How does one prove astrology? BY STARTING OVER. (a repost)

Another repost. Sorry, still crazy-go-nuts at work. Work will continue to be busy for quite some time, it seems. Check the original for comments from Curtis.

The undying zombie astrology thread has attracted another latecomer to the party, this time Curtis Manwaring of Astrology X-Files, an astrology software developer who put together a seemingly testable hypothesis and added it as a comment on that thread. I’m moving my response to its own post, because frankly, nobody seems to be reading any of the follow-ups that have linked to it, and would rather continue the fight there. I’m tired of the single zombie thread, which is responsible for the vast majority of my database difficulties, causing me to hack my website to absurd degrees as a result. If it keeps attracting newcomers, I’ll close it, and add a comment saying “this post is closed, please visit any of the posts linked on page 9 of the comments if you want to continue the discussion.”
The meat of Curtis’ comment appears to be a way to test astrology, or at least one aspect of it. My problem with the suggestion is the same that I’ve had with the concept of astrology as a whole — it depends on a foundation that is simply not there. It builds on hypotheses that have simply never been proven, but rather always taken for granted. For instance, the hypothesis that there is any sort of correlation between the planets’ movements and people’s individual lives. Beyond this, much of what he suggests appears to disagree with other astrologers in the thread — even if you exclude Jamie “Darkstar” Funk of Dark Star Astrology (who has since attempted to shed his association with his ridiculous arguments here by changing his name). And to make matters worse, it appears to misunderstand statistical significance, the importance of sample sizes, and the importance of controlling for variables.

This is, as all my discussions against unfalsifiable and self-perpetuating memes, a long one. Grab a coffee.

I could suggest a course of action if there is anyone so inclined (I’m too busy with software development to take this one on now). One of many problems is that much of what is said as effects is not easily nailed down in a way that can be falsified, so a scientific proof will have to address this issue. For this area, the realm of the concrete particular is more desirable than spiritual / psychological astrology to avoid subjectivity as much as possible.

I like the idea of actually attempting to avoid subjectivity in studying astrology, but I’ve noticed that rarely will you find two astrologers who agree on what particular configurations of events actually mean. None of the present day body of “knowledge” of astrology is based on any such falsification, so to be totally intellectually honest, if we were to attempt to prove any aspect of it in concrete particulars, one would literally have to start over — to scratch everything that’s purported to be true about astrology and start from scientific first principles. The problem then, when doing so, is that one will literally find that every aspect of astrology that one believes presently, turns out to be either false or unfalsifiable. What is one then left with? Is it actually called astrology then?

As to causes, even if a correlation could be proved it still would not necessarily rise to the level of efficient causation, but more along the lines of material causes (see Aristotle’s 4 causes) at best. One issue that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere here (I confess I don’t have a lot of time and haven’t read everything here), is that not all charts were said to be equally telling (chrematistikos) according to Vettius Valens (he was an astrologer from the Hellenistic era who was roughly a contemporary of Ptolemy). What Valens said is that some nativities were more “fated” than others and these charts one can more easily “read” and that some charts fall into a category that are more difficult to discern because they are less “telling” (without getting into the technicalities of how that is determined here). I just highlight this issue because these charts are the best cases in which I can imagine any sort of proof because if it is true that some charts are more readable than others, then it is also the case that these are the cases that can prove whether there is anything going on or not.

The idea that any one chart is not as “telling” as another, is encompassed but not directly referenced by the idea that no two astrologers can agree on what a chart actually means. As it is not a science, and as most astrologers employ as much art as science even in creating the charts much less interpreting them, any attempt at producing a scientifically derived canonical body of astrological knowledge would injure pretty much every astrologer’s practice in some way. Having a scientifically derived body of knowledge, though, levels the playing field. It would no longer depend on who’s doing the astrological predictions, so much as flow from scientifically proven fact when certain aspects come into play in a person’s life.

If some charts are telling and some aren’t, that lends to selection bias. If you get a hit, that chart must have been telling. If you get a miss, either the chart wasn’t telling or you did it wrong — either way, selection bias will not allow for the possibility that astrology, as a field, was wrong.

Picking a chart and simply reading it is not the way to go about doing this because there are no boundaries set for truth or falsification that can be measured and the key is measurement. Science has had a long battle distinguishing the measurement and the measured from Heisenberg to Plato…

And there are other problems regarding falsification of particular charts. Namely, each set of aspects has not been individually studied to discover actual correlations between the aspects and some particular about the person’s life who is supposedly influenced by said aspects. Scientific controls are difficult to pin down with regard to astrology; I will certainly agree with you on that. But they are not impossible. They are more possible if you start from first principles.

There are also a number of assumptions that would have to be dismissed such as life being random or completely under one’s control. It is not logical to expect everyone to suddenly wake up at 3 am in Chicago and suddenly have a craving for studying calculus for example. By this I mean that certain patterns would be expected to begin with, so a baseline of what is “random chance” would have to be established to determine the norm.

Life is not completely random, nor is it completely under one’s control, but this is because we live in a deterministic universe. Cause always precedes effect, and if we knew all the variables, we could calculate out things like how a person’s life might play out. We’d need far more variables than what planets existed — we’d need everything, from every charge state and position of every molecule, and an understanding of how every molecule might affect every other. I suspect there is no such thing as free will — that we are chemicals and our present consciousnesses are products of our upbringings, and since we were in turn brought up by people whose consciousnesses are determined by their upbringings in a direct cause-and-effect sort of way, we’re pretty much doing exactly what we would do in a perfect full-universe simulation.

That is a digression. What I’m saying is, we can throw out “completely random”, and “complete free will”, but we shouldn’t throw out “deterministic” just because you’re studying variables that have negligible actual effect on the local population. Such as the position of Pluto when a person was born. Pluto doesn’t exert any influence on us. The only two celestial bodies that exert any influence on us are the sun and the moon, without which we probably wouldn’t be here to discuss this nonsense.

Again, in studying what baseline behaviour is, and determining what falls under the realm of “influence”, you would be best served by throwing out every bit of “knowledge” about astrology so far with the exception of the ephemerides — the movements of the planets and other heavenly bodies — because those are merely the easiest and most accurate way to predict where a planet might be at a given date. Teach a group of people how to build charts, then have those people create charts for a very large number of people from a very random selection set — let’s say ten thousand people selected in such a way as to prevent any sort of race, gender, location or affluence biases. Make the charts blinded — assign each person a number. Give these charts to your statisticians to attempt to find trends. At the same time, have these people interviewed by psychologists, and a good sense of the person’s actual psychology. Then have the psychologists and the statisticians compare notes. See if there is a statistical correlation between certain configurations and certain psychologies (and we’re not talking something that could be attributed to random noise — you’d need a large number of people with a specific psychology to suggest a specific event).

Once you have some possible hits, do not add them to your scientifically derived body of astrological knowledge yet. This is how astrology likely got its first start — by picking hits and saying “this must be how to interpret the signs”, then building on it from there. Once you have those possible hits, you need to attempt to replicate, using another identically configured test with another random but fair selection of equal size. Once you have replication of certain patterns, then and only then should you start looking for (again, a large sample of) people that fall under that pattern in order to see if there is a statistically significant relationship between people who have that pattern in their charts, and the specific effects you believe you’re looking for. If you can blind this, by having the tests carried out by different sets of statisticians, chart-makers and psychologists, that would be of course best.

Let me suggest that given that a chart with angular trigon lords and with the lot of spirit in the 10th sign from fortune, that when the zodiacal releasing reaches the 10th sign from fortune (if it does so in their lifetime) that they will reach their peak effectiveness and culmination of their actions (sometimes called fame). Obviously we would have to define “famous” in some way. I have done a few case studies such as what happens with actors (such as John Travolta who reached his peak and he was known for Pulp Fiction (1994), Saturday Night Fever and Grease(1977) when in his 10th from fortune period). George W. Bush reached his peak period starting in 1998 shortly before becoming president. Hitler reached his 10th from fortune period and the next day the Nazi’s won 108 seats in congress. Einstein was also in his 10th from fortune period when reaching peak fame. With more clearly defined rules, there is more hope for falsification which also allows for real verification.

Let ME suggest that your sample size is infinitesimally small. To achieve statistical significance, you’d have to have a very large, diverse and representative sample of people that match your selected criteria (e.g. who have angular trigon lords and a lot of spirit in the tenth sign, whatever that means), who are selected in such a way that other variables (e.g. country or region of birth, family cash-on-hand, etc.) are controlled for. Find me a few thousand people spread out amongst many family backgrounds and prove to me that there is no other variable that might account for the effect you’re claiming, and show me the data that shows that this particular chart orientation is statistically significantly correlated with the particular effect you’re claiming, and you might have something.

Rather than picking some people you know to be famous, then trying to find a correlation between them, pick a configuration and see if your totally random sample shows any trends that another control sample of completely random configurations does not. Repeat the test until you’re sure you’re not seeing noise in the data. Otherwise, you could be seeing a “mars effect” — a “statistically significant” result that actually isn’t significant at all.

I recuse myself of the responsibility of actually carrying out any of these suggestions, as I would be considered a hostile entity having argued strongly against astrology in the past. My protestations that my results are untarnished by bias, would naturally go unheeded, by virtue of my actual bias against things that people believe strongly, but show none of the intellectual curiosity or rigour necessary to make an honest assessment.

I am a software engineer and have a background in classical philosophy, statistics, mathematics, astronomy and the history of science.

I appreciate the note, but can’t help but think it is secondary to your argumentation. A question comes to mind — which did you study first? Astrology, or each / all of these fields of study? How much did you know about astrology, and believe about astrology, before you studied these fields?

You’re trying to set yourself up as an authority in several fields as though it means you have vetted the philosophical, statistical, mathematic and historical aspects of your field, being as it is the precursor to astronomy. Problem is, you’re still, in my estimation, starting from the principle that there is something to astrology, you just have to find an effect or a correlation or a mechanism. Normally one has one of the three before assuming they have anything at all. In a field that’s been investigated for as many thousands of years as astrology, one would think you’d have something by now.

I have no doubt in my mind that your astrology software (which costs a pretty penny by the way) is extremely effective at calculating out charts and events and such. They are very likely extremely well coded, polished pieces of software. And they’re probably very accurate in analyzing exactly where planets are, and exactly what charts would be drawn given the data at hand. My problem is not with the generation of the pseudo-random data, because it all has the patina of science, with complicated formulas and inscrutable charting formats. My problem is with the idea that all this pseudo-random data has been shown to have ANY correlation with reality whatsoever. As far as I can tell, it has not, and will not.

To this charge, every astrologer produces a small handful of hits, usually of famous events and celebrities. No astrologer has taken it upon themselves to increase their sample size beyond that small handful, and I can understand why — it’s a lot of work to do one chart, and when you get a hit, you’ve “gotten it right”, and it’s very exciting. I need more than people getting 25% hits throughout history before I’ll believe there’s any sort of correlation. I need way bigger samples, way better controls, and blinding, before any specific configuration-to-influence seems even remotely plausible. And once we have a configuration-to-influence correlation, I’ll need some plausible mechanism. That can come last, but it CANNOT be omitted in the pursuit of the truth about this universe.

You’re making the claim that it’s true. The burden of proof is on you. Otherwise, in view of the lack of evidence ever presented, I call hogwash on the whole self-perpetuating endeavour.

Comments

  1. Ed Kohout says

    Hey LC,

    How ’bout it?

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2010/09/12/astrology-on-the-radio-and-jamie-funks-history-purge/

    “So, I see that Jamie Funk, aka Funkstar, aka Darkstar, or should we say Flunkstar and Dorkstar, has reared his silly head on some obscure Canadian blog, and not only made a fool of himself, but proved again that he has no real grasp on the vast topic of astrology.

    The Dorkstar does not speak for “astrology,” nor does he qualify as an “astrologer,” unless of course one means in that cartoonish sense, like how Paula Abdul contributes to the great history of music with her lofty seat on American Piehole — it’s a known fact in LA that Paula simply cannot sing. Her vocal tracks were processed with pitch-adjusting tools. The raw versions are simply awful.

    But, think about it, only someone as daft and unscholarly as Dorkstar would embarrass himself so much in public so often, inspiring ridicule across the “Internets” among the many real pros who have been on the cutting edge of astrology, and spent the better part of their lives devoted to the matter.

    As for Dorkstar, he finally got around to getting a computer a few years ago, and I guess took up astrology around the same time. He thinks he’s brilliant, and anyone who does not is surely a demon in disguise.

    The only thing about astrology that Jamie has proven is that anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can pretend to be an astrologer because by and large the general public has no clue what astrology entails.

    I could go on, but it’s the weekend, so I’ll spend more time on the matter if our Canadian friend permits.

    Yes, let’s DO HAVE a real debate on astrology, but this time WITH A QUALITY ASTROLOGER.”

  2. says

    You’re welcome to try, though as I’ve said in the past five or six posts, I’m a bit pressed for time at the moment so I can’t guarantee I’ll have an answer in any amount of time. It will happen eventually, but I cannot say how soon it’ll be.

    Please use this newer repost though, not the old one you’d put the original challenge in. I look forward to your showing how your bluster about being a better astrologer than Jamie Funkstar, actually translates to your having proof of any sort that astrology is anything but bunkum. When you post what you wish to say, please refer back to this original post and please make sure you’re not rehashing territory others have already gone over in that 450 comment thread. Jamie Darkfunk isn’t the only astrologer that couldn’t go the distance. I don’t like repeating old arguments, either, though for the sake of newcomers I can always go over it again.

  3. Ed Kohout says

    Thanks for the reply, I understand you are have other interests, but as they say, “I’m ready when you are.” It’s not like I need to study up or anything, so you just say the word. Bluster? It’s all about the math and the science, not the pixie dust Jamie Flunk has been snorting.

    Let me start by asking some questions of you. How do you define “astrology”? To what authorities, either theorists or practitioners, do you look?

    If you or I were asked to, as you say, “prove” that something like “psychology” “works,” would you or I be expected to defend the entire community and history of psychos, er, psychologists and their theories, or would we just discuss the latest and greatest advances of our time?

    Astrology has undergone so many evolutions that it’s hard to put a finger on what it really means, or offers.

    After all, the layman has no idea what to expect from astrology, and so s/he expects that it should cover just about everything, including every ant fart on the Isle of Man. The other is the constant referrals back to the cartoon pages of major newspapers. Such unproductive straw men are, I hope, not on the agenda.

    Maybe your question should be, “Are there any elements of astrology that are worth a crap?” My answer is “Yes, a few,” and that’s where I’m going to take you. I define “astrology” as “the study of celestial cycles and their synchrony to the nature of localized human and terrestrial behaviors, qualities and events, organized mathematically.”

    The cycles/motions of the planets in our solar system account for nearly the entire lexicon of techniques I will be offering up. Other elements, such as the “galactic center,” may pop up from time to time, but for the most part, it’s planets. (Did you know that when Carl Sagan and his team sent out the “Aricebo Message” in 1974 that the transmission was times to an exact conjunction of the Moon with the galactic center?)

    So, I hope you are not afraid of some math; from your bio you are eager to delve into the science, so I’m expecting you to be able to keep up with me.

    After we hash out your definition of “astrology,” we’re going to talk about Mars and the World Trade Center, just so none of your fans fall asleep.

    Finally, I am a flaming atheist. I find “belief” to be for the weak. You will see that this does not contradict my astrological paradigm. Again, thanks!

  4. says

    So, astronomy is true therefore astrology is true? No, it doesn’t work that way. I asked you to read this post before commenting. It’s obvious you did not, because I already concede that the math for predicting planetary positions is well-evidenced. What you haven’t done is shown how the planets’ positions have any effect on human lives.

    And if you’d have read that post, you’d know that. The only way you’ll bore my readers is by rehashing old territory or trying to prove astrology by proving astronomy.

  5. blindrobin says

    I don’t get this waste of electrons. Astrology in any form is obvious bollocks. Nattering back and forth with some twit claiming to have derived a justification for it by and sounding all ‘sciency’ about it regardless of his academic qualifications is counter productive as it affords them a degree of credibility that is wholly unwarented. A proper response is silence perhaps after sharp derision if it makes one feel better.
    As for the Ed Kohout’s suggestion of debating a “QUALITY ASTROLOGER” (emphasis by the author), being a successful grifter does not afford one any respect except perhaps in the financial services industry.

  6. Ed Kohout says

    Canuck says:

    “So, astronomy is true therefore astrology is true? No, it doesn’t work that way….”

    Uh, where did I say that “astronomy” is “true”?

    Astronomy is the study of and classification of celestial objects and phenomenon. It is neither true nor false; it is simply a body of knowledge and attendant theories.

    If you want to put text in my mouth and call it a day, then you lose.

    “I asked you to read this post before commenting. It’s obvious you did not, because I already concede that the math for predicting planetary positions is well-evidenced. What you haven’t done is shown how the planets’ positions have any effect on human lives.”

    Correct, I have not yet showed you anything but a definition, so please, sir, stop dancing in the endzone like the game is over when we have yet to kick off. You have no clue what I’m about to say, and what I did say you have absolutely no comment on. Please, Jason, what is your definition of “astrology”? I do get to ask you questions, right?

    “And if you’d have read that post, you’d know that. The only way you’ll bore my readers is by rehashing old territory or trying to prove astrology by proving astronomy.”

    Again, I said nothing, NOTHING, about astronomy, or “proving” astronomy, or “proving” anything, but the astronomy is quite obviously a given. Would you ask a doctor to “prove anatomy” to prove that he is a competent doctor? Anatomy, like astronomy, is not something to be “proven,” but a body od knowledge that stands on its own.

    Surely one needs to do the astronomy (give names to celestial bodies and track them with accurate measure) before one can even think about engaging in astrology, just like the doctor needs to know where the spleen is before he can give opinions about what might be wrong with it.

    Perhaps the problem is that you have never once attempted to learn the basics of astrology? If so, I guess I’ll have to educate you and your fans first, as I’m assuming they also have no definition for the very thing they are sure is nonsense.

    lol

    Now, can we please have a scholarly discussion?

  7. Ed Kohout says

    “blindrobin” screeded:

    “I don’t get this waste of electrons. Astrology in any form is obvious bollocks. Nattering back and forth with some twit claiming to have derived a justification for it by and sounding all ‘sciency’ about it regardless of his academic qualifications is counter productive as it affords them a degree of credibility that is wholly unwarented. A proper response is silence perhaps after sharp derision if it makes one feel better.
    As for the Ed Kohout’s suggestion of debating a “QUALITY ASTROLOGER” (emphasis by the author), being a successful grifter does not afford one any respect except perhaps in the financial services industry.”

    My only question is, where and when did you finally get your GED? I hope this question is not UNWARENTED.

  8. Stephanie Zvan says

    Is there something in the Astrologer’s Manifesto that requires its practitioners to be pretentious asses? For fuck’s sake, Ed, the post tells you what a definition of astrology would be: A deterministic effect of astronomical phenomena on human personalities or behaviors demonstrated to a reasonable statistical significance using modern statistical methods. Not hard to understand.

    Go.

  9. says

    Ed, I’ll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your mouth to my commenters. That they consider you a grifter is par for the course — you take people’s money, and you offer them an unproven guess about their future. You tell others about your hits and ignore your misses. And you ignore several direct requests to review the “story so far”, so you know where everyone is on this playing field. You’re arguing in bad faith, and you may have all the time in the world for it, but those of us who make an honest living doing actual work for their money need to ration out what nonsense they deal with. You, my friend, are engaging in that nonsense. You’ll take what time we can mete out for you, and you’ll like it.

    While you’re waiting for responses, you better damn well read that post. You’re describing astronomy. I know astronomy is real. Prove astrology. Please and thanks. Stephanie’s given you a good synopsis of what I argued in that post, which is why I keep pointing you to it.

  10. Stephanie Zvan says

    Actually, Jason, that was a summary of this post, which he’s presumably even already read, since he decided to comment on it so archly. :)

  11. Ed Kohout says

    Stephanie Zwan keyed:

    “Is there something in the Astrologer’s Manifesto that requires its practitioners to be pretentious asses? For fuck’s sake, Ed, the post tells you what a definition of astrology would be: A deterministic effect of astronomical phenomena on human personalities or behaviors demonstrated to a reasonable statistical significance using modern statistical methods. Not hard to understand. Go.”

    Hi,

    Yes, I do like to fuck, and no, this is NOT in any way a definition of astrology, working or not. “…statistical significance…” is defined how? “…deterministic…” is a weasel word borrowed from philosophy that has nothing to do with a dynamic (this word is important) astrological model.

  12. Ed Kohout says

    Grand Master Lousy MC spouted:

    “Ed, I’ll thank you to keep a civil tongue in your mouth to my commenters. That they consider you a grifter is par for the course — you take people’s money, and you offer them an unproven guess about their future. You tell others about your hits and ignore your misses. And you ignore several direct requests to review the “story so far”, so you know where everyone is on this playing field. You’re arguing in bad faith, and you may have all the time in the world for it, but those of us who make an honest living doing actual work for their money need to ration out what nonsense they deal with. You, my friend, are engaging in that nonsense. You’ll take what time we can mete out for you, and you’ll like it.”

    Hi Sunshine!

    Wow, so many assumptions have been made about me here. Perhaps you live next door to me and observe my astrological activities, following me around to every client?

    You used the word “you” 13 times above during this screed of vitriol that is in no way productive. I just got here, but you think you know everything about me! Maybe you are a psychic?

    Trust me, Canuck, you’ve never met anyone like me before, nor will you again. You know this inside, and are running scared, knowing it is only a matter of time before your ignorance is pointed up. I’m not going to go away just because you’re rude and obnoxious. Sorry. We’re going to do this, so stop spazzing. Get a sandwich and some paper.

    Your obscure definition of astrology (well, let’s face it, it wanders about in search of itself) offers nothing about CYCLES — the fundamental unit of astrological discourse since pre-antiquity. Simply matching planetary position and any ol’ event is bound fail.

    Now, dear sir, all kinds of proper “sciences” make predictions about the future that do not come true. Meteorology, for instance. Economics. Sports oddsmakers. Statistical sampling.

    And, human behavior is relative. I might be happy to see you, but what about your ex wife’s happiness upon seeing you? Same event, different outcome. Simply assuming we need some kind of statistical model that is a panacea fails to consider the relative nature of human interpretation of events.

    Human behavior also exhibits patterns, and by studying these patterns (history) one can make educated guesses about the future. History, though is not a science, but I guess astrology has to absorb this into itself and be purely scientific for this blog?

    Some of we humans who study celestial mechanics, human behavior and biology also study the courses of the bigger picture, what is called “mundane astrology.” “Mundo” is Frankish for “world.” More on that in a minute, but back to your last cheerful missive:

    “While you’re waiting for responses, you better damn well read that post. You’re describing astronomy. I know astronomy is real. Prove astrology. Please and thanks. Stephanie’s given you a good synopsis of what I argued in that post, which is why I keep pointing you to it.”

    Dude .. the fallacy of your whole argument above is that you outline an allegedly viable and testable means to study astrology — that of statistical analysis, thousands of volunteers and assumedly astrologers alongside of non-astrologers crunching the voluminous data — but by doing this you admit that such studies have simply not been undertaken in the past (with a few exceptions, the most notable being Gauquelin of France) in the same way we treat the other branches of science like medicine or finance.

    You say, “I know astronomy is real,” but you must know that the future will eventually bring us to know that what we thought we knew about the heavens was wrong. Besides, I don’t think anyone here is doubting the veracity of astronomy.

    Also, you demand: “Prove astrology.” Why not just shout, “Dance!! Dance!!” lol

    NO SIR, I will not “prove astrology,” just as you cannot “prove psychology,” or “prove chemistry,” or have a “war on terror.” I’m not here to play games. I’m here to offer my evidence.

    I will endeavor to show you, in due time, some things that will hopefully cause some excitement in your anguished Canadian world.

    Surely you remember that two major “terrorist” attacks on the World Trade Center in New York took place, one in 1993 and the other in 2001. As you may know, the attack in 2001 was on the 79th anniversary of the Palestinian Mandate of 1922.

    The ancient Chaldeans, who inherited and expounded upon the Babylonian model, took detailed measurements of the planetary movements for 300+ years, and after which were able to assign “goal-year” values to all planets. These values represented the number of years for a planet to return to the same point in the zodiac, give or take a few days. Basically, they are Sun/Mars cycles.

    Mars has a very unique cycle among the planets from the earth-centered point of view, but it indeed will return to the same part of the zodiac every 79 years.

    Back to the WTC. If we chart out the moment that Mars crosses the ecliptic in the year 2001, we find that Mars is precisely on the horizon, called the “ascendant,” at this moment.

    Now, things are about to get a bit complicated. If we chart out all the times in the 20th and early 21st Centuries that Mars reaches an “extreme value of declination,” meaning the distance north or south of the earth’s equator as projected out into space that is GREATER THAN the value of the tropics, or 23.5 degrees, we come up with this annotated list:

    Extremes of declination of Mars

    Date (UT) Dist (AU) Dec El
    ——— ——— — –
    1907 Jul 29 20:05 0.4266 -28° 53′ 55″ 151.6°
    1986 Aug 02 03:20 0.4225 -28° 42′ 56″ 152.0°
    1954 Jul 19 05:42 0.4479 -28° 22′ 15″ 149.9°
    1939 Aug 13 02:46 0.4057 -27° 23′ 23″ 154.5° << WW II
    2001 Aug 25 07:56 0.6679 -27° 01' 36" 111.1° << WTC '01
    2001 Jul 06 00:11 0.4648 -26° 51' 30" 152.1°
    2001 Jul 20 19:06 0.5063 -26° 50' 11" 136.8°
    1922 Sep 03 06:51 0.7395 -26° 46' 16" 104.6° << PM*
    2018 Aug 16 11:24 0.4028 -26° 29' 52" 155.1°
    1969 Sep 15 12:48 0.8928 -26° 15' 46" 94.0°
    1922 Jun 27 06:10 0.4613 -26° 08' 06" 158.7°
    1922 Jul 12 23:04 0.4966 -26° 06' 03" 141.3°
    2016 Sep 23 13:02 1.0238 -25° 54' 37" 86.6°
    1937 Sep 27 00:06 1.0671 -25° 49' 34" 84.3°
    1984 Oct 02 20:56 1.1846 -25° 35' 28" 78.5°
    1905 Oct 05 20:11 1.2248 -25° 31' 46" 76.6°
    1952 Oct 10 15:47 1.3333 -25° 21' 27" 71.6°
    1999 Oct 16 00:07 1.4364 -25° 12' 26" 67.1°
    1920 Oct 17 14:09 1.4718 -25° 10' 26" 65.4°
    1967 Oct 22 11:35 1.5677 -25° 03' 36" 61.2°
    2014 Oct 26 03:13 1.6589 -24° 57' 05" 57.2°
    1935 Oct 28 12:12 1.6903 -24° 56' 10" 55.7°
    1982 Oct 31 22:54 1.7754 -24° 50' 47" 51.8°
    1903 Nov 03 06:32 1.8041 -24° 49' 50" 50.4°
    1950 Nov 06 12:42 1.8824 -24° 45' 30" 46.7°
    1997 Nov 09 16:08 1.9558 -24° 40' 56" 43.1°
    1918 Nov 11 21:21 1.9801 -24° 40' 36" 41.7°
    1965 Nov 14 22:25 2.0469 -24° 36' 53" 38.1°
    1933 Nov 20 02:29 2.1294 -24° 33' 09" 33.3°
    2012 Nov 17 21:19 2.1090 -24° 33' 07" 34.7°
    1980 Nov 23 00:15 2.1844 -24° 29' 36" 29.9°
    1901 Nov 25 03:49 2.2013 -24° 29' 33" 28.6°
    1948 Nov 28 00:09 2.2495 -24° 26' 42" 25.2°
    1916 Dec 02 22:38 2.3050 -24° 23' 45" 20.5°
    1995 Dec 01 19:10 2.2924 -24° 23' 27" 21.8°
    1963 Dec 06 17:23 2.3408 -24° 20' 50" 17.2°
    1931 Dec 11 14:35 2.3786 -24° 18' 30" 12.6°
    2010 Dec 09 10:50 2.3715 -24° 18' 08" 13.9°
    1899 Dec 15 10:44 2.4065 -24° 15' 58" 8.0°
    1978 Dec 14 07:41 2.4019 -24° 15' 33" 9.3°
    1946 Dec 19 03:54 2.4226 -24° 13' 29" 4.7°
    1914 Dec 23 23:40 2.4325 -24° 11' 25" 0.7°
    1993 Dec 21 20:09 2.4334 -24° 10' 50" 1.6°
    1961 Dec 26 16:15 2.4359 -24° 08' 42" 3.3°
    1929 Dec 31 12:13 2.4282 -24° 06' 55" 7.8°
    2008 Dec 29 08:25 2.4343 -24° 06' 28" 6.5°
    1977 Jan 03 04:44 2.4193 -24° 04' 14" 11.1°
    1945 Jan 08 02:38 2.3940 -24° 02' 23" 15.8°
    1913 Jan 13 00:08 2.3585 -24° 00' 40" 20.4°
    1992 Jan 11 19:34 2.3728 -24° 00' 02" 19.1°
    1960 Jan 16 18:16 2.3303 -23° 57' 58" 23.8°
    1969 Jun 02 20:36 0.4829 -23° 57' 21" 176.4°
    1928 Jan 21 19:11 2.2777 -23° 56' 16" 28.5°
    2007 Jan 19 13:04 2.2973 -23° 55' 50" 27.1°
    1975 Jan 24 15:07 2.2376 -23° 53' 43" 31.9°
    1943 Jan 29 19:42 2.1676 -23° 51' 44" 36.8°
    1911 Feb 04 03:07 2.0885 -23° 50' 04" 41.9°
    1990 Feb 01 18:22 2.1162 -23° 49' 27" 40.3°
    1958 Feb 07 04:48 2.0301 -23° 47' 18" 45.5°
    1926 Feb 12 20:22 1.9337 -23° 45' 25" 50.8°
    2005 Feb 10 09:08 1.9668 -23° 44' 58" 49.2°
    1973 Feb 16 04:22 1.8637 -23° 42' 53" 54.6°
    1969 Jul 01 12:26 0.5165 -23° 42' 33" 142.4°
    1941 Feb 22 07:34 1.7506 -23° 40' 45" 60.3°
    1909 Feb 28 23:19 1.6255 -23° 39' 09" 66.5°
    1988 Feb 27 03:05 1.6681 -23° 38' 26" 64.6°
    1956 Mar 05 05:20 1.5348 -23° 36' 33" 71.1°
    1939 Apr 01 20:34 1.0805 -23° 36' 05" 94.9°
    1924 Mar 13 06:38 1.3876 -23° 35' 19" 78.3°
    2003 Mar 10 23:26 1.4367 -23° 34' 20" 76.1°
    1971 Mar 20 03:11 1.2765 -23° 33' 55" 84.2°
    2018 Mar 27 14:59 1.1488 -23° 33' 10" 91.3°

    1945 Sep 16 04:37 1.3156 +23° 30′ 27″ 78.1°
    1913 Sep 27 16:42 1.1393 +23° 30′ 51″ 87.6°
    1977 Sep 07 16:40 1.4677 +23° 31′ 55″ 70.8°
    2009 Aug 31 10:40 1.6064 +23° 34′ 21″ 64.6°
    1930 Sep 03 11:53 1.5676 +23° 35′ 23″ 66.5°
    1962 Aug 27 18:11 1.6990 +23° 37′ 24″ 60.6°
    1994 Aug 21 12:48 1.8202 +23° 39′ 40″ 55.2°
    1915 Aug 24 07:09 1.7867 +23° 40′ 42″ 56.9°
    1947 Aug 18 08:17 1.9016 +23° 42′ 53″ 51.6°
    1979 Aug 12 15:38 2.0084 +23° 44′ 51″ 46.6°
    1900 Aug 14 06:13 1.9789 +23° 45′ 39″ 48.2°
    1944 Jan 10 01:29 0.7098 +23° 46′ 39″ 136.1°
    2011 Aug 07 04:43 2.1053 +23° 47′ 04″ 41.8°
    1932 Aug 08 17:14 2.0794 +23° 47′ 58″ 43.3°
    1964 Aug 03 09:38 2.1702 +23° 49′ 51″ 38.6°
    2010 Feb 27 14:28 0.7647 +23° 50′ 02″ 142.0°
    1996 Jul 29 04:25 2.2524 +23° 51′ 41″ 34.0°
    1917 Jul 31 15:40 2.2306 +23° 52′ 30″ 35.5°
    1949 Jul 26 12:23 2.3068 +23° 54′ 34″ 31.0°
    1981 Jul 21 10:50 2.3739 +23° 56′ 16″ 26.5°
    1902 Jul 23 21:00 2.3568 +23° 56′ 49″ 27.9°
    2013 Jul 16 11:16 2.4317 +23° 58′ 06″ 22.1°
    1934 Jul 18 20:28 2.4175 +23° 58′ 55″ 23.5°
    1966 Jul 13 22:20 2.4691 +24° 00′ 46″ 19.2°
    1998 Jul 09 00:26 2.5113 +24° 02′ 24″ 14.9°
    1919 Jul 11 09:44 2.5020 +24° 03′ 00″ 16.2°
    1951 Jul 06 12:30 2.5378 +24° 05′ 04″ 11.9°
    1983 Jul 01 16:21 2.5640 +24° 06′ 49″ 7.7°
    1904 Jul 03 01:08 2.5599 +24° 07′ 08″ 9.0°
    2015 Jun 26 19:41 2.5812 +24° 08′ 35″ 3.5°
    1936 Jun 28 04:43 2.5797 +24° 09′ 09″ 4.8°
    1968 Jun 23 08:24 2.5905 +24° 11′ 16″ 0.8°
    2000 Jun 18 12:43 2.5913 +24° 13′ 02″ 3.9°
    1921 Jun 20 21:36 2.5951 +24° 13′ 20″ 2.6°
    1953 Jun 16 01:26 2.5897 +24° 15′ 35″ 6.7°
    1985 Jun 11 05:01 2.5749 +24° 17′ 45″ 11.0°
    1906 Jun 13 14:33 2.5837 +24° 17′ 49″ 9.6°
    2017 Jun 06 07:04 2.5504 +24° 19′ 47″ 15.3°
    1938 Jun 08 16:58 2.5625 +24° 20′ 02″ 13.9°
    1970 Jun 03 18:37 2.5317 +24° 22′ 37″ 18.3°
    1923 Jun 01 06:06 2.5087 +24° 24′ 54″ 21.2°
    2002 May 29 19:46 2.4918 +24° 25′ 00″ 22.7°
    1943 Nov 30 17:13 0.5399 +24° 25′ 39″ 172.7°
    1955 May 27 05:37 2.4626 +24° 27′ 39″ 25.6°
    1931 Feb 25 00:59 0.7606 +24° 28′ 17″ 142.6°
    1908 May 23 15:33 2.4292 +24° 30′ 26″ 28.6°
    1987 May 22 03:35 2.4068 +24° 30′ 40″ 30.1°
    1940 May 18 11:28 2.3671 +24° 33′ 18″ 33.2°
    2019 May 16 22:47 2.3415 +24° 33′ 35″ 34.8°
    1972 May 13 04:26 2.2955 +24° 36′ 50″ 37.9°
    1925 May 10 09:21 2.2454 +24° 39′ 56″ 41.1°
    2004 May 07 18:04 2.2147 +24° 40′ 36″ 42.8°
    1957 May 04 19:21 2.1580 +24° 43′ 56″ 46.1°
    1910 May 01 18:45 2.0972 +24° 47′ 53″ 49.5°
    1989 Apr 29 00:53 2.0612 +24° 48′ 43″ 51.2°
    1942 Apr 25 19:12 1.9937 +24° 52′ 38″ 54.8°
    1974 Apr 19 08:56 1.8788 +24° 58′ 39″ 60.5°
    1927 Apr 15 14:46 1.7988 +25° 03′ 56″ 64.5°
    2006 Apr 12 09:19 1.7518 +25° 05′ 54″ 66.7°
    1959 Apr 08 01:46 1.6622 +25° 11′ 53″ 71.2°
    1912 Apr 02 05:43 1.5653 +25° 19′ 24″ 76.1°
    1991 Mar 30 07:38 1.5084 +25° 22′ 25″ 78.9°
    1978 Feb 18 00:57 0.7485 +25° 26′ 44″ 144.0°
    1944 Mar 23 00:43 1.3940 +25° 31′ 42″ 85.1°
    1976 Jan 29 20:39 0.8140 +25° 36′ 48″ 126.1°
    1976 Mar 07 07:29 1.1653 +25° 50′ 28″ 98.5°
    1975 Dec 20 10:32 0.5790 +26° 04′ 08″ 172.6°
    1946 Feb 07 15:11 0.7250 +26° 35′ 04″ 146.9°
    1929 Jan 01 01:59 0.6137 +26° 47′ 16″ 165.0°
    2008 Jan 07 04:29 0.6282 +26° 58′ 59″ 161.2°
    1993 Jan 30 09:08 0.7029 +27° 01′ 17″ 149.6° << WTC '93
    1914 Jan 26 17:53 0.6920 +27° 11' 04" 151.4° << WW I
    1961 Jan 17 01:13 0.6622 +27° 13' 29" 155.7° << JFK inauguration

    In other words, the two most extreme Mars events after 1986 preceded the WTC attacks by less than one month. 1993 and 2001 are nearly perfectly "contraparallel," meaning the same distance away from the equator in the opposite direction.

    Both World Wars show up here, though surely that's just a fluke, kinda like that "New Pearl Harbor" meme.

    The "Great Depression" that took off in 1929 was 79 years before the "Great Recession" of 2008. Both years were also extreme declinations of Mars. The bottom of the Depression was 1933; 2012 is looking like it may be the bottom of this current economic trouble. We'll see.

    Yes, some of these years seem to strike a dumb note. What happened in 1907 that was so momentous? Not much, I guess, but there was a bank panic that year touched off by collusion.

    1986 and 1954? I don't remember much going on.

  13. Ed Kohout says

    Correction:

    I said, “These values represented the number of years for a planet to return to the same point in the zodiac, give or take a few days. Basically, they are Sun/Mars cycles.”

    The last sentence should read, “Basically, they are Sun/XX cycles: Sun/Mercury, Sun/Venus, Sun/Mars, Sun/Jupiter, Sun/Saturn.

  14. says

    I’m guessing you’re using the exact same software Curtis Manwaring uses. Has your statistical analysis of declinations of Mars actually predicted any of these things? Why are good things correlated as well as bad things? And exactly how large of a window are you allowing on either side of a prediction? Why aren’t these human events correlated to the day?

    Have you considered, also, that perhaps all of these events are just coincidences? Large, important, world-shaking events happen somewhere on the planet every damned day. If you pick any specific astronomical formation, conjunction, et cetera, and you dredge through historical records, I’m sure you’ll find something important and monumental on every single one of them. That doesn’t mean Mars is doing it.

    Especially not since there are equivalently important, world-shaking events happening that your chart does not predict. Like, say, the Challenger explosion in August of 1986. Go to Wikipedia. Pick a year. Since there’s an extreme declination of Mars in every single year you’ve shown me (do Ctrl-F, and search that comment for a year, any year — it’s there!), that must mean there’s a periodicity to these “extreme declinations” that’s at least annual. The January 1986 declination therefore does not count — it was eight months removed from the Challenger explosion, and the next declination in your list is May 1987.

    But don’t worry. Since you’ve given us a list of dates as generated by your software for the specific configuration you’re most interested in trying to use to prove there’s something to astrology, all you have to do now is go to Wikipedia (like, say, for 1954), look at the list of historical events during that year, and pick the events that correlate most closely with those dates. For instance, July 21st 1954 marks the First Indochina War. If you search the 1954 page for the word “war”, you’ll find that that wasn’t the only war happening on the planet. Statistically, you’re bound to find SOMETHING at each one of these dates, especially if you get to expand the window by a bloody month on either side. Once you’ve done that, you have a list of hits! It doesn’t matter that some are good things, some are bad things, and some are neutral but noteworthy things. Since there’s a correlation, it MUST be a causation! Right? RIGHT?

    Also, stop being an absolutely insufferable prick, please and thanks. I said “you” because I’m talking to you. You’ve shown me and my other commenters nothing but bombast and a complete misunderstanding of how statistics work.

  15. Erin says

    Sorry to interrupt the mudslinging – which I’m sure there’s plenty of, though I just haven’t bothered to read the whole thing to confirm that yet (sorry Jason) – but I wanted to mention how funny it was to me that the random ad at the top of the post just happened to be a numerology ad. Of course, this does not at all means that Jason supports numerology.

    Now, about 15 years ago, I worked in a bookstore and got a nice little discount on already discounted books. As a result, I picked up a bunch of books on stuff that I wanted to know more about but would never pay regular price for. Among them were numerology books, dream dictionaries and astrology books. Here’s the thing: every single prediction for me was wrong…not just close but a little off, not just slightly wrong but completely flat out wrong. The numerology? Fascinating but wrong. The dream dictionaries? They don’t know me and therefore don’t know the influences on me that are causing me to dream what I do.

    As far as predictions go, there’s an economist that’s hit every recession/depression since he started predicting (no one believed me about the 2009/2010 one). He didn’t do it by looking at the stars, he did it by studying history and monitoring the cycles that lead to a recession. The same goes for war. You can study history and the signs that lead up to a war or decline of an empire and predict it (sometimes with some accuracy).

    As for looking at where all the stars and planets are in reference to each other and deciding that something bad (or good) must have happened near a specific day in the past? Silly. Sure, you can look back and make a correlation but that’s nothing useful at all. For predictions, the best you can do is say, “Something bad is going to happen around this day.” That’s really helpful. I’m a parent, I can wake up every day and say, “Something bad is going to happen today,” and I’d probably be right. Heck, yesterday, the oldest one left a sweater at school and neglected to eat his lunch. Funny thing is, I predicted that he’d behave just the same this school year as he did last year (so far he’s holding true). I didn’t need the stars to tell me that nor does it make me psychic…it makes me experienced.

  16. says

    Yeah, Erin — the new ad company is actually better at context, so you won’t see “buy gold” or “Christian prayer meetings” ads willy-nilly. Granted, it’s unlikely anyone but Ed is going to click on and buy things from those places, but hey. The ads are the price of my getting this space for free.

  17. Ed Kohout says

    Hi!

    I just realized I can use HTML markup tags here, so I’ll give quotes as italicized text.

    Herr Canuck schrieb:

    I’m guessing you’re using the exact same software Curtis Manwaring uses.

    No. Your assumptive streak knows no end, with both astrology and Ed Kohout. This is your Achilles Heel, and it is revealing of how you go about investigations — highly unscientifically.

    “Has your statistical analysis of declinations of Mars actually predicted any of these things?

    The failure of astrology as a whole when it comes to the 9/11 event is a giant pock. But, as it turns out, we were all dealing with a lack of sufficient data to make such a call. Conspiracies are difficult to detect; we don’t know who the players are, or what their birth data is, when they meet, etc. Astrology by its very nature requires copious amounts of data.

    For instance, my lovely girlfriend and her son (the youngest, he is now 11) often fight and bicker with each other, something that is not on display with her other three children, two of whom are male.

    When I finally got around to doing their charts, I found that they had this reciprocal situation with Sun and Mars — his Mars is on her Sun, and her Mars is on his Sun. We have a situation where aggression and ego are being played out overtly, just as we would expect from the classic astrological understanding of Mars and Sun.

    Now, given that you have claimed an extensive knowledge of astronomy, what do you think are the odds that such a situation with Sun and Mars would be possible between a mother/son pairing? Could we scour the globe in search of this very same situation, finding thousands of mom/son’s who have this configuration? Highly doubtful. But, we do know the elements, and even though they are arranged uniquely, we can still decipher the situation astrologically, and, by golly, offer up a benefit to the person you think is a sucker.

    I say that there is simply no way to go about this statistically, but if we understand the correlative nature of planets and human behavior which are, in this case, quite fundamental in the lexicon of astrology, the situation is easily diagnosed and a REMEDY can be offered. My remedy was for these two to go out and exercise together and build things together, so that the more productive side of this strong Mars energy can be channelled proactively.

    Why are good things correlated as well as bad things? And exactly how large of a window are you allowing on either side of a prediction? Why aren’t these human events correlated to the day?

    When the doctor tells you you have six months to live, he doesn’t say, “six months, three days, four hours and 15 minutes.” That you put such stringent “to the day” requirements on astrology is an unfair expectation.

    Notions of “good things” and “bad things” are, again, unhelpful. 9/11 was a boon for some people, whilst tragic for others. Mars likes to fight, and sometimes this can be a “good” thing. Just ask George Foreman. But, no doubt, a big ruckus began and the meat grinders got cranked up in the aftermath. Millions died, tens of millions were dislocated, perhaps a hundred million will suffer from the wake of 20 years of DU poisoning.

    One of your fan club claimed that there was really no benefit to studying 9/11 from a historical perspective!! lol

    People in general expect far too much from astrologers. They want us to either prove how the world works in 15 minutes or less. If we can’t, we’re all charlatans. No other discipline in the world gets this kind of presumptive treatment, impeding serious progress in the right direction.

    Have you considered, also, that perhaps all of these events are just coincidences?

    Yes. Have you considered the concept of “synchrony”?

    Large, important, world-shaking events happen somewhere on the planet every damned day.

    Really!! Well, we know the day you were born qualifies! ;-)

    If you pick any specific astronomical formation, conjunction, et cetera, and you dredge through historical records, I’m sure you’ll find something important and monumental on every single one of them. That doesn’t mean Mars is doing it.

    I FOUND TWO WORLD WARS AND TWO WTC ATTACKS AND TWO ECONOMIC DEPRESSIONS. That is not good enough for you????

    …Especially not since there are equivalently important, world-shaking events happening that your chart does not predict. Like, say, the Challenger explosion in August of 1986.

    The Challenger event was an accident, not an act of extreme aggression.

    Can we please compare apples to apples?

    Go to Wikipedia. Pick a year. Since there’s an extreme declination of Mars in every single year you’ve shown me (do Ctrl-F, and search that comment for a year, any year — it’s there!), that must mean there’s a periodicity to these “extreme declinations” that’s at least annual. The January 1986 declination therefore does not count — it was eight months removed from the Challenger explosion, and the next declination in your list is May 1987.

    But don’t worry. Since you’ve given us a list of dates as generated by your software for the specific configuration you’re most interested in trying to use to prove there’s something to astrology, all you have to do now is go to Wikipedia (like, say, for 1954), look at the list of historical events during that year, and pick the events that correlate most closely with those dates. For instance, July 21st 1954 marks the First Indochina War. If you search the 1954 page for the word “war”, you’ll find that that wasn’t the only war happening on the planet. Statistically, you’re bound to find SOMETHING at each one of these dates, especially if you get to expand the window by a bloody month on either side. Once you’ve done that, you have a list of hits! It doesn’t matter that some are good things, some are bad things, and some are neutral but noteworthy things. Since there’s a correlation, it MUST be a causation! Right? RIGHT?

    NO, NO! One-offs prove nothing. WE ARE STUDYING CYCLES — REPETITION, PATTERNS, WHAT-GOES-AROUND-COMES-AROUND, etc.

    I’m a real historian, and we don’t “consult Wikipedia.”

    Yes, in 1954, the Vietnam business got ramped up. Yes, in 1986, Reagan’s team of right-wing fascists got caught making deals with “the terrorists.”

    That you think you need to go fill in all these gaps in the cycle is, again, telling of your misappropriation of astrological techniques. The data I gave you is hardly the end of the astrological story, but it is a start, and it does warrant, at the very least, more study.

    There were over 220 Mars “standstills” in the time period I listed above. If we take just the top ten of those events, two happened right before WTC attacks, two before major world wars, and two before economic warfare was unleashed on the citizenry.

    This is the problem, sir — you do not understand the practice of astrology as you have never attempted it. Trust me, every time you “assume” you are NOT making an ass of me, just u.

    Also, stop being an absolutely insufferable prick, please and thanks. I said “you” because I’m talking to you. You’ve shown me and my other commenters nothing but bombast and a complete misunderstanding of how statistics work.

    I’ll cop to being an asshole, but not to being ignorant about statistics. On the contrary, it is you who keeps showing an ignorance about statistical analysis, as you keep repeating this meme that statistics are the magical panacea to astrological mysterium.

    NO, sir, nothing could be further from the truth, and no amount of statistical analysis will ever be VALID for reasons I have already outlined — myopia, projection, “good/bad” silliness, and lineal math will e’er work against us in a 3-D world where spheres are the basic shape.

  18. Ed Kohout says

    Erin wrote:

    … As for looking at where all the stars and planets are in reference to each other and deciding that something bad (or good) must have happened near a specific day in the past? Silly. Sure, you can look back and make a correlation but that’s nothing useful at all. For predictions, the best you can do is say, “Something bad is going to happen around this day.” That’s really helpful.

    Hi,

    I’m not even going to entertain the anecdotal meanderings of your post that take us absolutely nowhere, but this paragraph caught my attention.

    We don’t “look at where all the stars and planets are…”

    We look at planets, as they are the ones who offer up cycles in our dynamic solar system.

    So, trying to understand how to predict and hopefully prevent the next 9/11 is “silly”?? Avoiding danger is, to you, worthy of a sarcastic, “really helpful”?

    I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that 50,000 people wish they had some advance warning of “something bad is going to happen” at about 8 AM in NYC on 9/11/2001.

    BUT, Erin thinks that this kind of stuff happens every day, and thus there is no need to think about it! lol (Are all Canadians this shallow?)

    Again, this presumptive and prejudiced view of astrology is standing in the way of progressive thinking.

    And, I hope you are prepared to list the many non-astrologers who predicted 9/11. Surely the Department of Defense pays a whole slew of people big bucks to figure out what the enemy might be up to. How could they have been so wrong?

    (I know you can’t, by the way, just as the name of that brilliant economist has slipped your otherwise agile mind.)

  19. Ed Kohout says

    Granted, it’s unlikely anyone but Ed is going to click on and buy things from those places, but hey. The ads are the price of my getting this space for free.

    Oh, the laughter can be heard echoing across the Canadian Rockies!

    Well, ya get whatcha pay for.

    Jason, are you indigent? I’d love to see your birth chart. Maybe we can find out why you have no girlfriends (or boyfriends?) and what you can do about it.

  20. says

    So, trying to understand how to predict and hopefully prevent the next 9/11 is “silly”?? Avoiding danger is, to you, worthy of a sarcastic, “really helpful”?

    I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that 50,000 people wish they had some advance warning of “something bad is going to happen” at about 8 AM in NYC on 9/11/2001.

    Let’s see what that would look like: “Hi, folks. Something big will happen on August 25, something to do with some kind of aggression. Well, sometime within a couple of weeks of August 25. And it will happen…somewhere in the world. But it’ll be big. You should stop it.”

    Yeah, this helps prevent anything how?

    No, Ed, you don’t understand statistical significance. Take this Mars thing. Define the periods in which you think the effect should apply. Define the events that you believe are more likely during these periods. Count all of these events, inside and outside your periods of influence for a predetermined time period. Determine the frequency of the events under both situations. Compare the frequencies and determine how likely you are to get those results by chance. Repeat, preferrably, for a different time period.

    This isn’t rocket science. It is work, however, and work that you don’t appear to want to do despite strutting around like a puffed up rooster and claiming you have all the proof anyone should need.

    Also, I’m pretty damned sure Jason needs no help with his love life, no matter how much insinuating that he does is also required by the Astrologer Manifesto.

  21. says

    “Got ramped up” counts as a correlation? So when a war takes several months to “get ramped up”, and the Mars declination thing has a periodicity of roughly annually, and you get to pin the start of something to “within a few months” because your influence is not terribly accurate, what (exactly) are you able to predict about anything? Especially when there are lots of actions of aggression in the history books that don’t correlate with any of those points?

    Additionally, how does an economic depression count as an aggressive act?

    What Stephanie said. You don’t know jack about statistics.

    And what Erin said, times two: “For predictions, the best you can do is say, “Something bad is going to happen around this day.” That’s really helpful. I’m a parent, I can wake up every day and say, “Something bad is going to happen today,” and I’d probably be right.”

    If you can make a correct prediction that something is going to happen that’s noteworthy every single day of the year, saying “something will happen in or around this day” is a completely content-free assertion.

  22. Ed Kohout says

    Stephanie asserts:

    Let’s see what that would look like: “Hi, folks. Something big will happen on August 25, something to do with some kind of aggression. Well, sometime within a couple of weeks of August 25. And it will happen…somewhere in the world. But it’ll be big. You should stop it.”

    Yeah, this helps prevent anything how?

    What straw-man nonsense!

    If I, as an astrologer, were studying the first WTC bombing, and I knew that it happened less than one lunar cycle (the shortest cycle in the system excepting the “day”) after an extreme Mars standstill, I could easily give this tentative warning: “The period from August 25 through September 22 is a window of opportunity for an attack on the World Trade Center.”

    Every employee at the WTC was well aware that the complex was targeted for terrorism only 8 years earlier. There were military practice drills going on that used the very scenario that ended up happening on 9/11 as pretexts.

    Was it not you who included “deterministic” in your definition of astrology? Is not the owner of this free blog himself a champion of the Hume school of “there is no free will, all actions are based on previous actions”? Look at these values:

    1993 Jan 30 — +27° 01′ 17″ << WTC '93
    2001 Aug 25 — -27° 01' 36" << WTC '01

    These are the two MOST EXTREME standstills of Mars that happened during the duration of the existence of the World Trade Center.

    You continued:

    No, Ed, you don’t understand statistical significance.

    Oh, please! I have NOT OFFERED A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS. I have said repeatedly that I will not be doing such as it offers no help for astrological work.

    I have offered up an ephemeris and selected correlative events of note. This is what astrologers (hopefully) do.

    If my client wants to, let’s say, avoid getting in another car accident, and I see a spacial/temporal pattern in the astrology of the client’s life and times, I would say something. Klutziness is an easy one to see in a natal chart, almost as easy as sexual deviancy.

    … Take this Mars thing. Define…

    1) the periods in which you think the effect should apply.
    2) the events that you believe are more likely during these periods.

    Mars has been associated with war since time immemorial. Extreme values for Mars should equate with extreme acts of war no matter what time period we are looking at, no?

    Count all of these events, inside and outside your periods of influence for a predetermined time period. Determine the frequency of the events under both situations. Compare the frequencies and determine how likely you are to get those results by chance. Repeat, preferrably, for a different time period.

    This kind of statistical analysis simply cannot be done in astrology, as I have repeatedly said in this thread. Where and when can we possibly compare WTC events to in our world? What if Sparticus had a Piper Cub? (What if Jane Curtain only uses blinds as window treatments?)

    The point is that we can’t create a control group for planetary cycles. They are what they are, and they have the math that they have.

    This isn’t rocket science. It is work, however, and work that you don’t appear to want to do despite strutting around like a puffed up rooster and claiming you have all the proof anyone should need.

    Ah, so it is more about me personally than anything else.

    Well, darlin’, there are lies, damn lies, and then your myopic and pertinacious dogma that only statistics are the key to astrological veracity.

    No, no, no, no, no! An ephemeris is not a statistical data set! It is a timeline.

    Also, I’m pretty damned sure Jason needs no help with his love life, no matter how much insinuating that he does is also required by the Astrologer Manifesto.

    Aww, coming to helpless Jason’s defense! How nice of you!

  23. says

    Ed, this sort of statistical analysis is simply a tool for determining whether something makes a difference. That whole “can’t be measured or proven that way” is just a long-winded, self-important, gratuitously insulting way of saying that your astrological “influences” make no measurable difference. I appreciate your honesty in this regard. I just don’t understand why you seem so proud to be practicing a useless profession.

    But yes, I’m sure Jason was helpless after reading your comment–with laughter. His wife is probably giggling about it too.

  24. Ed Kohout says

    Jason retorted:

    “Got ramped up” counts as a correlation? So when a war takes several months to “get ramped up”, and the Mars declination thing has a periodicity of roughly annually, and you get to pin the start of something to “within a few months” because your influence is not terribly accurate, what (exactly) are you able to predict about anything? Especially when there are lots of actions of aggression in the history books that don’t correlate with any of those points?

    Sir, I offered up NOT ONLY the Mars declination table, but also the other Mars-related events prior to 9/11 (which you continue to ignore) such as the mundane chart for Mars crossing the ecliptic (a technique astrologers have been using for centuries) that does indeed highlight New York City.

    Other techniques can be used to pinpoint the timing of events to greater accuracy, but this all depends on having the proper data available to the astrologer, etc.

    And, then, you want me to test the theory, which is quite understandable, but we might have to wait a while for the next repeat of this parameter of this particular Mars cycle.

    Maybe you think I need to predict the events of each and every day and post them online to “prove astrology”? Preposterous!

    Then again, we may be able to see something within the next year or so. Remembering that Mars has a 79-year synod with Earth/Sun, we look back to March 3, 1933, the last day of the Hoover Administration, and an important time in solidification of the Nazionale party in Germany. This was a day when Earth was closest to Mars for that one cycle.

    (you may recall that in August of 2003 the Earth made its closest pass to Mars in recorded human history, and the latest “war without end” efforts of the Empire were well underway.)

    79 years prior, in 1854, on February 28, the Earth and Mars were notching up another close pass, which happens to be the very day that the modern Republican Party hatched itself in Ripon, Wisconsin. Remember, the Republicans were staunchly behind Hitler up until December of 1941.

    Now, if we list all of the Mars-closest-to-Earth moments for the 300 year period between 1800 and 2100, we find that the 1854 and 1933 close passes rank at the bottom of the list in terms of measured distance — 0.6746 astronomical units — compared to 0.3727 AU for the 2003 close pass. Mars has a very eccentric orbit.

    The next in this 79-year cycle is March 5, 2012. I think it’s safe to say that a similar political development will take place then, and that it will not be violent.

    Additionally, how does an economic depression count as an aggressive act?

    Two words: Goldman, Sachs. 1929 and 2008 were contrived economic disasters emanating from Wall Street parasites.

    What Stephanie said. You don’t know jack about statistics.

    Stephanie doesn’t even know when I am using statistics and when I am not using them, and then goes on propping up straw-men.

    It’s quite funny how you all live in these fantasy zones where your emotions are your reality and the nuts and bolts are easily ignored.

    Below you again fudge the math and pretend that WTC attacks and World Wars start every day of the year??

    It’s like I’m talking with high schoolers. ONE MORE TIME, JASON:

    Two of the three most extreme Mars standstills since the WTC was designed ~1960 preceded a WTC terrorist event by less than a month. The number of months from 1960 to 2001 is over 500.

    If this kind of accuracy is not of note to you, then perhaps you are just kinda stupid??

    Look, kids, just because your high school science teacher told you that astrology is bunk doesn’t mean he has a clue about what astrology actually is or does.

    Smart people don’t get into arguments over things they are ignorant about. You all have no idea about how to “do astrology,” and it’s quite pitiable.

  25. says

    “Well underway”? Really? Now all you have to do is to HAVE a war active at the same time as some particularly rare confluence and it counts as a hit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_military_conflicts

    I don’t care how you build your pseudo-random number generator to pull “fortune cookie fortunes” out of the dataset that involves actual real astronomy (e.g. ephemerides), I care how you plan on using it to actually predict things with any level of specificity. All you can do is post-dict. You can’t even tell how this is all supposed to work, how the celestial bodies have any sort of actual discernible influence on our lives.

    Not to mention the fact that you’re using a statistical analysis method to prove there’s something to what you’re saying. You’re saying, “look at these hits, and how closely correlated they are to specific events that fit within what we expect to see with Mars doing what it’s doing”. Only you’re doing statistics wrong.
    It’s like we’re talking with a kindergartener here. To do it right, you have to look at all the times Mars did that same thing and nothing special happened. Or, say, the end of a war, or some other important event in human history. Or, you could take every single war that’s ever happened, and you could statistically figure out how many of them were within two weeks of one of these Mars events and what percentage of them weren’t.
    Or you could figure out whether having one of these Mars events actually made some kind of statistically significant bump in how many wars there were.

    All you have, in other words, is bluster and dickery. And a fundamental misunderstanding of statistics. But keep blustering, and keep calling us names. It’s amusing to no end.

  26. says

    Also, you’re no historian. Mars is associated with aggression and war because once upon a time, the Greeks borrowed the Babylonian concept of astrology, where the five known planets were named after their five Gods because they thought those planets were actually that physical god’s body, with the sun being a separate entity controlled by this god. The fact that Mars was called Mars is entirely because it was red, and thus they figured an appropriate choice for the fiery sun god. The Greeks replaced all the gods with their own when they nicked the whole practice. So Nergal, the Sun God and god of war and pestilence, was replaced with Ares, their own war god. When the Greeks were assimilated into the Roman empire, Ares was renamed Mars.

    That’s it. It’s not “since time immemorial.” Only “since a bunch of humans thought that planet was actually a representation of their war god”.

    To the rest of us, Mars is a cold, desolate ball of rust.

  27. Freebird says

    Ed,

    You’ve taken the Mars declination angle and correlated it with past events, noting where they match up. Since we know (with great detail) when the next extremes of that angle will occur, why don’t you offer a prediction as to when the next terrorist attack, or act of aggression, or fill-in-the-blank event will occur?

    I’m going to echo Stephanie’s comment and say that you can’t offer any such prediction reliably, because it will essentially look like “something major, either bad or good, is going to happen somewhere in the world, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks from a future date.”

    So again, offer a prediction, based on the next extreme angle of declination, to prove your worth as an astrologer.

  28. says

    You know…all this astrology stuff got me thinking. If inanimate objects like planets that are millions of miles away can have an affect on how people behave, can how people behave have an affect on inanimate objects? So I did some digging in past data. Did you know that every time the death rate goes up in Chicago there’s a heat wave? If we can cure death, I think we have a chance at beating global warming!

  29. fastlane says

    I’m curious if Ed would take some challenges/questions.

    What do you think your software/astrology can actually predict that might be useful to someone? How specific of a claim are you willing to make? For instance, Lottery numbers, who will win the next superbowl, something like that? Or even something a little bit more vague, like how/when I will leave my current job, or when my house will be sold when I do?

    In other words, is there really anything practical that you think astrology can contribute? Something equivalent to a basic scientific prediction would be nice. For instance, evolutionary theory tells us that species will change in some ways over time, but we can’t predict very accurately what form that change will take (it’s poorly worded, but I’m not a biologist).

    While I like to read astrology for fun (or at least used to), it’s always so vague and wishy washy as to be useless, and the misses far outnumber the hits.

  30. says

    Ed,

    Just out of curiosity:
    Are you rich?
    Have your predictions ever been directly responsible for saving a life?

    In other words, can you actually use this stuff to actually do anything?

    How about a trial? I’ll give you my birthday and you tell me what will happen within a week (or a month). Then we can compare this to what actually happens.

    Of course, we’ll need to compare that to the 200 million people that share the same birthday (or roughly 10 million people that share the same birth hour).

  31. Ed Kohout says

    Jason scrambles for cover:

    “Well underway”? Really? Now all you have to do is to HAVE a war active at the same time as some particularly rare confluence and it counts as a hit?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_military_conflicts

    I’m not sure I understand your point of contention here.

    I don’t care how you build your pseudo-random number generator to pull “fortune cookie fortunes” out of the dataset that involves actual real astronomy (e.g. ephemerides),

    ???? Sometimes I wonder if you are in the same e-room as me. “random number generator”??? “actual real astronomy” is what???

    I care how you plan on using it to actually predict things with any level of specificity. All you can do is post-dict.

    Jason, once again you are tossing around silly parameters.

    I do not “actually predict” “things” with “any level” of “specificity”. (Any level?? Really?? You just got through telling the world that my level of specificity was not good enough!!) Astrologers predict events, things exist on their own. Astrologers also judge the character of people by birth charts, which is also a kind of prediction.

    But, you keep wanting to narrow the goal posts as we go along, demanding pin-point accuracy and the ability to predict everything under the sun in two or three posts to your blog.

    Sorry, dude, that ain’t how it works.

    Any fool can see there is a correlation between Mars standstills and WTC attacks with the data I’ve given. The data speaks for itself on its own level, regardless of your prejudices and ignorance about astrology.

    You could use some grammar lessons as well, as your continual sentence fragments and other syntax errors, not to mention the highly sloppy use of terminology combined with nebulous expectations are not a good reflection on your self-professed smarts.

    You’re all over the map, bro, and inconsistency begets poor science.

    You can’t even tell how this is all supposed to work, how the celestial bodies have any sort of actual discernible influence on our lives.

    Sure I can, but it’s not going to be cartoon-simple enough for you. I’ve only just started offering up evidence, so take a chill pill and, again, stop dancing in the endzone like the game is over!! We just got the kickoff return.

    Not to mention the fact that you’re using a statistical analysis method to prove there’s something to what you’re saying.

    NO I AM NOT!!! I have said to you at least three times that I do not do statistical analysis in astrology because it is not conducive to the discipline. Why do you keep repeating this straw-man?

    BUT, one piece of evidence I do want to share is the Nelson study for RCA:

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,814720,00.html

    There is ample evidence of flux in the energy distribution of the solar system, and that it is based almost entirely on the planets and their astrometry, rather than the Sun alone.

    You, Jason, keep insisting, quite wrongly, that planets in our system are just big, dumb rocks that mean nothing at all.

    On the contrary, all of the four gas giants put out more energy than they receive from the Sun. You should do a Google search for “torsion physics.”

    The solar system is a DYNAMO, and you reside within it, but you want to keep thinking you are separate from it? You sure sound like a Christian to me!!

    You’re saying, “look at these hits, and how closely correlated they are to specific events that fit within what we expect to see with Mars doing what it’s doing”. Only you’re doing statistics wrong.

    Holy crap, how many times can you make this blunder?? I am NOT DOING STATISTICS, and therefore I am not doing them either WRONGLY or CORRECTLY.

    Kids, statistics is not the chimera of astrology, and it cannot be, for the umpteenth time. If you continue to go there, I will assume you are just plain stupid.

    For further study on this point, I suggest you contact Ray Murphy from Australia, a fellow who has been working with this kind of stuff for many, many years:

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/tropical-astrology-research

    It’s like we’re talking with a kindergartener here. To do it right, you have to look at all the times Mars did that same thing and nothing special happened.

    Dude, I listed all the Mars events of that nature for the entire century. For you, I will list all of them going back to the time of Jesus, and then forward to when you are 1,000 years old. Even though that will probably not make you happy, I wonder how you’re going to research events in the year 1356 or 875?

    And, where were the skyscrapers and airplanes in the years prior to 1900? What events in history do you think would qualify as correlating to the WTC attacks, or World Wars?

    Or, say, the end of a war, or some other important event in human history. Or, you could take every single war that’s ever happened, and you could statistically figure out how many of them were within two weeks of one of these Mars events and what percentage of them weren’t.
    Or you could figure out whether having one of these Mars events actually made some kind of statistically significant bump in how many wars there were.

    What would all of that prove, Jason? You’re here to disprove my contentions, but you’re just flailing in the wind, offering up all kinds of fantasy maneuvers in the wake of data you do not know how to read. How many times can you go “yes, but…” and then offering up some diversionary straw-men without looking silly?

    If you think my system sucks, it’s up to you to show me why, not offer up “you should….” remarks that may only lead us into the desert and waste valuable time.

    All you have, in other words, is bluster and dickery. And a fundamental misunderstanding of statistics. But keep blustering, and keep calling us names. It’s amusing to no end.

    If the foo shits…..

  32. Ed Kohout says

    Jason bleats:

    Also, you’re no historian. Mars is associated with aggression and war because once upon a time, the Greeks borrowed the Babylonian concept of astrology, where the five known planets were named after their five Gods because they thought those planets were actually that physical god’s body, with the sun being a separate entity controlled by this god.

    Where did you get this complete misappropriation of history?? Why is it so wrong for ancient peoples to fill in the voids of knowledge with “gods”?? You or I would have readily joined the chorus at that time in history.

    The fact that Mars was called Mars is entirely because it was red…

    LOL!!!!

    … and thus they figured an appropriate choice for the fiery sun god. The Greeks replaced all the gods with their own when they nicked the whole practice.

    Have you ever read Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos? I wonder why he never got the memo.

    So Nergal, the Sun God and god of war and pestilence, was replaced with Ares, their own war god. When the Greeks were assimilated into the Roman empire, Ares was renamed Mars.

    The last four words save this bit of pop history from receiving an F-. You now get an F+.

    Mars as an omen of violence and malevolence is well-known in astrology well before the Greeks bastardized everything. I don’t care if they called it “Bozo,” the continuity of opinion about the planet’s effect was basically unchanged.

    But, maybe they were all just making shit up way back then to fool future Canadians?

  33. Ed Kohout says

    Freebird sings:

    Ed,

    You’ve taken the Mars declination angle and correlated it with past events, noting where they match up. Since we know (with great detail) when the next extremes of that angle will occur, why don’t you offer a prediction as to when the next terrorist attack, or act of aggression, or fill-in-the-blank event will occur?… So again, offer a prediction, based on the next extreme angle of declination, to prove your worth as an astrologer.

    Dance for me, Kohout!! ;-)

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/astrologyncgr/message/15461

    Indeed, and thank you for asking a reasonable question. From 2011 through 2110, I count 128 times Mars exceeds the magical 23°30′ tropical mark at standstill.

    I count only twice that it exceeds the +27° value:

    A) Jan 22, 2040
    B) Jan 12, 2087

    “A” is a “return” of the Jan 17, 1961 standstill.
    “B” is a return of the Jan 7, 2008 standstill.

    I count four times that exceeds the -27° value:

    C) July 22, 2033
    D) August 5, 2065
    E) July 11, 2080**
    F) July 26, 2112

    I highlighted the 2080 event as it is 79 years beyond 2001. Note that this is a return of the July 6, 2001 standstill, which was a rare “triple” event. For the layman, this means that Mars spent extra time near the standstill than normal.

    In modern astrology, we like to think that when planets move slowly and stop that their effects are more intense. There is a sort of “Doppler Effect” going on between Earth and all other planets (sun and moon are minimal) as they all move about their orbits. An especially long standstill, like we had in 2001, would of course offer up a more intense synchronal event within the human collective, somewhere.

    As for our current time, we have two upcoming standstills of Mars:

    G) Dec 9, 2010, -24°18′
    H) Nov 17, 2012, -24°33′

    On “G”, for those who interested, I did indeed use the Dec 9 standstill to help predict all hell breaking loose this year, a wide realignment of the political landscape:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/astrologyncgr/message/14251

    That it coincided with the arrival of JU/SA = PL on December 3, I felt it was indeed time for a big revamping of the international static. The last time JU/SA = PL was right before 9/11/2001.

    So, yes, this year is all about the new version of the New World Order, and boy has it been a whirlwind.

    As for “H”, given all the “2012″ hype and nonsense we’ve been fed for the last 20 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if a special gift from our evil overlords of fake terrorism don’t try to pull off something that feeds off of the fomented nervousness of the 2012 memes.

    I’m going to echo Stephanie’s comment and say that you can’t offer any such prediction reliably, because it will essentially look like “something major, either bad or good, is going to happen somewhere in the world, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks from a future date.”

    This discussion is only about discussing a model for astrology that makes sense and is testable, but really, how long are you going to wait for any of my predictions to come true? A year? 20 years? By definition, astrology predicts the past as well as the future, so we should be able to look to the past and see something.

    An astrologer can look to the past, and offer a client a date or two when something might have happened to them that they didn’t know about, such as a husband cheating, or a business partner stealing. (This is why you should never make your wife your business partner!!)

    Or, do you think I should be able to predict the contents of tomorrow’s newspaper today while Hermetically sealed inside of a sterile room with cameras to make sure I don’t cheat?

    I can only go by what information has crossed my path, and that is heavily dependent upon what interests me in life; you keep expecting me to be some omniscient god who walks around predicting the future every five minutes.

    I do try to digest as much as I can about the world, but there’s only so much I’m capable of.

    I’m not a magician, a psychic, a tarot reader, a crystal ball gazer, a numerologist, a life coach, or any of that garbage.

    Astrology stands alone a priori, no matter how much the New-Agey crowd wants to make it a Witch’s Brew of cute symbols and sunsigns.

  34. says

    Four times I’ve asked you to read that prior post. Four times. Since you can’t be bothered to click a link, I guess I’m going to have to blockquote myself just so you’ll learn what a pseudorandom number generator is, which was the whole premise of my post, and the foundation for everything I’ve ever argued about astrology. Of course, since that’s making me do your homework, I’m naturally going to avoid doing so for as long as humanly possible. Save us both some time and just click this fucking link already. Please.

    You’d think you’d care about attacking me on what I’ve said, but no, you’d rather talk about you. And bluster about how wrong I am about things like mythology, things that I’m most assuredly right about.

    No wonder you’re afraid of Wikipedia. Not because you’re a historian, but because it records a history you’d rather not read. Given your track record, reading comprehension ain’t your strong suit.

    You, Jason, keep insisting, quite wrongly, that planets in our system are just big, dumb rocks that mean nothing at all.

    On the contrary, all of the four gas giants put out more energy than they receive from the Sun. You should do a Google search for “torsion physics.”

    The solar system is a DYNAMO, and you reside within it, but you want to keep thinking you are separate from it? You sure sound like a Christian to me!!

    If you’d have ever clicked the abovementioned link, you’d know that your italicized assertion (emphasis mine) is flat wrong. I understand how each of the celestial bodies in our neighborhood actually affects us. Sure, I might not know your particular flavor of pseudo-random nonsense, but that doesn’t matter, because I know how they actually affect us. You know, within the constraints of the laws of physics.

  35. Ed Kohout says

    Fastlane queries:

    I’m curious if Ed would take some challenges/questions.

    What do you think your software/astrology can actually predict that might be useful to someone?

    I do the predictions, the software does the extensive and time-consuming math. I interpret the chart data just like a doctor interprets the data coming out of his patient.

    How specific of a claim are you willing to make? For instance, Lottery numbers, who will win the next superbowl, something like that? Or even something a little bit more vague, like how/when I will leave my current job, or when my house will be sold when I do?

    I’m a somewhat rabid football fan from Chicago, and though I’m not into gambling, I would really love to be able to predict sports outcomes. Without ever doing astrology, I can predict that you will never win the SuperLotto. In fact, I’ll bet you $2000.00 you’ll never win it. ;-)

    In astrology, we consider the planet Uranus to signal abrupt changes in the scene. Winning a big lottery would require some extraordinary situation. It’s not like winning at bingo.

    All prediction is based upon historic trends, extrapolated out into the future. There are so many different possible futures that one cannot possibly entertain them all, and the big blindspot of astrology is that we simply never can know all of the data, so we have to make careful guesses.

    In a reading I might see that you have some trouble coming up with your interactions with the macrocosm, or your life outside of the home with customers and bosses, etc. If I have the data for your company, and your boss, and when you got hired, and the first time you got written up for groping females on the staff, I might be able to see how things will play out.

    Now, how do you think I might handle things with a new client who just got diagnosed with cancer and wants to know if he or she will beat it? Professionalism is a big part of an astrology practice.

    In other words, is there really anything practical that you think astrology can contribute?

    Yes! I can tell you that a successful astrology session ends with the person seeing how they fit into the cosmic order of things. People need perspective outside of their own reality.

    But, in the end, it’s up to the person to own their future and past, and be down with who they are, and what they are talented at and what they suck at.

    It usually comes down to something like this: “Stop drinking yourself silly and fucking every guy who pays attention to you. You have a high talent for accounting and you can be successful there, but you have to do the work as this is the best way for you to get your self esteem back…”

    And, I’m a lot better looking than Dr. Phil.

    Something equivalent to a basic scientific prediction would be nice. For instance, evolutionary theory tells us that species will change in some ways over time, but we can’t predict very accurately what form that change will take (it’s poorly worded, but I’m not a biologist).

    While I like to read astrology for fun (or at least used to), it’s always so vague and wishy washy as to be useless, and the misses far outnumber the hits.

    I think you have a fair assessment. Most astrologers are complete idiots, and most of what passes as astrology is pure nonsense. Most humans are complete idiots, but, they weed out the idiots in medical school.

    Michael Lutin famously predicted that “The winner will be the loser and the loser will be the winner” for Election 2000 here in the USA. Many others were wary of the day, given the station of Mercury, and predicted that it would be a fiasco. But, unless someone says, “Bush wins by one electoral vote thanks to his brother Jeb!”, astrology is useless?

  36. Ed Kohout says

    ogremk5 queries:

    Just out of curiosity:
    Are you rich?

    In many ways, yes.

    Have your predictions ever been directly responsible for saving a life?

    I have no idea.

    In other words, can you actually use this stuff to actually do anything?

    Yes. I believe I outlined an example with my lovely girlfriend and her son earlier in this thread.

    How about a trial? I’ll give you my birthday and you tell me what will happen within a week (or a month). Then we can compare this to what actually happens.

    I charge $120.00 an hour to put up with other people’s uninteresting lives. The rate is double for Republicans because they steal from the poor.

    Of course, we’ll need to compare that to the 200 million people that share the same birthday (or roughly 10 million people that share the same birth hour).

    200 million people are born every 24 hours?

    No two charts are alike. It only takes four minutes for one degree to cross the ascendant, and that can throw predictive timing off by years in some cases. Everything is constantly in flux, all the time, from moment to moment.

    See the solar system as a big machine, a big dynamo, an energy generating system governed by giant masses of gas and rock churning away, ever causing the distribution of charged particles and gravitons to fluxuate. Just cuz ya can’t hear it doesn’t mean it ain’t comin’.

    No two planets are alike in composition; all vibrate at widely different harmonics, and all are in a dance with one another. Human evolution, running alongside of millions of years of planetary churn, is surely interlaced with astrological cycles. The only reason why the length of the year on Earth is 365.2424 days is because of the shepherding influences of the other planets.

    If you think you’re somehow exempt from this giant dynamo’s cyclical reality by virtue of your own snooty little brain, then you are surely are still quite religious, and quite in line with Christian theology, no?

    “The future is yet unwritten.”

    VERUCA SALT: “Snozzberry!? Who ever heard of a Snozzberry?”
    WONKA: “We are the music makers; we are the dreamers of dreams.”

    Well, maybe not:

    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110831/full/477023a.html

  37. Ed Kohout says

    Jason wailed:

    Four times I’ve asked you to read that prior post. Four times. Since you can’t be bothered to click a link, I guess I’m going to have to blockquote myself just so you’ll learn what a pseudorandom number generator is, which was the whole premise of my post, and the foundation for everything I’ve ever argued about astrology.

    You probably hear this phrase a lot: “No shit, Sherlock.”

    I don’t care if you take your pseudorandom number generator out to dinner and a movie every night, it has NOTHING to do with anything I’ve written about on this blog, nor does it have to do with your little challenge for anyone to “prove astrology” by showing correlations between planetary “stuff” and “things” on earth with humans.

    But, if it is the “foundation for everything I’ve ever argued about astrology” then no wonder you’re so confused. I should have lowered my expectations from the start.

    You equated astrology to numerology yesterday, which was also quite telling about your level of ignorance.

    Of course, since that’s making me do your homework, I’m naturally going to avoid doing so for as long as humanly possible. Save us both some time and just click this fucking link already. Please.

    You’d think you’d care about attacking me on what I’ve said, but no, you’d rather talk about you. And bluster about how wrong I am about things like mythology, things that I’m most assuredly right about.

    If you say so!

    No wonder you’re afraid of Wikipedia. Not because you’re a historian, but because it records a history you’d rather not read. Given your track record, reading comprehension ain’t your strong suit.

    You’re such a bad loser, Jason. I feel bad for you.

    … I understand how each of the celestial bodies in our neighborhood actually affects us. Sure, I might not know your particular flavor of pseudo-random nonsense, but that doesn’t matter, because I know how they actually affect us. You know, within the constraints of the laws of physics.

    Ah, so all of the “laws of physics” have been deciphered and worked out, and humans are now ready to travel to the ends of the universe and time itself!!!

    lol

    Gimme a fuckin’ break, dude. You can’t even explain how those tiny little sperm come alive in your testicles even though you are constantly holding them in your hands. You have no idea what makes life “happen.”

    But, you know for sure how all the planets affect us because you have a Canadian education in the “laws of physics”!!

    Oh, my side hurts!!

  38. says

    You must be running scared to post as many times in the last hour as you have — this is a regular Gish gallop, just like Creationists do when confronted with ideas that conflict with their worldviews! If you can’t get ‘em on facts, spew out so many lies it’s nearly impossible to keep up. You just keep rebuilding your house of cards. I’ll start blockquoting myself tomorrow to show you what you’re actually arguing against. I’d do it now, but I need sleep at the moment.

    A hint: you haven’t even touched on any of my arguments. Much less proved (by bald and repeated assertion) that anything I’ve said is incorrect.

  39. Ed Kohout says

    Correction:

    These words are mine, not ogre’s:

    I charge $120.00 an hour to put up with other people’s uninteresting lives. The rate is double for Republicans because they steal from the poor.

  40. says

    So here’s what I hear Ed saying.

    1) Astrology can’t be proven any more than psychology.

    2) Astrology is a lot like psychology in that it can tell people who are obviously doing something stupid to stop doing something obviously stupid.

    3) He hates all his clients because they’re a bunch of boring idiots who can’t figure out what’s wrong with their lives.

    4) The December 9, 2010 declination missed predicting the mid-term election by only a month.

    5) You can’t use statistical analysis to show that astrology is meaningful because it doesn’t make predictions that are statistically meaningful.

  41. says

    Ed.

    You are rude.

    Staggeringly so.

    I know this is the internet, and rudeness is the modus operandi of many a commenter, but still.

    This is not youtube or 4chan.

    You are staggeringly rude.

    Gimme a fuckin’ break, dude. You can’t even explain how those tiny little sperm come alive in your testicles even though you are constantly holding them in your hands. You have no idea what makes life “happen.”

    But, you know for sure how all the planets affect us because you have a Canadian education in the “laws of physics”!!

    .

    And childish to boot, it would seem.

    You’re done here.

  42. fastlane says

    Ed bleated:

    In astrology, we consider the planet Uranus to signal abrupt changes in the scene. Winning a big lottery would require some extraordinary situation. It’s not like winning at bingo.

    Explain this a little more in depth here. Someone wins the lottery on a fairly regular basis.

  43. Ed Kohout says

    Ben Zvan says:

    So here’s what I hear Ed saying.

    1) Astrology can’t be proven any more than psychology.

    I find it amazing that some people do not understand that all of the sciences operate on theoretical bases. One simply does not “prove astrology” or “prove psychology” or “prove physics”. This is silly talk, amorphous and a dead end.

    Human behavior is simply a given. Humans “be.” Part of the study of that is labeled “psychology,” but psychology is still a big nebulous work in progress, just like astrology, but with major funding!

    2) Astrology is a lot like psychology in that it can tell people who are obviously doing something stupid to stop doing something obviously stupid.

    Astrology does not speak, and it does not “tell people .. to stop doing …”, though it does often bark at the moon.

    Astrologers are the ones who talk to people and tell them things. We are interpreters, and yes, quite often people need direction from specialists to quell behaviors that are harmful and destructive. Not all humans are as self-sufficient self-mastered as you, Ben.

    3) He hates all his clients because they’re a bunch of boring idiots who can’t figure out what’s wrong with their lives.

    Mostly thanks to the bad non-astrological advice of people like you I end up with damaged people as clients.

    4) The December 9, 2010 declination missed predicting the mid-term election by only a month.

    ????

    I was speaking about the wave of color revolutions that swept the Arab realms recently, starting in December with Tunisia.

    Before this time, the color revolution model was not working for the Empire. Iran failed, and the Ukranians were charged with felonies. Then, all of a sudden, the “Arab Spring” hits, and the whole landscape is up for grabs.

    Did I come out and say, “The Arab constellation of nations will undergo a radical shift in 2011″? No. But, I think I was pretty close in terms of the underlying effect.

    5) You can’t use statistical analysis to show that astrology is meaningful because it doesn’t make predictions that are statistically meaningful.

    What would you describe as “predictions that are statistically meaningless“?

  44. says

    I would describe a prediction as statistically meaningless if it is no better than a random guess. With a fair coin, I am as likely to guess heads or tails correctly as not. If, after 100 flips, I have guessed 50 correct, or even 60 since 100 is a pretty small sample, then my predictions are statistically meaningless.

  45. says

    Since I don’t really even feel up to blockquoting myself, I’ll give you an executive summary of that original post.

    1. There are no forces one could conceivably point to within the realm of accepted physics (around which all modern technology is based), which would carry whatever mystical influence the planets supposedly have on the vicissitudes of daily life for individuals or even large populations.

    2. A pseudo-random number generator is sufficient to build complicated-looking charts that are, in actuality, meaningless in the context of the daily lives of individuals or even large populations.

    3. Selection bias will do all the verification you need to be able to claim some sort of special correlation between any particular confluence of aspects, chart configurations or specific planetary influences. One only needs to pick an influence and then look through the charts for all the hits — e.g., Mars was once thought to be the physical embodiment of a god of war because it was red and therefore assumed to be “fiery”, so Mars becomes the planet one associates with war from then on. As long as you consistently apply the same selection bias, you’ll remember all the times that wars correlate with Mars in some way or another, but forget all the times Mars had that configuration without a specific war-like event, or all the times wars happen in absence of Mars’ influence.

    Those three points pretty much explain everything you’re going on, and on, and on about. They are the null hypothesis, the default conclusion — they are what holds, if you are incapable of showing that there is a statistically significant correlation between any one aspect and any one supposed influence.

    Do you want a definition of a pseudo-random number generator now? Here’s a hint: it’s not random, it’s entirely deterministic, and generally, it’s one dataset used in a wholly different context from the actual meaning one can glean from that data. For instance, data about planets’ configurations tell you about the planet’s configurations, not about people’s daily lives.

    Would you also like a definition of statistical significance? Ben @45 gave you a good example of how you can get a bunch of hits but still not achieve statistical significance. Another good example is in your attempting to correlate the WTC attacks with Mars. Since you don’t understand statistical significance, I expect you believe all you need are some hits to prove there’s an effect. You’d be wrong about that.

    Now, perhaps you’d like to address these points? Preferably without bluster, swagger, or random insults that belie your own lack of professionalism and the inferiority complex you clearly have.

    Inferiority complexes, by the way, are a psychological concept — one with enough data to show, statistically, that they exist. Astrology is infinitely less “provable” than psychology. The people here asking you to prove astrology is real, aren’t asking for mathematical proof, nor are they making any attempt to mistake the scientific method. They just understand that other bodies of scientific knowledge are obtained through scientific experimentation, statistical analysis, data-collection and repeated testing. And in understanding that other bodies of scientific knowledge are obtained through these methods, they also recognize that your “discipline”, the act of grafting knowledge about the planets’ movements onto human interactions, has benefited from none of these. They have nothing to bolster their truth claims but arguments from antiquity and selection bias over thousands of years.

    Put up or shut up time, dude. Preferably with a little less attitude this time. Or is it that the attitude is inversely correlated to your certitude that you’ve not wasted your life? Perhaps you’re only getting so lippy because you know we’ve got you questioning your life’s work?

  46. Ed Kohout says

    Ben Zvan says:

    I would describe a prediction as statistically meaningless if it is no better than a random guess. With a fair coin, I am as likely to guess heads or tails correctly as not. If, after 100 flips, I have guessed 50 correct, or even 60 since 100 is a pretty small sample, then my predictions are statistically meaningless.

    What I think you mean is statistically “significant.” Meaning exists always when we crunch numbers.

    If you call for 50% heads after 100 flips, and 90 of the flips come up tails, we might want to investigate that coin and the flipper. This is statistically significant.

  47. Ed Kohout says

    JT kindly retorts:

    1. There are no forces one could conceivably point to within the realm of accepted physics (around which all modern technology is based), which would carry whatever mystical influence the planets supposedly have on the vicissitudes of daily life for individuals or even large populations.

    INCOHERENT AND INCORRECT. The word “mystical” means something is “of mystery,” and so of course you are correct that “accepted physics” is not a mystery, but your absolutist “no forces one could conceivably point to” is not supported by the evidence nor reasoned thinking.

    Just because you or I cannot see or “feel” the influence does not mean it is not at work. You and I do not sense the planet spinning, but it is; should we then say that the forces at work are irrelevant?

    UK astrologer and prof Nick Kollerstrom penned a wonderful book called “The Metal/Planet Relationship” which outlines the history of — you guessed it — the relationship of metals to planets in astrology.

    He devotes an entire chapter on some experiments that tested the ability of metals to dissolve in a saline solution under certain astronomical alignments, specifically Moon/Saturn, Mars/Saturn, and other Moon/XX conjunctions.

    (For the astronomically challenged here, the Moon moves relatively quickly through the sky, about one degree every two hours, and so a “conjunction” of Moon and Saturn within a tolerance of one degree last at most a few hours.)

    The results of these experiments, which you will see are easily testable and repeatable, showed that certain metals took longer to dissolve during the Moon conjunctions than at other times.

    Don’t you think, Jason, that this data is relevant to creatures that are composed partly of these same metal/salt solutions?

    The body is not a static blob. It is constantly regenerating and processes the energy stored in foodstuffs (chelated minerals, vitamins) and eliminates the residual. Developmental times are crucial and critical, and so it is with the moment that a human is released from Mom into the cruel world where the oxygen begins to flow so the blood can process iron, and so on.

    SO .. as for this idea that “accepted physics” has no effect on human beings, nothing could be further from the truth. (The laughable straw-man about the ob gyn having more gravitational tug on the baby than Jupiter is always hilarious.) I was born here, on this planet, and I’m assuming that you did not just arrive here last week from another star system.

    This planet is in the orbital situation it is in because of the perturbations from the other planets. The solar system is so old that all of the major perturbations have been worked out of the orbits, and this is true with all of the planets, excepting Pluto, to a very small degree.

    The other planets has the Earth “right where they want him.” This basic rhythmic pattern governs your life in ways that we are oblivious to because of our evolutionary integration.

    If you doubt this, consider the precision of the Metonic cycle as well as the 83-year Jupiter/Sun cycle, both of which approximate mathematical precision.

    2. A pseudo-random number generator is sufficient to build complicated-looking charts that are, in actuality, meaningless in the context of the daily lives of individuals or even large populations.

    I re-read the material on this little program, and all I can say is that proving that a machine can generate a random distribution of planets around a circle does not prove that the universe arranges star systems by such a manner. Making up fake charts is silly. If you need a control group, it should be made up of random groups of real people with real experiences to convey.

    3. Selection bias will do all the verification you [again with the "you". Do you not understand basic English?] need to be able to claim some sort of special correlation between any particular confluence of aspects, chart configurations or specific planetary influences.

    This statement is patently false for obvious reasons I have stated earlier, but you continue to pimp the idea like it’s a chimera.

    One [you used the correct English here, thanks!] only needs to pick an influence and then look through the charts for all the hits — e.g., Mars was once thought to be the physical embodiment of a god of war because it was red and therefore assumed to be “fiery”…

    Thanks for reading Ptolemy. No, the association with “war” that you assert has nothing to do with coloring, but with a long tradition of observational efforts well before the time of Ptolemy. I think we’d be hard pressed to find Mars as an indicator of anything other than trouble in the ancient literature.

    Did you know, by the way, that George W Bush signed the Iraq War Resolution at the very moment that Mars was on the local meridian overhead?

    … so Mars becomes the planet one associates with war from then on. As long as you consistently apply the same selection bias, you’ll remember all the times that wars correlate with Mars in some way or another, but forget all the times Mars had that configuration without a specific war-like event, or all the times wars happen in absence of Mars’ influence.

    You make so many bad assumptions, once again, that I am beginning to think you really just don’t care about educating yourself about astrology or astronomy on an intimate level, or at least beyond cursory glances.

    NO, Mars is not the only planet that’s ever been associated with “war” in the various astrological traditions. Venus was seen as a Luciferian when appearing as morning star, and war-waging was a part of that.

    NO, astrologers do not associate Mars only with war, and no, the ancients did not see it this way either. Mars rules over many things, such as industry, musculature, aggression in general, sports and athletes, and so on. Violence is only one possible expression, but unfortunate “shit happens” stuff as well is blamed on Mars.

    You have to realize that when one does engage in astrology, one finds that these correlations are easy to chart out, and the fact that planetary associations have lasted so long is due to the continual intra-disciplinary efforts of practicing astrologers.

    That the correlations were deciphered back when humans had no idea what the “wandering stars” were actually made of should stand as a testament to the cultures that promoted such study. It seems to me that

  48. Ed Kohout says

    Jason continues:

    Those three points pretty much explain everything you’re going on, and on, and on about. They are the null hypothesis, the default conclusion — they are what holds, if you are incapable of showing that there is a statistically significant correlation between any one aspect and any one supposed influence.

    Untrue for the reasons I listed above.

    Do you want a definition of a pseudo-random number generator now? Here’s a hint: it’s not random, it’s entirely deterministic…

    So, then, it is not at all random, and it is not at all even pseudo-random, but it is entirely non-random and “deterministic,” which I suppose means that some human or group of humans invented it and it did not fall out of the sky?

    … and generally, it’s one dataset used in a wholly different context from the actual meaning one can glean from that data. For instance, data about planets’ configurations tell you about the planet’s configurations, not about people’s daily lives.

    So, it’s not a “pseudo-random people’s daily lives generator”??

    Would you also like a definition of statistical significance?

    Only if you can back it up with a link to Wikipedia!

    … Ben @45 gave you a good example of how you can get a bunch of hits but still not achieve statistical significance. Another good example is in your attempting to correlate the WTC attacks with Mars. Since you don’t understand statistical significance, I expect you believe all you need are some hits to prove there’s an effect. You’d be wrong about that.

    So, the definitions are not coming from you as promised?

    Your anecdotes are not definitions. Ben used the term “statistically meaningful,” not “statistical significance,” but I indeed noted such already, which means yes, indeed, I am making sense and you are not, once again.

    The final lie you commit is that I somehow “proved” there’s “an effect” with my Mars/WTC-etc table. Where did I say that? All I said was that there is a highly interesting and obvious relationship between planetary phenomenon and earthly happenings that begs for more study. Please show me where I said that this one piece of evidence proves the whole shebang?

    I don’t know if you are this dishonest in the rest of your life, but I know I would never hire you or trust you alone in my home if this is how you go about your relations.

    Now, perhaps you’d like to address these points?

    I have been, repeatedly, Mr. Thickhead.

    … Preferably without bluster, swagger, or random insults that belie your own lack of professionalism and the inferiority complex you clearly have.

    Inferiority complexes, by the way, are a psychological concept — one with enough data to show, statistically, that they exist.

    LOL!!!! If one person had an “inferiority complex,” it would “exist” as a categorization of human behavior.

    Statistics do not prove the existence of the complex, just as statistics do not prove that Mars exists.

    In all seriousness, Jason, I’ve never seen someone be as wrong as you about so many things so often, but that’s perhaps common among those who amble through life with the Dunning-Kruger Effect?

    Astrology is infinitely less “provable” than psychology.

    BULL BISCUITS!! How many times can you get this wrong???

    The people here asking you to prove astrology is real, aren’t asking for mathematical proof …

    Statistics are not mathematical??????????????????????

    … nor are they making any attempt to mistake the scientific method. They just understand that other bodies of scientific knowledge are obtained through scientific experimentation, statistical analysis, data-collection and repeated testing.

    I’m so glad you can speak for them, though I surely would never ever want you speaking for me given how mistaken you are about so many things.

    In any event, my attempts at data-collection and analysis are automatically tossed out the window by you because you have falsely assumed that some sort of (we don’t know how as of yet) statistical analysis will disprove the planet-humanity synchrony rather than actual measurements of actual things and events.

    You continue…

    … And in understanding that other bodies of scientific knowledge are obtained through these methods …

    So, when these methods fail, and new data tears down old paradigms and theories, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, but if astrology is not perfect all the time and Ed Kohout can’t predict what’s going to happen in all of your silly Canadian lives every day, astrology is just a big phantasy in the minds of the science-fearing??

    You continue …

    … they also recognize that your “discipline”, the act of grafting knowledge about the planets’ movements onto human interactions, has benefited from none of these. They have nothing to bolster their truth claims but arguments from antiquity and selection bias over thousands of years.

    Who are “they”??

    Put up or shut up time, dude. Preferably with a little less attitude this time. Or is it that the attitude is inversely correlated to your certitude that you’ve not wasted your life? Perhaps you’re only getting so lippy because you know we’ve got you questioning your life’s work?

    Yeah, because of the Canuk and his legion of freethinkers I am now going to abandon my years of proper study and go live in the Himalayas. Suuuuuuuure.

    Yes, your jealousy combined with your superiority complex is perhaps interfering with your ability to form clear thoughts in your postings.

    Besides, there are about 30 or so points I have brought up that you have completely sidestepped or ignored. This are big-time failures, sir.

    But, maybe most telling about you is your problems with the English language, and your ability to communicate coherently. This begets your own confusion on the subject matter, and certainly your inability to comprehend much of what I am saying to you.

    Believe me, Jason, you’re a lightweight when it comes to the many others I have debated on the subject over the past 15 years. Your base fallacy is that astrology is somehow a religious “belief system” and so you are duty bound as an atheist to attack it on the grounds of empiricism, relegating all human affairs to the levels of “statistics,” but then also claiming that human bodies are in no way connected to celestial cycles even though humans evolved within the cyclical patterns governed by the other planets?

    Please explain how this leap of faith you have about yourself is not a religious residual in your mindset from before you decided to become a crusading atheist?

    I’m not expecting you to answer any of this stuff directly as you have failed to do so ever since the beginning, but I’m quite sure that your readers are doing the calculus in their heads as we go along, and I’m quite confident that most will agree that you have been sliced and diced like an entree at Benihana’s.

  49. says

    Oh, the “faith gambit”, and you even topped it off with the victory lap cherry. When you’re losing, accuse the other side of being religious about their lack of belief in whatever thing you’re peddling. You did it first, in @37, then I prodded to see if you’d bite by calling your six comments in a row a Gish gallop. (Which it totally qualifies as, by the way.) So now you think all you have to do is accuse me of being religious and you can peel away all my readers to your side.

    Meanwhile, you’ve given ANOTHER Gish gallop, meaning I now have dozens more points that are demonstrably incorrect that I have to correct the record on. Well, I don’t have all day to do so frankly, so I’ll do the following instead. Since you’ve so kindly asked me for those definitions after I asked you if you’d like them (by proving that you don’t actually know what either term means), here they are.

    Pseudo-random number generator (PRNG): Performs all the functions of a random number generator, only is entirely deterministic. As I defined it in the post you’ve never read, it’s when you take a set of deterministic formulae and input some data, which will always return the same results (as long as you’ve done your math correctly). So, calculating the positions of the planets at a certain time might be mathematically sound, and calculating the relationships between those planets might be mathematically sound, but since you’ve never shown any actual correlation between the relationships of the planets and any influence they might have on the vicissitudes of human lives, you’re using the positions of the planets as a PRNG. The reason nobody ever undertakes building statistically significant results between the positions of the planets and people’s actual daily lives is because you’re grafting one dataset onto another without any actual correlation. You might as well use the configuration of tea leaves in your cup to predict the future. Oh wait, people like you (maybe not you specifically, but certainly people of your credulous ilk) do that too.

    Secondly, statistical significance is a concept involving how likely it is that your conclusion about a particular statistical anomaly is correct. The larger the sample size you pull out of the data, the smaller the effect you can claim significance. If your hypothetical coin was weighted such that it would give you tails 51% of the time, you would need a very large number of flips to determine this. On any given test of 100 flips, you could conceivably mistake that coin for a properly balanced one that gives 50% heads, 50% tails, as you’d expect. But as you perform the 100-flip tests over and over and over, the average will start zeroing in on 51% tails. A 1% “signal” like this would require a very large number of tests to achieve significance. Perhaps a statistics wonk could tell me how many total flips you’d have to get before you’d achieve a p of 0.01? 0.01 means a 1% chance that the result you’ve gotten is pure chance.

    Failing to achieve statistical significance on a test gives you a “negative result”, or “null result”. When a null result occurs in your test for significance, the null hypothesis holds. In this case, the null hypothesis is that there is no correlation between the positions of the planets and any sort of influence on daily lives. Since you’re talking about influences that are somehow paradoxically subtle (so subtle that you can’t possibly be arsed to measure them statistically), and strong (enough to make predictions) simultaneously, you’re playing both sides of the null hypothesis. You’re trying to say that the lack of statistical significance for your tests of particular aspects means all you have to do is build a small manifest of hits and ignore all the misses. That doesn’t fly, and it’s why people here (and likely elsewhere) won’t put up with your nonsense.

    Now, if you’ll give me some time to put it together before you go off on another gallop and add thirty more things to the pile of lies and nonsense I have to debunk, I’ll be glad to discuss how the metal content of the planets could not possibly provide the vehicle for this mystical (yes, “mysterious”) influence you’re suggesting astrology has. Not the least reason being that if that was it, we could measure it and build actual correlations between the planets and human influences. Another reason is that metals are subject to electromagnetic fields (the only of the four fundamental forces you could be trying to ascribe to astrology), and Jupiter doesn’t have one.

    I’ll also do you an extra kindness and show you the math that does, in fact, prove that the gravity of the obstetrician in the room with you is higher than the gravity of Pluto (you said Jupiter, but I’d have to crunch the numbers for that — I know Pluto is for sure, but Jupiter may not be for all I know).

    By the way, complaining about my English is pretty much the wrong way to argue. If you’d like to point out how my grammar is incorrect in some respect, I’d be glad to amend it. If you’d like to claim that I’m both incoherent and incorrect in the same sentence, you may want to pick one, because saying something’s incoherent means it’s incomprehensible, which means you can’t understand it to make a judgment as to its truth value. Either I’m incoherent and you couldn’t understand what I was saying, or I was coherent enough for you to judge me incorrect. I can’t be both. And I’m certainly not wrong by your bald assertion.

    In conclusion, you are an asshole.

  50. says

    Ed,

    You’re mistaking that there is a difference between meaningful and significant in a statistical context. They are the same thing. If you want to assign some other sort of meaning that is separate from both significance and statistics, that’s fine, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Statistically, the only way for something to be meaningful is for it to be significant.

    For astrology to be statistically significant and adequately predictive, we should be able to go back to your history of mars whatevers and find that there was a political/military/terrorist action very near the time of each one and we should find that all political/military/terrorist actions are accounted for on your list of mars whatevers.

    I can stand here and call out ‘heads’ all day and I’ll be right about 50% of the time, but not if there’s no coin, or if the coin has two tails.

    Astrology seems to require enough knowledge about current events or the life of the individual client (usually through cold reading) to ‘interpret’ the planets and project an outcome that a reasonably astute observer would come to the same conclusions that an astrologer would based on that knowledge.

    Yes, there’s been a political shake-up this year. No, that’s not a big surprise if you look at last year and the years before. Yes, we’re likely to have a shake-up in 2012 because of people who believe astrologers who say it’s the end of the world. No, that’s not a bid surprise if you’ve been paying attention to box-office hits for the last decade.

  51. Ed Kohout says

    How come I’m not getting email updates?

    Oh well, back to the grind.

    On the issue of “meaningfulness” versus “significance,” a wide chasm exists.

    The former is a term used in “logic,” which does have a role in statistical analysis: “Having a recognizable function in a logical language or other sign system.” (This is from my electronic version of the Oxford American Dictionary. I make it a point to have the best references at hand.) The latter term is a specific part of the lexicon of that branch of math we call “Statistics,” and the meaning is self-evident.

    The two are not interchangeable. Your syntax in your statements where you use this word is faulty.

    If you have information to the contrary, please show me, don’t tell me. Until then, you should probably avoid posting anything to avoid further self-inflicted humiliation.

  52. Ed Kohout says

    Jason,

    Your Toronto Two-Step of a reply is, as usual, an adventure in the fog.

    As for the perennial straw-man featuring gravity, Jupiter, babies and obstetricians, please cite the astrological claim that the gravity of planets determines the astrological effect.

    I want a real citation of a real book, some text somewhere that makes this claim. Surely you know right where to go.

    I will not partake in this thread any further until you do so. I have taken the time to reply to your comments with extensive specificity, paragraph by paragraph, as one would expect given the subject matter and attendant nebulous (pun intended) definitions being tossed about.

    Let me say this ONE MORE TIME: I don’t care a bat’s bottom if your quazi-phantom-deterministic-number-puker exists or not, as it has nothing to do with astrology, human behavior, or anything else relevant to this discussion.

    I’m not going to argue the merits of it, nor am I going to think about it for one more minute of my otherwise sublime life.

    I have answered all of the questions put forth to the best of my ability, and I feel that I deserve more than your arrogant little lectures, replete with awful grammar and abtuse commentary.

    I submit here that this discussion, up to this piont, is sufficient enough for, oh, let’s say 9 out of 10 adults with IQ’s over 100, to see that just about everything I have said has gone over your head somehow.

    If you want to be assured that you, Jason the Canadian, have put a huge, fatal dent in the veracity of post-Renaissance Western Astrology with just your own powers of reasoning, then I congratulate you on doing what millions have done before. Woo hoo!

    I await your answer, Jason.

  53. says

    …I don’t care a bat’s bottom if your quazi-phantom-deterministic-number-puker exists or not, as it has nothing to do with astrology…

    Oh. I guess that means it has more to do with reality instead of fiction. Thanks for the clarification!

  54. says

    As for the perennial straw-man featuring gravity, Jupiter, babies and obstetricians, please cite the astrological claim that the gravity of planets determines the astrological effect.

    Please provide evidence of this astrological effect so that, together, we might publish in respected scientific journals and happily await our Nobel Prize.

  55. says

    By definition, astrology predicts the past as well as the future, so we should be able to look to the past and see something.

    Wow. Predicting the past sounds like such a cool, amazing thing to do! I bet it’s really, really hard, too. It’s simply staggering to imagine what it must be like to be able to see something in the past.

  56. Ed Kohout says

    Dan J jabs:

    Ed: By definition, astrology predicts the past as well as the future, so we should be able to look to the past and see something.

    Wow. Predicting the past sounds like such a cool, amazing thing to do! I bet it’s really, really hard, too. It’s simply staggering to imagine what it must be like to be able to see something in the past.

    Yes, it’s quite the thrill for a client when I look back through the history of their life via astrology and pull out big events.

    Or, did you think that I was born with every last person’s own personal history of their entire life, but I use the astrology just to fool ‘em?

    Nice try, but once again someone here is arguing from a point of ignorance, just like we would expect from a religious mindset.

  57. Ed Kohout says

    Dan J gropes:

    Oh. I guess that means it has more to do with reality instead of fiction. Thanks for the clarification!

    Yes, Dan! Of course astrology is a real thing, and has been for years.

    Ed: As for the perennial straw-man featuring gravity, Jupiter, babies and obstetricians, please cite the astrological claim that the gravity of planets determines the astrological effect.

    Please provide evidence of this astrological effect so that, together, we might publish in respected scientific journals and happily await our Nobel Prize.

    Oh, please, Dan, pay attention … what astrology book, text, video, et al, claims that the gravitational strength of Jupiter causes the astrological effects of Jupiter? I know I’ve never seen it. Also, please explain how gravity is what holds a human being together, and why the doctor’s gravity doesn’t cause the newborn to stick to him.

    Please go look up “straw man argument” in Wikipedia before you speak again and make a fool of yourself — again.

  58. says

    No email notifications? You must be having a communication problem. Too bad Mercury isn’t in retrograde or you’d be able to understand why it’s happening. Speaking of communication problems, picking on semantics isn’t your best choice in arguing against the validity of statistics. I don’t have my statistics textbook handy or I’d cite some passages for you, but if it makes you feel better, we can pretend that I was saying “statistically significant” the whole time.

    In order for something predictive to be useful, it must be shown that it’s predictions are accurate in a statistically significant way. Therefore, if astrology is predictive, then it must 1. predict events significantly more accurately than guessing and 2. have significantly fewer false positives than guessing. So in your Mars example, there should be significantly more major conflicts when Mars goes retrograde, matching the scale of however you measure the retrograde-ness of Mars, and there should be significantly fewer major conflicts when Mars is not retrograde.

    Conveniently, there are thousands of years of history that could be analyzed to determine if this is the case. But I’m not surprised that no-one has bothered.

  59. says

    Please provide evidence of this astrological effect so that, together, we might publish in respected scientific journals and happily await our Nobel Prize.

    Oh, please, Dan, pay attention … what astrology book, text, video, et al, claims that the gravitational strength of Jupiter causes the astrological effects of Jupiter? I know I’ve never seen it. Also, please explain how gravity is what holds a human being together, and why the doctor’s gravity doesn’t cause the newborn to stick to him.

    Oh, please, Ed; pay attention. I asked for evidence of your precious astrological effect. I said nothing about gravity.

    Want to play semantics? Check out the etymology of the word predict sometime. You know that pesky little pre at the beginning which signifies before instead of after the fact? Pre plus dict: to say before… to foretell. Put the parts together and you get the definition. Isn’t it cool how that works!?!?! Predicting the past… What a maroon!!

    Come on, Crumpo; you can do better that that.

    Oh, sorry. I guess you can’t do better than that. You’re nothing but a blowhard. You’re an Internet Tough Guy. There’s a reason why Damon and Terese and other astrologers won’t have anything to do with you: You’re a pompous ass, and you’re the only astrologer on the planet who actually knows what Gauquelin was talking about. How do we know? You tell everyone at the drop of a hat; that’s how!

    Hanging around at 9/11 truther meetings in hopes of finding still more gullible marks? Or, have you talked yourself into believing it was an “inside job”? Barnum would be proud. You’ve found a long line of suckers, and bilk them for whatever the market will bear as you tell them what they want to hear.

    One last parting shot: If your concept of gravity has anything at all to do with holding a human being together or wondering why people don’t stick to each other because of it, you’re in much worse mental shape than I thought.

  60. says

    In case you are unaware, Ed, your answer is right here.

    Your subscription has been active since 9-13-2011. I have received every e-mail from every subscribed post (including this one) from FtB during this time frame. As Ben suggests, maybe your computer issues are your own, and a counterexample to the “Mercury in retrograde causing computer difficulties” trope (especially since it’s direct right now, and not even in a “shadow period” or whatever). Is your domain up for renewal? Is your hosting package up to date? Was your hosting provider having email issues? Are you classifying as spam anything that contains too much reality for your conspiracy and dogma addled brain to comprehend?

    These are all standard troubleshooting questions, I assure you.

  61. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Are you classifying as spam anything that contains too much reality for your conspiracy and dogma addled brain to comprehend?

    These are all standard troubleshooting questions, I assure you.

    And remember, Ed, Jason is a genuine computer-savvy technoweenie, so he knows all the standard troubleshooting questions.

  62. Ed Kohout says

    Ben waxes:

    No email notifications? You must be having a communication problem. Too bad Mercury isn’t in retrograde or you’d be able to understand why it’s happening. Speaking of communication problems, picking on semantics isn’t your best choice in arguing against the validity of statistics. I don’t have my statistics textbook handy or I’d cite some passages for you, but if it makes you feel better, we can pretend that I was saying “statistically significant” the whole time.

    Where did you get the idea I was “arguing against the validity of statistics”? I’m only saying that it is pointless to make up fake planetary positions with computer programs as a way to test astrological practices.

    You can’t find a “statistics textbook” online? Try Google Books. I was able to find a bevy of sites that listed definitions.

    In order for something predictive to be useful, it must be shown that it’s predictions are accurate in a statistically significant way.

    How did you arrive at this bizarre conclusion? Were all predictions made before the advent of “statistics” not useful??

    Therefore, if astrology is predictive, then it must 1. predict events significantly more accurately than guessing and 2. have significantly fewer false positives than guessing….

    Your use of “false positives” here confounds me. How does one guess a “false positive”?? I do, though, agree that if astrology can’t do any better than your Aunt Martha from Kansas who’s never heard of a Lunar Node, then it’s quite useless.

    So in your Mars example, there should be significantly more major conflicts when Mars goes retrograde, matching the scale of however you measure the retrograde-ness of Mars, and there should be significantly fewer major conflicts when Mars is not retrograde.

    I said nothing of Mars going retrograde. My example was with standstills of Mars at high values of declination and the concurrent Sun/Mars cycle of 79 years. Perhaps y’all should bone up on your astronomical terminology if you’re going to talk astronomy.

    Conveniently, there are thousands of years of history that could be analyzed to determine if this is the case. But I’m not surprised that no-one has bothered.

    Well, I’M BOTHERING, which means you think I’m a “no-one”. Thanks a lot, dude.

    Still, for one to bother, one would need to jettison the prejudices about astrology and let the findings of the study do the talking. That’s how real scientists go about their work — by putting their own biases aside as best they can.

    That goes for astrologers too, as many of them are all to eager to embrace much of it without any critical thinking. The worst enemy of astrology in our day are amateur astrologers.

    A video is available called “Quantum Astrology” by Mark Levine that discusses the Saturn/Pluto cycle and historical developments in depth. It’s a great vid insofar as it is made for a wide audience and non-astrologers as well as astrologers.

  63. says

    Ed,

    Where did you get the idea I was “arguing against the validity of statistics”?

    Pretty much every one of your posts is either ignoring the importance of statistical analysis or saying it doesn’t apply to astrology.

    How did you arrive at this bizarre conclusion? Were all predictions made before the advent of “statistics” not useful??

    Once again, you pick on semantics, not content. Any prediction that does not rise up to the challenge of statistical analysis is indeed not useful. I can stand in the woods and yell ‘wolf!’ a hundred times and if no wolf comes, that prediction is not useful, nor is it statistically significant (except as proof that I cannot predict the arrival of wolves). Speaking of which:

    How does one guess a “false positive”??

    You really need to read some of those statistics textbooks you found on Google books. From the coin flip example, if we are counting the number of times that you flip heads, then every time I call heads and you flip tails is a false positive. My guess was wrong. In this case, a false positive would be a prediction of whatever Mars is supposed to predict when it does whatever it does that you use to predict things that turns out to not happen.

    Well, I’M BOTHERING

    No, you’re not. You’re cherry-picking matches from history. Just because I called heads half the times the coin fell on heads doesn’t mean I’m able to predict coin flips. If you can actually show a significant uptick in whatever you say Mars predicts when Mars does whatever you say Mars does when it predicts something, then you have shown Mars to actually predict things. Until then, I will remain unconvinced.

  64. says

    Wow, Ed. So now you’ve told us that nothing discernibly (aka “statistically” or “measurably”) different (aka “significant” or “meaningful”) happens because the planets are in or near one spot or another and that there’s nothing about those planets that would cause anything special to happen at any distance from those planets. Huh.

    Which side of this are you arguing again?

  65. says

    Ed doesn’t want to respond to the direct refutation of his claims in the new post, and given the lower audience on this one, is more interested in sticking his douchebaggery to someplace where he incorrectly thinks he’s winning. So I’m closing this comment thread and moving his last comment there.

    Sorry Ben, I know you were still in the midst of an argument on the relevance of statistical significance (and the interchangeability of the word “meaningful” with “significant”). And Stephanie, that comment is priceless, and deserves to be moved to the new one too. This dog’s gotta be brought to curb.

  66. says

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