Some comments about Dennis Elwell's book "Cosmic Loom"
(Edition 1999, publ. by The Urania Trust, ISBN 1-871-989-09-4)
Koen Van de moortel, 16 march 2001.
Elwell is certainly right about the fact that astrologers are terribly divided and that they should unite somehow to share their knowledge and try to conclude what the best theories are, instead of just having dozens of different "opinions" (p.34). This seems to be a main issue in his book and I can only applaud for that. Also I think he's right to think that "the cosmos may have categories for which we humans do not have words yet". That's why Graham douglas wrote his interesting book "Planets in semantic space".
But... do you know what a sofism is? "I fit in my clothes, my cloths fit in my suitcase, so I fit in my suitcase." Elwell's book is full of such sofisms and upside-down logic.
Just a few examples:
(p.3) "If there is a cosmic force that stamps something in the protoplasm of a newborn, how to explain that inanimate things also have horoscopes?" His conclusion: there is no such force, it's all "synchronicity". A normal logical conclusion would be: IF we can prove that horoscopes of inanimate things really work, then we would have to consider the existance of some other unknown force. That would require a complete new paradigm for science! Synchronicity doesn't explain a thing, it's just a well sounding name for "we don't know"!
(p. 6) "... a number of western industrialists have said they benefit from astrological advice, and they cannot all be loonies!" His conclusion: "...here is an insight not only why astrology works, but also why it persists!" Remember the horoscope of the murderer that Michel Gauquelin sent to so many people and most of them were very satisfied about the exactness?
(p.6) "... physics itself has been discovering the underlying interrelatedness of all things. For orthodox science, TOO, the universe is becoming a seamless whole,... ". So what? Of course everything is somehow connected to everything, but that doesn't proove any interrelationship in particular. It is no justification at all for astrology being right, so the use of this "argument" is nothing but pure demagogy.
(p.11) "So there is a language of mathematics whereby hidden relationships are revealed, and there is a language of astrology which connects things that might seem unconnected." So what? Again demagogy to me!
(p.15) Speaking about the study done by Gunther Sachs: "... it is hard to fault the methodology adopted by the Sachs team." Well, you know, any college student with a minimal knowledge of mathematics will immediately notice the flagrant errors in this book! I went to a symposion organized by Peter Niehenke about this book. He was even much more negative about it than I was.
(p.15) "... statistics produce sometimes contradictory results...". His conclusion: they might not be useful in investigating astrology. A normal logical conclusion would be: maybe the correlations you found were simply not real!
(p.18) This is a cliché that I'm really fed up to hear: "Whereas the scientific method belongs indisputably to the known prejudices of the left hemisphere of the brain, the right hemisphere has been twiddling its thumbs, waiting for the role of imagination and intuition to be recognized." This is clearly said by someone who has no clue how science progresses! Believe me: only scientists with an excellent intuition will get Nobel prizes!
(p. 19) "..It involves a readiness continually to revise your opinion in the light of new data." Well, I sure wish astrologers to do so! Until now I didn't meet any who even considered to use - for example - the Gauquelin findings practically.
(p.20) Then his explanation why there can be something weird with 20° Cancer: "... the tendency for the planetary positions at key moments in history to leave their impression in the zodiac, thus giving a certain lasting colouring to specific degrees." Well, well, now we little ants even distort the structure of the cosmos! I think, to make a statement like this, one should have some very solid package of evidence!
(p.24) "This process of observation, refinement and confirmation, is how astrology built up over centuries." Weird, but this is how I always thought that science built up! What I see in astrology is, that the last step is usually left out!
(p.27) His probability calculation for the chance to buy an old watch that accidentally bears your initials is completely false and again a good example of sofistic demagogy. If there are 19000 people with the initials M.A.B. then the expectation chance is 19000 divided by the total population. That percentage doesn't change if you say that only women would buy this watch because you divide the 19000 by 2 but also the total population, and so on!
I forced myself to read until the end of part one, but that was enough for me.
I can only hope that the positive things I said in the beginning, can inspire the astrologers who read this book.