Astrology’s critics would have you believe that modern concepts of astronomy and space physics give no support to the tenets of astrology. They claim that those who continue to believe in such “superstitious nonsense” do so in spite of the fact there is no scientific basis for their belief.
Problem is, the main arguments skeptics have relied upon to discredit astrology are less credible today than they once were. Specifically, the notion that the sun, moon and planets are too far away to have any measurable impact on human destiny is becoming increasingly difficult to defend as a scientific certainty. Contrary evidence is piling up.
The other major objection to astrology – that science has yet to discover a mechanism that explains how it works – is not holding up any better. In a scientific paper presented at a recent Advanced Research in Scientific Areas (ARSA) conference, Prof. Alberto Saco Alvarez of the University of Vigo in Ourense, Spain, reported on significant statistical correlations between solar activity and the prevalence of some autoimmune diseases and mental disorders. His work adds to other studies that have suggested correlations with solar activity and life on earth beyond the obvious effects of visible light and heat. .
A link to Prof. Alvarez’s paper, Effects of Extremely Low Frequencies on Human Health, is posted on John and Susan Townley’s AstroCocktail.com website. John Townley is the author of several books and numerous articles on astrology and science related topics. He describes the research as “fabulous work that provides a connection between the sun and genetically-driven diseases.”
In an interview, he provided these insights:
ANS: What most impressed you about the research?
Townley: It approaches the effects of extraterrestrial influences (in this case the Sun’s output) in a very physical step-down manner, which astrologers looking for a physical basis for their art might imitate. Rather than simply make a statistical correlation between periods of solar activity and higher subsequent incidence of genetically-based diseases, Prof. Alvarez looks for plausible causal mechanisms in between to connect them; in this case ELF (extremely low frequency) magnetic waves/variations, which cause real effects on nerve or immune cell production in vitro, which then lead to the disease. This kind of stepwise causal linkage for astrological effects is something scientists and astrologers need to investigate further.
In this experiment, the researcher came up with two sets of possible links, one at around conception, and the other around birth. That’s also something astrologers should look more to, as they tend to conclude that everything comes from the birth horoscope, including clearly prenatal inclinations like genetic diseases and a number of other physical and neurological issues that are known to develop in the womb. In these situations a birth horoscope just won’t fly as explanation.
ANS: What, exactly, does the research demonstrate?
Townley: From an astrological perspective, the research clearly demonstrates the need for a better fundamental physical theory of just what astrology is. To eventually get there will require some revamping of terms and the repositioning of astrology as a variable environmental science instead of some sort of a key to ineluctable fate. Investigators will need to measure exactly what gravitational and electromagnetic effects planetary positions and their tidal cycles have on the earth’s environment – and how that may step down to individual and group situations, chemically and biologically.
This seems to me the necessary direction to go if astrologers are to reexamine their art and integrate it with the rest of developing scientific disciplines, themselves still coming to grips with the necessity for environmental and systems approaches (such as emergence, complexity and catastrophe theories) beyond the simple cause and effect of the past.
ANS: Why is this research important?
Townley: This particular piece of research is important because it not only explores the specific issues it does for the sake of the scientific community and academe, but also offers a gateway for astrologers to enter that could put some firm ground under the feet of a currently ad-hoc and overly broad art that has yet to fathom the depths of the ocean upon which it sails.
ANS: Any closing thoughts?
Townley: This research is only one step of many in a needed direction to unite the underlying “why” of traditional astrology and modern science instead of squabbling about the individual “how”. Astrologers tend to go no further to justify their art except to say “because it works” (except when it doesn’t), which is a similar position to where, let us say, European architecture was in late medieval times. Builders were capable of constructing magnificent cathedrals following (and elaborating on) the rules of Roman engineering, but it was engineering only, without knowledge of the science of materials, tensile strength, internal resonance, gravity, and the underlying details that a successful structure relies on in the end.
So, there were numerous (and sometimes spectacular, as at Beauvais) failures, and ultimately limits past which it was not possible to go until the basic underpinnings were better understood. The same applied to medicine, which reached an impasse until the nature of the circulatory system, organic chemistry, and the microbial world were uncovered and integrated into the field. Both areas did the best they could with the ad hoc rules they had, but ultimately were deadlocked until the fundamentals could be established. Astrology has been there for some time – in fact, it’s still based on the same Classical rules and world-view that architecture and medicine moved on from. It’s time to proceed with the next step.