The History

Astrological research has a short and undignified history. The short history is that, until recently, there has been no research done. There are cases that are cited by astrologers and skeptics that illustrate some isolated experiments, but when compared to the volume of research into subjects such as physics or medicine, there has been ZERO hours of astrological research done since it was denied entry to the French Academy of Sciences in December 1666. The outcome of this is that astrology has not changed since 1666.

Back in 1666, medicine looked a lot like astrology (by this I mean both subjects looked, from our privileged vantage point, a lot like primitive superstitions) and both subjects were allied with other better-established endeavors. Medicine was closely associated with surgery and astrology was aligned with astronomy. While surgery was relatively advanced in the 1660s, general medicine was overshadowed by ancient superstitions and questionable practices. The diarist Samuel Pepys reported being operated on to remove a bladder stone 'the size of a tennis ball' in 1658, but eight years later the same surgeon is reported to be 'bleeding' his patient.

It was quite easy to admit astronomy and reject astrology because the former was practical and observational and the latter mysterious and questionable. On the other hand, while medicine was largely based on the same ideas as astrology, it was much more difficult to separate from surgery and both medicine and surgery were admitted along with mathematics, mechanics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, mineralogy, botany, agriculture, anatomy and zoology.

 

Astrology was cast out. Long term this impacted patronage, which was the precursor to academic funding. This is the reason why astrology has not changed since 1666.

After about 130 years vaccination was demonstrated and medicine changed. This led to research and investment. Anaesthesia, antiseptics, germ theory, antibiotics, transplantation and gene therapy now exist because of research. After germ theory was established bloodletting ceased.

Medicine now enjoys billions of hours of research per century, as do all of the subjects that were admitted to the French Academy. Until the twenty-first century, the largest amount spent on one astrological experiment was a bit more than 100,000 dollars by German researcher Gunter Sachs in the 1990s.

Every twenty minutes more scientific research is done in physics than the total amount of scientific research that has been done in astrology since 1666. An important knock-on effect is that every skeptical position that has been based on evidence gathered before 2005 has been arrived at via negligible research into the Ancient Greek interpretation of the subject. The editors of Wikipedia articles on Astrology and Science have therefore been basing their critical opinions on a 17th Century assessment of Iron Age beliefs rather than facts exposed by careful exploration (if they were writing about medicine and assuming that bloodletting was intrinsic to the subject, it would be an equivalent mistake).

In the late 1990s there also was a concerted effort by intellectuals to dismiss astrology and even to criminalize it. This approach was typified by Prof. Richard Dawkins who made the following comments:

'Astrology is an aesthetic affront, like using Beethoven for commercial jingles'.

'Most of us happily disavow astrology without first immersing ourselves in books about it.'

'I believe astrology misleads the public, denies scientific progress, and belittles our universe.'

'If the methods of astrologers were really shown to be valid it would be a fact of signal importance for science. Under such circumstances astrology should be taken seriously indeed.  For us to take a hypothesis seriously, it should ideally be supported by at least a little bit of evidence. If this is too much to ask, there should be some suggestion of a reason why it might be worth bothering to look for evidence'.

'It isn't as though it would be difficult to find evidence for astrology if there were any to be had… A statistical tendency, however slight, for people's personalities to be predictable from their birthdays, over and above the expected difference between winter and summer babies, would be a promising start'.

It should be observed that Richard Dawkins is an astrological dilletante, whose primary subjects - zoology and behavioral science - are diametrically opposed to what astrology must be in order for it to be true. This means he doesn't really seek to understand what he is attacking, but whatever it is, it must be attacked because it opposes his fundamental worldview, into which if he is correct, astrology does not fit.

So, in my work over the past few decades, I have answered Prof. Dawkins' demands by providing the evidence he noted was lacking. I did it, ironically, by using the same technique (or device) that was used by Carl Sagan in his book Contact. In the book and the film, the only way to understand communication from the contacted ET intelligence is to view blueprints sent by the aliens as 3D objects or cubes rather than 2D pages. This is what I did with astrology; I added a dimension and made the horoscope move through time. After doing this, over time, a coherent, scientific and falsifiable subject emerged.

The Ancient Greeks saw the world as fixed and fated - unchanging. It follows that the astrology developed by them would have these characteristics.

Perhaps if Jean Baptiste Colbert, the founder of the French Academy of Sciences had admitted astrology to the Academy in 1666, we would have developed it and understood it from another perspective, but because he didn't we are stuck with the subject as the Greeks defined it. The correction revealed by my experimental results is what we needed in order to see astrology as a science.

It is apparent that the reason skeptics can happily disavow astrology without exploring it is because no one had ever funded any research into it. The direct cause of this was the scientific establishment's rejection of astrology. This rejection curtailed patronage and over time patronage was replaced by research funding - astrology got neither. The reason for rejection was mainly because the early rationalists couldn't see how astrology could possibly be true. Their exploration of the subject was therefore poor and cursory. It was not the fault of astrologers or astrology that it gained its reputation as a 'parlor game', it was the scientific establishment and its materialist/rationalist worldview. At the time of his comments Richard Dawkins was Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. His position on astrology was therefore quite damaging. As evidence has now been established, this damage can begin to be reversed.

It shouldn't be overlooked that another outcome is that astrologers don't trust science. They don't believe they are working with a science and this is because every previous attempt at validation in the subject's history has either returned the null hypothesis or the result has not been sufficiently understood to enable progress. One prominent astrologer has even stated that 'if you want to do worthwhile work for which you will not be thanked or paid, do research'. He was wrong when he said it and he's still wrong, but his view is influential. The outcome is that astrologers don't do research, because as soon as they start to work with the scientific method, they stop being astrologers.

One (Vedic) astrologer stated to me that they believe peer review to be an incompatible concept with astrology suggesting that any oversight or gatekeeping suppresses individual technique and that guru-based knowledge transfer is a good idea. While this is an argument that will die out as astrology becomes a science, it is one of the principal reasons my book is titled A 22nd Century Science, because it will take a long time for this type of attitude to be replaced by those of research, peer review and objective validation, verification and development.