Russian astrologer nutcase sues NASA over Deep Impact.

Every now and then after I post an entry about some delusional twit who’s carrying on about some form of pseudoscience or another I’ll get a couple of angry emails from people who demand to know just who the hell I think I am to ridicule someone just because they’re a flaming idiot? “So what if they believe in [insert nutball belief here]?!” they demand in angry tones, “As long as they’re not hurting anybody then what’s the harm?”

It’s a hard case to argue against and when push comes to shove I’ll be the first to admit that if you’re going to insist on being a dumbass then you have every right in the world to do so, but I’ll still call you a dumbass for it. Every now and then, however, I come across a news item like this one which demonstrates clearly why the dumbasses need to be bitch-slapped a couple of times until they get some common sense knocked into them.

It seems a Russian astrologist by the name of Marina Bai is suing NASA in Russian court to try to put a stop to their plans to crash a probe in the Tempel-1 comet on July 4:

In a lawsuit she filed last month with the Presnensky district court in Moscow, Bai is demanding that NASA call off its $311 million operation, with the spacecraft already in its cruise phase. She also wants 8.7 billion rubles (the ruble equivalent of the entire cost of the mission) in compensation for moral damages.

“The actions of NASA infringe upon my system of spiritual and life values, in particular on the values of every element of creation, upon the unacceptability of barbarically interfering with the natural life of the universe, and the violation of the natural balance of the Universe,” Bai said in her claim.

You thought Tree Huggers were bad, meet the world’s first Comet Hugger. The really depressingly sad part about this story? She’s not alone in her concerns:

“Imagine leaving Moscow, then returning to find everything’s changed,” says Vladimir Portnov, a physicist and a professional astrologist. “Of course, everyday people will feel the implications of destroying a comet.”

According to Portnov, even something as “minor” as comets play a role in creating humanity’s psychic environment. By wantonly destroying a comet, NASA will inevitably disrupt that environment — with the most likely result being mass anxiety.

Give me a friggin’ break. Talk about your oxymorons! I love how this clown is described as a professional astrologist, but not a professional physicist. There’s probably a good reason for that.

Whether or not there’s any chance that these clowns have any chance of actually affecting the Deep Impact mission doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people still have to review the case in Russia and even possible the United States over a ridiculous claim that has no basis in reality simply because some idiot believes in astrology. This sort of lunacy isn’t confined to Russia either, we’ve had a fair number of similar astoundingly stupid lawsuits here in the states as well. What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Update: PZ Myers tackles this one as well.

87 thoughts on “Russian astrologer nutcase sues NASA over Deep Impact.

  1. I stopped having these conversations, well, when I stopped dropping acid and smoking pot.

  2. eddies dancing from wave to wavetop in the Zogtrix

    I remember that night-club. Do you have Eddie’s phone number, zilch? Haven’t spoken to him in ages…

  3. MRK421 said:

    She had the last laugh though – She was angered by my joke and informed me that she was originally from Orion and was inhabiting the body of someone who had grown tired of the earth. It was a very nice body so I didn’t argue.

    So did you apologize for you insensitivity and offer to buy her a drink? Seems like the decent thing to do. wink

  4. This is the fuck I am talking about: The outcome of a project weighing dying patients in their bed pre and immediately post the point of death, in every case concluding with a weight loss of 21 grams (no matter patient size). Search the internet for more info. Btw what the fuck is your problem?




    This is a joke, right? Where’s the camera?

    Are you one of those fucked up fucks who don’t believe in souls?

    Yes, in fact, I AM one of those fucked up fucks. Proudly so.

    I also don’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, Superman, Thetans, Evil Galactic Overlords or Honest Politicians.

    And I’m beginning to doubt your existence……

  5. MacDougall’s ‘21 gram soul’

    MacDougall’s work was written up in The New York Times, which also covered his hope, some years later, to take a photo of the soul using X-rays. His work is viewed with palpable embarrassment now. “It’s simply not taken seriously,” says Stern.

    But auras, now those are totally real.  I know this chick whose got this special crystal, and if she looks through it at the right angle, she can totally see your aura.  I know it works, ‘cause she did it to me, and said that my aura revealed that I was noble, courageous, sensitive, and totally hot.

  6. I know it works, ‘cause she did it to me, and said that my aura revealed that I was noble, courageous, sensitive, and totally hot.

    Grope the pope, dude! It doesn’t take a crystal to see THAT about you.

  7. Yes, in fact, I AM one of those fucked up fucks. Proudly so.

    KPG, what a great line for a quote-mine…

    Grope the pope, dude! It doesn’t take a crystal to see THAT about you.

    I agree, Brock, but I think I’ll buy a couple of crystals for certain friends of mine…

  8. Yes, in fact, I AM one of those fucked up fucks. Proudly so.

    Proud of considering yourself a robot? Well, congratulations. Let’s commercialize.

    Bet you also strongly believe that at first there was nothing (everything has to start from scratch, right?). Then, out of nowhere, came a cloud which finally exploded. And out of that, eventually, came some hundreds of thousands of galaxies. With stars, planets, comets, biodiversity and all that. Quite accidentally, everything – from the extent of Universe to the single atom – would be co-ordinated and fine tuned, thru principles of ecology, geology, meteorology, astronomy, anatomy, electricity, magnetism, deniability and scepticism. And then came Santa.

    And I’m beginning to doubt your existence……

    I’m not for real. I’m just a voice inside your head telling you to wake up.

  9. Proud of considering yourself a robot? Well, congratulations.

    I won’t presume to answer for KPG, but as far as I’m concerned, robots can be pretty wonderful- look at a gazelle, or the Dalai Lama.  Sure, they and we are meat robots, not metal robots, but inventing a supernatural “soul” doesn’t explain anything and doesn’t make us more wonderful.

    As far as cosmology goes- physicists are now convinced that there’s no problem with the universe coming from nothing, but that’s beside the point.  The problem is, as you say, to explain order.  But postulating a God or a Zog or whatever, who set the whole thing going, has no explanatory power, because then you have to explain how God, who would have to have even more order than the universe, was created from nothing.

    Theologians have all kinds of answers for the creation of God- the “Uncaused Cause” is a favorite- but it’s all just causistry.  There is no logical demonstration of the existence- or the nonexistence- of Santa or God.

    And claiming the universe is “co-ordinated and fine tuned” is unmotivated.  Sure, the universe we live in, and the planet we live on, seem eminently suitable to us.  This is the “anthropic principle”, which sees all circumstances as ordered to suit us.  But this is a tautology- we wouldn’t be here if conditions weren’t such as to make life, and humans, possible, here and now.  Among the untold millions of planets with different environments, Earth had all the right stuff, and here we are.  No need to invent a Designer- the design of life comes from the bottom up, not the top down.

  10. Thanks Zilch, you saved me from having to type all of that so I could sit back and just giggle at Mediator. I love it when folks claim the soul weighs 21 grams. Oh, and your fingernails continue to grow for a short while after you die, right? Hee!

    Though I will point out that the current Big Bang theory doesn’t say the universe came from nothing. Rather it says that everything in the universe was, at one point in time, all energy compressed into a really ridiculously tiny point called a singularity. If one accepts that energy cannot be destroyed, but can change form, then the logical conclusion is that the energy from which the universe began has always existed. So to say the universe “came from nothing” is not technically correct.

    Of course, you already knew that Zilch. I was just pointing it out for *snicker* Mediator’s benefit.

  11. Man you are tough. I bet you make flies (YOUR pets?) tremble. May I worship you? Sorry if any of the stuff that I just wrote made you sick. Thought you were man enough to take it. My bad.

      Not quite sure what you meant there.  No, no flies for pets just: a caecilian, an African lungfish, softshell turtle, assorted dogs, chickens, ducks, and guinea fowl, 3 parrots, a tarantula and two ancient ferrets (my wife’s along with the crappy poultry).
      You can surely worship me if you like.  My preferred form of worship is tithing- preferably 100% of whatever you make.
      No, nothing you said made me sick- other than laughing so hard that I got a stomach ache.
      Take what?

  12. Mediator said:
    “Just knowing” is a beautiful thing, and all the proof that I ever need.

    …thus summing up in one beautifully economical sentence the very essence of credulity.  Sir, I am in awe of your mastery of the language.

  13. Is it just me or is Mediator’s comments becoming more nonsensical with each iteration?

    No theory is waterproof. All are vulnerable should new evidence or a better theory come along. Science doesn’t claim to know anything with 100% certainty, though some theories seem to hold up pretty damn well.

  14. I just ran across a splendid fisking of the Astrologer’s discomfiture on Jame’s Randi’s site.  LOL

    Here’s a free sample:

    …of course, since one of astrology’s biggest claims is of being a predictor of the future, why wasn’t she able to see the impact coming? After all, once the probe had been launched successfully, scientists had a pretty good idea that Tempel 1 was in for a surprise about six months later, and then there’s all the planning leading up to the launch. I think all the savvy minor-comet-inclusive astrologers ought to have taken Tempel 1 off their lists a year or so ago and waited to see what happened, although, again, couldn’t they predict..?

  15. Not quite sure what you meant there.

    Bad memory? “Pet theories”, remember? Might be a good idea to have your head examined. Could you please do me a favour and explain to me this Big Bang theory again, I just don’t seem to get it. Amuse me. And attempt to do the pyramids, crop circles, near death experiences, healing, telepathy, canalization and general clairvoyance while you’re at it. Bet science has some pretty nonsensical pet theories on those phenomena too, to reuse your and Les’ terms.

    Intriguing to learn about your wife and pets, warbi. I’m sure you have a tremendously passionate and loving life together, the entire herd of you.

    Science doesn’t claim to know anything with 100% certainty, though some theories seem to hold up pretty damn well.

    Well, many scientific theories hold water. The other ones require some amount of experimenting. Like “wonder how many megatons of nuclear explosive force does it take do destroy our civilization”? And “what number of legs is optimal for the perfect soccer player”, “hey, this dude is too anxious, let’s cut a couple of wires inside his head and see what happens”, “let’s try and cure homosexuality” and “wonder how much Coca Cola would be willing to pay to have their logo pasted all over the full moon a friday night”?

    Is it just me or is Mediator’s comments becoming more nonsensical with each iteration?

    And what is it with you guys – what is this call for backup nonsense of yours all about? Here you are, coincidently born into some society, adopting most of its rules no questions asked, trusting what you are told to trust pro-American as you are, indoctrinated, like ever-accepting robots. Autopilot on, blinders on. Comparing yourself to your neighbours, your friends and stereotypes you see in media, adjusting course if necessary. Trying to normalize and be less than your fullest potential, hiding behind your patriotism and all the fancy stuff that you buy. Leaving the control of your life to others. Where the hell did your true identity go? And you don’t even see the problem. Not even now, as it has been pointed out to you. You will claim I am wrong again, but take a good look at yourself and you will see that I’m not. That goes for you too, decrepitoldfool-the-librarian – put away your magnifying glass, and you might be able pick up some good points from some broad-minded foreigner now and then. Being open is always the healthy approach.

    Well, gotta go. World goes on, even though you don’t seem to be. Might check in later, if holiday or other aspects of my harmonious life don’t get to me first… if not, you shall all know that it has been interesting to witness the stuck-up pro-American stubbornness up close. It was pretty much according to my assumptions. And good luck with the rest of your lives.

  16. You can tell Mediator hasn’t looked around this site much. Me? Stuck-up pro-American? Man, I can think of some folks who would laugh their asses off over someone trying to apply that label to me. Still, as I said before, it’s a refreshing change to be called such things.

    Hey, if nothing else, Mediator certainly is amusing.

  17. mediator said:
    “decrepitoldfool-the-librarian – put away your magnifying glass, and you might be able pick up some good points from some broad-minded foreigner now and then. Being open is always the healthy approach.”

    Wonderful!  I actually do carry a magnifying glass.  Lately I have been using it a lot to watch ants – fascinating creatures.

    I agree it is healthy to be open to new evidence.  That is what you meant, wasn’t it?

    Wait!  Don’t go!

    Darn.  And it was just starting to get interesting.

  18. Mediator spewed forth:

    And attempt to do the pyramids, crop circles, near death experiences, healing, telepathy, canalization and general clairvoyance while you’re at it.

    Wow. Mediator appears to believe EVERY crack pot theory ever developed. I bet if he ever watched Penn and Teller’s Bullshit his head would simply explode.

    Maybe he’s the anti-Randi……

  19. You can tell Mediator hasn’t looked around this site much.

    True. Maybe “pro-american” was too prejudiced in your case, but the patriotism and stuckupedness you ooze right here at this very place. And, everything is relative. You might not be more of those than the average American man.

    I agree it is healthy to be open to new evidence.  That is what you meant, wasn’t it?

    True. Evidence for the open minded only to catch.

    Wow. Mediator appears to believe EVERY crack pot theory ever developed.

    There’s a great difference between believing something and living it. It’s all based on experience. That’s more than disciples of science like you may claim, swallowing theories you don’t even comprehend – how clever is that? Guess you’re one of those who laugh when you don’t get the point too.

    You’d be surprised if you knew what I know… but once you know, paradoxically it won’t surprise you at all.

    Points are often easily illustrated through paradoxical expressions…

    We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.
    Walter Anderson

    To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference.
    Joan Didion

    Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.
    David M. Burns

    Tragedy is the greatest art form of all. It gives us the courage to continue with our life by exposing us to the pain of life. It is unsentimental, it takes us seriously as human beings, it is not condescending. Paradoxically, by seeing pain we are made greater, it becomes a need.
    Howard Barker

    But why strive for eternal happiness when there are ham sandwiches?
    Which is better, eternal happiness or a ham sandwich? It would appear that eternal happiness is better, but this is really not so! After all, nothing is better than eternal happiness, and a ham sandwich is certainly better than nothing. Therefore a ham sandwich is better than eternal happiness.
    Smullyan (1), p. 219

    Have a great, spiritually uplifing summer, guys! I’ll check back later ;o)

  20. This and the half-built bomb shelter in my backyard are precisely the reasons I quit smoking pot.

    Mediator: “There is a plan behind everything”

    “The Plan” is that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. The moon is slowly leaving us, the sun is going to eventually burn out, Yellowstone could blow us all to the underground inferno any second now. . . So, you see, “The Plan” was to put non- 21 gram soul -believing Atheists in NASA so they could blow shit up, knock things into other things, and very soon send Earth flying into a Black Hole. I “just know” Universe is going to save time and resources this way. So you see, it is all okay. All is going according to “The Plan.”

    I understand.
    The resident Neurotic

  21. There’s a difference between being open minded and being an overly credulous idiot

    Just like there’s a quite conspicuous difference between “grown up” and “overgrown”.

    being an overly credulous idiot

    Credulous? I believe that I made myself clear enough for a donkey to understand. But then again – you’re not a donkey, are you? Even though you’re just as obstinate as one.

    I also know first hand how easily the senses are fooled and how real something that isn’t can seem.

    True. But just like there’s a difference between being open minded and being credulous, “believing” and “knowing” are different things. Being open minded is the most fundamental condition for successful personal development. And that includes body, mind AND soul. Denying ones spiritual self just because it has not “appeared”, is like denying oranges just because you have never seen one.

    I was once an agnostic, and as rigid as I am I can promise you it took dozens of solid proof to convince me. Visuals and physical encounters, more than clear and obvious enough. Absolutely no drugs involved, in case you wonder. No nothing. But why I am wasting my vacation on discussing spiritual matters with an ateist, beats me.

    You’d be surprised if you knew what I know… but once you know, paradoxically it won’t surprise you at all.

    Actually, I doubt I’d be surprised by anything you have to say. I haven’t been so far.

    That’s the point! Simply memorizing Freud and Nietsche’s works won’t make you a genious in psychology. I’m talking about the day you KNOW. If that day even comes in your current life.

    But the truth is I do understand

    An ateist is completely incapable of understanding how it feels to be spiritually awake. Just trust me there – it’s true, and you know that. But envious – you’re not, happily unknowing as you are.

    The best of luck with your life!

  22. Wow!  Glad I made it back from camping in time for more of Mediator’s Monologues! wink

    Denying ones spiritual self just because it has not “appeared

  23. Mediator, I can’t speak for anyone else here, but if you want to diss me for being “pro-American,” feel free because I am, with no apology.  That is not the same thing as being “pro-Iraq-war”, or “pro-Bush”, etc.  Nor is it the same as being “anti-” the rest of the world.  I hope those distinctions do not cause you any difficulty.

    One can be open to unsupported claims (all too common) or be open to claims supported by evidence.  Then the question is: what is evidence?  To me, that would be something that can be perceived by anyone (not just believers), measured/recorded by instruments, and in many cases predictable by scientific theory and/or reproducable by experiment.

    If your standard of evidence is things only believers can perceive, or “whatever feels right,” we have little basis for establishing what is proved or indeed, even for discussion.

    An ateist is completely incapable of understanding how it feels to be spiritually awake.

    You’ve ended three of your comments with some variation of “have a nice life”, which implies you do not intend to return.  There’s no need for you to leave but you should not expect rationalists to uncritically greet your unsupported claims. 

    Nor do you know what any other person understands about spirituality.  How do you know you are the one who does not understand?  You don’t.

  24. Blah, blah, blah, blah…

    Hello “me”. Got an e-mail notification, but where’s your post?

    I’ll comment as little as possible, MY efforts of communication is probably a waste anyway.

    i must say i am truly APPALLED at the general lack of
    commonplace education here (i am only a sophomore in high school)

    My stats:
    – IQ: 146 (Mensa)
    – at your point of education: was rated #7 in my country in mathematics
    – #4 in my country in fitness symmetry
    Is this the only form of communication you comprehend?

    Pride pride pride I did this I know that brag brag blah blah… do you think I give a s**t? I couldn’t care less about my stats; what matters in the world today is people’s ability to show compassion and tolerance. It is no longer the necessity of science that drives us, it is some stupid eager to play God, to “succeed at succeeding”! It is all getting out of hand today, and we all have to wake up, or it is going to bring us down… down for good.

    Nations vanity – the hunt for prestige and this silly patriotism – brings only more distance into the world. And distance creates dissatisfaction, envy… and generates different sorts of extremities. The world is getting smaller and more fragile every day. One mad person with one bad tool is all that it takes. And we close our eyes shut our ears spray some perfume on and claim that it is “their fault alone”. I’d say time has come to take some responsibility.

    But just carry on feeding your ego, mister – and see where it takes us…

    u r a Christian?!?!?!?!?!  with all this shit on the “plan for everything”
    you sure dont seem like a christian.  yes, God knows what you will do, or
    rather God knows the choices you will face, but that doesnt mean that if you
    stray from God he wont recieve you.  that is why His son died for us, so we
    could be forgiven, so we could spend eternity with Him.

    No, I did not say that I was a Christian… and atleast not of the conservative kind (the ones slaying through Europe some centuries ago, remember?). Guess you’ve figured that out already. I’m simply a human connected to God, just like you and everybody else on this planet (even the ones living in denial, whether they like the idea or not). Fighting for boundless freedom, openess and honesty, justice and tolerance.

    What is “a true christian” to you? Do you feel that Jesus gives you a “legit exuse” to shut your eyes, and avoid taking any responsibility? Is he like bayberry to you? Do you feel true inner peace? You sound like a Christian-in-mind, striving to understand, afraid to let go. Quite judgmental and intolerant too, I’d say. Let go of your ego, and what you think you believe, and I’ll guarantee you the benifit of an improved life quality, and the true connection with God. Mystery of life can only be solved by turning our focus… searching inwards… glad I figured that long time ago.

  25. Hey gang! Got lots of time on your hands? The Bizarro Man is back!

    #4 in my country in fitness symmetry

    Whoa, Mediator! Wouldn’t want to meet you in some dark, symmetrical alley!

  26. Always amusing to read his latest attempts at forming coherent sentences…

    Blah, blah, blah, blah…

    Hello “me

  27. Truth, openness and genuineness is an absolute necessity for succeeding in life.

    Fear is a product of untruthfulness, which comes from insecurity. If there is fear in you, then you are not true to yourself. I am not completely true to myself. But by accepting that, knowing most of my weaknesses, wishing to reveal all those unknown – I am able to eliminate them one by one as I move on.

    We are all patriots – gang members – in some aspect. Because we are too insecure to stand on our own feet. Influenced by our surroundings. Worry how our neighbour or our best friend would react, instead of just doing what we feel is the right thing to do, without hesitation. I am no exception, but I am consciously working on it, every day.

    Detachment – the transforming into oneself – achieving sovereignty – is a lifelong process – but I do belive that most of us are moving in that direction – and wow how rewarding it is! Makes one understand that each and every one of us is a unique individual with a tremendous potential – and not just the vague replica we resemble. Understanding that unity does not necessarily make strong… but only if you unite with the forces within you, and not with the external ones, which tend to mislead you and bring you down. Completing the puzzle inside, piece by piece. The day when nobody can put you in any box – no matter how tiny – is the day you graduate. The day you allow anyone to look into any aspect of your life, without resistance. The day you are 100% secure. The day you dare to spill your inner emotions all over your own website, Les.

    Who is “buying into nonsense”? Who is the real “fool”? When was the last time you dared to stick your neck out for love, Les? Why are you being so hard on yourself? Who taught you that? Ask yourself those questions, Les. Or, ask your friends, if you’re not man enough to deal with them yourself…

  28. The coherency is getting better even if the content is still as nonsensical as always. Keep working on it Mediator and eventually you may actually write something worth reading.

  29. Les,

    I wish you and all your loved ones the best of luck with your meaningful lives, hoping that before you die, you will all find peace of mind… and the ultimate happiness.

    I truely do.


  30. Now there’s a comment I can appreciate, Mediator. Though it may surprise you, I also hope you and yours do well and prosper.

  31. blank stare  i noticed most people sue others over somthing that can be solved by conversation or by just ignoring it…


    …i would if i was drunk…and high…of (insert drug illegal in US here) at the same time… but actually if i wuz, i’d be dead so that solves that problem…  ( gulp  mixed with sick )

    frm: ME Me me

  32. This lawsuit isn’t exactly as bullshit when you place it squarely in financial terms: The prospective loss of profit and value faced by the plaintiff as the defendant willfully impacts public property being legally used by the plaintiff for her livelihood. I’m not saying that it’s not bullshit on a whole different level, but in some respects its a lot like suing the government to stop them from tearing down the public wetlands next to your business because of the prospective loss of profits or increased costs for making up the value of the lost green space.

    Most lawsuits aren’t about disagreements you can solve with conversation or that you can ignore though. It costs too much money to engage in legal activities for most people to use them that frivolously. It’s about money, and people don’t easily come to agreements over money so they ask the government to arbitrate for them; and it’s about power, when the government is the only agency strong enough to compel an action from someone (as, in this case, the government itself.)

    I can’t believe I got suckered into replying to a three year old thread.

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