|Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society|
|Academicians Protest the Dominance of Pseudoscience in the Russian Army|
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The Editors of Izvestia have received a letter which we are publishing unabridged.
An interview with Mr. S. Bezrodnyy "Each Region of Moscow is Governed by the Cosmos" was published in Izvestia on 18 August 2003. We weren't going to react to this, to put it mildly, strange interview, which contained a stream of absurd statements: there are more than enough cock-and-bull stories published. But in this case we could not remain silent.
It turns out that there is a "Center of Scientific Astrology" at the Russian Federation Armed Forces Cultural Center! It is hard to think of a greater mockery of common sense. For beginning with Cicero, many thinkers have exposed astrology and not once and not twice demonstrated its groundlessness. Modern scientists also have explained repeatedly why its predictions are fallacious and why astrology has nothing in common with science.
Just for the sake of convincing the innocent public, scientists have repeatedly conducted special research which indicates that the predictions of astrology are groundless. The most convincing arguments against astrology have been acquired by British scientists who began an experiment back in March of 1958 and continues to this day. Inasmuch as the basic thesis of astrology is that the position of constellations and planets at the moment of a child's birth determine the character and future life of the individual, the British scientists selected young people for the experiment who were born in an interval of less than a minute (so-called time twins) and observed them for many years. More than 2000 people were studied in all. Observations were made of the health, the type of occupation, family status, intellectual level, and musical, artistic, athletic, mathematical, linguistic, etc. talents. In all more than 100 parameters were taken into consideration.
As one ought to expect, nothing in common between the "time twins" was observed. They turned out to be as different from one another as people who were born at various times under any other constellations. As we see, the experiment convincingly demonstrates the groundlessness of astrology even to people who are not burdened with deep scientific knowledge. How then to evaluate the activity of the Center of Scientific Astrology? From our point of view, this is blatant charlatanism, a return to the Middle Ages. This didn't begin today.
We recall that five years ago one high-ranking military official predicted the beginning of a thermonuclear war in the summer of 1999. We recall that for several years a military astrologer, Captain 1st Rank A. Buzinov who was widely publicized in the mass media, pursued his activities at the fringes of the Ministry of Defense and General Staff. In one of his "prophecies" he "predicted" the crash of the Ruslan aircraft near Irkutsk on the basis of a new astrology whose secrets he alone holds.
We leave the episode of the Ruslan to the conscience of Mr. Buzinov, who "foresaw" several large catastrophes. For some reason we always find out about these surprising prophecies after the fact. On the other hand, there are several cases when Mr. Buzinov actually made "forecasts", but they turned out to be quite far from reality. At one time he mentioned a number of addresses in Moscow where, according his calculations, explosives were stored which, of course, there turned out not to be...
Astrology has also reached the law enforcement bodies. It seems as if we are the world leaders here. And so Mr. Buzinov has also managed to advise the procuracy. Of course, in this case he was also way off, which a procuracy official who had turned to Buzinov for help, reported to us.
Recently, together with Mr. A. Sinyakov, a "scientist" from St. Petersburg, Buzinov has been moving in on a new gold vein, unfortunately with the open support of a number of high-ranking military people. The idea of this new "project" is that a majority (up to 90%!) of technology-caused catastrophes on Earth occur not as a consequence of equipment failure, human error, imprecise orders, etc. but as a result of a mythical "local geophysical resonance (LGR)" resulting during a certain arrangement of planets and causing any possible misfortune (the death of Yuriy Gagarin, the collapse of the shelter at the St. Petersburg Metro station, the loss of the submarine Kursk, etc.). at certain locations on Earth. The dangerous LGR spots are constantly drifting in the Earth's vicinity, so to avoid catastrophes, according to the authors' "theory", one can simply avoid dangerous places in space and time.
Essentially the LGR concept is no different from ordinary astrology inasmuch as it operates exclusively by planetary coordinates in the vault of the heavens (not even distinguishing them by mass!); however, it is embellished by scientific-sounding musings about "the energy of a physical vacuum" and "vacuum resonances" which are caused by the relative movement of planets. All this is packed into a private computer program giving the appearance of a scientific character to "LGR theory". Of course, from the scientific point of view such a concept is completely unfounded, but it is finding many supporters both among high-ranking bosses who are concerned about the growth in the frequency of technology-caused accidents as well as among officials who "assimilate" with satisfaction the resources allocated for the detailed development of "a new idea".
In recent years a quite depressing trend has been observed: besides astrologers, the power ministries are bringing in wizards, psychics, and "scientists" whom science does not let in the door. And, alas, the Ministry of Defense is in the front ranks in this movement back to the Middle Ages. There was a military unit 10003 until recently which would have been immediately disbanded had there been objective, qualified expert review. The "science" which flourished in this military unit could exist only thanks to a regime of senseless secrecy. The secret driving forces of what happened are obvious: ignorance and corruption.
Russia is trying to become a civilized democratic country. This won't happen if we view a new era of Rasputinism with indifference.
Academicians Ye. B. Aleksandrov, V. L. Ginzburg, Eh. P. Kruglyakov, V. Ye. Fortov
Translated by G. Goldberg
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