Study May Silence Astrology’s Critics
Ed Kluska’s Astrology Newsletter
The article below was written by Edward Snow at Astrology News Service. It is somewhat technical and lengthy, but worth reading if you have more than a casual interest in astrology.
Astrological researcher says idea that astrologers rely on ESP to interpret birth charts is on the ropes.
Results of a unique automated research study designed to test the probity of astrological truth claims may wind up robbing critics of an argument they’ve been using for decades to debunk astrology.
French Canadian astrological researcher Vincent Godbout says the study provides the first solid evidence that astrologers may in fact rely on insights provided by astrological birth charts and not on extra sensory perception (ESP), as some critics have argued. Statistically eye-popping results supporting the astrology side in this debate were calculated at thousands to one against chance, he reports.
The study uses sophisticated computer technologies to effectively marginalize bias and human error.
“There are currently more scholars willing to accept telepathy or ESP than astrology. Because everything is automated the advantage of our protocol is that it eliminates the human factor to test purely and strictly astrology. This has never been done before,” he said.
Godbout is a former professor of mathematics and statistics. As a designer of the PERMAMA masters program for the University of Quebec he co-authored three courses: Mathematics and Human Activity, Mathematical Contributions of Antiquity and Problem Solving. He also is the author of a French adaptation of Thomas and Finney’s Differential and Integral Calculus.
His interest in astrology dates to 1976. In the current century he created the Mastro Expert astrological software program with colleague Francois Rouleau to help astrologers better interpret astrological birth charts.
In his ground-breaking study Godbout used the Mastro Expert software program to identify descriptive key words from the birth charts of 42 randomly selected celebrities whose birth data and biographies was published in a directory published by Le Monde, a leading French newspaper.
For each of the 42 celebrities the Mastro Expert software creates a list of between 124 and 230 descriptive key words that are based on specific astrological placements and alignments (aspects) in the celebrity’s birth chart. These astrological word lists are automatically matched against comparable word lists extracted from the Le Monde celebrity biographies.
“On the one side I had the astrological charts of 42 celebrities and on the other their biographical profiles from the Le Monde directory, which we paired blindly,” he said.
Godbout created a special analytical tool – the Semantic Proximity Estimator –to evaluate the semantic proximity between key words on the astrological and biographical word lists. The Estimator analyzes the extent to which the compared words say or do not say the same things and provides numerical scores to rank how well the word lists match up.
For example, when the astrological word list created for former U.S. President Bill Clinton was blindly compared with all the other celebrities in the study, President Clinton had the highest score with his own biography. The best correspondence between the astrological and biological words was Bill Clinton-Bill Clinton, Godbout said.
On the other hand, when Albert Einstein’s astrological word list was compared with the biographical word lists for the other 41 celebrities his was the lowest score recorded. Either the Mastro Expert software program was having a bad day or Einstein’s biographer failed to meaningfully identify Albert’s defining characteristics.
“Like any experiment we needed to do the math and test the probabilities,” Godbout said.
Because each of the 42 celebrities in the test had their own biographical and astrological word lists, there was 42 x 42, or 1,762 separate scores to automatically calculate and compare. “It’s a lot like playing the lottery with only so many chances to win,” Godbout explains
If astrology is as bogus as its deniers claim, when scores for all of the 42 celebrity matches are sequentially tallied and compared the expectation is that only one successful Bill Clinton – Bill Clinton type of result will randomly occur – one chance in 42. But Godbout counted seven successful matches in which the celebrity’s top astrological and biographical scores were a match.
What’s going on?
The Mastro Expert software sequentially compares the celebrities’ astrological and biographical word lists in a step-by-step fashion. If the lists are being influenced or impacted by some other factor the resulting distribution may not be random and more than one successful match is possible.
“Some astrologers might be disappointed because the number of hits (seven out of 42) in our study seems low. But the odds this result occurred by chance are about six in 100,000, which is impressively significant,” he said.
The results were even more impressive when Godbout decided to up the ante to include the second, third and fourth highest matches for all 42 celebrities.
In a random distribution, adding the second highest score is supposed to only change the statistical odds for success from one to two chances in 42 tries. Also, when the third highest scores are added to the database the odds randomly climb to three chances in 42, and then to four chances in 42 with the top four matches included.
However, when Godbout added the second highest scores to his database he came up with 11 matches, not two. There is only three chances in a million this result occurred by chance.
When the third highest scores were added to the database the number of successful matches rose to 13, not three. And the fourth highest scores pushed the number of successes to 15, not four. The likelihood that these results occurred by chance was also in the stratosphere –4.4 and 3.8 chances in a million, respectively.
“In an experiment like this there can be a lot of entropy (degradation). The biographies are written by different people and character traits can be missed. Also, the Mastro Expert system is dependent on accurate birth data and errors do occur,” he said.
“But if something other than astrology can explain the results we observed in our study I’m waiting to hear what this might be,” he said.
If you need further explanation with any of this information, contact me. And please forward this information to your family and friends.
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