Ivan kelly astrology

Rather, they are dealt with by the use of metaphors that lead nowhere and constantly shifting ad hoc hypotheses that are not independently testable. Confirmations are readily attributed as support, but failures can be hidden in the complexity of astrology and never need confront any specific astrological hypotheses. Hence, the general indifference of most astrologers to negative evidence Mayo, , pp ; Kelly, The failure of physical models to provide a plausible underpinning for astrological tenets has resulted in a shift to, or return to, more animistic, transcendental world-views.

These convolutions e. We are left with a disparate set of ideas taken out of context from various, often incompatible, ancient world-views, juxtaposed together without any coherent, interlocking metaphysics. There is little agreement within astrology on what astrological factors should be consid- ered in a chart that is, what factors can be ignored , nor how selected factors should be combined, nor which factors make the strongest contribution in the birth chart, nor how to collect relevant data to resolve even the most basic astrological disputes. Astrology conse- quently does not have the conceptual resources to deal with its own anomalies, let alone to contribute to findings in other fields such as psychology or biology other than by arbitrary means and sophistry.

Astrological interpretations from birth charts are based on an unsystem- atic hodge-podge of physical symbolisms, word associations, analogies, mythological con- nections and idiosyncratic contributions of individual astrologers, as well as authority and tra- dition. Astrology is part of our past, but astrologers have given no plausible reason why it should have a role in our future except for its undeniable historical value.

This article is an expanded and revised version of an article published in Psycho- logical Reports, , 81, I want to recognize the significant contributions of Geoffrey Dean and Suitbert Ertel to this manuscript. In a myriad of ways they contributed to a more readable and accurate article. I also thank for their comments: Rudolf Smit, J.

NOTE 2. How successful are astrologers at making predictions? Different astrologers pro- vide conflicting answers.

Vaughan tells us that astrologers have, throughout medieval times, made many successful predictions, including predictions of death. It is also interesting to note that when successful predictions are made, there is no consensus in the astrological community regarding the pre- dictions. The successful predictions seem to be made by isolated astrologers with the vast majority missing the event entirely. And why did so many astrologers wrongly predict catastrophe at the turn of the twentieth century with the Y2K fiasco?

The vast majority of astrologers completely miss important events, and the vast majority are wrong when they make specific predictions of major events. Interesting recent examples involve the predictions by astrologers of the outcome of the year USA presidential election, and the predictions of the Jan 26 earthquake in India the worst in 50 years.

Astrology by Geoffrey Dean, Ivan W. Kelly, Arthur Mather & Rudolf Smit

As usual, only a few isolated astrologers made the correct calls. Let us view these in context. In a survey of ten prominent astrologers on the astrological site, Stariq , four found multiple celestial indicators that Bush would win, four predicted Gore would win, and two hedged their bets and made no clear prediction regarding who the new president would be. These predictions follow the polls made of US voters who were equally divided. If it was so obvious about Mercury, why did millions of astrologers around the world miss it? Also, does talk of stationary Mercury make astrological sense, given that Mercury retrograde is an isolated factor?

But again we are dealing with an isolated factor which is allegedly taboo in astrology. And why did only a few out of the millions around the world see it coming? The reader is unlikely to learn from the astrologi- cal community that some Hindu astrologers predicted that an even bigger earthquake than the Jan 26 one would occur in India by Feb 5, Yahoo, Feb 2, Happily, they were wrong that time. Given that astrologers not only possess all the same information that every- body else has, they are also supposed to have an additional source of information provided by the heavens.

One might expect astrologers to not only have far more consensus in their pre- dictions, but also, as a group, consistently outperform everyone else. If there is so much diversity among astrologers regarding two-outcome predictions like elections, they surely cannot be trusted on more complex issues. For an interesting, historical discussion of predic- tion relevant to astrological prediction see Pickover NOTE 3. The Gauquelins found no evidence for signs, aspects, or transits, but they did find a weak relationship between some planetary positions in the sky and the birth of emi- nent professionals in various occupations.

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For example, at the birth of outstanding sports champions Mars tended to occur more often than expected by chance in the areas just past rise and culmination. The Gauquelins attempted to explain these findings by suggesting that the underlying pro- cesses involved an inherited temperament character traits that was imprinted by planetary geomagnetic effects.

An implication here was that if the suggested mediating factors were correct, one would expect such planetary relationships to be linked to hereditary factors and to character traits. The trustworthiness of the Gauquelin data base has been challenged by the Dutch mathematician J. Nienhuys , who claims the findings can be explained by data selection and ma- nipulation.

Dean , has recently re-analysed the Gauquelin professional and heredity data, and has found evidence for hitherto unsuspected social artifacts. The effects predicted by social artifacts show a provocative match with the effects observed by Gauquelin, but as empha- sised by Dean, this does not necessarily mean that the observed effects are thereby explained, it means only that social artifacts have to be controlled before we can proceed further. However, the presence of social artifacts would argue against the data being untrustworthy or fraudulent, simply because Gauquelin could hardly be fraudulent about social artifacts he was unaware of.

Seymour , has argued for the validity of a limited astrology based on the Gauquelin findings. McGillion has argued in favour of a pineal intermediary.


Despite their appeals to the scientific status of their explanation, they fail to spe- cify how their theories could be tested. For example they fail to address the mismatch between planetary and biological frequencies, and how an unborn child can pick up the dif- ference between Jupiter and Saturn when the frequencies of their diurnal signals actually overlap, and how it can actually work when the causal chain from genetic heredity to person- ality is extremely complex and non-linear see Turkheimer, See also Dean for further criticisms.

For example suppose we have a male client whose Mars was just past rising or culminating. Even if he was eminent, a prediction that happened to disagree with what he was al- ready eminent in would most likely be ignored. Our astrology would be unworkable. Of course, if social artifacts do turn out to explain Gauquelin effects, then both Seymour and McGillion are left with nothing to explain.

NOTE 4. The way astrologers treat researchers and skeptics is just the way they treat other astrologers who disagree with them — continuing on as if they and their disagreements never existed The thing that I find least comfortable about astrology dis- cussions and not just on the internet is their immateriality, their lack of grounding.

Astrologers are less literate than average; they write badly and they read badly; there is al- most no critical response; errors are ignored, corrections are not acknowledged. There is nothing resembling peer review, except in regard to political correctness. Most astrologers would rather have an iffy quotation from Dane Rudhyar or C. This way of dealing with conflicting ideas is quite common in the astrological world.

Here speculation, devoid of accompanying argument, is often the rule. But there is no agreement among astrol- ogers on these claims or even minimal agreement on how such speculation could be tested. NOTE 6. No ifs or buts here. NOTE 7. At the end of the day all that matters to astrologers is having a practical strategy no matter how arbitrary. NOTE 8. Actually, Freud did not discover the unconscious. There is a large pre-Freudian lit- erature on the topic.

What Freud did was use the term as a working tool that could be investigated psychologically Fine, , p. Everybody knew where and what it was.

NOTE 9. Unfortunately, she does not make clear the distinction between forecasts and delin- eations or why one and not the other could be seen as accurate. NOTE A more general underlying issue here is why astrologers themselves believe in as- trology. As Dean, Mather and Kelly point out, the steps in belief are roughly: 1. Read astrology books, become aware of the system. Learn more, calculate charts, see that they appear to work 3.

Become dazzled by the history, majesty, and sheer appeal of it all. Adopt the system as true, and reject attacks to avoid cognitive dissonance. The sequence from 1 to 4 is not unreasonable. Students of astrology are not told to accept as- trology without question, they are told to try things out for themselves, so at first sight, what could be fairer?

The problem, of course, is that they are not made aware of all the pitfalls of personal validation and the confirmation bias , nor are they told how to make controlled tests or to design research that actually tests astrological hypotheses and not auxiliary hypotheses. Nor are they presented with the vast body of criticism of astrological tenets, as is, for exam- ple, found in this article and references. Astrologers will often, in the same article or book, shift back and forth between causal and non-causal terminology.

Is astrology a load of rubbish? | Metro News

Cornelius , p. Johnsen points out that the debate between those astrologers who believed in divinatory astrology and those looking for physical explanations of astral influences was present in the second century C. Almost 20 centuries later, the debate is still alive in astro- logical circles with about as much hope of being resolved as it was two millennia ago. This would likely be inter- preted to mean that medicine as a discipline has demonstrated techniques that work.

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However, some medical claims about the functioning of the human body are strongly sup- ported by evidence, some are moderately supported , and others weakly supported or dubious. Similarly, some techniques in medical practice have been shown by studies to work very well, others moderately well [but may still be used because of a lack of better alternatives, others not very well e. Further, there is aware- ness in the medical community that some techniques may work for different reasons than those considered by advocates see Beyerstein, Medicine is buttressed by a large con- sensus in the medical community on areas such as anatomy, mechanisms of many diseases and is associated with a successful technology X-rays, surgery, MRI,PET scans, etc.

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There is no comparable consensus within astrology about the comparative reliability of techniques or even how we might go about determining the reliability of the techniques. It might be argued by astrologers that many of the techniques are complementary rather than contradictory various diseases may be cured by herbs, drugs, climate change, psychotherapy, etc.

Most as- trologers do not seem to care about consistency in the systems they use, if only because most of them have either no idea of the technical details or of the philosophy behind them. Only a few schools in astrology Ebertin, Hamburg, Ram, etc know exactly what they are doing and hence reject systems that do not confirm with their ideas. As many astrologers see it, astrol- ogy is a pragmatic business.