Sunday, 25 January 2009

Fengshui & the Art of Bullshit: Erroneous Predictions for 2009

Fengshui: The Oriental Art of Bullshit

2009 has proved to be a tough year for one and all: Mass recessions, retrenchments, and a whole lot of bad news galore, 2009 has become the bad hangover of a bad recession from Year 2008, and it promises to be a real bearish year ahead.

Indeed, it has been a particularly bearish year for what is ironically the year of the Ox on the Zodiac calendar, and if this irony isn't enough to debunk astrology and its inherent nonsense, Fengshui masters are now queuing up to give us their "predictions" of 2009. Like vultures circling a great, but dying beast, charlatans of all shapes and sizes are out to con the down and trodden in a bid to fish in muddy waters, and when better than a massive recession and record numbers of jobless, desperate folks to present their chicanery to the hapless masses.

Excerpts from the Yahoo News (In Red):

Year of the Ox looking very un-bullish, seers say

HONG KONG - If the global economy fails to recover in 2009, the housing bubble or credit crunch may not be to blame. It could be a lack of fire. Chinese fortunetellers say fire _ one of the five elements mystics believe form the basis of the universe _ is essential to financial well-being. And fire is nowhere to be found in the mythology of this coming Year of the Ox, the Chinese lunar year that begins Monday. "Fire is the driving force behind economic growth. Without it, the market lacks momentum," said Raymond Lo, a Hong Kong master of feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of trying to achieve health, harmony and prosperity through building design, the placement of objects and auspicious dates and numbers. Chinese soothsayers see a deepening recession, millions more losing their jobs, and stocks and home prices continuing to fall. That's more or less in line with what some economists are predicting, but some fortunetellers are throwing in other dire predictions _ massive earthquakes, rising U.S.-Russian tensions and trouble for President Barack Obama.

Ah, some dire prediction indeed. Of course, most of these predictions about job losses, tumbling stocks and housing prices aren't the direct result of any supernatural predictions. In fact, these soothsayers are merely parroting what standard economists have already forewarned about the economy!

Nothing Like a Good Bonfire to Fire Up the Economy! Burn, Babe, Burn (Snort)!

And what exactly is the cause of the economic turmoil? Nope, it is neither the banks who recklessly approve loans with abandon ease, nor the lack of oversight from the previous Bush Administration, its got to do with the lack of the fire element!!!! No fire, no money, that's what these morons are telling us!!! Well folks, go to your kitchens and start a fire, for goodness sake. We need more fire in our bellies! Or start a bonfire in some stupid camping trip and in the process burn the whole forest down......yeah, that should do the trick!

And yes, let's not forget the earthquakes. Oh well, natural disasters happen every year, so again, this is simply another generalization of things that inevitably happen on a regular or yearly basis. Clearly, you do not need clairvoyance to make this type of ambiguous predictions.

Obama's Kiss of Death: The Curse of the Number 4

The Curse of the No. 4: The 44th President of USA has a Double Dosage........

And guess what these fengshui morons have to say about Obama???

Obama, born in the Year of the Ox, is taking office in a particularly bad year for his Chinese astrological sign. The ox sign is in direct conflict this year with a traditional Chinese divinity called the "God of Year," considered a bad omen. Obama also is the 44th president, a number the Chinese deem extremely unlucky, because "four" is pronounced the same as "death" in Chinese. "The new U.S. president is not having good luck this year. His honeymoon will only be short-lived," said fortuneteller Alion Yeo, predicting Obama may even face impeachment in his first year in office. "The Year of the Ox looks slightly better and less dire than last year, but it will still be bumpy."

fixation with numerology and its perceived ideology is very much intertwined with Chinese superstition; the number 4 is pronounced as "si" in mandarin, which rhymes with the word "death" in mandarin; It is an awfully ominous number associated with the spectre of death. The Chinese, particularly the more superstitious variety, are very much appalled at the mere mention of death, and the number 4 is very much avoided by these superstitious folks. By contrast, the no. 8, pronounced as "ba", rhymes with the word "fa", which means prosperity, and is a likable number for many Chinese folks, especially chronically addicted gamblers who depend on such flimsy superstition as indication of their prevailing good form on the gambling table.

As such, being the 44th President of the United States of America, Obama seems to have inherited double the curse of death, and hence, the bad luck.

Herein lies the problem at hand: How should we define "bad luck"? Every President is going to face the odd challenge at some point, and saying that "this year is a bumpy ride for the president, hence bad luck" is tantamount to saying that there will be a lot traffic accidents this year. It doesn't say a lot about the accuracy of these crazy soothsayers, does it?

But fear not, at least one bold master is willing to bet on Obama's downfall! Alion Yeo, the fortune-teller who is quite adamant about Obama's bad luck, thinks that Obama will be impeached in his first year in office. Unlike the previous "predictions" which are sweeping and not very specific, this one deals specifically with the manner Obama will fall. Yes, folks, according to this chap, Obama will be impeached this year. Well, we will see about that, won't we? After all, a year will pass us by in another 300 + odd days, and then we will have the benefit of hindsight to debunk his prediction!

Feng Shui: The Art of Bullshit

Like the western equivalent of psychics, Feng Shui is an art of flim-flam; it deals with the supernatural world of imaginary forces that are supposed to affect every aspect of your life, and the practitioners of Feng Shui will, for a fee, arrange your furniture and household appliances in a bid to manipulate these mysterious forces and change your luck.

And when they are not in the mood for arranging furniture for exorbitant fees, they will resort to all manner of conmanship to hoodwink the masses, and it gets even easier for them when bad tidings become real, cataclysmic events, like recessions, by simply mimicking the warnings of economic experts who have already made their comments available. You don't need to be a fengshui expert to make the kind of "predictions" these fengshui masters are spewing.

These fengshui masters are masturbating and making their claim to fame, and a horde of monetary benefits by cashing in on the weak, the downtrodden and the weak-minded. They base their claims not on solid, scientific evidence, but merely observing certain, predictable, generic phenomena and then linking them to unscientific theories and selling them to the masses as supernatural clairvoyance to people who want answers to the economic turmoil or any other misfortunes which have befallen upon them, and it is very easy to believe when you are in a shitload of trouble with no answers at hand.

Sure, we all want to believe, and belief is comforting, but it is best to think rationally and not be subjected to manipulation by charlatans who pretend to present us with answers when they have nothing except tomfoolery to hoodwink us for a couple of hundred bucks.

Being Skeptical, the Randi Way

-"Paranormal phenomena have a habit of going away whenever they are tested under rigorous conditions. This is why the $1,000,000 reward of James Randi, offered to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal effect under proper scientific controls, is safe." -Richard Dawkins