INR 25,00,000 challenge to all astrologers to forecast result of Parliament Election 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: , Email id of President: ) and any of the following Press:

  1. Anandabazar Patrika
  2. Bartaman
  3. Star Ananda
  4. Kolkata TV
  5. The Statesman
  6. The Times of India
  7. NDTV
  8. Aajtak
  9. BBC
  10. PTI
  11. UNI
  12. AFP
  13. 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


Added on May 15, 2009

These are some of the comments received in response to our challenge. We are grateful to all these scientists and thinkers for giving such serious thoughts and for using various statistical methods to find out the odds! We have already received two applications and sent them to PTI news agency. Ha ha! The game is on ! Let's see till tomorrow! We are as excited as the astrologers !!!
Written by James Randi, May 12, 2009

Thank you! Your society has issued an effective and provocative challenge, one which should be publicized widely.

I predict that the astrologers will ignore it, as they always do. James Randi James Randi Educational Foundation USA Written by Joaquin Cabrejas, May 12, 2009

I like the challenge!

Joaquin Cabrejas Member Services Assistant American Humanist Association Written by N. Innaiah, May 12, 2009

Dear friend I am writing this from USA ( returning to India by 25 may). This is timely and excellent challenge. The cunning astrologers will not face this challenge but after results claim that they predicted.Yet there are gullible public to believe and support them. Another suggestion is that who ever publish the prediction , when it goes wrong , they should be punished under existing cheating laws. N. Innaiah Chairman, Center for Inquiry India

Written by Biplab Das, May 12, 2009


Written by Star Gazer, May 13, 2009 My astrological charts tell me no one is going to win this challenge 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) 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. 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. ... Written by Mark P, May 13, 2009 Answer to --"one astrologer may just guess it all" You're kidding, right? 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. ... written by tctheunbeliever, May 14, 2009 Hopefully the results are less predictable than say, the U.S. Senate. Jason Written by BillyJoe, May 14, 2009 You stuffed it. Astrology is like Quantum Mechanics: once you observe it, it changes. BJ Written by BillyJoe, May 14, 2009 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 astrologers were wrong and only 1 was right. BJ 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 were talking about and they may get thousands of responses. 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. Astrologer 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! 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.

Read also:
  1. 15 responses received to our challenge to ‘Astrologers’
  2. RESULTS of ‘INR 25,00,000 challenge to all astrologers to forecast result of Parliament Election 2009′
  3. 25 lakh prize for poll prediction
  4. Now that the votes are in, astrologers are the losers
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