|Exegesis Volume 6 Issue #21
Exegesis Digest Fri, 14 Sep 2001
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 09:06:34 -0400
From: "Francis G. Kostella"
Subject: temporary email
I've created a temporary email address to allow list members to get in touch with me while my internet access is disabled or limited:
otherwise you can use my current address for the next week.
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 10:04:47 +1200
From: JG or DF
Subject: astrostatistical studies
A presumption of scientific method tends to bedevil the application of statistics to astrology. The problem arises from unacknowledged category errors.
One presumes that particular features can be identified in the event, or population of cases, that can then be correlated with particular features that theory suggests ought to be present in these cases. The matching of each apparent feature with each theoretical feature is performed by each observer according to their personal whim. Ideally, this ought not to be so. The traditional myth of science pretends that objective assessment is not only possible, it is normal. So each observer ought to make the same observation of each event, identify the same features, and thus get the same answer from each case study and the same measurement of each population of cases. In the real world this does not happen.
What usually happens is disagreement between those interested over whether the apparent features are really present, and/or have been correctly identified and allocated into the right category to be measured, plus whether theoretical features used are the correct output from the application of the theory, and/or are correctly described. Usually the dissent does not cause dissenters to identify the source of dissent with such precision, much less correct the errors to improve the technique to the point where efficacy is achieved. Normally commentators are satisfied with a simple condemnation of sloppy practice, so that no constructive collaboration and progress toward consensus can occur.
Having observed attempts to use statistics to `prove astrology' for 20 years, I can vouch for the tedium induced by the seemingly futile behaviour of the contenders. Obviously if there were some clear correlation between horoscope factors and events we would all know about it by now. Yet behaviour still seems motivated by preconceptions, or perhaps it is just that new entrants into the field are ignorant of the prior failures of others. The best that can be said is that some attempts seem to lack obvious design flaws. Patrice has recently published one here: http://cura.free.fr/xv/13brianj.html
Brian Johnstone, the author, has sensibly settled for a minimal goal, much as Gauqelin did. He does indeed seem to have demonstrated that earthquakes correlate with planets making applying Ptolemaic aspects. I couldn't be bothered examining the methodology in detail, because verification is actually accomplished by replication, preferably multiple. Only if others get the same result will the conclusion seem proven, but of course that first requires others to go so far as to apply the method themselves. It remains to be seen if any will. I will only go so far as to comment that the finding seems consistent with my own studies of event charts in general: events associated with major transits seem to occur when the aspects are close to being formed or exact, not when separating.
I have examined at least a dozen earthquake charts on and off over the years. I hoped to identify a common factor, an `earthquake signature', but there doesn't seem to be one. One is impressed to find Uranus exact on one of the axes of an accurately-timed major quake chart, then sometime later one is depressed to find no such similar correlation in another!
One could draw several possible conclusions. Astrology is invalid. Astrology `works', but only for people, not nature. There is a cosmic trigger for quakes, but it operates holistically.
If the latter is the case, it challenges our traditional expectations. We expect to see something in the sky of the quake moment that we can say `causes' it. Such a characteristic signature being absent, the best we can do to rationalise the evidence without abandoning our belief is to conclude that the timing mechanism is too complex to read easily. If it can be identified as a confluence of Ptolemaic transits, that may suffice. But the cosmobiologists would protest: they have long claimed that octiles are the event triggers.
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 6 Issue 21
[Exegesis Top][Table of Contents][Prior Issue][Next Issue]
Unless otherwise indicated, articles and submissions above are copyright © 1996-1999 their respective authors.