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Fortune Telling In A Bad Economy

February 20, 2009

I often listen to NPR (National Public Radio) while driving to and from work and I find their choice of ‘report-worthy’ news refreshing. Some of the topics may pique my interest and I may go off and do more research on them. I also find the diversity of news NPR covers commendable and I find the reporters fair in their commentary (even though some of my colleagues joke that listening to NPR makes me a liberal, which I am not sure I can call myself :-))

So, when I heard NPR interviewing a 2nd generation fortune teller today, to show the bright spots in this economy, I was quite surprised (not that it was the only story they featured). I understand that such an interview serves the purpose of exploring both sides of a story but imagine interviewing a profitable witch doctor to show bright areas in a flagging health industry where people are unable to afford standard medical costs. Can astrology or any other means of fortune telling really be called ‘legitimate business’ when they have failed every single double-blind scientific test that has been conducted to verify their claims?




Even though I was surprised by NPR doing the interview, what the fortune teller related wasn’t surprising at all. It is a well-known fact that gambling and fortune telling do well in gloom and doom situations, especially in bad economies. So I wasn’t sure what new information was NPR trying to convey.

Here is the clip of that interview.

Fortune Teller see bright prospects in hard Times.

At one point during the interview, the fortune teller boasts that she was able to raise her rate from $2.22/minute to $4.99/minute. I mean c’mon – that’s more than a 100% raise you gave yourself !! If that was a regular job it would have paid $300/hr, $2400 per 8 hr work-day and more that $600, 000 per year. I doubt how many CEO’s earn that much. So anyone considering taking up fortune-telling as a profession ?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. The Couch Clown permalink
    May 9, 2009 12:26 am

    Astrology’s odd because while many claim that they see results or witness the truth of predictions, no one has ever been able to establish a cause and effect relationship between the phenomena: which is the primary test of validity. I’ve had only one experience with astrology. My aunt, who takes her astrology seriously (she plans to quit her job as professor of organic chemistry and take up professional astrology full time), offered to do a reading for me right before a moot court competition and I agreed. She instructed me to put forth a question. I asked, simply, if we would win the competetion. Having made some calculations she, said that she had a “divine signal” that I was best off not knowing! We lost, and after my return she pipes up that her calculations said “painful defeat” all along and she did not tell me because otherwise I would not have tried my best! Now what am I to make of this?

    Either she was lying or she was telling the truth.

    If she was telling the truth, then her calculations did show “painful defeat” (and the “divine signal” story was a way to prevent me from being bummed out).

    Then, either our defeat was a co-incidence or it was not.

    If it was NOT a co-incidence, and the numbers were right, then there is STILL NO DEMONSTRABLE CAUSAL EFFECT.

    If I may generalize, this means that the entire “science” of astrology is a record of observations but not a single explanation!

    So what do these careful measurements, calculations, diagrams and other psuedo-scientific methods add up to? Sod all, that’s what! It’s sad to see so many people hanker after this BS. My mother has recently taken an interest in Feng Shui, and I type this as our furniture is being frantically rearranged behind me. Have to go before my mother pulls out my chair from under my arse. Apparently, it should touch the south wall so that positive energy will flow through our house. If i wanted enery flowing through my house, I’d call my electrician.

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 9, 2009 8:32 am

      LOL !! You are right. Astrology is truly BS. I have a similar case in my family. One of my first cousins is an IIT/IIM product and looks/sounds all savvy when he is talking about economy/politics/business and other things. But the moment he opens his trap and talks about astrology, which he had been studying for the last 10 years, I start cringing. My sister had also been into feng shui for long and I wonder why after so many years none of our family members, including her husband is not any more healthier/wealthier/happier than other atheists/agnostics (e.g warren buffet or bill gates)

      Btw, I gather from your comment that you are a lawyer. I am aware that not all lawyers practice the same law but if you can write about the legal side of religion and the unconsitutional laws, activities, practices of our govt. then it will be great and enlightening experience for a lot of us.

      • The Couch Clown permalink
        May 9, 2009 9:45 am

        Funny you should mention it- I am doing some research and plan to write about the law and religion in detail. In fact, based on the results of my research I have considered exploring legal options for official recognition of atheists, their rights and what this means for the Indian personal laws on marriage, divorce and inheritance (which as you are probably aware are religous laws). Unfortunately, I have exams till the 20th (I’m not quite a lawyer yet), so this may take a couple of weeks.

        • nitwitnastik permalink*
          May 9, 2009 12:57 pm

          Great, I will be eagerly waiting for it and all the best for your exams.

  2. May 16, 2009 1:13 pm

    Nitwit, I predict that if you choose to completely read this sentence, at the end of it you’d end up reading it completely! And if you leave reading midway, you’d have not completed reading it!

    Am I suitable for astrology?

    TCC, all the best for your post and exam!


    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      May 16, 2009 3:24 pm

      LOL !! Btw, I am not sure which exam. I am no longer a student.

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