I stopped him before he could start probing around in there and asked him how, as a doctor and a man of science, he could possibly be wearing (and therefore promoting) such nonsense.
His answer: He’s a baseball coach (and a basketball and soccer coach). And, while he doesn’t see any benefit for his basketball and soccer players, it does appear to work for his baseball players. He said he knows it’s a basically a placebo effect, but baseball players are superstitious lot, and, in his words “the placebo effect works.” That didn’t explain why he would wear the silly thing to work, though, and I didn’t press him on that (I find that it’s probably best not to be too confrontational with a man who will be wielding a drill in one’s mouth).
We chatted about this business for a bit, and he didn’t back off of the belief that the placebo effect, in and of itself, was a good thing. Even though it was essentially ‘mind over matter,’ if that had good results on the diamond, then why fight it?
And I guess that’s a good question to ponder a bit. If an athlete truly believes that that bit of plastic around his wrist is improving his skills, and he therefore performs better as a result, is that, in fact, not a good thing? I know the correct skeptical answer, but how do you answer someone like this – an educated man, a doctor, who is bought into the woo because he believes he sees it working?