STAR WARS II - The astrologer strikes back!

Written 2003

Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph reported a scientific study which gives "definitive proof" that "astrology is rubbish". The basis of their story is a 24-page report by Dean and Kelly, published by The Journal of Consciousness Studies. This weekend, I downloaded it from their website at a cost of £15.87 plus VAT.

What a load of rubbish.

I should have been suspicious as soon as I saw the authors names. Geoffrey Dean has been knocking astrology for as long as I have been practising it. His favourite trick is to misunderstand what it is that astrologers do and then (surprise, surprise) "prove" that this is not what they are doing at all! He has now teamed up with a skeptical psychologist called Ivan Kelly. Their latest shock revelation is based on a flawed experiment that Dean conducted 18 years ago!

He gave some personality tests to volunteers. He then asked some astrologers to predict how shy or outgoing those volunteers would turn out to be. So far, so good. But in questionaires like this, people are notoriously naughty. They will tend to say what they think makes them sound good. So liars will describe themselves as honest, show-offs will say that they really do not seek attention and bigots will call themselves fair minded.

Such "tests" are dangerously unreliable as many observers, in the last 18 years, have been at pains to point out.

Dean and Kelly though, don't care. They just gleefully report that the astrologers got it wrong... because they described what the subjects were ACTUALLY like instead of predicting how they might try to paint themselves in the personality test.

The study contains another old chestnut involving time twins'. They looked at the lives of 2,000 people all born in early March 1958. They grouped each of these up into pairs and sought similarities between their levels of intelligence, anxiety, weight and height. They didn't find many. This, they say, disproves astrology yet again.

It sounds impressive till you realise that the pairings were made arbitrarily, without any cross-referencing to the wider group. The "tests"were performed only at the ages of 11, 16 and 23. And ALL the participants were Piscean. Hardly a fair test of the whole zodiac!

Once again, it turns out to be an experiment rigged to make astrology look silly, whilst cheekily claiming to be extra fair. This though, is nowhere near as wicked as their next trick which involves testing astrologers for clairvoyance!

Hang on! Most astrologers claim no such power. Why would we go to all the trouble of calculating an accurate map of the sky, full of complex symbols involving multiple layers of meaning to be interpreted according to strict guidelines passed down for millennia... only to let our minds go blank and say the first thing that comes into our heads?

Ah, say Kelly and Dean, "But some astrologers DO claim to be psychic." Sure guys. And some scientists claim to have a truly open mind.

The sorry truth though, is that most scientists hate astrology with a vengeance. Academics who ever dare to remotely suggest a finding in favour of astrology have their work torn to shreds, their lectures met with howls of derision and their grants mysteriously "cut off'"

No wonder the only scientists who come near are the ones with a wrecking agenda!

One day the intellectuals of this world will drop their petty prejudices.Till then, be careful what you read in the Sunday broadsheets. A lot of it is hopelessly over-sensationalised!

Copyright 2003 Jonathan Cainer.

Reprinted with permission from Jonathan's column in Daily Mirror 18th August 2003 plus any permissions regarding further distribution if Jonathan agrees.

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