Thursday, February 4, 2010

QMDJ analysis of a much-talked-about litigation


I asked my students to use Qi Men Dun Jia to give an analysis of the verdict based on the date and time when the verdict was delivered.


Eduardo Hess, one of my best students, has done a good job. Here is what he posted to the QMDJ group:

Dear Joseph, all


I haven't followed well this case (sorry) and I'm bit behind on
litigation analysis, but I'll give it a try.

It looks that ChinaChem had won the case

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8492596.stm
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/02/02/2010-02-02_feng_shui_master_denied_billionaire_businesswoman_nina_wangs_fortune_in_hong_kon.html


yang ju #3, gui wei day, ding si hour

Plaintiff (ChinaChem) is the guest as it initiated the case, and Tony
Chan (defendant) is the host.
Commander (plaintiff) is found in Li, and Hero, the Tian Yi
(defendant) is found in Qian. That also coincide with DS palace and HS
palace. Since Li controls Qian it looks as a clear cut victory on the
plaintiff side.
The judge (Open Door in Xun) favours the plaintiff and even though
witness statements and evidences (Harmonies in Qian) had some impact
on judge's decision, the plaintiff could rule them out. Actually the
judge felt much more convinced by plaintiff's statements (View in
Kan).
The lawyer (Shocking Door in Zhen) hasn't done his best for the
defendant, This palace favours the plaintiff palace and had
disagreement with the defendant palace.

Door Fan Yin chart makes the decision quick and fierce from the judge
side, yet plaintiff and defendant both on external palaces speak about
continuation.. this case does not seem to having ended here (going to
appeal?)

"Snake struggling twining" in plaintiff palace (Li) indicates
litigation about documents, with guest (Gui) controlling host (Ding)
within the palace, plaintiff had the upper hand by effectivly laid a
trap to discredit the will.
"Crimson Bird into jail" in defendant palace (Qian) - criminal
released and officer steps down, the cause has been lost and the
defendant is very disappointed and could fire his lawyer
"Trapped dragon injured" in lawyer palace (Zhen) is a loss in a
lawsuit. Defendant is angry at him (Qian controls Zhen)
"Fire star into imprisonment" into judge palace is about contracts and
agreements. Open in Xun is also about signatures, with strong Grass to
bridge metal and wood makes it quite effective on generating plaintiff
palace Li. Bing also represent money, Grass takes it and Heaven flies
the money out to plaintiff palace Li.

Special features:

"Earth Borrow" in defendent palace stands for hiding, making
preparation and exploring into secret affairs. To me indicates a
change in strategy while preparing future moves.
"Wonder wandering into Lu location" in judge palace is a positive
feature, it appears that judge's verdict will be hailed as a good and
wise decision by pubblic opinion. However "Heaven Dominance" over the
year stem Ji, had made him impatient and wishing to conclude the case
in the most socially acceptable way. There might be regrets in the
future.
"Dancing Snake struggling twining" in plaintiff palace: even though he
won the case, it has been accomplished with twisted means, his fortune
cames most from the judge's ideas than from his own ability (official
in the palace also makes him quite stubborn)
"Venus entering Mars" in plaintiff statements palace is an indication
of how he presented the case: Nina Wong's will has been forged and
documentation is fake. However the palace is Void acording to the
hour. That would likely stand for inconsistencies on his assertions
and a cause for further developments.
"Forbidden Five Hours", hour stem clashes day stem (actually the date
is a full clash with the month too), not a positive feature at all.
The story doesn't end here, there will be future consequences.


Conclusions: this interpretation comes out purely from my attempt to
read the chart with no background about the case. Hope it doesn't
appear as a complete nonsense :-)


Best of Qi

Edu

34 comments:

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,


Was this analysis done before or after the ruling was announced ?



Danny

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

When I gave the assignment, the ruling was supposed to be 24 hours later. When Edu posted his analysis, he included the link to BBC news and obviously it was after the announcement. The analysis is for academic interest only. Using the technique of QMDJ it makes no difference when the analysis is done as the basic rules are quite straight forward.

JY

Howard said...

After Qimen Dunjia, here is a face reading analysis of the verdict:

http://www.cnngo.com/hong-kong/play/will-tony-chan-go-jail-fortune-teller-master-ma-predicts-330939

Joseph, since you are involved with the case, what is your personal analysis of the verdict?

fsa

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Howard,

I will only comment on the Fung Shui part of the litigation.

The judge wants to know:

1. Whether there is a practice involving a Fung Shui will in Hong Kong.

2. Whether the 2006 will is a Fung Shui will.

I know that I actually cannot say anything about these two points as whatever I say will only be a subjective opinion and not factual evidence. Therefore I focus at pointing out certain mistakes in Master Szeto's report. For example, to justify that "planting a life base" was a technique that had a long history, Master Szeto relates to Zhang Liang putting his four pillars among other things in a tomb to build a life base for himself. I pointed out that the four pillars was invented by Li Xu Zhong and consolidated by Xu Zi Ping who lived many centuries after Zhang Liang's time. Obviously I was in a position to dispute Master Szeto's evidence in this case as this is historical fact that the judge may not know.

The lawyer who cross-examined Master Szeto tried hard to discredit him by pointing out that he plagiarised a website and copied the mistakes from a book. This was all ignored as the judge did not require someone to be knowledgeable to testify that the will was a Fung Shui will. It is enough to show that there is a practice that resembles the Fung Shui will theory. However, the judge was not satisfied with the evidence presented by Master Szeto as the practice involved petitioning to a god to bring the request of the petitioner to the highest god in Heaven. This was not in the 2006 will. There is not enough similarity between the petition commonly used and the 2006 will. Therefore, the judge concludes that there is not enough evidence to prove the 2006 will is a Fung Shui will.

The part I played in this case was just some kind of formality that the defendant exercised his right to have an expert witness to write a report. The judgement that the 2006 will is not a Fung Shui will is fair.

JY

Howard said...

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for the feedback, I was hoping you would make a more general assessment of the case from your own points of view similar to what you have asked your students to do with QMDJ. We understood the role of the Feng Shui experts has not been much of use in this case.

What do you think of Judge Johnson Lam's comments on Tony Chan?

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=30&art_id=94046&sid=26926596&con_type=1&d_str=20100203&sear_year=2010

"Tony Chan is untruthful, unreliable and lacking in credibility. That was the scathing opinion of Justice Johnson Lam in a written judgment that runs to more than 300 pages.

Chan's evidence was "incredible," the judge found. "I do not find the first defendant [Chan] to be a credible witness. I find he is prepared to say anything to advance his claim in this action," Justice Lam said early in his judgment.

"[Chan's] own conduct betrayed him. If he did not want Nina's money, why would he give her the account number of his company for the three substantial remittances?

"I do not find him to be a credible witness and I find in many respects his evidence was tailored to suit his convenience. I do not believe what he testified regarding the provenance of the 2006 will. Apart from my general assessment of his credibility, I also find his evidence incredible.".....

Of course there is no obligation to answer this question, I am just curious that no one here mentioned the character of Tony Chan, which to a large extent, led to the outcome of the case.

Regards,
HC

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Howard,

I don't want to judge whether Tony Chan is an honest person. In the Fung Shui industry, he is the kind of practitioner that I despise.

Such practitioners are more in numbers than respectable practitioners. That is why it took me many years to decide to take up this profession.

My greatest achievement in life is to be able to tell myself peacefully that I have tried my best to introduce Chinese metaphysics to the west in a method parallel to scientific methods. Perhaps I should do the same in the east as well.

JY

Mary Catherine Bax said...

Hi Howard,

In Edu's analysis the defendant is described as a criminal, a lucky criminal who will be released.

Mary
www.marybax.com

Howard said...

Hi Mary,

I was more interested in Joseph's view of Tony Chan. If he is a criminal, then he should be behind bars:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGHfb5ZG3_A

The Cantonese song is called "If I were Tony Chan" and it had more than 170,000 hits in the last three days.

Howard
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Howard,


Whatever the case, one thing is clear already. This Tony Chan must be a very dumb person.
Given the amounts of money that Nina already payed him for his "services", why even bother to fight for the rest.
I would have thrown that will in the fire even if it were real.

Now he risks ending up in jail, and will waste a lot of money on greedy lawyers.

What he is going to do with these extra billions if he ultimately wins the case?
These billions didn't bring much good luck to Nina either.

TC has entered a case where even if he wins he loses.


Danny

joey said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dp2Zqk8vHw&feature=related

after watching this video, I "changewind" made the comments you can see in the link

Howard said...

Hi Danny,

"TC has entered a case where even if he wins he loses."

The complementary opposite would be:

"JY has entered a case where even if he loses he wins".

fsa :-)
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

如此的 said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

Fourpillars.net said...

>The complementary opposite would be:

"JY has entered a case where even if he loses he wins".
----

Hi Howard, Joseph,


It was not a case TC vs JY, so I am not sure your logic of complimentary opposite makes sense here.

As soon as the will was judged to be a forgery, the question whether it was a feng shui will or not, instantly became a moot point.
Why would anybody forge a feng shui will?
Only if the will was judged to be authentic, then the question of feng shui will would have come into play.

***

When we enter a situation there is usually loss and gain at the same time. If the gain is bigger than the loss, then we will say it was worth it.
So, was it worth it for Joseph?
Only he can answer.
But it's not difficult to see where the gain and loss is in this case.
To agree to work for TC as an expert witness in this court case, meant some loss of reputation.
One gets associated with a potential criminal, and gets some bad press accordingly.
And people will wonder why somebody would agree to work for a person whose practices he despises. Many will conclude that the explanation is in a word that starts with an "m".

Now, that trouble with public opinion would be worth it, if something better was gained from it.
What were the possible gains?
To able to give your opinion about "logical feng shui" in front of a Hong Kong court? Is that it?
The testimony now disappears between 1000s of other pages, probably never to be read again. I don't see much gain in that. It would be more effective to give your opinion on a blog where the whole world can read and discuss it.

The other possible gain is from the judge endorsing some of the ideas you presented.
But that has turned into a rather cold shower.
Not only was the testimony cut very short (and a fact picked up by the media vultures...)
But now in the final ruling the judge doesn't put much stock in Joseph's testimony.
He says why it was considered irrelevant for the case, and also he expresses his doubts that an objective assessment of feng shui is even possible.
So Joseph's written testimony about "logical feng shui" has not convinced the judge, and it has not even convinced him of the "possibility".
Doesn't get much worse than that.

If something was gained it is this: now we know that it will take much more than what Joseph wrote in his testimony, to convince a judge (or any other reasonable skeptic) that feng shui is based on logic and common sense.

It would be interesting to see what comments the judge gave about Mr Sveto's testimony.
Has it been posted somewhere?



Danny

Howard said...

"It was not a case TC vs JY, so I am not sure your logic of complimentary opposite makes sense here."

Hi Danny,

It is a mirror reflection, a symmetry of life. Some people may win and lose, others may lose and win.

To me, (it may not be to JY) he wins because he gets to say what he wants to say in a place he wants to say it in. Hong Kong is his home town.

It may not make sense to you, but it makes sense to me and that is another mirror reflection between you and me.

HC
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

Howard said...

"It would be interesting to see what comments the judge gave about Mr Sveto's testimony.
Has it been posted somewhere?"

Hi Danny,

Below are a couple of comments made by the judge on Szeto's evidence:

897. As regards the evidence of Master Szeto, he was able to testify on the following practices based on his personal experience as a Fung Shui practitioner of over 30 years in Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland. These practices are relevant to my assessment of the likelihood of the Specific Bequest Will being executed as a Fung Shui device.

898. According to him,

(a) There is a Fung Shui practice called Rebirth after Death involving the presentation of a petition to a deity or deities seeking, amongst other things, the prolongation of one’s life. Such a petition is also known as a Fung Shui will. The client would sign the petition for use in the rituals to be conducted by a Fung Shui master and the petition would be burnt in the course of the rituals.

(b) But the wordings of the petition varied, depending on the practice of the individual master. There is no rule that the petition must provide for the disposition of all the assets of the client. In the precedent petition exhibited by Master Szeto in his supplemental report, there is no disposition in favour of any person apart from offerings being made. Master Szeto also said a donation to charities may serve the same purpose.

(c) The essential part of a petition is that the petitioner would seek guidance and help from the deity or deities.

(d) There is another Fung Shui practice called planting a life-base involving digging of holes or a series of holes connected to each other. In the latter case, items would be put into some of the holes whilst some other holes could be empty. Jade pieces, paper talismans, scripts or paper artifacts can be put into such holes. Personal items like hair, nails, blood, clothings or shoes are put in as well.

(e) Planting of life-base can be done in conjunction with Rebirth after Death. Alternatively, the two practices can be performed separately.

(f) Fung Shui masters in Hong Kong customarily charge fees in amounts with figures 3, 6 and 8.

fsa
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

Fourpillars.net said...

>It may not make sense to you, but it makes sense to me and that is another mirror reflection between you and me.
----

Hi Howard,


Now you actually make sense for the first time.
That's what I have been trying to tell you, how people have different aims, different priorities, and different perspectives on almost everything in life, including metaphysics.

That's why common standards will remain a very uphill battle, and "common goal" is a pipe dream.
People have their individual aims or "goal", depending on their character and their priorities. And some have none.

For some people to have their say in front of their home town, however briefly, may be a long held desire. They will grab the chance even if it implies working for a person whose practices they despise.
Whether that's Joseph's case, I don't know.
Another person may not even be bothered to board a plane for it.
Yet another person may refuse to trade his principles in exchange for a brief moment in front of the TV cameras.

That's how priorities differ.

Of course that doesn't mean we cannot have a good look at was learned from this case.
And now we see some of the judge's comments on mr Sveto's testimony it becomes even more clear.
The judge was apparently not impressed with Joseph's testimony and does not respond to it in any detail (as he does with Mr Sveto).
He only expresses his doubts about the whole idea of "logical feng shui" and hints at the need for "independent objective assessment" in order to back up any such claims.


Danny

Foon said...

Hi Danny

The following link gives the full report from the judge.

http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/search/search_result_detail_frame.jsp?DIS=69592&QS=%2B&TP=JU

In order for the judge to make the comments about why he decided not to use Joseph's testimony, he had to read Joseph's report in the first place. Before the trial the judge already said it was not a 'court of feng shui'.

In the report the judge says that Nina Wang was a believer of feng shui. Yet the testimony of Mr Szeto did not provide the evidence to prove that the alleged 'fung shui will' bore a resemblance to the practice of petitioning heaven.

As the judge pointed out in the report no witnesses could answer the question as to why the alleged fung shui will was signed by two witnesses.

The judge was looking for evidence that the alleged fung shui will was part of the practices that a believer in feng shui, such as Nina Wang would follow.

The judge was not there to make a judgement about what amounts to feng shui practice and what does not. He needed to understand what the practices are and whether the 'fung shui will' amounted to use of such practices.

Hopefully, with your keen eye for accuracy, after reading the judge's report you will see that there is a bit more to take into account to get the full picture.

Best Regards,
Foon

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Foon,


It looks like the reading I had done was correct.
The case was decided on the handwriting/forgery issue, the feng shui questions barely played any role.
The judge mentions how the question of feng shui will had become a moot point as soon as it was found to be forgery (#886).

He spends 100s of paragraphs detailing the handwriting analysis, he gives about 20 paragraphs related to Mr Sveto's testimony, and he spent only 1 paragraph on Joseph's testimony.

In my reading Joseph was at Vanished stage and clashed away by the judge.
Mr Sveto was also weak line, but not clashed, so at least some of the things he said were taken serious and looked into. But it was not decisive for the case.


Danny

joey said...

Danny
It`s difficult for me to take serioiusly someone whose main source about climate change is the Mail online or a conspiracy site.
Why don`t you try the Daily telegraph? Have a problem with serious newspapers?

Fourpillars.net said...

Many people don't even take the pope or obama serious.
So why would you want to take me serious? There is no need to.

Truth does not depend on who says it or on where it is written.
Daily Telegraph?
Why not the Pravda, the China Daily, or Jornal de Notícias?

Danny

joey said...

Anyone can see you want to be taken serious

"Truth does not depend on who says it or on where it is written."

Are you sure? Ever read Das Bild or the Sun? Anything will do to make the headlines. If the Queen passes wind it`s front page news

Foon said...

Hi Danny

"The judge mentions how the question of feng shui will had become a moot point as soon as it was found to be forgery (#886)."

The judge still answered the question of whether the will was a feng shui will because that was one of the allegations put forward by the plaintiff. It made his report complete.


"He spends 100s of paragraphs detailing the handwriting analysis, he gives about 20 paragraphs related to Mr Sveto's testimony, and he spent only 1 paragraph on Joseph's testimony."

Mr Szeto's testimony was used very effectively by the judge to seriously prove that the document was not a fung shui will. So in a way Mr Szeto did more for the defendant than he did for the plaintiff. He scored an own goal even though it had no bearing on the final outcome.

According to some on-line reporting, the taxman in HK is now pursuing some fung shui practitioners for unpaid taxes and there is criticism of 'superstitious feng shui'. Time will reveal the ripple effects. As Howard says 'If Joseph loses, he wins'.

Gong Hei Fat Choy!

Happy and Prosperous Tiger Year to everybody,
Foon

Fourpillars.net said...

>According to some on-line reporting, the taxman in HK is now pursuing some fung shui practitioners for unpaid taxes and there is criticism of 'superstitious feng shui'. Time will reveal the ripple effects. As Howard says 'If Joseph loses, he wins'.
----

Hi Foon,


But it's not as if this is happening thanks to Joseph's testimony to the court.

The taxman now going after feng shui practitioners is a simple result of Tony Chan's declarations.

And the media criticism of feng shui superstitions started already well before this case was in the court.

***

Joseph described to us what is the job of an expert witness: to assist the court with certain specialized questions relating to certain aspect of the case.

Did Joseph succeed in doing so?
According to the judge Joseph's written testimony was "besides the point". And when the court wanted to ask questions that were to the point, then Joseph had to admit that he was not qualified to answer those questions.
So basically Joseph has been useless for the court.

And now we are going to paint this as a "win" ?
Whatever great ripple effects we may see in the future, are now thanks to Joseph flying to HK last year?

Hmmm..
If that's "logical" then it is not hard to understand why the judge did not put any stock in our "logical feng shui".

***

I wouldn't expect too much from ripple effects.
The topic of feng shui and superstition will be in the news as long as this case is in the news.
But Chinese people who believe in taoist rituals and feng shui , will not change their beliefs for it.
And the 'masters' who deliver such ritual 'services' will use the example of Nina and Tony as proof how the rituals can have very bad effects if not done properly, accurately, and by a real master (= them, of course)
So it goes..


Danny

fengshuiarchitect said...

Hi Danny,

Superstition evolved to help us survive:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14694-superstitions-evolved-to-help-us-survive.html

So we need to be aware of it and not to pay out millions of dollars for a false hope.

It is not the fault of Taoist rituals or Feng Shui, it is the malpractices that we need to prevent.

Joseph might have "lost" the case or have been useless (as you put it), but he has "won" our heart (at least some of us) for trying, and he got a trip, paid a fee and became even more well-known, so we should be happy for him, as an ex-student or as a friend.

You earlier comment about FS standard:

"That's why common standards will remain a very uphill battle, and "common goal" is a pipe dream. People have their individual aims or "goal", depending on their character and their priorities. And some have none."

is not quite true either, because every profession or manufacture has its industrial standards, and they are needed for survival, otherwise the market will be full of rotten goods and charlatan practitioners and it will collapse.

There is always a greater communal gaol underpinning the individual goals, because us human beings survived in groups. I hope you can appreciate that.

fsa
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Howard,


Many professions have "industry standards".
Astrologers, dowsers, artists, clowns, comics, massage therapists, religious leaders, etc...they operate within the laws of their country, but otherwise they don't have any "industry standards".
And these professions have been in existence for centuries.

***

We need to understand what it takes to get to a "generally accepted practice standard".
You mentioned the case of accupuncture/TCM on your blog.

Just read this "program" posted by the Chinese government with the aim of setting "standards" for TCM:
http://www.most.gov.cn/eng/policies/regulations/200608/t20060823_35603.htm

That will give you some appreciation of what is needed if you want standards for feng shui.

Under the priorities they mention: First is "clinical studies", which are needed to establish that at least some TCM cures actually "work".
Second you find "research".
These two ingredients are needed if one wants the proposed standards to be "accepted by the international community" (their terminology).

It won't be any different if you want to come to standards in feng shui.
You will need to produce evidence that feng shui cures work, similar to the clinical studies for accupuncture. And it has to be done in such a way that it can verified or repeated by others.

For some examples of how this has been done for accupuncture, the wikipedia article gives plenty of links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture

Let me end by pointing out that for example Western astrology has also not succeeded in setting any standard or become a topic teached in universities.
The reason is the same: they have not succeeded in bringing sufficient proof for the working of their theories and methods.


Danny

fengshuiarchitect said...

Hi Danny,

"Industrial standards" are standards set up by the manufacturers or the professional practitioners as a point of reference against which something like a product or a professional behavior can evaluated, like the Building Code of Australia or the RIBA Code of Professional Conduct, which are recognized by the laws of the country.

There are standards for TCM in some of the countries as you mentioned, but i am not aware that there are "industrial standards" for Astrologers, dowsers, artists, clowns and comics....

I think Feng Shui, unlike Western Astrology, can reach a stage like TCM in some countries, because it can generate enough proof for the working of its theories and methods, may be not so much in the Liqi Pai area but certainly in the Xingshi Pai because good Feng Shui is good environmental practices, and there are many proofs in existence already.

Likewise with professional standards, I think there are enough ethical practitioners who would like to see it happen one day, and cases like Nina Wang, will hasten the process, at least that is my opinion and my hope for a better future for Feng Shui.

fsa
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com/

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Howard, all,

We have to be careful not to confuse "standards" with "regulations".
Standards arise from within the field, while regulations are enforced from outside the field, usually by government and politicians.

Regulations typically vary from country to country, or even from State to State, but standards are internationally accepted (that's why it are called "standards").

If you read the piece I mentioned you will clearly see they are aiming to set up standards for TCM, standards that can be internationally accepted.

Regulations for acupuncture are already in place in a number of countries.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulation_of_acupuncture

A certain field can have standards but no regulation. It's also possible for a field to have regulations but no standards.
So this makes clear how this are two different animals.

***

As for standards, they always have to come from within the field.
So if feng shui has not been able to achieve standards, then it has nobody to blame but itself.
Then it means the work has not been done, or the field is not ready for standards.
The work will usually start by identifying the "standard works" in the field, and trying to get agreement on that.
Every field has its standards works , e.g. Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" is a standard work in biology.
Then you need to verify if a given standard work is still up to date.
Something that was a standard work in the 1500s may no longer be considered a standard work today, it may have been discarded or surpassed by newer research..

So that's what you are getting into when you want standards in the field.

In short:
If you want standards: start working on them.
If you want regulations: start lobbying in Wastington.

Does this make any sense?


Danny

Howard said...

Hi Danny,

To quote your own words to me in an earlier post, "Now you actually make sense for the first time.
That's what I have been trying to tell you...."

fsa
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

Fourpillars.net said...

Right.

And when you set out to work on real standards for feng shui, then you will soon find yourself looking into the accuracy of methods and the effectiveness of cures, in order to find evidence for the validity of our theories.
QED.

***

It is also interesting to look at how other fields have gone through this process.
For example one can check out the history of chemistry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_chemistry

Here is an interesting piece:

---
Problems encountered with alchemy

There were several problems with alchemy, as seen from today's standpoint. There was no systematic naming system for new compounds, and the language was esoteric and vague to the point that the terminologies meant different things to different people. In fact, according to The Fontana History of Chemistry (Brock, 1992):

"The language of alchemy soon developed an arcane and secretive technical vocabulary designed to conceal information from the uninitiated. To a large degree, this language is incomprehensible to us today, though it is apparent that readers of Geoffery Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's Tale or audiences of Ben Jonson's The Alchemist were able to construe it sufficiently to laugh at it."

Chaucer's tale exposed the more fraudulent side of alchemy, especially the manufacture of counterfeit gold from cheap substances. Less than a century earlier, Dante Alighieri also demonstrated an awareness of this fraudulence, causing him to consign all alchemists to the Inferno in his writings. Soon after, in 1317, the Avignon Pope John XXII ordered all alchemists to leave France for making counterfeit money. A law was passed in England in 1403 which made the "multiplication of metals" punishable by death. Despite these and other apparently extreme measures, alchemy did not die. Royalty and privileged classes still sought to discover the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life for themselves.

There was also no agreed-upon scientific method for making experiments reproducible. Indeed many alchemists included in their methods irrelevant information such as the timing of the tides or the phases of the moon. The esoteric nature and codified vocabulary of alchemy appeared to be more useful in concealing the fact that they could not be sure of very much at all. As early as the 14th century, cracks seemed to grow in the facade of alchemy; and people became sceptical.
Clearly, there needed to be a scientific method where experiments can be repeated by other people, and results needed to be reported in a clear language that laid out both what is known and unknown.
---EOQ

Secrecy about methods, esoteric language that can only be read by the "initiated", malpractices, no standard methods...

Sounds familiar, hmmm.
But eventually people became skeptical...


Danny

Howard said...

Hi Danny,

There are standards for architects, interior designers and environmental planners, yet they don't have to prove that their design methods are accurate, or their buildings/planning are efficient, nor their theories are valid.

QED and EOQ are not required.

fsa

Päivi said...

Danny wrote:
"Secrecy about methods, esoteric language that can only be read by the "initiated", malpractices, no standard methods...

Sounds familiar, hmmm."

Yes, very familiar: the professional jargon of every single field of work and study. An uninitiated one does not understand fully doctors, engineers, architects, cooks, loggers etc. unless they are ready to learn some esoteric terms that are used in those fields.

Päivi

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Howard,


There are building "regulations" for architects, and these public planners are also regulators.
These regulations typically differ from country to country, or even from region to region. So there is nothing "standard" about them.

If an architect would tell me that accuracy is neither his concern nor his aim, and that he is not interested in the validity of his theories..., then I would rather not hire him.
Then I would conclude it is an architect of low standards.

And that has nothing to do with local building regulations.

I find it very interesting that a mathematician and an architect (out of all professions), are openly lamenting the malpractices and absence of standards in our field. But as soon as somebody mentions verifying the validity of our theories, looking into the accuracy of our methods, then it is as if they see a case of bubonic plague.
Why would that be?

Danny

Howard said...

Hi Danny,

It is very simple, you don't understand the meaning of the word professional or industrial "standard" and mixed it up with your understanding of "accuracy" all the time, and no matter how many times people tried to explain, your mind is shut to listen to another point of view, so I am not about to say them again. Lets leave it at that, I have no more time to waste on talking to you.

No hard feelings, it is just the way it is. There is a gulf between us and we are not moving any closer, so lets walk our separate ways.

fsa
http://howardchoy.wordpress.com

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Howard,


Why do you think in terms of me coming closer?
Still hoping that others will follow you, isn't it?
It is enough when people follow their own understanding, that's more healthy.

You are simply not being realistic.
You dream about setting standards for feng shui and making it a discipline taught in universities.
But how it will be accepted without proving its merits?
Even the Chinese government knows what it will take to get any standards for TCM accepted.

Without evidence for its accuracy or proof for its effectiveness, feng shui will not be accepted just like Western astrology, voodoo magic or alchemy were not accepted. That's plain common sense.
And giving examples of building regulations in Australia does not change that.

Just blame it on my poverty of understanding.
I have heard that's the Chinese way of saying "you are right".


Danny