Astrology, par D. Kunth et P. Zarka
Revue de Presse :
The author has accomplished an important study in collaboration with a doctor specialized in acupuncture, using methods testing responses to different oligoelements. On the one hand, the observations obtained lead him to note affinities with astrology, , and, on the other hand, to discover that the astrological Houses (of which he writes an interesting account of the origins) should, according to his findings, be shifted in relation to the Ascendant; House XII becoming House I etc…, (which makes one think, obviously, of the results of Gauquelin’s statistical research for which the significant "peaks" of various occupational classes studied - sportsmen, politicians etc. - are located in these same zones).
He further refutes the use of unequal houses, of which there exist multiple methods of calculation, preferring 12 equal Houses deduced from the position of the Ascendant by equal values in longitude, that is to say successive values of 30° each. This system has the advantage being traceable all over the planet, including beyond the polar circle, where, for example, the Placidus Houses, are not calculable.
It remains to be seen, of course, what this "M.E.D." system can contribute in practice.
« Que sais-je ? » (a series of books published under this generic title "What do I know? ") on
Astrology, by D. Kunth and P. Zarka, 2005: an intellectual step backwards of the University Press in France.
Following a shamefully anti-astrological version which was little more than a pamphlet with neither quotations nor scientific value, written by P. Couderc in 1951, the new account that I wrote, published in 1989 lasted 15 years. - it covered the subject according to detailed objective analytical norms which the Editorial Director of PUF, Mr. Prigent, apparently appreciated since I received a letter where he has added in his own hand "I have read it with as much attention as pleasure".
He has changed his mind, which he has every right to do. It is my right, however, to describe the new version, which has once again been entrusted to "anti-astrologists", after my proposal to write a new edition taking into account all that has changed in the last 15 years was refused.
I began my text with "Astrology is above all a factor of civilization related to Man’s realization of the passage of time." and I finished, after an in-depth and detailed study, by "let us stay open-minded", quoting the English University Professor Eysenck who had worked with astrologers. The new authors, on the contrary start by affirming: "Astrology is not a scientific way of thinking" before starting any analysis or description: one can already see the difference. They finish on the same note with the expression "… could only be condemned".
It consists, therefore, of an attack on scientific astrology, is not objective and unworthy of a respectable encyclopaedia like the PUF.
Between them, the authors have left many gaps and made some unfortunate errors. I will mention some of them. Astrological techniques are very badly explained, without clear illustrations, only one birth sky chart, reproduced from Choisnard, whose name is mentioned as a simple astrologer: the fact that he was a polytechnician (scientist) , goes unmentioned! The history of astrology is much less detailed than in my version, especially concerning modern times.
The statistical experiments quoted are declared invalid, for example the well known study of Gauquelin on Mars and sportsmen: Professor Ertel, of the university of Göttingen (Germany) has done much work on it and recently showed it to be definitively positive: this work is not quoted. I will mention two other choices of authors: the "Petiot test " carried out by Gauquelin in which he showed a large number of people the same astrological analysis of the criminal. Many recognized themselves in the analysis. The current authors do not go to the source as I did: the test was in fact published in the popular magazine Ici-Paris which promised to send people who recognized themselves, an account of precise predictions. The result is thus unsurprising - but obviously biased, which Kunth and Zarka fail to specify! Lastly, let us quote the reference to the test of Carlson, an American doctor, from which Pr Eysenck declared, after studying it, nothing serious could be concluded , which I specified objectively in my version. The name of this eminent London professor of psychology is not even cited. Further, a study of a homologous problem, which I carried out with the collaboration of 524 students (published in an academic review with referees) is not even mentioned. This undeniably supports the way in which sociability alternates between the even and odd signs of the zodiac. The study, detailed in the book "Comment démontrer l’astrologie (How to demonstrate astrology) - Albin Michel 1999" also included a scientific demonstration of the validity of "predictional transits" by Dr. H. Delboy. This is not even quoted.
The RAMS is nevertheless mentioned in a footnote, but without its Web site (though others are given). Clearly we can no longer be ignored, even in anti-astrological circles! A pity, however, for curious Internauts…
Serious omissions: nothing is mentioned of the increasing acceptance of astrology in the United Kingdom; the creation of the RGCSA at the University of Southampton (Research Group for the Critical Study of Astrology) the introduction of PhD’s or, for example, the holding of the next International Astrology Congress at the University of York (when will such a meeting take place in France?).
Lastly, some glaring errors: the use of the term "horoscope" for a birth sky chart, or “thème” (in French) which term, in that language is applicable only to popular, newspaper predictions. Embarrassing .The zodiac is badly defined: astonishing on the part of astrophysicists… The "Houses" are described quite erroneously: (p 40) "the diurnal and nocturnal houses thus have different durations" - ???
Let us finish this overview by an error which has persisted in astrological circles and is still quoted here; Colbert drove astrology out of the University. Indeed I wrote this myself at one time. However a thesis presented in Sorbonne a few years ago – which I could not know about at the time I was writing – established that in fact it was from the Academy of Science which he created in 1660, that not one but three subjects were excluded; they were theology, politics and astrology (the correction was published in the RAMS notebooks); astrology was not excluded from or prohibited in the University.
The new "Que sais-je ? " Astrology thus constitutes an astonishing and regrettable intellectual regression the motives of which escape me.
Become wizards, become wise »
(Devenez sorciers, devenez savants)( O. Jacob 2002) by G. Charpak and H. Broch.
This book had a wide audience because of the Nobel Prizewinner, G Charpak. The second author, H. Broch, is known only as leader of the “Zetetic Circle”.
Numerous phenomena described as "parascientific" such as fakirs, levitation, miraculous water etc. are attacked and dissected in this work. We will not go into detail here. 3 books of refutations were published in succession (R. Chauvin: "The return of the magicians", jmg ED. 2002, J.C. and J.Y. Normant "Devenez pédants, c’est pas sorcier" (There’s nothing magic in becoming a pedant” France Europe Ed. 2003 and B Meheust "Devenez savants, découvrez les sorciers , (Become wise, discover wizards) letter to G. Charpak”, Dervy/SorelEd. 2004).
But in none of these three works, is there an inkling of the coarse and vulgar treatment with which the two authors have seen fit to treat a subject in which their knowledge is clearly lacking: astrology. I will quote only one laconic sentence here – yet how significant – that G Charpak authorized me to publish in my book “Pour L’astrologie, réflexions d’une scientifique” (For astrology, reflections of a scientist) - Albin Michel 1996. p 226: "astrology is a fairy tale. It has nothing to do with scientific analysis ", which is as good as an admission that he has never studied the subject.
Reading the book, one notices (I shall be brief for the topics are notable mostly for their banality)
- p.24, confusion between typology of personality and predictions.
- p102: thirteen constellations and not 12, and no details on the tropical zodiac.
- p.179: obtuse and meaningless commentary on the sociology thesis of E Teissier, described as "a funny sort of thesis", idem p. 180-181. (not a word, by the way about the "RGCSA" (Research Group for the Critical Study of Astrology) of the University of Southampton (G B) which awards a Ph.D in the subject.
- p.199: is "the destiny of the man-object, without free will, written in the arabesques of the planets and the stars…": a phrase which indicates an obvious ignorance of astrology
We heartily agree with the need to fight against "superstitions churned up in the wake of evolution" (p. 203), but astrology is not a superstition: it must be studied, analyzed and tested. This is what the RAMS has done successfully for 12 years now.
It thus seems to us both sad and regrettable that real scientists should lose their footing in certain circumstances – in this instance astrology – and do not study before judging; a golden rule. It is they who are tainted here with a negative superstition concerning astrology.
André Barbault has just published a very large volume of 768 pages: “A work of reference” as as the cover-band indicates. It is a vast compilation of all the fields of astrology followed by the ephemerids of 1920 to 2019. Such a quantitative exploit is obviously an event. It does, however invite a few comments.
The long career of the famous astrologer has led him to cover the entire range of classical astrological techniques – rather too traditional perhaps, for omissions have slipped in. Nowhere does the author specify that every point on the earth has the same zodiac, which serves only to position the earth with respect to the sun. Why is the zodiac the same? Quite simply because the diameter of the earth is extremely small in relation to the immense distance which separates it from the sun which is thus observed, everywhere on earth, as being in the same sign of the zodiac.
The chapter on "symbolic key systems" mentions on page 97, "the cold of winter… in our hemisphere.", we discover in most of the abundant texts that, for example "Aries means the resurrection of the year and the dawn of a new cycle", on the same page 114, Taurus is described as "we pass into the last phase of spring" etc.: True, but only in our hemisphere. The seasons are reversed in the Southern hemisphere, where Aries, for example, announces the arrival of autumn. The author seems to have forgotten this fact throughout his work which is rather a pity.
As for the long passage about the Houses (page 359), some statements are rather ambiguous such as: "the symbolic system of nature lived as an annual experience of the human soul…". One wonders what "the soul" is here. Above all, we find no sign of the appropriate reservations concerning modes of calculation of the Houses, nor the fact - not a little awkward for the scientists that we are - that Houses are not calculable beyond the polar circles which, we should remember, is a war-horse of the adversaries of astrology.
One astonishing passage would seem to mean that a planet corresponds to an influence only when it has been discovered: "the undiscovered astral object being like a power still asleep" (page 367). This is obviously scientifically unacceptable.
One should note, as well, correspondences which are, at the very least, doubtful: on page 471, the sun is compared to male values and the moon to female ones. What, one wonders, do German speaking astrologists make of this when, in their language the sun is female (die Sonne) and the moon male! This symbolism is inadmissible although frequently met with in the Latin languages.
As for transits, for which the author retains mainly the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, we are essentially in agreement for the first, much less for the two others, Pluto especially for it follows its extremely distant orbit far too slowly. Experiments are lacking in this field.
To conclude – for one should not be unnecessarily negative – we approve the author warmly when, on page 629, he writes: "it is advisable definitively to eliminate the mass of false problems stemming from the spasms of a mentality rooted in magic, which has long encumbered astrology with stupid claims, resulting in its being classified with all kinds of obsolete divinatory beliefs".
This tome is thus not so much a "work of reference", as a "work of reverence" to an excessively traditional astrology The literary style is excellent, but the work is insufficiently scientific and has little chance of contributing to the progress necessary in a domain so controversial and so much abused .
« Astrology and self-knowledge » Suzel Fuzeau-Braesch,
published by Editions Agamat,( 17 rue Elisée Reclus 91120 Palaiseau France),
pp.220, ISBN 2-911166-14-0
This book of S. Fuzeau-Braesch is a new popularised approach to astrology and its great originality is that it is based on scientific experiment. The disconcerting results quoted in the work are rendered credible by the tests to which the data are subjected. If astrology has been a source of reflection for thousands of years, it has also been from time immemorial, and indeed still is, a victim of practitioners whose venal considerations outweigh their intellectual rigour, and this has contributed to the discredit of the subject with the public at large.
S. Fuzeau-Braesch has combined her knowledge of the stars for more than thirty years with the scientific rigour which has governed her professional career (she is a Doctor of science, and honorary director of research at the CNRS - the French national scientific research centre, and directed a university laboratory of Biology for more than 20 years). The stringency of the experimental protocols suggested and the statistical exploitation of the results obtained provides solid evidence to reinforce a certain confidence which one can nowadays have in astrology. It is this methodical approach which is resurrecting astrology as an accepted discipline likely to find its place one day as an academic subject worthy of university study. Amongst the cases investigated, the astrology of dogs clearly demonstrates the obvious objectivity of the possible astrological analyses. Of all the works which have established the existence of a link between the astrological sky at the birth of the individual and human potentialities, this book is distinguished by the fact that the author demonstrates, and does not merely assert, that astrology is reliable and capable of revealing the ego and the aptitudes of an individual, and furthermore, to establish a chronology of the significant dates of his life (without prejudice to the positive or negative aspects of these events).
A dominant theme of the book is the need to take into account only those simple elements from amongst the astrological tools which have been verified experimentally. This is obviously a significant point. Interviews with ten well known personalities in France familiarise the reader with astrological analysis in a lively manner, full of interest.
Like any other modern field of human knowledge, astrology must be associated with other disciplines, notably molecular neurobiology and psychology, to reveal the inner reality of the individual: his sensitivity, talents, charisma, sexuality, social influence (throwing light en route on the "hooked atoms" of Lucretia!) while allowing a certain attention to be paid to fateful dates. To include man thus in a molecular equation involving astral dependence is a modern concept which can surprise or shock. Is one to deny the role of neurotransmitters and hormones in human behaviour? The author, convinced of the obvious existence of causality in astrological phenomena, concludes with a chapter devoted to hypotheses compatible with current scientific opinion,
S. Fuzeau-Braesch’s book is remarkable for its didacticism but also for its generosity in what it makes accessible to the layman. It is likely to create centres of interest and perhaps even vocations in young scientists who would, it must be admitted, tackle this subject of research at their risk and peril given the Cartesian views prevailing in French universities. These questions are modern, not of themselves, but because of the kind of investigation to which they can nowadays be subjected. The style of this work is deliberately clear, stripped down and accessible to all and it includes instructions which will allow readers to interpret for themselves the sky under which they were born and to analyse simply and quickly the astral influences prevailing at their time of birth.
Maître de conférence des Universités