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Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype 
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Post Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Richard Dawkins is renowned for his contempt for astrology. Imagine then my surprise to find in The Extended Phenotype, the book that Dawkins himself suggests is his most focused explanation of his theory of reality, an argument which can readily be used as a foundation for a scientific theory of astrology. My argument here is purely scientific and logical, aiming to show that the current mainstream indifference and hostility towards astrology reflects assessment only of its popular forms, and that this cultural standoff conceals from attention a large and fertile terrain for scientific research into cycles in biology, in which temporal patterns caused by regular planetary orbital cycles can be postulated as having major structural effects in the evolution of life on earth.

Chapter Six of The Extended Phenotype, ‘Organisms, Groups and Memes: Replicators or Vehicles?’, provides key exposition of major claims about central questions in evolution, including the existence of group selection, which Dawkins rejects, the theory of memes, which Dawkins explains as viral brain structures, and the debate over punctuated equilibrium. The discussion which I argue can be used to ground a theory of astrology is Dawkins’ critique of the ideas of his renowned sparring partner, the late Stephen Jay Gould, about how evolution can possibly maintain a steady direction of change over millions of years.

What force, Dawkins asks, can be so small as to produce such steady change as seen in the long-unchanged fossil record of the brachiopod genus Lingula? Lingula is almost unchanged since the Cambrian Explosion 540 million years ago. The very slow but steady rate of change of this organism prompts Dawkins to use it as his textbook example of an unending lineage, a living fossil, a buffered gene pool resisting change through an evolutionarily stable strategy (pp 100-102).

The question, opening the idea of extremely weak but consistent ecological forces, is how Lingula displays microevolution by ordinary natural selection. Dawkins says Gould “sticks his neck out and hands Ockham’s Razor to his opponents” (p105) through his statement that “a steady progression yielding a 10% increase in a million years [is]... a meaningless abstraction” (p103). Applying the Ockhamite scientific principles of parsimony and elegance, Dawkins describes Gould’s argument that “it is hard to imagine a selection pressure weak enough to sustain such a slow rate of unidirectional evolution over such a long period” as a “resort to the ‘hard to imagine’ style of reasoning that Darwin so wisely cautioned us against” (p103).

To get inside this ‘hard to imagine’ framework of the extreme length of evolutionary time, Dawkins gives the example of a cork floating across the Atlantic Ocean, but one that (as metaphor for Lingula’s stately rate of change) takes a million years to cross from Europe to America. He says “if we found a cork steadily moving at such an extremely slow rate, we would have to seek ... an explanation commensurate with the time-scale of the phenomenon observed”. Dawkins’ crucial Ockhamite scientific argument against Gould is that “when all is added up, the net statistical direction of the cork may still be determined by a slow and relentless wind”, so in evolution there can be forces like the imagined wind that is “so weak that the cork takes a million years to cross the Atlantic” (p104).

Now, my claim that this piece of impeccable evolutionary logic provides a basis to examine astrology is a provocation to the bigotry of orthodox scientific true believers who see such talk as anathema and taboo. For we may ask, if there are real and consistent terrestrial pressures of the infinitesimal scale that Dawkins describes, does this not give us a basis to consider the possible evolutionary effect of real observable physical factors that have just this sort of scale? The moon has orbited the earth about fifty billion times since life began. Perhaps the infinitesimal difference between the positions of the moon through its weeks and months is just such a genetic pressure like the million year wind blowing the cork with a measurable average outcome, discernible by large scale statistical analysis?

Astrology is a magical folk tradition, and much of it deserves the same level of belief as we give to a fiction novel, with possible metaphorical meaning but no literal truth. The scientific consensus is that the absurdity of newspaper horoscopes gives grounds to reject the idea of all planetary effects holus bolus. And yet, when we see Dawkins’ invocation of weak evolutionary forces operating in one statistical direction over eons, we are justified to ask, what would we find if an epidemiological study looked for minute regular differences between population groups based solely on planetary factors? Where such studies have been done, as for example Michel Gauquelin’s examination of the position of Mars at birth against population statistics, the figures have indeed shown there are differences which cannot be attributed to anything other than minute consistent planetary effects.

It is of course rather ironic that Richard Dawkins himself, the bête noire of mysticism, the éminence grise of atheism, should offer an argument at the centre of his favourite book that enables possible support for a set of ideas that Dawkins regards with pure repugnance. I don’t want to over-egg this custard, but we have here a framework for discussion of a possible mechanism for planetary effects, applying the findings of evolutionary biology to assess what factors are in play in setting life on earth in its cyclic cosmic context.

It is widely assumed that astrology proposes that stars affect life on earth. This is a basic misconception of the physics. The actual basis of the astrology of the twelve signs of the zodiac is purely a function of the physics of the earth and the sun, with the stars merely markers of a real physical rhythm produced by the four turning points of the equinoxes and solstices. The observation that distant stars cannot produce mechanical effects on earth is entirely correct and entirely irrelevant. If our solar system was the size of a coin, the nearest star would be about one hundred yards away and our galaxy would be about the size of the continental USA. Things 'within the coin’ have been in nearly totally stable relation since the dawn of life, providing a real gravitational background context for life on earth.

Starting from the slowest such astronomical cycles of the earth and solar system, the Great Year of precession of the equinoxes and poles is a 25765 year rhythm that is the main factor in the long term internal position of the earth against the galaxy. The Great Year is a marker for the spin wobble of the earth, like the wobble of a top or a gyroscope, caused by the torque of the sun and moon on earth's oblation. The question of any biological effect of Great Year precession is entirely within the earth itself, produced by its torque, and has nothing whatsoever to do in mechanical causal terms with the patterns of stars which are observed as its markers.

My hypothesis is that the precession of the observed position of the sun has a dynamic relation with the annual cycle of the seasons and the signs, such that the so-called Ages of the Zodiac exhibit the same physical temporal structure, reversed and extended, as the earth’s year. I invite readers to read my short paper, Solar System Planet Clock, available at http://rtulip.net/astronomy, where I explore further the logical and empirical foundations of the physics of astrology.



Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:19 pm
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Quote:
And yet, when we see Dawkins’ invocation of weak evolutionary forces operating in one statistical direction over eons, we are justified to ask, what would we find if an epidemiological study looked for minute regular differences between population groups based solely on planetary factors? Where such studies have been done, as for example Michel Gauquelin’s examination of the position of Mars at birth against population statistics, the figures have indeed shown there are differences which cannot be attributed to anything other than minute consistent planetary effects.


Wikipedia:

"In 1994 the results of a major study undertaken by the Committee for the Study of Paranormal Phenomenon (Comité pour l’Étude des Phénomènes Paranormaux, or CFEPP) in France found no evidence whatsoever of a "Mars Effect" in the births of athletes [18]. The study had been proposed in 1982 and the Committee had agreed in advance to use the protocol upon which Gauquelin insisted. The CFEPP report was “leaked” to the Dutch newspaper Trouw.

In 1990 the CFEPP had issued a preliminary report on the study, which used 1,066 French sports champions, giving full data for the 1,066 as well as the names of 373 who fit the criteria but for whom birth times were unavailable, discussing methodology and listing data-selection criteria. At this point it had become evident that several points of the 1982 protocol had been violated. Gauquelin had received the report that October and, expressing the hope that something might be retrieved from the situation nonetheless, in 1991 had met with Claude Benski of the CFEPP in his Paris laboratory to discuss differences in data. That April, at age of 60, Gauquelin had committed suicide.
"

Quote:
Dawkins’ crucial Ockhamite scientific argument against Gould is that “when all is added up, the net statistical direction of the cork may still be determined by a slow and relentless wind”, so in evolution there can be forces like the imagined wind that is “so weak that the cork takes a million years to cross the Atlantic” (p104).


Your hypothesis is that the position of the sun with respect to Earth's precessional wobble is the selective pressure? This answers a question I had in the other thread about what the selection pressure could possibly be. What would you hypothesize the pressure exactly is? Would it be, similar to the indirect consequence of lunar gravity via the tides, an indirect consequence of solar power via global warming/cooling? Is there any correlation at all between life on Earth and Earth's wobble? Ice ages, mass extinctions, areas of notable punctuated equilibria in evolution, etc? Single incidents aren't enough, it must be something statistically significant.



Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:49 pm
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
The "no evidence whatsoever" claim in the Mars Effect wiki is hotly contested, as other sources say the sceptical study validated Gauquelin's claims of a Mars Effect but they hid their findings. I will try and dig up more about this. This wiki page on the Mars Effect is subject to ongoing wars between astrologers and sceptics, rather like the page on Mithras.

I'm not saying the precession effect is an effect of the sun in some mysterious 'action at a distance', but rather that time exhibits a wave structure, as seen in the annual sinusiodal change in the length of the day, and that this annual wave has a resonant reflection in the slow reverse cycle of precession, with the first month of the annual year becoming the last month of the precessional year, etc. It is somewhat like the way electricity down a wire produces a reverse wave with defined period, with the annual cycle of terrestrial time giving structure to the slow reverse cycle of precession.



Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:13 am
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Quote:
I'm not saying the precession effect is an effect of the sun in some mysterious 'action at a distance'


Eh? Why not? The moon has a mysterious action at a distance, it's called gravity. So does the sun, electromagnetism. Is the sun at different points in the sky during the great year?

Quote:
It is somewhat like the way electricity down a wire produces a reverse wave with defined period, with the annual cycle of terrestrial time giving structure to the slow reverse cycle of precession.


The electrons moving down a wire leave an electron 'gap' behind them sometimes, and the gap appears to move backwards. Is that what you're referring to? This serves well as a segway into explaining what you mean, but that's where the similarity ends. If the first month of the annual year is the last month of the precessional year, then the last month of the annual year is the second to last month of the precessional year. Unless you're proposing that time moves backwards. If you follow my reasoning, you'll see that there is a disjunction between explaining what happens, and what actually happens. Do you have a different way of explaining it?



Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:29 am
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
I'm not saying the precession effect is an effect of the sun in some mysterious 'action at a distance'


Eh? Why not? The moon has a mysterious action at a distance, it's called gravity. So does the sun, electromagnetism. Is the sun at different points in the sky during the great year?

Quote:
The sun moves backwards around the zodiac ecliptic once per 25765 years with reference to its forward annual motion along the same path of stars. It has been the same virtually for ever, or at least for millions of years. The postulated effect of precession on biology is not gravity as such, but the actual slow wobble of the earth itself, for which the action at a distance is the gravitational product of torque from the sun and moon. If you evolve on a wobbling top, you get used to the wobble itself, and the whip that keeps the wobble in time is a background factor.
Quote:
It is somewhat like the way electricity down a wire produces a reverse wave with defined period, with the annual cycle of terrestrial time giving structure to the slow reverse cycle of precession.


The electrons moving down a wire leave an electron 'gap' behind them sometimes, and the gap appears to move backwards. Is that what you're referring to? This serves well as a segway into explaining what you mean, but that's where the similarity ends. If the first month of the annual year is the last month of the precessional year, then the last month of the annual year is the second to last month of the precessional year. Unless you're proposing that time moves backwards. If you follow my reasoning, you'll see that there is a disjunction between explaining what happens, and what actually happens. Do you have a different way of explaining it?


Segway, segue, path, whatever, I'm glad you see the metaphor of electricity for time. The order of the annual year from the March equinox is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc to Aquarius and Pisces. The order of the precessional year is Pisces, Aquarius, etc to Taurus and Aries. So your statement "the last month of the annual year is the second to last month of the precessional year" is not right - the last month of the annual year - Pisces - is the first month of the precessional year starting from 0, although the concept of a start and end for the precessional year is highly disputable. On my solar system planet clock the precessional year goes anti-clockwise and the annual year goes clockwise.



Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:24 am
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Robert Tulip wrote:
Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Richard Dawkins is renowned for his contempt for astrology. Imagine then my surprise to find in The Extended Phenotype, the book that Dawkins himself suggests is his most focused explanation of his theory of reality, an argument which can readily be used as a foundation for a scientific theory of astrology. My argument here is purely scientific and logical, aiming to show that the current mainstream indifference and hostility towards astrology reflects assessment only of its popular forms, and that this cultural standoff conceals from attention a large and fertile terrain for scientific research into cycles in biology, in which temporal patterns caused by regular planetary orbital cycles can be postulated as having major structural effects in the evolution of life on earth.

I don't see how your argument that follows qualifies as "astrological ideas in The Extended Phenotype," Robert. The most you can claim from your extrapolating, I think, is that if RD speculates about some weak force, then you should be able to as well. He might agree with you there, who knows.

But I'd just ask you to try to understand good reasons for skepticism when you go ahead and give your idea on what this weak (but powerful) force is. RD himself is slient on what it might be that drives evolution (is he not?).

I'm not sure if you're suggesting that planetary effects account for species evolving. But you are saying that a weak force whose effect might be apparent only in a time scale of millions of years (going along with your Dawkins parallel) can have very particular effects here on earth in the human species. How this could be I'm not sure, since to produce uniform patterns in human personality, this force would actually have to have a quick and targeted capability. The planets and the sun affect or control meiosis, the patterns of crossing over in sexual reproduction. That seems a clear implication of what you're asserting.

A more general point is that astrology and evolution appear to be totally separate paradigms, so how can you combine them? Astrology is about cyclical patterns in the stars/planets that are said to place a cyclical pattern on history. Evolution is forward only, not both back and forward (forward in the sense of not reverting to less complexity). History itself I don't think is cyclical, either, in any meaningful sense.



Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Quote:
The order of the annual year from the March equinox is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc to Aquarius and Pisces. The order of the precessional year is Pisces, Aquarius, etc to Taurus and Aries.


Do me a favor, if you're interested, and explain what you're trying to explain without any mention whatsoever of the signs of the zodiac. Use nothing outside our own solar system. The signs are nothing but markers in any case, right? If you need to explain the wobble of the Earth, do so from a perspective over the north pole, with the pole tilted in such and such a direction. I get the sense that you might think something is 'lost in translation'. Let me know if that's the case.

Quote:
But I'd just ask you to try to understand good reasons for skepticism when you go ahead and give your idea on what this weak (but powerful) force is.


Whatever the force, it must have direction, and strength. Wind, even if it takes a million years to blow a cork across the ocean, has definite direction and strength(after countervailing wind is averaged).

I agree that the title of this thread is very misleading and most likely not something RD would advocate. Astrological extrapolations from a chapter in the Extended Phenotype would be more accurate.

Quote:
Evolution is forward only, not both back and forward (forward in the sense of not reverting to less complexity).


I believe evolution can lead to an organism having reduced complexity. The correct selective pressures would be required, which I'm sure they have at one point or another, at some place or another. You wouldn't say the organism has devolved, since it is actually adapting to a new environment.



Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:56 pm
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Interbane wrote:

Quote:
Evolution is forward only, not both back and forward (forward in the sense of not reverting to less complexity).


I believe evolution can lead to an organism having reduced complexity. The correct selective pressures would be required, which I'm sure they have at one point or another, at some place or another. You wouldn't say the organism has devolved, since it is actually adapting to a new environment.


This link has something, but not everything, to say about the question of retreat from complexity. Complexity can be a bit hard to pin down as a quality. This research does appear to say that the organism can't retreat back to its own ancestral form. I suppose it doesn't rule out an organism somehow changing to a form that we might judge as less complex. Or maybe the term complexity should be thrown out and 'well adapted' put in its place, to increase clarity.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/science/29evol.html



Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:58 pm
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
DWill wrote:
I don't see how your argument that follows qualifies as "astrological ideas in The Extended Phenotype," Robert. The most you can claim from your extrapolating, I think, is that if RD speculates about some weak force, then you should be able to as well. He might agree with you there, who knows. But I'd just ask you to try to understand good reasons for skepticism when you go ahead and give your idea on what this weak (but powerful) force is. RD himself is silent on what it might be that drives evolution (is he not?). I'm not sure if you're suggesting that planetary effects account for species evolving. But you are saying that a weak force whose effect might be apparent only in a time scale of millions of years (going along with your Dawkins parallel) can have very particular effects here on earth in the human species. How this could be I'm not sure, since to produce uniform patterns in human personality, this force would actually have to have a quick and targeted capability. The planets and the sun affect or control meiosis, the patterns of crossing over in sexual reproduction. That seems a clear implication of what you're asserting. A more general point is that astrology and evolution appear to be totally separate paradigms, so how can you combine them? Astrology is about cyclical patterns in the stars/planets that are said to place a cyclical pattern on history. Evolution is forward only, not both back and forward (forward in the sense of not reverting to less complexity). History itself I don't think is cyclical, either, in any meaningful sense.

Hi Bill. Thanks for this analysis. I don’t agree that Dawkins is ‘silent on what drives evolution’. His work is precisely about this question. The extended phenotype, the effects of genes in the world, is the point of linkage between the gene and its niche. Natural forces provide the enabling context for all evolution. The description of these natural forces enables us to understand the direction of evolution. The slow wind that Dawkins describes is an example of a weak natural force, blowing on average one mile per thousand years. My suggestion is that we can look for such slow weak forces by examining the regular cosmic factors that provide the external structure within which life on earth has evolved. The day and year are major observable structures, cyclic patterns of terrestrial time, that strongly bind the direction of evolution through diurnal and seasonal cycles. If the day and year sit within bigger older regular structures, it is entirely logical to postulate that these structures are, in your paradoxical phrase, a weak (but powerful) force.

I have discussed this material at considerable length at the Bad Astronomy Universe Today Forum, a mainstream scientific internet discussion board where a number of astronomers have shown considerable forbearance and patience in helping me to work through the scientific content of my ideas. I encourage readers to register at bautforum and look up my posts there. The nature of discussion boards is that many comments are made quickly, and BAUT has a policy that ideas against the scientific mainstream may only be discussed for 31 days, so if comments I make are hard to understand it may well be because they were written in a rush and are now locked. Please don’t just assume that because you do not understand something that I say that the idea makes no sense. This material is entirely compatible with the knowledge of modern astrophysics.

A good example of a slow natural force that operates on a time scale slower than the life of an organism is the tendency of cicadas to live under ground for a prime number of years. The cause of this observation, Dawkins suggests, is that over the hundreds of millions of years in which cicadas have evolved on earth, mutations which produced cicada plagues in composite numbers of years (eg 12) were outcompeted by mutations which produced plagues in prime numbers of years, such as 13 and 17. A cicada that appears twelve years after its birth is subject to predation by hunters that have cycles of two, three, four or six years, while the thirteen and seventeen year cicadas avoid locking in to such harmonic cycles. Calling the reproduction patterns of a predator a harmonic cycle illustrates how, with the 12 year cicada, a predator whose numbers rise and fall every two years can reliably expect a bumper season every sixth rise, and this pattern will be self-reinforcing through adaptive pressure to increase the numbers of such predators, until the cicada numbers in the twelfth year crash, and only those mutants who stay under ground for another year or five survive to breed.

On whether history is cyclical, my view is that the Ages of the Zodiac display historical cyclicity. I have previously argued, especially in a BAUT thread titled Astronomical History, that there is a neat comparison between historical events separated by the physical Zodiacal Age period of 2148 years. This means the Great Year, the slow axial wobble of the earth, has established a deep rhythm in life over the four billion years of planetary history, with each wobble divided in twelve Ages, marked by the position of the sun against the stars of the zodiac and the positions of the celestial poles against axial stellar circles. The physics of the division of the zodiac in twelve is a topic I have discussed at length, rebutting assessment that this is mere numerology by scientific evidence.

Just as animals wake and sleep at the same time each day and year, much slower adaptive pressures mean that history is divided in Age-long chunks of 2148 years, with similar events occurring at similar points of the Age. Earth is now at a point in the Age of Pisces that is comparable to the equivalent point of the Age of Aries, the world of 139 BC. Examples of ‘time twins’ between the Ages of Aries and Pisces are Alexander and Napoleon, Hannibal and Hitler, and Tiberius Gracchus and Barack Obama.

Here we see the ‘eternal return of the same’, the mystic idea of Nietszche and Eliade, explained in simple astrophysics. Earth’s wobble is a permanent context for life, eternally returning to drive causal patterns in history that repeat with period 2148 years.

Set against the Biblical theory of time, we can find elegant correlation between the cosmology of fall and redemption and the Ages of the Zodiac caused by precessional lunisolar torque, the gravity whip that has kept earth’s gyroscopic wobble steady and regular for four billion years.

In a recent thread on BAUT, Early Solar System as Bow and Can, I discuss how earth's torque period is determined by the overall shape of the solar system, which was stabilised by the expulsion of Neptune nearly four billion years ago from its position as third gas giant. Just in mythic terms, this creation event for our planet bears striking resemblance to stories of a cosmic egg that hatched to create the earth at the dawn of time.

Interbane wrote:
Do me a favor, if you're interested, and explain what you're trying to explain without any mention whatsoever of the signs of the zodiac. Use nothing outside our own solar system. The signs are nothing but markers in any case, right?
Sure. The question I am raising here is how the earth exhibits long term stable temporal structures.

The tilt of the earth produces the seasons, with the northern summer occurring around the date in the orbit, 21 June, when the North Pole is angled towards the sun, and the southern summer around the opposite point of the orbit, 21 December, when the South Pole is angled to the sun. A graph of the length of the day forms a sine wave, with turning points at the solstices and inflections at the equinoxes. These four points equally spaced around the orbit divide the natural year in four, in a pattern of seasons that has been stable for millions of years. The astronomical complexity of the long term orbital cycles of the earth is well described in the Milankovitch cycles.

Now, in looking at this natural division of the year in four seasons, a legitimate scientific question can be asked as to whether these quarterly periods, the seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, also divide into shorter natural periods longer than the day. Current knowledge indicates that the shorter periods we use, the month and the week, are markers of convenience derived from observation of the moon, with the month traditionally corresponding to the period of the lunar orbit and the week marking the four quarters of the lunar month. The question arising from the problem of astrology, ie whether the so-called signs of the zodiac have any physical reality, can be formulated as the problem of why the season period between each solstice and equinox should be divided exactly in three, rather than two or some higher number, and whether this division in three has observable effects.

My hypothesis is that the sine wave function of the orbit of the earth can be analysed in the same way as sine wave functions in music. A musical note, say A 440 Hz, when played on an acoustic instrument contains harmonics which have exact multiples and fractions of the main frequency. These harmonics are readily seen on a guitar, where lightly touching the string at points half, one third, one quarter, etc along its length, and then plucking the string produces the octave, the perfect fifth and the second octave respectively. So, dividing the year at the turning points by two, three, four and six times produces the 1/12 division of the month and the sign, by five produces the 60 based clock, and by seven produces the week. I made a picture of the cycle of the year divided by three and four to illustrate the theory of the signs as the combination of duple and triple harmonic wave functions of the year.

Other analogies for how the annual spin could relate to the slow reverse spin of precession, like the analogy of a reverse pulse in an electric current, are the way a wheel on film seems to spin backwards, and the way a spiralling bullet makes a slow spiral in the opposite direction.



Last edited by Robert Tulip on Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:41 pm
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Quote:
My hypothesis is that the sine wave function of the orbit of the earth can be analysed in the same way as sine wave functions in music. A musical note, say A 440 Hz, when played on an acoustic instrument contains harmonics which have exact multiples and fractions of the main frequency. These harmonics are readily seen on a guitar, where lightly touching the string at points half, one third, one quarter, etc along its length, and then plucking the string produces the octave, the perfect fifth and the second octave respectively. So, dividing the year at the turning points by two, three, four and six times produces the 1/12 division of the month and the sign, by five produces the 60 based clock, and by seven produces the week. I made a picture of the cycle of the year divided by three and four to illustrate the theory of the signs as the combination of duple and triple harmonic wave functions of the year.


Drawing a parallel between music and the mechanics of orbiting bodies is good as an explanatory device, but it doesn't seem that there's anything there to explain. What mechanical function would the fractions represent? You have the rotation of the Earth, the moon, the sun. The moon orbits the Earth once per lunar month. The Earth spins once per day. If the Moon were to also spin, it would introduce a variable for a harmonic. As it stands, the denominators are the things I've just described. I'm not sure where you're getting the 3 month thing from. Solstice/equinox/etc, those are all labels we apply to certain points in a year. What is relevant to harmonics is one revolution, a 'wavelength'. A 440 wavelengths are in 440 Hz(per second) which would be equivalent to 440 years if you're speaking of Earth orbiting the sun.

Could you explain what you mean without any analogies? Use the raw material. I believe you're seeing 'ghosts in the analogies', so to speak.

Quote:
ie whether the so-called signs of the zodiac have any physical reality, can be formulated as the problem of why the season period between each solstice and equinox should be divided exactly in three


Why should the seasons be divided into three? Are you going to investigate this to see if there is any physical reality to the signs of the zodiac? What if we, humans, decided we wanted each season divided into three on our calendars, to match the signs of the zodiac we've seen in the sky? This doesn't mean the seasons are divided into three, it just means our calendars are. How many lunar months are there per year? How many periods to females have per year? Strange creatures.



Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:21 am
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
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I have previously argued, especially in a BAUT thread titled Astronomical History, that there is a neat comparison between historical events separated by the physical Zodiacal Age period of 2148 years. This means the Great Year, the slow axial wobble of the earth, has established a deep rhythm in life over the four billion years of planetary history,


Ahem... you have the years some people died on the first list in that forum. Is this some long term prank? Slow acting selective pressures determining the year someone dies?!? C'mon. 90% of that list is crap. Show population explosions of various species and such. You know darn well a 'deep rhythm of life' established by celestial mechanics wouldn't be the determining factor in a person's death, nor the determining factor in whether or not someone who will later just so happen to be elected to office will be born. Including such selections should set alarms screaming in your head. You really should go back to that forum and delete that post.



Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:33 am
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Interbane wrote:
Drawing a parallel between music and the mechanics of orbiting bodies is good as an explanatory device, but it doesn't seem that there's anything there to explain. What mechanical function would the fractions represent? You have the rotation of the Earth, the moon, the sun. The moon orbits the Earth once per lunar month. The Earth spins once per day. If the Moon were to also spin, it would introduce a variable for a harmonic. As it stands, the denominators are the things I've just described. I'm not sure where you're getting the 3 month thing from. Solstice/equinox/etc, those are all labels we apply to certain points in a year. What is relevant to harmonics is one revolution, a 'wavelength'. A 440 wavelengths are in 440 Hz(per second) which would be equivalent to 440 years if you're speaking of Earth orbiting the sun. Could you explain what you mean without any analogies? Use the raw material. I believe you're seeing 'ghosts in the analogies', so to speak.
The question here is the mathematical nature of the zodiac sun sign periods. Unlike the common view that they exhibit some magical link to distant stars, all I am showing is that the signs are a mathematical function of the orbit of the earth around the sun. If we see the year as a sine wave, it can start and end at any of the four solstices or equinoxes. Taking each of these four points as a beginning, we can imagine overlay harmonic sine waves with frequencies double and triple the annual period. The resulting eight imagined waves are the mathematical source of the division of the year in twelve. Now, the criticism immediately arises that we see nothing that has period six or four months in the world. This indicates that this mathematical monthly period of the sign has little or no effect, as much as astrological sun signs, for which there is almost no statistical evidence. The four month period introduces the highly problematic concept of the four elements of fire, earth, air and water. Over the twelve month cycle, signs traditionally seen as one element are separated by four months, eg Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are fire signs. However, there is no statistical evidence that this concept of the fire sign is more than a mathematical construct. At this point I must plead Dawkins' excuse that the effect is simply too weak to be measured to date, and all the plethora of newspaper horoscope sun sign predictions is based on a mathematics that lacks any empirical corroboration. Of course, the fact that people have not yet devised sensitive enough tests to measure the signs does not prove this harmonic temporal cycle of the earth is has no effect.
Quote:
Why should the seasons be divided into three? Are you going to investigate this to see if there is any physical reality to the signs of the zodiac? What if we, humans, decided we wanted each season divided into three on our calendars, to match the signs of the zodiac we've seen in the sky? This doesn't mean the seasons are divided into three, it just means our calendars are. How many lunar months are there per year? How many periods to females have per year? Strange creatures.
My favourite way to suggest the physical reality of the twelve signs of the zodiac is the water sand ripple mandala experiment I described at http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainst ... ost1137173
Quote:
Quote:
I have previously argued, especially in a BAUT thread titled Astronomical History, that there is a neat comparison between historical events separated by the physical Zodiacal Age period of 2148 years. This means the Great Year, the slow axial wobble of the earth, has established a deep rhythm in life over the four billion years of planetary history.
Ahem... you have the years some people died on the first list in that forum. Is this some long term prank? Slow acting selective pressures determining the year someone dies?!? C'mon. 90% of that list is crap. Show population explosions of various species and such. You know darn well a 'deep rhythm of life' established by celestial mechanics wouldn't be the determining factor in a person's death, nor the determining factor in whether or not someone who will later just so happen to be elected to office will be born. Including such selections should set alarms screaming in your head. You really should go back to that forum and delete that post.
Interbane you just don't understand it. I am not saying that dates of death were caused by precession, but rather that if you compare events with events 2148 years before or after there is a similarity of pattern in the broad outline of history. So Alexander and Hannibal had similar historic roles in the age of Aries as Napoleon and Hitler had in the Age of Pisces. My contention is that the deeper you look into this seemingly fanciful comparison the more similarities you can find.

Comparing the USA to Rome as dominant western powers of the close of their respective ages is a speculative thought experiment that provides a framework to predict the future in general outline. On this model of history, the USA is now at the point where Rome was in 140 BC, as its emerging imperial military structure started to break apart its democratic republican traditions, which were retained afterwards in form rather than content. Over the next century, on this model of time, we can expect to see an American Sulla, Marius and Caesar emerge to lead civil war between the army and the people. If some one wants to write a futuristic novel, I suggest taking the events of the fall of the Roman Republic as a skeleton for the fall of the American republic. China also exactly fits this model, with the last two hundred years of war and revolutionary empire corresponding to the warring states period followed by the start of the 400 year Han dynasty periods. The causal factors here are very mysterious, but this suggestion does cohere with the claim that the Great Year has real presence in world history.



Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:43 am
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
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My contention is that the deeper you look into this seemingly fanciful comparison the more similarities you can find.


Of course you find similarities!! That's what cherry picking is! The only way to avoid the accusation of cherry picking is to look 'deeper' into every other time interval(1 year, 2 years, 3 years, etc.), use the same criterion of 'important event' selection, and highlight each even that is separated by those intervals. Then, after you have every year up to about ten thousand, compare how many similarities there are for each interval compared to every other interval. If this sounds like a lot, it is. However, that's the only way to do an unbiased study of the intervals. Here's an experiment; look deeper into the time span 1234 years. Find every event that has the same criterion as those in your list. Do this with the same fervent investigation that you did for 2148 years, so that you don't miss even the death of someone important. With millions of potential events to pick from, and thousands of relevant ones, I'm sure you'll find some extraordinary things.

Quote:
The resulting eight imagined waves are the mathematical source of the division of the year in twelve.


Which eight imagined waves? Of the four critical junctures of the seasons? Why do you keep referring to these abstractions to make your points! Using the visual model of a wave reinforces the idea that there is much more going on than there is. The reality is that you are demarcating different points in the rotation of Earth. A rotation does not equal a wave. If you're discussing the interplay of physical forces, your visual abstractions won't do. Is that all you're doing is trying to find some mathematical link that validates splitting each season into 3, so that you may therefore tie together this split with the signs of the zodiac?



Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:04 am
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
Here are two diagrams of the structure of time. Please note, these diagrams are 100% empirical. My claim is that this model describes a new scientific paradigm. If you start from the observation that the Great Year is the main period of long term history for our planet, it is then legitimate to ask how divisions of the Great Year appear in history.

The first picture below is an empirical model of the actual wobble of the earth. The historical theory I have presented suggests that the Great Year has a temporal pulse with period 2148 years, so that each of the twelve ages of the Great Year have a common repeating pattern, much as the day and the year have common repeating patterns, and in direct resonance with these shorter periods.

The sine wave of the year is shown in the top of the second picture, the Star Path of the Zodiac Ages, as the curving path marked Zodiac Ecliptic, the actual path of the sun against the stars each year and each Great Year.

Some answers to questions about the sine wave model of the year are here, including reference to the Diagram of the precession over the last 2.5 million years.

Image
Image



Last edited by Robert Tulip on Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:11 pm
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Post Re: Astrological Ideas in The Extended Phenotype
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The historical theory I have presented suggests that the Great Year has a temporal pulse with period 2148 years, so that each of the twelve ages of the Great Year have a common repeating pattern, much as the day and the year have common repeating patterns, and in direct resonance with these shorter periods.


In what way does the 2148 year 'pulse' manifest? The temporal pulse. A pulse refers to something physical, right? This is the same question I had for the divisions you mentioned between the seasons, each 'month'. What is the physical demarcation?



Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:25 pm
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