You’ve got to hand it to pseudoscience. Why? Because how else could someone like me – a person without an MD – have a chance to speak with absolute authority about things of which I know absolutely nothing. And there are even cool gadgets that you can use while practicing pseudoscience, things that can help make you seem professional and knowledgeable, things like the Uxsight 1.3M Pixels Portable Digital USB Iriscope.
Allow me to digress for a moment…
Back in the fall of ’86, I went home from college with one of my sorority sisters for the weekend. Before we got there, Marcy told me to watch out for her step-father. Fearing that I might take it as he was some creepy old man that she should have warned me about before I agreed to come, Marcy explained that it wasn’t that he would do something to me that I might not like, it was that he might be able to tell me things about myself that I might not be ready to hear.
Marcy said that I shouldn’t look him in the eye unless I wanted him to tell me everything that was going on in my body, and that he could do so just by checking out my irises.
“Oh really?!” I said, as my inner skeptic kicked into overdrive, “this I’ve got to see!”
Sure enough, after we had exchanged greetings and pleasantries her step-father mentioned that I had pretty eyes, and did I mind if he “read” them. I agreed, all the while trying not to roll those “pretty eyes” at him. I stood there, staring forward, as he studied my eyes while with a small magnifying glass and a penlight, marking things down on a chart and making a few tsk tsk and serious sounding hmmm sounds. As I’m sure it was intended, it made me ask “what?!”
“You’ve had chicken pox?” he said, in a manner where I wasn’t sure if it was a statement or a question.
“Sure,” I said.
“Have you had a cold recently?”
“Have you had a history of lung problems?”
“This looks like you have a bowel problem, maybe a distended bowel?”
“Does one side of your waist not dip in as much as the other?”
“I don’t know!”
“You might want to eat more fiber… You have a fleck in your left eye that tells me you have a severe calcium deficiency, when is the last time you had a cavity?”
“Ummm…when I was 7?”
“I think you need to drink more milk… Do you have issues with your thyroid?”
“This streak tells me you have a thyroid issue that is going to become a problem later…”
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Not only were his questions leading and vague, they were flat-out weird. I was 19, at my ideal body weight and in perfect health. He might as well have busted out a crystal ball and told me he was going to read my fortune; it was all that ridiculous.
“You know your step-dad is a quack, right?” I asked Marcy.
“Totally!” she said with an eye roll, and that was the end of it.
I had pretty much forgotten about my brush with Iridology until today, when a link for the Uxsight 1.3M Pixels Portable Digital USB Iriscope showed up in my inbox. According to the Uxsight site, which sells the Iriscope setup for $121, its system functions include:
•Adjust brightness through either software or switch on handle line, delete the photos, and adjust the focus, quick fixed photos with white balance and high stability of colors. Connects directly with computer without outside power and easy to operate.
•The software can save the client information and irises also the details of products that you recommend them. After taken the photos, you can analyze the irises and later compare the irises pictures when your client comes back to see their progress. Can print an analysis report. Save the photos according to the date & time you take the photos.
•This machine will help the client know his health condition, including the problem which you have had in the past. The Iridology will be your health counselor, tell you how to keep away from the illness.
You know, it’s number three that worries me more than anything else, otherwise I could look at this as something teenage girls might pull out at a slumber party for entertainment.
“Ooooh Jen, I can tell by looking at the flecks in your right eye that you are going to have three children with Barry.”
“Yep, that’s what your right eye says! Now your left eye says that even though you will have an appendicitis attack while on your honeymoon, you’ll be just fine.”
If buying an Iriscope keeps one person from seeing a doctor, because they think they can use it to diagnose what is going on in their body based on the various flecks and striations in their eyes, then that’s one too many. Of course, the people who believe in Iridology probably also think that ear candles work…and in that case? I have some oceanfront property in Arizona that you might want to look at…