Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Astrologer Lynn Hayes has written about Richard Dawkins, and his determined skepticism about astrology, in two interesting entries in her blog "Astrological Musings".

I've always found this skepticism a fascinating subject, living as I have for most of my life among, at best, the astrologically indifferent or agnostic. "Why am I different?" I used to ask myself this regularly. I've given up worrying. I am what I am.

American astrologer and excellent writer, Grant Lewi, in his book "Astrology for the Millions", at chapter one said

"I believe in astrology for the same reason that you believe in the multiplication table or the intoxicating effects of alcohol. It works."

That's how I feel too, about the basics. I do harbour doubts about what I call "the twiddly bits" in astrology. The fact that scientists have so far been unable to pin down any kind of proof makes no difference, it still works. Scientists must be looking in the wrong places for the wrong things.

Two favourite articles from the internet, which I'd recommend to anyone who hasn't seen them before, are William D. Tallman's "A Rational Basis for Astrology", and "Another Approach to Astrology".

In the second of those articles Mr. Tallman puts forward a theory that there may be a kind of sensitivity to astrology and astrological effects in some people. What he says kind of supports what I understand Lynn to say in her blog (linked above)- too much sensitivity to "mystical" stuff might turn a person against it. Here's a brief extract from Mr Tallman:

"As the sensitivity increases, so then does awareness in some form. Below that line of demarcation, sensibility is a negative experience, because it isn't strong enough to supply any useful value.
The stronger the sensitivity, however, the stronger the negative response, because the more conscious the awareness. Above that line of demarcation, we might suppose that the sensibility is a positive experience, because it is found to supply some useful value. Actually that line is probably a zone of some size, within which those levels of sensitivity are found to produce discernible angst about the subject in general. So we can conclude that the most vehemently negative views about astrology might actually be held by people whose level of sensitivity is only slightly below the levels of those who have reason to hold positive views. Speculation, of course, but interesting, I think. "

And in summing up, he says, (amongst other things):

"1) There is an astrological "mechanism", a function, if you will, by which celestial configurations are linked to terrestrial phenomena. Although it would be easy to assume that this function is of a cause-effect nature, it seems prudent to avoid doing so. The reason we know that the function exists is because it is necessary to use an ephemeris to practice astrology, which means that a knowledge of the celestial configurations is primary to the process. If this were not true, then a random sort placement of the planets, etc. would serve dependably, and if the tradition of astrology has any validity at all, this is not the case"

It's a great pity that Richard Dawkins would probably be unwilling to open his mind for long enough to read those articles.

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