Finally Statistics Says Something Positive About Astrology

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Finally Statistics Says Something Positive About Astrology

Post by Mersenne » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:22 am

For the attention of the Forum.

By now you all know that statistics can be used to say something useful about Astrology. But, this has always been on statistics' own terms- addressing only a single issue, with all possible data, and with stern caveats about the conclusions.

What if, however, we relax the requirement that a specific issue be addressed? What if, instead of asking "do these 5,000 horoscopes from tax inspectors have some feature in common" we ask "out of all 70,000 horoscopes, do all strongly positive and strongly negative features tend to display the regularities we expect of a single horoscope?"

If so, then of all the possible angular separations between Planets and Points, we would expect the traditional Aspects to stand out. We would expect these Aspects to be different when a Planet is a Chart Ruler than otherwise. We would expect the Cusps, the Signs, and the Angles to have some significance, to poke above the mean, to make themselves known through the noise.

Well, as it turns out... yes. When all the horoscopes in all the datasets are put into fairly broad categories, and positive and negative angular contributions are tallied, support is found for all the traditional components of Astrology, Planets, Points, Signs, Houses and Rulerships.

If you quote from the above, please credit as follows, along with the date you access the file:

Mersenne the Astrologer (2019). In Support of Traditional Astrology. C/O the Astrologers' Forum, posted 19/08/2019.

Kindest regards,

Mersenne.
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IN SUPPORT OF TRADITIONAL ASTROLOGY.pdf
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See on this Forum:
Mersenne’s Astrological Statistics & Datasets
Mersenne’s Microcosm
Mersenne’s Transneptunians

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Re: Finally Statistics Says Something Positive About Astrology

Post by admin » Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:30 am

'Dear Mersenne,

I recently viewed an episode of The Sky at Night

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUqylNKUnIk

in which Hannah Fry made the following statement about the work of Michel Gauquelin:
To mathematicians like me, the result is not so ground-breaking… he was looking through so many different correlations, thousands and thousands of birthdates, with ten planets and twelve positions in the sky, that he was bound to come across some spurious patterns. And that’s what the Mars effect is. He didn’t adjust for the number of combinations, and the result is just there by chance.
What does our resident Gauquelin advocate say about this?'

Admin.
"Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there’s a big disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure". Pema.

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Re: Finally Statistics Says Something Positive About Astrology

Post by Mersenne » Tue Aug 31, 2021 4:47 pm

Hello Admin!

Probably the pundit was making a more sophisticated point that got edited out-- though as it stands the statement is merely puzzling. There is certainly the issue of multiple comparisons, which on the face of it gives a strong argument. I'll need some plots, so the full response is attached to this posting. The gist:

1. Rather than patterns appearing with large datasets, the larger the sample, the more the frequencies of genuinely random data will tend towards the expected frequencies—that is, spurious patterns will disappear. If you throw a coin a few thousand times, yes, it is more common to find runs of ten heads—but there will be runs of ten tails as well, and the frequencies will increasingly tend to half heads, half tails.
2. Not all the data Gauquelin examined does give any kind of pattern. For example, on just as big a sample, Mercury's Aspects to the Ascendant don't show any pattern for sportsmen. Other sceptics have used this as evidence against the effect.
3. The patterns that are found involve the specific planets that astrology expects- Mars for Sportsmen, Saturn for doctors, Venus for writers, and so on. The “spurious patterns” theory doesn’t account for this. It also argues against the “multiple comparisons” argument, since patterns appearing as a result of chance wouldn’t support any system. (It’s true MG’s work doesn’t support the traditional Houses—but they are after all a bone of contention in the Astrological community too. But no Astrologer would disagree that Mars is the sportsman’s planet! Observing just some effect is liable to be chance, but observing an expected Astrological outcome is a different ball-game.)
4. If the pattern is spurious, then it would not be shown in alternative datasets. This is a stronger argument against both objections, though our ability to test it is limited (full reasons in the attachment).
5. If the pattern is spurious, smaller subsets would show different patterns. Again a good argument against both.
In my attachment I’ve returned to the set of sportsperson’s horoscopes to investigate these last two points.

I notice that the episode of TSAN in question is entitled "Playing with a Clockwork Universe". Terribly sad, isn't it? Astronomy is to astrology what anatomy is to medicine-- the astrologer studies a living reality, the astronomer dissects a corpse.

Well, that's not entirely fair. Western astrology has itself become rather mechanistic, and so astrology itself gets wrongly represented to the astronomer. Ms. Fry's own fascinating horoscope has Uranus in Sagittarius Trine to the Ascendant, which we would be far too apt to say "indicates a career in astronomy"-- it can, but needn't-- she could be a cool individualist in any field involving the conveyance of knowledge. And that is the real difficulty with Gauquelin's findings!

Still, in a universe in which the way we observe a light ray from a distant galaxy changes the path that ray took (ahem-- sort of-- it's "Wheeler's delayed-choice experiment"), it's tragic that people still talk of "a Clockwork Universe". This is a poetic reality-- why do people persist in believing that it's prosaic?
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SKY AT NIGHT CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE.pdf
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See on this Forum:
Mersenne’s Astrological Statistics & Datasets
Mersenne’s Microcosm
Mersenne’s Transneptunians

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Re: Finally Statistics Says Something Positive About Astrology

Post by Noel Eastwood » Wed Sep 01, 2021 6:52 am

Excellent analysis Mersenne, thank you.

I thought that Gauquelin's work was quite well received in some circles of mathematics. In astrology practice, the Mars Effect stands out as an accurate assessment of personality. A planet applying to (by up to 15 degrees) and separating (2 to 5 degrees) from an Angle, particularly the Ascendant and Midheaven, has significant impact on the native's personality. But then, only a professional astrologer would recognise this.

The closer the orb the more powerful the effect.

It seems ignorant people, and those who have an agenda, will say anything that gets viewers to click on their website. They knowingly spout their opinion to the gullible who have no way to know if this is an accurate analysis or not. This is the standard modus operandi of right-wing influencers, and has been the standard modus of skeptics of astrology and other esoteric practices and beliefs for centuries.

The best way to deal with people like this is to ignore them, do not give them oxygen - and don't engage, argue or click their links.

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