Mark Cuban Reps Skepticism Hard On Shark Tank

One of my “guilty pleasures,” if there is such thing, is the ABC show Shark Tank. Some of the lines are so ridiculous they just can’t be scripted, and I really enjoy the diversity of personalities in the different investors. In a nutshell, five ridiculously rich investors hear pitches from people across the country with interesting ideas; most of which I think are utter trash, but a few that are cool. Clean Bottle was on there, for instance, and that’s pretty big in the cycling world right now.

Mark Cuban is a pretty outlandish guy as it is, and his remarks are often patriotic (he supports keeping jobs in the US) and family-oriented. Still, he’s a business-man, like they all are, and at the end of the day looking to make a solid investment to return a nice profit. I can appreciate that, but it reminds me that the show is really little more than a money maker for a ABC, and a driver for capitalism as a whole. Damn you CrimethInc, raising my consciousness on stuff like that!

All that aside, Cuban stepped way outside the box last week and absolutely trashed a guy selling “negative ion” watches. I’m not gonna link the watch or the guy because, true to form, he generates revenue from SEO wizardry and more back-links would only help his cause. After the guy makes his pitch and “proves” the technology with the falling-over trick, Cuban responds:

No, I’m allergic to scams. Seriously, this is not new. It’s been disproven. What you saw is the placebo effect. There’s athletes that wear it. It’s a joke. It’s a scam. It’s not real. I’m out. Okay. Thank you.

The digs continue as fellow investor Robert Herjavec jokes that the ions are put in by “waving a wand.” When asked if he has independent laboratory testing, Cuban responds for him, “Hell no, hell no!” He’s firmly committed to how much of a bullshit claim this is.

For once, some intellectual content on a reality T.V. show! I would expect this sort of reply from Joe Nickell or my friends at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, but Cuban cuts through the delicacies and delivers the one-two punch: this is bullshit, this is pseudoscience, and this kind of quackery does not need to be invested in. For a more solid debunking of “negative ion” products, see: “Epic Power Band Scam” (video), “Health-Giving Jewelry” (Australia), or a lengthy discussion of the very similar “Q-Ray” bracelet. I knew that Mr. Cuban enjoys himself some Naked Pizza, but now the world knows he’s got a streak of skepticism in him!