This edition of the mailbag references an entry from way back in the archives – some 7 years ago – in which I wrote about the Teslar Watch which is an overpriced timepiece that supposedly has health benefits. Back in the day the claim was that it would protect you from harmful “electronic pollution” such as the sort emitted by your cell phones. These days the claims are that it’ll help you sleep better.
Over the years there have been a few people who have stepped up to defend the watch – I suspect they were all involved in selling the watch to some degree – and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard from anyone about it. Well the long dry drought of inanity is over as I present you the following missive from one Ron St. John:
From: Ron and Norma St. John
Subject: Teslar Watch
This is just an observation.
Firstly, I want for you to know that I don’t have a dog in this fight regarding your comments about the Teslar Watch. I have nothing to do with the makers, distributors and I don’t own one. I was looking into them, myself, when I came across your article on the web.
Secondly, my education is in nuclear engineering. So I have a pretty good understanding of nano-technology and the effects of various frequencies that move at the speed of light, such as radio frequencies, alpha particles, radiation, microwaves, ultraviolet, infrared, and the many other names that are given for such energy. I also understand electrical fields and how they can effect various frequencies of energy.
Such as: Did you know that the electrical field that surrounds the Earth actually protects the Earth from various harmful radiation frequencies that come from our own Sun? Yep, it’s not news. This is true.
I can tell that you are very heart-felt about your opinion regarding the Teslar Watch and I can appreciate your well meaning comments and your desire to exercise good-will toward mankind. I want for you to have my opinion so that you can decide for yourself if you may be mistaken in your assessment of the Teslar Watch.
So, here is my opinion:
The Teslar Watch does advertize that it uses a battery and a coil to create an electric field which collapses a certain range of energy frequencies.
The Teslar Watch does not advertize that it emits any sort of frequency, as you have stated.
The Teslar Watch does not advertize that it neutralizes electromagnetic fields, as you have stated.
Now, I have not analyzed this watch to see for myself exactly what function that it does perform. I only want for you to know that your website accuses the Teslar Watch of doing exactly the opposite of what it advertizes itself to do.
It is my suggestion to you that you make an opportunity, soon, to apologize to Philip Stein for the apparent (well intentioned) but misplaced things that you have said about his product.
And Les, a lesson that I learned in life from my grandfather, also an engineer (I want to be careful that I don’t offend you when I say this) (Well, I didn’t say it, my grandfather did) (I am simply sharing granddaddy’s words with you) “Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.”
So, Les, take care of yourself. For your sake and for the sake of ‘TRUTH’ I hope that you will reconsider the continuation of your derogatory statements on the web. Very respectfully, I feel embarrassed for you.
Very kind regards,
Ron St. John
I think this has got to be one of the more polite messages of this sort I’ve ever received. Though it follows a common pattern such as the claiming of having knowledge which I do not. In terms of actually laying out any reasons as to why I should give up my skepticism of the watch, however, it’s a tad bit lacking.
I’ll post my reply after the jump.
Here is the reply I sent back:
I always love it when emails start with sentences like “this is just an observation” as it’s usually a prelude to more amusing things to come. After reading your email I am very amused indeed. You are quite the master of the big buzzword.
OK, let’s see what you’ve got to offer. Hmmmm, you claim not to have a dog in this fight and yet you felt compelled to respond. Obviously something bothered you enough to send an email. Ooo, your education is in Nuclear Engineering which somehow also includes nanotechnology even though the two fields aren’t really related. You list off a number of different types of radiation and you speak of frequencies as though they were a something other than a number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. You make a lot of claims about your background here and yet you provide no means of verifying that background. In short, I am to just take your word that you’ve got a background in Nuclear Engineering (you do not claim to be a nuclear engineer) and thus have a clue what you’re talking about beyond the big buzzwords you’ve dropped.
You’ll pardon me if I remain skeptical.
Yes I did know that magnetic field surrounding the Earth protects us from harmful radiation from the Sun. I watch the Discovery Channel too and have a basic science education under my belt. Surely you can do better than this to impart upon me your more advanced knowledge of all things nuclear.
And finally we come to your attempt to persuade me that I may be wrong in my opinion about the Teslar watch. You go on to list off three statements about what the Teslar folks do and don’t advertise about said watch. You then say that you haven’t analyzed the watch yourself, but that my article about it accuses the watch of doing exactly the opposite of what it advertises itself to do. You then suggest I may want to apologize for my entry.
I have to admit that I laughed out loud at the suggestion. Here’s why: I’ve written a sum total of four entries about the Teslar watch with the first being written back in August of 2003 nearly 7 years ago. Now I have no way of knowing which one you might have stumbled upon so I reviewed all four entries and in none of them did I make any of the statements about what the watch does and doesn’t do that you list in your email. I did say that based on what I know and the info they provided on their website I thought it was all a bunch of bullshit and I did link to a Wired.com article in which people who would know better than I took on specific claims by the watchmaker.
Two things occur to me:
One is that you are supposedly much more educated about Nuclear Engineering than I am and yet you are not smart enough to consider the very likely possibility that in the past seven years the folks who make the Teslar watch might have modified their advertising copy to get around people who point out that their claims are total bullshit. You’ll note that most of the claims about health benefits on their site today are as vague as possible so as to stave off any possible lawsuits from the government. I believe these days they are claiming their watches allow people to fall asleep faster and awake more refreshed after having more vivid dreams. Sounds good, but is just vague enough to not mean anything.
The other thing is that you apparently think that your supposed education in nuclear engineering gives you some gravitas in this discussion and you also freely admit that you have not analyzed the watch in question and yet you are apparently prepared to accept the claims being made by the watchmaker. In fact you feel strongly enough about my public skepticism of this watch that you want me to apologize for being critical about it without providing any kind of an argument as to why I should accept any of the claims made about it other than you purport to know more about nuclear engineering than I do and your Grandpappy said “stupid people will accept anything as possible.” You’ll be comforted to know that I agree with your Grandpappy: Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about. What’s amusing about it is that you don’t seem to recognize that as being a good argument against accepting the claims of the Teslar watch people as opposed to for it.
Finally, the fact that you felt the need to type the word “truth” in all caps is very telling indeed. You really shouldn’t feel embarrassed for me, however. You should feel embarrassed for being such an obvious shrill for the Teslar watch. It seems every few years one of you yahoos come along and attempt to convince me that I am wrong in my opinion about the effects of the watch and you make grandiose claims about your backgrounds and what I don’t know and how I should apologize. Yet not once do you guys provide anything in the way of a logical argument as to why I should accept any of the claims by the Teslar people as being true. I don’t know that you folks work for the company, but it’s my sincere hope that you do as the thought that you are shilling because you seriously believe the claims is depressing to consider.
For the moment, consider me unimpressed with your argument and unmoved to apologize. Come back once you’ve analyzed one of the watches and let me know what you think, but you’ll have to do better than this if you want me to take you seriously.