heywatsup, when the term "control" the elements is used, normally it does refer to channeling and working with them. The elements can be manipulated similar to the way a potter "manipulates" the clay they are working with.
heywatsup is correct. There are many who claim to be able to control the elements. They cannot! Nobody can make rain, or storms,or control fire. Many a youngster has thought he/she has created rain.They find it hard to believe that it would have rained anyway!
It is like claiming to be able to cause earthquakes or tornadoes. You can bet money on it that there will be such an event somewhere in the world, and some guy will claim that they made it happen.
They didn't, Mother Earth did !
Sorry Bry, but there are those that can control the elements (I strongly suggest you read, or at least skim, a copy of "Initation Into Hermetics".
Now, what you say about some one putting money on making a disaster happen and it happen "somewhere" in the world is true. BUT (for those more mathematically minded, there is an "equation" or sorts with the explained variables)...let us suppose that said "guy", now to be reffered to as "g", predicts that there will be anatural disaster, "d",over a specific area of the earth within a given time frame, "t", and it comes true, then that person may successfully claim that they "made it happen", claim "c".
g predicts d and 0<d<t, if d="1", then c=1
g predicts d and 0<d>t, OR d="0", then c=0
therefore making the claim false.
Remember Brysing also, do not say, those who "...claim to be able to control the elements." "...cannot." You may say something like, "in my experience..." but when you put that out there as a fact, you also must be able to say that you have met every person in the world who claims to be able to control the elements and seen for yourself that they cannot!