Sunday, March 19, 2006

I was just doing some searching for skeptical commentary on a book called Cosmos and Psyche by an author named Richard Tarnas after hearing an interview with him on CBC Radio One's Tapestry. Not much out there yet, as its a very new book. Part of Tarnas's idea is that astrology is a worthwhile indication of some "higher purpose" of existence because of its supposed correlation to historical events and the behaviour of historical figures. But from what Tarnas said his correlations are the same old copouts. That is the connections are sufficiently vague for him to find the results he was looking for. For example he claims that a conjunction, or perhaps it was an alignment, of Uranus and Pluto resulted in a time of revolution and creativity between 1960 and 1972. But these are arbitrary dates. I could just as easily pick the period 1954 to 1970 and come up with some other astrological correlation. After all in 1954 Elvis made his first recordings, the French lost in Vietnam, and Eisenhower became US president. In 1970 Jimi Hendrix died and the Beatles broke up. Or perhaps 1963 to 1974 would be a better choice, since the period started with the assassination of JFK and ended with the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

I also had to chuckle that Tarnas subtly compared himself to such pioneers as Copernicus and Galileo at the end of his interview. Apparently he doesn't know that "they laughed at Galileo too!" is an incredibly common cry of defense amongst all sorts of promoters of complete nonsense like health quacks and promoters of ridiculous perpetual motion machines.

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