So Where Do We Go From Here?
The world can be a difficult place when you find yourself intellectually out of step with just about everyone else in your orbit. Maybe you believe you’ve landed on the wrong side of history. Or perhaps the problem is hemispheric.
“There is,” says Joseph Deepak Vidmar, PhD, “a culture bound prejudice since 1666 when science/society went psychotic, thinking reductionism/facts (left brain) could explain everything, while pattern recognition (right brain) was ignored.”
As a PhD candidate at the University of Northern Colorado in 1978 Vidmar did what he could to address the hemispheric imbalance he observed. What he wanted to discern is whether left brain statistical tools advanced by 20th century science could shine any light on that part of existence that responds to cyclical celestial patterns. Does astrology deserve more thoughtful consideration?
Vidmar designed a simple matching test to determine whether astrologers could significantly discriminate between false birthdates and authentic birthdates in a double-blind test. At the university, he asked five graduate students in psychology to provide anecdotal information about themselves regarding major areas of life. In addition to the personal case histories, the five participating grad students also provided birth information (date, time and place), which was used to create five separate birth charts (horoscopes).
For comparison purposes, bogus horoscopes were cast for five spurious birth dates, which the researcher created by randomly adding or subtracting three months to or from the authentic birth dates. Two calculated horoscopes, one based on the true birth date and the other on the spurious date, were included with each individual case history in a 46-page package.
For his test, Vidmar recruited 28 astrologers attending a conference in Arizona. These volunteers were asked to read the case history information and, based on astrological indications, determine which of the two horoscopes best matched the case history information provided. The astrologers excelled at this task, doing much better than expected.
According to Vidmar, in a random distribution, the expected frequency of correct judgments in a study of this kind is 70. However, the observed frequency of correct judgments by the astrologers was substantially higher at 95. He calculated the statistical odds at 100 to one against the likelihood this result occurred by chance.
Vidmar believes the study shows that horoscope techniques “can be used to determine a known and certain fact. That the astrologers were able to do so at a frequency greater than chance implies that there is some kind of relationship between planetary configurations at an individual’s birth and subsequent behavior.
“The significance of the findings of this study is not that it represents something that cannot be explained. By no current interpretation of scientific law, should the findings of this study have occurred, though it is of course possible if known scientific laws were recombined and applied in a new manner,” he observed in his dissertation, possibly with tongue in cheek.
Vidmar’s frustration with the obsessive left brain preoccupation of contemporaries didn’t slow his rise in academe. He was a psychology professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) and was a past president of the Louisiana Psychological Association when he decided to toss it all and search for a more fulfilling existence. He became an ashram astrologer living in India in sparse and frugal surroundings yet managed to keep his head in the game. You can learn more about his story and motives here.
In this age of “Big Data” the astrological community’s informal research wing is more involved in efforts aimed at producing results that, as Vidmar put it, “cannot be explained by current interpretation of known scientific law.” While astrological researchers continue to toil in relative obscurity, the good news is that there are more of them, and positive results continue to pile up. Apparently, astrological researchers around the globe are more motivated, organized and productive.
In the current era, the Canaveral Research Center is a hotbed of astrological research activity and home for the annual Kepler Conference for astrological research. The Center is located near the beach where NASA launched America into the Space Age, and is committed to “exploring the evolutionary interface between planetary and living systems and their effects on human timing, performance and behavior,” says Founder Courtney Roberts, MA.
The 3rd Kepler Conference is scheduled January 24-27, 2019, in Cocoa Beach, Fla. More information on the conference and Canaveral Research educational programs can be found here.