|Exegesis Volume 3 Issue #61
Exegesis Digest Tue, 27 Oct 1998
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 20:12:45 +1300
From: Andre Donnell
Subject: Re: Is astrology a statistical science ? (Exegesis V3 #60)
I believe Mark Melton has provided a fine basis for expanding the discussion on scientific method.
However, as a graduate in psychology and having had a heavy grounding in statistical research methods, I am somewhat concerned at Mark's reference to Fisher, as Mark may not be aware of a recent trend to question the validity of Fisher's method.
I refer here to Fisher's development of 'null hypothesis testing' (NHT). I am mindful that Mark did not explicitly refer to NHT, and thus may not have even intended any such reference. Moreover, I am rather too pressed for time until November 13 to fully explain the subtleties that undermine the NHT position. But briefly, it is based on a corruption of modus tollens (if A then B; or if not B then not A).
The corruption is that probability has been introduced. For certainty, we would like to state something like 'If the null hypothesis is true' then '*all* data will fall into the non-critical region' or alternatively '*no* data will fall into the critical region' (If Ho, then no critical data). In that case, if data *is* found in the critical region, then we could with certainty dismiss Ho.
Unfortunately, NHT states the case thus: If Ho, then *probably* no critical data.
Then, if critical data *is* found, we can conclude *either* that Ho is false (the experimental hypothesis is 'confirmed'), or that we have been unlucky ! But how unlucky ?
It is possible *on the assumption that Ho is true* to calculate precise probabilities as to how often data *would* fall into the critical region given that Ho is true. Hence, statisticians using NHT can calculate levels such as the nearly universal p
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #60
There is a problem with any experimental design applied to astrology based on protocols proper to physics, biology or any of the other hard sciences--temporal contamination.
We unfortunately exist inside the subject of our experiment. It is akin to fish in an aquarium running water analysis. We exist in "time" and we are trying to run an experiment on another section of time, perhaps multiple snippets of time. We think we are studying earthquakes, cancer or orphaned children, but they are simply manifest effects of "time".
Astrology only uses planets, stars, whatever -- as a model of **universal change**; i.e., "time".. We derive our projections from patterns described by **moved objects**. Something larger is moving but all we can do is isolate the patterns in recipients of action. Since we see multiple objects simultaneously and have many possible ways of indexing and inter-relating them, we can fool ourselves into thinking the object itself is a causal agent. It isn't. It is merely an imbedded reflection of a whole. One does not savor a soup through its individual ingredients.
If we thoroughly understand we are only investigating an effect of an acknowledged contaminated source, we are fine. However most scientists would not acknowledge any such target group as being worthy of study. Were you a biologist would you consider the incidence of cancer in a group of randomly trapped field mice legitimate indication of pesticide-inducement? One would be several levels of control off the mark.
I think you must go to economics and various mathematical techniques to derive your tools. I'm not a mathematician. However I do know Operations Research uses predictive tools that could be applied to astrological models. Several researchers, such as Urban-Lorraine have also used Multivariate Analysis profitably.
Recognizing what astrology really is -- is fundamental to this discussion. One can't derive a method to test something until we understand what it is we're testing.
However any such efforts are really aimed at convincing a disbelieving scientific establishment of the "truth" of the astrological premise. Why should we care about that?. I have no doubts concerning the pervasive effect of whatever it is I observe. I cannot tell you what it is, but I can use it. I have just described a "technology", not a science.
Is economics or medicine in any better of a stance regarding their object vis a vis their methodologies? No. They simply don't have such universal self-doubt. One does not find the AMA skulking because medieval physicians used bleeding cups and leeches. We have nothing to apologize for in our past but we need to understand the present has tools that can improve our performance (with all respect to Hindsight, Arhat and the other traditionalists).
What I would propose is a systematic testing of accepted astrological principles. Why? Personal experience. I've done extensive financial research. While a great deal of traditional lore is fruitful, there are observable patterns that do not fit any known astrological methodology.
The Nikkei has a long-term signature footprint. The NYSE has a different one. Both are operating in the same global market. Why?
Cycles that run for hundred of years will suddenly stop for a single instance and then resume with top indicators at the bottom and bottom indicators at the top. Why?
On a human level: the Klutz factor: one accident-prone individual responds repeatedly to Mars/Uranus. That's traditional. Another responds to Mars/Pluto, or Mars/Neptune -- less so. A third responds to Venus/Node, unheard of. All are documented. Why? Once you've isolated the mechanism it's easy to apply in the future (technology), but this tells me there's something more fundamental about accidental injury than we understand.
Wouldn't it be more fruitful to study Klutzes or Markets? That way we could have lower insurance rates and live off our dividends while we advance the pool of human knowledge.
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 08:27:47 -0800
From: "Roger L. Satterlee"
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V3 #60
< snip >
> Mark A. Melton
> FIRST LAW OF PREDICTION: Hindsight is an exact science.
Hi All, I cannot imagine applying any rules constructed by the rational mind to the confinement of terms and so forth used by the irrational mind at work in astrology. However, measures of central tendency should probably reflect the actual behavior/activity being observed, i.e., the astrologers' "interpretations" of charts and so forth. I cannot personally conceive of an appropriate task for such an inquiry...but that would be a good start. As well, the populations in the study should be experimentally sorted--persons of poor talents filtered out. I mean that we need to find *if* something we could call an astrologer exists in any population, whether or not they have been previously identified. Participants in the group labeled "astrologers" should be assigned to that group on the basis of their repeated demonstrations of their ability to complete a given task of interpretation successfully. We should at least assume, as with many nebulous endeavors, that self proclaimed *artists* are the majority rather than the minority in the field. Those who are said to have *read* a chart correctly (not matter how this is accomplished) should be separated from those who perform at a random chance rate, regardless of their previous identification (or total lack of it) with astrology.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 3 Issue 61
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