Products, Science & SkepticismThe Skeptical Surfers Guide To Nonsense 

-Words by Ru Hill

A new magical bracelet is out and, as it’s been a while since our debunking of the Power Balance bands, we thought it was time to give the “iRenew” bracelet a good smashing too. More importantly though this post should serve to sharpen your scam detectors.

Surf Simply technical surf coaching resort, Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

A good rule of thumb with these things is that the more plausible the mechanism, then the less evidence you need, and vice verser. A simple and brilliant rule. For example:

If I told you that I flew to the beach this morning like superman. It’s so utterly implausible that you would need overwhelming evidence before you believed me.

If I told you that I hopped the 800m to the beach carrying 4 longboards on my head, then you would be sensible to remain skeptical until I provided at least some evidence, perhaps a photo or third party corroboration.

However, if I told you that I drove to the beach this morning, then it would be reasonable of you to take me at my word. It’s highly plausible, so you don’t need much evidence.

The iRenew bracelet has no plausible mechanism so you’re going to need overwhelming evidence and, of course (just like the Power Balance band) there’s none. If you think it works for you, it doesn’t. If you think there’s no harm in a placebo then it’s worth bearing in mind that things which have a real effect also have a placebo effect too, like swim training, stretching or a new surfboard. So use something real. If you still really want one then please buy a Placebo Band from the Skeptic Bros for $2 instead. You’ll save yourself $28 and your money goes towards better science education rather than to a con man.

I love these scams because of the language used to make the product sound ‘scientific’. Here they’re talking about ‘the bodies natural frequencies’. ‘Frequency’ is a characteristic of something, just like color. Frequency means ‘how often something happens’. But what thing’s frequency are they talking about? The “body’s” frequency? So they mean “how often the body happens”. Err… yer right.