venerdì 11 febbraio 2011

Michel Gauquelin

Michel Gauquelin
Michel Gauquelin

Michel Gauquelin (November 13, 1928 – May 20, 1991) was a French psychologist and statistician. Along with his first wife Françoise Schneider-Gauquelin (born June 19, 1929), he conducted statistical research in an attempt to develop a scientific basis for astrology.

Early interest
Although he was highly critical of certain areas of the art, Gauquelin showed an interest in astrology from an early age; it is said that he could calculate a birth chart at the age of ten and earned the nickname of Nostradamus at school because of his astrological readings. After studying psychology and statistics at the Sorbonne, he devoted his life to the attempt to demonstrate the validity of certain fundamentals of astrology. However, he did not define himself as an astrologer and opposed the practice of astrology.

Statistical analysis
Gauquelin set himself the task of analyzing astrology statistically by studying various correlations using very large samples of birth data. An example from one of his earlier books in 1967 is what he called the "test of opposed destinies" which entailed astrologers being asked to separate the birth charts of 20 well-known criminals from 20 non-criminals. They did no better than chance. (The Cosmic Clocks, 1967)

Character and destiny
The Gauquelins concentrated on the analysis of a basic tenet of astrological doctrine, which affirmed the existence of a correlation between the positions of the planets, the day of an individual’s birth, the psychological character and the effect of this character upon their destiny. This line of research explores astrology scientifically – not as an attempt to empirically prove the astrology handed down by tradition, but rather to test an astrology reformulated by science.

Publications and research
A first account of the Gauquelins' work was published in 1955 in The Influence of the Stars, in which Gauquelin began a critical analysis of the work of his predecessors in statistical astrology, Paul Choisnard and Karl Ernst Krafft. The conclusions of this first attempt at synthesis seemed to show that for a cross-section of personalities well-known for their success in a given profession, the position of the planets in the sky would be found in a distribution that was not accidental. In his first studies, statistically abnormal positions of the planet Mars were detected in athletes, and similar abnormalities were found with Jupiter for actors, and with Saturn for scientists.

In the 1950s, the Gauquelins successively published Methods for Studying the Allocation of the Planets in Diurnal Motion (Méthodes pour étudier la répartition des astres dans le mouvement diurne) (1957) and Men and Stars (Les Hommes et les Astres) (1960), in which they developed their analyses and conclusions.

These statistical observations created a lively polemic, notably with the scientific community. Gauquelin had his calculations and assumptions verified in 1960 by the Belgian Committee PARA, whose conclusions were published 16 years later in the Bulletin of the Committee NOUVELLES BREVES no. 43, in September 1976, pp. 327-343, under the title Critical Considerations on the Research done by M. and Mme. Gauquelin in the area of planetary influences. (Considérations critiques sur une recherche faite par M. M. Gauquelin dans le domaine des influences planétaires.)

There was perfect agreement, as is emphasized by the Belgian Committee PARA, between the Gauquelins and the group of scientists concerning the establishment of an experimental protocol, as well as concerning the calculation of standards and statistical formulas for the sampling. The Committee arrived at the same findings for the positions of Mars in sectors I and IV, which seemed abnormally elevated statistically. Nevertheless, the Committee rejected the Gauquelins' interpretation of the results, considering that the calculations of the theoretical distribution of Mars wasn’t sufficiently confirmed by the Gauquelins. Gauquelin noted his disagreement with the objections of the Committee.

Subsequently, Gauquelin and Science & Life asked the French Committee for the Study of Paranormal Phenomena (Comité Français pour l’Étude des Phénomènes Paranormaux) to take charge of a new research initiative. An experimental protocol was elaborated in 1982. A new sample of 1,066 French athletes was created. The initiative – which at the outset anticipated the establishment of a control group sample of 10,000 individuals – was changed, and the comparison was done with a randomly-generated cross-section. Gauquelin, who followed the progress of the study, had suggested additions and deletions of athletes in the sample with the major goal of recentering the study on major champions, and removing athletes having a weak reputation or mediocre results. His proposals, which focused on the test protocol’s original intentions (it stipulated that the champions selected must have had eminent reputations) were not considered justified and rejected by the CFEPP. In the end, the comparison of the two samples showed no significant statistical differences.

If this last verification of the Gauquelin’s work has convinced a wide sector of the scientific community of the non-existence of the Mars effect, the objections of the CFEPP to Gauquelin’s suggestions on the constitution of the sample of athletes did not convince his partisans.

Influence today
Today, Gauquelin’s thesis has had a greater effect across the Atlantic than in France. His work, initiating a new scientific approach to astrology, was taken up by his followers, among which can certainly be counted his first wife, Françoise Schneider-Gauquelin, André Barbault, as well as others who emulate him, such as Hervé Delboy, Didier Castille, Wojciech Jóźwiak, Ken Irving or Suitbert Ertel, Professor at the University of Göttingen, who disassociated himself from the conclusions of the CFEPP and agreed with Gauqulin’s insistence on taking into account a hierarchy of value in the different athletes in order to obtain significant results.

His own conclusions were subject to change throughout the course of his life due to his research over several decades, and in the beginning after his initial studies he was very critical of certain widely accepted beliefs in astrology, particularly the zodiacal signs, which he extensively tested without finding results:

"It is now quite certain that the signs in the sky which presided over our births have no power whatever to decide our fates, to affect our hereditary characteristics, or to play any part, however humble, in the totality of effects, random or otherwise, which form the fabric of our lives and mould our impulses to action." (The Scientific Basis for Astrology, 1970)
Although he always remained highly critical of astrology in general, his attitude towards its existence changed as his studies progressed in the study of the diurnal cycle, which is related to the astrological houses.

"Subsequent results only confirmed and amplified my initial discovery about the physicians. On the whole, it emerged that there was an increasingly solid statistical link between the time of birth of great men and their occupational success. ... Having collected over 20,000 dates of birth of professional celebrities from various European countries and from the United States, I had to draw the unavoidable conclusion that the position of the planets at birth is linked to one's destiny. What a challenge to the rational mind!" (Neo-Astrology, 1991)
The computerized analysis of the natal charts of the famous and less renown in various career fields was done on the computers of Neil Michelsen's Astro Computing Service, in the late '70s, in San Diego, California.

Later reforms
Towards the end of his life he tried to reform astrology by suggesting that astrologers should cast aside the majority of their tradition and build a new astrology based only upon the foundation of that which could be proven to be statistically accurate and testable. He called this "Neo-Astrology", which was also the name of his last book in which he summarized his previous statistical studies and proposed this new system. He is often cited by astrologers as having provided evidence in favour of astrology.

The Mars effect
The most famous result of Gauquelin's studies was the controversial Mars effect, wherein there is an apparent correlation between the rising and culminating of the planet Mars at the birth of eminent athletes in various fields. If true this could provide scientific evidence for an astrological correlation between the positions of certain heavenly bodies and human affairs, or some other cause. While some claim that the Mars effect is unknown within astrology (as in prior to the statistical finding), there is actually a long tradition that goes back to the earliest strata of horoscopic astrology which holds that planets in the angles (rising, culminating, setting, and anti-culminating) are said to be more active and signify the prominence of the specific archetype which is associated with the planet in question.

A detailed study by Ertel (1988) claims to show that there is an effect. An article published in Skeptic Magazine (2010) provides a statistical explanation to the Mars Effect: the effect is a result of multiple comparisons which were not accounted for[3]. Also, a paper by de Jager (1990) suggested that humans may have an optimal reproduction period and that the orbit of Mars currently happens to coincide with this interval (however, in his later studies Gaquelin controlled for this). Longer periods of observation are needed to settle the issue. Another possibility is that the data may have been skewed by incorrect reporting of birth dates during the last half century.

Personal life
Away from astrology, Michel Gauquelin was an accomplished cyclist and was ranked among the top 50 tennis players in France, reaching the semifinals of the French over-50s championship. Following his divorce from Françoise, he married Marie Cadilhac in 1986. His death was the result of suicide.



5 commenti:

Anonimo ha detto...

Un consiglio: affianco al tuo nome, sul blog segna anche questa scritta:
questo non è un sito di astrologia ma di critica a qualsiasi cosa si muova. Così almeno chi viene a leggerti sa a cosa va incontro.

Astromauh ha detto...

Questo è un sito di astrologia. E' chi vorrebbe farti credere che nascono più figli con l'Ascendente uguale al segno solare del padre che non fa astrologia.

Astromauh ha detto...

L'articolo tratto da Wikipedia è molto critico nei confronti dei risultati conseguiti da Michel Gauquelin.

Questo non significa che io condivida ciò che viene detto nell'articolo.

Quello che voglio sottolineare è che delle statistiche di Michel Gauquelin ancora oggi si parla, mentre di quelle di Ciro Discepolo non ne parla nessuno.

Come mai?

Semplice, le statistiche di Ciro Discepolo non esistono, sono solo un imbroglio.

Balinas ha detto...

Buonasera Astromauh,
complimenti per l'interessante blog.
A proposito delle ricerche dei coniugi Gauquelin, vorrei chiederti un'informazione. Considerando ad es. la ricerca sulla posizione di Marte nel cielo dei campioni sportivi (la più "significativa" a quanto ho capito), presumo che loro effettuarono un test chi quadrato per verificare le loro ipotesi. Per capire la portata del lavoro e consultare quindi personalmente le tabelle per la distribuzione in oggetto, mi chiedo quanti gradi di libertà dovettero considerare, cioè come effettivamente costruirono la loro tabella con frequenze misurate ed attese. Purtroppo non ho nessun loro testo, dove presumo tutto ciò sia esplicitato. Grazie mille,

Astromauh ha detto...

I dati raccolti dai Gauquelin si possono trovare qui:

(145,228 Birth Data)

Purtroppo non ho trovato delle spiegazioni dettagliate delle statistiche di Gauquelin.

Dovrei guardare meglio sul sito che ti ho linkato, ma non mi sembra che vi siano.

L'effetto Marte non l'ho ancora studiato, avevo iniziato a scrivere un programma per analizzare i dati che si leggono sul sito, ma poi mi si ruppe il PC e lasciai perdere.

Ma a parte l'analisi che potrei fare io, mi interesserebbe conoscere quella fatta dallo stesso Gauquelin.

Non so, forse sono io che non ho cercato abbastanza, ma non ho trovato sul web delle spiegazioni dettagliate sulle metodologie usate nelle statistiche.

Se riesci a trovare maggiori informazioni, fammi un fischio.