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.