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20.11.2017

Antartic radioactive dating of meteorites

Since no such frequency seems to be available, information theories of astrology seem as unpromising as physical explanations.

Many astrologers attribute a successful chart reading to what they call intuition or psychic ability, where the birth chart acts like a crystal ball. They see astrology less as a set of rules and more as something akin to divination, where "its reliability depends on the quality of the astrologers' intuition" (Phillipson 2000:167).

In other words astrology works not because of astrology but because of the psychic ability of the astrologer. There are two problems here.

First, like everyone else, astrologers certainly have intuition, the unconscious processing of previous experience that pops answers into our minds, so we know without knowing how (and also without knowing we could very well be wrong). But what matters here is not intuition but psychic ability, which unlike intuition has no scientific explanation.

Careful tests have shown that astrologers do not have useful psychic abilities (Dean & Kelly 2002), nor for that matter do leading psychics (Boerenkamp 1988, details are arguments against radioactive dating given under References).

Second, such explanations put astrology firmly in the field of psi and therefore expose it to the same problems.

Problems such as the absence of criteria for deciding whether psi is present or absent (Alcock 1981,2003), the severe incompatibility of psi with the findings of neuroscience (Beyerstein 1987, Kirkland 2000), and its negative definition (psi is what remains after all known normal explanations have been eliminated, so where does that leave normal explanations not yet known?). In effect they replace one mystery by another and are therefore not useful.

An alternative psychic model has been proposed by Guinard (1993-2003), where our psyches resonate with the planets and pops the results asian and american dating edicate into our minds as unspecific symbols and archetypes, so no special psychic ability is needed.

But Guinard insists that his model is untestable (what matters is that astrology is meaningful), which is not useful.

The most popular explanation of astrology is based on magical correspondences or argument by analogy, the assumption that things similar in some respects are also similar in other respects. Thus Mars the red planet indicates blood, anger and war, and then by extension anything vaguely red, hot or aggressive.

Ancient Hermetic writings contain eloquent examples of magical correspondences: "The macrocosm has animals, terrestrial and aquatic; in the same way, man has fleas, lice, and tapeworms. The macrocosm has rivers, springs, and seas; man has intestines.

The macrocosm contains breaths [winds] springing from its bosom; man has flatulence. The macrocosm has Sun and Moon; man has two eyes, the right related to the Sun, the left to the Moon. The macrocosm has the twelve signs of the Zodiac; man contains them too, from his head, namely from the Ram, to his feet, which correspond to the Fish" (from MacNiece 1964:126).

There are three problems here. First, we have no immediate way of choosing between opposing magical correspondences. Black cats were lucky to ancient Egyptians but unlucky to medieval Europeans. The Moon was male to the Babylonians but female to the Greeks. The same piece of sky means one thing in the West and another in the East. Indeed the astrologer Dale Huckeby (2003) argues that symbolism is too flexible to be useful. It allows an easy accounting of virtually any outcome at any time using any chart, so the match between chart and outcome is nonfalsifiable.

Second, it is impossible to specify any two things that do not show some kind of correspondence. Lewis Carroll's raven and writing desk are alike because both begin with an "r" sound and both cast shadows. What should surprise us is not a correspondence but the lack of it.



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