to be investigated is a crook,
he who does not have the courage
to investigate a miracle is gullible,
and he who is prepared to believe
without verification is a fool.
- Dr Abraham T. Kovoor -
In his article under the caption "Is Astrology Scientific?", published in the Sunday issue of the Times of India, Mr. V.V. Bhujle makes an effort to convince the readers that astrology should not be condemned as a superstition until it is proved so by empirical tests. He is prepared to accept astrology as a true "science" because it was believed all over the world from ancient times, and among the believers there were and are eminent scientists. In support of his belief in astrology Bhujle writes:-
It may be noted that in the 14th century a number of universities in Western Europe, among them Paris, Bologna and Florence, had chairs of astrology ...Astrology is regaining a large popular following ...Educated people in the West, especially in the United States, ask each other what sign they were born under. Astrological literature is flourishing as never before...It is difficult to deny the fact that there are many scientists and investigators who are quietly gathering astrological data and testing them in various fields...And the possibility that astrology may as well undergo a transformation from the traditional view to the modern empirical one cannot be ruled out...Carl Jung endorses the validity of astrological phenomena. Professor Jung certainly knew the origin and anatomy of superstitious beliefs better than those scientists who brand astrology as nothing more than a superstition... There was never a scientific attempt made to substantiate the statement that astrology is an exploded superstition...Before astrology can be condemned, its validity or otherwise should be empirically tested."
Mr. Bhujle should realise that a false concept will never become right just because the majority of people believe it or because it is believed from ancient times, or because there are eminent scientists among the believers.
Astrology originated when manís knowledge of astronomy and the universe was wrong. Hence, astrological calculations were and are made on wrong data. Of the nine planets (navagraha) of astrologers only five are real planets. Of the remaining four, one is a star and another a satellite. The remaining two do not exist at all! How can conclusions derived from wrong data be true?
Astrological charts are prepared according to the relative visual positions of the so-called planets in the twelve zodiacal constellations at the time of the birth of a person. As the solar planets and the zodiacal stars are millions of miles away from the earth their visual positions at any moment are only virtual and not real. In preparing the chart for a person astrologers make use of the wrong virtual positions of the planets. If they have the knowledge and ability to calculate and find the real positions of the planets through astronomical calculations, perhaps astrologers themselves will lose faith in their cult!
Since light from planets and stars takes several minutes to millions of years to reach the earth, it is clear that astrologersí charts are wrong by several minutes to millions of years!!
Blind belief in astrology on the ground that Newton and Carl Jung believed it is as absurd as drinking urine as a curative medicine on the ground that Morarji Desai does so!
Mr. Bhujle says that it is the responsibility of scientists to prove their negative statements concerning astrology. It was exactly for this purpose that I included astrology and palmistry among the 23 items of my fifteen-year-old permanent challenge, and offered an award of one lakh Sri Lanka rupees to those who could make 95 per cent or more correct predictions in a test to be conducted by me. Although I do not share Bhujleís view that it is the duty of a scientist to prove or disprove things that do not exist I ventured to do so because astrology and palmistry have become a curse to society like all other superstitions. Can Mr. Bhujle persuade a single astrologer or palmist to face my test? I have conducted this test on many occasions, and found that astrologers and palmists cannot make better predictions than laymen who can only guess!
The latest empirical test on astrology and palmistry I conducted was on February 12, 1978.
On reading a news item in the Ceylon Sunday Observer that a Sri Lankan, who has a flourishing business in London as a fortune-teller, succeeded in finding oil in Ghana by looking at the palm-print of the President of Ghana, I wondered whether the Government of Sri Lanka could make use of this man, while he was on a holiday here, to locate oil in Sri Lanka by looking at the palm of President Mr. J.R.Jeyewardene!
Provoked by this fictitious and fantastic claim I challenged through the same paper this palmist-cum-astrologer Mr.Cyrus Abeyakoon and all other astrologers and palmists in Sri Lanka to face a test I proposed to conduct at Thurstan College Hall on February 12, 1978. To Make it attractive for them I offered to pay my usual award of one lakh rupees to those who get 95 per cent or more correct answers. Some of those who advertise regularly about their ability to make correct predictions from dates of births or palm-prints also were invited by letters to take part in the test.
Four fortuneteller responded and informed me that they would be coming to take part in the test. A fifth person telephoned me and said that he would like to demonstrate publicly his power of healing through prayers to Jesus Christ. Since faith-healing was one of the 23 items of my permanent challenge, he too was asked to come.
Thurstan College hall with fully packed was spectators on February 12, long before the scheduled time. Sharp at 5 p.m. the proceedings started with a preliminary talk by me about the origin and evolution of witchcraft and occultism, and the reason why I had to throw out a permanent challenge against all those who claimed occult and miraculous powers. Thereafter astrologers and palmists were asked to come on to the stage and take their seats. Only one palmist and the faith-healer came up although there were several fortune-tellers in the hall! I am sure readers will be intelligent enough to understand why those fellows who earn rupees five and ten from the public by telling their fortunes rejected my offer of one lakh! Knowing very well that they had no chance of winning my award, they did not want to risk their future practice by exposing their bluff!!
A layman from the audience was requested to come up and take his seat with the others. First I introduced the faith-healer to the audience, and then requested him to keep on praying to remove a black mole at the base of my nose, while I got on with the test on palmistry. I could have asked him to pray to Jesus to heal the cancer in my bladder. But, since there was no possibility of showing the result to the audience without conducting a biopsy, I preferred the former.
While the prayer of the faith-healer was going on, I pulled out two sealed envelopes form my file. One of them contained the palm-prints of both palms of ten persons prepared at my request by the Sri Lanka police, and a similar sealed cover containing the identity of the ten persons with their sex and whether they were alive or dead, attested by a responsible police officer. The other sealed cover contained a sheet of paper giving the dates and times of birth, correct to the minute, of ten persons together with the latitudes and longitudes of the places of their birth. Another sealed cover contained the necessary information about the sex and longevity of the ten persons, attested by the respective living persons, and close relatives of the dead.
I broke open the seal of the first cover before the public, and gave the ten numbered palm-prints, first to the palmist and later to the layman, They were asked to mark on papers supplied which of them were males, females, dead and living.
Two journalists from the audience were called up to the stage to mark the correct answers by comparing with the attested copy supplied by the police officer. The palmists got 30 per cent and the layman 20 per cent correct answers. Had I called a few more laymen to take part, at least some of them would have got even 50 per cent. Any fool could have got that much!
The black mole at the base of my nose, and the one lakh of rupees are still safe with me. I am keeping the sealed cover containing the birthday data of the ten persons unopened to be used on a future occasion.
Wide publicity given in local paper about the result of this test had a very healthy effect. Many fortune-tellers in Sri Lanka had to close shop due to want of patronage. Even by this type of exposition it is difficult to exterminate this type of parasites because still there will be gullible fools to consult them.
The Oxonian Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, postponed his oath taking ceremony by 30 minutes at the advice of his "family astrologer". Although he took his oath at the "auspicious" time, he was assassinated before he could complete his term. Still Presidents and Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka and India will continue to take their oaths only at auspicious times fixed for them by quacks!
Just before my 4th "Divine Miracle Exposure Campaign" in India I wrote to Dr. B.V.Raman of Bangalore, who has earned a fortune through his Astrological Magazine, requesting him to attend any of my lectures in Bangalore to take up my challenge and show to the people of India that correct predictions could be made through astrology.
Although I spoke at 8 public meetings in and around Bangalore, he came to none of them. He was intelligent enough to know the danger of facing a scientific test! Can Mr. Bhujle persuade Raman or any other "genuine" astrologer to take up my challenge?
Mr. Bhujle, who says, "There was never a scientific attempt made to substantiate the statement that astrology is an exploded superstition" can himself carry out a similar test on B.V.Raman and get convinced about the myth of this ancient cult.
lakh rupees : one hundred thousand rupees in India, Sri Lanka
|FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE NET|
The Miracle of
by Dr. Abraham Kovoor
THE CHALLENGE OF
maintain by Gerald Huber
The University of Regensburg
Committee for the Scientific
Investigation of Claims
Of the Paranormal
maintain by Gerald Huber
The University of Regensburg
Dr Abraham T. Kovoor
The Rationalist of
Religion and Science
on the Net
educational trust for promoting
rationalism and humanism
|BEWARE OF GODMEN|