Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

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Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by admin »

The psychologist and statistician, Michel Gauquelin decided – in his own words - “...to clear the humbug from astrology”. Accordingly, he (and his wife, Francoise Schneider Gauquelin), collated a mass of statistics derived from thousands of births which did, in fact ‘disprove’ many earlier ‘statistical claims put forward by over-enthusiastic astrologers. Gauquelin’s research showed their data to be inadequate, variable and unreliable, and therefore unacceptable as statistical evidence.

Would appreciate more information on this matter, and whether Michel Gauquelin’s research proved or disproved astrology.

Thankyou.

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Re: Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by Mersenne »

Hello Admin, I hope the following will help.

Michel Gauquelin was a French statistician who conducted research on the relationship between a planet's diurnal position and personal success in various occupations. He demonstrated, using a sample of some 17,000 persons who were is famous in their chosen professions, that the astrological associations of the planets were supported.

For instance, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn were prominent in the charts of doctors and scientists; the Moon and Mars in those of sportspersons; the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter in the charts of military personnel; the Moon and Jupiter in those of politicians; and Jupiter in actors’ charts.

However, the nature of the prominence was surprising. The appropriate planets were consistently found to be just before the angles of the chart, in those positions coinciding with the third, fifth, ninth and twelfth houses. Only one of these (the ninth) might reasonably be associated with fame; a clear blow to the traditional houses. Gauquelin himself suggested that the findings supported astrology, but not traditional astrology.

However, it is possible to interpret the Gauquelin zones in terms of trines to the angles (attached diagram). For instance, a planet in the third house is in trine, or at least is often in a same-element relationship, with the DSC, and with any planet in the seventh house. Following M. Seymour-Smith, I interpret the ASC as the native’s life strategy, the IC as his unconscious, the DSC as his projections on other people, and the MC as his conscious self. Now, is clear that planets in trine to these would assist the achievement of fame in the area appropriate to the planet.

It might be objected that the conjunction, with its wider orb, would be expected to correlate more closely if the angles were involved; but the conjunction, as Seymour-Smith points out, is a hard aspect. A conjunction with the angles will have profound bearing on the native’s life and behaviour, but it probably won’t make things easier for him. Similarly with the opposition.

On a more technical note, zones are not always in trine to an Angle due to the latitude variations which shift the MC/IC axis to more than or less than 90 degrees. However, the angles will tend to average out at 90° over a sufficiently large number of charts, which is all that is required for statistical significance.
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Re: Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by admin »

Thankyou for that. (Could you explain a bit further, the Red, Blue, Green, Yellow areas ? ).

Meanwhile, I have watched many times, the Carl Sagan series 'Cosmos'. As many would know, he was an astrophyicist and cosmologist, (who I admired immensely). However, he disliked ‘Astrology’ so very much, to the point that he made various statements to support this, such as: "Astrologers disagree" (which, of course we astrologers always have done and probably always will, at least to some extent, and bearing in mind, the different ‘systems’ used by ‘Western’ and ‘Vedic’ astrologers).

Another issue he chose to dissacociate science from astrology was about about ‘twins’, ie. if twins are born at the same time, they would have the same 'astrology' and would, therefore, not have any 'astrological' differences. (I would add that I feel that 'Astrology' is both 'art' and 'science', and more the former - from my point of view).

However, I feel this should be addressed. Is there an astrological response to this? Why do astrologers ‘disagree’ so much?

And, what did he mean by “...the light from stars cannot reach a baby born indoors” ?”
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Re: Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by Mersenne »

I recall the episode very well indeed. Poor Carl Sagan. Proof that a great intellect doen't mean an open mind. I believe there are three objections here- I'll answer under this heading and also post under "Common Objections".

1. Astrologers diasagree, based on the evidence that two randomly-chosen newspaper horoscopes give different advice.

This is Sun-Sign astrology, using only twelve possible influences (Sun in sign) out of the 20736 (12 planets*12 signs*12 houses*12 aspects) that the real astrolger investigates. It therefore fails as an objection to astrology per se.

Even if we extend the argument to what we consider astrology, of course two astrologers will conuinue to disagree. The nativity os a large and complex set of data. Do medical doctors never disagree on a diagnosis when presented by the same evidence? Or are all physicists unanimous in their conclusions when confronted by the same set of data (I have the recent controversies from CERN in mind)?

2. Twins, born under exactly the same stars, can lead very different lives.

Well, no two twins are born under exactly the same stars. On average, a differnce of 4 minutes will mean a change in the degree of the rising sign, making or breaking any number of aspects, and particularly important in the harmonic charts.

But even if (perhaps by Cesarean section) two children shared the same birth moment, it's quite concievable that both twins would manifest different parts of the same chart. I suspect (but cannot prove) that such charts contain many unaspected planets, or disassociated series of aspects.

We can certainly find evidence of he opposite effect. For instance, in "Beyond Coincidence" M. Plimmer and B. King quote (among others) the case of Barbara and Daphne, reunited after 40 years apart to find that;
both met their husbands at a Xmas dance and were married in blue with white lace
both their first pregnancies miscarried in the same year and month
both went on to have two boys and a girl (their second sons were born in the same month of the same year)
both mispell the same words in the same way
they have the same illnesses and buy the same books at the same times, despite living 90 miles apart (Luton and Dover)...
...and these are just some of the concidence least likely to have a strict genetic connection.

3. The light from the stars cannot reach a baby born indoors, and the gravity of a planet is insignificant compared to that of the other people present at the birth.

Well, what of it? No astrologer contends that light or gravity is the mechanism of the sky's influence, or even that the concept of a mechanism or causal connection is appropriate. It's easy to knock down a target you've set up yourself.

As to those coloured arcs, perhaps they are more confusing than illuminating. Red, 120 degree arc from house 9 to 12, blue that from 12 to 3, and so on.
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Re: Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by astrologysunsigns »

To answer your question of why so many astrologers disagree? It is the same for every field, different points of view. No one scientific group agrees or shares one single voice. That is the beauty of our differences, they expose the range of all possibilities.

Regards statistics proving astrology right or wrong ... if you believe in something you can use statistics to prove you are right, same if you dis-believe in something. Statistics can be made to prove or disprove anything.

If something is right for you, than it is right, period. No need for outside validation.

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Re: Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by Mersenne »

Hi astrologysunsigns, and thanks for your comment- welcome to the forum. I do agree, we are not one voice, nor should we be- long may we disagree, and that vehemently!

With respect, but proving your first point, I do have to disagree on your second. Statistics can be misused to prove anything, not used. Statistics is an honest tool, and like any honest tool it can be used properly... or improperly.

I'm a statistician myself, and I often see perfectly good statistical work misused. Major culprits are politicians and newspapers. The trouble is, it's easy to present conclusions out of context, or without the proper scales and margins of error. It's even worse when supposed professionals apply it incorrectly (consider the appalling tragedy of Sally Clark). But stats is not to blame for the way it's misused- if someone employed a screwdriver to vandalise some tyres, no-one would blame the screwdriver!

My point here is that the statistics Gauquelin used do support his published opinions, but don't do the damage to traditional astrology that he supposed.
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Re: Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by Allan53 »

Well, I understood...very little of that. But what I did grasp is that it's way more complex than I thought. Which I sort of assumed anyway, but having it illustrated right in front of you sort of drives home the idea. Didn't know the calculations were that precise, down to the minute I think someone said?
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Re: Astrology proven or disproven by statistics ?

Post by Mersenne »

Hi Allan53,

Yes, the calculations used attempted to get to the very minute of birth, but I think +/- 2 minutes was acceptable on average.

The statistical analysis of astrology can be as complex or as simple as the researcher requires. Think of it in terms of automobiles- it's a lot harder to build and repair a car than it is to drive it. Statistics gives a peek under the hood of the subject.

That's pretty much where I live. In my experience, the best astrologers aren't left-brain number-crunchers like me, they're right-brain intuitives able to recognise the patterns of and relationships in a chart. It's the difference between good mechanics and good drivers... one can overdo a metaphor, can't one?
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