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James Randi's $1M Challenge
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Deb
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Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very interesting proposal Smile

I was reading ‘The Moment of Astrology’ last night by Geoffrey Cornelius. For some reason I’ve read this book in a strange order and went back to catch up on some chapters I’d missed out. Chapters 3 and 4 struck me as particularly relevant to this discussion. He makes some interesting points and demonstrates the difficulties we have had trying to find evidence for an objective assessment of astrology. I love the bit where he admits that as an astrologer he would probably find himself somewhere amongst the dross, the chaff and the bathwater Confused

I wonder why it is that we have such a hard time finding evidence of the objective effects of planetary contacts and transits? For example, I’d lost track of my transits but over the last couple of days I have almost cut my finger off, burnt myself on the arm, refereed 3 fights involving unruly teenagers and felt uncharacteristically tetchy. Yesterday my sister rang me and we had an argument (resolved now) which we very rarely do, over my reluctance to do a horary for her. As soon as she slammed the phone down on me Rolling Eyes I drew the chart and found that the Moon was exact on the opposition of Mars which was within 1 degree of its return to my natal Mars. I don’t have any doubt at all that Mars transits have a very direct and clearly noticeable effect in my life, they always have done and I’m sure they always will do. They have included someone crashing into my car on the day of a Mars return, and the one time my husband crashed his car was on the day of one of his Mars returns. I just don’t understand why this sort of experience is so difficult to demonstrate and prove. Perhaps it is very evident to me because I have a 10th house Mars, so being elevated it is particularly expressive.

I must admit I lean towards Cornelius’s views but I can’t give up the idea that astrology does have an objective reality and we must continue the research but consider new ways to approach it. All the evidence suggests that astrology originated from observation of events that corresponded with planets on angles and I’m personally very disappointed that so far we haven’t been able to demonstrate even that element convincingly.
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GarryP
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Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It makes sense to me to say that some charts respond to transits 'better' - i.e. more like the astrology cookbooks say they should - than others. Is angularity the key? I don't know, but it's something I'll take away and keep in the back of my mind when I look at charts. Another factor - possibly linked to angularity - is that some people have a lot more 'alarums and excursions' in their lives than others; I think some people introject what's happening, where others project outwards into concrete events... which makes a transit a lot easier to pin down from the astrologer's point of view!

I know what you mean about the frustration of seeing things which look 100% objective going on in the chart, and feeling that it should be easy to pin this kind of thing down and (even, maybe) convince the sceptics. I'd be interested to know, Deb, what happens if you put your Geoffrey Dean hat on (so to speak) and look at transits of/to Mars in your chart. Can you see times when there should have been effects but weren't?

At the end of the day, my best bet for the ultimate answer on all this subjective/objective stuff would be something which is hinted at in 'Moment of Astrology' - p.252 in the new edition:

Quote:
"It is a disease of modern rational thought to imagine that a thing is either this or that, and if it is this, it cannot be that. A characteristic of primitive thought, and of the symbolic imagination we enter into in our astrology, is that it is possible for things to be this and that, at the same time."


So that the very idea of a hard and fast distinction between objective and subjective may in itself be a subjective imagining of scientists and realist philosophers...
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Deb
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Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2004 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Can you see times when there should have been effects but weren't?


No, can honestly say that I can’t recall a Mars-Mars transit by conjunction or opposition where I’ve failed to notice the effect. Most times, I’ve noticed the transit because the experiences have been so extreme and classically ‘Martian’ that I’ve checked my chart to see what’s happening. (I’m not one of those astrologers that checks natal transits on a regular basis). However, I realise that as an astrologer I’m capable of recognising internal as well as external effects, and subsequently I’m acknowledging a lot of Martial experiences that would be difficult to quantify to an objective observer. For example, during a Mars transit, I regularly experience bad migraines or have a period of very vivid violent dreams (this time I had a recurring dream of a train crash with heavy casualties). I think Mars, being a planet of dramatic energy anyway, is one of those planets capable of being readily noted, unlike for example Venus or Pluto where the experience might well be introjected or more difficult to identify – at least it is in my chart, but like I said, my natal Mars is diurnal and very expressive.

Despite the fact that it tends to coincide with a lot of hassle involving me or taking place around me, I don’t actually mind Mars transits. For all the trouble I get, the upshot is that I generally have a lot more energy and initiative to deal with things that normally I just want to avoid. During Mars transits I find I just approach everything head on with no concern about the need to be sensitive; everything seems very clear and simple, not complicated and ‘involved’ like it normally is. And I feel much less sensitive to guilt trips, so usually they are a good time for me to take care of my own interests – I get to read the riot act to the kids, and my Mars transits are the only times they don’t dare answer back Smile

I agree with your comment though. I generally have to find some place like that to lie at ease with this subject that would seem so illogical if I could only value it according to its theory and disregard my own experience – which doesn’t feel subjective though yes, I’m sure it is.
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GarryP
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Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've got me thinking about transits to my Mars now. I tend not to expect much from them - I get a but more busy than usual maybe, but that's about it.

But at the end of August '03 I had tr Mars retrograding over natal Mars, plus Jupiter popping into Virgo & therefore opposing it (my Mars being at the beginning of Pisces). My father's health had been going downhill for a while, and (living 60 miles away) I was having a frustrating time of it phoning his doctor and trying to persuade him that something serious was afoot. Eventually a relief doctor agreed to visit him & immediately hospitalised him; so I was then busy with visits to the hospital etc.

This used up the time I'd set aside to write my talk for the AA Conference, so that cranked the busy-factor up another notch. In the end my father started improving, I was able to go to the Conf, and finished writing the talk on the train. It was one of the busiest times I can remember, and was characterised by a feeling that I was about to freeze, unable to decide which of numerous high-priority tasks I should do first. I think of that as a Mars-in-Pisces issue.

So, for the fact that transits to my Mars express primarily as busy-ness, I tend to blame this on Mars being in 6th house. Plus of course health issues featured on this occasion, which are also relevant. But it being in Pisces obviously fits with all this too.

I'm saying all this because from what you say, Deb, it sounds as if you experience transits to Mars as a relatively pure expression of Mars-ness - arguments, cuts, etc - whilst anyone looking for 'the same thing' with Mars transits to my chart would be disappointed. It's not that Mars isn't at work, but in my case it seems to be strongly mediated via house & sign. How is it for other forum members?

Btw - have just posted a brief comment from Suitbert Ertel at the end of the Randi dialogue which started this thread.
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have Mars in Aries so yes, for me, it tends to reflect classic, textbook-style influences. I generally have a direct engagement with the energy and I can get a handle on it very quickly. It seems to come from nowhere but it’s also quickly dispersed. I had a Mars conjunction looming once when I had to give an important public talk. I knew exactly what would happen, and it did – massive spot on the end of my nose Smile

It’s very interesting to consider how Mars expresses itself differently through the elements. Last year when I had my burglary, it happened on the day that Mars stationed on the degree of my midheaven in Pisces. The burglary happened at night while we were sleeping. With situations like that you can’t just rant a bit to let off steam, because if there is any anger or frustration or feeling of being attacked, it’s operating at a much deeper level - so you can’t just kick someone back and say “there, its sorted now”. I often marvel at the illogical rulership of Mars over the water triplicity. It’s supposed to limit the power of Mars to result in a more moderate effect. It might well moderate what appears on the surface but I think from the point of view of experiencing it, it’s a much less comfortable energy. All the people I know with Mars in water signs admit to feeling very uncomfortable dealing with or expressing their own anger.
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techno_seer



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:19 pm    Post subject: Randi the Debunker Reply with quote

Randi is not a scientific skeptic, but a fanatic debunker. No matter how good you are with astrology, he would only insist that you were using trickery. He is a magician/trickster entertainer with no scientific training. I have read articles claiming that he will falsify reports if there was evidence of real paranormal phenomena.

Here is an interesting article on Randi and his ilk.

http://www.victorzammit.com/skeptics/winston.html
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Doranne



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Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone considered that, in the natal chart, planets below the horizon, by transit, are not as strongly powerful as those in angular houses?
Your comments will be appreciated.
Doranne
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yuzuru



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Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree with techno seer... I have seen some of his "demonstrations" and they are mostly based in phalacies... it´s ok to want to be a sceptic meaning that you want clear criteria and not "I am always right before I even start". If I wasn´t that way myself I would still be confusing myself with modern astrology !
But it isn´t ok to be a "sceptic" meaning: whatever I don´t understand is wrong and untruthfull. This is more foundamentalism than scepticism. If you want to "disprove" something you have to be prepared that maybe this thing is right after all. If not, you´re in the wrong mindset.
One day I may find out that astrology isn´t real. But with astrologers like Steven and Deb I am more and more convinced that this day will never come.
But if you want to "defend science" against "their attackers", like astrology and homeopathy, you have to be very serious and have rigorous standards, and I don´t recognize this in him, and I sometimes teach a little of scientific methodology, so I know my grounds Wink. He is a little more like the "myth busters", funny but not really proving anything.
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yuzuru



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Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the topic of transits, I would like to make another episthemological consideration: can the truth really be based in empirical evidence ? I think not.
First of all, theories, as representation of the word (you may called schemata, paradigm, etc, it doesn´t matter right now) are always deciding for us what the empirical word really is. An example, how many studies were made about the psychological troubles of kids whose parents were divorced ? It´s not that those studies are fake, only that I don´t know any study of the psychological damage on the children caused by long-term happy relationships of their parents... Isn´t this a possibility ? Of course. I know a girl whose parents are very happy, and she is very unhappy trying to "emmulate" their happiness in very different social conditions and environment. So the problem is that what we consider a "problem" or a "solution" always depends of our lenses, and so our data can indicate very diffent things depending of these lenses.
Second, the number of cases to find a solution would be just infinite. Let´s take for example a simple "scientific" proposal: tomatoes prevent cancer. Is that always true ? Couldn´t be some group of people with genes that cause cancer in the presence of tomatoes ? And couldn´t be that woman´s are more resistent to the healing power of the tomato ? Did you test all ages ? All races ? Is it possible that it depends of how the tomato is prepared, or with what combination of foods ? Or simply is a spurious correlation: people who like tomatoes, don´t usually like meat, and so they have less cancer because eat less meat !

All of this to reach my little point, there is inumerous hypothesis to why a transit would impact more one people than other, and if we don´t have a good theorical ground, and more a "modern astrology" empirichal one, we will be in trouble !

For example, some hypothesis that I could think right on, let´s took mars just for the sake of example:
Mars angular has more strong results in transits.
Mars ruling houses that are related to the individual, and not his environment. For example if my mars is in the 11th, all transits to this position are maybe influencing more my friends than me.
Is mars in aversion to the sign he rules ?
How many aspects are relevant ? Vedic uses only the 4th, 7th and 8th aspects to mars, an aspect to the 5th (trine) would be useless.

Well, I will stop before babbling too much Wink
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outoforb



Joined: 18 Feb 2007
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Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello.

Does anyone have chart data for Amazing Randi? Wikipedia gives a birth date of August 7, 1928 Toronto, Canada.

He's got a Fire Grand Trine of Mercury-Saturn-Uranus. Rex Bills gives rulership of skeptics to Saturn and Mercury so at least it looks like, from an astrological perspective, he's sincere. Saturn is also within 6 degree orb of conjunction with his South Node so the Grand Trine hooks into his Nodal Axis.

The Wikipedia article says that he had emergency Heart Surgery on Feb. 2, 2006. Looks like Neptune was opposite his Sun at 15 Leo. And both his progressed Sun and prog. Mercury (retrograde) were at 1 Scorpio, the Sun having just changed signs which can be a doozy in my experience. His natal Pluto is in Cancer unaspected (unless angles and correct position of Moon changes that) and a Water Singleton. Uranus and NN are inconjunct his Sun right now, does this mean irregular heart beat?

Anyway, how could he not have had a Near Death experience under those transits? Lala Happy .
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Mike



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
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Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Randi is an expert in show, he does not care about truth.

Read this sites:
http://www.anomalist.com/commentaries/magician.html
http://www.aiprinc.org/para-C05_Thalbourne_1995.pdf
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dmause



Joined: 14 Sep 2010
Posts: 78

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: James Randi's $1M Challenge Reply with quote

GarryP wrote:
I've just posted an exchange between James Randi and Dennis Elwell - on the subject of JR's $1M paranormal challenge - on my site, url is:

http://www.astrozero.btinternet.co.uk/jref.htm

There will probably be two or three follow-ups added in the coming days.

A question which interests me, which hasn't been broached so far in the dialogue, is this: Is it in the nature of astrology for it to 'perform' on command in order to win $1M for an astrologer? Personally I'm very much inclined to think not.


I can`t find it in your site
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dmause



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Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting comment by Bob Marks on manipulation of data in Gauguelin study:

One of the “ordinary causes” that Dr. Dean refers to has been mentioned elsewhere. It has been alleged that parental tampering with the birth data has affected results. There are three objections here:

1) There is no direct evidence that this has taken place. It is not enough to simply raise a point like this and expect it to be accepted. A defense lawyer who simply tells the jury that the witnesses against his or her client were lying would not win many cases. It has to be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that they actually were lying. Perhaps if there were some sort of “smoking gun” here to support the assertion, something like an autobiography titled “Confessions of a French Midwife”, with quotes like: “Oui, I held back the birth of the baby until Jupiter was on the Midheaven!”, this objection against Gauquelin would have more weight.

2) In the 19th century, belief in astrology in the West was at a low point. Astrology didn’t start to be revived until the advent of the Theosophists late in the century. That makes it more difficult to believe that there would have been enough believers around to produce an effect large enough to change Gauquelin’s results.

3) The biggest objection to the parental tampering hypothesis is the fact that Gauquelin found effects for “malefic” planets and none for the “benefic” Sun. In the 19th century (indeed, even today) it was widely believed in astrological circles that the planets Mars and Saturn had malefic results. What parent in their right mind would put either of those rising or culminating in their child’s horoscope? And which would be preferred to be in a strong position, the benefic Sun or the inconstant Moon? No, if there were parental tampering, there would have been effects for the Sun, Venus, and Jupiter alone. However, this was not what Gauquelin found.

Dr. Dean’s fourth point is that “multi scrutiny can take time.” Agreed. But so what? It is time well spent.

Dr. Dean continues:

“Marks’ second assumption, that an astrological force is necessary for astrology to work, seems unwise because there are non-astrological factors that explain why astrology seems to work.”

But I was not taking about astrology seeming to work. I merely stated that if astrology were to work, there would have to be something that made this possible, e.g. an astrological force. The alternative would be that something could work for no apparent reason at all. Please note that I did not state that astrology did work. Rather I was proposing a hypothetical if-then situation.
Dr. Dean concludes:

“This does not deny the possibility that an astrological force may exist, but at present there is no convincing evidence that such a force needs to exist.”

We are in agreement here. And that is why I am doing statistical research. Two papers have already been published and are available on the internet at www.astrologyresearchjournal.org

A third paper is to be published shortly. It is always up to the one making the assertion to provide the evidence. Therefore, skeptics don’t have to disprove astrology. It is up to astrologers to prove their assertion that astrology works. This is a challenge that I accept.
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GarryP
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Posted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The missing link (ref post before last) is:

http://www.astrozero.co.uk/astroscience/randel.htm
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought this might be of interest:

http://www.astrologer.com/tests/randitest.htm
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