Cathie Comments

I just wanted to make a comment on the clipping from the Christchurch Star concerning “nuclear extinction” which appeared on p.9 of the NZ Skeptic periodical. In the clipping, a refutation of this possibility was based on some writings of one Bruce Cathie who is claimed therein to be a mathematician among other things.

That Mr Cathie is read by many around the world cannot be in doubt. The claim that he is a mathematician is an insult to real mathematicians. Mr Cathie is best described in my opinion as a numerologist. I read his book “Harmonic 33” when I was a starry- eyed (but scientifically educated) teenager.

On the basis of what I read, I wrote to the author outlining the defects in his arguments in the early 70’s. The claim concerning the timing of nuclear explosions was among them. I pointed out that nuclear reactors don’t stop and start at particular times and that fission bombs which work on the same basic principles don’t either. I got a reply from his secretary saying he was too busy to answer correspondence. I was disappointed to say the least.

All Mr Cathie’s “predictions” about the French tests were retrospective. I have a firm principle of making those who claim to be able to predict things based on numbers or anything else to front up with a date in advance of a specific prediction. To date, not a single prediction made (and there are precious few) has ever come true.

Other material in that book included photos of mysterious aerials, one of which was instantly recognizable as a quad antenna used by some amateur radio operators. It is too easy for scientifically illiterate people to swallow this stuff and there was quite enough of it to make me gag, even at my tender age back then.

I won’t bore you with a list of examples but the doomsday predictions surrounding the recent appearance of a certain comet have disappeared into nothingness as have those surrounding the planetary conjunction of which Bernard Howard spoke in the same edition of NZ Skeptic. I have no hesitation in claiming that Bruce Cathie is a charlatan whose books should be left sitting on the shelf.

Malcolm Watts, Wellington

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