Comments from the Author
Making a Scientific Prediction Using Astrology
You should be shocked and startled by the information on this site. If you aren't, then you probably don't have a good view of the paucity of evidence gathered over the years that astrology is true. It's not supposed to be true. It's supposed to be an ancient mistake. I believe it's fair to say few people who are close to the problem ever thought that astrology would present as a science. It just seems so unlikely that this subject, which is treated by very bright and educated people as the preeminent example of pseudoscience, would ever be positioned to make scientific predictions. Yet here we are: the effect is obvious and the fact that the adaptation required to achieve it explains our previous interpretation of astrology-as-pseudoscience is powerful.
Pseudosciences are characterized by their appearance as science, but by the inability of practitioners to use them to make predictions. Astrology is not pseudoscience, we have demonstrated that scientific predictions can be made about large specific groups. However, the way that astrology is taught and practiced can be seen as pseudoscientific. There is a curious paradox in astrology and that is that it is one of those subjects that is considered a paranormal subject until it is validated, it then becomes mainstream. Upon this logical concept James Randi presented his fake $1 million challenge - the 'out' was that if any paranormal subject passed the test it automatically became a non-paranormal subject and therefore was not eligible for the $1 million prize. Well, there's another similar paradox in astrology, and that is, even if a small part of the subject is validated by experiment, everything else in the subject is still tenable. The problem is the validation that progressed synastry has given also falsifies a good deal of astrology as it was practiced.
I am personally irked by the intransigence of astrologers who pretend that their subject is somehow special and 'not an exact science'. The people who have degraded astrology over the past few decades include both astrologers and skeptics and they have done so because they wanted to practice the subject, but they did not do any work to uncover the truth about it. Surely it will have occurred to someone else that progressed aspects are super-precise and create falsifiable (i.e. testable) scenarios and natal aspects are vague and unfalsifiable... so perhaps we had been focusing on the wrong chart all along? If you have bought into the idea that astrology is not a science, then you have allowed yourself to fail badly and if you have practiced astrology you have directly enabled the critics who have worked tirelessly to NOT research astrology. (Although you are still a hero for keeping the subject alive). The fact is, in medicine as soon as germ theory was formulated and validated, physicians did not incorporate it alongside the four humors, they got rid of this ancient and false doctrine that made bloodletting standard practice and eventually used their new insights to develop antibiotics. Likewise, as soon as we notice that horoscopes are not fixed entities, they are in fact in motion, we completely change a vast array of mistaken concepts in astrology including, for example, composite charts which are quite a recent idea, but based on Ancient Greek mistakes.
If you are interested in what is true, you should also be genuinely outraged by the misinformation about astrology that is promulgated by Wikipedia, or rather the editors of the pages associated with astrology and science. These pages are locked for editing because of 'vandalism', but they appear to be locked and controlled by editors who do not know much about astrology.
First they conflate popular zodiac-based astrology with the actual subject, which is based on planetary movement and positions not zodiac signs. Second they contend that research has offered no evidence that astrology is based upon fact, this is a claim that is demonstrably out-of-date, and third they fail to understand the reasons why astrology as a subject has been de-valued over the past four centuries. I will take the time to correct their positions and I will also introduce a little bit of the fun to the exercise by using their own heroes to demonstrate how astrology is based on fact.
Astrology has been wholly degraded since its exclusion from the French Academy in 1666. This degradation was not a deliberate act, but its long-term effect appears to be that we have followed a different scientific path than if we had invested in it. If astrology is (as claimed here) the science of consciousness, in that it allows us to measure, predict and evaluate events in consciousness (as opposed to events in nature), then its exclusion from contention in scientific debate is problematic. Imagine if medicine had been excluded in the same way and comparatively zero research funding had been allocated in 350 years. Quite possibly civilization would have developed in a different way and we would still have mortality rates in comparison with the 18th Century. It's difficult to speculate on where a decision like that would have taken us, but it is simple to see why that decision would have been taken. If you didn't believe that it was possible to cure people of disease, why would you invest in trying to find ways to do so? (This was effectively the position of civilization in the centuries before the enlightenment). So, if astrology is true, we took a fork in the road in 1666 that left us in a future without a deeper understanding of consciousness. Astrology was de-funded and over time like any subject in the 17th Century that was denied the oxygen of acceptance, it would in the longer term be denied academic patronage, (which as noted ultimately translates to no research funding) and would flounder so that after time it would start to look old-fashioned, then it would appear archaic, then eventually it would seem irrational. But this does not make it untrue or pseudoscientific. It makes it appear improbable to modern eyes, and so astrology-skeptics are just people who make a bet on its probability, but without the insights that we might have had if we had taken the other fork in the road in 1666.
Using Astrology to Make a Quick Scientific Prediction - October 2019
First, some pre-requisites: Elsewhere on this site you can find the methodology of experimentation into progressed synastry. You can also find the results, but here I will place the claims of astrology and the findings of progressed synastry in outline: Claudius Ptolemy in ancient times and astrologers throughout the middle ages ascribed 'easy' or favorable conditions to the 120-degree 'trine' aspect between planets. This does not always mean a great outcome because 'ships sink more easily under trines', but generally people seeking easy and favorable romantic encounters run towards trines - which give good conditions and run away from 90-degree 'square' aspects, which - depending on the planets involved - present Romeo-Juliet Star-Crossed scenarios. So the first question is how true is the claim that 120-degree aspects are favorable for relationships?
Horoscopes have been fixed and fated entities since Ptolemy. Predictions are made by astrologers by 'directing and profecting' (moving planets to new positions using specific, often arcane formulae), 'progressing' (moving planets based on their actual motion before or after the original horoscope) and comparing 'transits' (looking at the current position of planets) to this fixed chart (there are other methods, but most are variations on these themes).
Studies looking at 120-degree trine aspects between the Sun in one person's fixed birth chart and the Sun in their partner's fixed birth chart have shown nothing significant. This idea is the foundation of books like Love Signs by Linda Goodman. But the Sun in isolation isn't really about relationships (although it is associated with them when coupled with Venus). When we look at relationships we need to look at the relationship planet (Venus). Materialist/rationalist sensibilities are irked by the astrological attribution of qualities to physical planets, Venus, in particular, is one that gets up their collective nose. The physical Venus is a hell of a planet - hot enough on the surface to melt lead and with atmospheric pressure that crushed the Soviet space probes sent to its surface. We know it's not a habitable place - this has nothing to do with the astrological attribution of Venus to relationships. We also don't know why it correlates to relationships and we are sufficiently aware of the dissonance that rationalists feel when faced with this kind of information. We also have to accept that astrology would probably not develop in a natural universe, so acceptance of astrology is also acceptance of the idea that we live in some form of simulation. If the universe is simulated (or consciousness within it is subject to rules created by simulations), then it becomes less of a leap to attribute Venus to relationships. So the second question is simply: Do 120-degree aspects of Venus happen more at the beginning of relationships than chance?
And question three - what happens when we add the secondary progressed or day-for-a-year planet positions to the relationship evaluation?
Well, I carried out a little experiment in October 2019 to show how I could take a small group and demonstrate how progressed synastry works with most relationships. The small cohort was found in an astrology Ph.D. thesis completed in 2019. It included mention of several anti-astrology personalities. I chose all of those mentioned, whose relationship data was available and whom I hadn't already investigated together with all of the relationships (with available data) connected to the people they were in relationships with. They are shown in the order they were researched.
In the examples below Sun-Venus, Venus-Mars, and Venus-Venus trine, conjunction, and opposition aspects (which are the highly significant aspects in my study of progressed and natal synastry) that fall inside 2.5-degree orbs are highlighted. In the first example, there are two Sun-Venus trines. The blue-colored planets are Karl Popper's natal Sun and his wife Hennie's natal Venus, these positions are fixed. The red-colored planets are Karl's progressed Sun and Hennie's progressed Venus which sat at 118 degrees 58 minutes arc distance from each other (in their respective progressed charts) in 1926 (they met sometime between 1925 and 1927 at the Pedagogic Institute in Vienna). They married in 1930 and as this is the more certain date it is the one used. These planet positions move at a typical rate of about 1 degree per year (the Sun's maximum motion is around 1 degree per year, Venus 1.25 degrees per year, and Mars 0.75 per year. Mars and Venus both undergo periodic retrograde motion. PSun and PVenus are at 117 degrees 56 minutes arc distance when shown here in 1930.
Karl Popper was a philosopher of science who concluded that astrology was pseudoscience.
Paul Thagard regarded astrology as pseudoscience because of the behavior of its practitioners and the fact that it hasn't changed in 2000 years. He wrote a paper entitled 'Why Astrology is Pseudoscience'. Obviously, the information available on this site contradicts Thagard's view.
A J 'Freddie' Ayer was a philosopher of language who was an astrology skeptic.
Karl and Hennie Popper
Paul Thagard and Ziva Kunda
A J Ayer and Dee Wells
A J Ayer and Grace Renee
A J Ayer and Sheilah Graham
A J Ayer and Vanessa Salmon
Sheilah Graham and F Scott Fitzgerald
Sheilah Graham and Robert Taylor
Vanessa Salmon and Nigel Lawson
NB I had already investigated other relationships of F.Scott Fitzgerald and Robert Taylor, so these were excluded.
I have not allowed myself to speculate about the start date of Sheilah Graham’s relationship with Robert Taylor except that they have a son born in December 1945 and that this fact came from A J Ayer. Taylor’s progressing Venus is retrograde so it is moving backwards into a conjunction with Sheilah’s natal Sun after 1945.
Here are the combined results for SO-VE trines conjunctions and oppositions in this set of 9 relationships together with the odds for the aspect occurring at different orbs. A one-degree trine is associated with odds of 88.49 to 1, while a 4.5-degree trine is 20 to 1. There are three p-p Sun-Venus trines, the cumulative odds of finding three of these in a row at the orbs they occupy is 144,000 to 1 against.
So, according to the contemporary point of view expounded by astrologers, I uncovered these cases one after another because of what we could call the responsive universe or ‘the moment of astrology’ or Koestler’s 'library angel'. Or, perhaps it's just because they occur at excessively statistically significant rates in relationships, I effectively scientifically predict that they will be there in choice-based relationships and find them because they happen more often than they should and I just know where to look and what to look for (and as they occur more often than they should, I have an increased chance of finding them). Both interpretations are valid, but the scientific explanation is simpler. And remember, these examples are - in part - of people who are/were paragons of astrology skepticism. If you are unconvinced by this, revisit the results and control group results pages and/or learn how to interpret scientific data. It is easy to predict that in any set of intimate relationships that are choice-based in nature (this includes same-sex relationships and one-night stands, but does not include arranged or coerced relationships) you will be able to make the same scientific prediction. There are other close aspects in the relationships, but unless highlighted none have shown high significance in large-scale experimentation. It's important to note that in one cohort - relationships that do not end in marriage (technically love affairs) - the p-p Venus-Mars trine (there is one between Ayer and Salmon) occurs at the same rate as the n-p Sun-Venus trine which is highly significant. Also, p-p Venus-Venus trines occur at consistently higher rates than would be expected, although their significance is drowned out by the Sun-Venus aspects that occur at - sorry - astronomical rates.
Contemporaneous Research Notes - I made these notes at the time of the experiment in October 2019:
I started with Karl and Lady Popper. I have already looked at the relationships of Richard Dawkins and of Bart J Bok, so did not include them. Then I looked at Paul Thagard and his late wife Ziva Kunda. The next day, further into the thesis, I noticed A J Ayer mentioned and having not researched him before I decided to dig and found he had been in four public relationships (I also found another three related to two of his partners, which while not necessarily within my criteria, this does demonstrate how I gather data, so I will include them in my explanation). Altogether I located 9 discrete new relationships over 24 hours, this is the same number of relationships I use to demonstrate how common the progressed and natal synastry aspects are in small sample populations when I talk to astrologers. I use the relationships of my family members when I do this demonstration.
Karl and Lady Popper was quite easy to stumble on, this is because I only came across them via a memorial tombstone that included both dates of birth. A quick check states they were married in 1930. I created a progressed and natal synastry matrix based on noon births.
Paul Thagard was a little more difficult to research and in the end, would not have been included in my study based on this information, but this is an exercise demonstrating data gathering and other factors. I noted that he was married to the late noted psychologist Ziva Kunda and I could quite easily source their dates of birth. No source tells of their meeting and marriage, so I have had to use a range of likely dates. I looked at their online CVs to see when they were most likely to have met. I noted that they were first at the same institution (Princeton) in 1985 and that their first co-published work was in 1987. I took this as their ‘start year’.
The next day I alighted on A J Ayer, whose philosophical work I had encountered previously. He is mentioned on a number of occasions in the works of another noted skeptic, the late Christopher Hitchens. I took note of all of Ayer's reported relationships and the recorded dates. His marriages to Dee (1960), Grace (1932), Vanessa (met mid-sixties, married 1980) and his lover, gossip columnist Sheilah Graham (their daughter was born 1942), Vanessa’s ex-husband Nigel Lawson and Sheilah’s lovers F. Scott Fitzgerald (1937) and actor Robert Taylor (son born 1945). F. Scott-Fitzgerald and Robert Taylor were already in my study with other partners.
[To be clear the only other relationships I have researched since mid-September 2019 are Cherie Lunghi and Mark McGann (pVenus pMars trine < 2 deg), David Frost and Diahann Carroll (pVenus pMars trine < 2 deg), and Princess Beatrice and her fiancé (nVenus pVenus trine < 2 deg) which are not included here.]
You will note that the first three have the same pattern at differing orbs. Based on how often an aspect of each orb would be encountered we can calculate the cumulative odds of me finding three of these P-P SO VE trines in a row at 144,084.26 to 1 (88.49x36.1x44.6) this is of course dependent on the start-date of Thagard and Kunda being 1985 to 1987, after 1988 it rises to 176,836 to 1, the two N-N SO VE trines are 1769.8 to 1 (88.49x20) and the two P-N SO VE conjunctions are 15786.6 to 1 (176.98x88.49), all of these aspects came in consecutive charts, giving impressive odds for such an exercise. I hope this demonstrates the potency of the subject and in my view, the insights arrived at via progressed synastry have given us the most important breakthrough in astrology in the modern era. In case you’re wondering, this is not the first time I have produced such results, it happened often during data gathering, this is the first time I have systematically measured the odds in a closed exercise for the purpose of demonstrating both the process and the results.
Skepticism is the most important element of the scientific endeavor. When your skepticism prevents funding and research because of historical errors and personal prejudices it's no longer skepticism, it's cynicism. If this is you, you need to admit it and step back. Astrology is a science.