in-1 PRI is obsolete.

I like how one of the three tools is a friggin torch

I do not know what a physcologist is.

It’s among other things a scientist-scholar of bubbles, of overstuffed bellies and of ((even more) anorthographous ,it should in this case read physkonologist) Ptolemaios (Ptolemy) VIII…

P.S. No ,as far as I know,there isn’t such a (compound) word,but the etymology of the imaginary neologism and the meaning that follows is quite funny at least to a hellenophone like me…

:)

Here’s more gobbledygook from them. I thought only creationists fobade science. http://scientificsonline.com/produc[…]pn_E_3151873

Here’s more gobbledygook from them.

“Forbidden Science. Controversial and Compelling New Science Theory.

The suppressed science of the spiritual or metaphysical is revealed in 43 essays from renowned researchers denoting cutting-edge, heretical, or suppressed scientific research. Authors include Immanuel Velikovsky, Nikola Tesla, Rupert Sheldrake, Masaru Emoto, and publisher J Douglas Kenyon.”

Wow. The stupid. It burns.

Let me join the chorus of lament:

Edmund’s was a family favorite when I was growing up in the 60s and 70s. My first telescope was their 4-1/4” newtonian. When they first introduced the “Astroscan 2000” they ran a contest to name it, and my dad was shocked they didn’t select his entry (“the Star Jar”). He bought one for himself anyway.

We would visit the store (near Camden NJ) on the same trips we made to the Franklin Institute. As far was I was concerned, it was better than Disneyland. It was huge and filled with wondrous things, whole rooms dark with fluorescing things, holograms, moire patterns, bins of rocks & minerals galore, bins of used optics and everywhere the smell of ozone. Near the front there was an actual submarine periscope mounted so that you could survey Barrington from 40 ft up.

Some years ago I dropped in, and it was substantially smaller. They still had a nice optics collection, but the science goodies was not much more than what you might find in a high end mall science store. Disappointing.

Then a few years ago, when I decided to stop in, it was gone. The Edmund’s Optics factory was there so I asked what happened and a nice lady explained that the company sold off the scientific business. Sigh. I was so depressed, mostly for the new generation. What does this say about what’s happened to our society and culture?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund[…]_Corporation

What’s wrong with “…this Ghost Meter can be used by laymen with professional results.”? That statement is factually accurate! (zero = zero)

Just sent them an email, and promised them more from the Panda’s Thumb community.

Whatever you do, don’t cross the streams - that would be bad.

Actually, I remember Edmund selling Pyramid Power kits back in the 1970’s. Seems like they’ve been on this trajectory for awhile.

I too remember Edmund Scientific. I purchased my first telescope back in 1960 from them. I used to love to browse through their catalog. Along the way I’ve seen them reduce their offerings one by one.

Perhaps one reason now for this pseudo-science stuff is, as one writer said, to make a buck. But perhaps another reason is we are seeing another example of “Idiot America” where people haven’t the foggiest idea of what science is, don’t care, and prefer to display their ignorance by buying this junk.

Looking at the Wiki article it seems they’ve been selling this pseudoscience New Age stuff for decades. Perhaps most of us never noticed because of all the real science or “sciency” toys.
And dangit McCorkle, now I’ve gone and read up on the Astroscan and want one for myself. I don’t need another hobby! Well, not another expensive one anyway!

Chill out. Edmund’s Scientific is a commercial enterprise, not an educational institution. They are simply supplying some customers with what they want.

E. Moffett said:

Chill out. Edmund’s Scientific is a commercial enterprise, not an educational institution. They are simply supplying some customers with what they want.

No, people want to detect paranormal presences. The equipment Edmunds sells doesn’t do that, therefore, they are selling snake oil. Selling an EM ghost-detection meter is as deceptive as selling a homeopathic cancer cure - though the outcome is not as evil.

No, people want to detect paranormal presences. The equipment Edmunds sells doesn’t do that, therefore, they are selling snake oil. Selling an EM ghost-detection meter is as deceptive as selling a homeopathic cancer cure - though the outcome is not as evil.

Well, think about that.

How can we know that such a meter wouldn’t detect a ghost? Sounds like a simple double-blind test. All we need are some rooms or cabinets or something. Put some live people in some, nothing in others, and ghosts in others.

Now all we have to do is recruit some ghosts.

Did the Edmunds ad stipulate that there WERE ghosts? Hell, I could cobble together a “meter” and safely guarantee that it will detect ghosts! Always reads zero? Well, you’ve never brought it into the presence of a real ghost! Do that and the needle will peg out.

I think I’ll add to my line a Home Exorcism and Demon Repellent Kit. Needs a sexy name…

Just Bob said:

I think I’ll add to my line a Home Exorcism and Demon Repellent Kit. Needs a sexy name…

How about “SHAM-wow”. :-)

Just Bob worte:

“How can we know that such a meter wouldn’t detect a ghost? Sounds like a simple double-blind test.”

Exactly. All you have to do publish the results in a peer reviewed scientific journal and then you could sell it as scientific equipment, along with reliability data.

What, the people who buy this stuff don’t ask to see the literature first? Too bad for them. I guess they get what they want to pay for. Maybe it does really identify every real ghost!

Boo!

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. –Mencken

I think you should all lighten up a bit. There are two sides to the scientific (pseudo-cientific) instrumentation coin. A pyramid can be used to illustrate the ineffectiveness of pyramid power too. As, I assume, can the other “instruments” mentioned. Give the people who buy these things a bit of credit. They had to have something on the ball to find Edmund in the first place. I can picture some pretty good science fair projects using these “instruments” to trash the ideas of ghosts etc.

Just Bob said: How can we know that such a meter wouldn’t detect a ghost? Sounds like a simple double-blind test. All we need are some rooms or cabinets or something. Put some live people in some, nothing in others, and ghosts in others.

Heh. Obviously you are being facetious, but you don’t need ghosts to show a random noise generator is generating random noise. You point N “detectors” at the same spot at the same time and you register the fact that they don’t agree. This would at least eliminate the random noise generators - which include you standard “EM meters” - from the market.

For non-noise ghost detectors what you do is take a look at the circuits, identify what its actually detecting, and prove it via lab experiment. While not formally disproving the existence of ghosts, such experiments can at least lead the ghost-believer to the (untenable and ridiculous) conclusion that one can easily summon and dismiss ghosts by simply bringing whatever the detector actually detects into range.

Bracken said:

I think you should all lighten up a bit. There are two sides to the scientific (pseudo-cientific) instrumentation coin. A pyramid can be used to illustrate the ineffectiveness of pyramid power too.

I actually won a prize in a science fair when I was in high school for doing just that. Of course, it was the ‘70’s …

Your feedback on the Edmund Scientific catalog and my choice to create a section for “Ghost Hunting” Equipment is both appreciated and duly noted.

I am taking a lot of heat from my customers on that choice.

We get a lot of inquiries and requests about this hobby, and I decided a few months ago to find some new product designed and marketed specifically for the paranormal, and test it out in our catalog and on our website. The idea crystalized for me when I went back to some of our catalogs from the 50’s and 60’s, and saw that we actually sold items described as paranormal instruments.

I realize now that this is offensive to some the Edmund Scientific customers, people with very strong scientific sensibilities who look to Edmund for products that promote critical, empirical thinking, and real science as a hobby.

I am rethinking my decision on this product line. I apologize for the offense.

Sincerely,

Tim Burns General Manager Edmund Scientific

Many thanks to Mr. Burns for the thoughtful response. I have no doubt that there is significant demand for products aimed at detecting the paranormal. I think I can speak for our readers and say that we are gratified that you are considering removing such products precisely because they are unscientific and should not be represented in a catalog devoted, as you phrased it, to real science.

Hi Tim!

lol in a time when customer service sucks and companies happily rip off customers for a buck, Im kinda shocked at how nice your response is (and that you responded!).

Thanks! Ill remember this when Im getting my nieces Christmas gifts :)

Thanks for stopping by to fill us in.

EMF Ghost Meter and 3-in-1 Paranormal Research Instrument:

How Nice! We can now detect some ghosts thanks to Edmund Pseudo Scientific Company! This is excellent! I suppose we have to add some important volume of whiskey, half in the special tank not seen on the picture and half in our stomach for getting some positive results. Go to Scotland, then, and welcome to the irrational world…

But what about the Loch Ness Monster? Can we detect it with a lot of whiskey and one of these nice Ghost Meters!?

On the other hand, could we detect UFO’s and Martian life with such a pseudo scientific tool? And what about the definitive detection of the so-called astrological influences?

Seriously, this is a good indication to change of scientific seller and to avoid to buy anything from Edmund Pseudo Scientific…

They are many other scientific sellers in the World, I guess

Cedric Katesby said:

Left a comment on their site comparing the 3in1 Paranormal Research Instrument to a Ouija Board. I’ll be interested to see if it gets past moderation.

But it says it’s an “incredible Tool” but maybe that’s who actually buys it

I think it’s a great that they’re more open minded the Athiest, why don’t Athiest just open a shop and stop bitching about others..As for pseudoscientific, you guys sound like a broken record..Has anyone tried the cd, and listened to it, to attempt an OBE.. I garuntee you didn’t and for the record SCIENCE IS NOW looking to the claims of O.B.Es to determinie look for themselves..Thanks for catching up science, and until you have your conclusion, could you tell your nimrods to shut the hell up!

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on August 22, 2009 11:34 AM.

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