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hopeless evidence??
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Malcolm Ramsay



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

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for suggesting the Robert Hand interview, James - I thought I had read that one but found I hadn't!

He says:
Quote:
At this point, I'll challenge anybody who thinks they can come up with an acceptable scientific explanation for the phenomena of astrology, because it isn't do-able! Parts of it maybe - but very restricted and limited parts.

I completely agree on this (my goal is demonstration rather than explanation), but I couldn't resist posting this quote from the Wikipedia article on Mach's Principle:
Quote:
The broad notion is that "mass there influences inertia here"

It doesn't have the poetry of "As above, so below", but it baffles me how scientists can object that there is no mechanism by which astrology could work.
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malcolm Ramsay wrote:

It doesn't have the poetry of "As above, so below", but it baffles me how scientists can object that there is no mechanism by which astrology could work.


If you are talking horoscopic astrology, well yes, then you 'd be stretching the limits the laws of physics to absurdity to explain it.

Martin
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Malcolm Ramsay



Joined: 13 Apr 2008
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Location: Lincoln, England

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Lewicki wrote
Quote:

Quote:
It doesn't have the poetry of "As above, so below", but it baffles me how scientists can object that there is no mechanism by which astrology could work.


If you are talking horoscopic astrology, well yes, then you 'd be stretching the limits the laws of physics to absurdity to explain it.


When physicists can talk about 'space expanding' it's hard to know what would constitute stretching the laws of physics to absurdity.

I'm inclined to think of the physical arising out of the metaphysical, so I certainly don't expect physics to ever fully explain astrology - especially when there isn't (as far as I know) any satisfactory explanation of consciousness.

I say I'm baffled because, if scientists are comfortable with the notion that a fundamental property of matter (inertia) could originate in the interaction of each mass with all the other masses in the universe, then there doesn't seem to be any need for a specific mechanism to explain astrological correlations. The only issue is whether or not the overall structure of the universe supports the possibility of patterns which occur at different levels - which it clearly does.
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malcolm Ramsay wrote:
Martin Lewicki wrote
Quote:

Quote:
It doesn't have the poetry of "As above, so below", but it baffles me how scientists can object that there is no mechanism by which astrology could work.


If you are talking horoscopic astrology, well yes, then you 'd be stretching the limits the laws of physics to absurdity to explain it.


When physicists can talk about 'space expanding' it's hard to know what would constitute stretching the laws of physics to absurdity.

I'm inclined to think of the physical arising out of the metaphysical, so I certainly don't expect physics to ever fully explain astrology - especially when there isn't (as far as I know) any satisfactory explanation of consciousness.

I say I'm baffled because, if scientists are comfortable with the notion that a fundamental property of matter (inertia) could originate in the interaction of each mass with all the other masses in the universe, then there doesn't seem to be any need for a specific mechanism to explain astrological correlations. The only issue is whether or not the overall structure of the universe supports the possibility of patterns which occur at different levels - which it clearly does.


Firstly: There isn't any scientific evidence that astrology such as it is works (so far).

We may not know what gravity is or what the fabric of time space actually is. But we have observations, experimets, mathematical theories that critically link together in clear ways that we use to make predictions and make further discoveries.

If you invoke quantum mechanics. non locality, Machs principle etc as the "mechanism" then you would have to explain how it makes astrology work and and devise experiments to demonstrate this. This is what scientists who propose theories are expected to do.

You will need to show and demonstrate how the four forces of nature (or any other forces) work to produce twelve discrete boxlike influences on the ecliptic that instantaneously change at the cusps. You will need to show how a planet can have certain influence as it transits through each box, even how it can have an effect on another planet in another box (rulership/dispostors etc) - and how this mediates the supposed influence to people and things that astrology deals with.

This would be supported by experimental observations and mathematical proofs and critical review that trace the chain of explanations clearly.

This is how physicists are expected to do thing do things.

If astrology was not around (or discovered) there is nothing in the laws of physics that would even predict horoscopic astrology as it is. It does indeed look like the product of a vivid imagination, to a scientist.

You can not just vaguely invoke concepts like "inertia' and "mass" and sit back and claim that astrology is explained.

Martin
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Malcolm Ramsay



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

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm afraid you've misunderstood me, Martin. If I were invoking Mach's principle as an explanation for astrology, then I would indeed have to explain it in some detail and devise experiments to demonstrate it. That's not what I was doing - I do believe that the fact of its validity can be demonstrated, but I have no expectation that physics will ever produce any meaningful explanation of it. What I was doing was giving my reason for dismissing an objection.

Sceptics produce a number of arguments against astrology - some of those arguments I regard as valid, some as debatable and some as spurious. One objection that is commonly made is that there is no known mechanism by which it could work. Astrology, as I see it, is an essentially holistic subject - a core principle is one of inter-relatedness between everything in the universe - and if science did not recognise any holistic effects, then I would see that objection as valid (within the scientific paradigm). However, the fact that physicists treat Mach's principle as a respectable concept shows that they do recognise holistic effects; as far as I'm concerned that means that that objection can only be regarded as valid if it is supported by reasoning that shows that a specific mechanism is necessary - and the onus is on the people making that objection to come up with that reasoning. As far as I know nobody has tried to do that, and until someone does I'm going to regard that objection as spurious.

Quote:

If astrology was not around (or discovered) there is nothing in the laws of physics that would even predict horoscopic astrology as it is.

That's a bold statement - I'm surprised you believe that you have explored the laws of physics and all their consequences in enough depth to make a claim like that.

To be honest, every time I see that phrase, 'the laws of physics', I want to ask: how exactly has it been established that these are the fundamental laws? It seems to me it would be more appropriate to call many of them assumptions rather than laws, and it might even make for faster progress - I find (far too often in my own case) that nothing blocks new learning as effectively as thinking you already know. I suspect that calling them laws encourages students to treat them with more reverence than is healthy; the most significant advances seem to come from reformulating basic assumptions so I'm suspicious about anything that discourages sceptical examination of the fundamentals.
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malcolm Ramsay wrote:

I suspect that calling them laws encourages students to treat them with more reverence than is healthy; the most significant advances seem to come from reformulating basic assumptions so I'm suspicious about anything that discourages sceptical examination of the fundamentals.


I'm rather glad that it is the laws, rather than "assumptions" of physics that keeps planes flying in the sky and makes brakes on my car work Wink

Martin
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SGFoxe



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 258
Location: Chicago, IL

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it seems that even a rocket scientist could accept as a workable hypothesis that the electronis of the shell of the atom was in some sort of interactive relationship with itself and the atomic nucleus --

insofar as the solar system is a fractal analog of the atom ergo the shell -- the orbiting planets in a measurable relationship with the solar nucleus -- (centrifugal, centripetal, gravity and phlogiston) astrology can be derived therefrom
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Martin Lewicki



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SGFoxe wrote:
it seems that even a rocket scientist could accept as a workable hypothesis that the electronis of the shell of the atom was in some sort of interactive relationship with itself and the atomic nucleus --

insofar as the solar system is a fractal analog of the atom ergo the shell -- the orbiting planets in a measurable relationship with the solar nucleus -- (centrifugal, centripetal, gravity and phlogiston) astrology can be derived therefrom


Astrology has done nothing extraordinary by defering to these physics concepts if it can't explain the framework in the detailed and experimetal way that physics has done so in its own field.

Martin
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GarryP
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Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the direction this discussion has taken, I suppose it was just a matter of time before I mentioned my paper on the relationship between astrology and modern science:

http://www.astrozero.co.uk/articles/modern_science.htm

The short version of my argument is that modern science does have important implications for astrology, but not in the way one might expect.
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Malcolm Ramsay



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Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Lewicki wrote:
Quote:

Astrology ... can't explain the framework in the detailed and experimetal way that physics has done so in its own field.

On one level, Martin, the key phrase here is "in its own field". Astrology, in its own field, has no need for the kind of explanations that science requires; it only becomes an issue when scientists claim that it can't work. But in that case the onus is on the scientists to present a detailed explanation of why they claim it - all I've seen is "of course, we can never prove a negative" which seems a bit lame to me.

As I understand it (or misunderstand it perhaps):
Every particle exerts an influence on the space around it; the strength of that influence reduces with distance, but never falls to zero. This means that every point in space is subject to a force which is the sum of the influences of all the particles in the universe. Any intellectual model of the universe has to recognise this and show how it manifests; Mach's principle in effect says that those influences manifest as inertia - a tendency of every body to continue to move in the same path, unless acted upon by another body. That all those influences can combine to produce such a simple effect is rather wonderful - and is the primary evidence, to my mind, of pattern in the universe.

Looked at from that perspective, the motion of every particle is a result of the distribution of all the matter in the universe. Therefore when two particles are brought into contact with each other, so that they act upon each other, that interaction is also a result of the distribution of all the matter in the universe - as must be the myriad interactions between the zillions of particles that make up all the higher level structures (molecules, cells, organs, bodies and all the objects that surround us). That all those interactions can combine to produce higher level bodies which can be seen to behave predictably is also rather wonderful - and is further evidence, to my mind, of pattern in the universe.

On a physical level every internal process that any higher level structure goes through is a result of the interactions of the particles of which it is constituted - this applies to the activity of the brain, of the heart, of the nervous system and all the other processes that make up the human experience. And the motions of all these particles result from their positions relative to all the other matter in the universe (you can do the maths for that if you like, Martin, but I certainly wouldn't try, even if I could). Even if you postulate some innate property in each particle that is not related to the other matter in the universe, it will still be operating within that universal influence.

This is all totally elementary - so where's the difficulty? That there is a relationship, between human activity and experience on the one hand and the movements of the planets on the other, stems quite naturally from the fact that all the motions of the particles that they are made up of derive from the overall structure of the universe. The only issue, as I said before, is whether or not there can be any discernable congruence between them; if a scientist claims that there can't be, I expect to see some detailed reasoning to back it up - that, as you say, is what scientists are expected to do.

Most of the arguments I've seen against astrology seem to assume an interaction between an astrologer and a client. I can't see that any argument of this type has any relevance for the essential validity of the subject; it certainly has none for me because my study of it hasn't involved other people. I've not tried to delineate character from a chart, and I've never talked to anyone about what their chart shows about them, nor tried to analyse my own beyond what jumps out. My study has involved watching my transits, over a period of twelve years, and relating them to the patterns of my inner experience and of my interactions with the world. And during that time I have always kept in mind that all the correlations I was seeing could be illusion. When scientists claim that astrology is nonsense, they are claiming that I am deluding myself; well, when I see them exercising the kind of caution in their own field that I exercise in astrology I might take them seriously... until then I'm afraid I'm going to regard that kind of statement with contempt.

This is going a bit off topic, but I did raise it in an earlier post as a key factor in sciencists' view of astrology. You say that
Quote:
... we have observations, experimets, mathematical theories that critically link together in clear ways that we use to make predictions and make further discoveries.
Well, that's the idea certainly. But when I look at what underlies the Big Bang theory what I see is a wilful abandonment of intellectual rigour. Between consenting adults in the privacy of their own (privately-funded) ivory tower it's harmless enough. But when scientists present it as a crowning achievement of scientific reasoning, then I think it is seriously harmful; and when they are funded by money taken from people with a threat of force .... but taxation is definitely off-topic, so I won't go there.

Now I must read Garry's paper, which I downloaded a few days ago and haven't yet got down to.
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Malcolm Ramsay"]Martin Lewicki wrote:
Quote:

Astrology ... can't explain the framework in the detailed and experimetal way

[....]



None of this is news to me Malcolm (for all the trouble you gone to explain it). Been through all this stuff myself over and over... for years.

Astrologers should get over themselves and quit all this special pleading - if no scientific evidence that astrology works is produced.

But like others here I'm into entertaining of these concepts with astrology. One day something just might come out that puts it on the map.

But I reckon I could live with it if evidence is not forthcoming.

At least cosmologists have actual observations to follow up on theories and to modify if required.

Malcolm Ramsay wrote:

Now I must read Garry's paper, which I downloaded a few days ago and haven't yet got down to.


Me too Smile

Martin
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SunPluto



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
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Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Lewicki wrote:
Malcolm Ramsay wrote:

It doesn't have the poetry of "As above, so below", but it baffles me how scientists can object that there is no mechanism by which astrology could work.


If you are talking horoscopic astrology, well yes, then you 'd be stretching the limits the laws of physics to absurdity to explain it.

Martin


Hello Martin

You don't know me from a bar of soap, but I sat in one of your classes many years ago and I still have the sphere that I made with the planets on it lol
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SunPluto wrote:
Martin Lewicki wrote:
Malcolm Ramsay wrote:

It doesn't have the poetry of "As above, so below", but it baffles me how scientists can object that there is no mechanism by which astrology could work.


If you are talking horoscopic astrology, well yes, then you 'd be stretching the limits the laws of physics to absurdity to explain it.

Martin


Hello Martin

You don't know me from a bar of soap, but I sat in one of your classes many years ago and I still have the sphere that I made with the planets on it lol


Hi SP

Still got mine lol. Now it's a CD.

Martin
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Malcolm Ramsay



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Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Lewicki wrote:
Quote:
Astrologers should get over themselves and quit all this special pleading - if no scientific evidence that astrology works is produced.

I'm not sure what you mean by special pleading, Martin, but I think we're probably looking at it from different angles. There are two distinct issues: on the one hand there is the problem of astrology's acceptance by a wider public, and there, I completely agree with you - without objective evidence, there is no point in trying to convince anyone who is not naturally inclined to accept it, and making vague analogies only makes us look foolish.

On the other hand there is the essentially personal issue of our confidence in our own experience, and that's the angle I've been writing from. Anyone who is concerned about the integrity of their own beliefs has to recognise the possibility of self-deception, so if scientists suggest that what we believe is incompatible with the way the physical world works, we have to deal with that in some way. For many, that means retreating from the idea that there is any physical basis to it - but that means giving up any hope of objective evidence (and my instinct is that it also means giving up part of the potential of the subject). Personally, as I said in my last post, I can't see that there's even a case to answer. But then, thinking about it, all I've actually seen is statements that astrologers can't explain how astrology works (which implies that it is somehow contrary to the laws of physics, but doesn't say it explicitly).

Quote:
At least cosmologists have actual observations to follow up on theories and to modify if required.
When you can't see the wood, making ever more detailed observations of more and more trees doesn't have that much value. To my mind it's a fundamental requirement that the conclusions of a theory should not contradict the assumptions it's based on. When a chain of reasoning which is only made possible by the assumption that the same laws apply everywhere arrives at a point where those laws cannot be true ... as far as I'm concerned it's a classic case of reductio ad absurdum; calling it a Singularity and carrying on regardless merely takes them into fantasy.

On that note: one of the assumptions behind that theory is that we don't occupy a privileged position in the universe; totally reasonable at the highest level, but you only have to consider a nursery to realise that it's not safe to apply it at the level that we see. If Earth is the cradle of an infant god, perhaps the endeavours of the cosmologists will turn out to be like the time, when I was very young, when I lay in bed puzzling over the significance of the pictures of picnicking teddy bears that were repeated at regular intervals round the walls of my bedroom. If only my parents had hung over my bed a mobile programmed to reveal the secrets of the universe ....
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Martin Lewicki



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Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Special pleading is when one expects recognition without having to provide the goods while others have to work to produce the goods through discipline and pear review before they get the same recognition.


Anyway, here is a thought experiment.

Does astrology work when no one is looking?

If a tree falls in the forest and diverts a stream, or an earthquake causes a landslide - but no one is around to see it or experience the consequences, would there be some kind of transit/progression etc for it.

Is astrology a product of consciousness or is it something "out there" irrespective of consciousness?

Martin
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