Re: virus: Objectivism vs Astrology in Cyberspace
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 14:45:52 -0600 (CST)

On Wed, 12 Feb 1997, Dave Pape wrote:

> At 13:08 09/02/97 -0800, Tim wrote:
> >I keep seeing Astrology popping up as a symbol for hocus-pocus thinking
> >and I want to speak up. Where you are a Objectivist, I am
> >Phenomenologist. I see Astrology as the phenomena of people born at the
> >same time of year having similar personality traits. This is a
> >phenomena I have seen in my own interactions with individuals throughout
> >my life. As a Phenonemologist, I do not accept the causality generally
> >held by astrologists, but I do not deny the phenomena. I have my own
> >theories on its causality. (Short version: The first 12 weeks in a childs
> >life have an overwhelming proportional effect on the development of their
> >personality. Children whose first 12 weeks are spent huddled up, inside,
> >in the winter will exhibit different personality traits as adults than
> >those that spent the first weeks of their lives hiding from the sun and
> >lying around naked.) These are just my theories and without research I
> >can't say whether they have any validity or not. (Theoretically the traits
> >of individuals in the southern hemisphere should be offset by six months
> >from the traditional "horoscope" ideals. But I'm to lazy and poor to fly
> >to Australia to do research.)
> Other predictions that might save you boot leather would be... astrology
> would be less prevalent the closer you got to the equator, because seasonal
> climatic changes are less pronounced there. so the differences to
> personality would be less... thus less predictive power in ascribing people
> personality traits based on their birthdate.
> IF (and only if) you can assume that astrology memes have transmitted as
> strongly to equatorial (and southern hemisphere) areas as they have to
> northern hemisphere areas.
> The other test would be to find out what personality traits astrology's
> mentioning, knock up a questionnaire designed to fish those traits out of
> people, then run it on a large sample, asking for birthdate info.

The evaluation method used on the questionnaire results is important.

I wonder if the reason most prior studies based on your ideas [YES, this
HAS been done before! In the 1970's] did not factor in 'reinforcement
effects' is to skew the answers towards 'pseudoscience'.

There should be no effect for singly reinforced traits.

With the multiplicity of methods for calculating the technojargon
'houses' [I think at least 12 are extant], I think scientific testing
[even limited to their framework] would be useful. If I were to
believe, my bet would be on the only one that doesn't shatter at the
Arctic/Antartic circles....

Computing a horoscope from a date of birth, without any other data, is
NAIVE. That's like predicting air time for a basketball to 10
significant digits, and having only only 1 significant digit in the
initial velocity.

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd