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Richard Vetter



Joined: 03 May 2008
Posts: 54
Location: Offenburg, Germany

Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Lewicki wrote:
Yet the psi-research has shown that subjective impression can be treated in a valid statistically manner with significant results.


What is the (fateful) sense of such kind of tests?
Astrology is dealing mainly with (a subject's) fate and destiny - which can't be measured /depicted as quantitative figures or even randomized - the idea of pure chance being diametrically opposite to astrology's basic concept of a senseful universe.

Quote:
I think astrology really has no excuse in citing complexity and subjectivity to evade the issue.


It's not an excuse; but we prefer to deal with real life (including fate and sense) instead of playing sophisticated mind games.
Sorry, but to me the statisticians' tests of astrology are some sort of (useless) masturbation.

http://astroinfo.astrologix.de/erkennt/paraDig/paraGB.htm

Richard
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Mike N



Joined: 20 Sep 2010
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Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard

Your article strikes me as supporting the idea an astrological claim can be evaluated through the use of statistics:

For example,

''This is how in the counselling situation so-called "subjective evidence" is taking place, how the chart´s owner feels "hit" by the astrologer´s interpretation: He feels recognized, understood and supported - because some "higher" instance within (referring to his personal sense and destination) has been touched, because his individual theme has been placed into a greater, more comprehensive, archetypal context.

All these responses are measurable. If you are also arguing, as you seem to be, that one chart is more fitting than another and if this is the persons nativity based on an approximately correct time of birth then it ticks the boxes for scientific analysis.

In the same way the effectiveness of counselling or psychotherapy can be measured. It is harder to do as we are dealing with more subjective states, for now at least, but still quite possible. The results are useful to determine if a technique, approach, model, therapist......has a beneficial effect.
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Richard Vetter



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Posted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nick,

of course you can measure or quantify everything, if you want to.
But I don't think it makes much sense to put ethics, subjectivities, teleologies (the "what for" of human existence), etc. - and astrology is dealing primarilly with values , concrete/ measurable results just being some sort of side-effects therof - into figures.

Mike N wrote:
In the same way the effectiveness of counselling or psychotherapy can be measured. It is harder to do as we are dealing with more subjective states, for now at least, but still quite possible. The results are useful to determine if a technique, approach, model, therapist......has a beneficial effect.


I'm a psychologist, and to me this is a waste of time - sorry, but I'm pretty fundamentalist at this point... In my view idiosyncratic (i.e. "subjective", and a relatively small number of) case studies are much more useful and fertile to further astrological research - edit: RL-studies having more relevance anyway!

Richard
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Mike N



Joined: 20 Sep 2010
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Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard Vetter wrote:
Hi Nick,

of course you can measure or quantify everything, if you want to.
But I don't think it makes much sense to put ethics, subjectivities, teleologies (the "what for" of human existence), etc. - and astrology is dealing primarilly with values , concrete/ measurable results just being some sort of side-effects therof - into figures.


I don't understand what you mean by ''values''.

I was just making a somewhat straightforward point here that if an astrologer asserts one chart is more accurate, or real, or tangible, or meaningful, or gives more teleology than another, etc then it is a testable assertion.

I gained the impression from your article that you also felt one chart could be more relevant than another.

Whether one would want to test this assertion, and how it could be done usefully, are other questions. Stats would come into it although with most experiments once one has read the abstract and the conclusion then you rarely need to bother with the methodology, let alone the stats.

I've not seen a well designed experiment to date which could test Psychological Astrology - tricky to operationalise. Lots of one way mirrors.
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Bill



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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Location: Ireland

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Otherwise, on what basis should the astrological indication be trusted, and before all else how could the meaning have been ascribed to the astrological placement? Analogy? Although useful sometimes for explaining the unknown analogy unfortunately often has proved to be wrong, just like the medieval doctrine of signatures.


Hi Eddy,
First let me just say that I know very little indeed about statistics (even though I used to be a scientist!), so can’t really comment constructively on their value re: astrology.

I have a slight problem with the notion that an astrological indication could or should be intrinsically trustworthy. This would imply that the specific meaning of a bit of symbolism is actually ‘in the symbolism’, which it surely isn’t. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the ambiguity in astrological symbolism is a necessity if astrology is to have any functional value.

Even in the common use of language, meaning of words is not trustworthy. Polysemy – single words having multiple meanings – is enough to ensure that. The untrustworthy nature of language comes even more to the fore when one considers humour, puns, and the use of metaphor.

As, for example, when someone says “My surgeon is a butcher”. What does this mean? And to what extent is the meaning intrinsic to the words used?

Obviously, there is something else involved in the ascertaining of the meaning of such a phrase than that afforded by a literal reading. The meaning is not in the words, but in the context of their utterance. It entails an online (and unconscious) process of interpretation by the listener.

What does the symbol Mars mean? This is vastly more underspecified than is the case with lexical symbols. Machine guns, table tennis, energy, sex, garlic, young men, and migraines come to mind.

Where do these significations come from, and how is it that they share membership of the same symbol category? I think this is an important question for a good number of reasons. However, one of these is that any answer would point towards how an astrologer’s mind works when engaged in the online interpretation process. How does an astrologer decide what a symbol (or piece of symbolism) means? There is no definitive list of what Mars can signify, only boundaries that exclude what it doesn’t signify (e.g. old men, walls, etc.). Why choose machine gun over sex?

As with conventional language symbolism, astrologically derived meaning is an emergent phenomenon that is highly contextually situated. This context includes the astrologer as the interpreter, his or her understanding of the local context the symbolism is being mapped onto, his or her relationship with astrology as a symbol system, the contribution of the client (if in a consultation situation) and so on.

All astrological commentary is anecdotal. It is after all a system which has been developed to get a handle on the unrepeatable. It emphasises uniqueness, not universality. Naturally, one should not expect it to follow the same ‘rules’ (e.g. postulates and theorems) as systems designed to filter reality using various processes of abstraction in order to emphasise what is reproducible about it (e.g. science, maybe maths, and nothing else).

One shouldn’t trust astrological indications. If anything, it will be the astrologer who may or may not be trustworthy. It is the astrologer who is doing the ‘seeing’. In other words, he or she is enhancing the level of information available about a process, state or event in a way that complements logical analysis, reason and common sense. The astrologically derived information is not as trustworthy as that derived from rational analysis, but that’s not to say it has no possible value at all. Hunches and intuitions have a value, even if they are sometimes wrong. Astrology to me is a system which has evolved as a way of enhancing the non-rational perception/cognition of useful insights. It reaches or utilizes parts of the brain other conceptual systems don’t reach (or utilize), as it were.

This of course is an opinion. Maybe the planets cause all the effects through some mysterious force. To me that’s science fiction, but others may disagree.

As regards the doctrine of signatures, although it has been proved wrong in scientific terms, in the pre-modern era did it have any functional value? In the future, when the theories of today are considered retrospectively as ‘quaint’ at best, would it be fair to say they had no functional value ‘in their day’?

Interestingly, astrology has survived a lot longer than the doctrine of signatures. To use the Darwinian analogy, even if we haven’t got a clue about its actual nature, astrology’s adaptable nature and continued use must have something to say about how humans use their cognitive capabilities with a view to enhancing experience and survival. How else are we supposed to get a handle on the qualitative aspects of the experience of change, which is what partly motivated astrology in the first place? Not with mathematics, science or religions – they serve different purposes.

(Happy New Year to everybody!)
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill, I think that what you wrote is very wise.

I view life as inherently messy and unstable, so I don't require astrology to come up with huge amounts of precision.

I think sometimes the astrology "cookbooks" do us a disservice, in treating horoscopic placements as fixed character traits, vs. encouraging us to understand human beings as works-in-progress.

I think statistics could work when applied to astrology, but researchers are going to have to get beyond the cookbook approach and do a better job of accessing the complexity of real life. For example, the New York suicide study cited by Geoffrey Cornelius in The Moment of Astrology apparently looked at all kinds of astrological variables in the charts of suicide victims, but so far as I know, the researchers didn't consider the suicide angle in such complexity. There might be multiple reasons why people take their own lives, including difficult transits or progressions; so a "one size fits all" approach to the horoscope seems unlikely to yield positive results.

Statistics do not address certainty--merely that a phenomenon occurs demonstrably more frequently than would be expected due to random chance or in comparison to a control group.

I think rulerships are also helpful here. For sure, Mars in a horoscope could mean multiple things, but if a young person asks he she could make a success of a career in the army, then we look at Mars in a certain way.

I totally agree about the importance of context.

An example: Lately I've been looking at the natal charts of professional chefs and cookbook authors--a hard thing to do because there are so few widely available birth dates and locations, let alone birth times. One of my charts is for a 19th/early 20th century American "domestic goddess" named Fanny Farmer who ran a cooking school and published a cookbook that is still in print.

This woman looks very non-domestic to me, with her sun conjunct NN and Jupiter conjunct a dignified Mars in Aries, and Saturn in Cancer square her sun. The moon is either late Aquarius or early Pisces and it is well-aspected. Ceres in Leo makes a mix of stressful and positive aspects. I mean, she might be the woman to join the army, by today's standards!

But if we think back to the late 19th century, Ms. Farmer was one of the pioneers of the domestic science movement, and she ran a cooking school and published books at a time when the majority of women were stay-at-home moms. This is what really ambitious women did in the 19th century: they expanded their socially acceptable domestic skills or religious beliefs into arenas where they could stand out. So knowing Ms. Farmer's historical context, her Aries placements make sense.

I am starting to think that the operative question then, is not "what do these placements mean to me, today?" but "how might an individual-in-context experience them?"

But then this emphasis on context kind of nixes blind natal chart-readings. And it indicates why a statistical study has to be very carefully framed --with confounding variables excluded or controlled; so that we can have some hope that research subjects would be expected to respond the same way to the same horoscope placements.
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Eddy



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Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Martin Lewicki and maintain that astrology can and should be tested with statistical methods, just to be sure if it really works.

Richard,
I know much less than you about psychology but I’ve been reading quite a lot about the effects that can mislead both client and astrologer. This also counts for psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and in all professions working with people. In university psychology education statistics is always involved and as far as I know, such research is believed essential for doing good science.

Not only astrologers are misled, everyone can be. The rejecting attitude towards tests comes not alone from astrologers but from all kinds of therapists, yet I think that astrologers can mean more for their clients if they accept negative statistical results and realise that psychological effects that mislead us play a significant role. Being misled and not seeing it, just stands in the way. The belief to be right can be so convincing that it’s hard to accept to be wrong. However the conviction that one is right doesn’t mean he is right.

It reminds me of the “it works for me” expression. Often this is mocked upon by astrologers who dismiss techniques (often the lesser used and/or lesser accepted techniques) used by other astrologers. This is quite an authoritative stance especially if one isn’t prepared to accept research and negative results in their own field. When a certain school/doctrine is followed it doesn’t mean that it’s the correct one. (This also applies to other fields. I remember a study in which is was concluded that certain primary-schoolsystems had become national policy simply because of a few positive findings. However tests tell that these systems lead to worse results of the schoolchildren.) Certain astrological doctrines were also once invented by individual people who simply said that “it works”, and it became rule. This still counts when millions of people follow it. The following quote came into mind; although I’m not opposed to religion I find it a quite nice one: “When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion” (Robert Pirsig)

Here’s a good article about the use of astrology as a counselling tool. http://www.astrology-and-science.com/a-coun1.htm It discusses the transition of chart-reading to chart-exploring and much more.


Bill,
Me too, I know very little about statistics but what I’ve read about them makes me believe that they can be a good tool to find objective truth. Provided they are performed in a solid way.

In my opinion the comparison of astrology with language doesn’t hold. If for example someone was killed with a knife, experts often can tell the murderer was left- or right-handed. It doesn’t matter what language the expert speaks, the facts tell the same. If the wound itself would be seen as the language, the experts still would say the same, in Chinese, English etc indeed, but indicating the same. This can’t be said of astrology; the facts (namely the natal chart positions) are the same but different astrologers will conclude differently. There is no consensus, nor can one system be translated into another, like Chinese to English can be. Even if a client’s experience could be seen as subjective (e.g. ‘I have a difficult marriage’), it’s presented by him as something factual and if the astrologer says that it can be seen in the chart it follows that it’s factual and therefore can be tested.

Another problem with the comparison of astrology with language is that in language in its proper sense, people can choose their words. The use of birth time and place limits the use of language. If it wouldn’t then the use of exact birth time and place is pointless. Instead the persons' choice of language it’s the chart that ‘speaks’ for them.

Quote:
All astrological commentary is anecdotal. It is after all a system which has been developed to get a handle on the unrepeatable. It emphasises uniqueness, not universality. Naturally, one should not expect it to follow the same ‘rules’ (e.g. postulates and theorems) as systems designed to filter reality using various processes of abstraction in order to emphasise what is reproducible about it (e.g. science, maybe maths, and nothing else).
Etymologically the word ‘system’ means ‘a coherent whole of ideas, rules or facts’, to get a handle implies to get control over a situation. I feel this somewhat collides with the unrepeatable. A system is made to cope with repeatable issues, like certain medications are made for certain diseases. Astrology in Babylonia originated in connecting events (like wars, deaths of kings) with repeatable events (e.g. eclipses). Rituals were performed to avoid the therefore expected/predicted disaster and gave a sense of control. It is said that stress is reduced when there’s control over the situation but also when there’s an illusion of control (I believe this concept was developed by Ellen Langer.)

But is it the right thing to do? What if it’s all an illusion? That’s why tests are so important, to tell the difference between real and illusion. This is interesting in the light of the power of the human mind to affect health. This research of Oakley Ray ‘How the mind hurts and heals the body’ www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-59129.pdf
is very interesting and also applicable to astrology. On the last page a study of the relation between belief in Chinese astrology and health is mentioned. I also read that study and it shows that indeed a belief in astrology affects health. More Chinese-Americans tend to die and earlier of diseases related to the bodyparts related to the year of birth in Chinese astrology. Obviously this would also apply to belief in western astrology. I think it doesn’t matter if astrological belief concerns concrete facts like health of financial situation as in traditional astrology or mental situations like periods of stress as in modern psychological astrology. Astrologers should therefore be very careful what to believe and even more careful what to tell clients.

Although I've always had a somewhat critical stance towards many astrological issues, which increased about a year ago, in the last few weeks I’ve lost even more and possibly all of my belief in astrology. The research just mentioned above (about the belief in Chinese astrology) is a very stimulating factor for me to abandon the use of astrology and especially predictive systems. I’ve tried to approach astrology from the objective (scientific) point of view rather than it’s subjective (meaning) point and I’m afraid that astrology is too unreliable to use in an objective way. This doesn’t mean that astrology is entirely useless from a subjective point of view but I think that if astrology wants to go that direction it has to change.
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Richard Vetter



Joined: 03 May 2008
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Location: Offenburg, Germany

Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eddy,

Eddy wrote:
I agree with Martin Lewicki and maintain that astrology can and should be tested with statistical methods, just to be sure if it really works.


I don't think so - because astrology primarily is about immaterial (metaphysical, inconcrete, symbolic) things, about destiny, goals, values (the why and what for of human existence), about psychological contents that can't sensefully be measured metrically (and therefore cannot be tested).
The concrete manifestation or outcome of a constellation can differ a lot.

Or how do you want to measure or test the sense of life? Of Happiness, self-realization (being whole, i.e. integrating opposites)?

The fundamentally spiritual (meta-physical) part of astrology is not a ("misleading") bug but an essential feature! (BTW, in my view statistics in university psychology is similarly "misleading", missing the soul's point.)
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
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Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Richard--

"My astrology", which is modern, pretty much operates in the way you suggest, but I think a traditional or horary astrologer would disagree, because if I ask one, "where did I lose my keys?" and they go through their specific procedures and tell me the keys are under my car seat and that's where I find them, it is hard to get more concrete than that.

I would love to see a more soul-oriented, less materialist sort of astrology. If astrology really is all about the soul's journey, then most astrologers counseling about ordinary matters are in big spiritual trouble. But the astrology we've got does deal extensively with material phenomena that seem measurable.

If we view astrology primarily as a tool for self-awareness, then we can become more self-aware by our own standards independently of whether statistics bear out any particular correlations with horoscope configurations.

I also agree with Bill that reading a horoscope accesses part of the mind of the astrologer that most people do not access in daily life--call it divination, psi-abilities, psychic abilities, or what-have-you. But this doesn't mean that the truth claims of astrology cannot subsequently be tested. Rather, we might wish to start a study with more open-ended, qualitative interviews with expert astrologers so that their practices and experiences can be modeled.

Also, it appears to me, time and again, that there is no particular signature in a birth chart that holds up as indicating a particular kind of behaviour 100% of the time. And statisticians do not anticipate 100% correlation, either. If two phenomena invariably correlate in a particular measurable way 100% of the time, then we have a scientific law (or something similar to it), not a subject for statistical analysis.

Eddy--there is a thesis in modern astrology that we tend to get blind-sided by difficult transits from planets if we have not fully internalized their energies. Once we have attained a healthy incorporation of the qualities of Mars, Saturn, or Pluto, for example, such that we have positive expressions of the traits they represent, then the difficult transits pass over without much notice. Similarly, if we ongoingly feel pretty lucky about life, then those transits in the "happy pile" don't seem to make much difference, either. So as you look at the meanings and character traits ascribed to each planet, how would you rate your positive or negative expression of them in your daily life? If you think you're doing pretty well with them, this might explain why seemingly difficult transits pass by without a big blip on your screen.

Just for example, when Uranus recently passed into my 7th house, the cookbooks led me to believe that my marriage would end in some kind of sudden disruption! But nothing happened--at least so far. I happen to like Uranus, and feel that the unexpected in life often rewards me with new and positive experiences. Other people sometimes find me as disruptive, however. The worst transit I experienced in my life was Pluto square sun. Obviously I was not OK with admitting to Pluto's ruthless qualities inside my personality.

One of the most telling affirmations of astrology for me occured some years ago when I kept a dream journal, and realized that transits from or to the planets of the subconscious in my chart consistently related to images in the dreams. So I think it is useful to look beyond transits in wakeful, rational life.
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Eddy



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Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Richard,

Quote:
don't think so - because astrology primarily is about immaterial (metaphysical, inconcrete, symbolic) things, about destiny, goals, values (the why and what for of human existence), about psychological contents that can't sensefully be measured metrically (and therefore cannot be tested).
If astrology is immaterial, why relate it to physical things that obey the law of physics? Wouldn't soul matters be better of without the mathematical/phyisics part of astrology, ephemerides etc. Since many years and when I was a firm believer, this inner contradiction of astrology has always bothered me.

Quote:
The concrete manifestation or outcome of a constellation can differ a lot.
However there must be some basis otherwise nobody can tell if there's a difference between Venus and Saturn.

Quote:
Or how do you want to measure or test the sense of life? Of Happiness, self-realization (being whole, i.e. integrating opposites)?
Can astrology tell the sense of life and happiness? If no, what's the purpose of psychological astrology? If yes, can an astrologer distinguish the happy person from a series of anonymous charts. If this isn't the case, how can it be said that the chart gives that information?

The degree of happiness has been researched. Good health, enough to eat, a place to live in, friends increases the sense of happines. There's someone who does research on such issues: Richard Layard. I just found this name, so I'll have to read more about him.


Waybread,
It might be possible that transits are a self fulfilling prophecy, like the article about the deaths of Chinese Americans related to their year of birth.
I don't want my life to be affected by transits anymore, in the years I've looked at them, they never gave me satisfaction.


In the first article I mentioned, ideas as 'creative astrology' and 'astro-poetics' are discussed. Although these still make use of the natal chart positions, it is argued that it also could be used without natal charts. A client could express a difficulty in expressing emotions by drawing a (fictitious) chart with Moon square Saturn or Moon in Capricorn. Using this the client can totally express him/herself without depending on the natal chart positions. I think this is a very interesting concept and if astrology (at least the psychological variant) wants to survive it should go this direction. No need anymore for synchronicity models or, Rudhyar's clock metaphor or undiscovered physical influences. Why not try this?
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Mike N



Joined: 20 Sep 2010
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Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill wrote:
Astrology to me is a system which has evolved as a way of enhancing the non-rational perception/cognition of useful insights. It reaches or utilizes parts of the brain other conceptual systems don’t reach (or utilize), as it were.



If so, it is still quite testable.

Get a few cognitive/evolutionary psychologists together for a few days/weeks of brainstorming in order to take apart the semantic cells of the standard western horoscopic chart and construct a similar timing based psychic map, or ‘’conceptual system’’, or language game. 2 fair sized samples. Ensure both had broadly similar levels of scientific knowledge, prior exposure to astrology/self-attribution levels, Intelligence Quotients, Personality (MBTI?), etc and off you go. The challenge here would be more to do with eliciting objective data from responses to each technique. Psychologists are well aware that asking subjects if they felt supported, developed a renewed sense of purpose, ‘’useful insights’’, and so on are dubious value judgements.

Although this could probably only measure one form of astrology at a time, or more accurately/usefully the manipulation of a broadly similar model by a few astrologers.

No reason why this experiment couldn’t go cross cultural and look at other forms of astrology.

It would be interesting to use people that had either themselves lived in different astrological cultures or who had come from families who had only recently migrated. Re ideas such as –Memetics, Collective Unconscious, etc.

I doubt the above has been done before.


Last edited by Mike N on Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mike N



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Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy wrote:
Even if a client’s experience could be seen as subjective (e.g. ‘I have a difficult marriage’), it’s presented by him as something factual and if the astrologer says that it can be seen in the chart it follows that it’s factual and therefore can be tested..


It may be useful to bear in mind that if there are astrologers around today who believe a 'difficult marriage' can be clearly seen in a chart and that they would say this to someone they are not only probably deeply unethical characters, ''power crazy'', but in my mind at least charlatans.

The more Psychological approach would be to, for example suggest to someone with Saturn in Pisces in the 4th house they may feel nostalgic and disinclined to reveal this to anyone. This is the sort of more 'subjective than objective reality'claim that a sceptic needs to be testing, and to do so is not straightforward. Each person with this configuration will have a different relationship to the urge or orientation or behavourial disposition or psychic state or amount of photos secreted away or letters from old lovers and so on.
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waybread



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Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy, might I ask whether you do a lot of chart readings for people?

I do a fair number on two other Internet astrology forums, and sometimes things just pop out at me that make me feel there indeed is something to astrology. Oftentimes this work really involves blind chart readings. Or sometimes a person will describe herself in a certain way, and either you see it in the chart, or else you see something that throws her chart into perspective but coming from a different angle. Then I don't always have "hits" but I learn from my misses--as in Bill's point above about what Mars might really mean in a chart within a certain configuration.

I studied astrology for around 17 years before I really began reading charts for people, and it made just a huge difference to my understanding of it.

So, Mike--eek! Yes, sometimes you can see a difficult marriage in people's horoscopes. It is pretty basic synastry. Since I don't take any payment for chart readings, my ethical sense is in good shape. On an Internet forum, people should understand that they are apt to get what they pay for. I personally find death prediction to be unethical. On the other hand, since death certificates often include the manner, date, and time of death, it would be one way to test traditional astrology's death-clock predictions.

I am starting to think that open-ended interviews with experienced astrologers with a high success rate based on client (or "native") satisfaction is probably the way to begin a serious research project on astrology's truth claims. If we think astrology doesn't work, there is always the possibility that our skills weren't up to the task at hand. For one thing, a more quantitative study design should recognize that the "native" is a moving target, affected by transits and progressions (read, real life) that hit him after the birth moment. Oftentimes the natal chart tells only part of the person's story.
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Eddy



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Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Waybread,
In the 16 years I did astrology I didn't do a lot of chart reading. Just occasionally for friends and looking at charts of family members. In the beginning years I already had read about negative test results and psychological effects that convince people of the effectiveness of astrology. This made me reluctant to get actively involved in chart reading for others.

I have the feeling that very few people have read the articles in http://www.astrology-and-science.com/ to which I often have referred to. Not only statistical tests are discussed but also the psychological effects which convince people of the effectivity of astrology. Chart reading also works with the wrong chart so it's not the chart that gives the information but the client.

Quote:
For one thing, a more quantitative study design should recognize that the "native" is a moving target, affected by transits and progressions (read, real life) that hit him after the birth moment.
Although I used to see this in a similar way, when one thinks deeply on these words, it appears that the native is nothing more than a passive object with now free will, subject to the cycles of the planets. Did anyone read Oakley Ray's article I mentioned or the study about Chinese astrology mentioned in the article? Quotes from the article:
Quote:
Chinese-Americans, but not Whites, die significantly earlier than
normal (1.3 to 4.9 yr) if they have a combination of disease and
birthyear which Chinese astrology and medicine consider illfated.
The more strongly a group is attached to Chinese traditions,
the more years of life are lost. Our results hold for nearly all major
causes of death studied. (Phillips et al., 1993, p. 1142)

Quote:
Believing that control is out of
one’s hands leads to bad health consequences.
Now I realise that this is what belief in astrology does to humans, I not only lose my belief in astrology but also my desire to believe in it. The more you study your transits, directions or whatever the more you will see in it and live up to it. What actually happens are psychological effects. If you google "clustering illusion" you will see that this applies to prediction techniques. Or the "Texas sharpshooter fallacy", this clearly is applicable to explain birth time correction.

Although I'm sure that you have the good ethics Waybread, astrology without payment doesn't necessarily means that it can't be harmful. There's a biblical saying: "If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." Matthew 15:14. I think astrologers should be required to have psychological training and learn counselling techniques. Dispite my waning belief I therefore believe that psychologists like Richard do good work with their astrology combined with psychology. Furthermore I believe that most astrologers have a clean conscience, however one should be careful that good intentions don't automatically imply that the results are good. This is especially the case with medical astrology. Medical advice based upon astrology for example can and must be tested otherwise false hope is given to the clients. Same is for all those war predictions and deaths of kings etc. The more I come to my senses after my first careful retreat from astrology, the more I realise that such issues are harmful to mankind.

Sometimes there are simple explanations. I remember a topic on an other forum a few years ago in which it was argued that if you have planets very high above or deep below the horizon in a horizon chart then you are a highly evolved soul. There were people with charts with not so high or deep planets. They were worried about these 'flat charts'. When I showed that these 'flat charts' are due to the facts that at higher latitudes on earth and when Sagittarius and Capricorn are in Midheaven, the ecliptic is low above the horizon. I gor reactions and even received pm's in which people told how worried they were of being unevolved because of their charts and now seeing that it's just because an astronomical feature. This is how common sense can be a very good thing. The original poster never posted again in his thread. When there was a solar eclipse someone predicted disaster for people with the Sun in the first decanate of the fixed signs. When I posted that this meant that 1 in 9 people would expect disaster the original poster pm'ed me several posts. It's unbelievable how furious and unreasonable some people can get when you demystify their crap. They're worse than Rumpelstiltskin. Fortunately most astrology people are reasonable.

My change of views probably will sound hard and displeasing to many and some may hate my guts for it but I nevertheless say it. It seems better to me to say it clearly than not saying it and making remarks here and there which might have a cynical undertone. I don't intend to torment people in the forum saying that everything they do is wrong, I wouldn't have the time and energy and I don't see what's the point of annoying people. If anyone has doubts about astrology or don't believes in it anymore I think it's better to speak openly about it rather than keeping it hidden and annoying people with their mistakes. Only when things occur like the examples I gave (flat charts etc.) or things that might harm people, I might feel urged to say that there might be another explanation.

Probably there's hardly anyone here who will agree with me and maintain that astrology works because of the good experiences. This discussion could go on and on, with me citing whole websites on psychological effects but I doubt if it will be of any use. I still believe an open debate is possible and necessary and I'm glad there's room for such discussion on this forum. Disbelief in astrology doesn't mean that there's no spirituality. Another reason why I decided to always be open about my doubts. The discussion that takes place actually can also be found in oneself in your inner doubts.

Like I said in my post before, I don't reject the use of (planetary) symbols to express ones feelings or situations. As in the 'creative astrology' without natal chars these could be of great help in therapies etc. Astrologers should experiment more with this.
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Mike N



Joined: 20 Sep 2010
Posts: 49

Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:

So, Mike--eek! Yes, sometimes you can see a difficult marriage in people's horoscopes. It is pretty basic synastry. Since I don't take any payment for chart readings, my ethical sense is in good shape. On an Internet forum, people should understand that they are apt to get what they pay for. I personally find death prediction to be unethical. On the other hand, since death certificates often include the manner, date, and time of death, it would be one way to test traditional astrology's death-clock predictions.




Were I to give you 10 sets of charts and ask you to tell me which marriage was difficult are you saying you would be confident of doing so ?

By difficult lets say both parties are deeply unhappy and want a divorce, or something like this. Further, on 3 of these 10 sets of charts the people are not married to each other. But you don't know which charts!
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