Sunday, November 5, 2017

Open letter to the new Governor General of Canada on her speech against astrology

Dear Ms Payette,

With great respect for your achievements and your position, I would like to offer a small criticism of your  Wednesday speech at the Canadian Science Policy Conference. I believe that the vast majority of Canadians would prefer the custom that, like Her Majesty the Queen of which you are representative, the GG remain non-controversial.  Even though I may agree with your sentiments regarding climate change and evolution, I don’t agree that political statements are appropriate for your office.

As a concerned Canadian, please let me help you with the facts and scientific understanding of astrology. The debate on astrology, of which you have now entered into, rarely reaches the level of scholarly peer-reviewed journals and academic discourse. At this point, there is only one evidence-based skeptical article, by the relentless astrology critics Geoffrey Dean (of Australia) and Ivan Kelly (of Canada), published in 2003, that has achieved that notability. The article summarizes the strongest available rhetorical and empirical arguments against astrology and has been highly influential throughout the scientific community, including your own skeptical views whether you realize it or not.

As you may wish to be better informed on the controversy of science and astrology, rather than making further statements based on intuition that can be highly biased, I suggest that you take the time to study Dean and Kelly’s well researched article. However, before you align yourself with the arguments of the authors, I suggest that you also study my counter-criticism, published in the same journal last year that examines the claims they make.

The little known fact is that there is no good evidence or argument against astrology that withstands critical scrutiny but there is some good evidence in favour. Both Dean and Kelly and myself have extended the discourse slightly through their more recent article and my posts added to their open access version, but these responses are basically repetition of the original arguments and do not add substance.

As a co-author, I am expecting to publish an important new peer-reviewed research article, currently in review, which uses the best available data, the Gauquelin samples, that demonstrates a very clear, predictable astrological effect that will be extremely hard to refute. As you might come to appreciate, Canada is in the forefront of the genuine scientific research and debate on astrology.

Payette takes on climate change deniers and horoscopes at science conference

Is Astrology Relevant to Consciousness and PSI?

Clearing the Logjam in Astrological Research: Commentary on Geoffrey Dean and Ivan Kelly's Article 'Is Astrology Relevant to Consciousness and Psi?'

Sincere regards,

Kenneth McRitchie