by Hand Week 4
where we left off last
week about how we may have modified astrology in order to make
the gap between it and science less severe.
I want to
repeat that I do not dispute the merits of the humanistic approach as
a valid way of doing astrology. But I do believe that we can say that
it is a failure in making astrology conform to the prevailing scientific
paradigm. This is not a criticism. It is simply a statement that I believe
that humanistic astrology is in the same boat with the other branches
of astrology with regard to science.
Astrology and Personality Testing
have been made over the years to establish the validity of psychological
astrology by means of various kinds of psychological tests or experiments.
We have the Vernon Clarke tests and various efforts to replicate them,
and we have the infamous effort to test psychological astrology by means
of the California Personality Inventory (CPI), as well as various efforts
to correlate astrological traits such as signs with psychological traits
such as introversion-extraversion, etc. Some of these have been genuinely
interesting, others have been very poorly designed. The Gauquelin research
was among the best designed. The CPI test was among the worst. But the
merits of these experiments are not important. What is important is that
any attempt to correlate astrological and psychological factors by means
of objective experimental procedures means that one is trying to establish
a correlation between astrology and something objectively real. A psychological
trait that has been measured by a psychological test is made in some way
an objective reality (assuming the psychological tests have any merit).
The astrological trait is no longer merely speaking in the subjective
language of myth and fable.
I have no
problem with this, but I do want to point out that we are now in the same
realm as trying to predict events in the external world through astrology.
Psychological traits measured by psychological tests are objective entities,
or at least have been converted to objective models.
I think that
psychological astrology is no more compatible with the scientific paradigm
than other kinds of astrology. It is true that many of us have found it
more comfortable because it has seemed more compatible with our other
modern ways of thinking. But that doesn’t make it so.
Kinds of Astrology that Really Challenge Science
from traditional astrology, which is well known for its tendency to try
to describe objective events, there are some other quite respectable (to
us at least) branches of modern astrology that are truly a challenge to
the scientific paradigm. Many modern astrologers, for example, do not
seem to find it at all implausible for astrology to predict earthquakes.
Leaving aside the fact that the record is not good in this area, this
kind of prediction truly demands that astrology be reducible to physical
effects. And I have to admit, it doesn’t seem completely absurd that alignments
of the planets could have an effect on the Earth’s tectonic plates. But
let’s look at how we do this. No one that I know of has attempted to predict
earthquakes using the day-by-day and minute-by-minute movements of the
planets. It is done from charts that function very much like birth charts.
The two main kinds of charts that people have used to predict earthquakes
have been eclipses and ingress charts.
Charts as Birth Charts
occurred at the moment of eclipses, we would have a potent indication
that the alignment of the Sun and Moon actually did cause them according
to something that would be amenable to science. But we believe that an
eclipse can signify an earthquake months, or even years, after the eclipse;
and some even hold that the eclipse can signify events before the
actual eclipse. I do not have a serious problem with this idea from an
astrological point of view, but effects preceding causes is a serious
“no no” in most scientific activity. (We will ignore for the moment the
fact that the theory of general relativity and some quantum effects also may
force us to rethink causation.) Texts on eclipses also stress that the
astrological signal that times an event indicated by the eclipse may be
a transit of a planet over the position of the eclipse before or after
the eclipse. Once we get into transits of any kind, we are in the same
area of difficulty as with conventional birth charts.
charts cast for the moment that the Sun enters 0 degrees Aries, Cancer,
Libra or Capricorn, present exactly the same difficulties as eclipse charts.
And even worse, the astronomical events associated with ingress charts
have no clearly implied physical effects, such as the alignments of the
Sun and Moon might have in eclipses.
week we will look at a kind of astrology that really challenges science: