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The Gauquelin work
2. Opinions, artifacts, puzzles

Geoffrey Dean

Abstract -- Many astrologers see Gauquelin planetary effects as the best factual evidence not only for astrology but also for the limitations of science. Scientists tend to be divided, seeing planetary effects as variously explicable, inexplicable, real, or an artifact. But the real challenge is not so much planetary effects as their associated puzzles for both astrology and science. The puzzles seem totally and utterly baffling. Can artifacts explain them? Here an artifact is something other than astrology that would result in Gauquelin planetary effects. Planetary effects have tiny effect sizes, and it does not need much of an artifact to produce a tiny effect size. Three types of artifact are identified -- (1) artifacts of natural cycles such as astronomy (Mars spends more time conjunct Sun than opposite Sun) and demography (birth rate varies with time and place); (2) artifacts of procedure such as selection bias (use only data that work) and improper statistics (shoot enough arrows and some are bound to hit); and (3) artifacts of social behaviour such as faking by parents (adjust birth data to match a desired astrology) and self-attribution by subjects (adjust behaviour to match astrology). Artifacts type (1) and (2) do not explain most planetary puzzles and planetary effects persist when the artifacts are controlled. So these artifacts remain artifacts, not an explanation of planetary effects. Artifacts type (3) easily explain every puzzle including the apparent disappearance of heredity effects. The probability of this occurring by chance is negligible. Nevertheless social artifacts are still artifacts, not an explanation of planetary effects. They become an explanation only if planetary effects disappear when the artifacts are controlled, as when births are reported by doctors instead of by parents, and the child is ignorant of its birth planets. As yet nobody knows if they do or not, although skeptics might argue that Gauquelin's failure to find planetary and heredity effects in recent births has already put this point to the test. Social artifacts clearly need to be controlled before researchers can proceed further. Includes sources for readers wanting more information.

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