agony-auntHere is another dilemma in need of your expert guidance…..

“I’m in my twenties and expecting my first child. However, since I became pregnant my partner seems to have completely lost interest in me. He is spending lots more time with his friends, and doesn’t tend to return calls and texts. I feel bored and lonely. Should I end the relationship and bring up our baby without him around?”

What would you say?  Please…

1) Feel free to post your advice in the comments section below
2) Read other peoples’ comments – if you think the advice is good, press the ‘thumbs up’ button

Let’s see who can come up with the best advice!


    1. Oh I thought Steve’s comment was funny, also. I was just referring the inherited quality line. 🙂

  1. Firstly try talking to him without nagging. If that doesn’t work stop texting etc that will just push him further away. Concentrate on looking after yourself and the baby he will either come round to the idea and be a supportive partner and father. If not you are better off without him as he is a selfish person and won’t change. Just make sure he supports you financially!

  2. Men react in different ways to a pregnant partner. Some become jealous, some feel pushed away, or some are affectionate and supportive. Looks like you have drawn the short straw, but don’t panic yet because things may change when the baby is born. I appreciate it may be difficult at this time but look for other friends or family to support you, keep channels open to your partner and wait. If he does not prove positive towards you and the baby, then is the time to break away – not now.

  3. Is he aware of how you are feeling and the effect his behaviour is having on you emotionally. How strong did you feel your relationship was before you met and what was the factor that made the relationship strong? You must raise the issue with him. It could be that he is scared of the responsibility of parenthood and is emotionally running away.

    How much experience does he have of friends with children? It is possible that he may feel very different when the baby is born but in the time being you must concentrate on your health and welfare. Try and also share views with friends and family you trust. Ultimately you have to feel good about this step into motherhood for the sake of both you and the baby and he must know that he has to play his part and really think about what he wants – but he must be aware that he must financially support his child.

  4. Have you told him he’s being an arse? If not then tell him, he probably doesn’t even know he’s being a total tit. Most problems between partners happen because no one complains about bad behaviour until it’s too late. Tell him how he’s behaving and how it makes you feel, tell him what you do want from him, nice and clearly, no big words. Men are simple creatures, if you spell it out for them they generally will follow what ever instructions you give them to the letter. If you don’t tell them they automatically presume you are happy with what ever they are doing. Don’t bother crying or screaming just calmly tell him he’s going out too much, ignoring you and making you unhappy. Then tell him you expect him to make a fuss of you, spend at least five evenings a week with you, take you out for dinner on Specific date and time and specify exactly which restaurant he’s to book. He will do it. When he does do it be happy and buy him FIFA 2015 for his play station 2. Positive reinforcement works. Keep telling him exactly what you want and he will provide, eventually this good behaviour will become habitual, he will slip into lad mode now and then, stop it in its tracks immediately by telling him and explaining exactly what is acceptable. Men need to know what the boundaries are, it makes them feel loved, that and lots of sex. Do not presume he’s gone off you, he may well have some daft idea in his head that he shouldn’t initiate sex while you’re pregnant. Men are visual, put on stockings, suspenders in good old black and red and show him how sexy pregnancy is. You’ll both be happier.

  5. Begin by approaching him and ask to discuss your relationship. Begin with how lonely you feel. Ask for his honest feelings and opinions about your shared responsibility toward the child. Be careful not to push. Just be clear about how you feel and that you want him to be a full partner as your lives unfold. What you do next, and next, and next of course will depend in large part based on how he responds. Most likely if anything positive is to come out of these you’ll have to have several conversations. Good luck!

  6. Sounds like his phone may be playing up. Get him to do a full back up and re-install. If that doesn’t help he’s probably just going off you.


  8. Don’t jump the gun by writing him off too soon. He could be fearful of impending responsibilities. Try talking to him without the cell phone.. just face to face. Express your loneliness and ask if he has any concerns that he needs to express about how life will soon be changing for both of you. Perhaps there are things you need to discuss that never came up before. Your roles as parents are certainly among those. If he has been supportive of you in the past, then I imagine he’ll come around and be there for you and the baby. If not, that’s when you need to consider your options.

  9. One of two things is happening; either he’s anxious about becoming a father and trying to make the most of his last months of “freedom”, or he is genuinely trying to exit the relationship.

    Either way, the best thing to do is tell him how you feel and that being a dad doesn’t start when the baby pops out, it also involves helping make the pregnancy as stress-free as possible. If he bolts then chances are that was what he was always going to do anyway. With luck, he’ll get his act together.

    Even if he continues behaving in much the same way, at least you know that he doesn’t want to end the relationship, he’s just rubbish at dealing with stressful situations. In that instance, you have control and can decide what to do based on what YOU want. And at least he cares, otherwise he wouldn’t be trying so hard not to deal with it!

  10. Whoa! Back up one minute. You’re not feeling abandoned? Afraid for the future of your relationship? Concerned about the impact of having one parent or two unhappy parents on your child? Worried about your collective ability to solve other problems that will arise? Did you say “bored and lonely”?? What was the basis of your relationship to begin with? Perhaps if it was based on fun company and good times your partner feels as though you’ve changed the rules on him. Did he even have a role in the decision (note you said “my” first child, not “our”)? I’d say that you have a few months (depending on how far through the pregnancy you are) to see if you can build a more solid relationship than sex and fun before deciding if yours will be a one parent approach.

    1. Hey, Isabel. I just read your profile. Do you ever do work in NZ? I work for a local council that could sure use your services.

    2. Hi Steve (I hope that’s your name).

      Thanks for your message. Actually I do have clients in NZ. I would love to hear about the issues you face at work. Do you want to chat – happy if it’s just to be a sounding board? You can email me at


  11. Talk to him! How does he feel about the pregnancy so far? What are his attitudes towards kids? Is he prepared to support you?
    Children have a funny way of focusing our thoughts, as they tend to bring up lots of issues around birth, life and death (the big three!); so it’s reasonable to assume that he is unable to process the pregnancy in any meaningful way until he can internalise his own thoughts and feelings. This is easier said than done, and drinking with friends is an outlet which is shockingly effective if you wish to avoid deep introspection.
    My advice? Give it time. The issue is outside of your control and worrying about it is wasted energy. Instead, be the best mother you can be! Get excited. Read lots. Talk to others. Set personal goals and work towards them. Ensure that you ready for the challenge of being a parent and decide now that your going to be a kick ass mom.

  12. It is important that you check the birth signs of your partner and yourself and (when born) your baby.

    With that information we can begin to check if there is potential for long term harmony between the three of you.

    Astrology is of course not the only factor to check. Yet without it you are missing a vital dimension that cannot be replaced by subjective advice – whether that subjectivity comes from good friends or Internet strangers eager to outdo each other for meaningless up voted comments.

    Always ground the advice you are given in the truths we can read in the Stars.

    This is good advice that has stood me in good stead for many years.

    1. You may also wish to research yours and your partner’s ethnic heritage.

      With that information we can begin to check if there is potential for long term harmony between the three of you.

      Ethnicity is of course not the only factor to check. Yet without it you are missing a vital dimension that cannot be replaced by subjective advice – whether that subjectivity comes from good friends or Internet strangers eager to outdo each other for meaningless up voted comments.

      Always ground the advice you are given in the truths we can read in the our ethnicity.

      This is good advice that has stood me in good stead for many years.

    2. Thinking about it, you may also wish to research yours and your partner’s classline.

      With that information we can begin to check if there is potential for long term harmony between the three of you.

      Class is of course not the only factor to check. Yet without it you are missing a vital dimension that cannot be replaced by subjective advice – whether that subjectivity comes from good friends or Internet strangers eager to outdo each other for meaningless up voted comments.

      Always ground the advice you are given in the truths we can read in the our classline.

      This is good advice that has stood me in good stead for many years.

    3. @adzcliff

      I am happy that you recognise a well-structured argument. I am sure that you will use my precise phrasing when making points in future as you can see the simplicity and genius in its construction.

      Yet it is not possible to just change one word and replicate the whole argument now based around that one word. It it were then syllogisms like “All Greeks are mortal. Socrates is Greek. Therefore Socrates is mortal” would be replaced by ones like: “All Greeks are tractors. Socrates is a Greek. Therefore Socrates is a tractor”.

      Changing a word in an argument will change the argument.

      To put it bluntly: your logical assertions are not based in any deeper reality. I will leave you to discover why – or perhaps others may wish to treat this as a “Friday puzzle” and put forth their explainations.

      That leaves my original argument alone as the valid one.

      I am thus glad that at least we all agree on that.

      Astrology is such a powerful tool for shedding light on human potential and character and motivation it is good that a growing number of us can see that. As soon as the few remaining skeptics really apply it to their lives they will see that too.

      Thank you once again for your support and kind words. I wish that my mild though necessary rebuke of your comments has been taken in the kindly spirit in which it is given.

      This is my gift to you.

    4. Thanks Barry Goddard

      But I disagree.

      Your posts indicate that you are happy to categorise human beings based on facile stereotypes; and what’s more, it seems you are happy to provide those human beings genuine relationship advice based on those stereotypes. I have merely replaced your method of human categorisation with other, less popular and more controversial, methods of human categorisation. I think it provides a consciousness-raiser against categorising people in this way; even though I accept that astrological prejudice is much less harmful than, say, ethnic, class, nationalistic and/or religious prejudice.

      By asserting a ‘deeper reality’ to justify your human categorisation system over others, is nothing more than special pleading. I am sure Rudolf Steiner was appealing to a ‘deeper reality’ when he placed darker-skinned people lower down the spiritual evolutionary-ladder than white people. We can certainly be confident that subscribers to the Hindu caste system believe in a ‘deeper reality’ to justify their discriminatory beliefs and practices. I could go on…


    5. @adzcliff

      To quote Christopher Hitchens: what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (He was talking on the topic of the existence of God).

      Your sweeping statements that 1000s of years of practice and evidence and proof of ancient science has no value is an assertion without any evidence.

      No doubt you would have laughed at Sigmoid Freud and his emerging science that showed how our development is affected by poor parenting and early sexual abuse. Yet his insights have spawned entire psychotherapeautic industries. And you would simply have been wrong.

      Similarly Astrology is literally the bedrock science on which all civilisation is founded. Without it early innovators could not have known who to trust and who to form allegiances with. This is basic human psychology writ large in the skies for all to see.

      If you just drop your “rational” filters for a few moments you too will see this. Then you will simply be better informed.

      I am happy to help you with this indepth discovery process. It might quite literally change your life. Then you will simply be a better human.

    6. Hi Barry Goddard

      “Your sweeping statements that 1000s of years of practice and evidence and proof of ancient science has no value is an assertion without any evidence.”

      Only I didn’t actually say that. Evidence and proof is evidence and proof no matter how old it is. Although I am saying that neither yours, Rudolph Steiner’s or Hinduism’s systems of human categorisation (for example) are rooted in proof and evidence.

      Something we can agree on though, is that we are more likely to agree regarding human categorisation were I to drop my “rational filters”. The only problem being that I may also let in other prejudices. Can I advise that you keep your rational filters up when it comes to categorising humans based on ethnicity, class, nationality, religion etc.

      More interestingly though, I am wondering why a critic of rationality is using a rational argument (and quoting famous rationalists) to debunk rationality. If your conclusions are correct, then your premises are false?? How can you expect to help me with this “indepth discovery process” if you keep moving the goalposts like this? Very confusing…

      Thanks for your time.

      (P.S. It’s been a long time since the psychological sciences held Sigmund Freud up as the sage you believe him to be. One of the reasons his ‘facts’ about the human psyche haven’t stood up to the test of time, is that he too thought his impressive imagination was as good as any experimental science.)

    7. @adzcliff

      I fear you have been misled by Mr Wiseman making a post into the “quirky” corner of his blog.

      Your responses to a serious subject (about the forthcoming birth of a real human being) are quirky and lighthearted and adrift in a sea of dismissive one liners.

      This is not a joking matter. I have offered serious advice based on many decades of observation experiment rational inquiry and much research.

      Your cheapening of the issue and your redirecting the conversation to issues of what you consider to be acceptable or nor simply lowers your esteem in the face of all those of us you are seriously addressing the important – and time critical – issue at hand.

      I appreciate that your conditioning has led you to a limited world view. Please try to understand that some of us have wider and deeper world views and that we are actively trying to assist Mr Wiseman’s correspondent. And that we have the skills and life experience to do so. Please be silent for a short while and let us get on with that.

    8. There you go again picking and choosing when rationality applies to you, and when it applies to me.

      I am sorry though that I appear to have irritated you with my questioning. I will indeed go silent for a while.

  13. I wouldn’t run to conclusions and end the relationship just by assuming he lost interest. I would ask him to speak up and express hus feelings. Most men freak out at such news.

  14. There are a lot of extraneous factors here, so it’s hard to give any concrete advice based on this information. I would urge you to first attempt to explore the situation and see what’s actually going on, and try to disentangle the truth of the matter from your fears and expectations. The first question is whether or not your boyfriend is actually behaving how you think he is. Either his behavior has changed, or it has remained the same. Try comparing the number of replies to texts in recent days with replies to texts in previous weeks or months, if you still have those replies on your phone. There may be some other records of communication, such as email, or records of phone calls on your cell phone. Keep in mind also whether or not you have been texting more or less frequently, or at the same frequency.

    If it appears based on these considerations that your boyfriend is not behaving differently now, then what is probably happening is that your expectations have changed for some reason, and now you expect him to be more involved with your life than you did before. If you’re bearing his child, then that’s an understandable thing for you to expect, though you must keep in mind that there are limitations to what you can expect from him. Everybody, even new dads, need a certain amount of time to themselves, and need to spend time with their friends. Make sure that your own expectations are reasonable. At this point, if, after examining your own motives, you decide that you’re making reasonable requests on his time, you should talk to him about your feelings and see how willing he is to take on more responsibility. I would recommend that you try to empathize with his point of view and the feelings he might be experiencing, but ultimately it will be up to you to judge whether or not you find him to be responsible. I can’t make that judgement with this information. If, in your judgement, your boyfriend is not capable of being a responsible father, then at that point, I would recommend that you leave him. Relationships are give and take affairs, but the exact terms of that giving and taking is something you need to work out with him.

    If it appears that your boyfriend has changed his behavior and is now interacting with you less frequently than he once did, then the next question you have to ask is why this is occurring. It might be that he’s afraid of the responsibility of parenthood, or perhaps the knowledge that he’s going to be a father is just an emotional event for him which he needs time to process. It also may be completely unrelated to your pregnancy. Is it possible that he’s dealing with something else which is taking up his time? A new job? Did he lose a parent? Is there something else in your relationship which is causing a rift between you which you are falsely attributing to your pregnancy? The difficulty is that I’m not in a position to answer any of these questions for you, and you’ll have to figure these things out and make these judgement for yourself. But there are a number of things which it might be helpful to keep in mind during this processs:

    1. Every person is unique and requires a unique approach. What may work for one person won’t necessarily work for another, so advice like, “talk to him,” might be good advice for one person, but might drive another person away. Keep your boyfriend’s own personality in mind.

    2. I advise you to be open minded and compassionate, but if you judge your boyfriend in the end to be irresponsible and unconcerned with your needs, then he probably won’t be a good father. There may be good reasons for why your boyfriend is acting like he is, but it’s not a good sign.

    3: A lot of great fathers started out being afraid of parenthood.

    4. I’ve noticed a tendency for men to spend time alone when they need to work things out and then return when they feel they’ve found a solution. Don’t count on that, but consider it. Again whether this applies to your boyfriend specifically is not something that I can answer.

    5. It’s possible that a slightly irresponsible father might be better than no father at all, depending on the other qualities that the father possesses, and your own individual situation. If you’re living on the street, and the father is a millionaire who is generally a kindhearted person but just afraid of commitment, then there’s that. If you can support yourself and a child, then leaving the father is a more viable option. Abortion is also an option to consider if supporting a child is going to be an issue.

    You may have noticed that I haven’t given you an answer, which is in keeping with the theme of my advice, which is that I can’t give you an answer and you need to explore the situation for yourself and gauge the possible outcomes of different courses of actions depending on your individual circumstances. This might prove difficult for you if you’re a fictional character invented by Richard Wiseman.

    1. She can always ask Richard to redraw her character. She can be anything he wants her to be. The question is, does the good Dr. have an ounce of compassion in him for the plight of this unfortunate figment?

  15. Seriously, while it doesn’t state how long the pregnancy has gone on, my initial thought is that she could be over-reacting. This is an extremely important life event – arguably the most important, especially for the kid – but one that is fraught with tensions, hormones, worries, doubts, hopes, dreams, family pressures, morning sickness, and so on and so forth. He may also be over-reacting, but I think he could be excused for thinking that his life is changing completely and it may not look like such a great thing right now.

    He should be talking with his wife (I’m going to assume they’re married, just to be quaint) about their mutual fears and hopes because he should know that he isn’t alone in having these feelings, but also other guys who have been through it and can provide a healthy combination of reality check and reassurance. I agree with others that he may change his tune completely in the delivery room, or at least a few years down the road. I have heard that fathers start feeling closer to their children when they start to talk (the child). Finally, like any other father who has ever lived, he has to acknowledge and accept the fact that he’s now Numero Dos in his wife’s life and will never climb higher on the charts than that. And that is how it should be.

  16. Early termination, love.
    The kid would probably be an apostate or a cartoonist anyway, so it’s OK to kill it.
    Trust me, I’m a Pontiff.

  17. Unfortunately men’s behavior during a partners pregnancy can be somewhat of a precursor to future behavior. My best advise is to prepare yourself for motherhood. Stay healthy, stay positive. The unstable nature of a soon to be father will provide unneeded stress to an already stressful situation. Steel your mind as you are now a parent and so long as your prepared that’s all that matters. If and when the father chooses to be part of the experience of fatherhood, it will be for his own benefit as well as the child’s but you are a separate entity strong, prepared, and not concerned with the trivialities at this point. To each his own.

  18. You say you and your “partner?” Well, my dear, that’s your first mistake. For years now, many couples do things BACKWARDS; have children, then ‘maybe’ marry. Sorry I’m “Old School” the one that makes the most sense. BUT, that’s not your problem now. You do have a few choices:

    1. Immediately find a therapist and see them, even if your “partner” refuses to go. They have more options and ideas for you than I do.
    2. Regardless of your “religious” beliefs, consider an abortion. (that should wake up a few activists and get their attention)! But, beware, it just may cause much emotion trauma on your part.
    3. Decide on having the child, and in the mean time look for a HUSBAND that cares and is committed this time, not a “partner.” ( a silly term that was started by gay people.)
    4. From now on, when you have sex, be sure to use contraception. It is much cheaper and less of an emotional trauma.
    5. If you do have the child, be sure to love, care and educate them to the best of your and the rest of your families ability.
    Remember, THEY come FIRST; not ‘you’ or your …..””partner.”

    Good luck!

    1. Pretty much agree with most of what you say Over 60.
      No idea why you have received so many thumbs down.
      I particularly agree with your comments on the order that people produce offspring and get married. People who have children and then get married afterwards seem to be saying “I consider getting married to be a greater commitment than bringing a new life into the world” and yes, once you have produced a child, the child comes first.

  19. Ending the relationship and bringing up your child without your partner sounds very extreme. I’ve heard mothers I know say that men don’t get the whole baby thing until the baby is born. Talking to your partner is obviously a good thing to do – if he’ll discuss how he feels with you honestly. Looking after yourself and keeping positive is good advice, but easier said than done if you feel unsupported. You could also help yourself by following someone’s earlier advice and look at the evidence to see whether your partner’s behaviour has really changed or whether you’re just feeling insecure because you’re concerned about becoming a parent.

  20. Good Dog. A lot of people with nothing important to do have spent way too much time providing facile advice to a fictional person about a non-existent situation.

    Don’t forget – you can cash in your up-votes for a discount on a Vauxhall Astra at the rate of 1 vote = 1 pence.

  21. In around 1969 a man goes into a bank to cash a cheque, only the absentminded clerk gets the pounds and the pence the wrong way round. After buying a newspaper for 5p, the man finds he has left an amount equal to twice the original value of the cheque. What was the original value?

    1. Hmm – falls down on the date of decimalisation. I can do it for £ and p but not LSD. That makes my head just go swirly.

    1. I had heard that.
      And yes, the new £1 will be worth approximately what the threepenny bit was back in the 1960s.
      Thrift is in fashion (in joke!)

    2. If by “distinctly British” you mean Australian since they’ve had a 12-sided coin since 1969.

    3. Well, the 12-sided threepenny coin in Britain was minted for circulation in 1937 (a trial batch was produced in 1936), which is a bit (pun not intended when I wrote it, but hey why not!) before 1969.
      Maybe ‘distinctly British’ means ‘quirky’ (as in this column)?

  22. One person ought not solve an equation involving two people. Both people should figure out the answer to the problem. And yes, men report being scared to death at becoming a father and men, generally, do not like to talk about fear. You are going to have to exercise lots of patience over the next several years as you are entering into a relationship with another human being you don’t even know yet. Start by practicing on your partner. And, load him up with appreciation.

    1. @ChrisR

      You should be careful about joking about similtaneous equations.

      The previous incarnation of this blog was almost destroyed by the “rational” mathematically limited people who only wanted to use the methods they were rote taught at school to solve puzzles.

      Now the puzzles are more “open ended” and emotional. My methods of course work just as well if not even better for these more “human” puzzles.

      Others though are clearly out of their depths and are uncomfortable and wish to “steer” the discussions back to the sort of puzzle where A has apples that are twice as old as B’s sloping ladder.

      This we should resist. It clearly did not help the emotional development of those who eagerly joined in. Whether this new approach will do so is still awaiting for the jury to hear the evidence. Yet we should give it every possibility of success by supporting it (as indeed I have been doing).

      We can help lead those who only wish to solve puzzles into a deeper brighter more interpersonal future and they will (after kicking and shouting as they now do) deeply thank us for it.

  23. @Edie

    My approach quite literally encompasses the whole universe and beyond. It seems improbable to be more inclusive than my welcome.

    Yet this is why I am ofttimes disappointed when I see people taking such a limited view of their reality.

    It is like you wish to take someone to the top of Everest in a hot air balloon and show them the vastness of the sky and the sweeping terrain below. But all they want to do is stick their head in a paperbag and argue about where tangents meet circles on chess boards.

    Such people have an anti-inclusive agenda while claiming that their approach must be included or else others are being non-inclusive.

    This is fiddling with wordplay while the world burns with beauty and meaning and depth all around us.

    Thus my frustrations at times with being asked to be inclusive of such limiting approaches.

    Throw your filters away and see the world as I do. It is a vaster and more welcoming edifice than any similtaneous equation can offer.

  24. Barry

    I’ve seen you on youtube and you’re not a young man and surely one of your age and experience knows that different things please different people and that while you may like the holistic, pan-universal vista our world has to offer, others take pleasure in small detailed things, e.g. geometry, shapes and logic. Let’s rejoice in the diversity.

    Love from

    1. @Edie

      Making ageist comments about 56 year olds is scraping the barrel of ad hominem argumentativeness.

      No matter how old or young a person is their spirit may be a vastly different age. Nor should we measure age in years but in depth of perception and understanding.

      Yet I am not dismayed by your disparagement.

      The very atoms that make up my body were forged in the burning brightness of a million stars. As were your atoms and all the atoms we know of everywhere. We are all truely star dust and contain within us still the echos of the memories of those days.

      This is one reason (not the only reason but one that scientists agree on) that astrology is so effective in resonating with our beings. It is the very source of our beings.

      Thus to belittle that with ageist comments that limit age to human years is to miss the infinitely bigger picture that we are all a part of.

      I wish for your inclusivity to include those dimensions rather than rule them as inapplicable. You are a starchild. It is time to grow up and act as one.

    2. For the record, Bazzer old boy, I made no disparagement. I merely suggested you act your age. Who knows? Fifty-six may be the ideal age to be in this short life of ours. One has the wisdom of age and experience, and at least some tentatively remaining vestiges of youth.

  25. I’m no fence sitter but I agree with you both. The key to everything is tolerance and a respect for each other’s point of view.

  26. I am willing to help you, but it is a pity that I can not accurately understand English. If you have a Chinese mail version, it will be more conducive to my email and reply you timely and accurate understanding.—————— 原始邮件 ——————
    发件人: “Richard Wiseman”
    发送时间: 2015年1月19日(星期一) 上午6:22
    收件人: “1250493584”;
    主题: [New post] Would you make a good agony aunt?

    Richard Wiseman posted: “Here is another dilemma in need of your expert guidance….. “I’m in my twenties and expecting my first child. However, since I became pregnant my partner seems to have completely lost interest in me. He is spending lots more time with his friends, and”

    1. What the Chinese characters actually say is –
      “It is amazing how many positive responses Barry Goddard has received to his posts. I know that he is not repeatedly logging on and voting for himself, so he genuinely must have a lot of fans. ”
      Plaise where plaise is due.

  27. @Sinophile

    Thank you for your kind words of praise. It is always welcome to hear from someone whose ways of thinking and being resonant with mine.

    I think I have received many positive votes for a very simple reason. The universe is such a place that we get what we give. I give much of myself in kind words and meaningful insights. And ofttimes that invokes a warm response of positivity and gratitude.

    Not always of course. There are those here of a different frame of being who treat my gentle comments as a threat to their very being. My comments are not that of course. Yet some find alternative and better ways of perception to be a threat to their more limited ways. This perhaps why some comments have received also a large number of “negative” votes.

    Yet I am not dismayed. Whether the votes are positive or negative it means I have touched someone deeply. Perhaps they do not yet truely realise the depth of that touch and lash out with a vote. Surely though my words of peace and insight will be having an effect even on a longer timescale. Thus I am content to take the “Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune” with patience and forbearing knowing that in the end all will be well.

    Thank you again for your kind words of support. Knowing that there are those brave enough to speak out is deeply moving.

    May your life be filled with joy.

    1. Barry,
      Interesting that you admit you “have touched someone deeply”. I’ve been accused of this recently and got into no end of bother.
      My advice to you is if you have in ” fact touched someone deeply” keep schtum.
      May your life be filled with wombats.

    2. Garry’s right, mate. Best not to say anything and hope that it doesn’t come back to bite you on the bum later.

    3. A few thoughts on Astrology

      These are the main arguments put forward as to why astrology is rubbish.
      It’s just plain common sense!
      The Signs of the Zodiac are wrong!
      Astrologers work from the moment of birth and not the time of conception?
      No one knows how astrology works!
      Scientific tests show astrology doesn’t work.
      Where’s the scientific evidence for astrology?
      Astrology is at odds with scientific knowledge & modern philosophy.
      Astrologers defend astrology to protect their vested interests.
      Astrology is not a science.
      I will address each point. If you disagree, please state your case. If I find it persuasive, I will modify, edit or even delete my points. [Click to discuss this on Facebook]
      Proof by assertion:
      In response to my post, a great number of sceptics have asserted that astrology is rubbish (or words to that effect). Most were unable to back this up with sound arguments or empirical study or show an understanding of what astrology is. Some declare, why bother as it is common-sense? Maybe this prejudice by self-styled ‘rational sceptics’ is based on feelings or intuition or divine faith as it is not based on reason. Depending on the manner of presentation, these type of arguments without facts or correct facts fail on a number of basic logical fallacies: appeal to emotion, proof by assertion, argument from ignorance and straw man fallacy.

      Flying spaghetti monster or a straw man fallacy?
      Some critics argued that it would be non-sensical to do an empirical study simply to prove that the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster or another imaginary creature or that a tea-pot orbits the Sun[1] (Russell 1958) is false – so why the fuss about astrology? An argument based around this type of analogy is known as a straw-man fallacy. There are two points to consider why these are prime examples of false analogy.
      Astrology is not a belief system – the claims can be tested in individual cases and even professional sceptics from CSICOP believe that it can be tested objectively. [see (Carlson 1985)]
      Astrology is not some arbitrary New Age theory. Astrology has existed for over five thousand years. Thousands of book titles, dissertations and journal articles in major academic libraries, conferences, schools, post-graduate studies, practitioners and businesses are dedicated to astrology.[2] Astrology is considered of value to millions of individuals around the world. Before anyone misunderstands this argument as an appeal to tradition or appeal to popularity, these facts do not make astrology valid. However, this alone makes a compelling case that astrology deserves investigation before being written off.

      Even if astrology were one of these unfalsifiable myths (which it is not), it is not good science, nor good sense, nor good humanity to ridicule myths or rule out cherished beliefs or deny experiences of others. It is hubris.[3] A Black Swan was once considered a mythical creature and used as a metaphor for something that was ridiculous and impossible. In 1797, black swans (Cygnus Atratus) were first discovered by Europeans in Western Australia.[4]

      Some fields that were once dismissed as being unworthy of study by the scientific community are now established within hard science. The belief that rocks could hit the Earth from space was widely ridiculed by eminent scientists of the Enlightenment.[5] Now the study of meteorites is an important scientific field revealing insight into the nature and history of the Earth and Solar System.

      Opinion without knowledge:
      Many who dismiss astrology know nothing of the subject. This is immediately evident when they use terminology such as the word astrologists or argue irrelevant points such as how the constellations have moved or the limits of planetary gravity or the false belief that astrologers claim that people are controlled by the stars. At best, this known as Argument By Laziness – the arguer hasn’t bothered to learn anything about the topic. Ignorance is no basis for opinion. At worst, it is prejudice and bigotry.
      “It is impossible for anyone to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows”
      ~ Epictetus (AD 55 – AD 135)[6]
      Faith in the Heavens?:
      Many people have claimed that astrology is a belief. That is largely true for many readers of newspaper horoscopes. It’s also true for those who believe astrology to be false without any knowledge. However, for those who have studied it, astrology is a knowledge and one that can be tested and verified – unlike a belief in a divine creator that cannot be tested.

      Many people feel that they have a right to dismiss astrology as rubbish without any experience or observation of how it works in practice. This evasion of empirical study is reminiscent of Cremonini and Libri’s refusal to look through Galileo’s telescope.
      Unnecessary for impossible or harmful practices:
      Some have rightly argued that you don’t have to smoke tobacco or experience slavery or even commit suicide to be able to make strong comments about the practice. True! However, studying an analysis of your character (like reviewing the results of a psychological test) is not a risk to health or life. Would you rank the opinion of a travel writer who has never left home over someone who has? A doctor should, where possible, examine his or her patient to help reach a diagnosis.
      How can you experience astrology?
      Since some of the free horoscopes on the web are not ideal examples, you would need to select a professional service who will charge a fee (equivalent to the cost of a shirt) for a computer generated report or a higher fee (equivalent to a jacket or even a suit) for a live reading of your birth chart from a top astrologer. [Please do not use my services as I don’t want you to think this is a sales pitch.] Yes, it is a cost, but this is a small price to add to your experience. You can also study astrology through library books.
      Why should I pay to have an opinion?
      Unfortunately, to enjoy the luxury of dismissing an entire field of study, you have to invest in personal research. Experiencing astrology first hand, will be good value and you might even learn something. Astrologers have to pay to download data or subscribe to Journals or purchase books so they can review flawed research papers that claim to debunk astrology.
      Objective Data:
      Your personal horoscope is totally subjective. But why rely on the evidence of personal experience when you can also obtain objective data? It is possible to analyze the charts of other people and compare it to your knowledge of their lives. Though this is best done professionally, it is possible to do some basic interpretations by referring to astrology books.

      Is the twelve sign Zodiac a viable model?
      Some critics claim that the signs of the zodiac are wrong as they have shifted and some signs are missing. This article shows how there are three zodiacs – the Western Tropical Zodiac (based on seasons), the Indian Sidereal Zodiac (based on stars) and the Astronomical Zodiac (based on constellations). The key point is that all three systems are viable models of the solar system and that the Signs of the Zodiac are not the same as the Constellations of the Zodiac. [Explanation of Precession]

      Why time of birth and not time of conception?
      Both critics and the curious frequently ask “Why do astrologers work from the moment of birth rather than use the seminal moment, the time of conception?” The simplest answer is that we can know the time of birth, but we cannot know the time of conception.

      As you can imagine, there are plenty of conjectures. The Hellenistic Stoics believed that the spirit or spark (pneuma) became ensouled with the first breath. (Long 2001) Some astrologers see the ante-natal period as developmental and the physical separation from the mother as the start of consciousness of self as an entity. Others speculate that at the birth moment there is a celestial imprint of an energy field – with various models such as the auric field[7] or Sheldrake’s morphic field proposed.

      A recent study led by Douglas McMahon, Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University has shown that seasonal imprinting at or around the moment of birth in mammals affects both subsequent behaviour and “the cycling of the neurons in the master biological clock in its brain”. (Mahon 2011) So we now have evidence that the time of birth (and not conception) has an impact on personality. Whether this imprinting is limited to the effect of the solar cycle or whether there is also an imprint from the Moon and the planets at birth remains open – perhaps until the mechanisms for astrology are better understood. (see next section)

      Though I disagree with Richard Dawkins’ personal beliefs, his expertise as an evolutionary biologist gives his opinion on human gestation some authority. Even though the arch-sceptic did not have astrology in mind, he was unequivocal on the topic in the God Delusion: “The moment of birth provides a natural Rubicon for defining rules, and one could argue that it is hard to find another one earlier in embryonic development.” (Dawkins 2006)

      One of the core objections to astrology is that there is no known scientific mechanism to account for how it all works. [Mechanism]

      Is the lack of a mechanism justification for dismissing a phenomenon?
      Several examples make the point that a lack of known mechanism is never a reason to dismiss evidence [see point 4.]
      The lodestone (compass) was used successfully for two millennia. Yet, no one understood the Earth’s magnetic field until the 20th century.
      Semmelweis (1818-1865) introduced hygienic practices like hand washing in obstetric clinics. He was ridiculed by other scientists as he could not provide a mechanism, even though he reduced the mortality rate. Yet, it became accepted practice years after he died when Pasteur confirmed germ theory.
      “That we can now think of no mechanism for astrology is relevant but unconvincing. No mechanism was known, for example, for continental drift when it was proposed by Wegener. Nevertheless, we see that Wegener was right, and those who objected on the grounds of unavailable mechanism were wrong.”

      ~ Carl Sagan, astronomer, author, cosmologist, broadcaster & astrology sceptic.
      So to use a lack of known mechanism to reject a demonstrable effect [see point 4.] is to abuse science in an obstructive rather than use science in a constructive way.

      Possible Mechanisms:
      Astrology may work by several mechanisms. Here are some hypotheses:
      Gravitational Resonance:
      Many critics of astrology have repeated the story that the gravity of the midwife has more effect on the newborn baby than the planets. However, astrologers don’t claim that gravity is the basis for natal astrology.

      However, it is universally accepted that gravity and orbital resonance of the Sun and the Moon affects the Earth’s oceanic tides and the Earth tide (body tide). Studies have proposed that the tidal forces also affect the Earth’s plate tectonics (Continental drift). (Moore 1973) (Scoppola 2006) 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, harvests and weather.

      I believe it is premature to set limits on the effect of gravity and orbital resonance on Earth as there is much we don’t understand. For example, gravity is the one known force that does not yet fit into a Unified Field Theory.

      Correlation precedes possible Causation:
      Dr Percy Seymour, former principal lecturer in astronomy and astrophysics at Plymouth University and previously a researcher at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, has developed a model to describe the mechanism behind astrology. It is outlined in his title “Astrology: The evidence of Science”. This interview from 1989 may not include his more recent research. In outline, his model is based on the tidal tugs of all the planets in addition to the Sun and Moon which disrupt the Earth’s magnetosphere (magnetic field) which affects the human neural network. It works through the gravitational effects of the planets which are magnified by what Seymour calls ‘magneto tidal resonance’ to affect the sunspot cycle. [more]

      Planetary alignments correlate with Sunspot cycles which impact the Earth:
      In separate studies, there are peaks within the Sun spot cycle coinciding with the Jupiter/Saturn [helio] conjunction 11.86 years, Jupiter’s perihelion 9.93 years and what astrologer’s call a Sun/Venus conjunction 11.08 years. Solar output (including heat, light, radio, x-rays, neutrinos, solar wind and possibly more) is extremely important as regards all life on Earth (not just climate). Some of these outputs directly affect human behaviour through interactions with the Earth’s electromagnetic field. For example, there are studies showing significant correlations between events such as wars on Earth and the 11 and 22 year sunspot cycle.
      Chin Cheh Hung Apparent Relations Between Solar Activity & Solar Tides caused by Planetary Activity [2007 NASA]
      Glyn Wainright Jupiter’s Influence [2004 New Scientist]
      Ian Wilson Planetary Tidal Forces [University of Southern Queensland, Aus 2008]
      Four proposals that attempt to account for this planetary/sunspot correlation.

      Causal or acausal relationship:
      Many astrologers believe that the observed (terrestrial/extra-terrestrial) correlation reflects an acausal connecting principle or ‘synchronicity’ as proposed by Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, Dr Carl Gustav Jung. Jung refined his concept with the help of one of the pioneers of quantum physics, inventor of the neutrino and Nobel prize-winner, Wolfgang Pauli Synchronicity is a belief, but not an article of faith.

      Frontiers of Science.
      As I wrote above, I believe it is unwise and premature to use the current model of the four fundamental interactions (fundamental forces) as a basis to rule out possibilities for several reasons. First, within this model, quantum mechanics and gravity are not yet reconciled. Scientists are still struggling to develop a theory of Quantum Gravity and as a result a Grand Unified Field Theory. In addition, several discoveries within quantum physics suggests that this could in the future become a fertile area for research into a possible mechanism. [more]

      Flawed Tests:
      In the field of astrology, there are many more fatally flawed tests than real evidence. There are many reasons for this. There is no budget for testing astrology and most astrologers are more motivated by the study and application of astrology than in addressing the challenge of providing and defending scientific proof. So most tests are run by sceptics with budgets in fields like psychology who design quantitative tests when the data requires qualitative analysis that would be better addressed by those who understand astrology. There are also real procedural hurdles to jump.

      Problems testing astrological practice under strict scientific methods:
      It is extremely difficult to obtain sufficient fresh accurate objective data
      Isolating the huge number of variables involving human behaviour and astrology is an immense challenge.
      Replicating the unique conditions is almost impossible. For example, each human being is unique and identical planetary positions are never repeated within recorded human history.
      The Experimenter Effect is potentially stronger than in a chemistry experiment as the human experimenter is part of an experiment involving human behaviour. So the criteria used, the data selected, the format and the results are particularly open to reflecting the conscious and unconscious bias of the experimenter rather than providing objective data.
      Statistics perform well in physics, chemistry or molecular biology. However, when you work with more varied and complex data, results can be skewed, misrepresented and manipulated. You’d think with all the objective climate data and vast resources, we would have less controversy about the projections for climate change.
      How a test might be improved. [more …]
      Profesor Hans Eysenck states that ‘testing astrology is a complex and difficult field, as indeed all fields relating to psychological variables’.

      Myth of Flawed Experiments being passed off as Failed Experiments.
      Yet, many sceptics claim that astrology has consistently failed over many years in ‘thousands of scientific tests’. This is a very popular myth that has been duplicated in many websites. I have asked numerous critics of astrology to cite their best single test. This is the list of the ‘best’. I invite anyone reading this to produce or even devise a test of astrological practice that is not fundamentally flawed. [I don’t have the time and resources to evaluate more than one test at a time].
      The Carlson Double Blind Astrology test
      has been cited many times by sceptics. The study, published in Nature in 1985 claimed to show that qualified astrologers could not match test subject’s charts with their self-reported results of the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) any better than chance. (Carlson 1985) It received much Press attention and is still published extensively on the web as the strongest evidence that natal astrology is no better than chance. However, at the time, Carlson’s conclusions received criticism from a number of authoritative sources including Professor Hans Eysenck of London University. (Eysenck 1985) Recent analysis of the data by Professor Suitbert Ertel and others has revealed that this test actually shows support for astrology (see scientific evidence). [more…]
      Geoffrey Dean’s Analyses
      Many sceptical websites cite the work of Dr Geoffrey Dean, a one-time astrologer, and now astrology’s most ardent critic. Dean is very charming, diligent and persuasive. He accepts that astrology works and that it can even be helpful, but in his opinion the reason it works is more down to illusion and artifacts than astrology. However, his attempts to prove his belief through tests leave much to be desired: [More]
      Unpublished Study of Unaspected Planets (1975)
      A two-year study at a time when Dean was an astrologer involving over 200 cases initially showed strong support for astrology with independent replicated results, still remains unpublished.
      Dean’s Phantom Time-Twin Study (2003)
      A study of 2,101 people born in London between 3-9 May 1958 also sounds promising. Though he announced his provisional results in a paper in 2003 (reiterated in 2013)and it is widely cited by skeptical websites, Dr Dean is yet to publish the research in a journal over a decade later.
      Test of Extraversion & Neuroticism (1985-6)
      Dean’s biggest experiment involved 1,198 subjects (mostly from the Southern hemisphere) who had completed their Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI). He selected and studied the charts of 288 extremes of Extraversion (E) and Neuroticism (N). He then had 45 astrologers attempt to blind match a smaller selection of 160 extreme cases. In both tests, he claimed not to have found any result that was better than chance. However, his tests again failed to test the practice of astrology:
      The EPI is one of many psychological tests from Eysenck and other psychologists. It was not exactly a gold-standard for reliability – most especially for comparison with astrology. For example, the more popular Myers Briggs Type Indicator is closer to astrology with scope for both extraversion and introversion rather than a polarity and originated from the writings of Carl Jung who had studied astrology.
      Though the EPI claims stability, the actual results varied considerably by culture (New Zealand v Australian subjects) and by age. The young students high on hormones scored about double that of the oldest subjects in both E and N! So any subjective age and culture-dependent psychological profile based on self-reporting will be an unsuitable match with an objective, life-time, cross-cultural astrological analysis.
      Eysenck’s definition of Extraversion and Neuroticism differed greatly from astrological tradition and the four temperaments. For example a careful examination of Eysenck’s traits reveals that Earth can be neurotic (N-) and Air can be introvert (E-). Since Dean assumed the opposite, this fundamental mis-attribution also undoubtedly misled the astrologers.
      By testing only the extreme results (1/15th) in a large sample of self-completed personality questionnaires instead of the standard 1/3rd, the remaining sample was the result of exclusion bias. These resulting small groups comprised mainly of anomalies and outliers and were beyond the scope of standard astrological practice.
      This research was designed as a test the validity of astrology. However, there had been no prior research or study of the EPI and no astrologer had made any claims relating to it. And despite his initial failure to find results, Dean persisted in setting up the astrologers to do what he was unable to do.
      Dean’s Meta Analyses (1986-2001)
      A meta-analysis enables a quantitative review and synthesis of the multiple studies. However Dean’s meta-analysis flouts all the guidelines for this type of study. (Glass 1983) First, by mixing western astrology with fundamentally different techniques (Chinese Divination and Vedic Astrology), the study compares ‘apples with oranges’. Though the hypothesis (and conclusion) is to test the claims of typical practicing astrologers, the analysis includes studies of disability, suicide, inclination to murder and accidental death. This is exploratory research. Such extremes are simply not part of typical practice or typical claims. His selection of tests includes much duplication – 36% of the 69 results are from the same studies (mostly at least 30 years old). Many of the tests listed are known, even by Dean, to be flawed resulting in GIGO. Some of the data (such as the Carlson test) are misreported to favour the null hypothesis. Many of the test results are based on personal communication or anecdotal evidence. Dean discounts the positive trend in favour of astrology as down to sampling error and bias. Yet, given the history of scientific misconduct by CSICOP and Dean’s withheld tests, publication bias may work against astrology. In spite of all the data corruption, Dean brazenly concludes that astrologers are unable to match birth charts to owners in blind tests. This ia a classic demonstration how what starts out as healthy scepticism can easily decline into confirmation bias.[8]
      Why does Dr Dean need to abandon scientific rigour and objectivity in order to debunk what sceptics consider to be flimsy evidence?
      Magic Tricks
      When a sceptic has to cite a magic trick to support his or her argument, they have abandoned all scientific arguments. The are good reasons why these ‘performances’ cannot be replicated under scientific conditions.
      Test of Astrology by illusionist Derren Brown:
      One sceptic was disillusioned with astrology largely as a result of a ‘test’ by magician Derren Brown. The illusionist presented the same horoscope to a group of carefully selected individuals. They all claimed it was accurate and personal to them. Though this appeared to be very damning for astrology, it was a trick designed to create this illusion. I hope that I am not breaking any magician’s secrets by revealing the techniques. [more …]
      Why I distrust magician, James Randi.
      Another sceptic suggested that I attempt to claim the million dollar prize offered by James Randi ‘Educational’ Foundation for showing evidence of powers that cannot be explained by known scientific laws. Though I had had an encounter with James Randi that left me with the impression that he could not be trusted to be impartial, I did look into his challenge. However, it’s not an option for astrologers as according to Randi, who is by his own admission mathematically-challenged[9], the statistical evidence required creates ‘procedural problems’ with his performance-oriented testing. It’s also impossible as the odds required were unintentionally ‘upgraded’ to 1 in 10 million (p < 0.0000001)! But what mystifies me is that if the paranormal is such obvious bunkum as Randi claims, why has he gone to such extraordinary lengths to make it so difficult to present evidence that supposedly does not exist? [Why Randi's challenge is a charade …]
      Dawkins Sun-Sign Test & throwing stones from a glass house.
      One sceptic cited Richard Dawkins’ test on Sun Sign astrology in his TV series “Enemies of Reason” (Dawkins 2007). As stated earlier, I am not here to defend this popular media-friendly adaptation of astrology. Why did Dawkins choose to criticise astrology as a field and then only present and caricature newspaper astrology in his TV series? Was he so ignorant that he confused a recent off-shoot with a four thousand year old practice? Or was he attempting to misrepresent the case for astrology to make it easier to attack? Dawkins thrives on ranting against soft targets like militant fundamentalism or religious abuse in his book The God Delusion book. But like any proselytizing preacher, Dawkins is only effective when pushing a straw man fallacy from his pulpit.

      Before moralising about the evils of astrology, Dawkins needs to keep his own avid disciples in order. Former Enron CEO, Jeffrey Skilling convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to the Texan energy giant's financial collapse claimed to have been inspired by Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene. (Dawkins 2007) His selfish policy caused great harm. Every year he fired the bottom 5% of his team in a humiliating way. Twenty thousand staff were impacted by the bankruptcy which included at least one suicide. Millions in California were affected by Enron's forced rolling black-outs which led to exponential price rises for energy and contributed to the state's energy crisis. (Egan 2005) So ironically when Dawkins' social darwinism was applied in the real world it resulted in 'mass extinction' – damage of a different magnitude to that of the worst example of an astrologer!

      Scientific Evidence:
      There are many sceptics who insist on 'scientific proof' before they can accept astrology and a few researchers who believe they can 'prove astrology'. While in mathematics, you can deduce a proof to show that proposition is always true, this is not how science works. You cannot 'prove physics'. Science works by the accumulation of empirical evidence to build up a theory. With each replication, the theory becomes more persuasive and established, but since it can also be disproved at any time, it remains a theory and can never become proof or a law.[10]

      Over the past fifty years, scientists and astrological researchers are discovering a growing body of objective evidence of correlations between celestial positions and terrestrial life. These statistically significant results have been published in peer reviewed journals (including Correlation, a specialist astrological journal). Ironically, some of the strongest evidence has come from experiments backed by sceptical groups including CSICOP.
      French psychologist and statistician, Michel Gauquelin (1955-1991)
      Supported by his wife Francois, Michel Gauquelin conducted the most famous research into astrology. Though he was interested in astrology, he did not consider himself an astrologer and dismissed much of it including zodiac signs. His tests focussed on the correlation between the positions of the planets at an individual’s birth, his or her psychological nature and how this manifested in measurable ways such as choice of profession or independent biographical descriptions.
      Gauquelin's Data
      Gauquelin collected data from over 20,000 professional celebrities from various European countries and the United States. Gauquelin’s research detected statistically abnormal diurnal positions of the planet Mars at birth in athletes, Jupiter in actors, Saturn in scientists and the Moon in writers. His tests confirmed an ancient claim of astrologers that planets posited around the four angles are stronger and the characteristics associated with the planet manifests prominently in the individual.
      Naturally Gauquelin’s tests attracted much controversy.
      He allowed independent sceptical researchers to scrutinize his original data. Three committees of rationalist scientists Belgian (LERRCP), American (CSICOP), and French (CFEPP), reviewed and independently replicated Gauquelin's results. CSICOP published their results in The Humanist. The Belgian group refused to publish their study for eight years, in the vain hope of finding a logical explanation for their positive result. The French took a full 14 years. In the end the group dissolved and the work was completed by Jan Willem Nienhuys from the Netherlands. All groups made their data available, but the CFEPP was the only one to publish the full data. The book outlining the study (The "Mars Effect", A French Test of Over 1,000 Sports Champions) [Review].(Gauquelin 1988) (Ertel 1988) (Müller 1990) (Ertel 1990) (Ertel 1992) (Müller 1992) (Ertel 1993)
      ‘The Tenacious Mars Effect’ (1996)
      by Suitbert Ertel and Kenneth Irving (Urania Trust) "describes the Gauquelin’s pioneering work and analyses in detail the attempts by sceptic committees in Belgium, the USA and France to disprove their results. The book highlights the often dubious methods by which hostile sceptics have sought to discredit the Gauquelin’s uncomfortable findings and shows that, in fact, much of the evidence is even stronger than previously claimed." (Ertel & Irving 1997) (Ertel & Irving 2000)
      New York Suicide Test Press (1977)
      Not all valid astrology tests have demonstrated evidence for astrology, but astrologers have been willing to publish these results. Nona Press and two other astrologers gathered 311 records of birth data of subjects who committed suicide in New York between 1969-73 who were also born in the five boroughs of New York City. Despite statistical comparison with a multitude of astrological conventional and unconventional techniques such as asteroids and minor aspects, they were unable to find significant results that related to suicide. However, their results (Press 1977) were duly published in an Astrological Journal. Some astrologers have argued that there may not be an astrological signature for suicide (since this is not part of normal astrological practice) or that astrology is divination and cannot be objectively demonstrated by empirical studies.(Cornelius 2003)
      Gauquelin & Eysenck (1979-1981)
      An empirical study of personality and the position of the planets at birth. (Gauquelin 1979)

      The birth data and personality descriptions of several thousand famous French scientists, sportsmen, and actors were obtained from biographies. The rising and culminating positions of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were calculated and the personality measured according to Hans Eysenck's scales. It was predicted and found that introverts are very significantly more frequently born when Saturn had just risen or just passed its upper culmination; extraverts when Mars and Jupiter had just risen, or just passed their upper culminations.
      Eysenck's personality analysis and position of the planets at birth: A replication on American subjects. (Gauquelin 1981)

      Personality descriptions of 500 successful American professionals were compiled from their biographies and birth data collected. The precise positions of the planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn at birth correlated with H. J. Eysenck's (1967) personality dimensions. Extraverts were significantly more frequently born when Mars and Jupiter had just risen or just passed their upper culmination; introverts when Saturn had just risen or had just passed their upper culmination.
      Professor Müller's Studies (1986)
      A study by Arno Müller, Profesor of Psychology at the University of Saarland, Germany of the lives of 1,145 German nobility over five centuries where records were kept meticulously, showed a significantly higher frequency in infant mortality within the first 15 months (p=0.0004) of birth when Saturn was rising or culminating (Gauquelin sectors) at birth. (Muller & Menzer 1986) [This fits with a traditional interpretation of Saturn rising as difficulties early on in life.] This study might be applied to help understand the mysteries of present day cot-death syndrome.
      Timm & Köberl: A re-analysis of a study by Hans Bender (1986)
      A re-analysis of a study in 1952-55 on 178 German Astrologers showed that astrologers were able to match descriptions of 3 people to 3 natal charts to a significant level. (p=0.026). (Timm & Köberl 1986) However, researchers could not rule out the results being attributed to ESP.
      Sara Ridgley: Astrologically Predictable Patterns In Work Related Injuries. (1993)
      In her Phd. study of 1023 workers in California who were disabled for at least 3 months as a result of accidents at work between 1987-1991, Dr Ridgley found a correlation (p<0.00000001) between the Sun position at birth in a 'hard' aspect (0°,90°,180°) to the transiting Sun and the frequency of accidents. (Ridgley 1993) This study was replication of data from 55 subjects from C.E.O. Carter's book The Astrology of Accidents (1932) which resulted in a high significance (p<0.00016) for such a small sample. However, a study by Dobyns and Pottenger (1996-1999) were unable to replicate the results using critical work related accidents to 2,865 workers in Sweden in 1993.
      Judith Hill: Redheads and Mars Rising (1996)
      In a 1988 study of 500 redheads a remarkably significant (27.2%) were born within 30° of the Ascendant (p=<0.000001) and a low 9.8% <30° of the Descendant (p=<0.000035) when compared with control groups. A follow-up replication in 1996 of 479 American and Canadian and 473 British redheads (N=952) showed significance (p=0.007 and p=0.015) for Mars rising when compared with two control groups. (Hill 1988) (Hill 1996)
      Clarke: Sun & Moon in Positive Signs and Extraversion (E) (1996)
      In 1978 Mayo, White and Eysenck (Mayo 1978) published a test (N=2324) that appeared to show that positive (odd numbered) sun signs were significantly more extraverted [E+] than negative signs [E-] and that water signs were higher on the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) Neuroticism [N] scale. These stark results have since been accounted for by self-attribution (Eysenck 1982) – these participants were predisposed to astrology and may have defined themselves using prior knowledge of their Sun Sign.

      Two decades later, the Journal of Psychology published a more objective study involving 190 students mostly born in the southern hemisphere (Clarke 1996). The subjects had no special interest in astrology and were given no clues that the test involved astrology. After completing the EPI Form B, they were asked to supply their birth details. While those with the Sun or with the Moon in positive signs had a higher mean E score than those in negative signs, the difference was not significant possibly due to small sample sizes. However, 36 subjects with both the Sun and the Moon in positive signs had a significantly higher mean E score (M=16.56 SD=2.66) than 36 with the luminaries in negative signs (M=14.89 SD=3.66) (p < .05)
      Didier Castille: La Population Française au Rythme du zodiaque (1999)
      Stats for birth distribution in France. Tests on the Sun Signs (6.7% signs are estimated as all times of birth were unknown) and large populations (6.4m & 10m) in France show significant sign correspondence between marital partners (12/12 significant v 1/12 in the control), between Birth Sign with Sign position on Death Date (9/12 significant v 0/12 in the control) but rejected the null hypothesis for a correspondence between birth and death on the same day of the week (i.e. no significance found in the non-astrological test). Castille poses the similarity of these results suggests the possibility of an artefact, but to date none has been discovered.
      Bernadette Brady: The Australian Parent-Child Research Project (2002)
      Dr Brady (currently with the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David) demonstrates a series of significant correlations between the natal horoscopes of parents and their children. Most notable correlations involved the Moon, the first-born child and the angles. (Brady 2002)
      Kathy Yuan +:Are investors moonstruck? Lunar phases & stock returns (2006)

      A study in 48 countries over 32 years (402 lunar months) where data is available, showed that stock returns are lower on days around the Full Moon than on days around the New Moon. This result is statistically significant on both a 7 day window (6.9%) and on a 15 day window 5.4% (p=.0009). Another study by Pelc and Bondar (2010), analysts at RBS show among other results that by "moon trading", £1,000 in 1928 invested in S&P 500 would be worth £1,502,689 in 2010 compared to £63,894 if they had tracked the index.
      Suzel Fuzeau-Braesch & Jean-Baptiste Denis (2007)
      In an empirical study of 500 pedigree dogs in the Paris region, significant correlations were found in seven angular planets and anthropomorphic traits including two highly significant ones: Jupiter with extraversion and sociability (p<.000001) and Sun with strong personality. (p=0.00002) (Fuzeau-Braesch 2007)
      U-Turn in Carlson's Double-Blind Astrology Test (2009 & 2011)

      While Carlson in his famous study published in Nature claimed astrology was no better than chance (Carlson 1985), Professor Eysenck (London University) and other reviewers found that Carlson's original sceptical conclusion was not supported by the evidence. Professor Ertel's (Göttingen University, Germany) re-analysis of the data compiled shows that astrologers were able to rate authentic psychological profiles significantly higher than unauthentic profiles in a blind test to a statistically significant level (p=0.037). (Ertel 2009) (Currey 2011)
      Jan Ruis: The Birth Charts of Male Serial Killers: Evidence of Astrological Effects? (2012)

      In response to criticism of Dr Ruis' initial study 293 serial killers published in 2008, the researcher was able to demonstrate convincingly that the deviation of the test group from the control is highly significant both by Zodiac Signs (p=.0002) and by Placidus Houses/Gauquelin sectors (p<.005). There was a particular emphasis on mutable signs and the '12th principle'. Also, the Moon was significantly conjunct and opposite the MC (p=0.03). (Ruis 2012)
      Christian Cajochen: Evidence that Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep (2013)

      Sleep Patterns & Moon Phase
      Professor Cajochen and his team at Basel University, Switzerland conducted a retrospective study of the data records of the sleep patterns of 33 subjects tested in a darkened room in the lab ten years previously. They found that on a full moon, subjects took 5 minutes longer to fall asleep, had 20 minutes less sleep, spent 30% less time in deep sleep and had diminished melatonin levels. (Cajochen 2013)

      Is astrology anti-scientific? …
      If not, why isn't astrology at the heart of mainstream thinking & education?
      Over 500 years astrology drifted from being central to the academic system to an outcast on the fringe. How? Radical new discoveries of the mechanics of the solar system appeared to refute an ancient system developed under the previous paradigm. As the academic world polarised, astrology was not considered an objective science nor an art or a religion. So the real question is how did astrology survive at a time when so much superstition was jettisoned. [For a fuller explanation …]
      The Causes of the Decline:
      Four major astronomical discoveries appeared to break the astrological model:
      Precession of the Equinox
      The Copernican (Heliocentric) System
      Discovery of the Outer Planets
      The vast distances in space
      However, only one discovery forced astrologers to rethink the model. The discovery of Uranus (and later Neptune and Pluto) led some astrologers to review the ancient attribution of sign rulerships. After much trial and error, these new planets took western astrology to a far more sophisticated and complex level mirroring the changes in our evolving consciousness on Earth. Find out why the astrological model survived intact.
      Prediction to protect kings and nobles was at odds with a world liberated by free-will, republicanism and democracy during the Age of Enlightenment.
      18th century astrology did not fit into a new academic curriculum increasingly divided into humanities (theology & the arts) and sciences. The Church had long seen Astrology as subversive and early science was not compatible with deductive theories about the complexities of the human psyche and patterns of behaviour.
      The Legacy of this Decline:
      Isolated from the academic environment for over two centuries, astrology is increasingly judged from a position of ignorance. Such prejudice is unquestioningly passed onto the next generation of students so that astrologers are seen by as heretics.
      Media distortion and regulation. The tabloid press presents astrology in a sensationalist manner with unsupportable predictions. Pressure groups like CSICOP's (now CSI) "Council for Media Integrity" push their point of view onto the broadsheet press and mainstream media to encourage criticism or ridicule.
      Historic bias now masquerades as scepticism and can infect top scientists. Mainstream scientific journals will not publish an astrology paper as it is not their field and they cannot peer review it. Yet, flawed experiments supporting a sceptical agenda that would not pass peer review in journals like Correlation, sneak into 'respectable' journals. For many, especially older, male, white scientists, the subject is taboo unless like Professor Hans Eysenck, you get tenure and can indulge your hidden interest. [More …]
      Astrology has not only survived these crises, but with the discovery of additional planets and the growth in knowledge including psychology, the field has transformed into a much more powerful system. Yet, conventional wisdom dismisses it as a product of the dark ages.

      Astrologers only defend astrology to protect their vested interests.
      To try to undermine an argument by claiming that the proponent has financial, psychological or other motives rather than address the merits of the argument is an ad hominem and psychogenic fallacy. Many sceptics claim that astrologers make a lot of money. This may be true of a few Sun-Sign columnists who are more like media celebrities than typical astrologers. The fact is that most astrologers devote much of their life to studying their subject and still struggle to make a living or supplement their income with better paid work. Their motivation is the pursuit of knowledge rather than money.

      Those at the top of the multi-million dollar "Skeptical Industry" make a comfortable living and notoriety through popularizing their beliefs. There are lucrative conferences, lecture circuits, books, magazines and journals to promote and like an evangelical church, donations are encouraged by playing on the fears of the faithful. Their tax-exempt organizations are in a different league to their astrological equivalents: CSICOP (CSI) [2011 expenditure ca.$2 million] or the JREF [2009 expenditure ca.$1 million] (JREF 2009)

      Is astrology a science?
      The short answer is no. However, much depends on your definition of science. If you are looking for laws, objectivity and predictability, then science is really confined to physics, chemistry and molecular biology. The scientific part of astrology: tidal, seismic and meteorological correlations are an ancient and important part of astrology, but not enough to classify astrology as a hard science.

      The same argument applies to many other so-called sciences: such as climatology and meteorology. Most scientists argue that fields that involve human consciousness and behaviour such as psychology, sociology, economics or human senses such as nutrition or music are not science. It is arguable that evolution is not scientific under this strict definition. The nearest equivalents to astrology are cooking or horticulture which are both a mix of art, science and craft.

      Some argue that using certain dictionary definitions of science, there’s a case that astrology is a science as there is a body of knowledge that can be taught. (OED 1996) However, the practice of astrology by most astrologers is better defined as an art or a craft than a science and it would be wrong for these type of astrologers to claim to be scientists. As such it would also be equally wrong for a scientist who has not studied astrology, to consider him or herself qualified to judge such practices since they are outside the realm of science.
      If you have read this far, you will now know there are no grounds to dismiss astrology as complete rubbish from a scientific point of view. If you still believe astrology to be rubbish, ask yourself, is your belief based on astrological knowledge and actual experience? Or is it blind faith inspired by feelings? Or were you won-over by an illusionist's trick? Or were you informed by a second-hand opinion that appears authoritative, but is based on an ill-informed, outdated or prejudiced view of astrology? Those who have studied astrology are the best authorities on the subject.

      Brady, Bernadette (2002) The Australian Parent-Child Research Project Correlation Journal Volume 20 (2) 2002
      Bingham, John (2012) Richard Dawkins: I can't be sure God does not exist. The Telegraph. 24 Feb. 2012
      Cajochen, Christian; Altanay-Ekici, Songül; Münch, Mirjam; Frey, Sylvia; Knoblauch, Vera; Wirz-Justice, Anna (2013) Evidence that Lunar Cycle Influences Human Sleep. Current Biology, 25 July 2013.
      Carlson, Shawn (1985) A Double Blind Test of Astrology. Nature, December 1985 Vol.318, pp.418-425.
      Clarke, D., Gabriels, T. & Barnes, J. (1996) Astrological Signs as Determinants of Extroversion and Emotionality: An emprical study. The Journal of Psychology #130(2) pp.131-140 Mean scores of E & N were compared for 13 Sun, Moon & Ascendant combinations. Only the Sun/Moon combination was significant (p < .05), but 10 out of 13 were in the right direction. The lack of significance may have been due to the small sample sizes (Mean N=47) ranging from 4 to 149. A fundamental limitation with this type of study is that some of Eysenck's EPI keywords for E- (thoughtful, peaceful and even-tempered) correspond with positive Air signs and yet, many would consider Air Signs to be extravert and N- words like responsive corresponds to water while Water Signs are widely considered by astrologers to be emotional or in Eysenk's terminology, neurotic.

      Cornelius, Geoffrey (2003) The Moment of Astrology. Origins in Divination. pp.50-52
      Currey, Robert (2011): U-turn in Carlson's Astrology test, Correlation. Vol.27 (2), July 2011
      Dawkins, Richard (2007) Enemies of Reason, Part 1. Channel 4, UK. Aired 13 August 2007.
      Dawkins, Richard (2006) The God Delusion. Black Swan. p.331
      Dean, G. (1986), ‘Can astrology predict E and N? 3: discussion and further research’,Correlation, 6 (2), pp. 7–52. With 110 references. Includes meta-analyses of astrological studies.
      Dean, G.A. & Mather, Arthur (1977) Recent Advances in Natal Astrology. A Critical Review 1900-1976. Analogic, Subiaco, Australia
      Egan, Timothy (2005) Tapes Show Enron Arranged Plant Shutdown, New York Times, February 4, 2005
      Ertel, Suitbert (2009) Appraisal of Shawn Carlson's Renowned Astrology Tests Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol.23, No:2. pp.125-137
      Ertel,S. (1988) Raising the Hurdle for the Athletes’ Mars Effect Journal of Scientific Exploration Vol.2 No:1 pp.53-82
      Ertel,S. (1993) Puzzling Eminence Effects Might Make Good Sense Journal of Scientific Exploration Vol.7 No:2 pp.145-154
      Ertel,S. & Irving,K.(1997) Biased Data Selection in Mars Effect Research Journal of Scientific Exploration Vol.11 No:1 pp.1-18
      Ertel,S. & Irving,K.(2000) The Mars Effect is genuine Journal of Scientific Exploration Vol.14 No:3 pp.421-430
      Ertel,S. (1990) Bulky Mars Effect Hard to Hide
      Eysenck, H. & Nias, D.K.B. (1982) Astrology, Science or Superstition St Martins Press, London Chapter 4. Sun Signs and Personality pp.49-67
      Ertel,S. (1992) The Gauquelin Effect Explained? Comments on Müller’s Planetary Correlations
      Eysenck, Hans (1986). Critique of “A Double-Blind Test of Astrology”, Astro-Psychological Problems, Vol.4 (1), January 1986. Eysenck wrote “The conclusion does not follow from the data”.
      French, Chris (2013) Astrologers and other inhabitants of parallel universes The Guardian. 7 Feb 2012.
      Fuzeau-Braesch, Suzel; Denis, Jean-Baptiste (2007) An Empirical Study of Some Astrological Factors in Relation to Dog Behaviour Differences by Statistical Analysis and Compared with Human Characteristics. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 281-293, 2007
      Gauquelin, M.; Gauquelin, F. and Eysenck, S. B. G. (1979) Personality and position of the planets at birth: An empirical study British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol:18: pp.71–75. Note though Hans Eysenck had been collaborating with Michel Gauquelin at least from 1977 and was involved in this paper but only his wife Sybil put her name on it.
      Gauquelin, M.; Gauquelin, F. and Eysenck, S. B. G. (1981) Eysenck's personality analysis and position of the planets at birth: A replication on American subjects. Personality and Individual Differences, Vol 2(4) pp.346-350.
      Gauquelin, Michel (1988) Is there a Mars effect? Journal of Scientific Exploration Vol.2 No:1 pp.29-51
      Glass, Gene V., McGaw, Barry & Smith, Mary Lee (1986) Meta-analysis in social research, Sage Library of Social Research, Sage Publications
      Hume, David (1888) A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. L.A. Selby-Bigge, Oxford Clarendon Press
      Hill, Judith & Thompson, Jacalyn (1988) "The Mars-Redhead Link: A Scientific Test of Astrology" NCGR Journal, Winter 88-89.
      Hill, Judith (1996) "Redheads and Mars: A Scientific Testimony" The Mountain Astrologer, May 1996, pp 29-40.
      JREF (1990)
      Form 990. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax 2009. James Randi Educational Foundation, FL. Revenue: $852,445 Expenditure: $1,062,364 Reportable compensation from the Organization: James Randi $195,000. p.7. 6 May 2010

      Form 990. Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax 2011. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Inc., NY. Revenue: $1,649,787 Expenditure: $1,965,032. 15 August 2012

      Long, A.A. (1996) Stoic Studies, Cambridge University Press, p.237 "At birth this pneuma changes into soul (or animal) as a result of … contact with the cold air outside."
      McMahon,D., Ciarleglio, C., Gamble, K., Strauss, B. & Axley, J. (2011) Perinatal photoperiod imprints the circadian clock, Nature Neuroscience Vol.14 pp.25-27 "What is particularly striking about our results is the fact that the imprinting affects both the animal's behavior and the cycling of the neurons in the master biological clock in their brains," said Chris Ciarleglio.
      Mayo, J. White, O. and Eysenck, Hans (1978) An empirical study of the relation between astrological factors and personality. Journal of Social Psychology, 105 pp.229-236
      Moore, George W. (1973) "Westward Tidal Lag as the Driving Force of Plate Tectonics". Geology 1 (3): 99–100. ISSN 0091-7613 ^
      Müller, A. (1990) Planetary Influences on Human Behavior: Absurd for a Scientific Explanation? Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 4. No. 1. pp.85-104

      Müller, A. (1992) The Gauquelin Effect Explained? A Rejoinder to Ertel’s Critique Journal of Scientic Exploration, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 255-259, 1992

      Kierkegaard, Søren (1847) Kjerlighedens Gjerninger (Works of Love), SKS vol.9 Gad & Søren Kierkegaard Forskningscentret 2004 p.13
      Milton, Richard (2000) Critique of CSICOP: The Paradigm Police The provenance of this quote cannot be tracked to the original context.
      Press, Nona et al (1977) An Astrological Suicide Study. Journal of Geocosmic Research Vol.2 #2. Also in Recent Advances in Natal Astrology. (Dean 1977)
      Ruis, Jan (2012) The Birth Chars of Male Serial Killers: Evidence of Astrological Effects. Correlation Vol.28(2) November 2012 pp.8-27
      OED: Oxford Compact English Dictionary (1996) O.U.P. Science n. 2 a. "Systematic and formulated knowledge esp. of a specified type or on a specified subject e.g. political science." ^
      Müller, A., & Menzer, G. (1993). 1145 Angehörige deutscher Dynastien [1145 members of German dynasties]. Astro-Research Data 4. Waldmohr, A. P. Müller-Verlag.
      Ridgley, Sara Klein. "Astrologically Predictable Patterns in Work-Related Injuries," Kosmos. XXII[3], 1993, pp.21-30
      Scoppola, B.; Boccaletti, D.; Bevis, M.; Carminati, E.; Doglioni, C. (2006) "The westward drift of the lithosphere: A rotational drag?" Geological Society of America Bulletin
      Sidgwick, Isabella (1898) 'A Grandmother's tales' Macmillan's Magazine, LXXVIII, # 468, Oct. 1898, pp.433-4
      Timm, U. & Köberl, T. (1986). Re-Analyse einer Validitätsuntersuchung an 178 Astrologen. Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie , 28(1/2), 33–55.

      Yuan, Kathy; Zheng, Lu; Zhu, Qiaoqiao (2006) Are Investors Moon struck? – Lunar Phases and Stock Returns Journal of Empirical Finance. 2006, 13(1), p.1-23
      de Waal, Frans (2009) The Age of Empathy, Review. How bad Biology killed the economy. RSA Fellowship. Winter 2009

      ^ In 1958 Bertrand Russell wrote "Nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice." Letter to Mr Major. In Dear Bertrand Russell: A Selection of his Correspondence with the General Public, 1950 – 1968 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1969). Bertrand Russell makes the valid point that the burden of proof for any belief is on the proponent. However, the nonsense of the China Teapot believed by no-one and unsupported by evidence does not equate to a widespread claim of correlation supported by evidence. Russell never intended this analogy to be used an excuse to ignore evidence to make prejudicial assertions.
      ^ There are 4067 physical astrology books registered at the libraries of Oxford University, 4622 astrology books registered at the libraries of Cambridge University and 2260 astrology books, dissertations and journal titles in the libraries of the University of London, which includes the prestigious Warburg Institute. These are not all history books. For example, a search on Astrology & Science shows 351 titles at the Oxford Library Collections. Source: personal correspondence, Philip Graves, April 2013
      Astrology books are not confined to University Libraries, Dr David Juste, eminent researcher and scholar says that the Vatican Library contains a substantial collection of astrological works, some of which are only extant there.
      ^ Hubris or hybris (ˈhjuːbrɪs) denotes excessive pride or a lack of humililty resulting in ill-treatment of others to enhance the transgresor's superiority which ultimately invites his or her ruin.
      "Hubris consists in doing and saying things that cause shame to the victim…simply for the pleasure of it." ~ Aristotle
      "Hesiod (7th century bc) and Aeschylus (5th century bc) — used hubris to describe wrongful action against the divine order. From this usage modern thinkers developed the idea that hubris meant overweening presumption leading to an impious disregard of the divinely fixed limits on human action in an ordered cosmos." Encyclopedia Britannica, Hubris
      ^ John Stuart Mill, classical economist and philosopher, rephrased David Hume (Hume 1888): “No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.”
      ^ History of Meteoritics (retrieved 2012) – All about Meteorites "Until the early 19th century, most scientists shared Isaac Newton's view that no small objects could exist in the interplanetary space – an assumption leaving no room for stones falling from the sky."
      ^ Full quotation: "What is the first business of one who studies philosophy? To part with self-conceit. For it is impossible for any one to begin to learn what he thinks that he already knows." Epictetus Discourses Book II, Ch. XVII How to apply general Principles to particular Cases. from Epictetus, The Works of Epictetus. Consisting of His Discourses, in Four Books, The Enchiridion, and Fragments. Translation from the Greek based on that of Elizabeth Carter, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1865).
      ^ The aura is considered a subtle transluctent lustre that surrounds living objects. Only a few people, notably spiritualists, mystics, psychics and healers claim to have 'seen' an aura in the form of light radiating from the body. Some believe there is a corespondence between the colours within the light and the planets, though the aura is not part of astrology. The concept traces back to Zoroastrianism and manifests in Buddhism, Kabbalah, Neoplatonism and Christianity [e.g. Luke 11:36] and popularised in books by Carlos Castaneda. In religious art it is depicted as a halo. There are very few scientific papers on the topic. A five-year study conducted by Dr. Valerie Hunt and Dr. Wayne Massey at the UCLA Department of Kinesiology (1977) entitled A study of structural integration from neuromuscular energy field and emotional approaches. measured auric fields in relation to Rolfing. The researchers claimed that after Rolfing "Electronic auric studies showed progressive change from a random low frequency field to a coherent high frequency, classically interpreted to indicate high consciousness."

      These comments are here for background information only and there is no claim as to the existence or non-existence of the auric field.
      ^ For at least seven years, Dean's Meta-Analysis was published without any references. Eventually a list of the 69 results from 44 studies was published in Astrology Under Scrutiny (2013) by Dean et al.
      ^ After widespread criticism that the odds in the Randi challenge were unreasonable even by the standards of physics, James Randi was forced to revise the required probability levels. Randi admitted "My abysmal ignorance of statistics requires that I frequently appeal to statistician Chip Denman of the University of Maryland for frequently sobering advice and counsel." 28 February 2008. Wayback Machine record from
      ^ At any stage a theory can be disproved. In an attempt to account for Gauquelin's apparently irrefutable statistical results, Geoffrey Dean dreamed up a highly implausible claim that a century ago parents falsified the birth registration times to optimise their offspring's charts! It is hard to see how any parent would want what was considered a malefic planet, Mars in a prominent position. But since a reasonable conventional explanation (artifact) can never be ruled out in the future, Gauquelin's data no matter how solid is no more than an astrological theory. It cannot become proof or a so-called 'scientific law'.

      Kepler's third law was shown to be incomplete and inaccurate by Newton's laws of gravity which were later shown to be imprecise and incomplete by Einstein's Theories of General and Special Relativity. In the same way, even though the evidence appears overwhelming, it remains Darwin's theory of evolution rather than his law of evolution.

  28. @Hugh Janus

    > In response to my post, a great number of sceptics have asserted that astrology is rubbish

    Well they would, wouldn’t they? Such is the nature of skeptics.

    They said the placebo effect was not real. They said anesthetic would never work. They told Darwin that because he could not posit a mechanism for evolution his entire observation-based thesis was pants.

    Yet you and I Huge Janus know differently about Astrology and I thank you for posting your thoughts at such great length.

    It is perhaps only by keeping it to the fore in the public mind that we prevent the skeptics from “explaining it away” as they try to do with Dark Matter and Consciousness and the Riemann Hypothesis and other such things that they do not understand and thus they attempt to sweep under their intellectual carpets.

    Between us – you and I – let us work toward a better public understanding of Astrology. Applied astrology – astrological engineering if you wish to give it a trendy name – is one of the sunrise sciences of the 21st Century. I am glad to have found a fellow early embracer.

    1. I don’t know… I don’t buy it….

      However, ‘Dark Matter, Consciousness and the Riemann Hypothesis’… now you’re talking my language Barry.

      Can you expound on those instead of Astrology?

    2. @Edie

      There are no mysteries. Simply things our consciousness has not yet embraced.

      Dark matter and the like would have been incomprehensible magic to our ancestors. Yet our children or perhaps theirs will fly to the stars in spaceships fueled by dark matter.

      Though for now we are in the dark about some things yet we are confidently groping toward the light.

      This has been the case since the earliest astrologers looked up at the skies and saw those patterns that enabled them to build even the very roots of our enduring civilisations. Without that early astrological science we would still be in the darkness.

      For astrology has its roots in ancient augury, in reading the intentions of the gods. It contains truth, but not in a literal, scientific way. It is a way of thinking, natural to human beings, that has been largely forgotten today. An astrology chart cannot be ‘read’ like any other text: rather, the astrologer uses the stars and planets in a ritual way that allows his or her intuition – the daemon, the gods, the unconscious – to speak. And the emphasis is not on foretelling the future but on how to live well, what attitude to take to life, how in other words to live in accord with the intentions of the gods.

      I thank you for your polite request for dialogue. That you are interested in astrology is a positive sign in its own right that your heart at least intuitively is in the right place.

    1. Astronomy is the science of the cosmos–planets, stars, galaxies, etc. The science that allows us to build rockets, satellites, etc. Astrology is pseudoscience that purports to explain how astronomy affects human characteristics and behavior. It fails every well-conducted evidence-based test, and makes no reliable predictions.

    2. Oh dear Ken Haley

      You are about to find out that a certain astrologer just knows you are wrong about that. He won’t be able to explain exactly why you are wrong in terms that you understand, but that will be your rational filter’s fault, not his. The next step is just to believe what he says on faith, as it will make you a better human (even though he doesn’t know you, and doesn’t really know if he’s experimented with what you believe). Failing that, he may just ask you to go silent so that he can re-engage with the topic of this blog; but he won’t; he’ll just try and convince others that what he feels in the stars is the truth and so on. Hope I haven’t ruined anything?

    3. @Ken Haley

      I fear you have fallen for a modern and misleading simplification of the two definitions.

      Astrology is the STUDY of stars – the OLOGY part being the same as in Geology and Biology. It indicates a true science. Astrology studies every aspect of the heavens and (more than astronomy) also relates it to our lives in the part of the heavens in which the earth and all of us resides. It does not separate us from the stars as astronomy does. Thus making it a fully holographic science.

      Astronomy is a more limited affair – ONOMY indicates the naming of stars as in Taxonomy. At its core it exists to catalogue name and count as many distance heavenly bodies as it can. It has no higher purpose than that.

      It is as of we have two sciences of human communication, One that studies the stamps found on letters and one that studies the actual contents of the letters themselves.

      Both have their uses. Yet Astrology is the wider deeper and more inclusive science. It also has thousands of years of observation and data behind it.

    4. @adzcliff

      You have inadvertently outed yourself as a politician.

      When asked “what would your party do about X?” a politician does nor reply with what their party would do about X. Instead they reply at length with what they claim several other parties would do about X. And they do so in a way that infers that those other parties actions with regard to X would somehow be deficit in the eyes of moderate people.

      This you have done by attempting a parody of the answer some else would give. But only if that someone else was the straw man glove puppet image you carry around inside of your head.

      I am perfectly happy for you to answer for yourself. As am I.Future posterity can then well judge which one of us is right and which one has the blinker filters on.

      A properly conducted debate has each side speaking for themselves not parodying the other participants. Ken Haley and others will completely agree with me on this and perhaps other points too.

    5. Thanks for this Barry Goddard.

      My initial reaction to your comment was that you had made some valid points. You point out that a parody of your position is not necessarily a validification of my counter-position. You raise the problem of the Strawman Argument. You even express a reasonable view of how a proper debate could be conducted. But then I thought, No! You are wrong! Your close-minded rational arguments don’t work here. Your truths are shallow and your methods simplistic. My reality does not conform to your ‘rules’, and is truer and more beautiful than your ‘rational filters’ will ever allow you to comprehend. I’m sorry, but out of our last two posts, I win and you lose – for reasons ineffable. (And yes, the ‘complex binary’ of winners and losers is the discourse of the cosmos.) If you feel tempted to challenge this, remember, arguments rooted in words other than my own are doomed to fail, as your language does not map onto my reality. I can try and help you to experience towards this enlightened vista, but I expect you will retreat back into your narrow reifications and content yourself with lesser comforts; like the Amazonian ant who is in awe of the vastness of this single bundle of leaves. Good luck.

    6. Only I don’t use ‘words’; ‘words’ use me. Liberate yourself from your narrow confines; not all is as you assume. Open your blinkers.

    1. 1. Halley not Haley’s comet.
      2. Imperative does not require question mark.
      3. Grammar not grammar.
      4. Nazi not nazi’s.

    2. Sorry to correct you:

      “3. Grammar not grammer.”

      But your right, their were a couple of misteaks in my earlier post,

    3. Remember one who’s grammer is corrected by the nasis’ is properly designated the “grammee’.

    4. Gramer are only rulez wot other persons says we shoulda be usin’ sos dey don’t not never need to fink about wotz their reeding up on,

      Me I was learned at skool to xpress meself clearly in wat ever way is bestest for me.

      u have a problem wi that? cos i dont:

  29. Men prefer friends and their own entertainments because women’s physiology in breastfeeding and raising babies during the first year distracts men’s attraction. This is what had been discovered by researchers from Australia several years ago. Some sexually strong males always need good sex, irrelevant to their women’s states. Instead of finding new sex partners (i.e. being unfaithful), they stick to friends. So, if you love your husband, be ready to devote more attention to your baby, who needs your love. Keep the family, as you will never be able to change your husband’s physiology and biology. Just be sexy and enjoy erotic love. It will keep your husband wanting you!

    Natalia Levis-Fox,
    psychologist, writer and artist.

  30. can you absolute know that he has lost interest in you? how do you feel when you think like that? turn it around : i have lost interest in him_ give me an example… or look for the books of byron katie… loving what is

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