In 1985, Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals, published “A Double Blind Test of Astrology”, now known as the ‘Carlson experiment’. The conclusion was that natal astrology as practised by reputable astrologers was no better than chance. For astrology, it was a landmark experiment that continues to undermine the credibility of every astrological consultant, researcher and school. Recent research shows not only that Carlson’s conclusions were wrong (Vidmar 2008), but also that his experiment produced evidence that the tested astrologers performed their tasks successfully to a level that could not be explained by chance (Ertel 2009).
This article attempts to synthesise the evidence from different sources with some additional observations. It seeks to clarify how Carlson imported the results of one test into another separate test. This led to sampling errors that disguised results that favoured the astrologers – results that were later discovered by Professor Ertel. To balance this, an attempt is made, here, to present the sceptical reaction to this new evidence. Graphics have been compiled to display the astrologer’s predicted rating of their matches weighted by the frequency and to show how enabling astrologers to make these confidence judgements with the data amplifies the precision.
BACKGROIUND: Russion astronomer A.L. Tchijevsky published in the 1920s, a study comparing the approximately 11-year cycling of “sunspot activity” and “historical process”, analysed globally since the 5th Century BC to the 19th Cenutury AD. According to him, phenomena of societal “excitation”, as revolutions occurred synchronously with the solar maxima, and, oppositely, those of peaceful activities of masses, as science and arts, with the solar minima. Recently, Slovak philosopher E. Pales describes periodic fluctuation of historical events in mutually distant geographic areas during more than three millennia. The period lengths, however, are longer, one of the most pronounced being around 500 years. THE QUESTION was therefore posed: does a similar correlation with sunspot activity, as found for 11 year cycles, exist also in the 500 year cycling? MATERIAL AND METHODS; The historical data consisted of two time series concerning revolutions in Europe and China, and of eight time series from activities in science and arts registered from five geographic areas. For the comparison, parallel time series of sunspot (Wolf) numbers, available since the 2nd Century BC, were constructed. Using perodic regression function, the times of peaking were estimated for each dataset. RESULTS; In agreement with Tchijevsky’s hypothesis, revolutions culminated near to solar maxima while cultural flourishing was seen usually distinctly near to solar minima. This conclusion is based on the level of statistical significance a =0.05 CONCLUSION; The solar impact on the geomagnetic field could be one of elucidating mechanisms. Recently, electromagnetic influencing of brain function has been realised artificially.
Three separate studies were carried out to examine the patterns of mental health care in an Indian village. The first examined the conceptual frameworks of the various traditional and modern healers. The second was an attitude study inquiring about the type of healer favoured for psychiatric consultation. The third was a population survey in which every person with one or more symptoms was asked if he or she had consulted anyone for relief of distress. Besides the modern doctors thre were three types of traditional healers: Vaids, practising an empircal system of indigenous medicine; Mantarwardis, curing through astrology and charms; and Patris, who acted as mediums for spirits and emons. It was found that a large majority (59%) of those with symptoms had consulted someone. The consultaiton was determined more by the severity of illness than by socio-demographic factors. Modern doctors were morepopular, but most people consulted both traditional and modern healers without regard to the latter’s contradictory coneptual framework. Literacy and other socio-demographic factdors had no influence on the type of consultation. A conclusion was reached that any scheme for introducing modern psychiatry into rural areas should make use of the locally popular healers, both traditional or modern.
Although Chinese folklore holds that the Dragon Year is an auspicious time to have a birth, notable increases in Chinese fertility in Dragon Years did not occur before 1976. Demographic explanations for the belated occurence of this phenomenon rely on the notion of natural fertility: that is, couples’ lack of modern contraception had kept such decisions outside the realm of choice. The analysis presented in this article, however, shows that the bulk of the 1976 Dragon Year baby boom on Taiwan was due to strategies that had always been available: marriage timing, abortion, and coital behavior. The natural fertility paradigm thus is insufficent in explaining the motivation for this behavior and should be copmlemented by Insitutional approaches.
The status of women in the Middle Ages was ambiguous, because although they had great responsibility and expertise in practical affairs they were viewed as chattel and inferior to men. They were skilled in cookery, often of highly spiced didshes using a variety of ingredients and flavorings, and they were taught the use of medicinal herbs. They were often skilled in simple first aid, though they were not allowed to practise outside the home. An important exception to this was Hildegarde von Bingen, whose Physica brought her great renown. In it she became the first woman to discuss plants in relation to their medicinal properties. For most people in the Middle Ages, treatment revolved around herbs and diet, together with faith and holy relics and the use of (forbidden) pagan incantation and ritual. Astrology was often a necesssary adjunct to treatment. In Salerno, however, medicine had been practised from classical times, and medical training could last for 7 years or more. One of the greatest medieval medical texts is the Taculnum Sanitatis, which describes in detail the 6 essentials for the preservation of man’s health. Several vegetables and herbs are mentioned in connection with the kidneys, the picking and preparation of which are imbued with magic.
Rather than speaking broadly about the determinants of the nurse-patient realtionship, as I did in my book, in this article I have focused more narrowly on psychiatric mental health nurses and their patients. I cited, as the chief influence on the context of the relationship between the two, the psychological changes concomitant with the stellar transition from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age and the burdens these changes impose on the psyche of the individual. I talked a bit about the paradoxical nature of the psyche and how it relates to paradoxical psychotherapeutic approaches. I mentioned win, win negotiations as being skills necessary for coping in the Aquarian Age. I also mentioned that our own value system, although absolute for us, is not necessarily binding on the other unless it is mutually agreed upon beforehand. In addition, I spoke about the possibility of many theories and methods, each equally valid and workable in the solution of a particular problem. I said our approach to the patient will depend on our role conception as psychotherapist, our typology, and concomitant with that, our model of psychological processes and the theoretical framework in which it is couched. I have stated what I consider the four key points for all of us to be aware of in order to negotiate the new psychology. We need to differentiate between needs, wants and entitlement: we are entitled to our needs, but we are ultimately responsible for their fulfillment (whicih does not necessarily mean that we have to fulfill them ourselves). We need to be aware of the two-pronged aspect of every bit of communication; i.e., the simultaneous factual and directional message contained in each, and yet the selectivity of the tuning in by the receiver. We also need to be aware that any communication can imply a message about the object discussed or about one’s subjective relation to it, as well as the confusion and rage that can be caused by ambiguities and the misunderstanding of which of the two has been meant. We have to learn to live with the fact that all of us have one area of our personality that is reasonably well adapted and another that is still young and needs all our (and others’) help that it can get.
There has been a great deal of recent interest in popular health care in early modern England, resulting in studies on a range of topics from practioners through remedial treatment. Over the past decade, the history of books has also attracted growing interest. This is partiularly true for the seventeenth century, a period marked by a dramatic rise in all types of printed works. The 1640s are especially significant in the evolution of printed vernacular medical publications which continued to flourish during the rest of the century. While recent studies on popular medical books have contributed greatly to our understanding of contemporary medical beliefs and pratices, they have failed to properly recognise the effect that almanacs had on early modern medicine. Although their primary function was not to disseminate medical information, most provided a great deal of medical informaton. Furthermore, these cheap, annual publications targeted and were read by a wide cross-section of the public, making them the first true form of British mass media. This article is based on the content of 1,392 almanacs printed between 1640 and 1700, which may make it the largest comparative study of the medical content of any early modern pritned works. The project has resulted in two major findings. First of all, almanacs played a major part in the dissemination, continuing popularity, and longevity of tradtioinal astrologial and Galenic beliefs and practices. Secondly, at the same time, almanacs played an important early role in the growth of medical materialism in Britain.
Astrology is no longer regarded as a science by many, because its claims are almost impossible to test empirically in controlled laboratory conditions and it cannot meet the scientific need to be reproducible. However, the majority of those who read their “star signs” can identify aspects of their personality in what they read and it is possible that this may influence their attiudes and actions. The literture has neglected astrological signs as a possible predictor of suicide ideation. To see whether astrological birth signs are associated with suicide and the method used, data was collected from the Public Hdalth Department in North Cheshire representing all the Cheshire Coroner’s verdicts of suicde, and open verdicts, in all deceased aged 60 and above between 1989 and 2000. The observed occurence of deaths due to natural causes and suicide, in relation to birth signs did not differ from what would be expected from chance. However, the distribution of suicide by hanging appeared significantly higher in those with a birth sign of Virgo and lowest in Sagittarius and Scorpio. The distribution of violent and non-violent suicides in relation to star signs showed higher occurence of violent death in persons born in the summer months.
Byzantium inherited the rich astrological tradition of Late Antiquity, especially that of Alexandria, where even in the 6th century A.D., astrology was taught in philosophical schools. The great number of Byzantine astrolgical MSS, which preserve works of famous authors and many anonymous treatises, shows the survival and continuity of astrology in Byzantium. Through medical astrology pysicians can better understand the temperament of an individual man and find out about his bodily constitution and psychic faculties, his inclination to chronic and acute diseases, the possibilities of curable or incurable cases, and finally the periods of lmajor danger for his health. They can conjecture about the evolution of a disease, choose a favourable time for an operation, or initiate a cure.
After 1700, astrology lost the respect it once commanded in medical circles. But the belief that the heavens influenced bodily health persisted – even in learned medicine -until well into the nineteenth century. The continuing vitality of these ideas owed much to the new empirical and mechanical outlook of their proponents. Taking their cue from the work of Robert Boyle and Richard Mead a number of British practioners amassed statistical evidence which purported to prove he influence of the Moon upon fevers and other diseases. Such ideas flourished in the colonies and in the medical services of the armed forces, but their exponents were not marginal men. Some, like James Lind, were widely respected and commanded support for their views from such influential figures as Erasmus Darwin.