ColdBaby (The Antiastrological Activism in UK)
CURA : HOME
by Dr. Patrice Guinard
1. History of a Publication (about "Correlation", an Alleged peer-reviewed publication)
2. What is Correlation ? (The propaganda of Correlation against my ideas, Barbault's plagiarism, etc)
3. Review of the reviewer and debunking the debunker/s (about Dean et al. Claims on my Manifesto)
History of a Publication (or about "Correlation", an Alleged peer-reviewed publication)
Summary: How you can see that one year is required for an anonymous reviewer from Correlation to write five deleterious lines. Under the direction of Pat Harris, Correlation has become a pretentious pseudo-academic magazine with no academic criteria, supposedly open to international research but in fact, primarily only open to the little clan that lies hidden under the editorial board.
Waiting One Year for a Review
"The organization is committed to perpetuating a position, not to determining the truth." (Dennis Rawlins : sTARBABY)
Sociological studies about the astrological milieu are rare. They may concern those sun-sign horoscopes of pseudo-astrologers, but there are no investigations into the real astrological milieu. Queries never enter into those little no-man lands that are the equivalent of the laboratory jungles explored by sociologist Bruno Latour. But who is there to query? The editors of publications? The publishers of astrological magazines? The directors of little associations? They are the frontliners for incomplete information and data trafficking. They are the protectors of their clientele because their goal is to increase the petty astrological trade.
There is not one single sign of scientific capability to be found in these milieux, nor is there any remote hint of intellectual probity. This text does not pretend to offer any such necessary study, but will just give testimony to the usual practices, especially those to be found in Great Britain (although similar examples can be found in France), and will relate the facts concerning the history of a publication which has yet to be published.
In May, 2000, I contacted the editor of Correlation, a respectable British journal during the years 1980s and 1990s, requesting the publication of an article intended to appear under the category "Philosophical Theories of Astrology".
On June 17, 2000, I received this reply from Pat Harris, the acting editor of the journal :
"Our next issue of Correlation is more or less fully committed but I might be able to get it in there for you. If not, I will consider it for the winter issue which will come out in Jan/Feb 01. Many thanks for sending me your most interesting work and I am sorry that I was not able to reply immediately."
Note that at this moment, the article could have been published in the Summer issue: Jul/Aug 2000 (vol. 19.1). But, after four months without news and after a reminder email, I received this reply on October 18, 2000 :
"I am so sorry - I thought that I had replied. I have referred peer reviewers to your paper. The review process can take several weeks but your paper is certainly in my files for Correlations to come."
The article which might have been published in the Summer issue (without peer reviewing), is now waiting for the review of these peers.
On Nov 30, 2000 : "I have not yet had feedback from the peer reviewers - the process can take some time, I am afraid, depending on the nature of the paper."
On Dec 9, 2000 : "Just to keep you up to date on the peer reviewing. It is going to take a little longer, I'm afraid so it will be January before I can forward the completed comments on to you. Hopefully, we can arrange something for Correlation 20(1), the issue after next which will be out at the end of Summer."
The publication of the article previously planned for the Summer, 2000 issue, is now reported for the Summer, 2001 issue! These peer reviewers, who received my article in Summer 2000, have not yet sent any review by the beginning of December.
On Dec 29, 2000 : "I hope that I will be able to include your article in Correlation 20 (1) which is coming out at the end of summer."
On Dec 30, 2000, I finally received peer review no. 1: "I am very impressed with Patrice's article, and strongly believe that it should be published. What follows are thoughts that I had whilst reading it. Most are about clarification." (the review contains 26 lines in total)
But I have been informed, too, that the "peer reviewer no. 2 is unable to let me have his comments until end January but I will forward them to you as soon as I have them."
Here we can wonder about the seriousness of a journal with academic pretentions, that can deliver a first peer review of 26 lines in six months, but another peer reviewer still unable to send his review after six months.
On April 15, 2001, after a new email reminder : ("Dear Pat, I suspect that your "Peer Reviewer no. 2" --Who is-was he-she??-- could be a "slow-witted" person!"), I received this mail :
"I am really sorry that the peer reviewing is taking rather a long time. I am still interested in your work and will chase up the outstanding peer review report and get back to you."
Again on May 31, 2001 : "When we receive a manuscript like your paper it can take some time to complete the review process because of availability and consciensciousness [sic] of the reviewers involved."
The revealing word - "conscientiousness" - is given !
But on June 4, 2001, I received a revised version of "peer review no. 1". The beginning of the review had been altered by the editor !
What had formerly read "I am very impressed with Patrice's article, and strongly believe that it should be published" had now been changed to "I was impressed with this article."
At the same time that I received this cooked peer review, I also received a refusal to publish my paper.
"After consider the comments in both reports I have come to the decision that although the article is very interesting it is not really right for Correlation."
This refusal arrived with "peer review no. 2" which I quote in extenso:
"It is doubtful whether it fulfils the criteria of 'research in astrology'. Rather it's a personal manifesto. That's fine, but it's it [sic !] not right for Correlation. Moreover, large parts of it consist of untested assertions. [quote 1st sentence of my text] No evidence is offered for this claim, either from history or contemporary observation. [quote 2nd sentence of my text] This statement suffers from the major characteristic of post-modern writing: it strings undefined words together to make an impression but ends up confusing rather than communicating. As above, no evidence is offered. I would challenge anyone to give a practical example of what is actually being claimed. The paper contains so many of these untestable and complicated claims, most with no evidence offered."
Note the rather limited vocabulary of the reviewer who needed one year to write the same couplet ("no evidence is offered"), three times in five lines ! Nearly one year was necessary for the alleged second reviewer to write five lines without any argumentation, but just containing an opinion on the nature of what might be considered research in astrology! In just quoting the first two sentences of the text, one sees that there is "no evidence offered" that the reviewer had read more than the first paragraph ! This is probably a good example of the "seriousness" and of the level of "academic scrutiny" of this British journal!
The peer reviewers of Correlation : a Masquerade
"Do not throw the baby out ..." (Kepler)
Everyone familiar with this journal can see that it's closed to international research: the authors of the published articles are identical to the consulting editors. One has only to look on verso of the title page, circa twenty names, almost entirely British, with the exception of "Françoise Gauquelin PhD" who has never been a "consulting editor" of this journal under the direction of Pat Harris, and who was not a PhD!
I asked for the names of the reviewers. The first one is Mike Harding, author of some articles and a consulting editor, who published in the Summer 2000 Issue of Correlation, an article about "Prejudice in Astrological Research", which offers very similar claims to those of my Manifesto for astrology. I have yet to discover the name of the second reviewer.
To my inquiry about the second reviewer, I received on June 6, 2001 : "I am afraid I cannot tell you. The journal now operates a policy that keeps the author's identity anonymous and also the peer reviewers so that no one knows who is involved to keep the process absolutely fair."
Note the "now": it seems that the rules and policy of the magazine have changed during the year I was awaiting the publication.
I replied on Jun. 7, 2001 :
"In fact, I'm very disappointed with your decision. I've sent to you a philosophical paper, not a statistical facts-based one. It appears to me that the so long time differed review n. 2 of my article is completely out of the subject, like a HOAX. It was evident from the beginning that my paper is replying to the Philosophical problems of astrology (see Correlation 14.2, 1995). As I noted too in the review of the Elwell's Cosmic Loom by Robin Heath: "we have so few books that deal with philosophy of astrology" (n° 19.1, 2000), I wonder why you don't want to publish an original view which isn't BRITISH."
On the same day, I received a reply which confirms that the magazine policy had meanwhile changed : "The policy on peer reviewing was changed during the time your paper was under review and I can no longer reveal the names of peer reviewers and must keep the authorship of any of your future papers anonymous from future peer reviewers, also."
But on Jun. 8, 2001, the reason of the refusal is now the supposed length of my article :
"Average article length for the journal is about 8 to 10,000 words although we do publish longer pieces sometimes. Would it be possible to submit a shorter version of your paper, perhaps condensing it in a way that gives emphases to the points you are making about a model to explain astrology?"
In fact, it's unbelievable that a serious consultant would take one year to write five lines on an article of ten pages. Were there really two reviewers ? Did the second one even exist ? And after a comparison between the style of writing of the alleged second reviewer and that of the current editor of Correlation, might she, the editor, be in fact the author of these five lines (see for instance her article on Correlation 22(1), 2004, which is around 30,000 words with 3 appendices, far over the criteria of the 10,000 words !) The current editor of Correlation could have just invented a second peer review, as she has cooked the terms of the first reviewer.
On Jun. 23, 2001, I sent the editor a concise paper on the Claims and Methods of Astro-Statistics (1300 words) for publication. I've never received any reply whatsoever, nor has my paper ever been published in the section "Correlation's Forum" (dedicated to shorter texts).
Yet no one in British research circles seems to be aware of these practices, and Correlation is still presented as a serious journal. In fact some authors who were published in Correlation, who were also not satisfied with these archaic approaches to publishing, have asked me to also publish their papers on CURA.
Under the direction of Path Harris, Correlation has become a pretentious pseudo-academic magazine, which in fact does not adhere to its own academic criteria, supposedly open to international research but in fact only open to the little clan that lies under the editorial board. The length for published articles, the archaic methods, ignoring academic exigency, although claimed, is a sign of the publication's decline that has been going on for years: not surprisingly in the image of what has become the British economy. With such corruption, British astrological research is seen to be in a bad way, and doesn't need more anti-astrologers. No doubt the most penetrating readers will have understood that my efforts to have my paper published in the magazine Correlation have been in vain, and that my way had fallen into some paths of herrings.
ColdBaby 2/4: What is Correlation ?
Summary : How you will see that my ideas are disputed in the Journal Correlation : but by others, without giving me any chance to explain my views. This publication, nothing other than a new kind of zetetic journal, is not afraid to use coarse processes.
The identity of the second reviewer (continuation of ColdBaby 1)
The editor of Correlation was in front of a dilemna : two reviews, one very positive, the other one at the opposite end, one from an astrologer and psychotherapist, the other one from an anti-astrologer. She finally decided that the article was not appropriate for Correlation and took one year to make that decision. Was this decision "peer-reviewed", or not? I wonder. Nor was the choice of peer-reviewers peer reviewed! I mean that an editor can do anything he likes in that kind of magazine, without any academic criteria, firstly because astrology, and all that concerns astrology has not found a real serious academic environment in which to develop itself.
But the problem also lies elsewhere. When a British writer of the editorial team of Correlation is offering a paper, it is sent to sympathetic reviewers for their views, or researchers who are working in a similar domain. But, infortunately, there are no philosophers among the reviewers of the magazine, and my paper was finally sent to some amateur: probably SFB (see infra), the personal friend of the editor and who actively tried to disqualify my thesis at the Sorbonne University.
Because, of course, the actual editor of Correlation was not herself the second reviewer, was she ? She mandated in haste a substitute reviewer who just read the two first lines of the paper. The second reviewer (will he be the one that needed one year to write five lines, or a substitute who just read two sentences of the text) was probably one of the CSISOP affiliates and correspondants pertaining to this clique. One can recognize easily the same stylish flatness, the absence of any philosophical elevation, and the same "student" vocabulary used in the place of real argumentation ("no evidence is given", "untested claims", etc, etc).
The propaganda of Correlation against my ideas
On Feb 08, 2002, I suggested to Shelley Jordan, author of several reviews of historical studies for CURA and of a brillant and comprehensive commentary of my Manifesto for Astrology, to send it to Correlation for publication. Her paper was effectively published in Volume 20.2 (2002), but in an abridged and truncated version. Her explanations of the main concepts that enable them to be seen under a different light and perspective, perhaps more understandable for a British neophyte public who might not be familiar with German and French conceptual trends, have been systematically cut out.
Compare the censored version of Correlation with the one available on CURA (http://cura.free.fr/books2.html#6) : The 2000 words of the original review have been reduced to 700 words, deleting some of Shelley's most interesting comments on my concepts.
But in the next issues (Vols. 21.1 and 21.2, 2002-2003), in the same magazine, two attacks on my writings and on Shelley's review have been published: an old article by S. Fuzeau-Braesch (SFB), and a letter to the editor by K. Hawley. I had not been informed about them, and no "droit de réponse" has been offered to me.
In every academic journal, these kinds of opinions and responses are submitted on articles and papers that have already been published in the journal, never are there responses to articles that have not been published.
The old article by SFB, "Causal Or Esoteric Astrology?", already published two or three times before, has been printed without mentioning the answer that I have given to it, and that is reproduced by Les Cahiers du RAMS, the original publishing journal : see http://www.ramsfr.fr/reponseguinardus.htm (in English) and http://www.ramsfr.fr/reponseguinardfr.htm (in French).
SFB had also sent her poor quality paper to CURA on April 1, 2002 : "Ci-joint un texte en deux langues que je vous propose de soumettre à vos correspondants, vue [sic] la nécessité de réflexions dans ces domaines astrologiques aujourd'hui."
SFB does not know French elementary grammar : ("vue" for "vu" !). This paper of course has been refused by CURA.
I am quoting what has been the poor literature of SFB:
"A large number of fairly new and inadequately defined notions are currently circulating in the publications and circles of astrology (...), we will focus mainly on synchronicity, archetype and symbolism. (...) Patrice Guinard, a doctor of philosophy, goes much further when he writes about astrology in the following terms, "the chaos to which modern materialist thinking leads, which I predict - not as an astrologist - will collapse in the medium term". This implies that he totally rejects the objectivity - materialist in the philosophical meaning of the term - of science." (SFB)
The exact French sentence is "le chaos auquel mène la pensée matérialiste moderne dont je prévois -- non en tant qu'astrologue! -- l'effondrement à moyen terme." (see http://cura.free.fr/15projet.html, 2001)
SFB's translation makes no sense ; a more readable one can be found here: "modern materialist thinking is leading to chaos, and I foresee --not as an astrologer!-- its collapse in the medium term." (http://cura.free.fr/25fund.html)
So it is not a surprise if SFB can hardly understand French, that she had also difficulties in translating it, and also in understanding the philosophical implications of a discourse. And even a student in his first year of philosophy will not confuse "materialist thinking" with "scientific objectivity" ! The existence of a chaotic spirit created by modern materialist thinking does not imply that I "totally reject the objectivity of science". The implication is nonsense, and SFB does not understand the most elementary principles of logic!
Note that for SFB the notions of synchronicity, archetype and symbolism are clearly new (but see Rudhyar among many others !) and "inadequately defined" in her opinion (!) But one will not find a definition that is any better in her article, in fact there is no definition at all...
Nowhere does SFB discuss my arguments on this important subject. Her unfriendly remark concerning my ideas in this article misinform the reader, and the citation of an isolated sentence out of context did not accurately demonstrate the ideas presented. This quote, extracted from its general context, does not reflect my thought. It would just create the belief that I support the neo-Jungian point of view on synchronicity, common to modern astrologers. But that is obviously not the case, and in fact the contrary is true (see the following passages published in The International Astrologer, vol. 30.4, winter 2001, and on CURA)
"The Jungian concepts of synchronicity, archetypes and the collective unconscious are of little utility for astrology. When one is feeling what I call an 'impressional', it is no longer an archetype, but it is not yet a symbol. Jungian psychology is inadequate for an understanding of what astrology is - just a crutch for astrological thought!"
"What is synchronicity? For Jung it is a meaningful coincidence occurring in time between two or more independent events. Fine. For instance: MY CAT IS SCRATCHING ITS EARS WHILE I AM TAKING OFF MY SOCKS. This is a real, pure, absolute 'moment' of synchronicity. There is no causality involved (at the very least, I hope not). Imagine that I become conscious of the coincidence, and that I remark that every time I take off my socks, my dear cat is 'really' scratching its ears: Then it's no longer synchronicity, but a matter of superstition such as that which exists in the practices of certain religions. Imagine now that the cat is scratching its ears because it is experiencing some internal pain and that I am aware of that. This, then becomes more interesting because, effectively, I could project some significant relation between the two events."
... (see more of my ideas on modern neo-Jungian mode : http://cura.free.fr/16aphor.html.
But enough for this obsolete attempt at disinformation, which is only of limited value for those complacent magazines that are also actively practicing the politics of disinformation.
The promotion of bogus predictions (and Barbault's plagiarism)
I will not discuss the letter of K. Hawley, because it appears to have been written by a neophyte, recruited for the occasion, with no other argument than a polemical opinion, which has been reported by his masters Dean et al in their review of my Manifesto (see ColdBaby 3).
More interesting and at the same time, the writer of the letter intends to revive the old-fashioned astrological views of French mundane "predictioneer" André Barbault. In a short article published in the same numero of the review, he ingenuously asks about the discovery of the "Indice Cyclique" (Cyclical index) which has been invented by Henri Gouchon: "Why did Gouchon not make his work more available in existing astrological journals at the time?" Probably for the same reasons that my papers have not yet been published in British journals !
It's not known in the British astrological milieux, how much Barbault "borrowed" materials, ideas, and various things from his collegues: from his brother Armand Barbault, from Henri Gouchon, from Claire Santagostini, etc (for all these astrologers : see French Astrology in the 20th Century : http://cura.free.fr/docum/16afr-en.html).
I have even found in a book published by Barbault in 1992 (p.16) the flagrant plagiarism of some sentences I had written in the French journal Astralis in 1986!
Guinard: "Fondements logiques des Maîtrises", in Astralis (Revue du GERASH), n° 13-14, Lyon, 1986, p.53-54
Barbault: L'univers astrologique des quatre éléments, Paris, éditions Traditionnelles, 1992, p.16
[It is really amazing to see a world-known specialist borrowing ideas and vocabulary from a young writer (I was 28 when the article has been published), without mentioning any reference anywhere. When I phoned him some ten years ago, asking for explanations : he replied that these were things that were well-known by all astrologers ! But alas one of the expressions that he "borrowed" from me, i.e. "sous-ensembles planètes-signes-maisons", does not suit his views on astrology. One of the main ideas I have defended in my article (an extended theory of Rulerships that also includes Houses) is totally incompatible with his practice : he does not pay any consideration to Houses in the interpretation of charts he gives in his book or elsewhere, and even all the charts are erected without any system of houses. Yet how could my "sous-ensembles d'éléments (12 signes, 10 planètes, maisons)" make any sense for him ?".]
Of course the Cyclical index "borrowed" by Barbault did not give any satisfactionary result, nor did any of his other attempts at prediction. For example he predicted a major world crisis for 1982 : "We await the risk of an important world crisis in 1982-83" ("The foundations of mundane astrology", in Kosmos, vol. 6.4, 1974, p.26), shadows on the British royal family in 1993, the fall of Fidel Castro for 1993, the return of the monarchy in Bulgaria in 1995, the Israeli-Palestinian peace in 1997, the peace in the former Yugoslavia for October 1994, a strong economic recovery in 1997 (Asiatic finantial crisis !), the victory of prime minister Pierre Bérégovoy at the French presidential election of 1995 (but in fact he suicided in Nevers in May 1993 !), etc, etc (More details and references can be found here : http://cura.free.fr/xxv/25rvchon.html)
Jacques Reverchon, the only French collaborator of Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, already wrote in 1971 about the bogus predictions of Barbault : "What was announced did not happen, what happened was not announced. (...) But what is more painful is the stupendous presumptuousness or the alarming infatuation of the responsible fellow, who dares show his bears as a testimony of his brilliant technical superiority, at the expense of some colleagues whose oddities he exposes."
But that is the kind of French astrology which is actually promoted in Correlation (and also recently in The Astrological Journal) !
Not that Barbault's astrology would have aged: it was already olde-worlde when I began to interest myself in astrology in 1977. Barbault was already at that time one of the leading representatives of the old-fashioned predictive school, when French inventive astrology was represented by J-P Nicola, D. Verney, and some others, when French public was discovering Dane Rudhyar's books in translation.
Correlation with the complicity of some British astrological authorities is promoting for evident tactical reasons the old-fashioned blabbering Barbaultian views, instead of paying attention to a living, serious French astrology. Barbault is the Mireille Mathieu of French astrology: It would be like the English buying in 2009 some recordings of her songs and of those of similar pop French singers, and bringing them into some London musical circles saying: "Interesting these new French singers!"
In conclusion, I hope that the anglophone reader now has some idea of what is or has become of Correlation.
Additional Note: This text has been sent to several people ten days ago and has been spread on several places with or without my permission, before this present publication on CURA. ColdBaby has already provoked many reactions, and a debate has been engaged among some of the members of the editorial board of Correlation. The question of editorial "competence" has been raised, and I have received a proposal by Nicholas Campion (probably as chief consulting co-editor), to write another article for the magazine. It has also been said that the current editor could need to take advice and time ... which is properly laughable, since taking her time is what she knows how to do best, and is one of the very sources of the problem. But the "Droit de Réponse" that I have asked for has not yet received any reply, nor the query to the actual editor to give any substantive reasons to doubt my allegations.
Nothing else is better than such an experiment to distinguish real friends (rare and often unexpected), but above all the false ones, the cowards, and the hypocrital ol' boys scout club of consensually smooth alleged astrology. Here the masks are removed. It seems that the British astrological milieu is locked by a handful (with only two or three fingers) of protagonists, who make the decisions behind the scenes, who prevent the publication of significant papers and promote the only one of those who speak the club lingo, and who put at the post of secretary some puppet administrators for piloting those petty people around. (PG : April 20, 2009)
3/4: Review of the reviewer and debunking the debunker/s (or about Dean et al. Claims on my Manifesto)
"These men, who have never built a cathedral, danced a dervish dance, or meditated for half an hour, deny the possibility of such a qualitative difference." (John West and Jan Toonder, The case for astrology, 1973, p.137)
"Practiced with determination and without subterfuge, the doctrine of falsifiability would wipe out science as we know it." (Paul Feyerabend, Killing time, 1995, p.90)
Summary: How you will conclude that there is nothing serious in the nauseating review of my "Manifesto for Astrology" written by Dean-et-al in 2004, but just obscurantist antiastrological assumptions, issued from ideological trends of the XVIIIth century.
Astrology's unexpected revival at the beginning of XXth century gave birth to a new class of antiastrological activists, not chosen from among Christian clerical ideologues (as had been still the case in XVIIth century and later), but instead found in the surrounds of scientist communities. New Liliputian Sokals have arisen and will continue to arise, in proportion to the popular success of astrology and of the pseudo-astrology that these sophists do not want to distinguish.
British astrology continues to pay attention to obscurantist discourses like those held by Dean et al, and even if Dean et al is far less frequently published in British magazines than 20 or 30 years ago, British magazines are still holding the services of Dean et al to prevent the publication of foreign papers (see ColdBaby 1 and 2).
The pitiable review of my Manifesto by A. Mather has been published on the website "no-astrology-nor-science" at least since January 04, 2004, from which date I have a faulty copy, that has been corrected and revised afterward by Dean's team. I had been personally and tardily informed of its existence by G. Dean on March 18, 2004, and answered to this email the same day:
"Your reviewer has totally missed my points. Disappointing as he has been presented to me as interested by philosophical problematics. What can be read here is just some remarks issued by a Popperian novice."
I will call, by convention, the author as "Dean-et-al", also abridged as DEAL.
DEAL 01 : "A massive exercise in pseudoscience"
Dean-et-al does not explain to us what pseudoscience is. Probably because he does not know what it means: if you were to ask Dean-et-al "What is his profession?" or "What he is doing in life?", he would probably reply that he is battling against pseudoscience. But if you ask him now "What is pseudo-science?", he will reply that it is precisely what he is fighting against, throughout the days of his life!
Dean-et-al is unable to define pseudo-science, because he confounds the object of discourse (here astrology) with the discourse on its object. When he writes that my Manifesto (approved by the Sorbonne University in Philosophy, and translated into several languages) would be "pseudoscience", he is confusing astrology with the discourse on astrology (bad news for Dean-et-al's abilities for philosophical argumentation: see later).
Pseudo means : "what is intended to appear for". Pseudo-almanacs of Nostradamus, so often produced in XVIth century, have been written by imitators who intended for them to be believed that Nostradamus had written them (see my Corpus Nostradamus : http://cura.free.fr/mndamus.html). Astrologers do not intend to appear as scientists, nor is their astrology intended to appear as science. But pseudo-scientists à la Dean-et-al intend to appear as scientists.
Pseudoscience is a knowledge or a practice that claims to be scientific or to use scientific methods: that's not astrology, and not at all the astrology that I defended in the Manifesto. On the contrary I've written that Astrology is a philosophy, a natural philosophy, and that the practice of astrological charts is a mere application of astrology that has a value comparable to any other form of psychology or psychoanalytical practice. Has Dean-et-al written against psychoanalysis as pseudoscience? No, but only against dead phrenology! Why ? Maybe because Dean-et-al is not armed with enough of an intellectual and conceptual stock of knowledge to seriously confront psychoanalysts.
DEAL 02 : "Patrice Guinard's Manifesto is a statement of 42,000 words based on his 1993 PhD thesis at the Sorbonne, about how astrology provides meaning despite being rejected by educated people, and why it deserves not to be."
Astrology is not rejected by educated people ! but is rejected in Academia by institutional guards of the dominant discourses and scientific knowledge for ideological reasons, despite the fact that in Academia (universities, research centers, institutionalised laboratories, etc), many educated people are convinced of the importance of astrology, not only in past cultures but also for the understanding of present human reality. Some of them have written for CURA since 1999, or have given permission to see their articles published on CURA. I have also received many testimonies from "educated people", both in Academia and outside it, who do not write papers on the subject of astrology for the sake of protecting their professions, but yet are entirely convinced of the interest in and value of astrology.
DEAL 03 : "His central idea is that the planets resonate with our psyche leaving the results in our minds as unspecific symbols and archetypes."
A caricatured summary of my ideas. Dean-et-al cannot presume to understand what is correctly argumented in the Manifesto. I don't use the term "Archetypes" in it (except in one instance to explain some of the ideas of the Czech philosopher Comenius), and I have clarified the idea of "Symbols" myself which is a terminal point for the representation of the astral operators, but not their real nature. The results of planetary activity in our minds are not symbols but impressions.
See "Astrology between Knowledge and Belief" (http://cura.free.fr/19fabwo.html) where it can be read that my point of view is more nuanced than this obscurantist sentence would lead one to believe:
"I have proposed the following explanation for the existence of the astrological fact:
- The astronomical signal is integrated in the neuro-physiological organisation.
- The astral impression (impressional) is the inaperceptible psychic effect of that signal. It is "almost-lived".
- The astrological symbol is the cultural and psycho-mental translation of that impressional."
DEAL 04 : "It [The Manifesto] is not afraid to be harshly critical of both scientist ("just one more species in the roster of parasites on astrology") and astrologer."
A typical falsification of my claim. That parasite is not the scientist in the Manifesto, but precisely the astro-statistician à la Dean-et-al, or the pseudo-scientist who believes that he could debunk millenary knowledge by using statistical methods.
Because pseudo-science is precisely the use of scientific terminology and of some of its methods that hold discourses or conclusions that are not scientific, the Dean-et-al clique are probably the only pseudo-scientists here.
When an astrologer asserts that there are twelve zodiacal signs, that the natural rythms of these signs take part in building psychic human nature, and when he suggests that these twelve signs build human perception in twelve different ways, he invites the sceptic to consider these possibilities and tries to argue against the typical dualistic discourses. He invites him to liberate himself from this dualistic mode of thinking. And when that astrologer can count to 12, he does not pretend that he is doing mathematics or science.
But when an obscurantist à la Dean-et-al uses statistical methods, for concluding that the astrological zodiac doesn't exist because he tested it, succeeds in having no results, claiming he is doing science, then this is precisely what is called "pseudo-science".
Science contains working instruments, science creates objects, science gives positive results. Pseudoscience just borrows statistical formulas, with no results other than alleged bebunking conclusions. Who would pay attention to a scientist in a biology laboratory who would only declare, years after years : "I have found nothing by myself. And what my collegues have found has no value." ? !
I am quoting Françoise Gauquelin: "He [Dean] never obtained himself positive results despite cleverly conceived theories about how to proceed. [...] The personal opinion I briefly expressed is broken up into detailed quotations, each one followed by sarcastic remarks intended to prove its inadequacy." (Astro-Psychological Problems 6.1, 1988, p.16)
The methods and strategy of the Dean-et-al band have not changed with the years!
DEAL 05 : "The Manifesto follows the traditional French writing style of long words, long sentences, long rambling arguments, no abstracts, and little concern for readers or their comprehension"
Long words?! So the shortest are the best ones? I suspect that Dean-et-al has no idea about what might be "the traditional French writing style". I would be glad to hear what it could be: Dean-et-al does not give any example, nor summary, to help us understand what he means. Maybe he is thinking about Proust (long sentences), Hegel (long rambling arguments) -- who is not French --, Mallarmé, Derrida, Deleuze, and so on. But these are not typical representatives of a "traditional French writing style". On the contrary. I also guess that in addition, Dean-et-al would have some difficulties reading such "traditional British writing style" as Virginia Woolf, James Joyce or Malcolm Lowry!
The supposed "rambling arguments" appears here for someone who can not follow the argumentation, nor understand any point of the real problematic (see later). I imagine how Dean-et-al could have suffered in that case: a reading experience that has been "mental torture" as he repeatedly says.
Note that the Manifesto has been voluntarily translated four times within ten years, but probably by masochists... I am waiting for some cynics who would like to translate the dreadfully flat Dean-et-al literature into French or in other languages ...
DEAL 06 : Dean-et-al condenses into three lines the first part of the Manifesto, before concluding : "This is just the start of endless assertions, as if asserting was the same as justifying."
Alas, the summary does not catch even one mere point of the argumentation, nor does it discuss perception, Peirce's semiotics, philosophies of Leibniz and Maine de Biran, which are relevant here and in any serious discussion of my Manifesto. Dean-et-al asks for "justification", i.e. for statistical tests, but is unable to give an answer to the philosophical views that are the spirit and body of the Manifesto. He is equally unable to understand that these justifications are not given in the Manifesto (which is nothing other than a first conclusion of my thesis), but are in its other parts, that he has probably not read.
DEAL 07 : "Guinard devotes many paragraphs to what he sees as the alienating influence of science. He wants a wider world view that recaptures what we have lost. etc"
Not a new problematic, nor exclusively mine: see Habermas, Francfort's school, the epistemologist Feyerabend, etc. I query for a place for astrological knowledge, which it has not received in any university departments, although it attracts evident public interest. Astrology has survived as a system of representation of the human being, despite its detractors, and contrarily to many other philosophies that have not survived.
DEAL 08 [Alleged summary of my Manifesto] : "Astrology is not a science (it is not open to falsification), nor a religion (it propounds no specific belief), nor a philosophy (its ideas are not subject to validation)."
Yet another falsification of my writings. What is the difference between "open to falsification" and "subject to validation" ? We can not understand the difference between science and philosophy through Dean-et-al statement. Does Dean-et-al really know of any philosophy that might be subject to validation ? Plato's Ideas ? Kant's Transcendantal Reason ? Nietzsche's Return ? Dean-et-al has not a mere awareness of basic philosophical argumentation, and his summary is meaningless.
I have written that for the philosophical Reason, the ultimate criterion is not rationality, but evidence (see Descartes and his followers, even Wittgenstein).
I quote the entire passage from the French version of my Manifesto for Astrology (http://cura.free.fr/01manif.html) because the English translation is somewhat confusing here :
"Elle n'est pas une science, car elle n'est pas soumise au principe de vérification ; ses modèles ne sont pas "falsifiables", quoiqu'ils le sont davantage que les énoncés de la littérature popperienne. Elle n'est pas une religion, car elle ne soutient aucun dogme révélé, ni aucune croyance particulière, et ne requiert ni clergé, ni temple, ni rituel. Elle n'est pas une philosophie, car elle relativise la valeur d'une rationalité dont l'ultime critère de certitude est l'évidence. Mais elle est à la fois un certain type de science, de religion et de philosophie, c'est-à-dire une conception du réel qui requiert des techniques de repérage empruntées à l'astronomie, et qui suppose la conviction de la résonance et du retentissement des rythmes de l'environnement géo-solaire sur le psychisme."
Dean-et-al would have done better to work after the original French text, and not after the English translation, like any scholar or "educated people". As Dean-et-al is not working on mathematics, nor on physics nor biology, one can allege that his work lies in the area of social sciences, and in this area, he is required to read and understand several languages, especially the one of the author whose writing he pretends to review!
And to the contrary of Dean-et-al's "summary", I have written that astrology ought to be seen as a philosophy of a particular kind, a natural one, as it was the case for all serious Renaissance scholars. I sometimes have the impression that I'm replying to some kind of troll who systematically falsifies my sentences.
DEAL 09 : "If it gives meaning, then that meaning can be tested."
Incoherent and absurd: philosophies, arts, and literature give meaning. Has the tester tested them ? ! The main concepts of the Manifesto have been ignored: Impressionals, Matrix, Quadriversity, Matricial Reason, etc
If you say something to him about sense, meaning, qualitative difference, beauty, etc, the skeptic will reply : test! test! test!
DEAL 10 : "Either astrology has some substance and is testable, or it has no substance and is imaginary. If there are forces and energies then by definition astrology is causal and testable."
One understands that Dean-et-al wants to lead us into the province of the testable. But this is precisely the main obscurantist prejudice against astrology: "Either Aristotle's philosophy has some substance and is testable, or it has no substance and is imaginary", "Either Christian religion has some substance and is testable, or it has no substance and is imaginary", "Either psychoanalysis has some substance and is testable, or it has no substance and is imaginary", "Either the Dean-et-al literature has some substance and is testable, or it has no substance and is imaginary", and so on.
DEAL 11 : "Guinard is saying that astrology does not involve ESP as usually conceived, nor can it predict the future. Indeed he says that even reading the present is an "impractical ideal", see later, which hints at the limitations of a qualitative reality. These limitations will be important to clients in search of health, wealth and happiness, but here Guinard provides only his usual obscurity."
Does Dean-et-al really think that astrology can offer to clients health (astrologers are not physicians), wealth (idem) and happiness ? This is a cynical argument when one knows how Dean-et-al refuses to grant any operating efficiency to astrological practices! But yes, astrology can provide happiness and knowledge for those who are able and interested to investigate it seriously, not by statistical methods borrowed from mathematical science, but through investigations regarding its coherence and from studies of its historical models, as with any other philosophical project. Asserting that astrology could only be a commercial activity is another obscurantist claim. But Dean-et-al rarely refers to the history of astrology and seems to be unaware of the interest in astrology during some historical periods such as the Renaissance, a time where the relation between astrologer and client was a marginal activity.
DEAL 12 : "Guinard devotes more than 2000 words to the first [anti-fatalistic argumentation], tracing historical arguments from 200 BC, but not in a way that leaves us any the wiser. For example he does not identify the merits of the arguments or whether they decide anything. Nor does he explain what an anti-fatalistic argument is."
Ridiculous: I have explained and identified anti-fatalistic argumentation as of an ideological nature, philosophical under the Greek Sceptics, then theological, and finally of scientistic inspiration. And the merits of some argumentations are totally recognized in my Manifesto, especially those avanced by some honest and serious interlocutor like Origen. Some of these arguments are precisely debunking the allegedly predictive astrology, and none of them are incompatible with the astrological model that I have propounded.
DEAL 13 : "the claims of astrology are incompatible with the way the world is known to work. The claims are not the result of convincing experiments by astrologers, and are readily explained by non-astrological factors such as cognitive illusions, wishful thinking, and vested interests."
How does Dean-et-al knows how the world is working, or "is known to work" ? Science has itself no idea about the functioning of the human brain, and even less concerning the nature of the psyche and psychic states. Some epistemologists have shown how science has systematically rejected objects as not "scientific" when the scientific investigation had failed (see for example Bachelard on the nature of Fire).
And can our testers tell us, when I'm lighting a fire using some wood, a journal (in which their articles are published), and matches, what will be the evolution and the precise result of the fire? And the psyche is far more complicated than fire.
The assumption that "the claims of astrology are incompatible with the way the world is known to work" had been also made by various medieval antiastrological theologians for secular ideological reasons. But we know today that nothing remains of the obsolete medieval theological world view, and that the way the world was known to work was just mere medieval Christian thinking and ideology! And Dean-et-al's post-medieval assumption is nothing other than the reflection of the modern consensus and the belief of the members of a cynical clique, for the same ideological reasons.
Our tester does not wonder why astrology, without any institutional support, has become so popular in the modern world. He does not even disclose to us what exactly is meant for human consciousness by his "way the world is known to work". He seems to believe that there is one exclusive way by which "the world is known to work".
These alleged "cognitive illusions, wishful thinking, and vested interests" have nothing to do with that collective conception of reality which is more or less engaged in by astrologers and a rather large proportion of people that have heard about astrology. What Dean-et-al tries to assert as conclusions to his testing mania are no more than well-worn repetitive socio-ideological observations. Even if astrology were a shared belief, and I've written that astrology could be understood partially as a certain kind of belief (but without church, clergy, etc), Dean-et-al's claims demonstrate nothing, and merely lie at the zero level of an ideological struggle against a system of representations that is perceived as a danger to his caste of neo-Popperian skeptical adepts.
We do not learn either if this "way the world is known to work" might be psychoanalytical for example, but this is probably another form of "cognitive illusions, wishful thinking, and vested interests", because psychoanalysis has been also classified as "pseudoscience". But the difference between astrology and psychoanalysis, and this is precisely what I have demontrated in my Manifesto, is that psychoanalysis has got a place in the Academy for its ideological similarities with institutional discourses, but not astrology. So Dean-et-al missed totally the ideological point of the anti-fatalistic argumentation.
I have summarized the evolution of the ideological attitude against astrology as follows :
"The verdict without trial passed on astrology occurs naturally and conjointly with the decline of metaphysics and spirituality under rationalist "enlightenment" and positivist obscurantism, or the grey dullness of thought particular to the 20th century. In the span of four centuries, the perception of astrology's status has changed in step with transformations in consensus thought and ideological bents -- no longer error, but rather illusion in the 18th century, idiocy in the 19th, absurdity in the 20th." (Manifesto, 6)
We can conclude from the preceding that Dean-et-al allegations against astrology ("cognitive illusions", etc) remained in the age and spirit of the so-called "Enlightenment" -- which is nothing other than old-fashioned atavistic obscurantism!
DEAL 14 : "Given the failure of astrologers to rectify conceptual problems during two thousand years of practice, see Kelly (1997), there is no reason to suppose they will suddenly improve."
Completely out of the question: there is not a century (the XXth one) where so vast a set of different models has been propounded. Whether the astrologers are rectifying their practice or not is another question. Anyway, Dean-et-al clique never clarified the question of "who is the astrologer", and are continually confusing the investigator, the theorician, the practitioner, the horoscopist, and so on. Again a typical obscurantist attitude.
When Dane Rudhyar was defending a spiritual conception of astrological knowledge, Kelly, a member of this British inquisitorial tribunal of the Statistical pseudo-Reason, replied : What is spirituality?, "more money, becoming taller, changing one's appearance?" (in Patrick Grim ed., Philosophy of Science and the Occult, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1982, p.62). A revealing answer out of his deafness, and of what really is the pseudo-scientist doxa !
DEAL 15 : "Guinard is raising even more disagreements [between astrological models] to add to the list. But what should be done about them?"
Those who have read other parts of my doctoral thesis and those who are able to read the Manifesto, know that it is just the concluding piece of the astrological model that I have propounded. But Dean-et-al ignores it.
My Manifesto has been poorly presented in this review, and the sceptical reviewer could barely hide his obscurantist assumptions against my writings and against sane astrology. The exterminator has shown that he has not the ability to understand new views, nor to enter into any philosophical argumentation, but continually rests on his old-fashioned positivist and neo-Popperian statements ("untested claims", "no evidence is given", "post-modern writing", "it cannot be tested", "has to be tested", "untestable speculations", etc). Who told Dean-et-al that astrology would have to be tested?
I was not expecting congratulations from the well-known British factory of antiastrological claims and assumptions. But I have been sincerely surprised by the very low level of philosophical competency, and the inability to engage in any real, serious discussion. I have defended a new perspective for astrology, as any philosopher would defend a perspective on the world or on the nature of the Real for mind. Such a perspective does not have to be tested or not tested: it can only engage some other minds that may not always agree (which philosopher agrees with anyone else?), but could either be of interest or not.
I conclude to some fear of the reviewer/s, which can be questioned. What could provoke such a systematic ferocity acharnement from the testers ? What danger does astrology pose to their mental representations? Why are they afraid of astrology ? Does it threaten to confiscate their wives, their money, their houses? Dean-et-al is a destroyer (but as we have seen without the suitable arms to be so): he does not try to investigate astrology fairly, but just wishes to smash any positive result, claim, idea. Any further discussion with this kind of person would be a total waste of time and energy.
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