Apr 25 2022

Scalar Energy Scam

Because I host a popular podcast, I often get solicitations to offer people to be interviewed on the show. They are mostly scientists and science-communicators with a new book to promote. This is actually a helpful resource, although I end up booking very few. One of the reasons for the low hit rate is that the promoters are surprisingly undiscriminating, sometimes laughably so. Recently I received an e-mail regarding “scientist” Tom Paladino:

He’d appreciate the opportunity to come on your show, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, to explain what Scalar Light is and how it can be used to help heal the human body naturally.”

After taking a look at his website I questioned whether Paladino knows what scalar light is, although it may be different than Scalar Light. Apparently scalar light was something researched by Nikola Tesla – in my opinion invoking his name is an extremely reliable marker for pseudoscience and chicanery, up there with Galileo.

Let’s start with the actual science – what is “scalar light” or more generally, a scalar energy field? In physics the word “scalar” just means a physical property that has a specific magnitude value at each point in space, and that value is independent of perspective or frame of reference.  Temperature is scalar because you can give a magnitude value at every point, but direction is irrelevant.  Scalar properties are distinguished from vector properties, which have both magnitude and direction. Earth’s gravitational field is a vector energy field, because each point in space has a specific magnitude and direction.

Is light a scalar or vector phenomenon? Well, the speed of light (c) is always the same regardless of the observer, so it is a scalar phenomenon (the speed of light only refers to its magnitude). The velocity of light refers to its magnitude and direction, so it is a vector quality. From the perspective of physics, then, “scalar light” refers to the speed of light. Or it’s redundant – it’s just light, which has a scalar property (speed).

But referencing “Scalar Light”, something researched by Nikola Tesla, gives it an exotic sciencey feel – perfect for a pseudoscience scam. But Paladino is not done with the healing quackery buzzwords. His website proclaims, “WELCOME TO THE Era of Quantum Healing.” You have to throw in “quantum” because the only thing the vast majority of the general public knows about “quantum” is that it is really complicated cutting edge science they don’t understand, and it’s weird so it explains weird stuff.

Paladino also layers in some religious references, calling his “Scalar Light” a “divine energy”. He also includes the “Quack Miranda warning” (in extremely small font) that some scams include to provide a layer of legal protection:

“Scalar Light is a “divine” energy and the application thereof represents a new and emerging science. The administration of Scalar Light, a divine light, upon photographs of people, animals, plants and objects has not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and / or any other US Governmental derivatives thereof, known or unknown. Furthermore, no governmental agency in the world has defined Scalar Light or regulated the administration of Scalar Light upon photographs of people, animals, plants and objects. Presently, the scientific community has not been able to duplicate the Scalar Light instruments utilized to administer Scalar Light upon photographs of people, animals, plants and objects.

Yes, you read that correctly – he applies his divine scientific scalar light onto photographs. How does that work? There are five easy steps. You send him a photograph of someone or something you want to receive his quantum healing. He then exposes the photograph to a trifecta of healing light – mind, body, bank account (I mean spirit). Then the scalar light is able to identify the unique signature of the light captured by the photograph anywhere in the world (that’s probably where the quantum whatever comes in). Then “Scalar Energy is acting upon your photograph to balance your energy centers, disassemble health-robbing substances and assemble micro-nutrients.” I didn’t know micronutrients have to be assembled. I guess they function like Voltron. Finally, “When Scalar Energy is administered to your photograph, the non-physical, atomic, elemental and molecular intelligence found on your photo receives beneficial scalar light instructions.” Not sure how this is an additional step, sounds like he had some leftover pseudoscientific jargon and wanted to throw it in there.

Apparently “new and emerging science” refers to “batshit crazy stuff I just made up”. A lot of lines are being blurred here. Is this faith healing? Is it medicine? Is he making medical claims?

The website also says that with treatment “it is common to experience” various things. That is a nicely vague statement. It’s now quite a claim. It doesn’t say the treatment actually does anything or causes any of these things that people commonly experience. It is compatible with the treatment being 100% a placebo effect. And what things to people commonly experience? All the vague things that such quack treatments commonly claim – better mental focus, more energy, better sleep, a calming effect. It doesn’t actually treat anything, but you may experience something undefinable.

While it is difficult to know for sure, because I cannot read people’s minds (despite the scalar quantum energy field produced by my brain activity), I am always tempted to consider how much someone like Paladino is a true-believer in their own nonsense, or has crafted what they know to be a con. I don’t know, but what does it mean that the claims are carefully calibrated to maximize appeal while limiting legal exposure. He is very careful to stay out of the FDA’s way. True believers tend to be sloppy with their claims, because they really believe it. Again, I have to emphasize that I have no idea what the predictive value here is, I am just speculating.

Apparently his promoter felt that he would be an excellent match for the Skeptics’ Guide podcast. They may have been right, just not in the way they intended.


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