Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nina Wang Estate Case

The judgement was announced yesterday:

The 2006 Will is a forgery.
It is not a Fung Shui Will.

The part of the verdict related to Fung Shui is worth our attention:

"Fung Shui is not a universally accredited discipline being taught in our formal education system. As far as Hong Kong is concerned, any person can run a Fung Shui class or held himself out as a Fung Shui practitioner or master based on his or her own knowledge or understanding of Fung Shui. There is no independent objective assessment (and by the inherent nature of the subject I doubt if there can be such assessment) and thus no quality assurance whatsoever. Against such background, it is rather futile to debate whether a person is a good Fung Shui master or whether a particular Fung Shui theory or practice is sound."

It is absolutely true and I am afraid that no matter how hard we try to treat Fung Shui studies parallel to scientific methods, our effort will be brutally crushed by the supersitious nature of human kind.

The judgement continues to elaborate:

"Therefore, the evidence of Mr. Joseph Yu, focussing on the validity and consistency of the alleged Fung Shui practices with some Fung Shui theories, based on his own research by reading some works on Fung Shui and logic and common sense, were quite beside the point. I do not find such evidence to be of much assistance in this trial. Even though Fung Shui is not a science, Mr. Yu developed his Fung Shui theory by making use of mathematical methods and his own logical deductions. It is not my function to adjudicate whether such an approach is sound. But there is no evidence that his approach is shared by many practitioners in Hong Kong. Mr. Yu taught classes and practised his Fung Shui overseas but not in Hong Kong or the mainland or Taiwan. Therefore he cannot give useful evidence as regards local practices. He frankly admitted that he had no knowledge of Taoist practices and Fa discipline. He did not practise planting of life base though he had researched into it on a theoretical level. He was thereofore not in a position to dispute Master Szeto's evidence that the Celestial Altas (as shown in the Fung Shui notes compiled by Mr. Leung) was about planting of life base, Mao Shan art of divination and closely related to the Fa discipline."

Well, when gimmicks and even malpractices are offered with good marketing to prey on the foolish side of human nature, the rigorous discipline of Fung Shui is looked upon as an obsolete game played by a few stubborn old men. I admitted earlier that I could not provide evidence to disprove that the will was not a Fung Shui will. I also pointed out that if it eventually is ruled as not a Fung Shui will, it is because Master Szeto cannot provide evidence to prove that it is.

JY

19 comments:

Annie Pecheva said...

Hi Joseph,

I am glad you participated in this court case. If they have selected another feng shui master, especially from Hong Kong and with similar thinking as that of Master Szeto, then this case will have a very negative effect on the image of feng shui as a whole. Now thanks to you, more people will understand that there is also a science of feng shui.


Annie

leegiat 理解 said...

Hi Mr.Yu,

You have my admiration thru your honesty in the cross examinations despite the consequences to your reputation in the court case. As in the Ying in the Yang and the Yang in the Ying, I believed you have gained Dharma. And as Annie have said its good that you have taken part in the court case despite several other prominent FS masters avoiding it.

Its time for masters like you and Howard Choy to help and pave the way for the next generation of FS practitioners to change the World's attitude towards
Metaphysics.

Till-then, cheers.
'人算不如天算'

Monica said...

Thank you, Joseph! I also appreciate your logic and honesty with the court. I think this is going to bring your school only good things.

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,


I had been wondering if there was some ruling in this case already.

The ruling confirms what I brought up when we discussed this case here:
1) that the reports of the graphologists would weight much heavier than what the fengshui experts say.
2) that your testimonial was dismissed because it was not relevant to solve this case.
The judge almost repeats verbatim what we have argued here on the blog (perhaps I am in the wrong line of work :-)

---
> I am afraid that no matter how hard we try to treat Fung Shui studies parallel to scientific methods, our effort will be brutally crushed by the supersitious nature of human kind.
---

D:
Can we really pretend to be "trying hard" to treat fengshui on a more scientific and logical basis, when most of us, you included, remain hard pressed to even look into the question of accuracy of our methods and cures?
Every scientific method starts by looking hard for evidence of accuracy in its methods, theories and results.

If anything, the field of Chinese metaphysics shows an obvious strong resistance against any kind of tests by scientific methods.
So, to say that we are "trying hard" and blame the superstitious nature of people for the situation, is a very unfair assessment.

By shying away from scientific approach and accuracy questions, we leave the field wide open for all kind of superstitions.
But why?
The reason is probably this: masters and practitioners realize pretty well that if we applied more scientific criteria to test our theories, then we would probably have to discard at least 80% of it as unfounded and superstition.
And then how much we will be able to charge for a course or consultation?


---
>when gimmicks and even malpractices are offered with good marketing to prey on the foolish side of human nature, the rigorous discipline of Fung Shui is looked upon as an obsolete game played by a few stubborn old men.
---

D:
But who is to blame?
If our claims to using "logic" and "common sense" in fengshui are not backed up by any real proper research that looks in the actual accuracy of our fengshui theories; then calling ours "logical and common sense feng shui" is in itself no more than a marketing gimmick.
Convenient in Western countries where logic is considered more important.

***

The explanation of the judge makes me wonder: was Mr. Leung also employed as an expert in this case?


Danny

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

Metaphysics is not science, it is a realm beyond physics. You said:

"Can we really pretend to be "trying hard" to treat fengshui on a more scientific and logical basis, when most of us, you included, remain hard pressed to even look into the question of accuracy of our methods and cures?
Every scientific method starts by looking hard for evidence of accuracy in its methods, theories and results."

Due to the non-replicable nature of "life", we can only try hard to employ methods parallel to but not exactly scientific methods.

Again, you are using the word "accuracy" all the time. To me, a theory can be correct or incorrect or that one part of the theory is incorrect while other parts are correct. We do not use the word "accuracy" to assess a theory.

The word "accuracy" is used to describe the closeness of a measurement to the standard established. For an instrument to be good, we expect the accuracy of the measurement using the instrument to be close to 100%. When an instrument is made, accuracy is the most important issue. Thus, a luopan has to be accurate, the clock used to read the time of birth must be accurate and the way the person who takes record of the time of birth must be accurate.

When a theory is developed, care is taken to adopt a method parallel to that used in science. We begin with laws and axioms. Then we develope formulas based on these laws and axioms using logic. The difficult part is the experiment to verify the theory. This involves using "Form underneath 形而下" to examine "Form above 形而上" - using an instrument to examine the dao. It is impossible to design an experiment with a control experiment because no two person are the same. We can only observe the before and after to assess the effectiveness which cannot be reasonably quantified.

To understand the above is already ample proof of the effort made. Your accusation only shows your inability to understand the difference between metaphysics and science. To demand that metaphysical studies go through tests using scientific methods is unreasonable and unrealistic.

If "real proper research" refers to strict scientific methods, then it is another kind of superstition - the belief that science is the only solution to everything.

JY

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,


I don't know why you go on having problems with using the word "accuracy" in the context of readings and metaphysics.

I remember you have talked about accuracy in the past on the lists, and here are a few of your quotes I found:

1) "When a reading is done in person, there is always immediate feedback to help the painter to see the picture more clearly.
We can't say which method gives a more accurate reading. It depends on the ability of the person who does the reading."
(4P # 12056)

2)"The celebrated Chen Xi Yi said, "If it is not accurate, consider three different hours."

This means that if the reading does not match the history, try another possible chart. You may need to try three different charts."
(4P # 1800)

3)"It is unfortunate that some people just spread incomplete information without exploring into the why. Without an accurate diagnosis, a prescription cannot be given."
(A-F #22669)

4) Something you translated from some Tan Yang Wu:
"Fortune tellers only use the East-West system to discuss auspiciousness and inauspiciousness in a rigid way.
How can the result be accurate? How can we just use East-West to determine everything?
We must discuss the generating/controlling relationships of the five elements of the trigrams for accuracy."
(A-F #3230)

5) Your repsonse to a person who presented a reading on the list:
"You have done a good reading. Have you checked how accurate this is? I believe it is very accurate."
(4P #994)

---
This is only a small selection.
So, not only have you been using the word "accuracy" in just the same context as I have been doing here, ancient astrologers were talking about the accuracy of their methods too.

Why is it now suddenly a problem to talk about accuracy and not the right word to use?
I don't know.
Let's blame it on my poverty of understanding.
To be put in the same company of Tan Yang Wu and Chen Xi Yi is maybe not so bad after all.
They discussed accuracy too.

***

You say that our field is so subjective we cannot use scientific method, we cannot verify the accuracy of it.
Well, Chen Xi Yi disagreed with you.
If he looked at the accuracy to see if it was necessary to consider a different hour, then he must have had a way to judge the accuracy of his readings.
You actually describe the way yourself: "This means that if the reading does not match the history,..."
So that was your criterion for accuracy of a reading.
And I agree with it.

And most customers know it too.
If you make twenty statements about your client's character or life, and he can only confirm two of them as reasonably correct, then he will probably ask if you are reading his chart or what?
So even the customer can give feedback whether your reading is any accurate or not.
It does not require rocket science.

So, even the customers can tell us how accurate a reading we are doing. That means it is also not a problem to use scientific method to estimate the overal accuracy of our system.
It only takes a bit of courage and work.

In just the same way there have been done scientific studies about the effects of prayer or meditation, things which are also completely in the subjective-religious sphere.


Danny

Howard said...

Personally, I think this case is a wake-up call for Feng Shui:

http://howardchoy.wordpress.com/

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

When I use the word "accuracy" referring to life reading or Feng Shui, I mean "conformity to what comes to a person" but it does not include "the outcome due to the reaction of the person". This is because despite the in born character of the person leading to a probable reaction, it is not guaranteed that the person must react the way he probably will. He can make the final decision himself and it will change the entire outcome. This is the part we cannot "accurately" predict. This is actually the most important part of our studies because we can then recommend something that helps people out of trouble and create positive results.

Metaphysics cannot be a science not because of being subjective. In fact, metaphysics is highly objective. Nothing is predetermined by way of subjectivity. It is because we can view the future from different angles with objective eyes, we can recommend the best solution and lead to the best outcome.

It is in this regard we use the word "accurate" in different ways and the way to view accuracy from your subjective angle is that which I am against.

If you can agree with that metaphysics aims at accurately telling what is before us without a predetermined outcome, then I have no objection to using the word "accurate".

I think you agree that people with the same birth chart do not necessarily get married in the same year, make the same amount of money throughout their lives and die on the same day. Then what is the "accuracy" you are talking about?

JY

joey said...

this is what i`ve been saying for decades when I use western Astrology. If Mars is in house 3 of movement it doesnt mean you`ll have a car crash. It means you tend to show your assertive,agressive streak when you drive. This may or not lead to accidents

Fourpillars.net said...

>I think you agree that people with the same birth chart do not necessarily get married in the same year, make the same amount of money throughout their lives and die on the same day. Then what is the "accuracy" you are talking about?
----

Hi Joseph,


I doubt that by now there is any reader left who does not understand what "accuracy" I have been talking about.

So instead of giving more examples I will respond with two easy questions.

1) A patient is examined by his doctor, and the doctor says he is not sure about the accuracy of his diagnosis, so he sends the patient to the hospital to be examined with a more advanced scanner.
I think you will agree that no two people have the same body, and even if two twins have the same disease their prognosis can be different.
So what "accuracy" was this doctor talking about?

2) Two meteorologists are discussing the accuracy of last week's weather predictions for Britain.
I think you will agree that probably no two cities in Britain got the same amount of rain, no two cities will have had rain at exactly the same times, and in some places it may have rained while in others it was snowing.
Then what "accuracy" were these meteorologists talking about?

***

If you can answer these two questions, then you already understand what "accuracy" I have been talking about.

If you can't answer these two questions, then you could for example stop at some local college in Toronto and ask it to the students. You will get plenty of correct answers.


Danny

joey said...

I just gt this from a friend:

"Most skeptics fall into the trap that a) astrology is part of the occult, and b) everything labeled "occult" is the same. Therefore astrology, tarot same-same. The difference between astrology and the other divination techniques is that the planets movements are predictable, and therefore systems based on things that are not predictable, the draw of the tarot, the entrails of a calf's liver, toss of the dice, are not remotely the same as astrology.

Where the skeptic does have a point is that the astrologer,/tarot reader/hand reader, can manipulate the client. Psychologists can do that, too but I doubt the skeptic would be willing to run off all the shrinks on that basis alone. John Frawley once noted that if you tell the most hardened thug he is sensitive, he'll recall the time he stroked a puppy. And he will recall that if he were told by a psychologist, astrologer, tarot reader or his mother. This criticism goes to competence not validity.

The skeptic then falls back on his worldview and says, if astrology is predictable why don't they pass any tests? First of all the Gauquelin research demonstrates that astrology has given us statistical food for thought, but then where does it say that statistics are the final arbiter of all truth? In fact if there is one objective truth on earth it is this: statistics don't lie; liars use statistics. Some of the so-called astrological statistical studies are a joke. One that comes to mind is the time twin study that used "time twins" that were born, in some cases, months apart. If you're going to do statistical studies, at least understand what you're trying to measure.

But even astrologers fall for this because we're all a product of our scientific-materialistic worldview. The New York Suicide study is a case in point. The idea is that if we obtain enough accurate birth data of suicides, we can then test for repetition in the charts. Of course the study failed to validate astrology and of course the skeptics pronounced it a valid study. However no one bothered to check to see if suicides all kill themselves for the same reason or set of reasons. They don't - what a surprise. Astrology does not lend itself to statistical research or has yet to do so.

It may just be that astrology is not statistical despite the insistence of moderns that it has to be because they want it to be. A Jupiter - Mars square does not always mean the same thing even if they are in the same signs and houses because the rest of the chart is connected to that square. So when they make statistical claims the appropriate response is a yawn: "Been there; done that." When astrologers, tarot readers, hand readers etc get it right, it's coincidence. When they get it wrong it is proof it doesn't work. It isn't true because it can't be true. How scientific.

The link below takes the interested reader to a thought provoking essay on astrology written by someone who is not an astrologer and probably not someone who would "believe in" astrology. But she (the author's first name is Daryn so I think "she" is correct) makes some interesting points. My favorite is this:

Quote:
Modern skeptics say that astrologers are too much like fairground psychics. Ptolemy is saying they are too much like physicists.


Her point or an important point made in the essay is that people believe astrology works because, within a certain framework, it works. Read it.

joey said...

One of the biog problems with getting accurate results with Bazi is that many practitioners have been using high profile persons to read their Bazi and then arguing on hindsight why certain favorable luck pillar bring them good luck.

If you were to use Bazi to read the chart of average Joes without the benefit of hindsight, most people will find it extremely challenging. I have nothing against Bazi though, I just think we need to consider its appropriateness in different circumstances.

Howard said...

Danny,

I think it is rather arrogant of you to ask Joseph to answer a couple of questions in order to test him whether he knows what you mean by the term "accuracy" that you used.

The onus is on you to explain to him (and to us) what you mean by this term and not the other way around.

Then you have the hide to ask him to drop by a local college in Toronto to ask the students for an answer!

Talk about guest and host, where is your manner? :-(

fsa

joey said...

I just had a good example of the accuracy being sometimes more accurate than at others. I had told this woman that one of her sons culd have a problem this year due to fu yin in hour pillar. Her daughter went to Libanon on Military helping work. Her eyes have swollen and to this date they don`t know what caused it.

geng xin wu wu
yin you wu xu

Yet there were fu yin cases in which nothing happened. So, what`s the accuracy of Bazi? 10%, 50%, 80%??

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

Your first point:
1) A patient is examined by his doctor, and the doctor says he is not sure about the accuracy of his diagnosis, so he sends the patient to the hospital to be examined with a more advanced scanner.
I think you will agree that no two people have the same body, and even if two twins have the same disease their prognosis can be different.
So what "accuracy" was this doctor talking about?

JY: That is exactly what we do as astrologers. From the birth chart we see that the client may have health problems of the heart, for example. We recommend the client to go to the doctor to have a complete check-up to make sure the problem is solved at an early stage.

Your second point:
2) Two meteorologists are discussing the accuracy of last week's weather predictions for Britain.
I think you will agree that probably no two cities in Britain got the same amount of rain, no two cities will have had rain at exactly the same times, and in some places it may have rained while in others it was snowing.
Then what "accuracy" were these meteorologists talking about?

JY: Before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, meteorologists predicted that there was a high percentage chance of rain over the open stadium.

1,110 rockets were fired into the evening sky to make sure the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony was precipitation-free. It worked. The rockets were fired from 21 sites in the city, intercepting a potentially disruptive rain belt and triggering premature showers before they reached the capital. Baoding city, south-west of Beijing, received about 100mm (4in) of precipitation on Friday night but in the capital the rain held off.

In the same way, we try to read accurately what comes to a person in a certain time-frame and advise the client to prepare to deal with it in the most beneficial way.

Can we say that the meteorologists' prediction of rain was inaccurate?

JY

Fourpillars.net said...

>I think it is rather arrogant of you to ask Joseph to answer a couple of questions...
---


Hi Howard,


Asking a question can just be another way of making something clear.
Recently Joseph also responded with a question and told me what are the logical consequences upon either possible answer.
There is nothing wrong with it.
You are hung up too much in what *you* consider proper "manners".
I have no objections to you living by your manners, but why I should adapt yours? That's far more arrogant than putting something in a form of questions.

I have already given so many examples of what I mean with "accuracy" in the context of an astrology reading, what good will more examples do?
So I formulated it in a few questions instead.

And you can try to take my questions to a college and many students will tell you what accuracy means in the given context.
That's just how it is, "accuracy" is a plain English word and it is usually understood from the context what it refers to.

If I say for example that you are a 39 year old man who spends a good deal of time in Berlin.
Then you are not able to tell me what is the accuracy of my statement?


In my country we have a saying.
When somebody really wants to talk about something, then he will understand what you say even if the words and phrasing are far from optimal.
When somebody doesn't want to talk, then he will always find a way to misunderstand, no matter how well it was expressed.

And that's how this harping on the word "accuracy" is starting to look.

It is exactly the right word to use.
You have the accuracy of a statement, the accuracy of data, the accuracy of a reading, the accuracy of a diagnosis, the accuracy of a prediction...and so on.
And it is hard to find people who do not understand what is meant.
If you are talking about cures, help, advice then the word "effectiveness" is used instead, but it is the same thing.
The effectiveness of a cure or advice will to a large extent depend on the accuracy of the diagnosis.
So "accuracy" is never out of the picture.


Danny

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,

>JY: That is exactly what we do as astrologers. From the birth chart we see that the client may have health problems of the heart, for example. We recommend the client to go to the doctor to have a complete check-up to make sure the problem is solved at an early stage.
---

D:
Yes, so if this complete check-up later reveals that the person is perfectly healthy, then the accuracy of your reading was rather poor.
If his heart is found healthy but some other problem is discovered e.g. the stomach, then the accuracy of your reading was "fair", the heart was OK but anyway it was very good he was sent to a doctor. At least is was correct there was some health problem.
And if indeed a problem is discovered with the heart, then we will say the accuracy of your reading was good or very good.

Do you have problems to determine what was the accuracy of this reading? I don't, and neither does the customer.

***

>...Can we say that the meteorologists' prediction of rain was inaccurate?
---

D:
This is a highly artificial example, but it doesn't matter.
It still rained in most places around Beijing, so the overall accuracy of the prediction for the area was pretty good.
It didn't rain in Beijing itself, so the accuracy for Beijing was poor.
But we know why, so it won't prompt these meteorologists to question the accuracy of their weather models or computer.

Again there is no problem to talk about the accuracy in this example.


Perhaps it may help to consider this:
"accuracy" and "accurate" are two different words.
And they are certainly not synonyms.


Danny

Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

In the first example, there may be two scenarios. First scenario: The person was happy that medical check up showed his heart was healthy. He then ate a lot of junk food, did not do any exercise and later died of heart attack. The astrologer was accurate eventually.

Second scenario: The person was happy that medical check up showed his heart was healthy. He kept the words of the astrologer in mind all the time and was mindful of his diet and exercised regularly. He did not have heart disease throughout his life. The astrologer was inaccurate but we may know why.

The second example is a factual case. I don't know why you said it was a highly artificial example. This is a good case to illustrate that we need only bother about the accuracy of what comes to us in the future but not the accuracy of the result. That is why it is nothing wrong to predict that there would be rain in Beijing to disrupt the opening ceremony unless we could do something in advance. The forecast of rain heading Beijing was accurate. The necessary thing was done and the result was inaccurate but the inaccuracy was welcomed.

JY

Fourpillars.net said...

Hi Joseph,


You can make a myriad of possible scenarios what happens later on, but that doesn't change the accuracy of your reading.
The person went for a check-up and no heart disease was found, so the accuracy of the reading was poor. Period.

What happens five or ten years later will not change that, even if the person does suffer a heart attack for whatever reason.
(38% of people die from heart disease eventually, so...)

The astrologer cannot take credit or blame for what the person does after he came to the reading.
That can always go both ways.
In your second scenario the person may pick up good food and more exercise, next collapses during exercise and dies. He could be still alive if he had not come to your reading.

In a third scenario the person's heart is also found completely healthy, but this person goes on worrying about what the astrologer has said.
Sometimes he cannot sleep at night and lives in constant fear.
Eventually he needs help from a psychiatrist. The person lives 95 years till he passes away from cancer. He may have lived 100 years if he hadn't worried about his heart so much.

***

Whatever information an astrologer gives out, it can be judged for accuracy.

What the client does with that information is not in the astrologer's hands.

Yes, you will find examples where accurate information has led to a bad outcome for the person.
And cases where wrong information has somehow led to a good outcome.
But that's the exception, not the rule.
The normal case is that a person benefits from true information, and suffers from wrong information.
That's why the saying goes that information is power.

The idea of astrology is that it can give us certain information that we cannot get from another source.
Otherwise we wouldn't bother to calculate birth charts.
And the information we take from the chart can always be checked for accuracy, sooner or later.
And that's what a responsible astrologer will always try to do.
That way he can improve the accuracy of his readings and his methods.
If the accuracy of readings is too poor, then it will often do more harm than good. Because to benefit from wrong information is the exception and not the rule.

***

When a person always brings exceptions to back up his case, then we say he is on the wrong side of the argument.
And that's what you have been bringing us. The example of changing the weather for Beijing olympics, it is a rare exception.
Same for examples of people who benefited from an inaccurate reading, it is the exception not the rule.


Danny