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They did no better than chance. This line of research explores astrology scientifically — not as an attempt to empirically prove the astrology handed down by tradition, but rather to test an astrology reformulated by science. Publications and research A first account of the Gauquelins' work was published in in The Influence of the Stars, in which Gauquelin began a critical analysis of the work of his predecessors in statistical astrology, Paul Choisnard and Karl Ernst Krafft.


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The conclusions of this first attempt at synthesis seemed to show that for a cross-section of personalities well-known for their success in a given profession, the position of the planets in the sky would be found in a distribution that was not accidental. In his first studies, statistically abnormal positions of the planet Mars were detected in athletes, and similar abnormalities were found with Jupiter for actors, and with Saturn for scientists. These statistical observations created a lively polemic, notably with the scientific community.

Gauquelin in the area of planetary influences.

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There was perfect agreement, as is emphasized by the Belgian Committee PARA, between the Gauquelins and the group of scientists concerning the establishment of an experimental protocol, as well as concerning the calculation of standards and statistical formulas for the sampling. The Committee arrived at the same findings for the positions of Mars in sectors I and IV, which seemed abnormally elevated statistically. Gauquelin noted his disagreement with the objections of the Committee.

An experimental protocol was elaborated in A new sample of 1, French athletes was created. The initiative — which at the outset anticipated the establishment of a control group sample of 10, individuals — was changed, and the comparison was done with a randomly-generated cross-section.

Mars effect

Gauquelin, who followed the progress of the study, had suggested additions and deletions of athletes in the sample with the major goal of recentering the study on major champions, and removing athletes having a weak reputation or mediocre results. In the end, the comparison of the two samples showed no significant statistical differences. His own conclusions were subject to change throughout the course of his life due to his research over several decades, and in the beginning after his initial studies he was very critical of certain widely accepted beliefs in astrology, particularly the zodiacal signs, which he extensively tested without finding results: "It is now quite certain that the signs in the sky which presided over our births have no power whatever to decide our fates, to affect our hereditary characteristics, or to play any part, however humble, in the totality of effects, random or otherwise, which form the fabric of our lives and mould our impulses to action.

On the whole, it emerged that there was an increasingly solid statistical link between the time of birth of great men and their occupational success. Having collected over 20, dates of birth of professional celebrities from various European countries and from the United States, I had to draw the unavoidable conclusion that the position of the planets at birth is linked to one's destiny. What a challenge to the rational mind!

Later reforms Towards the end of his life he tried to reform astrology by suggesting that astrologers should cast aside the majority of their tradition and build a new astrology based only upon the foundation of that which could be proven to be statistically accurate and testable.

He called this "Neo-Astrology", which was also the name of his last book in which he summarized his previous statistical studies and proposed this new system. He is often cited by astrologers as having provided evidence in favour of astrology. The Mars effect The most famous result of Gauquelin's studies was the controversial Mars effect, wherein there is an apparent correlation between the rising and culminating of the planet Mars at the birth of eminent athletes in various fields.

If true this could provide scientific evidence for an astrological correlation between the positions of certain heavenly bodies and human affairs, or some other cause.

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While some claim that the Mars effect is unknown within astrology as in prior to the statistical finding , there is actually a long tradition that goes back to the earliest strata of horoscopic astrology which holds that planets in the angles rising, culminating, setting, and anti-culminating are said to be more active and signify the prominence of the specific archetype which is associated with the planet in question.

While two of the three skeptic studies on the Mars effect are demonstrably biased in emphasizing lower-rank athletes and show average to low amounts of Mars in the places where Gauquelin said these figures should be high, as in the case of Gauquelin, the skeptic data shows a significant upward trend when ranked by citation counts. In other words, the Mars-effect bias of Gauquelin and the anti-Mars-effect bias of the skeptics affects the outcome most for any specific sample of athletes as a group.

Ertel's citation-count method is independent of sampling decisions made by either Gauquelin or his critics it works best when all available data is used and shows the same results for all cases. The real truth of the matter is that there is data-handling bias on both sides of the line, and overall it does not affect the fundamental findings relating to planetary effects. Objection: Gauquelin's positive findings are "not astrological," and in fact run counter to what astrological tradition might lead us to expect.

Answer: Gauquelin's findings clearly demonstrate several fundamental astrological principles: 1. The centrality of the planets. From Margaret Hone's Modern Textbook of Astrology : "The planets are to be studied first of all, because they are the centre and core of astrological tradition.

Astrology And Science

The principle of specific action. Even in the most arcane astrologies, the planets are differentiated in a distinct way from each other: Mars is active and aggressive, Venus is charming and agreeable, and so on. Consider this, continuing the quotation above from Recent Advances : " In contrast to virtually all other astrological concepts there is generally no fundamental disagreement about what each planet represents The doctrine of angularity.

Again from Margaret Hone: "The strength of Angularity is better expressed by saying that the planets are undoubtedly strong when they are close to one of the angles, especially to the Ascendant or Midheaven, irrespective of which side of these they may be on. Consider this, again from Recent Advances : "Angularity is one of the oldest, most fundamental and least disputed of astrological concepts While there are certainly differences between elements of Gauquelin's findings and what one sees in astrological textbooks, criticism that considers only the differences and ignores the similarities often proceeds from a viewpoint which requires that any study of astrological variables must have an "all or nothing," "up or down" result, such that a negative result "disproves" astrology, while a positive result can only be wrong - due to bad methodology at best, and fraud at worst.

On the contrary, if there are any correct observations contained in astrological tradition, when a well-constructed research program such as the Gauquelins' is used to investigate that tradition it is more likely to show that some things are true, some are not and some are true but require modification. This latter is the case with angularity, as aside from the zone within 10 degrees or so on either side of the angles that astrologers seem to agree on, there has been less agreement on the shape and scope of the "power zones" outside of that, with Valens for example extending them counterclockwise i.

Astrology And Science by Michel Gauquelin

However, Valens had only or so birth charts at his disposal and used informal observational methods, while Gauquelin had tens of thousands of pieces of data from eleven different professions, and used modern statistical methods as part of a well-designed and comprehensive research program. Where these findings diverge from that tradition is not in regard to houses which in fact have only an indirect connection to angularity in Hone, Valens or many other authors but in regard to the actual placement and extent of the angular zones.

The work of the Gauquelins made it possible to measure these zones exactly, confirming the idea of angularity on the one hand while showing where it required modification on the other. It is worth mentioning at this juncture the recent distinction by Robert Schmidt of Project Hindsight in the preface to his translation of Book III of Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos , between "dynamical" and "topical" division of the celestial sphere by astrologers, with the former being for the purpose of establishing planetary strength and the latter for the purpose of considering various areas of life e.

For the most part in modern astrology, both planetary strength and the houses which indicate areas of life are measured from one or another of the angles of the chart, but after careful consideration of the available original works of Ptolemy and other authors, Schmidt says he finds no evidence in Greek astrology for anything but "whole sign" topical houses, meaning that the 1st house is the entire sign in which the Ascendant falls, rather than the Ascendant marking the boundary of that house.

Thus, modern house systems seem to have been derived from a mistaken understanding of certain passages in Ptolemy. More interesting than angularity is the fact that where Gauquelin's findings on the planets were concerned, he very clearly delineated structural relationships between the planets in his first book and very clearly outlined a research program meant to explore and understand that structure more fully in relation to professions and to demonstrate its existence in other areas e.