Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Astrologer in Trouble

Emil Leshtanski, a Bulgarian astrologer, predicted that a massive earthquake would hit the city of Haskovo on Easter night, killing 80,000 people. Like most atrological predictions, this one didn't come true. But the abysmal track record of psychics and charlatans didn't stop hundreds of people from sleeping in tents and in their cars for fear of being crushed by collapsing buildings. Now, those people are seeking Leshtanski's prosecution for spreading false information and inciting a panic. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to two years in jail. But while it's always good for a fraud to be so publicly exposed, I'm not sure prosecution is in order. People, after all, should have freedom of speech. Though it could be said that telling an entire city they're all going to die is the same as shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. Still, it's not unreasonable to assume that the person shouting "fire" might have actually seen a fire. But believing someone who says the Earth is going to shake because of how the stars are positioned? Not quite the same thing. More details here.

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