Can’t get enough earthing? But are you so addicted to the whole idea of shoes that you want to get your daily dose of quackery even when shod?
Well then, Earthrunners are just right for you.
Richard Feynman called a lot of this stuff “Cargo Cult Science”.
I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he’s the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.
From everything I’ve looked at, the earthing people really don’t understand the science. They know how to use some of the words, they try to use the verbal shape of science, but they just don’t get it. I’ve written before about earthing, in Eye on Ions and in Wrong on Both Ends.
There is nothing special about the voltage of the earth (there is no absolute voltage, after all; it’s a relative measurement with an arbitrary zero), and the human body, while conductive at high enough voltages, still allows stray electrons to accumulate under normal conditions, even when grounded. But the real problem is that there is no real evidence that the body cares (or even ought to care) about a few stray charges here or there. There are always stray charges, even when grounded to the earth, and the body evolved to deal with them (with, you know, things like insulation).
But now there is this new product, Earthrunners, that takes the Cargo Cult Science to another level.
What are they? They are sandals with copper studs that run through the sole. Here’s their commercial.
Did you hear how that started?
To experience the harmony of the elements there is nothing quite like being immersed in nature while wearing grounded footwear.
Uh, no. Putting a layer of something between you and your bare feet does not add to experiencing the “harmony of the elements”, whatever that means. And it definitely hampers the ability of our soles to fully experience the ground we are walking on. Wearing sole blinders does not immerse you in nature.
And then they say you tap into the
unlimited source of electronic potential of the earth.
A suggestion, if you want a source of electronic potential, I’d suggest your car’s battery. No, it’s not unlimited, but the extent of its potential will shock you. [Note: do not really try this.]
Then they talk about the
vital energy transfer from the planet direct to your body
as if that’s been established. Even if you do transfer a few stray electrons to your body (which is actually fairly likely with the copper studs), the amount of energy transferred while doing so is absolutely miniscule. And as for “vital”? Pshaw.
And these sandals are
conductive footwear for anyone seeking the huge benefits of living a more earth-connected, grounded lifestyle.
I really, really object to the adjective “huge” (as I did with “vital” before). Please.
Look, these are probably fine as minimalist sandals. One thing they taut is that they are zero-drop, which is good. One the other hand, they then say
the zero drop from heel to toe emulates the natural and healthy experience of going barefoot.
Well then, why not just go barefoot? In fact, if you look at their “Quantum” model, you’ll see that it has an arch to it.
Of course, one of the benefits to going barefoot is that it gives the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the feet the chance to strengthen. Yet, that part of barefooting they manage to ignore.
They’ve gone whole-hog on one of the fake benefits of barefooting while ignoring one of the real benefits. (Not to mention the other real benefit of true barefoot running, which is the tremendous feedback you get from your soles, both in regards to proprioception and in regards to finding out what you might be doing wrong while running.)
I also just love that they name one of their models “Quantum”. Of course, there is nothing really “quantum” about electrons (well, aside from the fact that electrons are quantized), in that we’re talking basic electromagnetism here, not quantum physics. But tossing the lingo is just another aspect of cargo cult science.
And finally, is there anything more they could add to rile me (and many other barefooters) up? Of course!
For every 10 Earthrunners sold, they’ll donate one to a poor, shoeless kid in India! How about instead they donate some PeePoo bags from Peepoople.com and fix the sanitation problem?