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    Re: Immutable firmament?
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2011 Jan 16, 13:21 -0500
    Actually it was a professional astrologer who was doing the laughing - I was surprised at the number of self deprecating remarks he made.    I've made it something of a point to understand casting of natal horoscopes, but I get stuck on the definitions of the houses.    The pro gave me some advice on an easy house system to use.    

    But for me, if a person makes up a rule like he says Ptolemy did, the concept of it as a science is diminished in my eyes.   I see science as having an empirical and theoretical basis.    Astrology has a theoretical basis of sorts, but the number of house systems is bewildering and  I don't really see where empiricism comes in - at least in a quantitative fashion.   Presumably it makes predictions, but do the predictions get tested against something like a null hypothesis?   

    Can one design a test to decide whether one house system is correct, or superior, for example? 

    In any case I take it seriously in the sense that I want to learn the structure of natal horoscopes.   That doesn't mean that I have to buy every tenet, and I *can* remain a skeptic.  The same thing applies to the tenets of more hard core sciences.    E.g. I swallowed that fable about Al-Biruni hook, line, and sinker until the fine folks of NavList pointed out how crazy it was.  

    In terms of principles of economics, well, you got me there.   It's called the dismal science for a reason.

    On Sat, Jan 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM, Geoffrey Kolbe <geoffreykolbe@compuserve.com> wrote:
    "Apache Runner" said

    The most amusing moment was when he described Ptolemy's method for figuring out how long someone lived.   It had to do with the ascension of the Sun the day after someone's birth.   I asked him if this was a tradition.   He said "No, I think Ptolemy just made it up."

    Yes, it is thought clever these days to laugh at astrology - and those who laugh loudest are those who know least about it.

    The essential ideas of (Western) astrology were born 5000 years ago in Babylon. Since then, they have undergone a continuous cycle of refinement where the philosophical model created to describe correlations between two sets of observed phenomenon (star/planet positions and events here on earth) was tested by seeing if it could predict future correlations. If the model was found wanting, it was adjusted to account for the larger database of observed phenomenon.

    If you think that sounds like the scientific principle, you would be correct. Astrology is the oldest science and while astrology may not have the proven validity of the hard sciences, it could be argued that there is more proof for the validity of astrology than, say, the main principles of economics or psychology.

    Geoffrey Kolbe

    Keeping up with the grind
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