Like it? Share it!

Sign up for news and updates!






Enter word seen below
Visually impaired? Click here to have an audio challenge played.  You will then need to enter the code that is spelled out.
Change image

CAPTCHA image
Please leave this field empty

Login Form



Don't Want Our Money? Take Theirs... PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Attention Astrologers - many of you have refused to take the JREF $1,000,000 Challenge, often citing spurious excuses such as "the money isn't real" or "the tests are rigged." You're wrong about those things, but no matter... there is other money waiting for you:

(Published at www.srai.org and www.thefreethinker.tk )

INR 25,00,000 challenge to all astrologers to forecast result of Parliament Election 2009

May 11th 2009

Science and Rationalists’ Association of India (Bharayatiya Bigyan o Yuktibadi Samiti) challenges all astrologers to forecast following results / information regarding Parliament Election 2009:--

  1. How many seats will be acquired by Congress, BJP, TMC, CPI(M), BSP, RJD, Samajbadi Party, DMK, AIDMK?
  2. How much differences in votes will remain to win/lose for Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Lalkrishna Advani, Mamata Bandopadhyay, Laluprasad Yadav, Rambilas Paswan from their respective nearest opponents?

If any astrologer can forecast the correct result, Science and Rationalists’ Association of India will give him INR 25,00,000.00 (Twenty five lakhs Indian Rupees) (approx US$50,000.00) and shut down the Association.

Astrologers should forecast on 14th or 15th May 2009. They should send their forecast to Science and Rationalists’ Association of India by email (Email id of General Secretary: prabir_rationalist@hotmail.com , Email id of President: sumitra_humanist@hotmail.com ) and any of the following Press:

  • Anandabazar Patrika
  • Bartaman
  • Star Ananda
  • Kolkata TV
  • The Statesman
  • The Times of India
  • NDTV
  • Aajtak
  • BBC
  • PTI
  • UNI
  • AFP
  • AP

Astrologers have the habit of announcing after every election that, they had predicted the correct result. Science and Rationalists’ Association of India challenges in order to stop such false propaganda.

Prabir Ghosh,
General Secretary,
Science and Rationalists’ Association of India

Sumitra Padmanabhan,
President,
Science and Rationalists’ Association of India

So, how's that? Pretty straightforward, wouldn't you say? You won't have to worry about Randi's "super-psychic powers" dampening your own abilities, and you get the privilege of watching doubters actually shut down their organization in awe of your powers.

Like the JREF, the Science and Rationalists’ Association of India is putting their money and reputation where their mouth is. All you have to do is show us. Why is that so difficult?

Trackback(0)
Comments (47)Add Comment
It is written in the stars
written by Star Gazer, May 13, 2009
My astrological charts tell me no one is going to win this challenge smilies/wink.gif

But do astrologers tend to claim to make such accurate predictions? I'd think they stop at predicting who wins, or even the ranking, but not the number of seats and votes.

Besides, it makes no sense to predict the future if it's set in stone. If you can't change the future there is no reason to want to know it, since you can't act on it. (I think that paradox was pointed out to me in Science of Discworld II)
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
:3
written by Quakeulf, May 13, 2009
I bet I could make a more accurate prediction by chance alone.

Also, isn't this a paradox?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Michael K Gray, May 13, 2009
I predict that their Rupees will be proofed against post-hoc prognostic predation by the pathetic pusillanimous psi-parasites.
The Indian Rationalists have their work cut out for them, but they seem to be doing a sterling job! smilies/smiley.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by MadScientist, May 13, 2009
This is dangerous because they're playing the large numbers game and one astrologer may just guess it all. There is no control and no test against chance. Deplorable methodology; I hope they lose so that skeptics can learn a lesson.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by Mark P, May 13, 2009
"one astrologer may just guess it all"


You're kidding, right? smilies/shocked.gif

The odds are tiny. There are nine parties to guess. You are as likely to be hit by an asteroid as get it by sheer luck.

Would you play a lottery where you had to guess, in order, nine numbers adding up to 545? Even allowing for knowing some of results will be within a certain range, you would be a very long time trying.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by Kuroyume, May 14, 2009
But when you have thousands and thousands of potential 'players', the odds that one will hit increases. Noone has ever won a lottery? The odds are pretty staggering against yet it still occurs.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +3
...
written by jasonhenle, May 14, 2009
Astrology is like observing quantum physics, once you watch it.... it changes, duh everyone knows that.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by tctheunbeliever, May 14, 2009
Hopefully the results are less predictable than say, the U.S. Senate.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
Jason
written by BillyJoe, May 14, 2009
You stuffed it. smilies/sad.gif

Astrology is like Qauntum Mechanics: once you observe it, it changes.

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -4
...
written by BillyJoe, May 14, 2009
But when you have thousands and thousands of potential 'players', the odds that one will hit increases.

Firstly, how many astrologers are there in India?
Secondly, can anyone actually compute the odds, firstly using a completely random result and secondly using reasonable limits on the number of seats for every party?
Thirdly, would it be worth risking $50,000 to document that 49,999 astrolgers were wrong and only 1 was right.

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by bosshog, May 14, 2009
"Uuuhh, the Spirit Link was thwarted by the fact that these names are VERY difficult to pronounce..."
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -1
@BillyJoe
written by Star Gazer, May 14, 2009
Secondly, can anyone actually compute the odds, firstly using a completely random result and secondly using reasonable limits on the number of seats for every party?
If it's completely random, then distributing 552 seats over nine parties can be done in 560!/552!/8! ways ~= 2.3 * 10^17.
If there's only 20 seats for which we can't say with certainty where they go, it's 28!/20!/8!, about 3 million. But that's not the best way to approach the problem, probably; because that allows one party to get all 20. So let's say the uncertainty in polling is 5 seats per party (2.5 up or down). Then we get about 200 thousand guesses for the final distribution of seats.

But I don't know if polling is that accurate. And it will vary per party (larger parties will have greater uncertainty in the final number of seats)
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
@Star Gazer
written by Son of Rea, May 14, 2009
If you can't change the future there is no reason to want to know it, since you can't act on it.


I was about to refute you, but upon further thinking, realized you might be right.

For example: If a book represents life, then who would want to be told the ending of the story before they read it? I think everyone would agree that a book is more enjoyable if you don't know what happens before you read it.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by mama1974, May 14, 2009
No self respecting astrologer (hey, hold down the laughing!) will take this challenge because it's just another part of an underground government conspiracy (Just like 9/11!) to pin point those people with an actual gift so they can use them to take over the world. Oh, and it's also impossible.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +4
@Son of Rea
written by Star Gazer, May 14, 2009
Well, some people do skip to the end of books. Or read them several times over despite knowing the ending after the first time.
Maybe I could have phrased it better as "people want to know the future because they think they can then prepare for it and change it". And we know how that works out in all those greek tragedies (e.g. Oedipus).
The orbits of planets and the movements of stars are known thousands of years into the future; so astrology, were it true, would imply that the future can't be changed. I don't see what people see in it; if it's true it's useless and if it isn't true it's also useless. It's a lose-lose situation.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +3
How they do it
written by garyg, May 14, 2009
@Son of Rea
written by Star Gazer, May 14, 2009 ...
> The orbits of planets and the movements of stars are known thousands of years into the future; so astrology, were it true, would imply that the future can't be changed. I don't see what people see in it; if it's true it's useless and if it isn't true it's also useless. It's a lose-lose situation.

Yeah, but the astrologers also say, "the stars do not compel, they only impel". They always leave themselves an "out", just like in their horoscopes. Note the frequent use of weasel words.

Anyway, May 14 and 15 are unlucky days :-)
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by Gord_in_Toronto, May 14, 2009
I hope they have actually calculated the odds on the potential of someone guessing correctly because this is India they we talking about and they may get thousands of responses. smilies/sad.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Alan3354, May 14, 2009
> The orbits of planets and the movements of stars are known thousands of years into the future; so astrology, were it true, would imply that the future can't be changed. I don't see what people see in it; if it's true it's useless and if it isn't true it's also useless. It's a lose-lose situation.

See religion. Any or all of them.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by Kuroyume, May 14, 2009
The odds are tiny. There are nine parties to guess. You are as likely to be hit by an asteroid as get it by sheer luck.


Check your census data. India has a population of over 1,000,000,000 people (1.17 billion in 200smilies/cool.gif. Even if 1% were astrologers (or part of that were people who decided, 'what the hay, I'll try'), that is 10,000,000 applicants (oh: !!!!!)

No, we're not kidding. smilies/grin.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
Odds
written by Lil Mattachino, May 14, 2009
Kuroyume:

That's assuming everyone in India actually reads the notice. Figuring out what percentage of Americans read the JREF dispatches will provide a better approximation of the number of folks who will hear about the SRAI gig.

- lilmattachine
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Kuroyume, May 14, 2009
I'm not assuming that everyone in India reads or needs to read the notice. If 1% of India's population is comprised of astrologers (which I doubt, but humor me) and a good sized proportion of them did respond (they do have computers in India and can communicate just like we do, evidenced by all of my tech support calls going there - eh hem, joke), it would be an overwhelming number. India's population is nearly FOUR times that of the USA. One sixth the entire world population. Even at odds of 1 in 100,000,000,000, there is a slight (and I'll repeat, slight) probability that someone could randomly guess all of the options (because the odds for 10,000,000 in the 1:100bil is 1 in 10,000). Those odds are not as big as one would think. Mine That Bird... okay.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by Willy K, May 14, 2009
If any astrologer can forecast the correct result...

I'd advise the Science and Rationalists’ Association of India to add just a little thing to the challenge. The winner must also present their "charts" to other astrologers so they can be verified that the charts are in accordance with accepted astrological rules. smilies/tongue.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
It's free?
written by pxatkins, May 14, 2009
Free lottery with a prize of $50K? If only I could figure out what the hell Q2 means ...
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by BillyJoe, May 14, 2009
Okay, the educated odds according to Star Gazer are 1 in 200,000.

But I don't think we have a reliable number for the astrologists yet.

Maybe we need to see the fine print. It is possible that an astrologist may be defined as someone who is a well known and "respected" astrologist, for example, someone who writes the astrology column in a newspaper or magazine. Perhaps somone who is in the habit of making such predictions. Maybe it also includes people who do "professional" astrology readings. If astrologists are registered perhaps only registered astrologists may apply. Anyone know the actual number?

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
Star Gazer
written by BillyJoe, May 14, 2009
The orbits of planets and the movements of stars are known thousands of years into the future; so astrology, were it true, would imply that the future can't be changed.

But it can't don't you agree?

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -1
Astrology Qualifications?
written by Michael K Gray, May 14, 2009
Some folk seem to imply that "being" an Astrologer requires some sort of formal qualification or membership of a guild or some such thing.
The fact is that ANYONE can hang up a shingle labeling themselves an Astrologer.
(Unless, of course, they are a Libra.)

I am an Astrologer, and so is my pet dog! smilies/wink.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by Kuroyume, May 14, 2009
But it can't don't you agree?


What occurs can't be changed after the fact but considering that Einstein's Relativistic predeterminism of the space-time continuum clashes outright with the probabilistic nature of Quantum Theory, both situations cannot be correct: the future already exists and cannot be determined are mutually exclusive. A postulated discrete fine structure for space-time allows indeterminism but does remove the notion that the entire space-time continuum already exists (especially future space-time).
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -2
...
written by Mark P, May 14, 2009
Okay, the educated odds according to Star Gazer are 1 in 200,000.


Not that's a hopeless underestimate. Even allowing for swings of only + or - 5 votes, across 9 parties we can approximate that as 10^9. So your one chance in a billion then. We know the maximum that the sum must add up to, but not the minimum, since some independents and other parties will win.

But vote swings in India tend to be large -- upwards of + or - 50 seats for the major parties. I would guess that one in 100 billion might cover it.

Now if every Indian entered, one or two might win. Just might. And that person almost certainly would not be an actual astronomer.

That would be a terrific score for the skeptics of this world. It would make it abundantly clear that if enough guesses are made then some will come right. Which is what we say applies to all fortune tellers. The only downside is, of course, having to pay out to some lucky punter.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by BillyJoe, May 15, 2009
Star Gazer: the future can't be changed.

BillyJoe: But it can't don't you agree?

Kuroyume: What occurs can't be changed after the fact

Yes, but we're talking about the future.
Kuroyume: but considering that Einstein's Relativistic predeterminism of the space-time continuum clashes outright with the probabilistic nature of Quantum Theory, both situations cannot be correct:

Correct....I mean, yes, I agree.

Kuroyume: the future already exists and cannot be determined are mutually exclusive.

If by "determined" you mean "changed", then, yes, I agree.

Kuroyume: A postulated discrete fine structure for space-time allows indeterminism but does remove the notion that the entire space-time continuum already exists

Yes, that's another way of putting it.
But I still don't see an answer to the original question about whether the future can be changed (you know, as a willful act)

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Kuroyume, May 15, 2009
@BillyJoe: What I mean is that if the future already exists it cannot be changed (predetermined) - but Quantum Theory says that it cannot already exist due to the probabilistic nature of the sub-structure (HUP and such). The clash is between Relativity's 'static' universe and Quantum's 'dynamic' universe. A current hypothesis being put forth to solve this clash is to consider space-time as discrete (which fits in nicely with Planck values and the discreteness principle which he used to kick off Quantum Theory) which would allow for the 'continuum' not to have to completely preexist, future and all, but come into being - grow over both time and space. I admit that I have no indepth knowledge here but this allows that the future can be changed by your actions since they would no longer be predetermined in the 'static' universal model.

As you say, astrology works under the premise of predetermination (fate, 'the stars'). The positions of astronomical bodies can be very precisely calculated into the future and, if astrology were correct (uhhuh) then an astrologer could literally predict the fate or predispositions of people who haven't even been born yet (and so on). Quantum Theory pretty much dashes that idea into the ground. The probabilistic nature of quantum particles trumps the deterministic nature of astronomical bodies. There is also something to be said about Chaos Theory here also but you should all know my standard tact on that by now. smilies/smiley.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
Update of the $50,000 challenge - till 15 May
written by pinakighosh, May 15, 2009
Dear friends,
This is Pinaki Ghosh, son of Prabir Ghosh, representing the Science & Rationalists' Association of India. It is heartwarming to see so much reaction in the comments section. The news in fact got wide publicity worldwide in the mainstream newspapers. I wanted to update you that till now (15 May evening) 10 astrologers have accepted their challenge and have sent their astrological predictions. The counting (of votes) begins on Saturday 16th May. The election results will be out by the evening of the same day.
So... things are getting exciting. It will be fun to see the astrologers lose on 16th. smilies/wink.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +3
...
written by Skemono, May 15, 2009
The counting (of votes) begins on Saturday 16th May. The election results will be out by the evening of the same day.

Wait, what? I thought this election would be months away, not the same weekend. Are there no polls in India that these astrologers can check for accurate information about how people are planning to vote?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by pinakighosh, May 15, 2009
Wait, what? I thought this election would be months away, not the same weekend. Are there no polls in India that these astrologers can check for accurate information about how people are planning to vote?


The Indian Parliamentary Election is just over. Counting begins on 16th May(Sat morning) and the results of who forms the new central government of India will be out by the evening of Sat, 16th. That is why we (SRAI) had set the deadline of submission of astrological predictions by 15th May... one day prior to the results. Hope this sounds logical and fair. The astrologers had the option of checking out exit poll results (check out what exit poll is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exit_poll) conducted by various national/international media anyways; though that is not the way they are supposed to predict their results.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
@ Kuroyume
written by BillyJoe, May 15, 2009
What I mean is that if the future already exists it cannot be changed but Quantum Theory says that it cannot already exist due to the probabilistic nature of the sub-structure. The clash is between Relativity's 'static' universe and Quantum's 'dynamic' universe.
Yes, I got that.

A current hypothesis being put forth to solve this clash is to consider space-time as discrete which would allow for the 'continuum' not to have to completely preexist, future and all, but come into being - grow over both time and space.
But I don't quite get this.
It seems to me the clash is resolved by having Quantum Theory win out over Relativity.

I admit that I have no indepth knowledge here but this allows that the future can be changed by your actions since they would no longer be predetermined in the 'static' universal model.
The way I see it, Relativity means that the future is predetermined, but Quantum Theory means that the future is probabilistic. I'm still can't see where "the future can be changed by your actions" comes in.

Quantum Theory pretty much dashes that idea into the ground. The probabilistic nature of quantum particles trumps the deterministic nature of astronomical bodies.
Yes, I guess the Earth could suddenly plunge into the sun with a probability of less than once in a trillion trillion years, but how does the human mind get to have a say in the matter?

BillyJoe

report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
@ pinakighosh
written by BillyJoe, May 15, 2009
I knew you must have arranged it so no one could win by pure chance. I just didn't realise how.

I wanted to update you that till now (15 May evening) 10 astrologers have accepted their challenge and have sent their astrological predictions. The counting (of votes) begins on Saturday 16th May. The election results will be out by the evening of the same day.

Ah, yes, no time for a million astrologers to get in on the action. That was pretty clever pinakighosh. You're safe as houses even if the odds are only 1 in 200,000 as Star Gazer calculated.

Congratulations! smilies/smiley.gif

BillyJoe
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -2
...
written by pinakighosh, May 15, 2009
With regards I differ. The challenge was published for the first time in www.thefreethinker.tk and www.srai.org on 11 May 2009. That gives the astrologers about 5 days including 11th May, till deadine. The news got wide publicity worldwide; if you Google, you can see. You must be aware that receiving a million sms/online votes in 3 hours is not unlikely for popular shows like American Idol or Indian Idol. If 3 hrs is enough to fetch 1 million sms/online votes, 5 days is enough time for 200,000 astrologers to send their entry online, unless they are unwilling to win. Sounds logical?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by BillyJoe, May 15, 2009
With regards I differ.

Do you mean that you left open the possibility that, if enough astrologers applied, one of them could win by pure chance?

Put another way...
If you had received a million replies, would you have been worried? Or do you think the odds of winning are much greater than 1 in 200,000?

regards,
BillyJoe
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -2
...
written by pinakighosh, May 15, 2009
Do you mean that you left open the possibility that, if enough astrologers applied, one of them could win by pure chance?

Put another way...
If you had received a million replies, would you have been worried? Or do you think the odds of winning are much greater than 1 in 200,000?

No, we have always seen, astrologers shy away when we step in. So we decided to step in... with a strong message. We were certain that not many astrologers will take a chance, because they themselves know best that they can't. Accepting our challenge is putting their reputation(?) at stake. So, they would rather prefer to ignore and overlook the challenge, than be ridiculed.

We wanted to stop the trend of false propaganda astrologers start after every election; claiming they had predicted the correct results. What they actually do is: get their predictions published with a back-date in low publication, small town journals and sponsor the financially-sick journals.
For example: if the results are set to be out on 16th; the common trend is, they will get their predictions published in small journals around 18th or 19th, but date it before 16th. What normally follows is that they start promoting themselves as the one who made the correct predictions, showing the manipulated journals as proof. smilies/smiley.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
...
written by BillyJoe, May 15, 2009
Okay, based on your knowledge of astrologers, you counted on not many of them replying. Well, it seems you judged them correctly. Congratulatios smilies/smiley.gif

We wanted to stop the trend of false propaganda astrologers start after every election; claiming they had predicted the correct results.
Hope it works.

BJ
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
What's the latest news?
written by MadScientist, May 16, 2009
Did any astrologers earn their money?
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by Steel Rat, May 16, 2009
If you want to get technical about it, 25,00,000.00 isn't a properly formatted number, so the payee could weasel out.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -2
...
written by pinakighosh, May 16, 2009
If you want to get technical about it, 25,00,000.00 isn't a properly formatted number, so the payee could weasel out.

There's nothing wrong with that. That's the correct Indian way of placing commas after numbers. In the western system, the comma comes after every three zeros, as 1,000; 1,000,000 (1 million) etc. In India it would be 1,000 and then 10,00,000 (10 lakh), etc.

Will bring you the challenge updates shortly. The results are out:

Congress Party - 202 seats,
BJP - 119 seats ,
TMC - 19 seats,
CPI(M) - 9 seats,
BSP - 20 seats,
RJD - 4 seats,
Samajbadi Party - 23 seats,
DMK - 18 seats,
AIDMK - 9 seats.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +2
Rat Trap
written by BillyJoe, May 16, 2009
If you want to get technical about it, 25,00,000.00 isn't a properly formatted number

$#!+, pinakighosh beat me to it.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: -1
...
written by Steel Rat, May 17, 2009
Hmm, never seen a number with only two placeholders like that. My mistake.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
...
written by pinakighosh, May 17, 2009
And here are the predictions of the 15 challengers: http://www.srai.org/challange_...#responses. Needless to say, none came close to the actual results. smilies/grin.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +1
...
written by kenhamer, May 18, 2009
The Indian press response: (which is better than you might think)

http://tinyurl.com/qesg4g

report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
Oh dear!
written by Michael K Gray, May 23, 2009
I cannot believe it.
Astrology hoist by its own petard?
Again?
Where is India's Sylvia Brown when you need the genuine article? smilies/wink.gif
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy