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Thread: Scientific Test of Astrology

  1. #61
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    Charlie, not that I disagree with you in any way, I am with you, but you are making the mistake of asking him to defend astrology and explain its mechanism, when all he wants to do is determine if there is any coinsitency between readings and reality. That was one of Grey's original disclaimers - that discussion lies elsewhere.

    What I have read and otherwise encountered in astrology over the last few decades tells me that astrology does not say that Jupiter does so and so. It only says that so and so will be the trend when Jupiter is over there. In the sense that I can say it will be cold out when Orion is high. I make no claim that Orion is the cause - though perhaps in an astrological world it might be - only that Orion high in the sky means it will tend to be cold. At this latitude anyway.

    It is supporters of astrology trying to rationalize the stuff that offer such things as magnetic fields and gravity as functional causes. No astrology text I ever read actually said the planets caused things directly, it was their positions that mattered. No explanation of WHY the positions mattered was offered. It leaves that up to the followers.

    No I am not defending astrology, just the form of the argument.

  2. #62
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    all he wants to do is determine if there is any coinsitency between readings and reality
    Enzp,
    Thanks, you got it completely right.

  3. #63
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    Re: Scientific Test of Astrology

    Quote Originally Posted by Enzp
    [edit]when all he wants to do is determine if there is any coinsitency between readings and reality...
    Shorten "coinsitency" to "coin" and you've hit the astrology nail on the head, especially if you're talking about Hollywood or India prognosticators.

    BTW, I'm not a participant. That eliminates one possible criticism of the test as being biased due to a test subject deliberately trying to sabotage the results. Not that I would. But I'm sure the accusation would be made.

    Although with the rather indeterminate nature of this "test", it's not clear how bias could ever be determined in the first place.

  4. #64
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    Think of it as the Randi approach:

    OK, here is your chance to fall on your face in front of us.

  5. #65
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    Maksutov,
    We might disagree, but I am sure you would be honest. Grey is missing one person, why don't you participate?

  6. #66
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    Consistency ≠ causation.

    Coexistence ≠ relationship.

    The level of traffic accidents and bankruptcies can be shown to be directly proportional to the rise in use of safety pins and the consumption of boiled carrots...but any one has nothing to do with any other.

    I hate to disagree (suuuure I do) with such an authority (?????) as George Noory, but there IS such a thing as coincidence. Claims to the contrary require proof from the claimant, not disproof from the skeptical. The claim of coexistence will not be debated by me. The claim of a relationship will require proof.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzp
    Think of it as the Randi approach:

    OK, here is your chance to fall on your face in front of us.
    Got no problem with that, it wouldn't be the first time.

  8. #68
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    I now have twenty participants. Gzhpcu, I'll go over the list, break people into groups, and send them on to you. A comment one of the volunteers made leads me to ask a question of the group in general, though. I had originally suggested assigning the groups randomly. However, since the data includes birthdate, that gives the age of the participant, and one might claim that it's possible to deduce at least some personality aspects directly from that. Should I instead group the participants roughly based on age, so that within each group, the ages will be at least comparable?

  9. #69
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    That is probably not a bad idea, but we are drifting off into scientific rigor-land for an anecdotal experiment with a very limited sample. We should be controlling for a whole lot of things, and we should have a much larger sample for this to have any real merit, but we don't. SO I wouldn't obsess too much on detail.

    On the other hand, I don't think roughly grouping by age will necessarily skew the results. But surely you can see that by that appraoch we also ought to consider grouping geographically, and other ways. (And don't call me SHirley.) Better to leave it a loose exercise at this point, I'd think.

    I would be much more concerned about the self-reporting bias. I will select the best one as instructed, but after that I am going to ask a couple other people to select the best on to see how well my own self analysis matches the others. DOn't worry, I will do it first and report that choice. I will include the other as a footnote in case it is of intetest.

    ANd one large thing we are ignoring is the tendency for people to look for matches even where there are none. In other words we should have a control group where we present them with random readings that have nothing to do with their chart and see how many people select one as pretty close to their self image. For me to pick out one reading I think is mine is one thing, but I think most of us if given fabricated readings would still find one stood out as closer to us than the others.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey
    I now have twenty participants. Gzhpcu, I'll go over the list, break people into groups, and send them on to you. A comment one of the volunteers made leads me to ask a question of the group in general, though. I had originally suggested assigning the groups randomly. However, since the data includes birthdate, that gives the age of the participant, and one might claim that it's possible to deduce at least some personality aspects directly from that. Should I instead group the participants roughly based on age, so that within each group, the ages will be at least comparable?
    Well, the position of the slow-moving planets does have some influence supposedly, in respect to "characteristics of a generation". However, for those who believe the whole thing is baloney, why should this make any difference?

  11. #71
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    Gray,

    Quick question. I wonder if perhaps it may be worthwhile to throw in four "False" applicants? It may be interesting to see how many people choose a profile that is from a non existent person. You know...someone born on a life boat in the south pacific or something.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzp
    That is probably not a bad idea, but we are drifting off into scientific rigor-land for an anecdotal experiment with a very limited sample. We should be controlling for a whole lot of things, and we should have a much larger sample for this to have any real merit, but we don't.
    ...
    Better to leave it a loose exercise at this point, I'd think.
    Agreed. I was just thinking that, where it's easy to eliminate bias, we might as well at least make an attempt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enzp
    I would be much more concerned about the self-reporting bias. I will select the best one as instructed, but after that I am going to ask a couple other people to select the best on to see how well my own self analysis matches the others. Don't worry, I will do it first and report that choice. I will include the other as a footnote in case it is of intetest.
    Another participant talked about doing something similar. I don't think that's a bad idea at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enzp
    And one large thing we are ignoring is the tendency for people to look for matches even where there are none. In other words we should have a control group where we present them with random readings that have nothing to do with their chart and see how many people select one as pretty close to their self image. For me to pick out one reading I think is mine is one thing, but I think most of us if given fabricated readings would still find one stood out as closer to us than the others.
    My assumption is that this is exactly what would happen with random readings. It should always be possible to pick the one that fits best, even if in some cases it's a close call. If the "right" astrological reading is, on average, no more accurate than the "wrong" readings, though, then there shouldn't be a tendency to select it more often than any of the others, and we'll get about a quarter hits. While gzhpcu is working on readings, I'll spend the time doing some statistical analysis to see what the probability of achieving various numbers of hits by chance is.

    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    Well, the position of the slow-moving planets does have some influence supposedly, in respect to "characteristics of a generation". However, for those who believe the whole thing is baloney, why should this make any difference?
    My thoughts were that, either deliberately or because of the way the astrological tables work out, it would in principle be possible to make slightly more accurate than normal predictions, just given the age of a person. For example, if I had a group of people with ages 15, 25, 50, and 75, I could probably write up descriptions that would match each a little better than average just by using the knowledge of the differences in personality as people age, and the differences based on what the world was like when they grew up. I know any number of folks that grew up during the depression that have a much stronger tendency to keep old things in case they might need them, or stock a lot more food than they're really likely to need, compared with people that never had that experience of having to scrape by on almost nothing. If I were good at it, I could probably do a surprisingly respectable job.

    I don't think you'd deliberately do something like that, but such things could be included in the astrological database that you're using.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey
    My thoughts were that, either deliberately or because of the way the astrological tables work out, it would in principle be possible to make slightly more accurate than normal predictions, just given the age of a person. For example, if I had a group of people with ages 15, 25, 50, and 75, I could probably write up descriptions that would match each a little better than average just by using the knowledge of the differences in personality as people age, and the differences based on what the world was like when they grew up. I know any number of folks that grew up during the depression that have a much stronger tendency to keep old things in case they might need them, or stock a lot more food than they're really likely to need, compared with people that never had that experience of having to scrape by on almost nothing. If I were good at it, I could probably do a surprisingly respectable job.

    I don't think you'd deliberately do something like that, but such things could be included in the astrological database that you're using.
    Just to explain how I intend to proceed:

    1) I use a software to draw the chart.
    2) I do not use any software for the interpretation of the chart
    3) I look at the configurations, look for patterns, attempt to combine configurations (all of this visually), then
    4) I consult a number of sources to see what seems to be a reasonable interpretation of the parameters (I consider interpretations which come up from several sources as having a greater chance of being reliable) and draft the text, in the schema I depicted above.

  14. #74
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    Is it too late to send in details?

  15. #75
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    [quote="Klausnh"]
    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu
    [snip]Here is an example of the level of information I would provide:

    General Character:
    - Sensitive, compassionate, vulnerfable 3
    - Self-esteem tied to your capacity to dig beneath the surface in life and to achieve self-mastery. 1
    - Reacts with self-control and determination; sometimes reacts with extreme severe negativity 4
    - Dominant emotional need to be on top or the be an authority can limit capacity for intimacy and emotional nurturing 1
    - Asserts self competitively, directly, impatiently 2
    - Initiative, willpower and restlessness characterize the mode of operation. Faces obstacles directly, but recklessness can impede success 3
    - Need for respect and dignity. Big-heartedness. 1
    - At times, afraid to act, at times liable to bite off more than you can chew. 4
    [/snip]
    Problem is, this is all very general stuff. We *all* need to be authorities and we all have a need to be respected and sometimes our need to be commander in a situation limits our capaity for intimacy and emotional nurturing in that situation.

    Furthermore, we're all restless at times. I doubt there's anyone here who's 100% placid, all the time. We all have our reckless moments and they hinder what we want to accomplish.

    What you're showing is a "Barnum profile." Depending on our moods, we fit all or some of it.

    Now, I've seen all sorts of astrologers come up with horoscopes of famous people and tie in various transits and so forth to important events in their lives. So why don't your test subjects pick three days each and have the astrologer talk briefly about the signficance of that day. The subject's gender should NOT be known.

    For test subjects, pick a mixture of "days when nothing happened" and "days when significant things happened.' Depending on your mood, you could use all significant days, no significant days, or a mix.

    The astrologer should be able to sort out the good days from the bad ones and tell which were significant events and what impact they had.

    ...right?

  16. #76
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    Quite simply because I do not consider myself an astrologer. I looked at, and do not particularly care for transits. All I have to offer, is the example given. Perhaps just a bit more carefully analyzed.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byrd
    Problem is, this is all very general stuff. We *all* need to be authorities and we all have a need to be respected and sometimes our need to be commander in a situation limits our capaity for intimacy and emotional nurturing in that situation.
    I initially thought this might be a problem, but it really isn't, because if things are too general, then it will make it impossible to choose between the four choices, and this will lead to a negative result. The results will only be positive if the charts are specific enough that people can see a good match to themselves.
    As above, so below

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzp
    I would be much more concerned about the self-reporting bias. I will select the best one as instructed, but after that I am going to ask a couple other people to select the best on to see how well my own self analysis matches the others. DOn't worry, I will do it first and report that choice. I will include the other as a footnote in case it is of intetest.
    I was thinking along the same lines. But I don't like the idea of sending in multiple choices. Wouldn't it be better to have the following rule: the participant should make the final choice on which is the correct reading, but should consult with others around them first in order to get a more objective view.
    As above, so below

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555
    Is it too late to send in details?
    I've already got twenty, which breaks nicely into five groups of four, so adding one more would require adding four more. So yes, it's too late. Sorry.

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens
    I was thinking along the same lines. But I don't like the idea of sending in multiple choices. Wouldn't it be better to have the following rule: the participant should make the final choice on which is the correct reading, but should consult with others around them first in order to get a more objective view.
    I agree with this. If you send in two choices (the one you picked, and the one other people thought was best, if it's different), you instantly have a 50% chance that one or the other of them matches. I would encourage participants to discuss the matter with others, and I have no problem if that influences your final choice, but however you arrive at that final choice, that's all I'll be using. I suppose it's alright to send it to me as a comment, but I'll specifically exclude it from any final report.

  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byrd
    Problem is, this is all very general stuff. We *all* need to be authorities and we all have a need to be respected and sometimes our need to be commander in a situation limits our capaity for intimacy and emotional nurturing in that situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jens
    I initially thought this might be a problem, but it really isn't, because if things are too general, then it will make it impossible to choose between the four choices, and this will lead to a negative result. The results will only be positive if the charts are specific enough that people can see a good match to themselves.
    Exactly.

  22. #82
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    Reading through this thread....

    First, why not conduct a really simple experiment first, say a 20-50 question multiple choice exam that gets right to the root of the matter. Im sure you can find a fast personality analysis exam online, or in a school library some where. Then throw in the horoscope question. Field the questions in such a way that the exam narrows down what personality the person thinks they have, vs what the personality tester exam determined. Finally as ask them their birth date. Tie the whole thing up in a web page and post it here, and BABB users can be the initial random sample.

    That would show you how to proceed with this test, and start to answer a number of questions. First, Do people see themselves as others see them (im sure it depends on the sample population). Second is their personality or their perception of their personality in line with astrology.

    If you find anything interesting at all, it will become clear on how to modify the experiment to start measuring the results. If a really simple test finds anything interesting at all, and we get funding to do further university research (yah right!) then be concerned with double blind and peer review. Until then lighten up and have fun.

  23. #83
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    Just for everybody's information: I received all the input from Grey a couple of days ago. Since it takes me about 4-5 hours per horoscope, I reckon in will take me about a month or so to do them all. Once I have all of them, I will send the whole package to Grey.

  24. #84
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    why even debate it anymore?

    i don't understand why this debate is still happening...

    this is what you do - PERIOD.

    be actually scientific instead of dogmatic.

    don't believe someone else's research no matter what they have after their name (ph.d/ms/....)

    this is common sense folks.

    you have to prove or disprove it to your self!!!

    it is not an astrologers job to prove it to you...

    otherwise, it's like trying to convince someone that YOUR religion is the right one.... dogma...

    or trying to convince a lifelong red meat eater that red meat is bad for him - he just won't believe it because of his previous mental conditioning...

    if you really want to know if astrology works -
    (this is the most important part because if you don't really give a frick - you won't do it).
    each one of you must take 6-12 months out of your busy but temporal life & study it for yourself with an unbiased mind.

    it's been around for 1000's of years for a reason...
    kepler, galileo, certain magi... were astrologers too remember...

    that stuff you read in the papers or in those teen magz is not real astrology folks...

    you daily online horoscope is not real astrology either folks...

    get a couple of good books on the main 2 systems of astrology in use today (western & vedic):

    [1] astrology: a cosmic science by isabel hickey (western tropical astrology which does not calculate the precession into their charts & uses the seasons to form their symbolic zodiac)

    [2] astrology of the seers by dr. david frawley (vedic sidereal astrology which calcs the precession into their charts & is based on the actual zodiac)

    [3] ancient hindu astrology for the modern western astrologer by james braha (vedic)

    [4] how to be a great astrologer by james braha (western)


    then collect the birth data of 5-10 of your closest personal contacts (family, you, friends, etc..)

    birth data = time, place (long/lat), & date.......

    you need to know them pretty intimately (character, personal history, ... ) for this to work...

    you will also need astrology software to calc the charts....
    there are some free/open source ones out there so "google" them or buy one....

    now comes the hard work that most of you will not do
    but if only 1 person does it & has an epiphany, that's all that matters....

    now begin you unbiased study/research for 1 year....
    (most astronomers will not do this or they will do this in secret to not get teased by their peers)

    in the end, if you were serious, you will find out for yourself why astrology is still around & the debate will be forever over for you...

    peace

  25. #85
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    Re: why even debate it anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by drolma
    be actually scientific instead of dogmatic.

    don't believe someone else's research no matter what they have after their name (ph.d/ms/....)

    [snip]

    then collect the birth data of 5-10 of your closest personal contacts (family, you, friends, etc..)

    birth data = time, place (long/lat), & date.......

    you need to know them pretty intimately (character, personal history, ... ) for this to work...

    you will also need astrology software to calc the charts....
    there are some free/open source ones out there so "google" them or buy one....

    now comes the hard work that most of you will not do
    but if only 1 person does it & has an epiphany, that's all that matters....

    now begin you unbiased study/research for 1 year....
    (most astronomers will not do this or they will do this in secret to not get teased by their peers)

    in the end, if you were serious, you will find out for yourself why astrology is still around & the debate will be forever over for you...

    peace
    The first part of this statement precludes the second part. If we are being scientific, we should be able to take random people; preferably random people; and it should still work. But it won't, and it doesn't, especially given the conflicting stipulations to only pick people with one is intimately associated, yet to do an unbiased study. In secret. Science is peer-reviewed, which precludes the part about believing someone else's research.

    Come to think of it, according to the post, I should disregard this post as it is not my own research.

    But then, I suspect this is a drive-by posting given the spam.

  26. #86
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    as i thought

    i see that my account was deactivated for some reason.....

    regarding pat's comments:

    disregard whatever you will, that is your choice.

    why make something so simple, so complex?

    my post was a call to each individual to test astrology for themself..

    that's it....

    very simple but made so very complex...

    but as i said in the 1st message, most of you will not do it because arguing & debating is the norm when it comes to astrology or any "alternative" science (chinese medicine, ...)

    not to long ago people thought the earth was flat & they killed people who believed otherwise....

    peace,
    drolma

  27. #87
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    I already PM'd the BA.

  28. #88
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    Your account was turned off due to spamming this board. Just like I'm banning this one as well.

  29. #89
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    what's up?

    why did you guys ban this guy?

    he was actually making some sense

    i hope i don't get banned for writing this message

  30. #90
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    Re: what's up?

    Quote Originally Posted by richardjp
    why did you guys ban this guy?

    he was actually making some sense

    i hope i don't get banned for writing this message
    Spamming: posting the same message to multiple threads, expressly forbidden in the posting guidelines. Additionally, attempting to re-register to circumvent the guidelines or the results of not observing the guidelines.

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