The wisdom hierarchy

by Sjoerd Visser
> Index <



The wisdom hierarchy

Levels of evidence

And in between Falls the Shadow

Implications for astrology

The ADB category aggressive - brash

Try astrological statistics out yourself

The art of synthesis

Post scriptum

References



The wisdom hierarchy

Top

When studying a subject you start with reading articles and books on that subject. The opinions of your parents and peers might be mistaken, so you look for more knowledgeable persons to teach you. The best information should come from experts in the field. So, you could follow a course and attend a school or university to get a more coherent picture of that particular field of knowledge.

Depending on the state of art of the science, the kind of knowledge involved and the goal of course, different arguments can de given providing the evidence for the rules and information given. A wisdom school based on some religious or philosophical tradition will provide different information than a secular State University interested in modern research. But both schools try to provide their students the best information and knowledge to base their decisions on.

In the article The wisdom hierarchy: representations of the DIKW hierarchy, Jennifer Rowley referring to Awad and Ghaziri, differentiate between data, information, knowledge and wisdom: "Typically information is defined in terms of data, knowledge in terms of information, and wisdom in terms of knowledge". So they constitute a kind hierarchical pyramid: Wisdom relying on knowledge, knowledge relying on information, and information on data.

Let us have a look at the several layers of wisdom and knowledge.

Developing Inherent wisdom could have implications for survival, like when elephants sense, warn and flee for a tsunami. We do not understand their communication, so we cannot decide if this competence is conscious or not. For humans and animals most of their knowledge is unconscious, laid down in genes and messaged as biochemical information. Then even dogs, ants, trees, forests or ecosystems could be said to be wise: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6).

For both scholars and scientists, wisdom depends on accumulated knowledge, but more knowledge does not automatically leads to more wisdom. Like information and data, knowledge has to be digested. Too much available information could result in confusion, indecisiveness, staying in an ivory tower or being detached from life. We would not yet expect a super-computer to be wise, but the scientist who checks his model of the world with big data probably is. Because today we deal with much more information than one single individual can ever process.

Wisdom, as knowledge in action, will also have an ethical component. Self-reflection, being able to admit one's faults and limitations and being able to deal with the human condition are part of wisdom. As Socrates said: An unexamined life is not worth living. But he also warned his students that the results of that query could be rather disappointing.

Levels of evidence

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In applied sciences like medicine, agriculture and engineering there are levels of evidence. They are important, because decisions made with them are not just of academic interest, but could deal with life and death. Does this medicine work? Can we prevent a famine? Does this bridge hold? Those are important questions, we cannot leave up to speculation. For this reason, the quality of evidence has always to be considered.

Quality of evidence depends both on relevant observations and correct reasoning. You cannot simply conclude: The bridge holds, as I just walked over it. You can only say: The bridge held me, when I just walked over it. The logical error involved would be an unjustified generalisation based on one case study.

But there could be rational other reasons to trust that bridge. It could be made of steel, stone or another strong physical structure. Before you, many others had passed that bridge, etc. So there could be all kinds of information from independent sources to trust that bridge. Those considerations, in combination with your more personal preferences, could guide your decision to use this bridge, instead of a maybe stronger bridge that is farther away.

Often you do not need to do scientific research to answer questions like which bridge is best for you. You can rely on background information and personal experience. Cultural myths, habits and laws might also belong to that realm. But when the bridge is in the bush and you have no experience with it, you better think twice. Maybe you would prefer to consult a local expert first. Maybe new studies are needed. Maybe many studies already have been done, but should be retrieved and reviewed.

The last is typically done by academic experts in the particular field, who try to synthesise the unfiltered information of empirical research in the light of the background information. From the gathered pieces information they try to distil new knowledge or more sophisticated insights. But they might also conclude that the subject has been studied a lot, but is still not yet understood. Wisdom would then imply: More studies have to be done. Knowledge and wisdom are always work in progress.

In evidence based medicine (EBM), three factors are considered to be essential to base your decisions on: Relevant scientific evidence, clinical judgement and the patient's values and preferences. Because epidemiologists did not study your individual story, the clinical judgement of your medical doctor and your own values and preferences are also needed to advise you.

The same principles are used by engineers, clinical psychologists and other professionals who customise their advise to the client. Sometimes the client has little choice (advise on cancer treatment, aircraft design), at other times the professional can give most attention to the personal preferences of the client (psychological counselling, designing a house interior).

But in all cases reliable information and guidance from the expert is needed. Because you want the expert to help you to deal with your reality, some basic reality testing from the side of the expert is required. And here teachers from religious and wisdom schools relying on old traditions differ from teachers at secular universities involved with empirical research. They have different approaches to deal with reality. One could divide them broadly in positivistic and traditional approaches.

Positivists assume that human and particle behaviour is a response to observable external stimuli. They do not deny the existence of invisible forces like gravity or subjective events, but they need to quantify them with validated instruments varying from questionnaires to Geiger tellers to take them into account. One single and subjective I know it experience of a guru would not count for them, but many objective investigations by means of questionnaires, behavioural observations or PET scans could lead to hypothesis formation about the nature of subjective Eureka experiences (induction).

In the on empiricism based hypothetic-deductive method, the always changing ideas about reality should be tested and improved again using well-designed experiments to minimise effects of other causative or confounding factors. When experiments cannot be done under laboratory conditions, control groups are used. Statistical methods are used to deal with to be expected forms of bias like the sampling error, which is caused by observing a part instead of the whole population.

Traditionalists and scholars striving for eternal wisdom are seldom interested in the results of scientific research. For traditionalists the old values are the ultimate truth, even if they obviously conflict with the habits and norms of modern society. Quite often, traditionalists reject the habits of modern society, at least in their own field of expertise. Thus, they would preferably advise you according to their traditional view, maybe adapted a little bit to your reality. As that is their business, their paid for expertise in the traditional field.

With mortals, gold outweighs a thousand of arguments said Euripides in Medea. When you visited a medical doctor, you wanted him to pay attention to your perceived health problem and not your yin-yan status. If you visited a lawyer, you would pay him to defence your point of view, not to question it. If you visited an astrologer, you would expect at least some astrological expertise, not an astrologer who became confused after reading Astrology and science. If you consulted a Jungian therapist, you would expect him to be really interested in your dreams. Even if they seem trivial to most other persons, who soon forget them after waking up.

And in between Falls the Shadow, wrote the poet W.H. Auden in the Hollow Men:

“Between the idea / And the reality / Between the motion / And the act / Falls the Shadow”
Top

All approaches to reality have their merits and shadow sides. So instead of attacking or ignoring approaches that are foreign to us, we could better determine their strength and weaknesses in their own field of competence. Staying within the limits of their competence, the medical doctor, jurist, astrologer and psychologist should complement each other, to benefit their individual clients.

All living persons have to adapt to an ever changing reality, and thus will at different times have different motives and interests, but still can be valuable members of society. For this reason, we should not pin somebody down on one statement made in a particular context. A scientist, for instance, could perfectly well both contribute to empirical science and go to church each Sunday. A medical doctor could advise a long day on health issues and after that go home to drink a beer and smoke a pipe. One might argue: But those guys are not consequent! Yes, indeed, they do not behave like robots in a plant. Robots are predicable. But should humans or animals strive for ? No, because they have to move around in a complex and multifaceted world. Of course, they all will have their personal preferences, but willingness to compromise and adaptation to society are essential to survive.

Traditionalists, unless withdrawn in a closed environment like a monastery or an old fashioned internet forum, needed to adapt their views to an ever changing world. For this reason their sacred books were creatively rewritten, extended and reinterpreted. Modern scholars wrote new books, expanding and refining the old views of how the world should be understood.

And though many of their personal wisdom sayings and laws could be based on personal wishful thinking and speculation, they still provide theoretical guidelines that individuals could not deduce that easily from their own practice. So, thanks to old and maybe superstitious cultural traditions, most members of society were raised with beneficial ideas like the ten commandments that helped to structure societies. That role of keeping together quite different people with shared believes into societies and groups is without doubt the great merit of tradition.

At the same time positivists who can say a lot about the actual physical reality, still have to face the fact that they cannot rely on scientific knowledge alone when deciding whom to love and what to do. As no scientific study has been done on their particular situation.

But their actual daydreaming about a certain person or action could give them a hint. Should they consult a dream interpreter like the biblical Pharaoh did? Or should they rely on their own gut feelings? And with the help of whom? A psychologist?”A Jungian astrologer? A mindfulness coach?

Consulting only friends and parents could be a bad idea, as one should not set up one's life according to the expectations of important others, though their consent and support would without doubt stabilise a marriage.

The ultimate point to be made is that traditionalists cannot ignore the implications of rough epidemiological data and that positivists cannot deny the subjective or moral experiences of themselves and others. Both should embrace all aspects of reality. That is the essence of being aware.

Do not exclude any facet of reality.

Implications for astrology

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Whereas in most fields of empirical research, growth of knowledge depended heavily on statistical tests to evaluate ongoing empirical observations, astrologers still rely on the outcomes of outdated medieval research of poor quality to serve their clients. But to maintain that position, astrologers had to ignore the results of modern empirical astrological research.

Astrologers got stuck in the superstitious believe in astrological symbolism, assuming that it has a better explicatory quality than empirical rules ever could provide. Under the parole chance does not exist, astrological symbolism became their alternative truth. They could apply it to virtually any problem and were satisfied with the results. As long as outsiders did not interfere with their symbolic word play, they were content with it.

Modern astrologers had major problems with the statistical methods that came up in the second halve of 20th century. Statistical tests done with astrologers have been very disappointing for them, because individual astrologers did not perform better than could be expected by chance alone. The second reason is that large scale statistical research seldom provided support for astrological symbolic principles. The found effect sizes were small and they were seldom the ones suggested by astrologers in their astrology books. Only by using tricks like cherry picking, impressive results could be shown in their books. See: The plumbers story:

How to use and abuse the binomial distribution to do some small scale astrology research having no predictive value.

But if they used control groups or had some understanding of probability calculation, astrologers could easily see that the reverse effects than those described in their astrology books actually happened quite more often than the suggested ones. In 79 art critics we provided some examples.

But realise that, how impressive this fictive case for astrology might appear, 95% of the people having that transit would not have an accident!

So to maintain their position, astrologers had to deny or ignore the results of empirical astrological research. Writers of recent astrology books know about this lacuna and use vague words as could and might, whereas they according to modern standards should provide effect sizes and confidence intervals to justify their claims.

But instead of trying to retrieve those statistical measures in the field of astrology, astrologers simply denied the already proven value of statistical research. As they did qualitative and not quantitative research. Or they studied individuals, not groups. As if those kinds of false dilemmas really do matter in the astrological practice, where claims also must be made about groups like individuals having Sun in aries. For the simple reason that without knowledge about a mediocre Sun in aries, no valid claims about any Sun in aries can be made. Only speculations based on prejudice are then the result.

Without quantitative knowledge of what is actually found in ADB categories, writers of astrology books discussing recently discovered planets can not rely on the necessary background information to predict possible additional effects of new planets. Not to speak of the many interactions (aspects) with other planets and house cusps: A myriad of effects and interactions that had to be explained in the light of the whole chart. Even multivariate analyses done on huge astrological databases cannot solve this empirical problem, because of almost infinitive possibilities.

But that major empirical problem was tackled by astrologers just by hypothesising that the newly discovered planet should also obey the rules of astrological symbolism. As that great idea resonated with and stood at the core of their belief system. So planet x in house or sign should behave like any other planet in house or sign, but of course (and the “should” and “of course” are of course the not yet proven prejudices) with its own resonance and field of influence.

And indeed, astrologers they could illustrate their books with some well selected cases that could have made sense to their believers, enabling them to sell their books. But could they ever predict with it? That seems unlikely. See Predicting at the individual level:

Astrologers warn against generalisations. But at the same time, they ignore the problem of statistical variation, when they assume that the interpreter has to consider the whole chart, as if it were possible to understand the interaction of all its components. They simply explain away the many exceptions to their rules with supposed to be known other modifying astrological factors, thus with the complexity of the chart, transits and so on.
When a Taurean just by chance displayed Taurean behaviour, astrologers would see this as a case for astrology and when he did not, there should be some other astrological factor involved with it. But, astrologers never provided any serious statistical evidence for the presumed effect or interaction of any of them. And that is serious problem. How could a judge ever believe a suspect who explains his incredible statements with other incredible statements?

Astrologers would reply that they never predicted events, but only explained or justified things afterwards, when they framed some facts in the astrological perspective. And that what they found was real magic compared to the dullness of the day. But a Sherlock Holmes kind of investigator would argue: The usual suspected planet (Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto) might just be an innocent passenger of the place of verdict, walking the dog at the usual time. So what? What is the proof? Did you research it thoroughly? Did you use control groups?

Here modern investigators, judges and astrologers have different views on causation and proof. As claims based on medieval believes in magic, witchcraft, astrological symbolism and the so-called so above, so below principle are not any more regarded as sound arguments. Modern judges would now label them as superstition, prejudice or bias. In justice a suspect is innocent until proven otherwise, but in astrology the reverse seems to be true. Ask astrology researcher Rudolf Smit, citing the astrologer David Hamblin, who questioned the biased way of thinking of his peer astrologers.

If I find a very meek and unaggressive person with five planets in Aries, this does not cause me to doubt that Aries means aggression. I may be able to point to his Pisces Ascendant, or to his Sun conjunct Saturn, or to his ruler in the twelfth house; and, if none of these alibis are available, I can simply say that he has not yet fulfilled his Aries potential. Or I can argue (as I have heard argued) that, if a person has an excess of planets in a particular sign, he will tend to suppress the characteristics of that sign because he is scared that, if he reveals them, he will carry them to excess. But if on the next day I meet a very aggressive person who also has five planets in Aries, I will change my tune: I will say that he had to be like that because of his planets in Aries.

This could be a classic example of the Look-elsewhere effect and fallacy:

The look-elsewhere effect is a phenomenon in the statistical analysis of scientific experiments where an apparently statistically significant observation may have actually arisen by chance because of the sheer size of the parameter space to be searched.
...
The look-elsewhere effect is a frequent cause of "significance inflation" when the number of independent tests n is underestimated because failed tests are not published. One paper may fail to mention alternative hypotheses considered, or a paper producing no result may simply not be published at all, leading to journals dominated by statistical outliers.

Why do astrologers stick to astrological symbolism? It is just an old habit that gives them plenty degrees of freedom. Just like poets use the power of rhyme and metrics, all kind of writers use particular styles in their particular framework: story tellers, theologians, journalists, scientific writers, etc. Using the correct style and basic assumptions is the easiest way to get recognition in the field. It helps you to be heard and acknowledged in a particular field of knowledge.

But it only works as long as others do not question the methodology you used to confirm your basic assumptions, and that can be a problem when others proved to them be wrong and superstitious. Then you could end in a difficult to decipher labyrinth of circular reasoning:

Circular reasoning (Latin: circulus in probando, "circle in proving"; also known as circular logic) is a logical fallacy in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with. The components of a circular argument are often logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true.
...
Circular reasoning is often of the form: "A is true because B is true; B is true because A is true." Circularity can be difficult to detect if it involves a longer chain of propositions.

Current astrology clearly suffers from lack of data. Astrology books are full of speculations, but correct references to their genuine origins are seldom found. In recent astrology, there has been a shift from traditional predictive astrology to psychological counselling. The fact that predictive astrology performed so bad compared to more developed sciences, undoubtedly speeded up this move. And the current focus on unconscious psychological processes makes astrology even more fuzzy, as those claims cannot be checked. But quite a lot of astrological assumptions can and should thus be checked.

Would you consider the advice of a medical specialist wise, if he had not read and digested his classic readings as well as more recent knowledge, information and data provided by the medical literature? Probably not, as wisdom relies on the use of actual knowledge and information to come to the right judgement. If he is an licensed doctor, you might assume he makes correct use of his knowledge of the field, but there is no guarantee that it works for you as an individual person. As his medical literature just dealt with groups.
But what should we think of a medical astrologer applying his understanding of the believes of medieval astrologers to explain your current medical affairs? Medical doctors would call him a charlatan, because he relied on outdated information and irrelevant rules. He could be called to court for it and become convicted, because his astrological predictions would be judged to be basically wrong and delusive.
Afterwards, the convicted astrologer's play with words could make sense to his followers, like tragic poetry does, or a good sermon or the reconciling words of a politician after loosing an election. But an athlete would just say: Next time I have to perform much better. And Sherlock Holmes would shout out: Data! Data! Data!" he cried impatiently. "I can't make bricks without clay..

Nevertheless, most astrologers assume that their opinions are based on empirical facts, and for this reason they illustrate their books preferably with AA examples of natives that can be found in the Astrodienst database (ADB). But by selecting only some special cases and ignoring the rest, almost every theory can be defended. But would a theory based on cherry-picking be predictive? Probably not.

But you also can do more serious research on astrological categories using the whole ADB as a control group. We did a keep it simple, stupid exploration of ADB categories, not with the aim to confirm or refute any astrological theory. Our primary objective was to find out what is in ADB: What is in the data? Is it just randomness as critics expected? Or were certain patterns more seen than expected in certain categories? Could astrological effects play a role in it? And what would be there impact? Could you predict with it? What was actually found in the ADB? Below a preview.

The ADB category aggressive - brash

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According to traditional astrologers, Mars and Aries are associated with aggressiveness. That is written in their books. So if astrological factors were involved with certain events, like aggressive / brash being traditionally associated with Aries or Mars, both the relevant event or habit and the supposed to be involved planets should be measured and being found quantitatively correlated, as this is implied in the astrological claim. But when a selection of 175 persons tagged as Aggressive / Brash in the ADB had a similar astrological profile as a group of persons whose names only started with A or B, positivists would not see that finding as a case for astrology.

So the proper astrological research question would be: Is that so? Can that presumed correlation between particular astrological factors and events on earth be found? Not once, not sometimes, but repeatedly and much more then could be predicted by chance alone. And how predictive (and thus explicative) would that observed association be? To answer those questions we need to get effect sizes, p-values and if possible confidence intervals.

The ADB Research group could provide you some relevant statistics: What were the observed values in the mentioned aggressive/brash category? The most aggressive persons according to ADB editors indeed happened to have Sun in Aries (23 against 14,6 expected), a not that forgiving Scorpio Moon (22) and and Mars and Ascendant in narcissistic Leo (20).


Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aquarius

Pisces

Total

Sun

23

12

18

17

14

9

15

17

8

13

15

14

175

Moon

10

11

14

8

15

17

17

22

14

15

15

17

175

Mercury

12

9

19

13

14

15

12

16

13

15

17

20

175

Venus

14

21

13

21

16

12

7

16

15

10

14

16

175

Mars

9

13

14

14

20

18

18

14

14

12

15

14

175

Jupiter

17

12

14

21

8

12

22

17

17

9

14

12

175

Saturn

16

14

9

9

19

12

20

12

18

20

13

13

175

Uranus

20

31

23

21

13

10

7

8

10

5

10

17

175

Neptune

1

2

9

10

27

45

43

23

7

4

2

2

175

Pluto

0

4

22

57

58

23

5

3

0

1

0

2

175

N. Node

19

13

21

10

12

12

21

12

16

12

14

13

175

Chiron

20

23

17

17

9

3

7

11

12

11

20

25

175
















Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aquarius

Pisces

Total

Cusp 1

14

11

15

17

20

16

21

15

13

18

10

5

175

Cusp 2

9

13

16

16

18

18

15

19

15

10

9

17

175

Cusp 3

16

13

20

16

13

19

15

13

19

11

9

11

175

Cusp 4

14

18

12

24

13

10

19

14

13

19

9

10

175

Cusp 5

11

15

20

12

21

12

10

14

16

14

20

10

175

Cusp 6

13

11

16

20

8

19

11

9

14

19

15

20

175

Cusp 7

21

15

13

18

10

5

14

11

15

17

20

16

175

Cusp 8

15

19

15

10

9

17

9

13

16

16

18

18

175

Cusp 9

15

13

19

11

9

11

16

13

20

16

13

19

175

Cusp 10

19

14

13

19

9

10

14

18

12

24

13

10

175

Cusp 11

10

14

16

14

20

10

11

15

20

12

21

12

175

Cusp 12

11

9

14

19

15

20

13

11

16

20

8

19

175
















H1

H2

H3

H4

H5

H6

H7

H8

H9

H10

H11

H12

Total

Sun

16

22

17

15

13

11

11

13

19

7

14

17

175

Moon

16

22

16

12

16

13

16

14

9

15

10

16

175

Mercury

15

14

23

13

19

14

7

12

15

13

13

17

175

Venus

17

17

19

19

14

10

15

5

11

19

17

12

175

Mars

15

16

12

11

16

11

15

16

13

14

15

21

175

Jupiter

17

20

9

12

11

19

15

13

13

19

13

14

175

Saturn

14

21

15

15

11

15

10

13

15

13

17

16

175

Uranus

13

16

16

10

16

12

12

9

16

16

17

22

175

Neptune

17

15

14

15

13

18

19

16

11

10

12

15

175

Pluto

8

14

10

21

14

12

18

14

8

17

22

17

175

N. Node

18

18

14

13

12

15

18

13

14

13

15

12

175

Chiron

14

17

8

17

21

13

17

12

11

11

17

17

175

But a supposed to aggressive Libra (21) Ascendant could surprise you, until you would see that Libra is a slow rising sign in the Northern hemisphere and thus could be quite more often expected. This can easily be seen in the ADB control group:

ADB

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aqua

Pisces

Total

Sun

4738

4771

4772

4702

4731

4511

4522

4259

4194

4449

4601

4797

55047

Moon

4673

4521

4652

4483

4618

4505

4538

4567

4576

4618

4652

4644

55047

Cusp 1

2559

3199

4384

5542

6059

5956

6018

5838

5462

4236

3235

2559

55047

What were the effect sizes of this ADB category (sample of the whole) as compared to all ADB members? We divided the categorical risk of having planet in sign by the risk of that event found in the ADB control group. The resulting effect size values indicate how more or less often a planet in sign was found in that particular category.

Values near to 1,00 indicate negligible effects of the measured astrological factor on this category, values like 1,53 indicate that the particular astrological factor was 53% more often found than expected in the ADB and values like 0,60 could hint to a protective effect.

Values near zero (0,00) tells us that that constellation was not found the measured category. The zero values for Pluto in Sagittarius and Aquarius could thus hint to less aggressiveness in those periods of time, but also on lack of enough documented cases in the ADB. For this reason p-values have to be measured: If you throw a twelve sided dice (regular dodecahedron) 36 times the expected value is 36/12 or 3, but the risk of one side not showing up is 4,36 %. So this event is to be expected just by chance in 0,0436 times 32 is 1,57 cases. So getting 1 or 2 of them would be not be an unexpected event.


Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aqua

Pisces

SD

Sun

1,53

0,79

1,19

1,14

0,93

0,63

1,04

1,26

0,60

0,92

1,03

0,92

0,26

Moon

0,67

0,77

0,95

0,56

1,02

1,19

1,18

1,52

0,96

1,02

1,01

1,15

0,25

Mercury

0,85

0,66

1,43

0,98

1,00

1,03

0,80

1,04

0,85

0,98

1,09

1,30

0,21

Venus

0,90

1,38

0,90

1,29

1,23

0,72

0,57

1,10

1,06

0,81

0,86

1,15

0,24

Mars

0,71

0,94

0,90

0,86

1,14

1,03

1,09

0,92

1,02

0,96

1,25

1,18

0,15

Jupiter

1,29

0,89

1,06

1,44

0,53

0,73

1,32

1,04

1,11

0,64

1,06

0,90

0,28

Saturn

1,22

1,04

0,67

0,70

1,31

0,80

1,30

0,77

1,10

1,25

0,85

0,94

0,24

Uranus

1,21

1,98

1,17

1,29

0,94

0,75

0,54

0,69

0,81

0,38

0,79

1,01

0,42

Neptune

0,17

0,21

0,78

0,61

1,16

1,72

1,45

1,11

0,49

0,47

0,42

0,44

0,50

Pluto

0,00

0,28

0,77

1,35

1,50

1,16

0,48

0,48

0,00

0,68

0,00

0,55

0,52

N. Node

1,26

0,88

1,35

0,65

0,82

0,82

1,44

0,86

1,17

0,88

0,98

0,88

0,24

Chiron

0,68

0,96

1,14

1,63

1,09

0,50

1,05

1,32

1,29

0,90

1,04

0,95

0,30

Below we see that an Aries ascendant (1,72) was found 72% more often than expected. A Pisces ascendant had the lowest associated effect size (0,61).

Placidus

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aqua

Pisc

SD

Cusp 1

1,72

1,08

1,08

0,96

1,04

0,85

1,10

0,81

0,75

1,34

0,97

0,61

0,29

Cusp 2

0,89

1,12

1,11

0,93

1,02

1,06

0,86

1,07

0,91

0,69

0,81

1,73

0,26

Cusp 3

1,38

0,99

1,32

0,97

0,81

1,22

0,99

0,79

1,15

0,75

0,70

0,96

0,22

Cusp 4

1,06

1,27

0,75

1,52

0,88

0,75

1,36

0,98

0,82

1,20

0,63

0,75

0,28

Cusp 5

0,73

0,95

1,22

0,81

1,59

1,00

0,85

1,07

1,05

0,86

1,23

0,66

0,26

Cusp 6

0,77

0,63

0,98

1,37

0,71

1,86

1,09

0,78

0,97

1,11

0,86

1,15

0,34

Cusp 7

1,10

0,81

0,75

1,34

0,97

0,61

1,72

1,08

1,08

0,96

1,04

0,85

0,29

Cusp 8

0,86

1,07

0,91

0,69

0,81

1,73

0,89

1,12

1,11

0,93

1,02

1,06

0,26

Cusp 9

0,99

0,79

1,15

0,75

0,70

0,96

1,38

0,99

1,32

0,97

0,81

1,22

0,22

Cusp 10

1,36

0,98

0,82

1,20

0,63

0,75

1,06

1,27

0,75

1,52

0,88

0,75

0,28

Cusp 11

0,85

1,07

1,05

0,86

1,23

0,66

0,73

0,95

1,22

0,81

1,59

1,00

0,26

Cusp 12

1,09

0,78

0,97

1,11

0,86

1,15

0,77

0,63

0,98

1,37

0,71

1,86

0,34















Placidus

H1

H2

H3

H4

H5

H6

H7

H8

H9

H10

H11

H12

SD

Sun

0,96

1,39

1,15

1,10

1,02

0,87

0,85

0,99

1,42

0,43

0,85

1,01

0,26

Moon

1,11

1,52

1,09

0,83

1,10

0,90

1,08

0,98

0,62

1,03

0,68

1,08

0,23

Mercury

0,91

0,87

1,50

0,94

1,46

1,09

0,54

0,95

1,06

0,86

0,81

1,03

0,27

Venus

1,04

1,09

1,28

1,40

1,04

0,78

1,16

0,38

0,78

1,24

1,05

0,72

0,29

Mars

1,00

1,08

0,83

0,79

1,14

0,82

1,06

1,10

0,90

0,91

0,98

1,34

0,16

Jupiter

1,18

1,36

0,61

0,82

0,74

1,30

1,05

0,91

0,90

1,26

0,91

0,95

0,23

Saturn

0,94

1,42

1,04

1,01

0,75

1,02

0,68

0,92

1,07

0,91

1,16

1,08

0,19

Uranus

0,89

1,14

1,13

0,70

1,10

0,84

0,81

0,61

1,05

1,08

1,12

1,51

0,24

Neptune

1,18

1,04

0,99

1,05

0,89

1,26

1,31

1,06

0,72

0,69

0,81

1,02

0,20

Pluto

0,65

1,17

0,79

1,67

1,14

0,98

1,09

0,84

0,47

1,01

1,28

1,01

0,31

N. Node

1,25

1,25

0,98

0,90

0,80

1,03

1,25

0,90

0,94

0,89

1,02

0,81

0,17

Chiron

0,97

1,17

0,56

1,17

1,42

0,90

1,16

0,83

0,74

0,74

1,17

1,15

0,25

St Dev

0,16

0,19

0,27

0,28

0,23

0,17

0,23

0,20

0,25

0,23

0,18

0,21


Effect sizes are the best measures to evaluate and compare potential effects. They give much more insight than the might and could be found speculations in astrology books. For example, not all planets in Aries seem to contribute to aggressiveness. A scorpio moon (found 1,52 times more often) is quite more often associated with aggressiveness than a Moon in Aries (0,67). And that found fact could be quite easily explained by astrologers.

In the deductive-hypothetical method, observations like this, can help with hypothesis formation. One could ask why Venus is IV (1,40) is more seen in this category than Venus in VIII (0,38) or XII (0,72). Does Venus have a soothing effect in the more troublesome houses? And why is Sun in 10 (0,43) found less in this category, but higher values were found for Sun in 2 (1,39) and 9 (1,42)?

But statisticians would first ask how significant the found differences were. Before explaining, explaining away or ignoring the found differences, one should ask if they were not just the result of looking at just a selection part of the whole, like interpreting the gambling results of regular dodecahedron. Before concluding that the twelve side dice gave false or true results, one should have some knowledge of the rules of gambling.

What is the risk of getting just by chance a special value through the sampling error? Is this an expected outcome or not? If we only study a small part of the whole, that sample is likely to be unrepresentative. So we cannot expect to measure the real mean value of the whole group, but only erroneous fluctuations around the mean: relative large deviations with a small sample size and smaller deviations with a large sample. Drawing preliminary conclusions from the results would be a fallacious. So, if Sun in Aries was found fifty percent more often under a subset of the ADB with the label aggressive/ brash (n is 175), one would like to know the risk of getting that value in a random ADB sample of that sample size.

That risk (p-value) was calculated using the binomial distribution. We gave the with any effect size associated p-value a plus sign for high values like P(x> 23 or = 23) = 2,78% for Sun in Aries (23, effect size 1,53) and a minus sign referring to P(x<5 or = 5) =5,10 % for lower than expected values, like the by David Hamblin expected smoothing effect of having Ascendant in Pisces (5, effect size 0,61).

What was in the ADB perceived in this way? Values like 47,10 % for Sun in Libra (effect size 1,10) are not significant, as was indicated by the small effect size. The in the ADB found risk involved with getting Ascendant in Pisces 5 times or less in a random ADB sample was only 0,17 or 17%. So the result could be due to the sampling error in only 17 % of cases. But it would not yet be significant using strict statistical criteria requiring significant p-values to be at most 2,5 or 0,5 %. How do you deal with it?

Binomial Risk %

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aqua

Pisces

Total

Sun

2,78

-24,24

25,84

32,62

-45,67

-8,49

47,10

19,75

-7,72

-44,42

49,86

-43,45

3,96

Moon

-11,49

-21,87

-48,38

-4,78

50,45

26,59

27,57

3,35

-51,01

50,45

51,62

30,81

103,31

Mercury

-34,11

-11,62

7,57

-53,87

54,18

49,27

-25,68

46,75

-32,02

-53,08

39,54

13,54

0,47

Venus

-39,86

8,27

-41,03

13,95

23,34

-13,98

-6,82

38,46

44,19

-30,14

-32,42

32,09

-3,95

Mars

-17,93

-48,54

-41,00

-32,98

29,63

48,15

38,60

-43,28

51,00

-52,43

22,27

30,37

-16,15

Jupiter

16,70

-41,08

44,54

5,94

-2,80

-15,69

10,72

47,14

36,83

-9,44

45,73

-42,20

96,39

Saturn

23,98

47,44

-12,48

-16,35

13,70

-24,93

13,64

-20,75

36,92

17,53

-32,26

-47,40

-0,97

Uranus

21,16

0,02

24,94

13,88

-48,58

-21,55

-4,69

-16,82

-30,34

-0,75

-27,13

51,67

-38,18

Neptune

-1,77

-0,40

-28,34

-5,53

23,18

0,01

0,65

32,59

-2,28

-6,66

-14,34

-16,76

-19,64

Pluto

-0,24

-0,11

-10,02

0,75

0,05

25,26

-4,77

-12,99

-8,28

-56,77

-33,60

-28,83

-129,55

N. Node

17,56

-37,23

10,09

-9,24

-28,53

-28,53

5,88

-36,29

29,37

-38,29

-54,13

-38,37

-207,71

Chiron

-2,97

-47,49

32,28

3,26

44,72

-14,75

50,20

21,30

21,87

-42,43

45,82

-44,87

66,94















Placidus

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aqua

Pisces

Total

Cusp 1

3,47

43,88

42,26

-50,16

46,46

-28,39

35,97

-23,06

-16,43

12,81

-54,65

-17,27

-5,10

Cusp 2

-43,82

37,57

36,98

-44,50

49,94

44,09

-32,55

41,98

-41,66

-13,77

-32,57

2,06

3,74

Cusp 3

12,07

55,19

12,20

-51,35

-26,65

21,89

55,14

-23,00

29,76

-19,97

-16,17

-52,03

-2,91

Cusp 4

45,62

17,87

-18,13

2,57

-38,17

-21,42

10,74

-53,85

-26,73

23,37

-8,41

-21,48

-88,00

Cusp 5

-16,80

-49,06

20,27

-27,53

2,36

54,75

-35,81

43,19

45,42

-33,28

19,88

-9,90

13,49

Cusp 6

-19,27

-6,08

-52,50

9,24

-19,81

0,71

42,94

-27,26

-51,99

35,83

-32,04

28,90

-91,33

Cusp 7

35,97

-23,06

-16,43

12,81

-54,65

-17,27

3,47

43,88

42,26

-50,16

46,46

-28,39

-5,10

Cusp 8

-32,55

41,98

-41,66

-13,77

-32,57

2,06

-43,82

37,57

36,98

-44,50

49,94

44,09

3,74

Cusp 9

55,14

-23,00

29,76

-19,97

-16,17

-52,03

12,07

55,19

12,20

-51,35

-26,65

21,89

-2,91

Cusp 10

10,74

-53,85

-26,73

23,37

-8,41

-21,48

45,62

17,87

-18,13

2,57

-38,17

-21,42

-88,00

Cusp 11

-35,81

43,19

45,42

-33,28

19,88

-9,90

-16,80

-49,06

20,27

-27,53

2,36

54,75

13,49

Cusp 12

42,94

-27,26

-51,99

35,83

-32,04

28,90

-19,27

-6,08

-52,50

9,24

-19,81

0,71

-91,33















Placidus

H1

H2

H3

H4

H5

H6

H7

H8

H9

H10

H11

H12

Total

Sun

-50,42

7,19

30,78

38,86

51,58

-38,93

-34,67

-55,43

7,61

-0,71

-31,98

51,67

-24,46

Moon

37,18

3,28

40,11

-29,94

37,65

-40,83

41,71

-53,92

-7,77

49,09

-11,89

41,91

106,60

Mercury

-41,19

-35,02

3,21

-47,19

6,36

40,51

-5,09

-49,45

44,50

-34,25

-26,19

49,15

-94,65

Venus

46,41

39,38

15,71

8,70

47,44

-25,74

31,77

-0,77

-23,36

19,64

45,49

-14,44

190,22

Mars

54,36

41,78

-31,27

-26,31

32,51

-29,98

44,72

38,09

-40,83

-42,52

-53,97

10,32

-3,08

Jupiter

27,30

9,99

-6,77

-29,38

-18,50

14,30

46,30

-42,80

-41,37

17,38

-43,31

-48,48

-115,34

Saturn

-46,86

6,54

47,24

52,59

-19,50

50,59

-12,14

-43,80

43,24

-43,31

29,54

41,13

105,26

Uranus

-39,95

33,20

33,69

-14,98

37,85

-32,84

-27,14

-7,04

45,25

41,81

34,98

3,38

108,21

Neptune

27,33

46,93

-54,97

45,73

-39,89

18,55

14,06

44,47

-15,74

-13,02

-27,59

50,48

96,34

Pluto

-12,68

30,85

-26,95

1,45

34,20

-54,16

39,40

-30,01

-1,00

51,31

13,96

51,90

98,26

N. Node

19,14

19,26

-53,49

-41,43

-25,68

49,93

19,33

-41,47

-47,45

-39,19

50,76

-27,00

-117,30

Chiron

-52,23

28,02

-4,94

28,41

6,61

-40,49

30,19

-30,81

-18,75

-18,37

28,81

30,71

-12,83

When looking at the calculated risks above, statisticians would not be impressed. Most values could be the result of the sampling error. Only few value's were significant in the sense that the risk of getting that value just by chance was lower than 2,5 % or more appropriate, lower than 0,5 % because of data mining. Smaller p-values are needed when we do not look for one special case, but look at 144 values per table. The risk that you just by chance see some unusual values, increases proportionally with the number of observations being done.

On the other hand, it is also an empirical law that sampling errors produce random fluctuations around the mean. Random processes do not follow astrological laws or trends. They only tend to blur the real trends by adding noise. So if we see peaks and valleys that clearly follow astrological patterns, this pattern could be a case for astrology. But to interpret them, one should not forget to see them in the light of the whole picture, as it would be methodologically wrong to pick out selectively from large tables single values that fit your theory and to ignore the not that impressive rest. That would be cherry-picking.

But even when not significant, getting 23 times Sun in Aries would still be a huge statistical effect according to Cohen's d Effect size. And large statistical effects of 0,80 or more, were found quite often doing data-mining.

But astrologers cannot rely on them, as the calculated binomial risks could too often imply positive as well as negative effects. And their bad habit of doing always biased data-mining to look for the for them fitting facts and publish them only locally for their own public, will also not contribute to objectivity.

Astrologers cannot solve this empirical problem just by stating that for them chance does not exist.

Cohen's D

Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sag

Cap

Aquarius

Pisces

Sun

2,75

-1,10

0,98

0,71

-0,36

-1,85

0,22

1,20

-1,85

-0,40

0,13

-0,43

Moon

-1,85

-1,29

-0,30

-2,38

0,12

1,02

0,98

2,85

-0,21

0,12

0,08

0,85

Mercury

-0,91

-2,04

2,48

-0,13

-0,01

0,19

-1,31

0,29

-1,03

-0,15

0,60

2,03

Venus

-0,53

1,91

-0,48

1,54

0,98

-1,54

-1,77

0,48

0,29

-0,78

-0,78

0,68

Mars

-1,44

-0,30

-0,58

-0,90

0,99

0,22

0,59

-0,50

0,11

-0,17

1,17

0,82

Jupiter

1,19

-0,44

0,26

1,98

-2,23

-1,35

1,67

0,20

0,51

-1,59

0,23

-0,41

Saturn

0,99

0,20

-1,54

-1,33

1,54

-1,05

1,58

-1,24

0,57

1,38

-0,80

-0,30

Cusp 1

1,32

0,19

0,24

-0,14

0,17

-0,66

0,42

-0,80

-0,98

1,02

-0,06

-0,70

Cusp 10

1,53

-0,09

-0,90

0,97

-1,63

-1,01

0,23

1,16

-1,21

2,50

-0,53

-1,01


H1

H2

H3

H4

H5

H6

H7

H8

H9

H10

H11

H12

Sun

-0,19

2,01

0,73

0,45

0,07

-0,52

-0,65

-0,05

1,84

-2,97

-0,79

0,07

Moon

0,65

3,12

0,54

-1,05

0,63

-0,61

0,47

-0,12

-2,30

0,18

-1,99

0,47

Mercury

-0,50

-0,70

2,60

-0,30

2,01

0,40

-1,98

-0,23

0,29

-0,71

-1,01

0,15

Venus

0,22

0,43

1,30

1,67

0,18

-0,87

0,63

-2,53

-0,99

1,13

0,25

-1,42

Mars

-0,02

0,57

-1,19

-1,42

1,01

-1,23

0,42

0,74

-0,74

-0,67

-0,13

2,67

Jupiter

1,06

2,14

-2,36

-1,05

-1,55

1,79

0,28

-0,52

-0,58

1,61

-0,51

-0,32

Saturn

-0,46

3,08

0,30

0,06

-1,82

0,15

-2,34

-0,59

0,48

-0,62

1,17

0,59

The same problems exist with aspects. As aspects with small orbs are relatively unique and thus “special”, astrologers attribute value to them. And though a Sun conjunct Saturn (1,06) aspect does not have the protective effect astrologer David Hamblin expected, Moon (0,70) or Mars conjunct Saturn (0,75) seem to do this. As do Sun conjunct Moon (0,70) or Venus (0,80).

But Sun conjunct Mars (1,24) or Moon (1,20) are more often seen among aggressive persons according to ADB editors. Below are the found facts.

Conjunction: Orb Factor: +- 6

Sun












1,04

Moon











1,17

0,51

Mercury










0,80

0,72

1,02

Venus









1,24

1,21

0,96

0,60

Mars








0,43

0,87

0,85

0,57

1,48

Jupiter







1,06

0,70

1,07

1,28

0,75

1,02

Saturn






1,09

1,07

0,95

1,61

1,30

1,23

1,24

Uranus





0,99

0,85

1,01

0,66

1,82

0,98

1,12

0,31

Neptune




0,65

1,03

0,84

1,88

1,51

1,59

0,77

0,86

0,82

Pluto



0,99

1,34

1,61

1,14

1,19

1,40

1,03

0,96

1,43

1,11

N Node


0,31

0,66

0,34

0,74

1,47

0,82

0,99

2,14

0,35

0,41

0,35

Chiron

But when doing basic statistical tests, we see that none of the seemingly interesting effect size values reached any serious statistical significance. Unlike the rather weak pain killer paracetamol, which has proven value as an alleviator of headache. So, if our message brings you a headache, try paracetamol, instead of worrying about seemingly impressive effect sizes without any sound predictive value.

Conjunction: Orb Factor: +- 6

Sun












51,62

Moon











18,07

-15,57

Mercury










-24,76

-34,48

50,32

Venus









26,51

36,03

-52,40

-12,70

Mars








-8,16

-48,49

-43,75

-16,68

15,73

Jupiter







49,30

-31,65

48,48

29,24

-34,12

54,12

Saturn






45,77

49,39

-55,93

9,64

27,72

30,77

33,87

Uranus





56,68

-45,72

54,65

-26,74

4,10

57,45

45,13

-15,95

Neptune




-26,37

52,58

-45,19

3,38

14,64

11,75

-37,09

-44,47

-39,90

Pluto



57,04

25,12

10,93

41,59

37,22

23,34

53,46

-58,08

20,07

45,35

N Node


-4,26

-27,12

-6,12

-32,96

20,20

-37,02

58,61

11,96

-6,95

-12,86

-7,05

Chiron

We wrote about this paradox in 1867 astrologers:

The initial thrill when only having studied small samples, or doing “my own low-key empirical research” as Sue Tomkins named it in Aspects in astrology, is likely to disappear when you study larger samples. Because then you would most often see the by statisticians expected regression towards the mean. Only with the help of a lot of other astrologers (Yes, you can do it!), probably also doing some small scale research, Sue Tomkins could finish her book.

Without elemental statistical knowledge the try astrology out yourself and see if it works advise given to most students of astrology, might easily lead to the wrong conclusions based on the confirmation basis: My teachers and books already suggested this and indeed my friends and I found several cases, so the assumption must be correct. That would just be some case of selective attention and confirmation bias, thus seeing what a conditioned person expects to see.

Try astrological statistics out yourself: fact checking

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As an alternative to the usual astrological speculations, we would like to provide to anybody (astrologer or not) the tools and the data to do our above kind of quantitative astrological research. It is related to the process of fact checking: Try to do genuine statistical astrological research yourself with your peers and see if it works against odds. It this is the case, we deal with real quality. If not, we just deal with unproved speculations that are not likely to have any predictive quality.

Of course you can believe in the rebirth of Golden Age fantasies, like the populist Donald Trump promised to his American audience. But do you have a sound plan, a strategy to deal with the found facts? Or do you prefer to believe in supernatural wishful thinking, that everything will go as you wished, as long nobody hampers the Great media Dictator Donald Trump? The only problem would be then to get rid of the Democrats that did not understand his grandiose view on the world. And of course many more troubling him minority groups.

But would that Divide and rule strategy lead to wisdom? Probably not.

Divide and rule (Latin: divide et impera), or divide and conquer, in politics and sociology is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy.

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As your study material, we present you the found and expected values of ADB categories and much more. Because we think that statistical facts like effect sizes, p-values and confidence intervals do matter a lot. Because we simply do not expect that astrology students - nor their teachers - could ever objectively evaluate their findings without use of control groups. Much too often, their implicit control groups existed only in their symbolic astrological book knowledge or imagination of how things should be.

The most recent results of the ADB Research Group are found at: ADB stats (1,45 GB!). The compressed 7 zip files are the most efficient way to retrieve them.
But you will need the Binomial_distribution_for_astrology.xlsx or Binomial_distribution_for_astrology.ods as tools to temper your imagination.

Thanks to computer software, astrology students and astrologers have instant access to the found astronomical events at a certain point of time.

But the actual risks involved with fast and slow rising signs, certain aspects, different house systems are seldom discussed in astrology books dealing with astrological symbolism. Nor do astrology programs provide them. We had to calculate them using control groups.

An example of the risks involved with getting 23 out of 175 cases for Sun in Aries in the ADB category aggressive / brash is found on the left.

It is almost statistically significant at the usual alpha level of 0,05 using the normal distribution, but not at the 0,01 level that would be more appropriate because of data-mining. The calculated effect size of Sun in Aries of 1,53 has a 95% confidence interval of 0,95 - 2,11.

Only the 70 % confidence interval of 1,24 - 1,82 is clearly positive. Thus for the majority of persons with Sun in Aries, some more aggressiveness could be expected. One can speak in terms of Sun in Aries being found more often in the ADB, but not that much to be really predictive.

The more exact binomial risk of 2,78 % did not meet the 2,5 % criterion and that surprised the ADB Research Group, as most of the ADB editors were astrologers. So we expected some confirmation bias to happen in this category: An ADB editor seemingly just by chance finding and reporting on an aggressive person with a Sun or Ascendant in Aries, but at the same time seeing what an in astrological symbolism believing astrologer expected to see.

So, for Sun in Aries we did not expect that much systemic underreporting as was found in other ADB categories.

The art of synthesis

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The expected symbolic interpretations of the found planet positions and aspects are delivered by the interpretation files of modern astrology software. Actually, astrology programs present by means of their interpretation files the astrological cookbook information in the context of the native. And because most astrology software use or creatively rewrite, the same astrological symbolic rules in their interpretation files, the output of most astrology software suggest that there is consistency and agreement under astrologers.

And indeed, there is good enough agreement about how planets should behave in sign and house according to astrological symbolism. The only problem is the art of synthesis. How to combine the often contradictory effects of the individual planets in sign or house and their aspects. This deals with weighing the many individual factors in the horoscope. Early astrologers tried mathematical methods to deal with this complexity, but current astrologers say that they use intuition or some form of right-brain thinking to come to their conclusions. Nevertheless, when calculating planets in element, above or below the horizon, simple mathematical techniques are still used to get some grip on the larger picture.

But even if modern astrologers do agree on most planetary effects, they prefer to remain vague in their interpretation files. And that is for a good reason. As even the strongest group tendencies we presented above will have little predictive value at the individual level. Otherwise stated: The on symbolic astrological theory based rules do not work that well in practice, because of their small effect size. So they must be flexible formulated in the interpretation files. Otherwise, even the Barnum effect ( ) would not work.

Because of that vagueness, astrologers still have plenty of room to customise their advise to the needs of their clients. There is only one problem with the symbolic interpretations: They were not based on well documented quantitative empirical research using modern criteria. So, you can not predict with them. You can at most believe that you could explain events afterwards with it. But trying to explain unique events afterwards, without having the knowledge and skills to predict them beforehand, is prone to error. It is nothing more than attributing qualitative significance to coincident events, just by associating them, which lies on the basis of superstitious beliefs a well. It is just system 1 type thinking according to Daniel Kahneman:

----

The human habit to look for visible relations in the environment as seen, is not the problem. Qualitative research based on potentially meaningful associations between events could lead to hypothesis formation. But when the attention span was selective and biased, just seeing what the conditioned You or Me had learned to observe (confirmation bias), we cannot expect that the actual facts are interpreted in the correct way.

Most astrologers facing the found facts would admit that they could not really predict with astrology. As they only dealt with possibilities. And during their consultations, astrologers could hint to the many more possibilities they see in the horoscope of their clients, than their clients seem to be stuck in.

The same applies to enneagram coaching. Here the consultant first tries to discover the enneatype the client identifies with. Then the pros and cons of their coping technique are discussed. And after that a process of disidentification starts in which alternative coping strategies are investigated.

Other astrologers could specialise in unexplored niche markets like: How to enhance your life with planet X! They could even do some experiments with newly discovered progressive techniques and other ways of chart distortion. Wow, I found some well fitting cases!

But when you cannot solve any basic astrological problem using basic astrological techniques in a predictive way, how could the introduction of more randomness and complexity with a newly discovered planet ever benefit your clients? It would only be a desperate appeal on something more or a spiritual cry or prayer like: Janis Joplin - Maybe.

Astrologers might deny the value of statistics and probability calculations, being happy with their personal experience and intuition, but all valid explanations and predictions still rely on the quality of earlier done observations and thus counts still do matter. You cannot rely solely on the likes of your being impressed, intimated or just adoring your own public. Only dictators manage to frame themselves in this way. Until their shadow-side pops up.

The ADB Research Group has put all the results of their ADB queries online. So, with this publication all astrology students could have knowledge of the ADB facts that really do matter. We also supply users the statistical tools and basic tables we used to see the unfiltered or raw data of the ADB categories in a more statistical perspective.

Knowing the ADB facts has only one disadvantage. As you cannot anymore claim ADB findings as a proof for any hypothesis, as you predicted something that was already observed, so not a new case for astrology. But you could refer to the tables. And when the ADB grows and matures by doing better fact checking maybe some relevant astrological facts might be confirmed again.



Sjoerd Visser



Post scriptum

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When astrologers did more serious research and were not afraid to go beyond the medieval dogmas of their community, a more predictive neo-astrology could become reality as a way of parsing events in astrological time. But without doubt the superstitious belief in so-called astrological symbolism would have a melt-down. See Qualitative versus quantitative approaches in astrology:

The qualitative approach, especially that of astrological symbolism, is easy to learn, flexible to use, amusing and exciting, but has little predictive value. Explanations done with it can look very powerful, but what astrologers call the synthesis of the complex chart to come to the essence of it, too often resembles the process of framing : those who use a frame try to influence the way others look at reality through words and the images and feelings they evoke. The frame becomes a pair of glasses through which we see certain information and not others.
The quantitative approach is a not that easy to learn, amusing and exciting as the qualitative method. But it suffers less from selective attention and can be really predictive if large control groups are used. Using statistical analytical methods, you can even predict that under certain circumstances you could not predict anything! And that great feature could spare you a lot of time. No need to speculate, no need to procrastinate at night.
When astrology books use vague terms as could or might to hint to expected correlation's between the above and below, they could and should be replaced with more predictive effect sizes and confidence intervals. Then the actual found data and effect sizes could be rather comforting when confronted with your supposed to be difficult Pluto transit.

How do astrologers that are also ADB editors deal with it, thus the found empirical ADB facts? They tend to rely on their Uranian peers in the eleventh house. See our statistics on 1867 astrologers:

What would be seen if we combined the effect sizes? If the risks involved with Sun, Moon and Ascendant in sign were independent, we could multiplicate them to get the combined risk or effect size. Below this case we calculate the risk of becoming an astrologer when having sun, moon and ascendant in the same sign.


Aries

Taurus

Gemini

Cancer

Leo

Virgo

Libra

Scorpio

Sagittarius

Capricorn

Aquarius

Pisces

Total

Sun

1,10

0,91

0,96

0,99

0,97

0,92

0,95

1,01

1,07

1,05

1,18

0,90

12

Moon

1,02

0,95

1,02

1,09

0,88

0,94

0,98

0,91

1,07

1,05

1,09

1,00

12

Cusp 1

1,11

0,88

0,99

1,05

1,02

0,90

0,95

0,99

1,12

0,91

1,07

1,08

12

Product

1,24

0,75

0,97

1,14

0,87

0,77

0,88

0,92

1,28

1,01

1,37

0,98

12,18

The product scores are more interesting. The earth signs Taurus (0,75 and Virgo (0,77) score low, except for the Capricorn (1,01). Water signs score somehow higher in Cancer (1,14), but not in Scorpio (0,92) or Pisces (0,98). Fire signs Sagittarius (1,28) and Aries (1,24) score higher than expected, but Leo (0,87) does not. So people having Sun, Moon or Ascendant in Sagittarius or Aquarius are more likely to become an astrologer, whilst people having these planets in Taurus and Virgo are less likely to become an astrologer. But the effect sizes are too small to predict with it. You could only speak of correlation's and tendencies.

Bur are the found differences in Sun and Moon scores at least statistically significant? Does this picture represents real tendencies? That depends on what you are looking for, thus the selection of the whole and the sample size that you would prefer. See: The wisdom hierarchy.

The initial thrill when only having studied small samples, or doing “my own low-key empirical research” as Sue Tomkins named it in Aspects in astrology, is likely to disappear when you study larger samples. Because then you would most often see the by statisticians expected regression towards the mean. Only with the help of a lot of other astrologers (Yes, you can do it!), probably also doing some small scale research, Sue Tomkins could finish her book.

From AstroWiki: Statistics: Continuing Controversy:

Peter Niehenke came to the conclusion that it is virtually impossible to affirm astrology through statistical studies. To date, the usefulness, value, interpretation, and methods of statistical studies of astrological data remain a topic of debate. For every study that seemingly supports or refutes the objective legitimacy of astrology, both astrologers and sceptics are liable to criticize its methodology. Richard Vetter is strictly opposed to statistical testings and validations of astrology. He states: Because of its quantitative view of numbers statistics are most inadequate to test the truth of astrology. The primary supposition of statistics - that accidental distributions are present everywhere - is fundamentally opposed to the astrological conception. ... In statistics particularities are systematically excluded and eliminated. In statistical testing all the things that are unique and special will fall outside of the table - though, in astrology´s view, individuality is the world´s central building-stone.[7]
Anyway, studies carried out so far have not managed to lessen scientists' scepticism of astrology, nor convince the more humanities- or spiritually-oriented astrologers of the applicability of statistics to their work. Perhaps the problem is that statistical analysis only confirms those things that allow themselves to be confirmed using this method of analysis.

We agree with Peter Niehenke that it is impossible to affirm astrology through statistical studies. But that is not a limitation of statistical testing as is suggested above. The main problem is that astrology is not a normal science that can be tested in a scientific way, as astrologers do not agree on theories and refuse to formulate predictive claims.

Normal science, identified and elaborated on by Thomas Samuel Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, is the regular work of scientists theorizing, observing, and experimenting within a settled paradigm or explanatory framework. Regarding science as puzzle-solving, Kuhn explained normal science as slowly accumulating detail in accord with established broad theory, without questioning or challenging the underlying assumptions of that theory.

We do not follow Richard Vetters comment that In statistics particularities are systematically excluded and eliminated. When doing experimental research confounding factors that are suspected to influence the outcome are indeed excluded or controlled for. Would not any reasonable person do the same? But astrologers tend to focus on the exceptions of the rules, to explain incredible statements with other incredible statements.

Does Vetter refer to the sampling error when stating: The primary supposition of statistics - that accidental distributions are present everywhere - is fundamentally opposed to the astrological conception. The existence of the sampling error is not a supposition, but both a mathematically founded and empirical fact, unlike the unproved and thus superstitious assumption of astrologers that chance does not exists. Indeed, when we took the sampling error into account, results that seemed to be encouraging at first sight, had such wide confidence intervals that they were unlikely to be predictive. So applying simple statistical rules could spoil most astrology tea parties. But is that a good reason to get rid of the empirical rules of statisticians?

Statisticians just present like astrologers found facts and related possibilities. They provide the data and calculate the involved risks. And with great success. The on statistical techniques based hypothetic-deductive method boosted research in so many fields, that it became a standard in medicine, psychology, economics, etc .

The category Method of the AstroWiki does not have a category Statistics or Probability calculation, but only mentions implementations or branches of astrology like Horary Astrology, Age Point and Astrocartography.

Under Prediction it states:

Pre-diction (literally fore-tell or pro-gnosis = fore-knowing) is one of the most fascinating aspects of astrology while also being responsible for astrology's bad reputation at various times throughout history. For many laypeople astrology is nothing other than prognosis, which is not true. It is mainly concerned with understanding human nature.

Nevertheless, the writers do not deny that astrologers are interested in qualitative matters like how and what at a certain moment in time (when) during a trigger could chance. They call it transformation, which could be only a subjective experience, maybe noticed and dealt with, maybe not.

First of all, it is important to understand how astrological prediction works. The natal chart is a graphical representation of the position of the planets at the time of birth. It describes the energies present at birth which then evolve and develop over the course of an individual's life. Triggers such as transits, secondary progressions and eclipses indicate when a particular aspect of the personality is likely to develop or undergo some kind of transformation. The triggered horoscope factor in the natal chart will indicate what themes are involved while the trigger will indicate how these will be affected.

Astrology can thus predict us to some extent what, how and when qualitative chances can happen, but not how strong and often they happen in quantitative ways.

Basically, every horoscope factor (and trigger) is a symbol which can become manifest in many ways, and as long as the relationship to the underlying idea remains, the possible spectrum is virtually limitless (Level of Maturity). The horoscope does not reveal which of these possibilities an individual will experience. The less actively involved a person is in shaping their own life, the easier it is to predict the way in which a particular energy is likely to become manifest. This helps to explain why astrologers were able to make fairly accurate predictions in, for example, the Middle Ages when rigid social structures meant that there was less leeway for personal development in many areas of life. Today individuals are generally able to make more choices about their lives and have more opportunities to go in new directions: For example, it has become increasingly uncommon for a person to stay in the same job till they retire.

The article does not deny that the medieval predictive astrologers could predict quite well. For that reason modern astrologers still take medieval basic principles dealing with how, what and when for granted. But today's societies leave much more space for individual development. So astrologers now interpret the once by predictive astrologers seen fatalistic transits in a broader way as new opportunities for spiritual growth and awareness.

An increasing number of astrologers agree that the purpose and aim of predictive methods is to help individuals to become aware of the timing of likely developments and processes and to offer advice on finding the most creative and constructive ways of coping with these.
The more an astrologer is able to make a client aware of what possibilities are open, the more able the latter will be to take responsibility for their own actions. On the other hand, the more an astrologer stresses the unavoidability of fate - whether positive or negative - the more likely it will be that a person takes a passive stance.

The article also explains the use of the vague (neutral) terms when predicting the effects of transits.

A deeper understanding of the processes involved can only be achieved by using descriptions which are as neutral as possible. For example, a possible description of Saturn transiting the Sun might be: The core / centre of the personality (Sun) goes through a process of concentrating on what is essential (Saturn in transit). So much is clear. What is not clear is whether this will manifest as a particular experience. It is also not possible to say if the individual concerned will suffer because of any possible restrictions or experience this as a time in which they can harvest the fruits of their labour.
This is only one of the reasons why an increasing number of astrologers reject the idea of event predictions because there is a danger that they will become self-fulfilling prophecies.

The last argument is strange. If a medical doctor warns you for an imminent heart attack, he expects you to take measures. But this apparently does not apply to a Pluto transit.

Triggers show inner developments but are not their causes. Psychological Astrology believes that if an individual remains unaware of inner developments they attract external events which force them to confront these. However, it should be remembered that every individual is occasionally confronted with an event whose significance goes beyond their own personality - after all they are part of a community or society. It is quite possible for certain triggers to reflect this fact. As with triggers of a more personal nature, they do not predict concrete events but indicate how a person will react to them and what significance they are likely to attach to them.

Astrological triggers always interested me. As an ADB editor I always tried to find significant life events in the native's life. And I am still interested in working rectifying techniques that could proof the values of some astrological symbolism. But then astrologers would have to provide a near to correct birth-time, not a time that fitted best the astrological speculations afterwards.

References

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What are the levels of evidence? Center for Evidence Based Management

Moment Supreme. Why astrologers keep believing in astrology. One of the major themes of this writing.

Defence mechanisms - Wikipedia: A defence mechanism is an unconscious psychological mechanism that reduces anxiety arising from unacceptable or potentially harmful stimuli. The problem is that the defences deal with the misplaced fears of our ego, having only a deformed and limited view on reality.

Verification and Falsification by Benjamin Fretwurst (The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods): “Falsification” is to be understood as the refutation of statements, and in contrast, “verification” refers to statements that are shown to be true. The goal of science is to create knowledge by identifying true statements as true (verified) and false statements as false (falsified). Popper showed that hypothesis cannot be empirically verified but only falsified. In the social sciences, with their probabilistic statements about large quantities of individual objects, empirical tests are performed using samples. The statistical analyses of random samples are the protocol sentences of social science and therefore the basis of falsification and verification in empirical communication science too.

The wisdom hierarchy: representations of the DIKW hierarchy - Jennifer Rowley, 2007

Viktor E. Frankl: Man's Search for Meaning.

One Jew, Two Opinions | My Jewish Learning

Frans H. Van Eemeren ,Rob Grootendorst et al : Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory.

Dennis Howitt, Duncan Cramer: Statistiek in de sociale wetenschappen / druk 3.

Ann Bowling: Research methods in health, second edition.

John B. West, Jan Gerhard Toonder :The Case for Astrology.

Skyscript.co.uk :: View topic - Evidence that chart rectification works

Ivan Kelly: The Concepts of Modern Astrology: a Critique.

Dane Rudhyar - Statistical Astrology and Individuality - Rudhyar Archival Project (First Published in Horoscope Magazine May 1971): Rudhyar is correct that statisticians only deal with groups. But astrologers do the same when they assign particular properties to particular sun or moon signs. Only, for a more selected (or could it be more biased) audience. See: The pot calling the kettle black.