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Research and Development This is a forum designed for applying scientific methods and understanding to all approaches of astrology, cooperative formulation and testing of new ideas, re-examination of known methods of delineation and interpretation, and the exploration of new astrological methods of all kinds (e.g. heliocentric models, planetary nodes and apogees, etc.).


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  #226  
Old 03-20-2012, 07:17 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Originally Posted by sandstone View Post
spock,
from what i recall the times would have only been rounded off 30 minute type intervals, or even less.. i don't believe they were rounded off to the hour if they knew it was somewhere closer to the 1/2 hour.. i don't recall reading anything about 'rounded off to the hour times' on the data i seem to remember seeing..
I've got one of the Gauquelin volumes right here in front of me, with times for 2089 sports champions. I'll scan it. Okay, the first 82 entries are French athletes, of which three quarters (61) are timed only to the hour. Of the rest 11 are timed to the half hour and the remaining 10 more precisely than that. In a 25-man Italian section that follows 10 are given to the nearest 5 minutes and one is 22 minutes after the hour. That's all I have time for now, but so far, at least, a very high proportion of the French athletes (and only a few of those 82 were from the 1800s) are timed only to the hour.

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i like what you said here >>Since the symbolism of any given configuration can be made to fit virtually any outcome, astrologers are "right" more often than there are things to be right about. Hence symbolism, along with a multitude of factors and methods, and loose logic (e.g. geo Mars square helio Venus), enables us to think astrology "works for me" even though we actually know very little about the nature and extent of correspondences between earth and the heavens<<

however the example you offer is an interesting one in that some astrologers, t pat davis in particular, has done a fair amount of research in this area - all can probably be blown off as subjective - on geo to helio positions.. another astrologer relatively well known - isaac starkman works combining geo and helio positions as well.. neither of these 2 relatively well known astrologers, one still alive would be considered a neophyte either..
Sandstone, I knew Pat and agree she was experienced and knowledgeable, and I don't doubt Starkman is, too. Evidently you're puzzled that two knowledgeable astrologers have pursued seriously a practice I'm suggesting is erroneous, but to me it's no surprise. As in other fields beginners learn how to do astrology by following examples—paradigms!—the sample delineations students encounter in their textbooks. In so doing they pick up, without realizing it, the modes of thought embedded in those examples. Before this they see things experienced astrologers can no longer see, such as the embarrassment of riches the neophyte is confronted with when she first tries her hand at prediction. She wonders how to narrow down the flood of possibilities. Eventually everything falls into place, as she learns to see like other astrologers and therefore not see certain things. It's extraordinarily difficult to think outside the box provided by the paradigm. But until we have something akin to a scientific revolution in astrology these modes of thought will hamstring our efforts to see astrological order in nature.

The relevant mode of thought here is a characteristic failure to appreciate that the word is not the thing, the map is not the territory, the symbol is not the thing it stands for. In the thumbnail below geo Venus is at 0 Cancer, helio Mars is at 0 Capricorn. If we go by the names and numbers, 0 Cancer and 0 Capricorn, it looks like an opposition. But what does it mean when we say planets are in opposition? In a geo chart in which the coordinate system is centered on the earth it means they're on opposite sides of it. And in a helio chart it means they're on opposite sides of the sun. But if we take Venus' geo position and Mars' helio position to indicate they're in opposition, just what exactly are they on opposite sides of? If we want to say they're opposite a point in space, which is true, it's also true that there are points in space from they're 0° apart, 23° apart, in fact all angular distances simultaneously. Geo-helio aspects are just one more way to multiply opportunities to be "right". Not that I think Pat or Starkman pursued it consciously for that reason. I think it's an unconscious imperative, again, absorbed via exposure to our paradigms (or, collectively, "the" paradigm).
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  #227  
Old 03-20-2012, 08:11 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

hi spock,

thanks for your comments here with more information on the gauguelin data..

i am not puzzled when two apparently knowledgeable astrologers take a different approach then the one i take.. i do give it some consideration though, but that is usually about as far as i go unless i feel there is real merit in what is being offered.. before logos there was mythos. i tend to think a more literal interpretation of anything has real limitations to it which is why i like astrology and the world of myth and symbols in general. the subjective part of astrology is real enough for me which might not come across as all that objective to others. i accept this.

i am always exploring others astrological ideas and processes..much of it i consider subjective further blurred by the countless different approaches that are baked into there views or interpretations.. i taste the bread and i wonder about the ingredients while others may be saying what a great tasting bread it is. perhaps there's a right and wrong way to bake bread, but i think astrology is more art and less object like a loaf of bread..i prefer to not think of astrology in terms of right or wrong and more like art with the beauty in the eye of the beholder and not based on changing cultural ideas of beauty..

i am quite willing to overturn many ideas that i and others have on astrology and have seen myself do this in an ongoing manner, usually in a gradual way, but sometimes more aggressively. i don't really think of myself as trying to fit in, but i suppose we all think this way to an extent even if others see us as part of the sheeple..
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  #228  
Old 03-20-2012, 08:15 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Originally Posted by Anachiel View Post
Great article, spock.
Thanks. Glad you liked it. I think it took me over a year to write it.
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  #229  
Old 03-21-2012, 06:20 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Originally Posted by JUPITERASC View Post
I'm appreciative of the food for thought spock

- so, here's a scenario:

"the native" wants their haircut but somehow other matters intrude, until one day everything flows along smoothly and "the native" is hey presto! in an unplanned way, at the hairdressers, having their hair cut (they did not intend having their hair cut that particular day however a phone call to the hairdressers resulted in an available appointment) - would one expect Mars to be in aspect to "the native's" Ascendant/Descendant?
Probably not. Getting her hair cut is presumably something she does regularly. And if she picked up the phone on the chance that an appointment might be open it wasn't an unplanned event. I see the similarity to the way I've been putting it, that we "get around" to doing something we might not otherwise have gotten around to, but it's generally something we haven't been doing. If she works out at a fitness center every Thursday, or belongs to a reading group, she might well have started in each case during a Mars transit. It's also a matter of timescale. If she'd been meaning to get her hair done but had been too busy or distracted, then on impulse one morning called to see if there were any openings, it might be worth seeing where transiting Moon was when she made the call. Maybe even transiting Asc, too (although I'd considet the Nonagesimal, 90° above the Asc, as the actual transiting factor).
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  #230  
Old 03-22-2012, 12:36 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Originally Posted by JUPITERASC View Post
Good example of the old adage "Take nothing for granted" spock! The native in question is male and rarely has hair cuts - interestingly at the time of the event the transiting Ascendant zoomed over their natal Mars - while transiting Mars was on their ascendant...
It's the adage that I adhere to in practice. I find that the Sidereal Zodiac doesn't work in my practice - even going so far as using Vedic practices in the Tropical Zodiac. To good effect. How would one explain that?

And I've been using Hellenistic techniques since 1997 (since I worked with Robs Schmidt, Hand and Zoller, so one need not disparage me for being unknowing).

The fixation and adherence on the Sidereal Zodiac is an artifact that only the most intransigent Hellenistic Astrologers adhere to. If you read the Hellenistic astrologers in Koine, it's obvious that they knew about precession long ago...and preferred the Tropical Zodiac.
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  #231  
Old 03-28-2012, 02:07 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Hi Spock (incidentally, I prefer "The Text Generation" of Star Trek, myself)--
Is that a pun or a typo? I prefer The Next Generation, too. More sophisticated, not so black and white. more nuanced characters, not such overt and simplistic moralizing. (Remember the guys with half black and half white faces, only reversed from each other?)

Quote:
1. I find the "sports" champions designation to be a little troublesome, because most athletes make their mark when they are young. Then they have to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. So most of them have two (or more) careers. But I guess making it onto a pro team is close enough to be defined as an athlete.
It's enough to define a person as an athlete if he is on the high school basketball, football, or track team. It's enough to define him as a pro athlete if he plays for a pro team, even if only for three or four years (the average for football players). And when he no longer plays he's no longer an athlete. How is that a problem? Joe Montana is one of the best quarterbacks ever to play (American) football. He's in the football Hall of Fame. The fact that he's now retired as a pro athlete and is doing something else doesn't change that fact. It doesn't mean he wasn't an eminent football player when he was playing.

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2. If you are going to look at a profession, I think it's important to determine that the country has a tradition of supporting it. We wouldn't look for artists so much in the Arab world, for example, because of their proscriptions against representational art. We wouldn't look for ice hockey players in The Gambia, because this country doesn't have a history of supporting this sport.
The Gambia, which is about the latitude of Central America, doesn't have much in the way of ice and snow, so of course ice hockey isn't "supported" and it would make no sense to try to compile a list of eminent Gambian ice hockey players. There aren't any, eminent or otherwise. And I see your point about Arabic representational artists. There aren't very many (I assume) so, again, no sense wasting valuable time. But Germany, italy, Belgium, England, America, etc. do have representational artists in considerable numbers, even if not supported to the extent that they are in France. France also supports cycling, but one of the all-time great cyclists, Lance Armstrong, is an American. Is he less great because Americans don't support cycling as much as the French do? You could argue that he's even greater for having succeeded so brilliantly at the international level despite that lack of support. It seems to me the only reason to cast your net less widely would be a lack of accurate birth data. On that criterion, at least to judge from a cursory scan through the Gauquelin data, Italy would be a better place to look than France.

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3. In terms of progressions, I was thinking of 9th house planets that quickly progress to the MC; or 12th house planets that quickly progress to the AC. (The 3rd and 6th houses seem less relevant to the Gauquelins' power zones.) In the case of an athlete, we may look at, for example, a 9th house Mars that hits the MC through progression or solar arc when the kid is old enough to demonstrate some talent, yet young enough to benefit from coaching and focusing on sports.
Yes, I assumed you meant they progressed to the angles. I was wondering what kind of progressions you had in mind, but never mind. If the Gauquelin peaks had been on the angles (despite the lack of accurately timed birth data) we'd have been satisfied with that and wouldn't have needed to invoke progressions (which I don't think are valid anyway). If they were on the other sides of the angle we could invoke converse directions or progressions. No matter what the facts are we can make them fit. But that's a problem, not a solution.

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4. Geoffrey Dean has some good critiques of astrologers' subjectivity on those pages. The problem beyond the basic critiques is that so few astrologers understand science or statistics, and so few scientists or statisticians want to touch astrology with a barge pole. However, I think science is simply the wrong comparable with astrology. Qualitative social science research seems much more appropriate as methodologies to look at astrology.
I agree with Dean's critique of astrologers' subjectivity. Where we differ, which was the crux of our disagreement in The Seattle Astrologer, is on the origin, reasons and underlying nature off that subjectivity. And I think it's inarguable that few astrologers understand science or statistics, and that scientists and statisticians want nothing to do with astrological research. From their perspective it would be like researching how the cow jumps over the moon.

As for the rest I would contrast not "science" (natural science?) and "qualitative social science research" but simply quantitative and qualitative research. Natural science hasn't always been quantitative, and in fact became so at a specific historical juncture in a specific institutional context. Thomas Kuhn argues in "Mathematical versus Experimental Traditions in the Development of Physical Science" (in The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change) that a science has to reach a certain level of development via qualitative research before quantitative research is even possible. As I recall you and Mark discussed qualitative versus quantitative research in the sticky thread, and I thought your position was more insightful and defensible than his.

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5. So far as I recall, the Gauquelins just pretty much looked at people's professions, as listed in the French equivalent of Who's Who. I don't think they got into nuances of how planets affect people's personalities. Personally, I think some planets function differently in male and female horoscopes. To what extent and in what direction is partly dependent upon the person's time, place, culture, and socio-economic status.

By way of analogy, medical researchers have, at long last, realized that a huge number of studies of heart disease "controlling" for white male subjects, actually don't transfer neatly over to female patients, whose symptoms may be very different. The notion that the Mars effect would apply identically to male and female charts is a proposition to be tested, not assumed.
The Gauquelins, or perhaps just Michel at that point, started out looking at professional eminence, but they wondered if that eminence (at least the part of it attributable to the "Mars effect") had a psychological basis. The character traits method was the means of testing that hypothesis. They went back to their list of eminent athletes, read their biographical entries, the existence of which established them as eminent in the first place, and culled all the the trait words contained in those bios. They then determined the distribution of traits characteristic of sports champions, and found that that distribuition was even more significantly nonrandom than the distribution of eminence per se. Their findings of the traits characteristic of eminent professionals are contained in Series C of their publications, of which I have Volume 2: The Mars Temperament & Sports Champions. So they definitely did investigate how planets affect people's personalities (although I don't think affect is quite the right word) .

However, I think it's also true that, as you suggest, we shouldn't assume that a given configuration works out the same way for both men and women. Grant Lewi, whose Heaven Knows What and Astrology for the Millions provided the jumping-off point for my own astrological career, makes that point repeatedly. In his aspect delineations he frequently begins sentences with "In a man's chart . . ." or "In a woman's chart . . ." And I am cognizant of how ill-served women have been by medical science's blinkered insistence on using white male subjects as the norm. Your qualifications of time, place, culture and socio-economic status are undoubtedly also relevant, albeit I think the planetary function per se in each case is the same. If we say, for instance, that Mars conjunct Sun indicates assertiveness, I think we'd have to also note that men and women aren't necessarily assertive in the same way. Likewise for the other categories you mentioned. As you say it's a proposition to be tested, not assumed.

Quote:
6. it appears that you have a more sophisticated take on astrology than the Gauquelins did. On the other hand, they were statisticians by training, and had to start somewhere.
Your perception of my sophistication vis a vis the Gauquelins might or might not be correct but is at least partly based on a misperception of the nature of the Gauquelin research. My ideas about the psycholgical nature of the Mars effect, the Saturn effect, the Jupiter effect and so on are an extension of, not a de novo addition to their own thinking.

Last edited by spock; 04-02-2012 at 04:28 PM. Reason: left word out of sentence
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  #232  
Old 03-28-2012, 03:23 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

Hi Spock. Yup, that was a typo. But a humourous one. Maybe the Star Trek producers will be ready to start series #5, to be displayed on hand-held electronic devices.

Sure, one could look for artists in other countries. My focus on France, in the first instance, however, was the Gauquelins' claim that this country had solid birth times, going back to the early 19th century (thanks to Napolean, I believe.) I wasn't sure I would get the same density of eminent painters born in other countries, who also had accurate birth times. No birth times, no Gauquelin zones. This, I believe, is what is known in qualitative research as a "convenience sample."

I think the problem with athletes is a bit more complicated. I live in Canada, where our current Governor General, David Johnston, had quite a career in college-level ice hockey. I don't have a birth time for him, so I can't tell if he has Mars in a Gauquelin power zone. If we looked at him as a young man, we might think of him primarily as an athlete. However, he went on to become a university professor, administrator, president, and then the Queen's representative in Canada. Johnston is not only typical of many athletes who go on to have serious, major non-athletic careers; but to most Canadians his athletic days are pretty secondary to what essentially is his current vice-regal post.

So if we take someone like Johnston, who might, for all I know, have Mars in a Gauquelin power zone, presumably we have to find some other signature/s to account for the rest of his far more eminent career.

US president Gerald Ford was a star football player, but that isn't what puts him in the history books. What astro-configurations do? Do we assume he's got both Mars and something else in a Gauquelin power zone? Appropriate for a US president, he's got Jupiter in the 9th, probably in a power-zone. Yet Ford's Mars is in his first house, which is not what the Gauquelins predicted for sports champions. (Source: Astro-DataBank)

For sure, a statistican wouldn't predict all athletes' Mars placements would show up in the cadent houses, but this suggests another problem, which is that statistics doesn't explain its correlations, let alone the data outliers that do not fit the projected pattern.

Also, I am not sure what to make of the "psychology" of athletes. I've never been a huge fan of Big Sports, but a former co-worker of mine who was, argued about sports building character, teamwork, and so on. Presumably these are good qualities for people to have in their post-athletic careers.

I wonder what the Gauquelins would make of sports champions today, in the era of performance-enhancing drugs, and Olympic races won or lost by a fraction of a second!
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  #233  
Old 03-30-2012, 11:33 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Originally Posted by sandstone View Post
hi spock,

thanks for your comments here with more information on the gauguelin data..

i am not puzzled when two apparently knowledgeable astrologers take a different approach then the one i take.. i do give it some consideration though, but that is usually about as far as i go unless i feel there is real merit in what is being offered.. before logos there was mythos. i tend to think a more literal interpretation of anything has real limitations to it which is why i like astrology and the world of myth and symbols in general. the subjective part of astrology is real enough for me which might not come across as all that objective to others. i accept this.

i am always exploring others astrological ideas and processes..much of it i consider subjective further blurred by the countless different approaches that are baked into there views or interpretations.. i taste the bread and i wonder about the ingredients while others may be saying what a great tasting bread it is. perhaps there's a right and wrong way to bake bread, but i think astrology is more art and less object like a loaf of bread..i prefer to not think of astrology in terms of right or wrong and more like art with the beauty in the eye of the beholder and not based on changing cultural ideas of beauty..

i am quite willing to overturn many ideas that i and others have on astrology and have seen myself do this in an ongoing manner, usually in a gradual way, but sometimes more aggressively. i don't really think of myself as trying to fit in, but i suppose we all think this way to an extent even if others see us as part of the sheeple..
I'm not quite sure how to respond, sandstone, since you seem to be reacting to something other than what I said. I said nothing about them approaching astrology diiferently than you do. Clearly, it's me that they differ from. But your use of "however" and the content that follows suggests that you thought experienced astrologers, not just neophytes thinking geo-helio aspects are valid is an oddity, is puzzling, is a counterexample, is something in light of my argument that geo-helio aspects are fallacious and in fact don't exist. Neither did I say or imply that you're "trying to fit in" (my impression is exactly the opposite), although your last sentence suggests you read me that way. I'm sorry if I offended you. It wasn't my intention.
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:55 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

hi spock,

no offense taken, and from reading your comments just now, it's clear that we both appear to misunderstand one another!

as for the 2 different astrologers perceiving the data differently, it can be any 2, including you to them, or me to anyone else for that matter.. it was a general comment not directed to you or anyone else specifically.

i think it is an interesting topic - geo to helio positions and mixing them... while i have read one of t pat davis's books and i have seen isaac starkman show his work and conclude that mixing the 2 systems is helpful for him, it isn't something that i do.. thinking it thru, it makes very little sense to me, but perhaps this is yet one of the many problems with astrology.. it leaves itself open to pretty well any crack pot idea if someone says they see some merit in it.. astrology is symbolic, but just how far one wants to remove themselves from any connection to the reality it is based on is interesting to consider..

one area that i have been reading and contemplating recently is the different predictive systems in use in astrology - directions, progressions, profections and etc.. transits seem to be taken for granted but were never given as much weight as they are now.. profections on the other hand are a very old system for predictive purposes but for the most part fell out of use a long time ago.. they are witnessing a small comeback.. primary directions have largely fallen out of use due the difficulty in doing them, but with the aid of computers they are making a comeback.. secondary progressions were introduced by placidus i believe as he was unimpressed with profections and solar returns as far as i understand it.. all of these tools are going to appear to have something going for them on some level or else we wouldn't be hearing about them, but it remains to be seen just how much value they hold, or whether they are based on anything substantial.. mixing geo and helio positions does seem like a bizarre thing to do, but perhaps i can't comment with any authority until i try them.. i tend to ignore what i don't understand up to a point.. they are mostly a curiousity for me and that is about it. thanks for your ongoing comments on the gauguelin material and the conversation you are having with waybread...
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:34 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Originally Posted by waybread View Post
Hi Spock. Yup, that was a typo. But a humourous one. Maybe the Star Trek producers will be ready to start series #5, to be displayed on hand-held electronic devices.
And me with no hand-held electronic devices. (I've never owned a cell phone, much less a smart one.)

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Sure, one could look for artists in other countries. My focus on France, in the first instance, however, was the Gauquelins' claim that this country had solid birth times, going back to the early 19th century (thanks to Napolean, I believe.) I wasn't sure I would get the same density of eminent painters born in other countries, who also had accurate birth times. No birth times, no Gauquelin zones. This, I believe, is what is known in qualitative research as a "convenience sample."
The availability of "solid birth times" is a reasonable criterion. Perhaps even more reasonable is the ease of obtaining those times, an issue sandstone raised in one of his posts. French birth times appear to be the least accurate of the countries the Gauquelins canvassed (according to a sandstone post I can no longer find and my own cursory scan of birthtimes in one of my Gauquelin volumes), but if you can't obtain those more accurate times it's a moot point. So it would be nice if you could cast your net more widely, but I can see how there might be difficulties preventing you from doing so.

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I think the problem with athletes is a bit more complicated. I live in Canada, where our current Governor General, David Johnston, had quite a career in college-level ice hockey. I don't have a birth time for him, so I can't tell if he has Mars in a Gauquelin power zone. If we looked at him as a young man, we might think of him primarily as an athlete. However, he went on to become a university professor, administrator, president, and then the Queen's representative in Canada. Johnston is not only typical of many athletes who go on to have serious, major non-athletic careers; but to most Canadians his athletic days are pretty secondary to what essentially is his current vice-regal post.
Some interesting stats: Less than 1 in 17 high school football players goes on to play college football. Less than 1 in 150 college players goes on to play pro ball. Virtually every pro was a star in college. Yet the great majority of pro players are "ordinary athletes" according to the Gauquelin criteria. The gap between high school and college is large but the gap between college and the pros is far greater. I'm sure cycling in France and ice hockey in Canada follow a similar pattern: an extremely steep pyramid with only a tiny minority being eminent enough to have (as a group) a nonrandom Mars distribution. All the rest are, in the context of the Gauquelin research, ordinary athletes. In that context David Johnston was "an ordinary athlete".

Quote:
So if we take someone like Johnston, who might, for all I know, have Mars in a Gauquelin power zone, presumably we have to find some other signature/s to account for the rest of his far more eminent career.
If, for argument's sake, Johnston had been an eminent athelete according to the Gauquelin criteria, then yes, we'd have to find some other "signature" to account for the rest of his, as you put it, "far more eminent career."

Quote:
US president Gerald Ford was a star football player, but that isn't what puts him in the history books. What astro-configurations do? Do we assume he's got both Mars and something else in a Gauquelin power zone? Appropriate for a US president, he's got Jupiter in the 9th, probably in a power-zone. Yet Ford's Mars is in his first house, which is not what the Gauquelins predicted for sports champions. (Source: Astro-DataBank)
No, we don't assume Ford has Mars and "something else" (Jupiter?) in a power zone. If we had a large enough sample of individuals eminent both as athletes and politicians then, yes, I'd expect both Jupiter and Mars to be overrepresented in the power zones. But eminence in either area is the result of multiple factors, not just one, and the effect of Mars and Jupiter on athletic and political supremacy, respectively, are so tiny that they show up only at the very highest level of eminence. But Ford was definitely not that eminent as an athlete and I'm not certain he was as a politician, since he was not elected president but inherited the position when Nixon resigned. When presidential candidates pick their running mates they typically pick someone who will 1) help "balance" the ticket and 2) not outshine the presidential candidate. That often gives us mediocre running mates like Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin. Yet the latter, due to her populist appeal to the ignorati, was still able to outshine her boss/running mate despite having the intellectual firepower of an empty thermos bottle. Ford, when he was picked to replace vice-president Agnew, was also considered to be a lightweight but was above reproach ethically.

Even if we say, solely for the sake of argument, that Ford was an eminent athlete and politician, we can't expect him to have Mars and Jupiter anywhere in particular because, as I said, eminence is the result of multiple factors, at least some of which are far more important than Mars or Jupiter in a power zone. Hence there are several possibilities regarding Ford's Jupiter position. One, it's past the MC in a power zone and he was an eminent politician at least partly because of it. Two, he was born a little earlier than his birth certificate says he was and Jupiter is on the MC in a power zone and he was an eminent politician at least partly because of it. Three, it's past the MC but the MC is at the center of the power zone and Jupiter is within orb of a conjunction to it and is therefore "in" the power zone, and he was an eminent politician at least partly because of it. Four, he was born quite a bit earlier than his birth certificate says and Jupiter is on or within orb of a conjunction to his 1° Pisces Nonagesimal, which is actually the center of the power zone, and he was an eminent politician at least partly because of it. Five, Jupiter is not close enough to the MC, which is in the middle of a power zone, to be within orb of a conjunction to it, and he was an eminent politician for reasons that more than made up for his lack of the Jupiter effect. Six, Jupiter is not close enough to the Nonagesimal, which is the actual middle of the power zone, to be conjunct it, and he was an eminent politician for reasons that more than made up for his lack of the Jupiter effect. Further research is necessary to determine where, exactly, the power zones are and what, exactly, the effect is of having a given planet there.

A similar set of possibilities can be adduced for his Mars position. Note, for instance, that Mars is closely conjunct his 1° Pisces Nonagesimal. But Ford, like Johnston, was not an eminent athlete according to the Gauquelin criteria. Even if Ford and Johnston were eminent athletes you shouldn't expect to find Mars in a power zone, wherever that zone might be. The Gauquelin research does not show that a person with Mars in a power zone is likely to be a sports champion. The Gauquelin research does not show that a sports champion is likely to have Mars in a power zone. Even the skeptic groups that repeated the Gauquelin experiments, who desperately wanted them to fail to the point of violating their own academic principles by cheating—even those groups, which included statisticians far more knowledgeable than you or I, did not raise the issues you're raising because they're not legitimate issues. If they were it's inconceivable that they wouldn't have jumped all over the chance to discredit research findings which they "know" can't possibly be true.

Addition to the previous paragraph: The point of the preceding is not that Mars won't be in a power zone for an eminent athlete. It might or might not be. We simply don't know because athletic eminence is not the Mars effect. Being a self-starter, which is closer to what the Mars effect is, is simply a quality that's apparently an advantage everything else being equal. We need to find other categories that are more strongly impacted by being a self-starter, or a way of measuring that quality more directly while clarifying what it actually is, so we can get larger effect sizes.

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For sure, a statistican wouldn't predict all athletes' Mars placements would show up in the cadent houses, but this suggests another problem, which is that statistics doesn't explain its correlations, let alone the data outliers that do not fit the projected pattern.
Data outliers, if you're referring to eminent athletes who don't have Mars in a plus zone or non-eminent ones who do, aren't really outliers for the reasons given above. Since statistical correlations don't come readymade with explanations, just as the bones paleoanthropologists dig up don't come with labels indicating where they fit in the human lineage, the point is to look for plausible explanations, perhaps with the aid of additional research designed for that purpose. To the extent that we don't yet understand the why of correlations it's a research problem, not a problem with the research. Throwing up our hands at problems that knowledgeable statisticians don't see as problems, whose problem is simply that they don't see how such correlations could possibly exist, is not the answer.

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Also, I am not sure what to make of the "psychology" of athletes. I've never been a huge fan of Big Sports, but a former co-worker of mine who was, argued about sports building character, teamwork, and so on. Presumably these are good qualities for people to have in their post-athletic careers.
I take the building character thing with a large amount of salt, but mainly it's just one more statistically irrelevant consideration. Athletic eminence, political eminence, etc. are each attributable to multiple causes, of which the Mars effect or the Jupiter effect is only one, and not necessarily the most important one (to judge by the effect sizes). I suspect that highly successful athletes who become highly successful in a subsequent career have qualities, such as extreme ambition and high intelligence, that correlate well with success regardless of the area of ambition. The Mars effect, the Jupiter effect, the Saturn effect, etc. confer a slight advantage, everything else being equal (it rarely is, though), in specific areas of endeavor, but that need not be true of all the factors that lead to success.

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I wonder what the Gauquelins would make of sports champions today, in the era of performance-enhancing drugs, and Olympic races won or lost by a fraction of a second!
Probably nothing at all prior to actually doing relevant research. If the most eminent cyclists, for instance, are now getting there by cheating, possibly an experiment covering athletes eminent during the drug era would fail to show a nonrandom Mars distribution, but that's not a given. As for fractions of a second, the 100 yard and 100 meter dashes are always won by a fraction of a second. Because the entire race will last only nine or ten seconds even the last place finisher will be less than a second behind, but less than a second can mean way behind and that person will probably consistently be way behind by a margin of less than a second. Lance Armstrong won seven times in a row in the Tour de France, none by more than a few minutes in a race that lasts about three weeks! Yet no one who knows anything at all about sports in general and cycling in particular would describe him as anything other than absolutely dominant during that period and one of the greatest cyclists ever. He was not lucky seven times in a row. Average margin of victory has more to do with the kind of sport and the maturity of the sport than anything else.

I have to wonder, waybread, given that there are legitimate reasons to worry about the Gauquelin results (the possibility of subtle experimenter biases in making selections; the sheer implausibility of such correlations), why you keep throwing up one objection after another, most of them spurious (in my opinion). Do you have an animus against the Gauquelin research or statistical research in general? I don't myself but I nonetheless prefer qualitative approaches which I think are more important at this stage in astrology's development. Some of them, such as the cognitive development theories of Jean Piaget and L.S. Vygotsky, have tremendous potential to enrich our understanding of astrology. Thanks to Vygotsky in particular I now have a far deeper understanding of Jupiter and Saturn, not only as dynamic factors but as levels of the psyche, than I had before reading him. Jupiter in some respects was a closed book for me until I encountered certain key Vygotskian texts. You've touted a more qualitative approach, if I'm not mistaken, both here and in the sticky thread above. Are you doing, or have you considered doing, qualitative research yourself?

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Old 04-03-2012, 05:53 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

hi spock,

all i recall saying about the french birth data is that it was the only country in europe at the time where one could pay to get birth data that was on another person.. in order for the gauguelins to repeat their study in other countries it was mu ch more difficult in that they first had to get the person, or relatives of the person to allow them to get it with a signed letter or something to that effect.. this is what i recall from reading the literature.. when they submitted the statistical evidence for a connection between planets and career based on proximity to the angles the board where these things are decided, decided the info must be skewed and was some fluke or a result of it being french so they were told they had to replicate it using data from other countries.. thus another 15 years or so was spent trying to address this issue..

as for the accuracy of the data, french or other euro countries, i don't have any info on this but know waybread suggested, and perhaps yourself, that much of it was rounded off to the hour or 1/2 hour which would change the data some..
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:34 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

Spock, I fear we could debate "who is a sports champion?" till the cows come home. Different countries have different criteria, and favour different sports. I believe the Gauquelins selected their sample out of a French version of Who's Who.

Also, so far as I know, the Gauquelins didn't pre-judge whether some of their sample "were born great, achieved greatness, or had greatness thrust upon them."
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  #238  
Old 04-05-2012, 01:46 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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hi spock,

all i recall saying about the french birth data is that it was the only country in europe at the time where one could pay to get birth data that was on another person.. in order for the gauguelins to repeat their study in other countries it was mu ch more difficult in that they first had to get the person, or relatives of the person to allow them to get it with a signed letter or something to that effect.. this is what i recall from reading the literature.. when they submitted the statistical evidence for a connection between planets and career based on proximity to the angles the board where these things are decided, decided the info must be skewed and was some fluke or a result of it being french so they were told they had to replicate it using data from other countries.. thus another 15 years or so was spent trying to address this issue..

as for the accuracy of the data, french or other euro countries, i don't have any info on this but know waybread suggested, and perhaps yourself, that much of it was rounded off to the hour or 1/2 hour which would change the data some..
I just reread this thread from the beginning and found what I erroneously remembered you saying. It was actually me quoting Geoffrey Dean! "In his section on Gauquelin Dean mentions that '[d]uring 1860-1930 the proportion of birth times registered with some precision in minutes was France 16%, Belgium 18%, Holland 30%, Germany 49%.'" Sorry for the confusion.
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:53 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Spock, I fear we could debate "who is a sports champion?" till the cows come home. Different countries have different criteria, and favour different sports. I believe the Gauquelins selected their sample out of a French version of Who's Who.

Also, so far as I know, the Gauquelins didn't pre-judge whether some of their sample "were born great, achieved greatness, or had greatness thrust upon them."
I take issue with what you just said but see no point in pursuing the matter further. Clearly, our take on statistics is incommensurable.
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:14 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

hi spock,

i am curious where you stand with the gauguelin research.. for me, i think it was a good attempt at trying to substantiate some of the ideas to astrology.. it is funny how some astrologers might not want that to happen as it might require a paradigm shift...
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:19 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

Sorry to have taken so long to respond. I've been distracted by family crises and developments.
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hi spock,

i am curious where you stand with the gauguelin research.. for me, i think it was a good attempt at trying to substantiate some of the ideas to astrology.. it is funny how some astrologers might not want that to happen as it might require a paradigm shift...
It was more than good. It was a brilliant and heroic effort that has stood up remarkably well to the attempts of skeptics to discredit it. Three successive skeptics groups tried and failed. Each behaved irrationally and even hysterically in the face of findings they knew couldn't be valid because they knew astrological effects couldn't exist. They violated protocols agreed to by themselves and the Gauquelins, protocols to which the Gauquelins scrupulously adhered. In several instances they made additional demands necessitating years of additional work by the Gauquelins, which they undertook without complaint. When results didn't turn out as they expected they stalled, kept the Gauquelins in the dark, and eventually released statements that were less than fully honest. Philosopher Paul Kurtz, the driving force behind one of the groups, resorted to what would be called outright cheating if it was done deliberately. (I don't know if it was.) That same group shut out one of its most respected members, Dennis Rawlins, when he protested what was going on. He subsequently wrote an expose, sTarbaby, which was published in Fate magazine. Throughout the Gauquelins' behavior was exemplary, that of the skeptics groups an embarrassment to other skeptics dismayed by their treatment of the Gauquelins and their failure to abide by the principles of free inquiry. It's not just astrologers who hem and haw, back and fill when results don't appear to support their deepest beliefs.

The Mars effect controversy bears a striking resemblance to the earlier one involving Wegner's continental drift hypothesis, in which circumstantial evidence was discounted or ignored because how could massive continents plow through solid oceanic crust? Once convincing evidence was provided showing not only that continental drift had occurred but how it could occur resistance collapsed virtually overnight. The entire earth sciences community converted during 1965-66, and a couple of years later the theory of plate tectonics was born, leading to the more rigorous and effective level of research that has characterized the earth sciences ever since. There is a lesson here for astrological researchers. Until we can explain how astrological effects could possibly exist any evidence we offer that they exist is going to be discounted, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I've written about astrological causation, but making sense of astrology is possible only if we're willing to reconsider what sorts of effects actually exist and how astrology actually works, something astrologers are strikingly resistant to doing. As you note above it might require a paradigm shift, and such shifts are always vehemently resisted.

More recently Geoffrey Dean thinks he has a non-astrological explanation for the Gauquelin findings, which he calls social attribution. He thinks parents, especially during the 19th century and especially in the rural areas from which much of the Gauquelin data was drawn, have tended to avoid reporting births on dates or for times considered unlucky or evil, such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, midnight, etc., and have tended to prefer fortunate dates. Also, he claims that following almanacs in which rising, culminating and setting times are given was much more common then than now. I have read his arguments carefully since I last wrote here and there is something about them that bothers me, but I'll need to reread (and ponder) several more times before I can get clear on it. It's a serious challenge, not to be taken lightly. I'm not entirely convinced, but neither am I willing to dismiss his statistics and the interpretation he puts on them until I understand both more fully. In any case even if the Gauquelin findings evaporate it doesn't necessarily prove astrology doesn't exist. There are other lines of research I've been following in recent years which suggest the existence of astrological effects, albeit not the kinds of effects the overwhelming majority of astrologers believe in. Whatever is or might be true about astrology is obscured by an awful lot of nonsense.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:10 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

hi spock,

thanks for your response here and i am sorry to hear of the family dynamics and hope it clears up soon - favourably.

i was unaware of this latest challenge from geoffery dean and find it disheartening... it seems to me these folks are most determined to not see any merit in astrology and spend a lot of time trying to enusre that astrology remains buried in the past, as opposed to legitimized in some scientific manner in the present.. you may be right about astrologers not helping the matter much as there is much division and resistance to examining the basis for many of the theories and beliefs that permeate astrology.

that is also an interesting parallel you draw up to the mars effect controversy that i was unaware of too.. i don't follow science or these types of inquires and explorations but i appreciate the fact you do and are making these parallels here..

what are you hoping to do in the field of astrology? are you working on something at present that is aimed at legitimizing astrology in some scientific type way? thanks for your comments here.
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  #243  
Old 04-16-2012, 03:19 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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I go for the middle way. I'm more concerned with what works that what is pigeon-holed as a certain type of astrology.

Many people call me a traditional astrologer only because I use the Classical Essential Dignities scheme. Why do I use that scheme? Because I find it works.

I use Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in my charts - but not in the dignity scheme.

I use Hellenistic techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

I use Arabic techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

I use Medieval techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

I use Elizabethan techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

I use Lilly's (and his contemporaries) techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

I use Leo's techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

I use Rudhyar's techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

I use Ebertin's techniques that I (and my clients) find to be useful.

Etc.

After spending a couple of hours reading through this whole fascinating thread, I wasn't going to comment since I don't have a lot to add. But Frank's observations are so uncannily similar to my own that I wanted to note it (although as an avid hobbyist, not a professional, I don't so much have "clients" as "willing victims" ). He seems to be saying the same thing Dr. Farr did much earlier in the thread, perhaps not as concisely but just as compellingly. This sometimes pitched debate makes me wonder where astrology would be today if not for the Enlightenment and the ravages of Christianity, capped by Alan Leo's and Evangeline Adams' legal woes and the subsequent turning away from prediction. I came to astrology near the beginning of what might be called the "third wave" of 20th century Western modernism: first came the turn-of-the-century "Victorian revival," then the rise of Jungian psychological astrology with Jones, Rudhyar, etc. (not, of course, discounting people like Grant Lewi) and finally the New Age "grab-bag" approach that mixed several strands together in the interest of holistic completeness. I was AWOL during the neo-traditionalist insurgency in the '90s but coming to it now I'm finding much to like; it seems more like recalibration than devolution to me. A much-needed one, I might add, since the New Age (in my decidedly biased opinion) has been something of a soft-headed disappointment. (I find myself thinking of it as "the False Spring" or "the Piscean pipe-dream.")

By the way, why did Bob Z leave? He always seemed to be in a state of "high dudgeon" about something (or everything, really) but his remarks were as enlightening as his tone and attitude were often confrontational. I can imagine him receiving moderator warnings on more than one occasion, and I'm not thin-skinned. Maybe that was part of it.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:24 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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By the way, why did Bob Z leave?
Currently that remains an unsolved mystery

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He always seemed to be in a state of "high dudgeon" about something (or everything, really)
Apparently ex-Military - "strong Mars"?

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but his remarks were as enlightening...
Enlightening is a great description for BobZemco posts

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....as his tone and attitude were often confrontational. I can imagine him receiving moderator warnings on more than one occasion, and I'm not thin-skinned. Maybe that was part of it.
Most of his posts have much deleted - however the remainder of his comments remain searchable on this forum and are - as you have said Zaphod... enlightening

link to thread "Where is BobZemco?" http://www.astrologyweekly.com/forum/showthread.php?t=42191
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:17 PM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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hi spock,

thanks for your response here and i am sorry to hear of the family dynamics and hope it clears up soon - favourably.
I intervened and helped resolve a difficult situation but a side effect has been a temporary heavy commitment of time while trying to find time for sleep and other acitivities. It's working out and I expect in the near future to get back to a regular sleep schedule and a less chaotic existence.

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i was unaware of this latest challenge from geoffery dean and find it disheartening... it seems to me these folks are most determined to not see any merit in astrology and spend a lot of time trying to enusre that astrology remains buried in the past, as opposed to legitimized in some scientific manner in the present.. you may be right about astrologers not helping the matter much as there is much division and resistance to examining the basis for many of the theories and beliefs that permeate astrology.
I think Dean is sincere and isn't out to "get" astrology. He and a few others have alternately been doubters and believers, and perhaps are all the more persistent as critics for having been "fooled" in the first place. At least they care about astrology, even if their caring has become negative rather than positive. I think it has something to do with waking up and deciding you've wasted years following a false belief. For myself, I decided years ago that it doesn't make sense to defend a fixed set of beliefs called "astrology" but rather to discover what is true that can be called astrology, and that satisfies whatever it is that drew me to astrology in the first place. From that perspective the point is not to defend or justify but to discover what it is, which isn't necessarily (in fact almost certainly isn't) what most astrologers believe it to be. Any field of study, in order to evolve, has to exist in the meantime. Hence its adherents have to be able to experience it as true. Yet if Newton was right Aristotle was wrong. If Einstein was right Newton was wrong. And someday Einstein in turn will turn out to have been wrong. Yet at each stage we have to experience ourselves as being right in order to keep going. We have to, in a sense, be able to fool ourselves at our current level of understanding in order to ascend to a higher (deeper?) level of understanding, where we will in turn fool ourselves in even more subtle ways. The history of knowing can therefore be conceptualized as the history of becoming unfooled at successively higher and more subtle levels of understanding.

There are discontinuities between adjacent levels, like the discontinuity between a closer in or further out electron shell, a lower versus higher energy state. I think the discontinuity between that point when a field is first considered a science and the period immediately preceding it, from pre-science to science, is one of the biggest of all. It is experienced as the difference between superstition and empirically driven science. Right now astrology makes no sense, is not the sort of thing that could be true in a post-Newtonian world, or more specifically the atomistic, matter in motion conceptual world that came into being about the time of the mid-17th century Uranus/Neptune conjunction. Before that astrology not only made sense but was the unifying factor tying everything else together. After that it no longer made sense to educated intellectuals and declined precipitously. Astrological researchers, including some of the brightest and best, have tended to think there will be a revolution in science after which scientists will realize, and understand how, astrologers have been right all along. I think that's nonsense and will happen only if the sciences regress, under the impact of environmental calamity and population decline, into a new dark age. More likely, if astrology is to survive and grow, there will be a revolution in astrology, so that astrology will not stand outside the conceptual framework that has prevailed since the mid-17th century. And it will be a different astrology, just as our knowledge of how things move and interact in the world was different after Newton from the way it was between Aristotle and Newton.

Quote:
that is also an interesting parallel you draw up to the mars effect controversy that i was unaware of too.. i don't follow science or these types of inquires and explorations but i appreciate the fact you do and are making these parallels here..
History is a great teacher. After every scientific revolution, to the extent that the protagonists recognize a discontinuity between what they're doing and their predecessors were doing, will say something like, "We're finally on the right track now." But that's what was said after the previous revolution, and after the one before that. There is no final resting place, no final truth toward which our knowledge is evolving, just as there is no final form toward which we are evolving. Evolution is from, not towards, and this was the gap between Darwin and his contemporaries, and to an extent between Darwin and Wallace. It's difficult to get your head around, like infinity and the very fact of existence.

Seeing how other fields have evolved and made the leap from pre-science to science gives us clues to how astrology can make the same leap. That, in addition to their intrinsic interest, is why I'm interested in philosophy of science, history of science, sociology of science, anthropology of science, sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), rhetoric of science, laboratory studies, etc., etc. I want to know how disciplines come into being, how we can help them come into being, how a discipline of astrology can come into being if there's something to it. And there is something to it, by definition, if we approach it the right way. Are there correspondences between earth and the heavens? Of course there are, but they aren't necessarily coextensive with our current beliefs about them or our (primitive) ways of actualizing those beliefs, our practices, our ways of "doing" astrology. Research means finding out what those correspondences are, whatever they are, and being tough-minded enough not to insist that they have to be what we've believed them to be and need them to be.

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what are you hoping to do in the field of astrology? are you working on something at present that is aimed at legitimizing astrology in some scientific type way? thanks for your comments here.
In immediate terms I'm working on a book, to be titled A Post-Magical Astrology, with a New Zealand colleague. It will include, but not be limited to, a Gauquelin-style statistical experiment that we hope will have large enough effect sizes (by homing in on what those effects actually are) to remove them perceptually from the realm of the "merely statistical". In the larger sense I'm trying to understand what astrology is really like and what it has to be like in order to be made sense of as something that can conceivably exist. Hence I'm not so much trying to legitimize astrology, as a fixed target, as to discover a legitimate kind of knowledge that can be termed "astrological", even if to a large extent it's not what astrologers have been doing. To that end, in addition to other research strategies, I draw on fields that impinge upon or overlap with astrology, for instance cognitive developmental psychology, adult life cycles research, biography and history, and chronobiology.

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  #246  
Old 04-17-2012, 05:23 PM
sandstone sandstone is offline
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

hi spock,

fascinating post that you have shared here for everyone interested in seeing astrology reach a place of recognition on many levels.. i am not sure what has to happen for this to take place, but i had a lot of hope and optimism instilled in me via the gauguelin research only to see it erode via the numerous attacks on it..

i can dimly imagine what astrology might be like in the future if the astro community and a greater community beyond astrology is able to bring astrology into the present where it is recognized in some legitimate manner.. in the meantime i note a strong return to the past documents that have become available in the past 20 odd years and a real resurgence in 'traditional' astrology which doesn't seem concerned in the least about the concerns you address in your post here.. do you have any thoughts on this that you'd like to share?

the book you are in the process of working on sounds as though it will capture the spirit of your posts here in this thread and will be a very interesting exposé that i'd enjoy reading.. i wish you all the best in staying on track to complete that project which is probably quite a commitment of time and energy. for that you will need to remove the distractions that you mentioned earlier in order to get the sleep for the energy required.. i find getting the concentration to do my best work sometimes difficult to find and even more of a problem with added distractions, this forum sometimes being a blessing and a curse in that i enjoy interacting with others like you here, but find i haven't set strong enough boundaries to keep my focus on what i need to be doing as much since coming here in the fall.. thanks for your comments here as they are quite fascinating to read and watch unfold..
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:30 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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.... It was more than good. It was a brilliant and heroic effort that has stood up remarkably well to the attempts of skeptics to discredit it. Three successive skeptics groups tried and failed. Each behaved irrationally and even hysterically in the face of findings they knew couldn't be valid because they knew astrological effects couldn't exist. They violated protocols agreed to by themselves and the Gauquelins, protocols to which the Gauquelins scrupulously adhered. In several instances they made additional demands necessitating years of additional work by the Gauquelins, which they undertook without complaint. When results didn't turn out as they expected they stalled, kept the Gauquelins in the dark, and eventually released statements that were less than fully honest. Philosopher Paul Kurtz, the driving force behind one of the groups, resorted to what would be called outright cheating if it was done deliberately. (I don't know if it was.) That same group shut out one of its most respected members, Dennis Rawlins, when he protested what was going on. He subsequently wrote an expose, sTarbaby, which was published in Fate magazine. Throughout the Gauquelins' behavior was exemplary, that of the skeptics groups an embarrassment to other skeptics dismayed by their treatment of the Gauquelins and their failure to abide by the principles of free inquiry. It's not just astrologers who hem and haw, back and fill when results don't appear to support their deepest beliefs.

The Mars effect controversy bears a striking resemblance to the earlier one involving Wegner's continental drift hypothesis, in which circumstantial evidence was discounted or ignored because how could massive continents plow through solid oceanic crust? Once convincing evidence was provided showing not only that continental drift had occurred but how it could occur resistance collapsed virtually overnight. The entire earth sciences community converted during 1965-66, and a couple of years later the theory of plate tectonics was born, leading to the more rigorous and effective level of research that has characterized the earth sciences ever since. There is a lesson here for astrological researchers. Until we can explain how astrological effects could possibly exist any evidence we offer that they exist is going to be discounted, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I've written about astrological causation, but making sense of astrology is possible only if we're willing to reconsider what sorts of effects actually exist and how astrology actually works, something astrologers are strikingly resistant to doing. As you note above it might require a paradigm shift, and such shifts are always vehemently resisted.

More recently Geoffrey Dean thinks he has a non-astrological explanation for the Gauquelin findings, which he calls social attribution. He thinks parents, especially during the 19th century and especially in the rural areas from which much of the Gauquelin data was drawn, have tended to avoid reporting births on dates or for times considered unlucky or evil, such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, midnight, etc., and have tended to prefer fortunate dates. Also, he claims that following almanacs in which rising, culminating and setting times are given was much more common then than now. I have read his arguments carefully since I last wrote here and there is something about them that bothers me, but I'll need to reread (and ponder) several more times before I can get clear on it. It's a serious challenge, not to be taken lightly. I'm not entirely convinced, but neither am I willing to dismiss his statistics and the interpretation he puts on them until I understand both more fully. In any case even if the Gauquelin findings evaporate it doesn't necessarily prove astrology doesn't exist. There are other lines of research I've been following in recent years which suggest the existence of astrological effects, albeit not the kinds of effects the overwhelming majority of astrologers believe in. Whatever is or might be true about astrology is obscured by an awful lot of nonsense.
spock, I have some problems with the Gauquelins' premises and built-in biases, which I have tried to outline above, that have nothing to do with the "straw man" debate you've outlined. If you think the Gauquelin research was just super-duper notwithstanding, that's fine. But I wonder.... do you yourself apply it to actual chart-readings for people? If so, how?
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:39 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Originally Posted by sandstone View Post
hi spock,

fascinating post that you have shared here for everyone interested in seeing astrology reach a place of recognition on many levels.. i am not sure what has to happen for this to take place, but i had a lot of hope and optimism instilled in me via the gauguelin research only to see it erode via the numerous attacks on it..
The attackers have had surprisingly little success in discrediting the Gauquelin results. The most serious challenge, posed by Geoffrey Dean, focuses on the smallness of the effect size. That, however, is at least partly a red herring. The Mars effect is not athletic prominence. It's a trait that gives you an edge if you happen to be an athlete. But since the Mars effect is only one of a number of factors that affect athletic success, it can't by itself make you a superstar. If you're marginal it'll make you not too bad. If you're not too bad it'll make you average. If you're average it'll make you pretty good. If you're pretty good it'll make you very good. And if you're very good it'll make you one of the best and possibly one of the prominent athletes in a Gauquelin-style experiment. The statistical effect size is small because athletic prominence measures the Mars effect only indirectly. But a small effect size is easier to explain away than a large one. Dean claims to have found (but gives no raw data in the piece I read) that the effect size increases as birthtime faking increases, and notes that it would take only a small percentage of faked data to produce the very small Gauquelin effect sizes. He argues that parental faking could be the source of the Gauquelin results. However, this assumes not only that some parents provided false information and not only that they knew what false information to provide, but also that doing so made their children more likely to succeed. An experiment more closely based on what the Mars effect actually is would, if the effect is real, likely settle the matter. It would not, however, lacking a mechanism that explains the effect, satisfy skeptics who assume the statistical result must be an artifact because such an effect can't possibly exist. (After Symbolism does, by the way, offer an explanation for astrological effects, albeit only for the kind that I think actually exist.)

At the same time the Gauquelin material isn't the only or even the best evidence for astrology, or the best source of astrological knowledge. Developmental psychology, including adult lifespan development, is a rich source of astrological insights. After all, developmental psychology is about what happens at what age. Age transits, each planet conjoining, squaring, or opposing its natal place, also happen at about the same time for everyone, hence are also about what happens at what age. The twin giants of cognitive developmental psychology are Jean Piaget and L.S. Vygotsky. The major periods in Piaget's scheme are the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage. But Johnnie doesn't go to sleep Tuesday in the preoperational stage and wake up Wednesday in the concrete operational stage. There must be a way of getting from one to the other, a transition period. Piaget didn't have much to say about transitions and didn't include them in his scheme, but we would expect them to coincide with the boundaries between stages. Those boundaries coincide with age transits. Hence the sensorimotor stage begins at birth and ends with Mars conjoining its natal place, the first Mars return; the preoperational stage begins with the Mars Return and ends with Saturn squaring its natal place; the stage of concrete operations begins with Saturn squaring its natal place and ends with Jupiter conjoining its natal place, the first Jupiter Return; and the period of formal operations begins with the Jupiter Return and continues into adulthood.

For the most part Piaget's scheme includes only stages, not the transitions between them. Vygotsky's scheme includes not only stable periods, the relatively long periods between transits, but also critical periods, the relatively brief periods of the transits. Hence he refers to the crisis at age one, which can be attributed to either Sun conjunct Sun, the first Solar Return, or Mars opposite Mars, or both; the crisis at (the turn to) age three, which coincides with Jupiter squaring its natal place; and the crisis at age seven, which coincides with Saturn squaring its natal place. With Piaget we can get some idea of the nature of a given transit/transition by noting how a given stage differs from its immediate predecessor and thinking about what it would take to effect that kind of change. With Vygotsky, however, we have descriptions not only of the stable periods but also of the transition periods that connect them. For instance, during the first three years a child is very concrete and literal-minded in her thinking. She finds it difficult to say, even if instructed to do so, "Sally is walking across the room," if she can plainly see her sitting in a chair. Also, during the first three years motivation is not clearly separable from perception. If a child sees a bright light she moves toward it. She listens intently to an interesting sound. A door gets opened and closed, a ball dropped or rolled. Each stimulus directly evokes a response until she becomes bored with it and responds to the next interesting stimulus. She is, in a sense, a slave to her immediate environment. She does not, in the sense that an adult or older child does, decide what do do.

At the turn to age three a new characteristic, imagination, begins to emerge. This isn't imagination in its full flowering at the Jupiter Return but its precursor. The child is now able to have one thing stand for another. The stick in his hands is the steering wheel of the car he's "driving" around the living room or yard; or the horse he's "riding" as he chases the bad guys. (True play begins at three.) At the same time more complex wants emerge that are not single actions but activities that are made up of a number of specific actions: going to the store with Mommy; playing cowboys and indians with Bobby. The child can now decide what he or she wants to do, and can be frustrated when those desires are stymied. Stubbornness and willfulness is characteristic of the crisis at age three. The child refuses to change her mind even when it would be reasonable to do so, even when what her parents want her to do is something she'd ordinarily want to do. She refuses to change her mind because she's trying to have a mind of her own, to be able to follow her own wishes without being deflected from moment to moment. Vygotsky asserts that "if the crisis for some reason passes sluggishly and is not clearly expressed , this leads to a serious delay in the development of affective and volitional aspects of the child's personality at a later age."

Another development at three ties together and helps explain these changes. Life takes on a narrative structure. The child mutters while he's doing something: It go there now. No good. Push it. His remarks are cryptic and not easily decipherable. Piaget called this egocentric speech and attributed it to childhood egocentrism, in which the child's speech isn't social. He hasn't yet learned to communicate by putting himself in the shoes of others and providing the verbal clues that would enable someone else to know what he's talking about. Vygotsky, however, argued that the child's speech is social from the beginning. What changes at three is speech splits into two parts, the original speech for others and a new function, speech for oneself. He noted that the incidence of egocentric speech increases when the child is engaged in a difficult task, and that over the next few years it becomes even more cryptic. What's happening is the child is talking himself through what he's trying to accomplish. He's telling himself what to do. Egocentric speech doesn't die out as Piaget thought but goes underground at age seven (!) and becomes inner speech, the thinking in words that we often associate with thinking per se. Not only does egocentric speech not need to provide the details that would make it comprehensible to others, since the child knows who and what he's talking (thinking) about, it doesn't have to be out loud, either. Now he realizes who he's talking to, himself, and at that point egocentric speech becomes thinking in words. The three-year old in essence always thinks out loud. The seven-year old has learned to think to himself.

This enables us to understand and differentiate the Jupiter and Saturn effects from each other. The child at seven often comes across as artificial and pretentious. That's because he's learning to present a facade, a public self that he tries to live up to, but he's new at it. This is the beginning of impression management, and also deliberate dissembling and lying. As I said earlier what emerges at the Jupiter square is complex wants, things we like to do, and throughout life new hobbies and enthusiasms, as well as relationships involving shared activities, tend to change at Jupiter intervals. (I think close examination would reveal that many (most?) of us first got turned on to astrology during a Jupiter transit, and that further developments in that interest occurred at Jupiter intervals.) What emerges at the Saturn square is a conscious self-image, an image according to which we organize our activities and are able, for the first time, to hold to a task and to regularly perform duties and live up to responsibilities. It's no accident that the Spartans sent boys to live in barracks and train as soldiers at age seven, that Medieval children became apprentices at seven, that cultures the world over begin training their children at this age and have rites of passage to mark this important psychological milestone. They do so because at seven the child develops capabilities she didn't have previously. We don't train or use children at an earlier age because we can't. The Saturn self corresponds to Freud's ego and Maslow's esteem needs. (Just as different wavelengths of light are perceived as different colors, so, too, the structure of the psyche is composed of different temporal wavelengths. You could say that the ego is simply that facet of the self that comes to the forefront at seven-year intervals. It's a seven-year pulse.) When we engage in a hobby or other pleasurable activity we have fun. When we live up to our desired self-image we feel good about ourselves and enhance our self-esteem. Just as our hobbies and enthusiasms tend to follow a Jupiter schedule, we make career changes (in the broader sense, as outgrowths of shifts in self-image) according to a Saturn schedule.

Age transits don't, of course, account for individual differences. For that we need transits to other planets, whose timing varies from person to person. In my chart, for instance, Mars is conjunct Saturn. (The sign doesn't matter because I don't think astrological signs are real.) This means that everytime Mars transits conjunct, square or opposite its natal place it simultaneously does the same to Saturn. Saturn similarly makes simultaneous transits to its own place and Mars. And this has developmental consequences. It accounts both for individual differences and development, because we aren't born with fully developed adult personalities. We have to become who we are. (See the subsection "Transit Patterns and the Evolution of Personality" in section 2 of After Symbolism for further details.) But age transits are not only, with the input of developmental psychology, potentially the most rigorous, well-attested part of astrology. They're also a foundation on which to build. Understanding the effects of Saturn per se, as it transits in relation to its own natal place, seems to me a prerequisite for understanding the effects of Saturn in relation to the other factors in the chart, and thus ultimately not only individual personality but also the structure of the human psyche.

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i can dimly imagine what astrology might be like in the future if the astro community and a greater community beyond astrology is able to bring astrology into the present where it is recognized in some legitimate manner.. in the meantime i note a strong return to the past documents that have become available in the past 20 odd years and a real resurgence in 'traditional' astrology which doesn't seem concerned in the least about the concerns you address in your post here.. do you have any thoughts on this that you'd like to share?
I think it's partly due to a need to believe and a consequent shying away from any approach that might undermine it, and partly a turning away from science and statistics in response to disappointed expectations. Underlying both is the kind of reasoning we absorb when we learn how to do astrology. I have no problem with astrologers being committed to believing in some form of astrology. If I did I'd have a problem with myself. I think it's a myth that students of physics, chemistry and biology accept the validity of what they're studying because the evidence convinces them, whereas astrologers believe in astrology because they're gullible and superstitious. But my commitment is to the idea that there are correspondences between the earth and heavens. It doesn't commit me to specific beliefs about the nature and extent of such correspondences, about their causes, or about how we deploy our knowledge of them when we delineate. That's what research is for, to tell me what I can believe even if it's not what I learned from textbooks. But I think many astrologers are committed not just to the idea of correspondences but to the fleshed out belief system handed down to us. In the face of our inability to demonstrate the validity of our existing beliefs and practices, and given a prior belief in a working astrology discovered by or revealed to our ancient predecessors, it's no surprise that some of our more thoughtful astrologers would look to the past for lost or forgotten knowledge. Ultimately I think their disinterest in a more rigorous, scientific approach to astrology is due to a lack of faith that there is anything to find by such means. That lack of faith is in turn due to unrealistic expectations that positive statistical results would be easy to come by and would validate astrology in exactly its present form.

As for the mode of reasoning I refer to above, which underlies and emphasizes the tendencies and reactions I think I see, consider the abstract to After Symbolism: "Symbolism has been both the saviour and achilles heel of astrology. By enabling it to seem valid to its adherents it has insured its continued existence and development. It's nature, however, limits the extent of that development. Since astrology can be "right" even when the chart or event is wrong there is no confrontation with reality to correct and improve it. Astrology can move to a higher level only if symbolism is supplanted by empiricism. An empirical astrology would not merely be illustrated by real-world observations. It would be based on them. The purpose of this article is to show how." The first two sections of the article analyze symbolism and contrast it to empiricism, but the article as a whole is about what comes "after symbolism". But it's hard to get there from within the conceptual box provided by the existing paradigm, which I think accounts both for the anti-empirical tendencies that are at the heart of the unconcern you refer to as well as for the often overly hostile and even hysterical responses I encounter when I critique symbolism.

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the book you are in the process of working on sounds as though it will capture the spirit of your posts here in this thread and will be a very interesting exposé that i'd enjoy reading.. i wish you all the best in staying on track to complete that project which is probably quite a commitment of time and energy. for that you will need to remove the distractions that you mentioned earlier in order to get the sleep for the energy required.. i find getting the concentration to do my best work sometimes difficult to find and even more of a problem with added distractions, this forum sometimes being a blessing and a curse in that i enjoy interacting with others like you here, but find i haven't set strong enough boundaries to keep my focus on what i need to be doing as much since coming here in the fall.. thanks for your comments here as they are quite fascinating to read and watch unfold..
In a sense I'm working on the book everytime I post, because I'm always working out ideas in my head as well as trying out ways of putting things so as to more effectively get across what I'm trying to say. So in addition to the fact that I enjoy these discussions, they serve a purpose.

Last edited by spock; 06-01-2012 at 01:27 AM.
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  #249  
Old 05-30-2012, 03:57 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

Well, some of the "attackers" have actually looked at the Gauquelins' study design....

Thr real question is why astrologers don't master the study of statistics, so that we can refer to some solid recent studies.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:52 AM
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Re: traditional / modern / contemporary

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Well, some of the "attackers" have actually looked at the Gauquelins' study design....

Thr real question is why astrologers don't master the study of statistics, so that we can refer to some solid recent studies.
There is a statistical study available on the net, a book called "The astrology files" written by Gunther Sachs, which as far as I'm aware uses the correct methodology to show various differences of the signs and their effects on we humans. After my first couple of years studying astrology I used to feel disappointed when people wouldn't believe that astrology does influence us, now that I see the system of control in place on planet earth (for good or bad depending on how one sees it) I can understand why people don't want to see that their lives are not in their total control, overwhelming fear can prevent people from even considering certain scenario's!
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