Sunday, December 7, 2008

Response to Theories of Astrology: A Comprehensive Survey

An article, "Theories of Astrology: A Comprehensive Survey" by Dean, Loptson, Kelly, et al, available on Rudolf Smit's website at, is a very good overview of skeptical arguments against astrological theories and explanations. It is gratifying to see that the "ordinary explanations" it offers are stretching a lot farther and attempting to grapple with much tougher and more complex issues than what was presented in 1975's "Objections to Astrology." This is a good sign of discourse. However, a major deficiency in the article is the argument against a key astrological concept that most astrologers agree with, which is introduced by using a quote from Robert Hand.

"As Hand (1988) puts it, 'The universe is essentially a clock in which all components serve to tell what time it is. As above so below, because it is essentially one thing. ... In various forms this is the most prevalent theory at present.'"

In this instance Hand interprets the hermetic maxim ("as above, so below") as a question of time and synchronicity, even though the maxim says "as" not "when," which should suggest that this concept is more applicable to states and symmetries of behavior rather than purely temporal behaviors. In any case, the skeptical argument completely falls apart at this point by appealing directly to a common sense dismissal of the concept presented in the maxim as simply "absurd."

"But as argued by Roberts (1990:98), it is absurd to believe that the quality of time throughout billions of star systems, some possibly with planets sustaining life, is synchronous with what our solar system is doing. So the quality of time has to be localised, on which point neither Jung nor astrologers offer guidance."

Why is this belief or postulation so absurd? If this is a comprehensive survey, as the sub-title of the skeptic article claims, then we must consider the possibility of a fractal universe, as some astrologers have offered, where this is not absurd at all. In this view, inner world behaviors (microcosms) are "self-similar" (which is to say symmetrical) to outer world behaviors (macrocosms).

Fractal behaviors have been observed throughout nature and it might not be surprizing to discover that the universe as we know it behaves with some sort of fractal functionality. One might even venture to say that it would indeed be more surprizing to find that the universe as a whole does not function in this way.

The conclusion that the skeptics in their conventional wisdom have brought foreward is that "the quality of time has to be localized." This conclusion, which in their view necessarily remedies something they believe to be "absurd," is logically and scientifically unwarranted. The "explanation" offered for the hermetic maxim, which is no explanation at all, does not even scratch the surface of this prevailing and very intriguing astrological concept.

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