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Whence astrology?
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Myriam Hildotter



Joined: 13 Sep 2013
Posts: 37

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James, I am not surprised that you disagree with most of what I say. Our positions are pretty much diametrically opposed to one another. From what I can tell from your posts, your philosophical position is a Post-Modernist one, and mine is a Traditionalist one. These philosophies are directly opposed to one another, I am afraid.

Waybread and Spock's philosophy seem to be that of the Modernist variety, which crosses both of our philosophies, similar to a square!

If you are interested in studying Traditionalist philosophy (which is not the same as Traditional Astrology), I would refer you to authors such as Rene Geunon and Ananda Coomaraswamy. Interestingly enough, Rene Geunon has strong criticisms of astrology (as a modern practice) as well; although, his criticisms are in the opposite direction from those of Waybread and Spock. His criticisms are that astrology has lost its sacred roots and has become TOO immersed in modern science!

You can also read Plato or Eastern philosophical texts if you are interested!
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Myriam Hildotter



Joined: 13 Sep 2013
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Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spock,

I read what you wrote about the consultation with a psychic, and I propose an alternate scenerio.

I am not a psychic, and I tend to a be a little dubious of psychics in general. I think that one can get knowledge through non-rational means; however, I think that few modern people really can sort through what is of the nature of Divine Intuition, what is in the nature of rational Lunar Reason, and what is in the nature of lower psychological or even demonic influences.

To me, astrology is helpful in that one can be grounded in technique, which gives a "check" to one's Intuition. I do not think that astrology works in such a clear cut fashion, as if you have A and B, then C. Would that it did! Life is a messy process, and we interact with life through Free Will.

That does not mean that prediction is not possible, but it does mean that we need to approach prediction with humility. Ultimately, what we are doing is Divination, meaning we are consulting with the Divine through the study of the movements of the planetary bodies. The Divine, in my experience, does not give us all of the answers in that manner.

That is why it is important for astrologers to properly educate their clients as to what can and can not be done with astrology!

With that preamble, let me go back to the alternate interpretation of the scenerio you are raising.

Yes, I do look to past events with respect to astrological readings when such information as available to me. This is because the past is one of the best predictors of the present and the future. For example, if I know what happened around a native's Saturn return, I can better predict what *will* happen at the next Saturn square or opposition! Astrological "events" do not happen in isolation. Astrology is the study of cycles, and cycles within cycles! As a concrete example, I started training for the profession I am now leaving at my Saturn Return, and I began the process of leaving it at the Saturn opposition!

Just because one is using astrology does not mean that one is not also using other knowledge, including common sense, to interpret things! That is not "fudging"; that is using all of the knowledge at one's disposal to be as helpful as possible.

Also, a good, compassionate astrologer will not, and SHOULD not, baldly state everything she sees or predicts! I would think that one would be rather careful at saying certain things unless one was sure...such as your talking about the death of your wife. Even if I saw something like that in a chart, I would never SAY that outright until the other person mentioned it first. For one thing, what if I was wrong? (I do not claim to be infallible!). For another, saying that before a client volunteered that information would be rather rude and intrusive.

I have often internally predicted things that I have not told the native. I might use that information to help advise the native, but I would keep the specifics to myself! We are consulting with other people, not machines. One must always give advice with consideration and prudence!

There are also times in consultation when I will say, "Ok, let's put the chart aside. Maybe we should talk about what is happening."

Applied astrological techniques, to me, are in the nature of tools. They can be useful, but life is much bigger than this. I am not sure if this makes sense or not.
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Nixx



Joined: 10 Dec 2011
Posts: 295

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Myriam Hildotter wrote:


I do think that I need to clarify what I meant by tests being demeaning. That statement was in response to Nixx's proposal, which I took to mean seasoned astrologers being "tested" by non-astrologers to "prove" astrology as a discipline. That is a much, much different scenerio than astrologers being tested internally by teachers or by astrological organizations for competence. This is also much different than astrologers "testing" various techniques for accuracy.


Talking of competence do you think it is problematic for Astrologers that there might be 37, more or less, different birth times for the late pop star Michael Jackson embraced by so called ''seasoned astrologers'. Many of whom would doubtless have passed internal examinations at some juncture!

In the light of the above clearly seeing Astrology as a Theology is sensible and is its current definition, the problem seems to be when Astrologers think and write in the language of objective as opposed to subjective reality, which by and large they do including yourself going by your posts here!
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waybread



Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 906
Location: Canada

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Myriam, I think the term "traditional science" obscures more than it reveals.

It may have some following in the humanities, but from a scientific perspective today, parts of past sciences either remain as science today because they have withstood repeated testing; or else they are relegated to the history of science because they have not withstood scrutiny. So far as metaphysics is concerned, although many scientsts do hold to firm personal religious beliefs, these do not enter into their actual conduct of science experiments.

Effectively, then, there is no "traditional science" today so far as practising scientists are concerned.

The waters get further muddied by a post-scientific critique of science, which might be the view from post-modernism or the view from qualitative social science methodologies (described above.) From this standpoint, "traditional science" might be what goes on across campus in the chemistry department today, not medieval alchemy.

I don't know why you should think I come from a modernist perspective. Trying to explain science to non-scientists, or trying to engage with Spock from a scientific perspective, is different than philosophically adopting a modernist platform. As a latent environmentalist I have a big critique of modernity (for another thread, perhaps) so it is important not to conflate science with scientism-- a big part of modernism.

I entertain a fair number of metaphysical views, but I don't accept any that so obviously do not hold up to external evidence. It is one thing to entertain a belief that is untestable (ever, or just not yet.) It is another thing to entertain a belief that can be tested with evidence, has been tested with evidence, and has been found to be erroneous.

Maybe some people can make a wish and have 2+2=5, but my credulity gets strained.

Truth claims are simply claims that something is true. If I read in an astrology cookbook that, for example, Mercury square Mars means, "you are rash and impulsive and tend to loose your temper too easily," there should be a methodology to determine whether this statement is true or not.

It would take an awful lot of preliminary work to define terms like "rash" and "impulsive", and to determine "compared to what?" because we could get into cultural biases for or against specific kinds of behaviour: some cultures value imperturbability and serenity more than others. We would need, astrologically, to settle upon a suitable orb. We would have to decide statistically whether 100% of our sample subjects meet the definition, or whether we are happy with a statistically highly significant outcome of 75%.

So testing statements in astrology cookbooks would take a lot of preliminary work (and I think it needs to be done jointly by both astrologers and social scientists) to get a reasonable sort of test, but I think it could be done.

And here's the rub. What if we don't find a correlation between "rash" and "impulsive" behaviour and Mercury square Mars? We could ignore the results. We could go back and refine the model. Maybe Mercury square Mars gets trumped by a lof of planets in stability-loving Taurus, for example. Or maybe the essential dignities have something to say about how Mercury and Mars interact.

But I read a lot of charts for people on-line, and I find that most of the time, this is the level at which most people express themselves in relation to astrology. I take a metaphysical view of astrology myself (one reason why I personally wouldn't charge for chart-reading,) but most people want to know things about their material, ordinary lives. So if we could make cookbook astrology more accurate for people through some type of testing, astrology could theoretically be more helpful to people than it is today.

I don't find it useful, in this context, to distinguish between "high" and "low" knowledge. A high-order good in many faiths is helping fellow human beings who are distressed. Orbs and house systems are tools; and as such, they are part of a whole package of supporting people to live more fulfilling lives.
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Myriam Hildotter



Joined: 13 Sep 2013
Posts: 37

Posted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your response, Waybread.

It is very difficult to express many of these things in words, I am afraid. English is a dreadful language for communicating matters of metaphysics. I have begun learning Japanese, in part because it is a better language to express metaphysical concepts. Even at the very low level I am at, I have learned a few words that express things that can not be easily expressed in English.

So forgive me if I have misspoken regarding your underlying philosophy. Yet, even so, your perspective does seem to come from a Modernist (or maybe more accurately, rationalist). I understand that there are variations and differences, and I also understand that you are not a scientist.

I agree with your statement about 2 + 2 = 4, from both a mathematical and metaphysical perspective! That is my trouble with the post-modern approach to things.

In terms of a traditional science (although, I am open to another term if you would like), I agree that modern science does not recognize it. That is what happened in the Enlightenment. There are still a few traditional sciences left, such as Eastern traditional medicine, and acupuncture. Astrology, as it is practiced in modern times, has remnants of a traditional science, but most of it is unconscious (in terms of not knowing the *whys* of the practice), even among Traditional or Classical Astrologers.

I think that it IS necessary to distinguish between high and low knowledge (although high and low may not be the best terms...but it is the best I can come up with in English). There is Truth (with a capital T) and truth (with a small t), and that is a very important distinction. Facts about physical existence are in the nature of truth (with a small t). The difference between what I am terming a modernist perspective and a traditionalist perspective is that a modernist perspective treats facts about the material world as certain and metaphysical principles as uncertain. The traditionalist perspective is the opposite!

Let's take your example of 2 + 2 = 4. From the traditionalist perspective 2 + 2 = 4, because you are adding two sets of duality, which equals 4, the number of conflict and consolidation into matter! It can not equal 5, which is the number creativity and generation. 2 (duality) + 3 (divinity) = 5. The fact that you can count 2 apples + 2 apples and get 4 apples proceeds from this metaphysical reality. The modernist perspective is reversed.

Now, if somehow the laws of the physical universe changed (the physical universe is the world of flux and change, after all), and somehow if one counted 2 apples + 2 apples and you started getting 5 apples, this does not mean that the metaphysical principle changed. It means that the physical universe had moved away from perfection (as it does) to the extent that the metaphysical laws are not "working" the way they are supposed to metaphysically!

Astrology cookbooks and even the axioms of Medieval and Renaissance Astrologers are in the nature of small t - truth. They derive from capital T -Truth, but they are not on par with it. In the philosophy I am a student of, we are taught that there are Absolute Truths one can be certain of, everything else, including the information obtained through our senses, we can speak of likelihood only!

Now, taking your example of Mars square Mercury brings about a tendency to impulsiveness. The very first problem one has with that is that people are Axial Beings. Just because one has a tendency towards impulsiveness does not mean one can not or has not learned to control or moderate that tendency!

But even if that were not the case, discovering that Mars square Mercury does not indicate impulsiveness only means that Mars square Mercury does not lead to impulsiveness. It does not change that Mars is the planetary representative of Divine Protection and Will, that Mercury is the planetary representative of Divine Intelligence, or that a square is the aspect relating to the number 4, and it signifies conflict!

I hope this helps clarify somewhat.
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
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Location: vancouver island

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi myriam,

thanks for putting me in the 'post-modernist' box. let me know the philosophical system that can't be contained in a box like this, as that is where i'd like to be if i have to be put somewhere..

i recall you mentioning rene geunon in a previous post. i had looked him up at the time as i was unfamiliar with who he was.. i have done the same today with many of these non astrological terms that you use which seem to fit better in philosophy/religion then anywhere else.. since this is the philosophy forum of an astrology forum, this makes a certain degree of sense. you'll have to forgive me if i don't understand these terms or the way you are using them all that well, but from what i have read today both geunon and coomaraswamy are considered 2 of the 3 founders of the traditionalist school which connects directly to the perrennial philosophy.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_School

from the link above "The term Traditionalist School (whose perspective is generally referred to as Traditionalism or Perennialism) is used by many authors to denote a school of thought based upon a belief that all the world's great religions share the same origin (in a primordial principle of transcendent unity) and are, at root, based on the same metaphysical principles." this is interesting myriam in that i share this perspective.. not sure what category/box you have to put me in now!!!

i believe i can get a pretty good insight into the basis for your ideology and many of the terms you regularly use here by reading these wikipedia pages which along with the one above, i include in this post.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananda_Coomaraswamy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Gu%C3%A9non

it is interesting that when i go to read the wiki page on postmodernism - (the box i have been put in) - i get a quick description that certainly fits with your commentary based on our interactions to date!
"It frequently serves as an ambiguous overarching term for skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism

the perennial philosophy and a connection to the theosophical society is especially interesting as they all seemed to be in existence and coming into development around the same time mid to late 1800's.. rene geunon went on later to make a distinction, distancing himself from the theosophical movement doing a critic on them in 1921 with his book "Theosophism: History of a Pseudo-Religion." i am sure martin gansten would approve of that! it reminds me of traditional astrologers criticizing 'modern astrology' (the time prior to the reintroduction and release of william lillys book 'christian astrology').. maybe they could use the term "pseudo-astrology" too? maybe they do!
from the link on perennial philosophy above - "By the end of the 19th century the idea of a Perennial Philosophy was popularized by leaders of the Theosophical Society such as H. P. Blavatsky and Annie Besant, under the name of "Wisdom-Religion" or "Ancient Wisdom".[2] The Theosophical Society took an active interest in Asian religions, subsequently not only bringing those religions under the attention of a western audience,but also influencing Hinduism, and Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Japan."

i thought i knew what the term metaphysics meant, but now i am not so sure.. i recall reading books on the topic many years ago and thinking it was much more in keeping with my personal orientation then any type of literalism which seems to take up so much of religion today.. although it is probably a term used in philosophy, since i have had a life long interest in the different religions of the world, mostly in a more esoteric as opposed to exoteric context, it comes as a surprise that the description off the wiki page on the traditionalist school is as follows "The term Traditionalist School (whose perspective is generally referred to as Traditionalism or Perennialism) is used by many authors to denote a school of thought based upon a belief that all the world's great religions share the same origin (in a primordial principle of transcendent unity) and are, at root, based on the same metaphysical principles.

thanks for articulating the basis for many of your comments which in the past have included the use of some of these terms which i was unfamiliar with previously.. i feel i've learned something today and am able to better understand your comments and perspective as a result..

Myriam Hildotter wrote:
James, I am not surprised that you disagree with most of what I say. Our positions are pretty much diametrically opposed to one another. From what I can tell from your posts, your philosophical position is a Post-Modernist one, and mine is a Traditionalist one. These philosophies are directly opposed to one another, I am afraid.

Waybread and Spock's philosophy seem to be that of the Modernist variety, which crosses both of our philosophies, similar to a square!

If you are interested in studying Traditionalist philosophy (which is not the same as Traditional Astrology), I would refer you to authors such as Rene Geunon and Ananda Coomaraswamy. Interestingly enough, Rene Geunon has strong criticisms of astrology (as a modern practice) as well; although, his criticisms are in the opposite direction from those of Waybread and Spock. His criticisms are that astrology has lost its sacred roots and has become TOO immersed in modern science!

You can also read Plato or Eastern philosophical texts if you are interested!
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:

My point is that, if doctors are a comparable with astrologers, as Myriam suggests, then we should consider that doctors do get tested-- extensively-- and nobody finds their tests demeaning. Rather, we find it entirely reasonable that doctors should pass medical school courses, internships, usually residencies, and board licensing exams as a matter of safeguarding patients' health.


I missed the context of your reply to Myriam which makes better sense now. However doctors do not get tested on truth claims of medicine, they get tested on a body of knowledge. Do you mean that it is better for astrologers to get tested on a body of knowledge (the technical workings of astrology and the art of interpretation)? Because of course this still tells us nothing about the truth claims of astrology? Because I suspect that really what you mean is to test the truth claims of astrology.

Quote:
The testing applied to doctors as a condition of their ability to practice, as well as the testing that goes into pharmaceuticals, &c are extensive and far higher than the non-existent tests required of astrologers.


Right, but the reason they sit these tests is because their license to practice will be revoked if they don't. I don't find doctors and astrologers comparable (as perhaps you don't), but if we do want to make this analogy (as I think Myriam is) then we run into the issue of licensing. Should astrologers be licensed? In which case the cost of going to an astrologer will be much higher as they'll likely have to also pay for certain insurance against malpractice etc. that doctors do - after all they may lose their license otherwise.

Quote:

Moreover, All kinds of professions, ranging from clinical psychology to accounting require credentials from their states/provinces/ professional associations.


Right, but similarly lots do not.

Quote:

An astrologer can decide if what is "sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose." Major astrological professional societies have tried to credentialize astrology; whereas many independent astrologers (like you, apparently) say not, at least not for themselves.


Right, and I think as long as it is up to the astrologer to decide, then that is fine. I would have a problem if it came to be that some licensing was a requirement to use the term 'astrologer' in the way that the term 'architect' is reserved for those who have the relevant license/accreditation.

Quote:

This is all by way of response to Myriam's statements.

My comments about my not having a problem with testing astrology's truth claims refer to Spock's interest in scientific tests of astrological assertions.


Sure, I think I have no always been clear which arguments you are commenting on - Myriam's or Spock's, so apologies.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Whence astrology? Reply with quote

spock wrote:

Yes, that's the normal rebuttal, and it's valid but only up to a point. If astrology is really too complicated to be tested how could those complexities have been discovered in the first place?


Possibly over centuries or indeed millennia of observation, but more likely that certain planets and certain aspects seem to correlate with certain things, and the rest is 'educated guessswork' in applying those observations. Yes. It's not a science. Perhaps you want it to be?

Quote:
I see two answers.


Actually there is a third: we don't have to test anything at all. We can leave it up to the practitioner to see if they find use from the claims of astrology or not. Why do we feel the need to have everything tested and do we really think that it's possible to test every claim of astrology? Even if not at once?

Quote:
which is if you predict everything at once you haven't actually predicted anything at all... Prediction means not just saying what will happen but also what won't happen. It means narrowing the possibilities to one or a few, something astrology in its present form is very poor at doing.


Actually that is not what prediction means in any other sense, so I'm not sure why it would have to mean that just for astrology. Prediction does not indicate that ONLY something will happen that is predicted. A weather forecast is a good analogy. They may predict rain. Their prediction/forecast is not incorrect if they don't go through an exhaustive list of weather phenomena that won't happen. Nobody would say the weather man was wrong if he predicts rain and it rains, all because he didn't predict that it wouldn't snow and it wouldn't be sunny and it wouldn't have highs of over 20 degrees etc. In no other field do we consider a prediction incorrect if we don't give an account of what won't happen, because it's impossible to predict what won't happen, there's an infinite number of possible things that won't happen.
If I predict a break up in your relationship, and your relationship breaks up, that is an accurate prediction. It is not considered inaccurate or less of a prediction if, for example, I didn't also predict that you would cut your finger chopping an onion, nor provide an account of what wouldn't happen, like saying "you wont' crash your car, you won't lose your job, you won't twist an ankle mountain climbing through the Rockies" etc. the list of things that won't happen is exhaustive and infinite and your definition of prediction seems to be unique to astrology. No other definition states that to predict something which will happen you must give account of things which won't happen.

Why the special case for astrology?

Quote:
But the upshot, which I expect statistical testing to continue to confirm, is that most of astrology's factors and methods are bogus. I include in that category signs, houses and rulerships, progressions and directions, return charts, and symbolism itself, pretty much everything outside of aspects and transits.


Why are aspects and transits not also a 'strategy' which is bogus - what are you using as your benchmark for what is a strategy and therefore bogus, and what is not, and therefore possibly not bogus? What objection criteria or barometer measures what is a strategy or not?

Quote:
I expect that a valid technique, properly understood, would have A correlating with B 100% of the time.


Why? This doesn't happen in any other field of life. That's why we test for things to be statistically significant, not that they must happen 100% of the time and anytime something breaks it we invalidate it. Many drugs don't work to 100% effectiveness on 100% of the people. Nobody concludes that therefore the entire field of pharmacology is bogus.

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People misunderstand how statistics works.


I don't disagree, but I do think that this includes your own statements on statistical significance if you expect something to occur 100% of the time.

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Divination is the appearance of magic, but in reality I don't think magical effects exist.


Well if astrology works at all, how does it work? We know many ways it doesn't work, but in the absence of any other word to define how it works, why not substitute it for 'magical'? I'm curious what you think of branches of astrology like horary?

Quote:
That rulerships exist at all is what somebody thought up at some point. It might have seemed reasonable at the time, just as it seemed reasonable that the sun goes around the earth. That doesn't mean it's true, and I personally doubt that it is. The meanings we associate with Saturn, Jupiter et al have arguably evolved over time via a process of natural selection


It may be arguable that it occurred this way, but do we have reason to suggest it? We have plenty of reason to think that many of our attributes for planets are based on their appearance and astronomical properties. Saturn being dim and slow moving was associated with typical traits of elderliness. And so on.

There is no reason to think some form of 'natural selection' brought us the main associations we have today, natural selection may have fine tuned, but it is unlikely it is the main foundation. A lot of things in astrology, including aspects, seem to have a more philosophical root. Just like rulerships do. There is no logic which dictates that certain traits were filtered by natural selection in such a way that cannot or does not also apply to other parts of astrology that you're content to find as bogus, rulership being one of them.

Quote:
But if rulership of signs is a metaphysical principle, I can only say that principle is flat wrong due to having been founded on inadequate means.


Define inadequate and what is your criterion for determining it? Rulership of signs, like signs themselves, and like aspects and so on, are a philosophical thing which postulates a given theory. In the case of aspects the theory is that due to varying philosophies surrounding numbers numeric relationships based on integer relationships of divisions of a circle, that two planets separated by such integer divisions of a circle have their expression altered. It is a philosophical thing. I would love to know what logic you employ to determine that rulership is flat out wrong in a way that other philosophical considerations in astrology, such that Mars rules/signifies iron, or that Saturn signifies age or the father etc. or indeed the entire corpus of aspect theory is not also flat out wrong.

What is your criterion for 'wrongness'?

Quote:
That is an interesting question. I don't for instance assume that Pluto has an effect, even though it would be interesting if it did since it squares my Sun. Basically, since I think human periodicities that correspond to planetary periodicities are due to life having used planets as temporal templates around which to organize its constituent processes, the question for me is, what has evolution wrought? Which heavenly bodies has life been able to track, even if only at one point in each's orbit, and thus use as a basis for a biological clock? And I think you're right, we need to use testing and research to determine this, first by determining if an "effect" exists, by looking for matching rhythms, and eventually by determining the physical basis (the effect of blue wavelength sunlight on opsins in the eye, for instance) by which it exists.


You are probably aware of this, but just to highlight why you think Pluto has no effect - it is not due to any kind of empirical testing, not due to any application of pre-existing studies or scientific testing or thinking. It is purely because you have a certain philosophy about how astrology works and Pluto doesn't fit.
I find it really curious that for someone who has pushed so frequently on these debates for greater scientific testing so as to remove the bogus astrology, that you actually base so many of your own theories or points on the very same foundationless logic that you are seeking to remove when it applies to others. Like the astrology you wish to do away with, you have based so much of your own astrology based solely on your own assumptions and philosophies about life and about how astrology works - none of which are tested. You have concluded that certain things are 'flat out wrong' similarly without any testing or anything even remotely close to the scientific method. And this from someone who is making a critique against astrologers for not doing these things, when you yourself also do not.

I find that curious. Whilst you cannot wave a wand and 'fix' astrology, surely you can start by looking at the man in the mirror as it were?
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spock



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
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Location: Evansville, Indiana

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Whence astrology? Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
spock wrote:
If the subject of astrology is a knowledge of the correspondences between the celestial and terrestrial domains, what can we do to maximize our understanding of that subject? To the extent that astrology is a skill (which is what I take astrology as art to refer to), that skill might be developed to the limits of an individual's inherent capabilities but I see little scope for cumulative development.

Why? Do the arts not also cumulatively develop? Surely your recognise a cumulative development of the arts from our cave paintings through the renaissance period through to today? These developments are not the work of individuals working in isolation - art is very much cumulative in that it finds its very meaning and expression through cultural interpretation and acknowledgement. Art inspires artists, who create art which inspires artists. And so the field of art develops and does so cumulatively.

I don't know if "the" arts cumulatively develop. You refer in your example not to the arts tout court but to painting, and according to The Structure of Scientific Revolutions painting and sculpture did develop that way, that is were seen as progressive in the way that science and technology still are today, as long as representation was their goal. "Only when the latter unequivocally renounced representation as their goal and began again to learn from primitive models" did their developmental pattern diverge from that of science and technology, whose "profound differences" in turn are so difficult to see because "progress is an obvious attribute of both fields."

But my point was that to the extent that delineation is an unanalyzable individual skill rather than procedures that can be taught, analyzed and improved upon, it's noncumulative. If, however, you're saying that it is procedures subject to analysis and improvement, that delineation not an unanalyzable individual attribute but procedures that are cumulative and progressive in the sense that science and technology are, we're not in disagreement. That's what I've been saying, that improvement is possible, that we can potentially create a better astrology than the one our predecessors practiced.

Quote:
Quote:
The "problem" is we astrologers apparently don't think our claims should be objectively verifiable via procedures (statistical tests, for instance) whose legitimacy in determining validity is recognized in other fields of study.

Actually I think the problem is in not fully understanding how that can be achieved, and indeed who is going to do it. There may well also be a discussion about why anyone would want to of course, but I don't think it's a widely decided upon consensus that astrologers don't think the claims should be verifiable, I think it may well be that nobody has given a good reason why they ought to be.

I think many astrologers would like for astrology to be verified, but if a method fails to do that they doubt the method rather than the practices it failed to verify. It seems to me a lot of astrologers were fine with statistics as long as they expected it to tell them what they wanted to hear regarding the validity of astrology tout court. As for why our claims ought to be verifiable, by means other than subjective sense, it's for our benefit, so we can be sure that we do have knowledge and aren't just fooling ourselves in the course of the process of "doing" astrology.

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If we cannot describe how we come to our conclusions it means our knowledge is deficient, not that we are exempt from having to demonstrate that astrology works for any reason other than that we say so (i.e., because it "works for me").

Deficient for who? Deficient in relation to what? Clearly the person who uses their methods, whether decipherable to others or not, and gets results out of them is not necessarily motivated to describe to the person who demands it how they got those results. Surely they might retort "by doing astrology". So who is made deficient by it? Not that individual astrologer surely?

No, not the individual astrologer, but the methods themselves. That's the point of my Tyl and Rudhyar examples, not that the astrologers are deficient but that the methods they learned were and are. And by "how we come to our conclusions" I don't mean how we do a particular delineation but how we concluded in the first place that Mars in the first house, Venus square to Saturn, progressed Jupiter trine natal Moon, etc., etc. mean what we think they mean. By what means were those facts, if they are facts, discovered? As for who they're deficient for, they're deficient for us. If they weren't six competent astrologers rectifying the same person's unknown (to them) birth time would get the same answer. So they're deficient in relation to an understanding of effects accurate enough that those six astrologers would get the same right answer.

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The "problem" is being unable to see the verbal games we unwittingly play that make it seem to us that astrology "works for me" whether or not we have knowledge, or at any rate sufficient knowledge, of actual correspondences or parallels between our lives and the heavens. The "problem" is that when statistical studies, even those designed by or approved by astrologers, fail to support astrological claims, or appear to support astrological effects different from the ones we already believe in (i.e., the Gauquelin work), we conclude that, since we know we're right because astrology "works for me", statistics in particular and science in general is incapable of fairly evaluating astrology's claims.

But I think it's a really hard sell - I think astrologers come to use and 'believe' in astrology precisely because they've witnessed that it works for them in the face of obvious adversity by weight of the fact that on the face of it astrology sounds ludicrous. I would be interested not one tiny bit by some statistical analysis that found that methods that I regularly use do not work. It would not move me whatsoever. Personally I don't think it matters if astrologers are involved in the statistics game process - many are not fully statistically savvy to know whether or not their results are statistically significant or not. If we take the Carlson experiment, where astrologers were indeed involved, the p value was such that it might have been used on a physics paper - that's the level that is required. Totally out of context or appropriateness. Astrologers who get involved probably don't realise that. I know I certainly wouldn't be able to tell you anything worthwhile about what a statistician would evaluate as being significant or not. I suspect others would be in the same boat.

Clearly it's a hard sell. Your reaction, and the reaction of the great majority of astrologers who've responded to my arguments, here and elsewhere, is indication enough of that. Whether it's a hard sell because it's wrong or because astrologers just have a hard time seeing it is another matter. I've already argued that "it works for me" is misleading, and have given reasons why I think it's misleading, so simply reiterating "because they've witnessed that it works for them" without critiquing my argument about "the verbal games we unwittingly play that make it seem to us that 'astrology works for me'" is unresponsive. And the addition of "in the face of obvious adversity by weight of the fact that on the face of it astrology sounds ludicrous" only shows how much people will go against what seems reasonable if they want to believe in something strongly enough, albeit not without some discomfort or defensiveness. That "on the face of it astrology sounds ludicrous," as you've just acknowledged, is in my opinion one reason we see so many attempts by astrologers to explain how it is that astrology works.

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The "problem" is that we assume, in a breathtaking display of collective hubris, that if astrology is accepted it will be due to a revolution in science, such that they will then see that we were right all along, that astrology works just the way we say and have said it does.

Maybe I'm just the only one who is daft and doesn't really care how it works. I consider myself someone who uses a particular technology called astrology. I am fascinated by how it might work - it would be great to know. But not so great that I would first feel I have to find out how it works before I can feel justified in using it. As an analogy, if I stumbled upon a microwave oven and discovered I could heat food with it, I wouldn't feel I needed to understand non-ionizing microwave radiation. Heck maybe I should.

No, you're not the only one. I'm the one who's out of step with most astrologers. I'm the one who's bothered by the lack of clearcut evidence that most of the meanings and methods I originally learned are actually valid. I'm the one who's acutely aware of the ways in which we fool ourselves, who's analyzed the process by which astrology seemingly "works for me", which is a bell that can't be unrung. I'm the one who was bothered by not seeing how astrology as I then understood it could work, until I could imagine a way it could, and a kind of astrology that could work that way. So I guess we're just different that way. But I also think that if a sufficient number of astrologers, a critical mass, are similarly bothered and aware of each other (thanks to the internet), a better astrology will be forthcoming.

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Science is no more likely to take astrology in its present form on board than it is to accept the validity of reading tea leaves, sheep entrails or tarot cards.

Right, but the question is "who cares". Science is enormously powerful and efficient at doing what science does. But does that mean that it is the only arbitrar of what is truthful and real? I don't believe so. I think, at least in its present state, it is woefully inadequate in dealing or addressing certain facets of life - which can include astrology. I think that as a community of people, we raise science and its methods, understandably, to dizzying heights, but then think it can answer all of our problems, and perhaps it cannot. But okay, science may not let us join their party, but do we really want their invite anyway?

In asking who cares you seem to have forgotten the context in which I made that statement, which was in opposition to astrologers who assume that someday science will have a revolution in the wake of which they will then see how it is that astrology can work the way we say it does, an understanding that we ourselves don't possess at the moment and likely never will. But in fact I agree that it's not important that scientists care whether or not astrology makes sense. It's we who should care, because we're the ones who care about astrology and about how well it works and (for some of us, at least) about how much better it could work. And elucidating a way that astrology can make sense, and an approach to astrology that can make sense that way, is in my opinion an important desiderata.
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This just in, in the morning's news. A good reason for astrologers to consider their truth claims; and the reason why professional astrological associations want to safeguard the good practitioners.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/04/recent-psychic-fraud-trials-in-ny-florida-expose-line-between-fortunetelling/

This article doesn't specifically name astrologers but there is no reason why it couldn't. Fraudsters who know some astrology have appeared on the forums at Astrodienst and Skyscript.

Paul, so far as I know you are totally opposed to any kind of testing of astrologers, so I don't know where you expect me to go with this.

Obviously doctors are engaged in two types of testing. One is their proficiency as physicians. Another is the testing that goes into the medications, procedures, materials, &c that are part of their practice. With many doctors in family practice, these two fields are largely separate. Other doctors are well engaged in the research process, notably doctors in medical schools. Examples would be drug trials in volving patients or innovative surgical procedures. The interactive process between the two types of testing usually continues after a doctor gets her license to practice, through keeping up with the medical journals, attending conferences, and occasionally contributing to the literature. Some doctors get advanced qualifications midway through their practice.

We find the same thing in astrology. Some astrologers are consumers of astrological information, which they dispense to clients or members of Internet forums. Some astrologers do research. Most astrological research seems to involve amassing a non-random, non-systematically acquired set of natal horoscopes (what a statistician might call a "convenience sample") and then scouting for particular variables as they relate to the natives' lives. Probably most "research astrologers" also consult with clients/forum members.

Apart from the doctor-bashing or medicine-bashing that astrologers engage in occasionally, I think the issues to consider are:

1. Why should/shouldn't astrologers have some credentials, especially where they have the potential to harm people?

2. Astrologers can engage in two types of error/misinformation. (a) They don't know much astrology as it is set forth by astrological authorities; (b) the astrological information itself might be erroneous.

I think #2b is the focus of this thread.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/04/recent-psychic-fraud-trials-in-ny-florida-expose-line-between-fortunetelling/


Interesting.

I think I'm inclined to agree with this quote:
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"Fortunetelling may be pure entertainment, it may give individuals some insight into the future, or it may be hokum," but Montgomery County's prohibition on paid psychic readings has "a chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech," Maryland's Court of Appeals wrote in 2010.


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Paul, so far as I know you are totally opposed to any kind of testing of astrologers, so I don't know where you expect me to go with this.


No, I don't mind testing of astrologers, particularly testing of their astrological knowledge, if they wish to affiliate themselves with some school - and there are reasons why they might. I'm skeptical about tests of astrology's claims however, particularly when carried out by parties which have made claims against astrology before testing it. I also do not wish astrology to be licensed, so I am against testing as a requirement to practice astrology. But it is not true that I am "totally opposed to any kind of testing of astrologers". Just the conclusions of what testing may lead to if it is for some kind of licensing.
There is a difference of course in the testing of astrologers on astrology, and the testing of astrology on its truth claims.

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Obviously doctors are engaged in two types of testing. One is their proficiency as physicians. Another is the testing that goes into the medications, procedures, materials, &c that are part of their practice.


Right doctors are engaged with the latter, but it is not the doctors themselves which are tested in the latter and this form of test is an 'opt in' kind - if doctors do not wish to get involved with those tests they do not need to.

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1. Why should/shouldn't astrologers have some credentials, especially where they have the potential to harm people?

2. Astrologers can engage in two types of error/misinformation. (a) They don't know much astrology as it is set forth by astrological authorities; (b) the astrological information itself might be erroneous.


I think with regards 1) there are reasons why astrologers might not want to affiliate themselves with certain schools - they may not agree with all of the practices of that school for example, or may not wish to be bound to the particulars of their ethics codes - they may feel their own is sufficient for example, or in some cases even superior. But more to the point, they may not see the need - how do they themselves benefit from it? Not everyone would agree that they would benefit, especially if they already have a client base.

I agree that point 2) is a problem with astrology and that part b is the main focus here, but whilst it is the main focus, statements have arisen which more broadly affects point 1) too - notably of course by yourself in discussion with Myriam.
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Morpheus



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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/04/recent-psychic-fraud-trials-in-ny-florida-expose-line-between-fortunetelling/

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Best-selling historical-romance novelist Jude Deveraux paid psychic Rosa Marks about $17 million over 17 years, she testified at Marks' recent federal fraud trial in West Palm Beach, Fla., according to newspaper reports. The psychic said she could transfer the spirit of Deveraux's dead 8-year-old son into another boy's body and reunite them, among other claims, the writer said.


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Two weeks later, a Manhattan jury convicted seer Sylvia Mitchell of bilking two clients out of tens of thousands of dollars. Mitchell linked their problems to past lives and "negative energy" and prescribed cures such as giving her five-figure sums "to hold," according to testimony.


I dont think astrology deals with resurrection or transmigration of souls. Is it the best that we can bring against astrology or an astrologer?

The Law should be amended to state that State would not be responsible when people look for and pay for remedies when visiting any occultists.

There should be independent association of astrologers as well as Psychics not necessarily for testing/application of knowledge but adherence to 'Code of Ethics'. This Code should be finalized after the input of various sections/representation of society. Any astrologer not member of 'Association' should be forbidden to practice.

The law should be further amended to require astrologers as well Psychics/Seers to maintain 'Register for Fee received' and all the transactions should be through proper banking channels.
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varuna2



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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:
This just in, in the morning's news. A good reason for astrologers to consider their truth claims; and the reason why professional astrological associations want to safeguard the good practitioners.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/11/04/recent-psychic-fraud-trials-in-ny-florida-expose-line-between-fortunetelling/

This article doesn't specifically name astrologers but there is no reason why it couldn't. Fraudsters who know some astrology have appeared on the forums at Astrodienst and Skyscript.


The season is over, W. Your premise is that the slave-serf-sheep could potentially be at risk of censorship and persecution from the tyrannical master-rulers of the West whose only authority goes ultimately back to the authority of the schoolyard bully: physical coercion and threats of physcial coercion if the slaves do not obey their masters. All of the 'sophisticated rhetoric' in the West, involving courts and laws and government and human rights and such, only exists by physical force: the police and prison. The only time human rights actually were asserted was when the peasants turned their plows into swords and created these things.

Therefore, in order for the slave-sheep-servant-astrologers to avoid persecution from their masters who invent rules and laws and believe they have any moral or other type of authority to tell other people how they can live their lives and what they can believe and which financial transactions they can make between each other, voluntarily.

Fraud needs to be provable that it happened. How is any shyster (Schuster's lawyer) going to prove that (in the case of the persecuted in the article) that person did not communicate with the soul which passed this realm? This is unprovable, therefore the fraud charge is also unprovable, therefore the lawsuit is rubbish. Astrology has not been proven either. Astrology is a religion. We allegedly have the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech in the so-called free West...

Obviously, you do not believe in freedom as an ideal...

If you are truly concerned with fraudulent activities in the West, we should start looking at the financial sectors and governments and court systems and medical and insurance systems in the West...but that is obviously a digression...



waybread wrote:

Apart from the doctor-bashing or medicine-bashing that astrologers engage in occasionally


I take umbrage at that accusation, W. Since it is obviously directed partly towards me, given the recent events at this forum. You are either falsely accusing me, or you are confusing your hero-worship and idols with my criticism of them and mistaking this for "bashing" - understandably so, if you are confusing your idea(l)s with your identity(?) It is not abnormal for patients of qualified neurosurgeons to lose various functioning capabilities post-surgery and as a direct result of the qualified neurosurgeon's activity. No one considers banning neurosurgery because of all of the failures in these medical activities.

waybread wrote:

1. Why should/shouldn't astrologers have some credentials, especially where they have the potential to harm people?

2. Astrologers can engage in two types of error/misinformation. (a) They don't know much astrology as it is set forth by astrological authorities; (b) the astrological information itself might be erroneous.

I think #2b is the focus of this thread.


In answer to the first question, if you are a slave and enjoy being so, then invent some authorities for yourself and abide by their rules. Go and vote for who should rule you and tell you how to live. I am not sure how someone could be harmed by astrology, the only two ways I can think of if I greatly stretch the term 'harm' is: losing money in exchange for a service, and becoming worried due to advice if the advice included potentially bad things happening in the future. Astrology has not been proven to be valid and it is generally accepted as a truth in the West, that astrology is superstitious rubbish. Therefore, anyone who wishes to spend their money and thus give their power to some astrologer, is already doing something that is understood to be a *religious* activity.

If astrologers become persecuted again in the West. They need to appeal to religious freedom and Indigenous Human Rights to their own belief system. If the tyrants in the West decided to go after astrologers for fraud, then they need to persecute all of the churches in the West for taking money to support their religion, since the goals of those churches and those beliefs are not proven. Then they need to persecute the scientific textbook printers who write things such as: black holes, dark matter, Big Bang, expanding universe - these things are not proven and therefore it is fraud (according to the reasononing of the article referenced) for them to charge money for books containing these ideas. Then they can approach banks and sue them for fraud for lending money they do not actually have. The fiat money system enables banks to invent money and lend it on usury and thus have people send them a part of their productivity every month for the rest of their lives, typically. If the normal citizen borrows money they do not have they get charged for fraud. "If the poor man steals a belt buckle, he is hung. If the rich and powerful man steals an entire state, he is proclaimed statesman of the year" (Chuang tzu).

There are countless other example and ways of demonstrating these points, but I think it is quite clear.

I am not sure why people insist on being slaves...the worst is when they appeal to slavery and mouth platitudes to freedom at the same time.


Those laws are from an era of robots who only knew what the handful of news organizations owners taught them and told them how to think about the world and what their rulers did. Their rulers were always virtuous and trustworthy, whereas it was other rulers who were the villians always, in the era of that article you posted. We no longer live in that era, people nowadays are far more educated in the broader sense that they cannot be controlled so easily. Nowadays when they talk about the Iranian threat, we wonder why Iran does not have the right to self-defense, or why the CIA overthrew the Iran government in 1954 in the interest of controlling the oil access. In the era of draconian laws outlined in the article you presented, people were no allowed to challenge their government, and their government wrote draconian tyrannical laws such as are still being used to persecute people such as Snowden. The world is growing smaller and broader at the same time. The era of those tyrannical laws outlawing fortune telling was the same era when Darwin was not allowed in schools. Nowadays, anything that challenges Darwin is not allowed in schools, but there is small hope that true diversity and pluralism will become the norm, we just have ways to go. Someday people will look at 1930s Germany and question both sides of the story, for example. The era of those tyrannical laws outlawing fortunetelling are from an era when sexuality was under the strict control of the rulers, but I do not think you would appeal to people to be cautious of their homosexuality or if they are a woman of working, in order to evade laws outlawing homosexuality or women working, for example. So why do you warn astrologers of what your friends in government can do to them, if they are not careful?


Last edited by varuna2 on Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Varuna

Please be respectful to waybread and all other posters. It is not your place to dictate to Waybread what she believes in or does not believe in. Waybread is capable of doing this herself. It is also not the responsibility of Waybread or anyone else to defend or make apologies for the all the alleged crimes you have thrown at 'the west'.

Waybread has not accused you of science bashing. She has alleged, rightly, that some astrologers do bash science. Do not take this personally.

I am not sure what Garry's stance is with regards the posts here, he did ask that I keep aware of any posts here and moderate where necessary. I am not the type of moderator who likes to remove posts. Please remember to treat Waybread and everyone else with respect which includes not telling them what they believe or do not believe nor implying accusations at the entirety of western society and expecting any posters here to defend or even debate or acknowledge those allegations. That is not why we are here.

There is a topic being discussed and many of your anti-western posts and rhetoric deviate drastically away from that topic. A major forum rule is to show respect for all individuals here. I would also state that this includes not just individuals but entire sections of society, even those with which you are frustrated or disappointed by or even contemptuous of.

Please stop with your anti-western rhetoric and your posts toward Waybread which are so negative in tone. Otherwise the posts will be deleted - remember that this is an astrology board for astrologers to discuss astrology and issues pertaining to it. Not a soapbox for our gripes against cultures we do not like.
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Paul.

Myriam, while I think (hope) I understand where you are coming from, I would suggest that an acupuncturist or Chinese medicine doctor probably is licensed in many jurisdictions, and further uses a lot of observation of bodily effects to know what to prescribe and what not to do if it is ineffective.

Possibly a focus on orbs or house systems could be trivialized as "lower-order" information for its own sake, but attention to detail had its place in the pre-Darwin "traditional" history of science. You found scientists (to paraphrase) saying things like, "God created and rules the world, but now I am going to investigate how He did that with respect to plant species." So the material details of the botanist's research didn't merely descend in rank-order from the paramount belief in God; rather the research details were part of a feedback loop in which studying a particular taxon informed human understanding of the marvels of Creation and its Creator.

The Mormon leader Brigham Young said, "All things needful to be done are part of the great whole...." meaning that small steps contribute to a larger project. Cf. also the Zen notion that small tasks are necessary and can be imbued with as much spirituality as anything else.

I am sceptical of Pythagorean numerology, however, as a reason for 2+2=4. It emerged from a Greek (possibly Egyptian-infused) culture at a particular point in time. It operates like a belief system from which wisdom might be gained, but it doesn't have any external validation. It claims to be universal, whereas somewhere over in the next country the locals had a different set of metaphysical beliefs and claimed that they were universal. So who "wins"?

Rationalist? I suppose so. Because authority, emotion, and beliefs can lead people way off the deep end; too much so to trust them as a matter of faith. (Speaking of Mormons, see Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven, or My Story: Elizabeth Smart.)

BTW, for anyone who followed my AP link, above, on fortune-telling (and speaking of history) probably everyone here knows that early in the last century astrologers Alan Leo and Evangeline Adams were tried on charges of (illegal) fortune-telling. Leo was acquited once and fined once. Adams was acquited on the strength of her accurate chart-reading, leading the judge to declare astrology as a "science."
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