Actually, the famous Gauquelin finding had nothing to do with Sun signs. If it had, it wou

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Actually, the famous Gauquelin finding had nothing to do with Sun signs. If it had, it would have been easily dismissed by skeptics and debunkers because they could attribute the effect to some unknown seasonal variation. (One poster suggested temperature changes affecting fetal temperature as a possible "cause.") The so-called "Mars effect" is that *champion* athletes (not athletes in general) have Mars above the ascendant (i.e., just risen) or just past culmination (i.e., just past the planet's highest point in the sky) with a frequency greater than expected by chance. The same is true of military leaders. By tradition, Mars is associated with both athletics and the military. Also by tradition, planets on an angle (rising, culminating, descending, or anti-culminating) are considered to be more powerful, to have a greater effect on personality, ability, and life circumstances. This Mars effect has been replicated now by two skeptics' organisations, one in Belgium (Belgian Committee for the Scientific Study of Paranormal Phenomena) and one in America. In the latter case, the group providing the replication was CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal). They originally published tainted results which seemed to represent a failure to replicate, but after years of controversy they admitted to adding into the sample non-champion athletes to dilute the originally positive result that they had obtained. In a recent issue of the Skeptical Inquirer (their mouthpiece), they published an article by Suitbert Ertel which showed that the American sample used in the CSICOP study does indeed show the Mars effect. As a result of the controversy resulting from their cover-up of the originally positive finding in the Mars/athlete study, CSICOP has ceased conducting scientific investigations (and so their name is no longer appropriate). The Mars effect was only one of many obtained by Michel and Francoise Gauquelin. They found similar effects for different professions, with a planet traditionally associated with skills useful in those professions being angular (rising or culminating) with significantly greater frequency in the charts of the most successful in those fields. For example, Jupiter was angular with a probability greater than chance for actors and writers, Saturn for scientists and physicians, the Moon for writers and politicians, and so on. In later work, they found that the link between character/ability and planetary angularity was even more direct than the link with careers. In other words, success in a particular career was associated with the angularity of a certain planet because the planet lent certain traits to the person that tended to facilitate success in that career. The Gauquelins also found some interesting results regarding heredity. They found that a child with a certain planet angular was more likely to have a parent with the same planet angular than chance would predict. This effect has been replicated, and the researchers have also shown that the effect is only present when the birth is natural; the effect disappears if the birth is induced (by drugs) or if a C-section is performed. (One so-called failure to replicate has been shown to be due to the failure to take account of the nature of the birth; the sample contained many unnatural births, as any modern western sample would. Removal of the induced births and C-sections yields the heredity effect in the remaining sample.) Many other researchers have found positive results in astrological studies, and some of the results have been replicated on independent samples. One example is the work of Furze-Morrish on compatibility. He showed that married couples who, according to their own judgement, were compatible had more positive (benefic) aspects (trines and sextiles) between planets in their two charts (i.e., in the "synastry" comparison -- a comparison of the positions of planets in two charts) than negative (malefic) aspects (squares and oppositions) as compared to couples who described their marriages as full of conflict. He later replicated this effect and extended it to compatibility among school boys. (An "aspect" is an angular separation between two planets that is an integer division of the circle; a trine is one-third of the circle, or 120 degrees; a sextile is one-sixth; a square is one-fourth; an opposition is one-half.) Some recent work by Nick Kollerstrom and Mike O'Neill looks very promising. They studied "Eureka moments," moments in which scientists made significant discoveries in a flash of inspiration. Based on John Addey's interpretation of aspects involving division of the circle by 5 and 7, they predicted that such aspects would be predominant among transiting planets (i.e., the planets at their current positions at the time in question) when Eureka moments occurred. This prediction was strongly confirmed. They recently (in unpublished work) showed that the effect is even stronger if tighter orbs are used, that is, if only aspects very close to exact are taken into account. By tradition, closer aspects are more powerful. The researchers also found that the scientists who made discoveries in flashes of inspiration were more likely to have aspects in the 5th and 7th harmonics (i.e., ones that divide the circle by 5 or 7) in their birth charts than scientists who did not make discoveries in this way. They have recently extended their findings to moments in which inventions first worked, and they have shown that trines were also more common at such moments. This work should be published within a year or two. The original Eureka study is published in the booklet "The Eureka Effect" (Nick Kollerstrom and Michael O'Neill, London: Urania Trust, 1989). One effect that has been replicated numerous times involves the traditional correspondence between certain planets and certain metals (e.g., the Sun and gold, the Moon and silver, Mars and iron, Saturn and lead). When an aspect occurs between two planets, metal ions associated with those planets behave differently than they do when no aspect is present. For details, see the following references, or read the recent postings on alt.astrology with subject lines beginning, "Planets and Metals..." Faussurier, A. Conscience Ecologique et Cre'ativite' Humaine, Lyon 1975. Fyfe, A. Uber die Variabilitat von Silber-Eisen-Steigbildern, Elemente der Naturwissenschaft, Vol. 6, pp. 35-43 (Easter 1967). Fyfe, A. Moon and Plant, Society for Cancer Research, Arlesheim Switzerland 1967, pp. a7 b37. Hammerton, C. Repetition of Experiment made by L. Kolisko in relation to Observable Effects in Salts of Metals Corresponding to the Planets, Astrology (UK), Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 46-48 (1954). Kolisko, L. Workings of the Stars on Earthly Substance, Parts 1 & 2, Stuttgart 1928. Kolisko, L. Das Silber und der Mond, Orient-Occident Verlang, Stuttgart 1929. Kolisko, L. Der Jupiter und das Zinn, Mathematisch-Astronomische Sektion am Goetheanum (Doirnach), Stuttgard 1932 (available in English as Workings of the Stars on Earthly Substances, Part 4, Jupiter and Tin). Kolisko, L. Gold and the Sun, Kolisko archive (published privately), Stroud UK 1947 (a study of the total solar eclipse of 20 May 1947; a study of the total solar eclipse of 29 June 1927 is given in Workings of the Stars on Earthly Substance, part 2; of 19 June 1936 in Gold and the Sun, London 1937; and of 15 February 1961 in Die Sonnenfinsternis vom 15 Februar 1961, Stuttgart 1961). Kolisko, L. Spirit in Matter, Kolisko archive, Stroud UK 1947. Kolisko, L. Saturn und Blei, Kolisko archive, Stroud UK 1952. Kollerstrom, N. Astrochemistry: A Study of Metal-Planet Affinities, London: Emergence Press, 1984. Kollerstrom, N. The Correspondence of Metals and Planets -- Experimental Studies, The Astrological Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, 1976, pp. 65-72. Kollerstrom, N. Chemical Effects of a Mars-Saturn Conjunction, The Astrological Journal, Vol. 19, No. 3, 1977, pp. 100-105. Schwenk, T. 1949, quoted in W. Pelikan, The Secrets of Metals, Anthroposophic Press, Spring Valley, NY, 1973, pp. 23-25. Voss, K. Neue Aspekte, No. 5 (1965); summarised by R.C. Firebrace, Confirmation of the Kolisko Experiments, Spica, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 4-8 (1965). To find additional research on astrology, look to the alt.astrology FAQ file. Here is an excerpt from it, describing some of the sources of relevant research studies: ================================================================ 9) Where can I find scientific research on astrology? Answer: Brief summaries of a few scientific studies (written by Thomas David Kehoe) are available at the ftp site [hilbert.maths.utas.edu.au] in the files "gauquelin" and "jung.synastry," which can be found in the directory pub/astrology/articles. The most famous research is that of Michel and Francoise Gauquelin. Some of their findings have been the focus of decades of scrutiny by skeptics, and their results have held up under this scrutiny. Some of their studies have been successfully replicated with different samples and by independent researchers. The highly publicised CSICOP "failure to replicate" on an American sample for the "Mars effect" (the appearance of Mars in certain sectors with greater-than-expected frequency for eminent athletes) has been shown to replicate the effect when the athletes are ordered by eminence (see the Winter, 1992 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer). (The CSICOP researchers included far fewer eminent athletes in their sample than did the Gauquelins, and this washed out the Mars effect when the sample as a whole was considered. When the athletes are divided into groups according to an objective criterion of "eminence," the Mars effect emerges among the most eminent.) Some of the Gauquelins' research is summarised in the following books: Michel Gauquelin, "Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior" (3rd edition, published in 1985 by Aurora Press, P.O. Box 573, Santa Fe, NM 87504); Michel Gauquelin, "Planetary Heredity" (published in 1988 by ACS Publications, Inc., P.O. Box 16430, San Diego, CA 92116-0430); Francoise Gauquelin, "Psychology of the Planets" (published in 1982 by ACS Publications, Inc.). A preliminary report of a study showing the relationship between inspiration in scientific discovery and certain angular separations of planets appears in a booklet entitled "The Eureka Effect," by Nicholas Kollerstrom and Michael O'Neill. It was published in 1989 by Urania Trust, 396 Caledonian Road, London N1 1DN. A complete report on this study and some additional data on inventions will appear sometime in the next few years. The Astrological Association of London publishes a scholarly journal devoted entirely to astrological research. It is called Correlation. (See the resource list for the address and phone number of the Astrological Association; see # 18 for information about the resource list.) Prior to its first publication in 1981, research articles appeared in The Astrological Journal, also published by the Astrological Association. If you are in Britain, all issues of this journal are available at The Astrology Study Centre (396 Caledonian Road, London N1 1DN), the Oxford and Cambridge University libraries, the Scottish National Library in Edinburgh, the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, Trinity College in Dublin, the Warburg Institute, London University, the British Library in London, and the York University library. In the USA, these journals are available at the Heart Center library, 315 Marion Avenue, Big Rapids, MI 49307. Astrologers in your local area may have copies of these journals as well. Astrological research appears occasionally in academic journals of psychology. A literature search (e.g., of the database "Psychological Abstracts") for articles containing the keyword "astrology" or "astrological" (or "astrolog?" where "?" is a wild card) would turn these up. Because of the difficulty in publishing astrological research (or any unorthodox research), much remains unpublished. Among such studies are those described in postgraduate dissertations on astrology. A list of these (up to 1981) appears in the December, 1982 issue of Correlation. For more recent dissertations, check Dissertations Abstracts at a university library. (Our very own Mark Urban-Lurain did a multivariate analysis of the birth data of members of Alcoholics Anonymous for his Master's thesis at Michigan State University.) ---------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Jan Willem Nienhuys >Anyone want to comment? Yes but only to parts. The whole piece is too long. > >The so-called "Mars effect" is that *champion* athletes (not >athletes in general) have Mars above the ascendant (i.e., just >risen) or just past culmination (i.e., just past the planet's >highest point in the sky) with a frequency greater than expected >by chance. > >This Mars effect has been replicated now by two skeptics' >organisations, one in Belgium (Belgian Committee for the >Scientific Study of Paranormal Phenomena) and one in America. In >the latter case, the group providing the replication was CSICOP >(Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the >Paranormal). They originally published tainted results which A lie. >seemed to represent a failure to replicate, but after years of >controversy they admitted to adding into the sample non-champion A lie. >athletes to dilute the originally positive result that they had >obtained. In a recent issue of the Skeptical Inquirer (their >mouthpiece), they published an article by Suitbert Ertel which >showed that the American sample used in the CSICOP study does >indeed show the Mars effect. As a result of the controversy A lie. >resulting from their cover-up of the originally positive finding >in the Mars/athlete study, CSICOP has ceased conducting >scientific investigations (and so their name is no longer >appropriate). Not a lie, at least when you equate "scientific" with "astrological". The story is as follows. Originally 128 champs showed a nonsignificant Mars excess. CSICOP and Gauquelin agreed that this was not enough. The CSICOP has been (to my opinion) imprudent by adding more athletes without consulting Gauquelin. As they had started to select the very top from the available data (but were unable to obtain all birth times because of privacy regulations) they were caught in a double bind. If the results had turned out favorable the Gauquelins would have applauded their results. In the other case they were prepared to cry "dilution!". Actually the second case happened. The basic reason was that the Gauquelins never bothered to explain how good a champion must be to be considered really good. Their original sample included 268 Italian aviators. Not quite a strenuous sport for the millions, more something for viscounts and dukes that can afford private airplanes. Later Gauquelin collected data about 600 Italian first division soccer players. No result. He then raised the norms: the 98 ones that had played at least once in an international game "showed the Mars effect". In the Belgian test the norm was raised to 20 international games. What not many people know (but Ertel, who has found this, does) is that *prior* to the Belgian test the Gauquelins already had collected data about Belgian soccer players; their files contained 76 ones that fell just below the "20 internationals norm", and that showed a Mars effect of only 10 percent (17.2 expected). I don't know how the Belgians got the idea that "20 internationals" had to be the limit of excellency. From the enormous number (198) of Belgian cyclists in the Belgian test it might be concluded that even during the Belgian test the Gauquelins were not too strict about how excellent a champion must be. But *after* the American test they raised the standards. They complained that the data base for basketball players was too large (1000 U.S. champions). The reason? In their own data they had 33 basketball players of whom only 3 were born in the appropriate Mars sector. So they thought they had reason to distrust basketball players. After the test they suggested that only "Olympic gold medal winners" were champion level. The results of Ertel clearly show that the Gauquelins biased their data. (I don't think the bias was deliberate, because probably both of the Gauquelins did not understand the difference between exploratory research and testing. Otherwise they would have been ashamed to commit their post-hoc data selection after the American test). Ertel's position is that the Gauquelin data still show a Mars effect, in the sense that the effect is stronger in groups of more excellent athletes. However, Ertel's analysis is poor. I have reanalysed it, and (a) the effect is absent if one only looks at the French champions (b) the effect is present if one does not distinguish between champions whose result were and weren't published by the Gauquelins. As Ertel's sources were partly used by the Gauqelins themselves to establish who was good and who was not (which gave a bias in their results) the Ertel eminence effect is very dubious. (c) Moreover, Ertel himself has since "discovered" that this eminence effect is "reversed" among the very high top (after some more results I expect him to find a sinusoidal behavior...). And even though Ertel knows the Gauquelin data are biased, he keeps forgetting the importance of the fact that the Gauquelins never bothered to formulate what was a champion. All along the Gauquelin's idea has been that the effect only shows up if you take your champions good enough. The story about "cover up" refers to the treatment of the outcome of the Zelen test. Originally this was a test to find a demographic explanation for Gauquelin's results. The test came out as expected (by Gauquelin), namely that this explanation didn't work. No results were "covered up", but responsible CSICOP people were kind of slow in recognizing the results. The way Ertel gets "results" is by very carefully redefining what he means by "key Mars sector". There are many slightly different definitions possible, and he takes the one that gives the best answers. All this is post hoc. Gauquelin's data originally comprised 2087 athletes. Expected number of Mars athletes was 359, with a standard error of 17. Lots of physicists don't think a deviation of less than 5 sigma merits serious investigation. That would mean that an experimental finding of over 446 Mars athletes starts to be interesting. Initially Gauqulin found 452, but after recomputation (Correlation 4, 1983) there were only 435. The whole effect is therefore so much at the border of significance that it hardly woth so much effort. Ertel thinks different. For him is 1.65 sigma already significant. In a recent publication he even translates that into "It is highly probable that there exists a relation between the two phenomena" (in that same publication it turns out to be a silly computational mistake, but subtle or not so subtle errors in computation or experimental design apparently have no place in the minds of significance-fetishists). More about this in the forthcoming Proceedings of the Third EuroSkeptics Congress (Amsterdam 1991). JWN ---------------------------------------------------------------- From: York H. Dobyns To: All Msg #79, Oct-07-92 02:00PM Subject: Statistical Evidence (was Re: Fwd: Astrology...) Organization: Princeton University From: ydobyns@phoenix.Princeton.EDU (York H. Dobyns) Message-ID: 1992Oct7.220030.3484@princeton.edu Newsgroups: sci.skeptic In article <5874@tuegate.tue.nl> wsadjw@urc.tue.nl writes: [...accusations by JWN of lies in the original posting, and of bias on the part of Ertel and the Gauquelins, deleted; my concern is only with some numeric, statistical assertions:] >Gauquelin's data originally comprised 2087 athletes. Expected number >of Mars athletes was 359, with a standard error of 17. Lots of physicists >don't think a deviation of less than 5 sigma merits serious investigation. (!!!) Maybe "lots" of physicists don't, but this physicist hasn't met many of them. I *certainly* would not put up with someone who handed me a piece of apparatus and said "Oh, by the way, we tested the output and in terms of our measurement uncertainty it was only 4 sigma out of spec, so we figured it must be OK and didn't bother doing any more measurements." The overwhelming majority of papers I've seen in physics are content to use at most 95% error bars or the equivalent: that happens to be about 2 sigma for a one-dimensional parameter measurement. Sometimes the conservative researcher reports a 99% confidence interval instead, that's about 2.6 sigma. I find this statement of JWN's utterly outrageous. >That would mean that an experimental finding of over 446 Mars athletes >starts to be interesting. Initially Gauqulin found 452, but after >recomputation (Correlation 4, 1983) there were only 435. The whole >effect is therefore so much at the border of significance that it hardly >woth so much effort. [...JWN concludes with snide remarks directed at Ertel's use of 1.65 sigma--the standard 95% one-tailed confidence level--as a significance criterion, and with a sneer against "significance-fetishists."] Significance-fetishists, eh? Well, let's apply a proper Bayesian approach to the numbers that Jan finds so unimpressive--statistical significance is a concept that doesn't even appear in that formalism. The data in JWN's posting reproduced above report a set of 2087 Bernoulli trials in which the theoretical expectation is that 359 should fit a given criterion. In fact 435 cases fitting the criterion are observed. What can we say about p, the probability that one of these random trials fits the criterion (i.e., the probability that one of these outstanding athletes has Mars in a "meaningful" position by astrological standards)? The null hypothesis ("There is no Mars effect") is that p=0.1720. Call this H0. A completely uninformed alternative ("There might be a Mars effect, but there is no information we can use to predict its magnitude in advance of the experiment") is simply 0

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