Defending the indefensible through tai chi,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: In Defense of Astrology: Astrology's Answers to Its Critics (A Llewellyn Quantum Book) (Taschenbuch)
This is a defense of astrology in the sense of giving people who enjoy astrology some tools for dealing with ridicule about their beliefs, not in the sense of addressing the objections of informed skeptics. Parry presents, superficially, the standard responses to the common paradoxes inherent in astrological theory. He debunks horoscopes and Sun Signs ("All Capricorns are ..."), while presenting the fuller view of what is involved in a serious modern practice of astrology. Parry leaves no doubt that there are people who consider astrology a legitimate form of counselling and forensic science. Unfortunately for his cause, he doesn't persuade the non-believers, if such a thing is possible. I bought this book because I enjoy scientific controversies, and was hoping to see the strongest possible rational defense of astrology. I was disappointed at the profoundly unscientific tone and content of the book, even in its best chapters. Also at its failure to adequately address even the simplest questions in any really detailed fashion. Parry's main content is a bag of tools for believers to use to defend their astrological practice from uninformed ridicule. He relies on his experience with Tai Chi to produce a reasonable and compassionate strategy for defusing hostility and intolerance to unpopular beliefs. Parry introduces one of the interesting areas for showing astrological influences, the "time twin." Astrological theory predicts that people born near each other at the same time should be very much alike and follow similar life courses. Parry suggests that this is true, but does not provide any analysis, relying instead on anecdote and things like people having the same number of children as their "time twin." Another disappointing lost opportunity to defend his craft is when he discusses why fraternal twins are so different from identical twins. He suggests that tiny differences in the moment of birth are a big influence on personality. This seems to mean that even a few minutes difference should give people a completely different natal chart, and this fact alone would make natal charts almost useless.The one person who managed to produce some semblance of evidence of planetary influence on human personality, Michel Gauquelin, is given surprisingly short shrift in this book. Possibly because Gauquelin believed that he found evidence for planetary influence ("The Mars Effect," but that he at the same time found evidence that astrology was useless, even beyond horoscopes and sun signs. His theory, which is not mentioned by Parry, was that planetary events somehow influence the time of birth in different ways for different people, rather than influencing their personality. This is how he explained the finding that the era of technological birthing and conception options creates statistical problems in his analysis. Even with the leap of faith that planets can influence us in some way, if the effect is negated by things such as induced labor, as Gauquelin suggested, then astrological theory becomes a quaint artifact rather than the ostensibly scientific counselling and forensic service that Parry tries to defend in this book. This book is most interesting in the insight it provides into how we tell stories to ourselves first, about our role in the universe, and then explain them rationally. It is in the level-headed, rational, but unsuccessful attempt to defend indefensible beliefs in books like this that we see a big clue to why we believe the things we believe.
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