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Sep 25 2011

Are all astrologers fated by the stars to be douches?

Ed Kohout is one of THOSE kinds of trolls. The ones you know are just trolling from the get-go, but that you just have to feed anyway, just to see what levels of douchery they can realize. In my repost of “How does One Prove Astrology? By Starting Over”, our new friend Ed has taken it upon himself to go on several Gish gallops, spouting so much effluence and demi-truths at such a rate that no single human being could possibly keep up without giving up their job, their personal lives, and ridding themselves of the monkey-on-their-backs that some people call “sleeping”.

Ed has an irritating habit of, rather than merely blockquoting someone and referring to their names, instead including demeaning or degrading verbs in place of “said”. For instance, people “bleat”, “wail”, or “scramble for cover” every time they refuse to accede to his rhetorical demands. I will do likewise in each instance where I blockquote him. I will endeavor to pick the most appropriate verb for each quote (and reserve the right to verb some nouns). Sorry if it gets repetitive.

He’s ended his latest tirade with a demand that I show him one single astrology book that refers to gravity as being the source of astrology’s purported effects. To wit, Ed douched:

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.

Which is why I will reply! I’d never do anything to alienate my new friend Ed!

Certainly, I don’t have extensive knowledge of astrologers’ pseudo-random number generators, and have admitted as much a number of times. The fact that I have not read any books on astrology (at least none that deal solely with it), should not deter me from pointing out a number of times in the course of my blog that the claim has been made by an astrologer of some repute. For instance, Robert Currey of astrologer.com said:

The most established and accepted mechanism is gravity and orbital resonance of the Sun and the Moon which affects the Earth’s oceanic tides and the Earth tide (body tide). The tidal force is part of what some astrologers call natural astrology which also includes the study of the coincidence of seismic activity with celestial positions. The most popular ancient book on astrology Tetrabiblos by polymath, Ptolemy, contains the first records of a tidal connection with the Moon – a theory he derived from ancient observation.

Funny, that book name sounds familiar. Certainly I’m familiar with Ptolemy and his contributions to science, but understand that there are many important, intelligent historical figures that were flat wrong about any number of things. How many important scientists believed, for instance, in God? Regardless, Ptolemy may have been right about any number of things, but that doesn’t make him any more right about astrology by mere extension.

Now as to the familiarity of the name of that book, Tetrabiblos, Ed had douched about it in the following blockdouche:

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.

My description of the events leading up to the specific planet Mars becoming associated with war since Babylonian astrology — when it was named Nergal because it was red and thus possibly fiery, as befitting their war god — was indeed a bit of a grammatical tangle, owing largely to my trying to speak colloquially rather than formally, as is my idiom in comments. Ed Kohout, in this blockdouche, refers to a book by Ptolemy that deals a significant amount with both astrology and gravitational (e.g. tidal) forces. I don’t know whether Ptolemy actually ascribes the astrological “effect” to gravity per Robert’s mentioned “natural astrology”, since I have not read Tetrabiblos (I prefer science textbooks written within the last hundred years, at minimum — and the newer, the better). I’ve also not read the Qu’ran, though I’m certain it’s pretty wrong about most of what it has to say too. One does not need to read all the latest fashion magazines to be free to call the Emperor’s new clothes nonexistent. Cross-reference: the Courtier’s Reply, a common tactic used by religionists.

Coincidentally, Ed himself refers to tidal forces (evidently in conjunction with some intrinsic relationship between the metals in the planets and the metals in our bodies). He douched:

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.[sic]

And elsewhere he douched:

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.

Here, he’s referring to the Kolisko Effect, named after Lilly Kolisko who invented the concept in the 1920s. Nick Kollerstrom provided pretty much the only experimental verification of the results, as I find absolutely nothing on arxiv.org and only one astrology book on Google Scholar. Kollerstrom is more recently famous for being stripped of his University College, London honorary fellowship for holocaust denialism, so his works might be too radioactive for other scientists to touch at the moment. The effect merits further investigation, but nobody seems particularly interested for some reason. Nonetheless, if there is indeed a correlation between the positions of the planets and solubility of metals, that’s an interesting bit of physics, and may even have some small but measurable effect on our metabolism. I’m not sure how it could have an effect on our behaviours in aggregate, at least not without providing some kind of easily testable hypothesis that nobody working in the field of astrology has done any research on.

But then, nobody’s bothered to show an astrological effect of any sort to begin with. Every time you ask, all you get is a small amount of hits in a sample suffering grossly from selection bias. You’ll never receive anything even remotely approaching statistical significance. And when you do get something approaching statistical significance, you’ll find out that the bar for significance was artificially lowered such that you could pull an “effect” out of randomly generated numbers more often than not.

Regardless of who claimed why astrology works how, nobody has ever shown any sort of effect, and Ed has even douched a permutation of that old quote about “lies, damned lies and statistics” in an effort to misdirect away from the fact that no effect has been shown with any degree of statistical significance (which was the whole point of the post on which he reposted his challenge — the first time he challenged me, being on my coverage of Jamie Darkstar Funk’s history purge).

The effect is paramount. You can have an effect in search of a mechanism, or you can have a mechanism in absence of an effect, but you can’t just assume an effect (on arguments from antiquity, no less) then go hunting for a plausible mechanism.

Ed claims that by invoking and dismissing gravity as a mechanism, we are attacking a strawman. Perhaps that’s not what he claims as a mechanism (though he mentions tidal forces several times), but it’s actually not an argument meant to stand on its own. The discussion of gravity is in actuality one premise of a larger argument that works like this:

  1. There are four fundamental forces by which particles in the Standard Model can interact over a distance.
  2. If astrology actually demonstrates a measurable effect on humans’ lives, it must explain it by one or more of these forces, or both postulate and demonstrate that another force exists.
  3. Take as an accepted premise for this argument that astrology has an effect — there is a separate argument regarding whether an effect has ever been shown.
  4. Astrologers have not postulated an alternative to these four forces.
  5. The first force, the Weak Interaction force, operates on Planck scales. It is responsible for initiating radioactivity in atoms. It cannot operate over the distances required to be responsible for astrological effects, unless indirectly by radiation, which is measurable and not presently measured. Most planets are, additionally, not significantly radioactive and especially not over distances required to reach Earth.
  6. The second force, the Strong Interaction force, holds quarks and atoms together. This force dissipates after a few femtometres. It cannot operate over the distances required to be responsible for astrological effects.
  7. The third force, the electromagnetic force, describes both magnetic fields and electricity. It is hundreds of times weaker than the Strong Interaction force. It operates over large enough distances to plausibly provide a mechanism for astrology, assuming that the only object we care about is the Sun, the richest source of electromagnetic energy (in both heat and light) in the solar system. Other bodies like our neighbor the Moon, nearby Venus, extremely distant Pluto or Mercury have no or nearly no magnetic field. Jupiter has a large magnetic field, and was one of the first extraterrestrial radio sources we picked up, but its radio emissions are dwarfed even by the emissions on our own planet, not to mention the sun. Because not all the planets have an electromagnetic field, electromagnetism would result in some of the bodies referenced in astrology having no influence whatsoever.
  8. The fourth force, gravitation, describes the attraction between objects with mass. It is far weaker than electromagnetism. It operates over large enough distances to plausibly provide a mechanism for astrology, assuming that the only objects we care about are the Sun and the Moon, which together account for nearly all the tidal and orbital forces our planet experiences. It has been dismissed at length in this post and contributors’ comments.
  9. From 2, since all four forces have been dismissed for various reasons (5, 6, 7, 8), and since astrology has not postulated and sought to prove another force (4), astrology has no plausible mechanism by which the effect could be caused.

Note that point number 3 explicitly declares that whether astrology has an effect has been accepted as true for the purposes of this argument only. Whether astrology has a mechanism is a separate and distinct question, and means significantly less than whether astrology has an effect.

I don’t expect that Ed, or any of his astrological compatriots who will one day darken these blog-halls, will ever attempt to show any actual effect (much less a plausible mechanism that explains all the effects) they claim for each of the planets. I don’t expect to change a single mind, especially not one so entrenched in his dogma as Ed Kohout.

I do, however, intend to milk his attention for all it’s worth, and strongly encourage him to continue posting vitriol (“where and when did you finally get your GED? I hope this question is not UNWARENTED.[sic]“), demonstrably false acrimony (“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.”), failed predictions about my sex life (“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.”), grammatical nitpicks (“[again with the "you". Do you not understand basic English?]“), and victory laps in every single comment. This douchery isn’t even limited to skeptics’ forums — he’s evidently pissed off whole forums of astrologers as well. What do you expect from someone who links to “9/11 Truth” conspiracy theory websites on his vanity/business webpage, and once even used this platform to call for a revolution on September 18th, 2008 (ostensibly to coincide with an opposition of Saturn to overthrow moneyed interests in the government)?

You’re an entertaining fellow, Ed. Just not for the reasons you think you are. And no, not for your Kevin Nash coiffe, either.

Looking back over this post, it seems the most appropriate verb for every single quote was “douched”. What a crazy random happenstance.

39 comments

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  1. 1
    VeritasKnight

    The title alone made me laugh until I got a glare from my manager. The rest of the post? Hilarious.

  2. 2
    DuWayne

    So how do you really feel about astrologers, Ed in particular? It would really help if you’d stop sending mixed messages, the ambiguity is getting me down…

    Looking back over this post, it seems the most appropriate verb for every single quote was “douched”. What a crazy random happenstance.

    It’s actually due to the conjunction of Mars and your ass…Possibly it was gas.

  3. 3
    Randomfactor

    the most appropriate verb for every single quote was “douched”

    Age of Aquarius, man.

  4. 4
    Dan J

    Wonderful!

    For some reason, I’ve got this vision of John Edward screaming, “I’m not a douche!

  5. 5
    'Tis Himself

    reserve the right to verb some nouns

    As Bill Watterson put it so well: “Verbing weirds language.”

  6. 6
    Erin

    Are all astrologers fated by the stars to be douches?

    Of course only astrologers could truly answer this and I doubt any would be willing to admit it.

    So would it be the gravitational pull of the stars that determines the douchiness of an astrologer? Except, if I remember correctly, your current resident douche has already insisted (or is that douched) that the stars have nothing to do with it:

    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 be prepared for him to argue against your title.

  7. 7
    blindrobin

    Drowning in troll milk is an ugly way to go.

  8. 8
    Ed Kohout

    Jason,

    Well, where *did* you get your GED, and how many girlfriends have you had? Be honest for a change, ok?

    I have to admit, you are a prolific blogger, and one wonders where you find the time to do all of this in between your computer career and your wife who probably drags you into the bedroom, what, four or five times a day because she just can’t get enough.

    I’ll get to why just about this entire screed is just another diversionary exercise soon, but in the meantime, know that I’m sorry you are going bald at an early age, Canadian, grammatically challenged, and seething with jealousy over my superior intelligence and attractive body.

    I get it all the time, it’s nothing new, so try to get some sleep tonight, k?

    -

  9. 9
    Jason Thibeault

    Moving this comment here too, since it appears to be a practical repost of the above comment by Ed. How’s that for a victory lap?

    Oh, Danny Boy,

    I enjoyed reading your latest little tantrum. Did you not get enough time in the sandbox today? Is your brain all kerfuffled with this flurry of intense data and high mathematics?

    In case you haven’t realized it yet, I actually have been engaged in setting out some evidence in this remote and lonely corner of “the Internets” — evidence of which you have no comment, nor will you ever as you can’t ken it.

    Instead, you want to just go after Ed on a personal level, which is the very definition of AD HOMINEM, and thus irrelevant and a big fuckin’ waste of time.

    Well, Danny Boy, trust me when I tell you that I am taller, better looking, more fit, smarter, and wittier than you, not to mention a better lover, painter, singer, guitarist, mechanic, chef, writer, and most assuredly astrologer. I make you look retarded on probably ever level, and so you must hate me to feel better about yourself. What maturity!

    Yes, the DNA lottery was kinder to me than to you for whatever reason, but you should probably blame your parents who didn’t love you enough rather than me, as none of you is my fault.

    OK, can we get back to grown-up stuff again?

  10. 10
    Jason Thibeault

    I wrote a post recently explaining how you’re wrong about the label ‘ad hominem’. Now, can you look past the parts where I call you on your douchery and address where I proved you wrong about your tea-leaf-reading?

  11. 11
    Jason Thibeault

    Blindrobin: I feed trolls.

  12. 12
    Assassin Actual

    Feeding the trolls makes you trollbait, sadly. Nice of Ed to toss the personal attack guantlet down first, but you can’t win with people like that. Deconstruct their argument and they will TL:DR it and sing TROLL-LOL-LOL till the cows come home

  13. 13
    Dan J

    Crumpo blathered:

    Instead, you want to just go after Ed on a personal level, which is the very definition of AD HOMINEM, and thus irrelevant and a big fuckin’ waste of time.

    ROFL! As Jason pointed out above, you can’t even get the definition of an ad hominem argument correct. You’re not wrong because you’re an arrogant, whining, little shit-stain. You’re wrong in addition to being an arrogant, whining, little shit-stain.

    Well, Danny Boy, trust me when I tell you that I am taller, better looking, more fit, smarter, and wittier than you, not to mention a better lover, painter, singer, guitarist, mechanic, chef, writer, and most assuredly astrologer. I make you look retarded on probably ever level, and so you must hate me to feel better about yourself. What maturity!

    LOL!! Simply amazing. You certainly don’t think much of yourself, do you? It’s amazing you can keep your hands off of yourself long enough to type these responses. Or; do you dictate them to your Honduran rent-boy?

    Yes, the DNA lottery was kinder to me than to you for whatever reason, but you should probably blame your parents who didn’t love you enough rather than me, as none of you is my fault.

    Believe me, Crumpo; no love has ever been lost on you, unless it was from yourself. You’re a riot-and-a-half, Crumpmeister. It’s no wonder the other astrologers won’t play with you, even if your mommy ties an ephemeris around your neck.

    OK, can we get back to grown-up stuff again?

    Oh; does that mean you’re finally leaving so that we can discuss reality instead of your delusional bullshit? Go find some gullible marks, little man. Your tiny brain has left us craving something more; perhaps Carrot Top would be more of an intellectual challenge.

  14. 14
    Jason Thibeault

    Assassin: In this thread: trolls trolling trolls.

  15. 15
    chaosagent

    Superdouche sprayed:

    I have to admit, you are a prolific blogger, and one wonders where you find the time to do all of this in between your computer career and your wife who probably drags you into the bedroom, what, four or five times a day because she just can’t get enough.

    Jason. I’m sorry. I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the vehicle. It’s become apparent that you are drowning in SWAG. You must immediately remove some of the offending SWAG or surely Jodi will succumb to exhaustion and then you’ll attract more womens. Sir, remove the SWAG and there will be no more issues. Except for the one that science needs to get working on faster. Which is the microscope that is strong enough to find one douche’s severely overcompensated for dick.

  16. 16
    Jason Thibeault

    Moving another example of Ed Kohout’s douchebaggery here, because he just won’t learn.

    The Kanuck yuks:

    In case you are unaware, Ed, your answer is right here [link to another irrelevant blog page].

    I get my own page! Woo hoo! And, as normal, you avoid every last point I’ve ever made and instead ramble on in that childish manner we’ve become accustomed to.

    someone who can’t see his own poo in his own intestines so he assumes his shit don’t stink.

    AGAIN: There is no “force” in astrology. Never has been, no matter how badly you want to make it.

    In the beginning of this thread, I state my definition of astrology, and do not use the word “force.”

    You, too, offer up a loose definition of astrology, and the word “force” is not used by you.

    So, where does this mysterious force come from??

    Your Daddy’s Straw-Man Factory??

    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.

    Well, I expect as much from a standard human.

    “‘Tis Himself, OM” adds:

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

    It’s so impressive, yes, that Jason can run a free blog. My hat goes off to him for having this amazing talent and sharing it with the world.

  17. 17
    Ed Kohout

    JASON — First you said you didn’t want this discussion at the 9/12/2010 post, so we moved it here. Now you don’t want it here but on this new post?? Are you always this erratic?

    Here’s my reply to Ben from the blog you just closed:

    Ben retorts:

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

    Where have I “ignored the importance of statistical analysis”? I’m thankful for statistical analysis! It solved the Cholera epidemic in London, and keeps my insurance rates high! ;-)

    Yes, you are correct that I’m saying it doesn’t apply to astrology. There are no meaningful analyses that can be done given the highly subjective parameters of how we “see” human behavior.

    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.

    OK, so if I predict that your daughter will get knocked up by the age of 16, and she indeed does, why in the world should I have wasted my valuable time doing statistical analyses on her, you, your neighborhood, your school, etc., when I can just look at her chart and see that she is highly promiscuous?

    The problem, dear friends, is that you do not know what astrology is, or does, or what astrologers do, our techniques, studies, etc., and instead you want to shove the “statistical analysis” non-starter meme again and again. Statistics are not a chimera, and that limitation needs to sink into your heads.

    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).

    ???? If I predict you’ll say something silly in your next missive, will you endeavor to not?

    Speaking of which:

    EK: 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.

    Ah, thanks. In astrology, then, we might watch for Mars to move, by transit, over the natal Sun position in 1024 charts during the course of one Mars cycle. Then we query our subjects as to how many fights they got in for those few days, and then we ask them the same question at random times (that hopefully do not match the time of the Mars = Sun transit) and tally up the results.

    I hope Jason is independently wealthy and can fund this kind of study. In the meantime, I’ll continue to make helpful predictions for my clients that actually matter to their lives as individuals.

    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.

    You will remain unconvinced until the day you die because you arrogantly believe you know better than the millions of astrologers who have come before you.

    I don’t see how my choices of these recurring events:

    1) WORLD WARS
    2) GREAT DEPRESSIONS
    3) WORLD TRADE CENTER TERRORIST ATTACKS

    is cherry picking history!!

    If you were honest, you would admit — at the very least — that my example begs more study.

  18. 18
    Jason Thibeault

    Stephanie said the following in the last, now closed thread:

    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?

    This is pretty much a perfect summary of where Ed’s backed himself into his corner.

    I moved your comments here, Ed, because I’d really like you to address this post, its posits, and its commenters. And you were actively avoiding doing so. And are more interested in continuing to do so, evidently.

  19. 19
    Ben Zvan

    Ah, thanks. In astrology, then, we might watch for Mars to move, by transit, over the natal Sun position in 1024 charts during the course of one Mars cycle. Then we query our subjects as to how many fights they got in for those few days, and then we ask them the same question at random times (that hopefully do not match the time of the Mars = Sun transit) and tally up the results.

    Was that so hard? If people really believed that astrology worked, this study would have been done already.

  20. 20
    Jason Thibeault

    I hope Jason is independently wealthy and can fund this kind of study.

    Have you ever heard of the burden of proof? I’m not interested in disproving every single crackpot theory single-handedly, and especially not using my own money. You think there’s something to astrology? YOU PROVE IT.

    I don’t see how my choices of these recurring events:

    1) WORLD WARS
    2) GREAT DEPRESSIONS
    3) WORLD TRADE CENTER TERRORIST ATTACKS

    is cherry picking history!!

    That’s because you’re dumb. It’s not your fault, though. It’s a consequence of your upbringing. Were you malnourished as a child?

    You see, you gave us on that last post a list of every single “extreme of declination of Mars”, and I looked through the list and sorted them by year and found that there was one or two in almost every single year from 1900-2019. Some of the events you mentioned in that list are offset by upward of six months from the declination. That means all you have to do is cherry-pick the “big bad things” in history and say Mars did it. Never mind that there isn’t a world war, great depression or terrorist attack on American soil every year — though you could easily expand the window by saying things like that the Vietnam war “was ramping up” during a declination. If you were to expand the scope of your hits, you could probably find a major military conflict or financial event on every single day listed in your list of declinations. But I bet you could also find a major military conflict or financial event on every single other day in the calendar, as well.

    Ergo, selection bias all up in this biatch.

  21. 21
    Ed Kohout

    Jason,

    Firstly, this screed above only shows how flustered you are with your own intellectual limitations. “Ed Kohout is a Gish Galloper!!” “Waaaaahhhhh~! I want my mommie!!”

    Secondly, you have no idea how to ken the concept of CYCLES, nor do you seem to want to talk about them even though they are the quintessence of astrological study.

    Thirdly, my two major predictions in the last year were both correct:

    1) The Arab Spring
    2) The “death” of “Osama bin Laden.”

    The public record on this is clear, posted on both the NCGR discussion list and the “i_predict” discussion list.

    Or, maybe Obama and the CIA were reading my posts and just decided to go along with my augurs?

    Your little treatise above on the “laws of physics” only proves that you like to watch The Discovery Channel, but worse, it says nothing about how the “laws of physics” govern human behavior.

    When I asked you to show us the mechanism of how life “happens” on this planet, you had no answer, and therefore have no authority to speak on the half of the astrological equation that concerns humans.

    Finally, the “laws of physics” are still a work in progress, not a done deal. Humans only know a tiny fraction about the physical laws of the earth, let alone the solar system.

    Your long-winded adventure above can only crumble like a crumb cake in the Alberta Chinook winds.

    I’m sorry you are bald and unhappy in your discontented Canadian life, but don’t externalize that on me just because it’s so easy for smart people to have some fun at your expense. It’s simply not my fault that you are an arrogant little e-twerp struggling for intellectual mediocrity, and let’s face it, your behavior during our exchange has been quite pedestrian.

    Your approval or disapproval of me or my work and life is so inconsequential that it challenges the scientific notion of what can be infinitely small.

    But, I’m glad you are an atheist.

  22. 22
    Jason Thibeault

    but worse, it says nothing about how the “laws of physics” govern human behavior.

    It also does not provide a recipe for zucchini bread. Your point?

    The public record on this is clear, posted on both the NCGR discussion list and the “i_predict” discussion list.

    Link please? And preferably one to the list of the likely fifty things you predicted that didn’t come true, as compared to the two that did. So we can all point and laugh about how many things you DIDN’T guess right. Especially those that expose that you guessed them based on probabilistic analysis of political situations you have gleaned from watching the nightly news.

    When I asked you to show us the mechanism of how life “happens” on this planet, you had no answer, and therefore have no authority to speak on the half of the astrological equation that concerns humans.

    We aren’t talking about abiogenesis, but then your intellectual paucity suggests that you might not know how to tell the difference between on- and off-topic.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play Resistance 3 with my wife. Then we might have sex then go to bed, seeing as how I have to travel tomorrow to discuss my role in the company I work for after my big promotion comes through.

    IOW: fuck you, you swaggering dick.

  23. 23
    Juniper Shoemaker

    grammatical nitpicks (“[again with the "you". Do you not understand basic English?]“

    This is irritating me. This blog isn’t an academic publication. It is acceptable to deliberately use the second-person “you” instead of the third-person “one” during an informal exchange. It doesn’t indicate an incomprehension of standard English any more than the deliberate use of contractions or other colloquialisms during an informal exchange does. Anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t well-read and doesn’t understand the English language.

    Anyway, congratulations on the promotion– ye Bald and Unhappy Canuckistanian! May you and Jodi play many indoor sports tonight. ;)

  24. 24
    Dan J

    This is Ed Kohout admitting that astrology has no basis in reality:

    Where have I “ignored the importance of statistical analysis”? I’m thankful for statistical analysis! It solved the Cholera epidemic in London, and keeps my insurance rates high! ;-)

    Yes, you are correct that I’m saying it doesn’t apply to astrology. There are no meaningful analyses that can be done given the highly subjective parameters of how we “see” human behavior.

  25. 25
    Ben Zvan

    I agree completely. How hard would it be to find 100 random people and have them fill out a web-based form (or they have SMS ones now just for this type of thing) on how well they got along with other people every day, even as simple as a 1-10 rating. Then get an astrologer to plot their Mars-thingy for the same period and compare the two. It would cost, like, 10 grand, tops. If the purpose of astrology is to help people figure shit out in their own lives, then their individual, subjective responses should match the arbitrary crap the Mars tables would spew. If not, then astrology is worthless.

  26. 26
    Ed Kohout

    Crybabies Anonymouse,

    The lackluster quality of all of the replies since my last missive strikes me with sorrow, for as an atheist, I had such high hopes that my ilk would be of sound mind and the ability to reason, not to mention the eagerness to discuss topics like this with high energy.

    It is pointless, perhaps, to go over and over the same material again and again, but I did indeed say I would be here for the long haul, and maybe that is the curse of having “a clue” in this confused and emotional world.

    First, let’s look at the highly scientific term “real.” Is astrology “real”?? Why, yes, it is! It exists!! It has for many millennia, and has survived to this very day!

    Is it a reliable and trusted system for explaining everything in the world through whatever lens YOU happen to see it that is based on “the laws of physics” and statistical analysis?

    NO!!!!!!!!

    But that was never my definition, so stop putting definitions in my mouth.

    The astrology of human behavior can no more be based on “the laws of physics” than can astrology, given that the study of human behavior — called psychology — does not incorporate the “laws of physics” as the prime motivator.

    Now, when it comes to tides, earthquakes, volcanoes, and the like, we are indeed looking to the laws of physics (basic ones) that govern dumb, inanimate matter. Astrology does have an iron in this fire, but it too has been pooh-pooh’d by the establishment.

    However, it’s safe to say that gravity plays no role in the reason someone got sad or had a relative die or miscommunicated an idea to the boss, or why someone is homosexual, or racist, and so on.

    Certainly Jupiter’s gravity has no capacity to start pulling the baby or mother or anyone else toward it, but Jupiter does have a gravitational governing of Earth, and Earth’s gravity pulls equally on the doctor, baby, mother, and whomever else we might pick.

    And, much psychological paradigm comes from astrological archetyping in Renaissance and earlier astrologies. Look up “saturnine” or “jovial” and see the astrological influences of Saturn and Jupiter.

    Finally, the issue of “causality” that folks here are also assuming.

    I say that the same thing that “causes” the planets to be in motion “causes” life to be in motion as well, and thus we have:

    SYNCHRONY. This is where we stand in astrology, and this paradigm has been attained via the evolution of astrological theories and observations.

    Getting back to statistics, they are at best lineal phantasms of what might really be going on, but that always breaks down in the microcosm. Take the coin flips, for instance. All coins are similar, weighted equally no matter how we bisect it? Hardly. Is the flipper unbiased? Maybe.

    A statistic is this: 60% of Canadians believe in Jesus. Therefore, if I meet 10 Canadians and none of them are Christians, what could have possibly gone wrong? Oh, I’m on THIS blog, not in the heart of Halifax or St. John in a Wal Mart.

    This is why your 100 monkey experiment will never work: no two Mars situations are ever the same in astrology. Besides, do you really think that it’s an easy task to track 100 (should be more like 1500) people in real-time for many Mars cycles that total 40 years or so?

    And, I haven’t even brought up chaos theory when it comes to temporal models governed by entropic degredation. Everything falls apart and more, just ask the person in charge of ridding hospitals of superbugs or the guy that has to explain how legalizing marijuana actually leads to reductions in local crime levels.

    On “grammatical nitpicks,” no, I was not being overly persnickety, as Jason was on an ad-hominem campaign for much of his postings, calling me every name in the book instead of talking about the issues, and then he used “you” as if he meant “Ed Kohout” when indeed “Ed Kohout” would be doing nothing of the sort that he was suggesting, and if I were, how the hell am I supposed to know what he thinks is going on in my mind?

    Then agian, the “it’s just a blog” admonishment suggests that indeed all of the content is just here for amusement, and so riding Lilian Gish into the sunset-conjunct-Mars is just as valuable as anything else anyone might say. It’s just a big, or small, informal little party here with nothing of value to offer.

    Well, words mean things, and to have discussions of a concrete nature we must define our parameters. The definition of “physician” has changed over the years and continues to. Why this cannot apply to “astrologer” speaks to a lack of logical thinking that should be the bane of a free-thinker.

  27. 27
    Ed Kohout

    Jason The Bald,

    Thou shall readeth, shall then thou weepeth:

    ONE:

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

    ==================================================
    As if there hasn’t already been enough excitement and brinksmanship this year, surely there will be more on the way this week, which may be the most important of the year….

    As for contemporary astrology and Cosmobiological techniques, the US Presidency is astrologically vested with this warlike combination:

    MA = NO = JU/PL

    As we speak this is being transited by SA/NE, which is simply OVERREACH and mass confusion projected by entrenched powers.

    In conclusion, my best guess is that this week will be a humdinger, and much will be gleaned about who will get what from these latest CIA-backed Middle East uprisings via the Peter Ackerman CFR model. It’s a powder keg of trouble, but that’s life on Gaia.
    ==================================================

    TWO:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/i_predict/message/32891

    ==================================================
    As you know, the JU/SA = PL date is the 3rd of December, after which a major power shift will take place, perhaps an event, perhaps a palace coup (as in 1982). In case anyone missed it amidst the recent excitement, this cycle predicts major swings in big power:

    PL Cnj JU/SA Jul 26 1917 04°Cn39′ D 04°Cn39′ D (USA takes charge of Great War)

    PL Opp JU/SA Jan 1 1927 14°Cn57′ R 14°Cp57′ D (Stalin ousts Trotsky)

    PL Opp JU/SA Jan 17 1936 26°Cn17′ R 26°Cp17′ D (Axis is formed)

    PL Cnj JU/SA Sep 9 1944 09°Le26′ D 09°Le26′ D (USA turns tide in WWII)

    PL Cnj JU/SA Aug 26 1953 23°Le16′ D 23°Le16′ D (USA retreats in Korea)

    PL Opp JU/SA Apr 3 1963 10°Vi04′ R 10°Pi04′ D
    PL Opp JU/SA Nov 6 1963 13°Vi47′ D 13°Pi47′ R (Kennedy Assn.)
    PL Opp JU/SA Dec 13 1963 14°Vi13′ D 14°Pi13′ D

    PL Opp JU/SA Jan 30 1973 04°Li15′ R 04°Ar15′ D (Nixon ousted; Vietnam retreat)

    PL Cnj JU/SA Dec 9 1981 26°Li11′ D 26°Li11′ D
    PL Cnj JU/SA May 14 1982 24°Li45′ R 24°Li45′ R (GHW Bush leads palace coup against Reagan – See “Unauthorized Biography” by Tarpley, pg 387.)
    PL Cnj JU/SA Jul 27 1982 24°Li16′ D 24°Li16′ D

    PL Cnj JU/SA Oct 26 1991 19°Sc35′ D 19°Sc35′ D (GHW Bush health strangeness, political meltdown and Ross Perot throws election to WJC)

    PL Opp JU/SA Jun 6 2001 13°Sg51′ R 13°Ge51′ D (9/11 political theater)

    PL Cnj JU/SA Dec 3 2010 04°Cp19′ D 04°Cp19′ D (duck, Mr. Obama)

    My money is on more political disaster theater, as it is so effective.
    ==================================================

  28. 28
    Jason Thibeault

    Well, words mean things, and to have discussions of a concrete nature we must define our parameters.

    You douched:

    First, let’s look at the highly scientific term “real.” Is astrology “real”?? Why, yes, it is! It exists!! It has for many millennia, and has survived to this very day!

    Very well, let’s define our terms then, Ed. From Merriam-Webster:

    Adjective: Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed: “Julius Caesar was a real person”

    By this first part of the definition, yes, the practice of astrology exists and has existed for many millenia. So has the belief in Yahweh, and there are about as many books about it, and in about the same antiquity.

    The definition people are using around here for “real” is the second clause of the above, though. “Not imagined or supposed”. Astrology is the product of fevered imaginations building on one another’s imaginings over long millenia. Astrology does not describe any process or correlation that actually happens, as you yourself said this (with the douchery struck out):

    Is it a reliable and trusted system for explaining everything in the world through whatever lens YOU happen to see it that is based on “the laws of physics” and statistical analysis?

    NO!!!!!!!!

    As soon as you cut out the douchery, you’re telling the truth. Funny that. Astrology is not a reliable and trusted system for explaining anything in the world that is based on the laws of physics and statistical analysis.

    it too has been pooh-pooh’d by the establishment.

    GALILEO COMPLEX. Future post on this one. I’ll link it here eventually. I’ve also got a post in the hopper that needs some refining about the invocation of “quantum” to explain anything a woomeister needs a sciencey sounding word with a large enough knowledge gap to stuff his particular brand of pseudoscience into. Conveniently, you invoked it here instead of gravity (e.g. the tidal forces you’ve decided to stop invoking after our commenters so thoroughly pulled that rug out from under your feet).

    On “grammatical nitpicks,” no, I was not being overly persnickety, as Jason was on an ad-hominem campaign for much of his postings, calling me every name in the book instead of talking about the issues, and then he used “you” as if he meant “Ed Kohout” when indeed “Ed Kohout” would be doing nothing of the sort that he was suggesting, and if I were, how the hell am I supposed to know what he thinks is going on in my mind?

    In this comment alone: Run-on. Comma splice. Willful misinterpretation of the timeline of events (your insults and grammar nitpicks came long before this post). Tangled logic — how does my insulting you justify your being overly critical of colloquial grammar? Two typos. Misuse of “ad hominem” despite being pointed to a primer on how it’s not an ad hominem attack if you attack the argument in parallel to insulting the person.

    If I was grading this, or anything else you’ve ever written, you’d get an F before I even started talking about your arguments themselves.

    [more cherry-picking]

    Oooh. You posted a list of more correlations cherrypicked from history, omitting all the big important things. I’m weeping.

    Look at December 2010. Scroll down through the list. Notice that good, bad, and neutral events have happened on EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY, including in US politics. Through the whole month. And that’s just an example. And yet, the assassination of Barack Obama (I’m guessing that’s what you meant by “duck, Mr. Obama”!) didn’t happen. Despite him making a surprise visit to Afghanistan that day. 15 days later, the Arab Spring revolutions started, and a new one sprang up every few weeks through May. How much “after” the specific condition does your Saturn get to “synchronize” with an event on our planet? Why don’t you ever specify? I could say “a big earthquake will happen very soon” and be absolutely correct, if I don’t define the parameters for “big”, “soon”, or where it’ll happen.

    And what was Saturn doing in May 2011 to cause that last one, and, say, bin Laden’s death? Oh, right, this stuff doesn’t CAUSE anything, it just COINCIDES WITH IT in ways that can’t rise to the level of statistical significance or you’d have to show your work.

    I can’t be bothered to sign up for a Yahoo account to check to see what you predicted in that first link, but I have no bleeding clue what it is you’re talking about in the blockquote. It sounds far more like a prediction of an Arab Spring type event. But no matter. When something big happens, you figure out what the planets were doing, and say “that’s why”. Doesn’t matter what happened, or what the planets were doing.

    It’s like you pick up a Rubiks Cube, shuffle it, and say “that’s the solution”. We ask you to actually tell us what solution you’re aiming for before you start shuffling, and you say “oh, no no, we can’t do that, astrology doesn’t work that way.”

  29. 29
    Ben Zvan

    Ed spake:

    Besides, do you really think that it’s an easy task to track 100 (should be more like 1500) people in real-time for many Mars cycles that total 40 years or so?

    It’s not simple, no. But there are thousands of studies that have tracked large groups for long periods. If astrology actually had the power to predict the future, there would be a lot of potential profit in that. Any study that would give a better understanding of it’s accuracy and relevance would be completely worth it. if astrology actually had the power to predict the future.

  30. 30
    Juniper Shoemaker

    Then agian [sic], the “it’s just a blog” admonishment suggests that indeed all of the content is just here for amusement

    No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t necessarily follow that an informal exchange “is just for amusement” merely because it’s informal. Your capacity for logic is as formidable as your understanding of English.

  31. 31
    Ed Kohout

    Ben wisely offers:

    It’s not simple, no. But there are thousands of studies that have tracked large groups for long periods. If astrology actually had the power to predict the future, there would be a lot of potential profit in that. Any study that would give a better understanding of it’s accuracy and relevance would be completely worth it. if astrology actually had the power to predict the future.

    The Gauquelin study from the 1960′s is the largest astrological study of its kind ever. I think something like 70,000 charts were considered. It was not favorable for the claims of astrology, but as my good friend Ray Murphy always says, “Astrology has no standard claims that can be tested scientifically.”

    Predicting the future is a big industry. Football games are predicted every week for money. Economic forecasts are used to guide governments and corporations in budgeting. Yet, no system is perfect, but these other kinds of prediction are proliferate.

    Now, regardless of what Jason keeps on repeating, anyone can see that I offered up to this blog two major accurate predictions from earlier this year concerning important events. I didn’t see these predictions anywhere else in the media, and they are solely my own.

    A skilled astrologer, though rare, can truly blow your mind. That s/he can’t explain how it all works to you in 15 minutes doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

    My unsolicited advice to you is to take the time and really learn astrology. It may be eye-opening.

  32. 32
    Ed Kohout

    Jason,

    You’re a big, bald joke.

    You don’t get it, and you probably never will. But, it’s been fun dismantling you day after day from so many different angles on your own blog.

  33. 33
    Jason Thibeault

    If astrology has no standard claims that can be tested scientifically, then it can be neatly excised from the body of human knowledge as utterly useless.

    Also: onoes I’m bald. This undercuts my entire argument.

    Do be sure to stop by once you’ve won the JREF Million Dollar Prize, you utter prat.

  34. 34
    Dan J

    The Gauquelin study from the 1960′s is the largest astrological study of its kind ever. I think something like 70,000 charts were considered. It was not favorable for the claims of astrology, but as my good friend Ray Murphy always says, “Astrology has no standard claims that can be tested scientifically.”

    Does Ed agree with Ray Murphy? This is the same claim currently used by many theologians when asked for evidence of their deity. Anyone with the temerity to question the veracity of their studies simply doesn’t understand the nuances surrounding real theology (or, as in this case, astrology).

    It’s a cop-out. It always has been, and it will remain so until empirical evidence is presented, and statistical analysis produces repeatable results.

  35. 35
    Dan J

    On a side note: bald isn’t too bad. Though my hair is starting to grow back, I’m going to keep shaving it for now. I like the look.

  36. 36
    Ed Kohout

    Dan J goes to the heart of the matter:

    This is the same claim currently used by many theologians when asked for evidence of their deity … It’s a cop-out. It always has been, and it will remain so until empirical evidence is presented, and statistical analysis produces repeatable results.

    On this I agree, as do many other astrologers on the cutting-edge who, in the last few decades have cut through the baloney handed down to us by the Renaissance and post-Renaissance era. From the get-go here, I never said I was going to defend the entirety of “astrology,” but rather offer up some evidence for the definition I laid out. If you think I have failed thus far to do what I have said I was going to do, then please say so instead of this continual red-herring and straw-manning that only wants to argue against “astrology” from the giant nebula of the entire history of astro-superstition.

    The same could be said about all the other “sciences” that were not sciences quite yet during the Renaissance. They were hampered by a lack of knowledge of the macro and micro, such as the existence of Uranus and Neptune, or the existence of viruses and bacteria.

    I often ask my fellow astrologers, “Do you cure your illnesses by bleeding yourself according to what sign the Moon is in?” Of course no one does, but that doesn’t stop the herd from pretending that our predecessors were both wiser, more “in tune” with nature, and more honest – thus the religious element, and I abhor that mindset to the nth degree, as anyone could evince from my voluminous “Internets” postings.

    Yet, at the same time, the fallacy of the “astrology is complete bullshit” crowd is equally religious in nature, as I have pointed out a few times above. To assume that human beings somehow exist independent of the very system they have been bound to for the entire timeline of evolution (as far as we can tell) is to assume we are magical creatures that are products of some area beyond the visible heavens, etc etc etc.

    The solar system is a CLOSED SYSTEM of cyclical dynamics that, like it or not, are going on all around you with high volume and intensity, only you can’t see it or hear it because your sensory system is highly limited for reasons of, I imagine, biological practicality. We evolved “wits” to fill in the gaps, but I have learned over the years that “wits” is still in the early evolutionary stages. Astrology is undergoing a quiet revolution, and I will continue to point that out to y’all even though Jason has his panties in a bunch.

    As for “statistics,” well, they are not infallible, and they are only as good as the the variables and limitations of data will allow, which is always many, including but not limited to the thickness of a head like Jason’s who thinks the control group needs to be on the planetary side and not the human side of the equation, and then beats that into the ground like the flagpole at Iwo Jima.

    (Yeah, how come none of the free-thinking, unbiased and better-than-religious pro statisticians here ever call him on that?)

  37. 37
    Jason Thibeault

    What a subtle, influence-free, and utterly useless system you describe, Ed. If astrology works anything like your definition in 39, of what use can it possibly be?

    The solar system is a closed system only to an extent. We’re awash in cosmic background radiation, the remnants of the Big Bang. Stuff is bound to float on through from the outside of this closed system all the damn time in the form of comets and asteroids. How could you possibly account for every body that passes through our solar system and expect to create an accounting for each one’s influences (or synchronies or whatever you want to call them) and actually come up with something useable to make predictions? Why do so many bodies in our solar system (e.g. Ceres, the Jovian moons) get discounted by astrology, and so many bodies with far lower influences (e.g. Pluto) get to stay in your PRNG?

    Also, I thought you were flouncing. Did you win the JREF prize already?

  38. 38
    Jamie Partridge

    Hi Jason. Dropping in to see how you’re going. Marina and I are doing well. Did you end up blocking Ed? I had to and he has been banned from all the astrology forums.

  39. 39
    Dan J

    Did you end up blocking Ed? I had to and he has been banned from all the astrology forums.

    Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy. I have him in a preemptive block list on my own blog. I deal with enough standard stupidity on a regular basis without involving his weapons-grade stuff.

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