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hopeless evidence??
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amelia



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 396
Location: Wales

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This quote seems to say that if astrology really does work it would have to be demonstratable with statistics


No, what I was saying was "I am restricting my following argument to statistics", not that I was retricting all or any scientific proof of astrology to statistics. I thought that's what my words were stating but it is indicative of the multiplicity of meaning that you interpreted them differently.

As you say, statistics is what most people think of as scientific proof, and what many think of as scientific evidence- and indeed most experiments of astrology so far have attempted to show statistical correlation. But I was not closing the door on other scientific methods if they were proposed. However, you are correct in your belief that I was implying that some sort of scientific proof was required to convince the broader population etc, (though not me personally) for the reasons that you mention.

But the primary purpose of my post was not to explore whether or not astrology should or should not be proved but to explain why astrology and statistics must be incompatible and the broader implications of this for society.

But since you have raised the question of metaphor etc I find myself unable to resist addressing it. ( Must be all those pigs and coconuts in my brain). I think there is a difference between the examples that you quote- sunsets, philosophy, art, etc and astrology. I think the reason people want astrology proved is because they want to use it/apply it in differnt ways. Sunsets, art, even philosophy in its purest form, just are there, as you say, to be experienced. Of course if no-one wanted to apply astrology and just wanted to experience the enchantment as you do you are 100% correct that no proof would be necessary for anyone.


BTW, I am not sure art is a very good example of something that does not require scientific proof- as no two people seem to agree what it is Cool . But probably wise not to go there- that debate would make the astrology one look tame....
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James Frazier



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Location: USA

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for clearing that up.

Quote:
Of course if no-one wanted to apply astrology and just wanted to experience the enchantment as you do you are 100% correct that no proof would be necessary for anyone.


By this you appear to be implying that as long as I don't want to apply astrology I can stay in my enchantment. Perhaps we have a different definition of the word enchantment. I apply astrology every day, with real people and real situations. And yes, I do value it precisely for its potential counter effect for the disenchantment that the marriage of science, technology, extreme capitalism, and certain forms of Protestant religion have accomplished as a byproduct of their polygamous marriage since the 17th century. I have no blame for science, or the other afore mentioned systems-. Science is but one of the many things that humans do. It has its own framework, its own rules, its own methods, and its own worldview, and if astrology does not fit that frame work it is no fault of either system. They are just different. I just do not hold out much hope (or desire) that astrology will ever be proven by science for all the reasons that I have stated in this thread …BUT, I do not think that astrology is less than because of that- in fact, as I have stated I think even more of it. Perhaps it will turn out that I am completely off the rails with this and that just around the corner waits a scientist (or team of them) who will uncover the evidence to once and for all prove astrology. Maybe. So far the results have been less than overwhelming. But it this happens, I will be the first to acknowledge that I was way off the mark.

I fully recognize that many astrologers feel very differently about this than I do. I know many astrologers who desire scientific proof (I do think that their ideas that science is going to completely transform when it finally proves astrology is a wishful fantasy).

On the surface, it would be easy to think that I am saying astrology is somehow “less real” because it does not lend itself to scientific analysis, whatever the scientific method used. That is simply not true, I think there are many, many things that humans do that are very real but not demonstrable by science. That fact does not diminish their value to me nor does it make them less real.

I am not anti-science. I am anti-scientism. I am against privileging science over all other ways of viewing the world and I, frankly, see this as dangerous because then science has no counter position capable of pointing out its shortcomings. We must remember that not all science is good nor without long term problems that develop from their endeavors- pesticides destroying our water supply comes to mind. As do stock piles of weapons capable of destroying all life on earth. Science is not without its own set of limitations.

I do feel that lively debate between us is very valuable because it forces one to refine and organize one’s views. I may not agree with you but I will defend your right to express how you feel.
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Malcolm Ramsay



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 73
Location: Lincoln, England

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
... the outcome of the experiment is dependent on the time that it occurs- e.g. the time a sample is drawn will influence its makeup

Thank you for reminding me of this, Amelia; I have no trouble reminding my conscience of the importance of timing, when it reproaches me for not getting down to things, but I don't always remember it in other contexts.

I've been struggling to reconcile my belief that the essential validity of astrology can be conclusively demonstrated, with the apparent failure of the experiments that have been done. I'd concluded that those failures could be partly explained by the resonance that astrologers report between their own issues and those of the charts they analyse; both by the disruption of that resonance when an outside researcher is the conductor and also, perhaps, by the limits it puts on personal experience. I certainly wasn't happy with that - but perhaps time is the key to it.

As an aside (though closer to the original topic than most of what I've written) a month or two ago I wouldn't have said apparent failure. I had taken it for granted that the meta-analysis of results that Dean refers to could be trusted, but then I came across this from Garry Phillipson's interview with The Researchers: "... charts will tend to be of two kinds, those that fit their owners (call these red) and those that don’t (call these black)" juxtaposed with an analogy with a pack of cards suggesting equal numbers. Until I've read that meta-analysis (currently number 673 on my mental to-do list), I have to assume their reasoning there is sounder than this, but ....

I often find myself drawing parallels between the life of the individual and the life of the race. I see Mankind's relationship with the Divine as being analogous in some ways to a child's relationship with its parents, and I think the process of rejection that has taken place over the last few centuries can be understood that way; I believe it is like the period of rejection that a child goes through in order to break out of the instinctual relationship, and develop a conscious understanding of their nature, thereby allowing a deeper relationship. And, just as there are particular times in an individual's life when certain developments take place, and fate throws up obstacles to thwart attempts to make them happen earlier, I'm sure that Mankind's development is governed by similar rules.

James said earlier:
Quote:
It has forced me to really think about astrology and to refine my views. It has forced me to investigate what I had formally taken for granted and accepted without question.
Perhaps in order to get the most out of astrology, to fully appreciate the mystery, we need to approach it with the rigour that is more usually associated with science - in which case perhaps we have needed time out in the cold to develop the necessary habits of mind.

I hadn't thought of it in these terms before, but it could be as simple as that - those experiments failed simply because it wasn't yet time for the process of reconciliation to begin. But that's something I would certainly expect the sciencists* to resist!

I think I've probably given James the wrong idea of what I expect; I do think science will be transformed if the fundamental premise of astrology is proved, but only on the same sort of timescale as it was transformed in the last century by the findings of quantum physics. But on a personal level I want to see astrology proved so that I can mention my interest in it without the response of "That rubbish" that I got recently from someone who admitted to knowing nothing at all about it.


* The word 'scientist' is so well established as 'a practitioner of science' that I don't like to use it for 'someone with a scientistic mindset'. I've used 'sciencist' in my own mind for a while, but this is the first time I've used it in communication. If there is an established term, I'd like to know it, but I can't think of one.
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James Frazier



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Location: USA

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malcom,

Quote:
But on a personal level I want to see astrology proved so that I can mention my interest in it without the response of "That rubbish" that I got recently from someone who admitted to knowing nothing at all about it.


Yes, quite understandable. Although, I have a master’s degree in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, I often have to be careful who I tell that to and it would certainly be nice if the degree was accepted as valid without the laborious discussion of why it should be. I certainly worked just as hard as any other master’s degree in a different subject would have required (and paid considerably more money for it).

Do you envision any other acceptance short of outright scientific proof? After all, the Gallup poll data that I last saw put belief in astrology at 25% (admittedly this probably includes those who only have a vague idea of astrology beyond the daily newspaper horoscopes). So I am just wondering if there might, be in your mind, another option.

Perhaps we are so dominated by the scientific worldview that a more general acceptance would only come through some sort of validation by science. Maybe that worlview is beginning to show its limitations and if Morris Berman is correct that scientific worldview ( I am referring to the Newtonian-Cartesian model) contained with itself the seeds for its own demise.

Perhaps it will not so much be from science "proving" astrology but from a change of consciousness that would be open to multiple worldviews co-existing without one being priviledged over the other.
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Malcolm Ramsay



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 73
Location: Lincoln, England

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James
Quote:

Do you envision any other acceptance short of outright scientific proof? .... I am just wondering if there might, be in your mind, another option.

I can certainly imagine one other option - but I believe it would depend on reconciling quantum physics and classical physics to (rationally) explain the phenomena behind the Big Bang theory, so I'm not sure it would be any easier! In fact I think it would be resisted even more fiercely than proof of astrology and, in any case, would only lead to a passive acceptance of alternative worldviews.

I see the Big Bang theory, and parts of quantum physics, as filling a space in sciencists' minds that could otherwise only be filled by some sense of the Divine - and it's only that, I think, that allows them to dismiss the religious experience, and the many activities that flow from it. But while the phrase "can only be understood mathematically" might be satisfactory intellectually (as long as you don't worry about how you establish the limits of validity of the mathematics), it certainly doesn't fill any emotional or spiritual needs. And I suspect that at the root of their hostility is the fact that they're uncomfortable with the foundations of their own belief system - prove that to be flawed and they will have to become open to other viewpoints (for a while at least).

I think there is probably only a fairly small number of 'opinion formers' who would need to change their minds (and they're not necessarily the outspoken critics). Once they lose their certainty I would expect a chain reaction as the people who look to them change their minds - then it would depend only on how useful or inspiring people find it (which itself can't be taken for granted).

Without something like that, I must confess, all I see is a widening divide.
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James Frazier



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Location: USA

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malcolm,

Quote:
I see the Big Bang theory, and parts of quantum physics, as filling a space in sciencists' minds that could otherwise only be filled by some sense of the Divine


I have often been struck by how much even a hard nose rationalist like Dawkins can absolutely glaze over in near mystical bliss when discussing something like astro-physics or the Big Bang.
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just want to say how much I have enjoyed the last few posts. I think you made some very pertinent comments in your last post Malcolm.
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James Frazier



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Location: USA

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smit has graciously mailed me a copy of Dean's original article from Correlation. As I am leaving for England (finally!) this week, it will likely be after July 17th before I get to review said article. So we will have to wait till then to see if I will be needing any of Deb's recipes for baked astrolabe. Leery
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woodwater



Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Posts: 151
Location: lisbon

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malcolm Ramsay wrote:
Quote:
... the outcome of the experiment is dependent on the time that it occurs- e.g. the time a sample is drawn will influence its makeup

Thank you for reminding me of this, Amelia; I have no trouble reminding my conscience of the importance of timing, when it reproaches me for not getting down to things, but I don't always remember it in other contexts.

I've been struggling to reconcile my belief that the essential validity of astrology can be conclusively demonstrated, with the apparent failure of the experiments that have been done. I'd concluded that those failures could be partly explained by the resonance that astrologers report between their own issues and those of the charts they analyse; both by the disruption of that resonance when an outside researcher is the conductor and also, perhaps, by the limits it puts on personal experience. I certainly wasn't happy with that - but perhaps time is the key to it.

As an aside (though closer to the original topic than most of what I've written) a month or two ago I wouldn't have said apparent failure. I had taken it for granted that the meta-analysis of results that Dean refers to could be trusted, but then I came across this from Garry Phillipson's interview with The Researchers: "... charts will tend to be of two kinds, those that fit their owners (call these red) and those that don’t (call these black)" juxtaposed with an analogy with a pack of cards suggesting equal numbers. Until I've read that meta-analysis (currently number 673 on my mental to-do list), I have to assume their reasoning there is sounder than this, but ....

I often find myself drawing parallels between the life of the individual and the life of the race. I see Mankind's relationship with the Divine as being analogous in some ways to a child's relationship with its parents, and I think the process of rejection that has taken place over the last few centuries can be understood that way; I believe it is like the period of rejection that a child goes through in order to break out of the instinctual relationship, and develop a conscious understanding of their nature, thereby allowing a deeper relationship. And, just as there are particular times in an individual's life when certain developments take place, and fate throws up obstacles to thwart attempts to make them happen earlier, I'm sure that Mankind's development is governed by similar rules.

James said earlier:
Quote:
It has forced me to really think about astrology and to refine my views. It has forced me to investigate what I had formally taken for granted and accepted without question.
Perhaps in order to get the most out of astrology, to fully appreciate the mystery, we need to approach it with the rigour that is more usually associated with science - in which case perhaps we have needed time out in the cold to develop the necessary habits of mind.

I hadn't thought of it in these terms before, but it could be as simple as that - those experiments failed simply because it wasn't yet time for the process of reconciliation to begin. But that's something I would certainly expect the sciencists* to resist!

I think I've probably given James the wrong idea of what I expect; I do think science will be transformed if the fundamental premise of astrology is proved, but only on the same sort of timescale as it was transformed in the last century by the findings of quantum physics. But on a personal level I want to see astrology proved so that I can mention my interest in it without the response of "That rubbish" that I got recently from someone who admitted to knowing nothing at all about it.


* The word 'scientist' is so well established as 'a practitioner of science' that I don't like to use it for 'someone with a scientistic mindset'. I've used 'sciencist' in my own mind for a while, but this is the first time I've used it in communication. If there is an established term, I'd like to know it, but I can't think of one.


have you got the su in an earth sign?
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GarryP
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Joined: 23 Oct 2003
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Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the last day or two I came across an article in the latest 'Journal of Scientific Exploration' (Vol 22 No.2, Summer 2008) by Robert G Jahn and Brenda J Dunne. It's called 'Change the Rules!', and although it's about the relationship between PSI research and the scientific establishment, I think the ideas could be applied to astrological research quite well. Here's the abstract of the article:

Quote:
Although consciousness-correlated physical phenomena are widely and credibly documented, their appearance and behavior display substantial departures from conventional scientific criteria. Under even the most rigorous protocols, they are only irregularly replicable, and they appear to be insensitive to most basic physical coordinates, including distance and time. Rather, their strongest correlations are with various subjective parameters, such as intention, emotional resonance, uncertainty, attitude, and meaning, and information processing at an unconscious level appears to be involved. If science, by its most basic definition, is to pursue understanding and utilization of these extraordinary processes, it will need to expand its current paradigm to acknowledge and codify a proactive role for the mind in the establishment of physical events, and to accommodate the spectrum of empirically indicated subjective correlates. The challenges of quantitative measurement and theoretical conceptualization within such a “Science of the Subjective” are formidable, but its potential intellectual and cultural benefits could be immense, not least of all in improving the reach, the utility, the attitude, and the image of science itself.


A version of the article is available online, here:

http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/pdfs/Change_The_Rules.pdf

Thanks to all for a very interesting thread!
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Malcolm Ramsay



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
Posts: 73
Location: Lincoln, England

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to know you're enjoying the thread Deb - it's wonderful to have somewhere to engage in this kind of dialogue. Rural Lincolnshire doesn't offer much opportunity for it and thinking too long alone is disheartening at best.

My Scorpio Sun will probably be expelled for telling you this, Woodwater - 19/11/56 11:17pm 0E17 50N46 Asc 0Virgo33. Why did you read me as earth?
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woodwater



Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Posts: 151
Location: lisbon

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malcolm Ramsay wrote:
I'm glad to know you're enjoying the thread Deb - it's wonderful to have somewhere to engage in this kind of dialogue. Rural Lincolnshire doesn't offer much opportunity for it and thinking too long alone is disheartening at best.

My Scorpio Sun will probably be expelled for telling you this, Woodwater - 19/11/56 11:17pm 0E17 50N46 Asc 0Virgo33. Why did you read me as earth?

because you also like the scientific evidence, like me
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James Frazier



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Location: USA

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Garry:
Quote:
not least of all in improving the reach, the utility, the attitude, and the image of science itself


Hear Hear!....how do you find this stuff?........priceless.
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James Frazier



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 54
Location: USA

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just one more additional thought regarding "objective" astrology. I strongly encourage anyone who has not read the interview that Garry Phillipson did with Robert Hand (located on this website) to do so. It is a quite striking article by someone who has been engaged in the discipline of astrology for a very, very long time and Hand is clearly someone who has given this a great deal of thought. Plus it is enjoyable to read! Very Happy
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the link to the Hand interview:

www.skyscript.co.uk/rhand.html
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