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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

Four groups

Find sources: "Astrology" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR · free images

Sentence needs to be reworded[edit]

Scientific testing of astrology has found no evidence to support any of the premises or purported effects outlined in astrological traditions. Where astrology has made falsifiable predictions, it has been proven wrong.[7]:424
The source Is being took out of context this sentence states that there is "No evidence" and "ANY of the premises or purported effects" Astrology is a really broad topic and that is a false statement that the source does not even support. DarkMystik1 (talk) 00:04, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
I am inclined to agree in part. I think that part of the problem here is that a single source is being used to support a summary statement which is better-sourced at the Science and Astrology article. So perhaps the thing to do is double-check over there, and then make sure that the summary statement here is properly-worded in accordance with the reliable sources (plural). For the time being, I would suggest the following rewording of the sentence: "Where astrology has been used to make falsifiable predictions..."--Other Choices (talk) 05:23, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Do as you will It was just a suggestionDarkMystik1 (talk) 01:46, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

footnote 7 link re falsifiability[edit]

the link is to an article by phillipe zarka, apparently translated somewhat clumsily from french, and specifically to one sentence on page 424 (the fifth page of six), which in turn cites a 1985 article in nature magazine by shawn carlson, which concluded that in a double-blind test predictions by astrologers of personality profiles of subjects based on natal charts corresponded with results of the california personality inventory only randomly. one might observe this assumes the accuracy of the CPI itself.

in any event, while i do understand that the carlson article would be considered a primary rather than a secondary source, there ought to be something better than zarka, which does not describe the methodology and conclusions of the carlson study, which incidentally have been severely criticized by h.j. eysenck, suitbert ertel, and others.

at the very least, rather than "where astrology has been used to make falsifiable predictions, it has been proven wrong," it would be more accurate to say "in one study, participating astrologers attempting to match natal charts with profiles generated by a psychological inventory produced results not significantly at variance with random chance."

and footnoting some source that actually allows the reader to understand what it was carlson was testing. but of course most of those sources include references to the critiques, so it would probably be appropriate to add a sentence saying "the methodology and conclusions of that study have been criticized."

Zach bender (talk) 21:37, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

a link to the carlson article itself is at i would intend to substitute this for and/or add it to the zarka ref, but i still need to learn html coding for footnotes. Zach bender (talk) 19:13, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

  1. This reference should assumed Zarka's conclusion as comprehensive; if indeed it is only to a quote of Carlson's experiment than it is out of place. If anyone can review Zarka's original article that would be welcome. Any appropriate changes should be applied here as well as in Astrology and science and any other place where Zarka's is used in a similar manner.
  2. There are alternative sources in Astrology and science that support the same claim that can be used without a significant change of wording, which is preferable since the wording is essentially correct (note I have edited the page between your comment and my reply, among other reasons to remove ambiguity in the use of the term "falsifiable predictions").
  3. The question of the validity of the CPI is not for this article, and in general any such criticism should come as part of a critique of the experiment itself (since otherwise it constitutes original research). Such criticism should be mentioned either in Astrology and science (which the place for a comprehensive discussion of the relevant experiments) or in an article dedicated to the experiment itself (which might as well be due considering it's a major experiment in the field). François Robere (talk) 19:11, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
thanks. i have no quarrel with your edits. i will go take a look at the "astrology and science" page.Zach bender (talk) 22:49, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Proposal for section on cosmic cybernetics[edit]

I am new to wikipedia editing and hopefully I am doing this properly.

There is a small but significant amount of work being done in a field which is often referred to as cosmic cybernetics. I work in this field. For example, my youtube channel has over 30,000 visits in 2 years so there is some interest in this. Theodor Landscheidt was the pioneer in this area and he is a well-known author in some circles.

Below I have written a rough draft of what a section on cosmic cybernetics might look like. I have not included full references because this is a proposal to see if there is support for this idea. If there is, then this text can be edited and proper references added.

Thank you for your consideration. If this proposed section is regarded as not appropriate, I will not "push" the idea and I will accept the majority opinion, but I do think that the information provided on astrology is very incomplete without including information similar to what is given below.

Cosmic Cybernetics

Theodor Landscheidt coined the term cosmic cybenertics for the scientific pursuit of relationships between cosmic events and both human and non-human behaviors Landscheidt proposed that the movement of the solar system barycenter and harmonic relationships such as golden ratio aspects between planets affect weather, the results of the Gauquelin research, etc. ((reference: his book Cosmic Cynernetics). Landscheidt does not utilize most of the astrological variables that astrologers use such as zodiac signs and houses but he does attempt to correlate cosmic events with behavior on Earth in ways that cannot be explained by gravity or force fields.

Landscheidt states that cosmic cybernetics is a lineage of ideas that can be traced back to Pythagoras and then to Kepler and is related to the concept of a music of the spheres. Landscheidt also sees connections between fractal theory and cosmic cybernetics, and this idea has been further developed by David Cochrane (refernence; one of my videos at Cochrane uses exploratory research methods like extreme case sampling and data mining to find relationships and that because cosmic cybernetics is still in an early stage of development, hypothesis testing will typically fail to find significant results. One of the more promising results obtained is in a study of gold prices ( ).

Cosmic cybernetics is distinct from astrology in that it proceeds with cautious scientific methods, does not at this time claim to have obtained any clear and unambiguous research results that validate astrological principles, and curren theory focuses on cosmic variables that are largely different from the variables used by astrologers. Cosmic cybernetics shares with astrology the idea that cosmic events correlate with terrestrial behavior that to date have not been corroborated by scientific inquiry.

DavidCochrane100 (talk) 11:25, 10 April 2014 (UTC)DavidCochrane100

Without elaborating on the loads of pseudoscientific crap that the above text contains I ask that if you have any reputable source supporting such a section (ie anything that shows that his are any different than typical astrological claims or explanations and worthy of their own section) bring it forth; if not then the article is to be spared. François Robere (talk) 15:24, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
Astro Theory and Research:
Introduction to Astrology Research Using Kepler or Sirius: practical ways that research is done in ways that conform to modern research methods rather than just convenience sampling.
The theoretical framework for an ultra-modern form of astrology: Cosmic Cybernetics. Explains a theoretical framework for astrology that is compatible with scientific models. Please watch before assuming that this may be pseudoscientific psychobabble.
Astrology, Chaos Theory, and Fractals: Exploration of similarities of chaos theory and astrology. Simply an exploration of possibilities.
Possible Astrological Indicators of Mental Illness: Practical eample of how to do research.
Did Gauquelin Prove Astrology? Part 1. Re-analysis of Gauquelin data using modern research methods.
Did Gauquelin Prove Astrology? Part 2. Exploratory research on Gauquelin data.
Astrology Research: Evaluating Your Findings: More practical examples of how to do research in astrology.
Extreme Case Sampling: The Fast Path to Understanding Astrology. One of the most important videos on modern research methods in astrology and the importance of not using convenience sampling.
A Formula for Determining the Importance of Asteroids: Exploration of possible theoretical basis for determining astrological importance of minor planets.
The Harmonic Basis of Arabic Parts, Composite Charts, and Critical Degrees: Exploration of a theoretical framework in which various astrological ideas may fit together nicely. Theory development.
Here are some papers: Research on gold prices Third analysis of gold prices with new data. Qualitative study of harmonics in astrology. Example of research based on extreme case sampling rather than convenience sampling.
DavidCochrane100 (talk) 11:31, 12 April 2014 (UTC) DavidCochrane100
I'd say that it is a pretty safe bet that a section on Cosmic Cybernetics will not be forthcoming. -Roxy the dog (resonate) 13:18, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. François Robere (talk) 14:15, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Re: pseudoscientific crap: Use of buzzwords, terms taken out of context and esoteric terms; possible appeal to antiquity; lack of credible, peer-reviewed research; exhibiting confirmation bias and disregard for hypothesis testing; reliance on previously-refuted research and possible reliance on statistical methods prone to bias, all the while claiming to practice "cautious scientific methods". However, WP:FORUM so if you'd like to continue this discussion do email me.

below are some videos and papers I have written


One issue is the requirement for a reputable source. I do not know of any peer-reviewed academic level journals that are sufficiently prestigious to be included in academic paper search engines (the JRE and Correlation journal are the closest to this) so if the requirement to be considered a reputable source is that the information must be from an academic journal, then I agree with you that cosmic cybernetics is not relevant.

See Wikipedia:Verifiability#What counts as a reliable source. François Robere (talk) 14:15, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
In regards to comments like "disregard for hypothesis testing" and "possible reliance on statistical methods prone to bias" you really need to get up to speed on research methods in areas that are in an early stage of theory development. For example, Introduction to Data Mining by Tan, Steinbach, and Kumar is a good introductory text. The classic book Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference by Shadish, Cook, and Campbell is essential reading. Your comprehension of research methods appears to be stuck in the statistics courses taught 40 years ago and these are not appropriate for research that is in the early stages of theory development. You seem to have entirely missed the point that cosmic cybernetics is in an early stage of theory development and therefore uses primarily exploratory methods. One does not do hypothesis testing at this stage of research; this is Stat-101. Really, this discussion has sunk to a very low level and we are tracing back now to an undergraduate level of research methodology discussion at best.
I do agree that we do not have authoritative sources for information on cosmic cybernetics such as peer-reviewed academic journals. As a sociological phenomenon cosmic cybernetics is interesting. Not ALL astrologers are unaware of proper research methods.
I am busy as I am sure you are as well. I will not push this issue further. I have work to do and I just thought you might be interested in presenting a more balanced view of work that is done in astrology. This appears not to be the case. We don't need to waste each other's time.
On a different topic only mildly related to this wikipedia article on astrology: I work a lot with random forests, SVM's etc. These research tools are very exciting. If we ever ran into each other somewhere, we could have a great time talking about these things and leave astrology and cosmic cybernetics out of the discussion. The R statistical package is wonderful. These tools are opening doors for anyone with a computer to explore and research in ways that were not possible just a few decades ago. We live in exciting times. DavidCochrane100 (talk) 21:28, 12 April 2014 (UTC) David Cochrane100

Also, there are some factual inaccuracies in this article. Here are some:

"no evidence has been found to support any of the premises or purported effects outlined in astrological traditions" Not true. It would be accurate to write that "no definitive evidence" or "no completely unambiguous evidence"

"There is no proposed mechanism of action by which the positions and motions of stars and planets could affect people and events on Earth that does not contradict well understood, basic aspects of biology and physics" Not true. See

"Where it has made falsifiable predictions under controlled conditions, these has been falsified". This is generally correct. An exception to the rule:

Also, you have completely misconstrued the reason why including information about cosmic cybernetics is important. It is important NOT because it validates that astrology is capable of producing measurable effects. For example, if you watch the video on the analysis of the Gauquelin data, you will see that the results of the analysis agree with the cynics ("skeptics" of astrology) that Gauquelin did NOT find a measurable effect. The importance of cosmic cybernetics is historical and sociological and cosmic cybernetics currently has NOT shown that astrological variables clearly and definitely can produce measurable effects. It is not important at this stage of work in cosmic cybernetics whether the work is published in journals or not. Just as it is not important whether experts in music regard Justin Bieber to be a great singer or not; the fact is that he exists and people listen to him. Similarly, cosmic cybernetics is a significant modern movement in astrology. People are attempting to determine whether astrological variables areas capable of producing measurable effects. Cosmic cybernetics arguably has more in common with the philosophy and perspectives of cynics of astrology than of many astrologers, even though the work in cosmic cybernetics is done by people who intuitively expect and hope to find a measurable effect . . . although they have failed to do so yet. Again, you have misconstrued and distorted the relevance of cosmic cybernetics to the article about astrology; it is not about evidence that shows that skeptics are wrong . . . if we define astrology as what astrologers do, the article misrepresents what modern astrologers do by portraying only part of the story. Cosmic cybernetics exists in a land halfway between science and astrology, using the approach of science on a subject which science usually dismisses. Consequently, cosmic cybernetics has supporters and detractors among both scientists and astrologers. DavidCochrane100 (talk) 11:58, 13 April 2014 (UTC) DavidCochrane100

Last post for now . . . I promise. :)
Also, cosmic cybernetics at this point in time neither confirms nor contradicts the opinions of believers and non-believers in astrology. The results of cosmic cybernetics can be construed as either support for astrology (because some studies produce results that suggest that there may be a measurable effet) or as support that astrology is nonsense (a clear and unambiguous measurable effect has not been found despite attempts to find them.) Personally, I don't care much about how one ultimately interprets the results, and it can be used as ammunition for either believers or cynics of astrology. I do think that is is unreasonable to dismiss cosmic cybnenetics research based on faulty research designs or because the field has not evolved to the point yet where it produces peer-reviewed papers. Cosmic cyberneticsis exists and represents another side of contemporary astrological activity.
DavidCochrane100 (talk) 12:08, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Just wanted to take issue with a couple of DC's points. Firstly, the statement - "no evidence has been found to support any of the premises or purported effects outlined in astrological traditions" is absolutely fine in the article.
Secondly, "There is no proposed mechanism of action by which the positions and motions of stars and planets could affect people and events on Earth that does not contradict well understood, basic aspects of biology and physics" is likewise completely fine.
Thirdly, all of DC's speculative nonsense is original, and very poor, research, and has no place in the article or on this Talk page. -Roxy the dog (resonate) 13:19, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
To DavidCochrane100: You are new to wikipedia, and perhaps for that reason you don't realize that you are mis-using this talk page. I know from personal experience that it's hard for newbies to get their heads around two simple points: (1) Talk page discussion should be limited to suggestions for improving the article. (2) Proposed improvements to the article should be based on reliable sources as defined by wikipedia. The videos that you are promoting do not qualify as reliable sources, so they are off limits for discussion of the article. And for subjects like astrology that are defined as "pseudo-science," wikipedia has decided that "in-universe" sources (published within the astrological community) do not qualify as reliable sources. That's just the way it is around here: wikipedia editors have to conform to these basic rules. Any questions -- please ask and I'll clarify.--Other Choices (talk) 16:10, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
"Proposed improvements to the article should be based on reliable sources as defined by wikipedia. The videos that you are promoting do not qualify as reliable sources, so they are off limits for discussion of the article." OK, that's clear. Sorry for not following proper wikipedia guidelines and taking up space here.
"all of DC's speculative nonsense . . .". Oh my. In many years within academic settings I have never before encountered such a hostile response. In the past the professor would always read a paper and make relevant and useful comments or would state that he/she does not have the time to look at the work at this time. I suggest that this higher standard of etiquette, respect, humility, and care in studying material would improve the work in wikipedia. In contrast to Roxy's statement which is devoid of any real information other than his personal POV, I very much appreciate the helpful and clear information form Other Choices. Again, my apologies for taking up time and space here with information that lies outside the wikipedia guidelines, as clearly explained by Other Choices.
DavidCochrane100 (talk) 17:49, 13 April 2014 (UTC) DavidCochrane100

Why is it that I never get the credit for policy pages, arbitration and the like? Not fair. :-P François Robere (talk) 20:48, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

And use your goddamn colons! ( : ) François Robere (talk) 20:51, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Thank you, François Robere for the references on appropriate sources. I just read through these links just now, and I should have read them earlier. These are very helpful. Again, my apologies for taking up space here with material that is not from acceptable sources. DavidCochrane100 (talk) 01:58, 14 April 2014 (UTC) DavidCochrane100

The question of whether to treat this subject in this article or elsewhere on Wikipedia should not rest upon whether it is pseudoscience or not. Plenty of psudoscientic ideas are presented on Wikipedia, including everything in this article.

The right criteria for determining inclusion is due weight, and my editorial judgment is that the subject of Cosmic Cybernetics is not sufficiently prominent to warrant inclusion in this page. Nor do I think it sufficiently notable to deserve its own article. This is a judgement call, and I could be persuaded otherwise.


Welcome to wikipedia, and apologies for some of the harsh language above. I would like to remind by fellow editors not to bite the new editors. That said, I think it would be beneficial for you to familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's poliocies regarding promoting ones own work. - Mr. Swordfish (talk) 15:44, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for the kind and thoughtful post Mr. swordfish. From what I understand regarding a threshold for being sufficiently prominent, my guess is that your judgement call is reasonable. There is some interest in various aspects of cosmic cybernetics beyond the narrow confines of a minority group. For example, Stephen Wolfram found planet mandalas very interesting and implemented them in the mathematica software and this is presented on the mathematica company website. There are a few other examples of the impact of cosmic cybernetics beyond a very narrow minority group but overall, however, your judgement call appears to me to be reasonable. The field was really developed initially by Theodor Landscheidt and I can list other people in the field but I don't think it is necessary because my sense is that cosmic cybernetics is still primarily an activity of a minority of people and these activities to date have had little impact outside of this group. Some of the most enthusiastic support has been from scientists rather than astrologers. DavidCochrane100 (talk) 22:14, 14 April 2014 (UTC) DavidCochrane100

The following was posted on my Talk page -

Roxy, as a postscript to the discussion on cosmic cybernetics, I wanted clarify something. I have done serious work in astrological research, research methodology, and statistics. For example, here is a link to a published paper on a technical issue in statistics and I was one of the authors: Also, one of the astrological papers was monitored and reviewed by published professors and data collected by a professor. Stephen Wolfram found my work in planet mandalas interesting and implement them in the mathematica software. Published professors have been impressed with much of this work. I have never encountered the hostile response that I received from you and other wikipedia editors. As a result of being told that I use buzzwords, conduct poor research, etc. when in fact I correspond regularly with distinguished professors, have attended academic conferences on research methodology, etc., my impression is that people like yourself actually have less experience and knowledge in the details of research methodology, statistics, and academic publishing and yet were condescending to me. I cannot see any justification for this, other than an a priori assumption that anyone pro-astrology must be daft. The entire experience gave me the impression that wikipedia is not a forum for information on controversial topics but instead a forum for defending philosophies and belief systems. I hope this information is helpful to you. There seems to be little interest in dialogue and I feel like I am forced into a position of defending myself rather than sharing information for the betterment of wikipedia. I have decided to avoid involvement with wikiepdia entirely and focus my attention in academic circles, but as a last attempt to try to make some positive contribution to wikipedia, I am posting this note here. DavidCochrane100 (talk) 18:10, 1 May 2014 (UTC)DavidCochrane100

I thought it belongs here, rather than there. I suspect David may have posted similar thoughts on other Talk pages -Roxy the dog (resonate) 18:50, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

I suppose one way to evaluate his commitment to the betterment of wikipedia is to check his contribs. If he starts editing unrelated articles and showing a commitment to understanding and following wikipedia policies for content and discussion, then he'll stop giving the appearance of being a self-promoter with an ax to grind. I want to go the extra mile and assume that this appearance is not accurate, but it is up to him to take an interest in wikipedia beyond discussing his specialized personal interest.--Other Choices (talk) 02:34, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
The first part is irrelevant - if I were a history professor solely interested in Otto von Bismarck I could have made a thousand edits there, all to the benefit of the article. The second part is relevant regardless of his choice of articles, in which case the contributions list is as beneficial ever as a follow-up tool.
As far as his intentions go - I honestly do not believe he's here for the self-promotion. He seems to be honest in his efforts, even if his intentions are misguided. François Robere (talk) 11:25, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
@François Robere, I'm more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I think it's important that he be aware of how his input so far might be taken (and seems to have been taken) by others. Regarding your Bismarck example, I agree in principle, but -- as I mentioned earlier -- the astrology article really isn't the place for pro-astrology newbies to cut their teeth. There's just too much of a gut-level backlash by experienced editors who zealously defend wikipedia articles against supporters of fringe pseudoscience. If he puts in the time (by editing other articles) into learning what can and can't be reliably said in wikipedia articles in general, then later he'll be ready to step up to the realm of avoiding in-universe sources (for example), and awareness of this article's specter of discretionary sanctions against those who attempt to edit from a particular POV, and the realization that wikipedia, by its very nature as an encyclopedia (with its inherent conservative bias favoring well-established thought), isn't well-suited to showcase the latest beyond-the-cutting-edge research that MIGHT turn into a future trendy paradigm.--Other Choices (talk) 14:27, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. And kudos on the carefully-phrased understatements. François Robere (talk) 09:59, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
The above comments regarding appearing to be self-promotion, etc. make sense. Thanks. DavidCochrane100 (talk) 18:35, 7 May 2014 (UTC)DavidCochrane100

New lead section[edit]

Following User:Gaba p's edit of the lead section I've re-written some of it and invited him to review. There are several issues with the current revision that my rewrite was meant to solve:

Astrology consists of several systems of divination[1] dating back to the 2nd millennium BCE

Not all of the systems date back to that time, hence "dating back to as early as..." in the previous revision. Also: dating is not essential to the definition of Astrology; the definition ("a system of divination based on the premise that...") should come first, the dating second.

based on the premise that there is a correlation between the appearance, position, and movement of celestial objects and human events

Not sure we need this elaboration. Also - "human events" is not as inclusive as "events in the human world" (eg weather and crops) which was in the original and so only partially correct.

As an attempt at studying celestial mechanics it was the precursor to modern Astronomy. It is rejected by the scientific community as a pseudoscience, having failed to demonstrate any predictive or explanatory power for describing the universe.

"Attempt" is too narrow; drilling for oil once is an "attempt", drilling all over the globe is a "systematic search".

The current lead lacks any mention of the cultural significance of Astrology. As it was a leading system of divination affecting anything from crop seeding to royal marriage (and one US president's schedule as recent as 1988) I think some note on the cultural significance of Astrology is due.

I also think that the demise of Astrology and subsequent replacement by Astronomy should be specifically mentioned - it gives a much better textual flow to the historical subsection; and that to separate all of that from Astrology's current status the phrase "its practice today" should come before defining it as a pseudoscience.

So essentially I'm suggesting this structure:

  • Definition
  • History (early, middle and recent: rise and cultural significance, transition to Astronomy and eventual decline)
  • Current status (debunked)

François Robere (talk) 21:43, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Tell you what François Robere, why don't you post here your proposed lead with all the edits you'd like to make so we can discuss/tweak it before adding it to the article? Let me ping Other Choices who also made some edits to the lead so he can contribute too (if he wishes of course). Regards. Gaba (talk) 22:31, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
As I mentioned, I already did the edits: [1] -> [2]
François Robere (talk) 22:52, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Ok, I've made one more edit to the lead to accommodate your first concerns about the dating. Here are my comments on the rest of your proposal:
  • "events in the human world" <-- is too vague. What is the "human world"? The Earth?
  • "Attempt" is too narrow <-- I've removed the word entirely to avoid this issue.
  • "I think some note on the cultural significance of Astrology is due" <-- I could agree with this, would you like to make an edit adding this?
  • "I also think that the demise of Astrology and subsequent replacement by Astronomy should be specifically mentioned" <-- What do you mean by "demise and subsequent replacement"? Astrology is practiced even today and I'm not sure if it was really "replaced" by Astronomy. Personally I'd avoid this statement.
Regards. Gaba (talk) 23:37, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Reasonable edit.
  • "Events in the human world" - I think it's a perfectly reasonable use of "world". "World" isn't synonymous with "planet". See "World". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 2014-04-15. .
  • As the science of celestial mechanics it was fully replaced by Astronomy. It's only practiced today by a small subsection of the public and by the rest it is at best considered fringe. This is a far cry from what it used to be.
  • If I want to make that edit? I already did (see above). I was quite content with mine. This part summarises the history of the phenomenon and its current status well:

Cultures throughout history have attached importance to astronomical events, and astrology has been dated to as early as the 2nd millennium BCE. As an attempt at studying celestial mechanics, it was the precursor to modern science of astronomy, and as time passed it lost its place both in the scientific community and in society in general to astronomy. In recent decades, astrology has been thoroughly tested using modern scientific and statistical techniques and had failed to demonstrate any predictive or explanatory power; hence its practice today is considered pseudoscience.

It can be styled better (which is just as well, considering it builds on previous revisions by other editors), but as I mentioned on your talk page it has the necessary details and textual flow. François Robere (talk) 16:27, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I like the organisation and flow. Hope you don't mind a few c.e.'s (commas, caps, extraneous words). It could use some more, but that's secondary. I am a bit concerned about "astrology has been dated to as early as the 2nd millennium". Astrology is a rather broad field. Maybe "astrological practices" so we don't imply that what people currently think of as astrology dates back that far? — kwami (talk) 17:38, 15 April 2014 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am surprised that there have not been more objections to Gaba P's edits to the lead. They frankly seem awful to me: they amount to butchery and mutilation. I'd like to ask exactly how much of the material that was removed he might agree to consider restoring? Do you object to the restoration of, for instance, this: "Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and the Indians, Chinese, and Mayans developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations." And what would be your objection to restoring this: "In the West, astrology most often consists of a system of horoscopes purporting to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict future events in their life based on the positions of the sun, moon, and other celestial objects at the time of their birth." What possible valid reason could you have for removing such basic information? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:01, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

I actually started this discussion on Gaba's talk page with

In general it was a needed edit, but you removed too much. I've added a bit to the lead to include some summarical essentials, so at the moment it contains, at least, the bare minimum that it should contain.

What's "the bare minimum" for this article I've specified above:
  • Definition
  • History (early, middle and recent: rise and cultural significance, transition to Astronomy and eventual decline)
  • Current status (debunked)
Shall we roll back the discussion to the original "big edit"? François Robere (talk) 12:17, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
FreeKnowledgeCreator if you bother to check my two edits [3][4] where I shorten the lead, you'll see I that most of the content was moved to the 'History' section. The only bit removed (see second edit) I did so because this information was already present in the 'Scientific analysis and criticism' section and thus I could not move it since it would duplicate statements almost verbatim. Now, you might disagree with my shortening of the lead and you are of course allowed to revert back to before I made them but I'd appreciate if you could avoid describing them as "butchery and mutilation" since, as I explained above, no actual content was removed from the article.
François Robere I oppose rolling back (obviously since I made the edits) I'd rather we work together in the lead and try to come up with a consensus version where we can all feel happy both with its content and its extension. I see Kwamikagami already reverted to your version of the lead (this one if I'm not mistaken) I don't particularly like the flow of the text but it can be improved in little bits to avoid issues
I won't have time until next week to do it, so see you in a few days. Regards. Gaba (talk) 13:12, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree that anything that needs to be cited should be moved into the body. But the reader should be able to get the basics from reading just the lead – it should be able to serve as a stand-alone article, and you took out so much that it no longer served that purpose. I wasn't evaluating the quality of its writing. — kwami (talk) 16:39, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
I concur.
  • The lead is essentially a summary of the body of the article and as such should not contain any new material (relative to the body). Any material introduced and cited in the summary, or mentioned in the summary alone, should be moved to the body. With this part of Gaba's edit I agree.
  • As the lead is essentially a summary of the body it should be general, but inclusive of all major parts. Length is debatable, as are specific details. I maintain that it should at least contain the definition, historical overview (including cultural significance in times passed) and current status, in this order. A short discussion of principles and methods could be included, but without any technical details. Indeed it should be able to serve as a stand-alone article, as you very accurately put it. François Robere (talk) 18:13, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Also: The list of revisions is getting longer, so just to maintain order I suggest we leave the article alone for half a day or so so whoever wants to can catch up on the various revisions. François Robere (talk) 18:15, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── In reply to Gaba p: yes, I realize perfectly well what you did. I also understand the rationale for it. However, it's clear that you removed far too much information from the lead, and I'm glad that other users have pointed this out to you. I think that you are overly concerned about statements in the lead duplicating statements elsewhere in the article. Whether the same verbatim wording is used or not should not be the crucial issue. I'm going to start restoring some material unless someone can give me a very good reason why I shouldn't. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:33, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

François Robere, FreeKnowledgeCreator, Kwamikagami please see section below for answer. Regards. Gaba (talk) 19:56, 21 April 2014 (UTC)


In response to Gaba p's edit comment here:

A) No, the lead was not too long. It was fine the way it was. B) The lead is meant to duplicate information in the article. It is in fact a summary of the article.

Gaba p should be reverted. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 20:42, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

I disagree. Most of the content that was present in the previous version of the lead could easily be moved into the article (which is what I did). The lead is supposed to be a concise and clear introduction to the article, it shouldn't try to outline everything the article covers. In any case, you can disagree and we can of course discuss it some more, but what I meant whit my summary about your edit is that it duplicated verbatim content that now is present in the History and Scientific analysis and criticism sections (go check it out for yourself) and of course this is not acceptable. The discussion about the new lead is happening in the section above and you are more than welcome to contribute. Regards. Gaba (talk) 21:23, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
The previous lead was very good, and I think the current version is much inferior. There was nothing unclear about it, and I don't think that the lead needs to be extremely short to qualify as "concise." I still think most of the material you removed should be restored, if not in precisely the same form, then in a modified form. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:28, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough we can surely discuss your concerns. The section above deals with modifications to the lead proposed by another editor, it'd be great if you could state your position over there so as we avoid fragmentation of the same topic. Regards. Gaba (talk) 21:31, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Sometimes we even have a paragraph like yours as an introduction to the lead: A summary of a summary. That can be useful when a long lead is required to summarize the article adequately, but readers may need some orientation to start with. — kwami (talk) 01:23, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
Good grief. I've restored the 4-paragraph lead per WP:MOS; this lead was good enough to get through the GA process, and was crafted over a long period by many editors to summarize the article's contents. It is utterly unreasonable simply to remove or fillet such a lead, as its jot is to give readers a brief overview of what is to follow. Leads normally rely on the citations in the body of the article, and this one does; if you disagree with something mentioned in the lead, please study the corresponding section in the article and check the citations on JSTOR or wherever. I can assure you that the statements in the lead are about as brief as they can be given the number of cited facts in the article, its complexity and the range of topics covered in the different sections, so please do not look at the lead as a thing in itself, but as the front of a complex article born of thorough discussion. There is no sense in moving lead material into the article's body, as it is itself based on the content there. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:14, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Very well, the consensus seems to be that the long version of the lead is the preferred one so I'm bowing out. Just to be clear: I never disagreed with contents of the lead nor with its sources; I simply assessed the lead of the article as being too long and edited it accordingly. Clearly the majority of editors here disagree with my assessment so it's back to the old version. Regards all. Gaba (talk) 20:03, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
That being said, as I stated in the beginning the lead does need some more editing, and I intend to do some. The history paragraph is all too detailed (and boring), and the science paragraph starts with such an ambiguous phrase as "astrology was considered a scholarly tradition", whatever "scholarly" means in this respect (witchcraft is quite a scholarly issue in the social sciences these days); and ends with "in one study", as if anyone cares about any one study supporting a current scientific consensus.
As a side note I just want to remind everybody to take their daily dose of Omega-3 fatty acids and keep the saturated fats to a minimum - studies show it helps maintain cardiovascular health. François Robere (talk) 20:07, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Origins of Hindu astrology[edit]

The cited work by Pingree makes it quite clear that Hindu astrology is derived from (and not merely tangentially related to or influenced by) Hellenistic astrology; Pingree's work is serious and reliable scholarship, but the same cannot be said for sources such as Lewis. I have therefore reverted recent changes to the documented and referenced state of affairs. No claim should be made about Hindu astrology without new scholarly evidence that rebuts Pingree's work, and even then Pingree would have to be cited and explained as the standard historical view. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:41, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

James R. Lewis and Pingree has no comparison here, let us not compare apples with oranges. You seem to be limiting with the one single scholar but there are many around in the world. James R. Lewis has been used in this whole page, so why not Hindu astrology which is actually evident. Pingree doesn't seem to be saying that Hindu astrology didn't existed before the Hellenistic influence. David Pingree in 1981, Jyotiḥśāstra, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, cites the period of 2nd millenium BCE for the origin of Hindu astrology, per page 9. Although he was sure that it existed much before, but heavily evolved after 3rd century BCE. Bladesmulti (talk) 03:34, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
There are at least two things wrong with your edit. You have placed your claim immediately before the Pingree references, wrongly implying that they support your claim, which they do not. You have provided no evidence at all of exactly what is asserted to have existed before Hellenistic times, nor for the sudden and unexplained appearance of the date "2500 BCE": how does Lewis claim to know this so precisely? Is that just his opinion or are there any actual facts that it is based on? The assertion from an "Encyclopedia of Heavenly Influences" is not sufficient for a contentious claim in a WP:FRINGE article; if Lewis has written a scholarly journal paper that describes this claim, then please quote and cite it here (on this talk page).
We need to work on the article text if you do have evidence to add. It is certain that the broad scheme of astrology as it currently exists in India was borrowed from the Hellenistic world, complete with concepts such as the signs, the planets, declination and conjunction. The most that could be claimed (if any evidence exists) is that some rudimentary concepts developed earlier and were subsumed into the far more comprehensive Hellenistic scheme. What is this Pingree citation that you mention? Please provide (here) both the actual quotation and the full citation (journal, volume, issue, pages, date, URL). We may then be able to put together a revised wording along the lines claimed, which might be something like "Hindu natal astrology originated with western (Hellenistic) astrology in ancient times[Pingree refs], subsuming earlier Hindu concepts of [what exactly?][missing refs] which may have developed in the 2nd millenium BCE[missing full Pingree 1981 ref]." You can see, I hope, that without the facts (quotations, citations) we must not change the article to imply an origin earlier than Hellenistic. Cordially, Chiswick Chap (talk) 05:46, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
I am not going to deep with the sources. But there are a number of scholars, including James and David Pingree who had mutual agreement that Hindu astrology originated in ancient times(i.e. Ancient India). If you want the dating (2500 BCE) to be removed, I would have no problem but the particular line should remain and assert that the astrology was originated in ancient India. Indeed by 3rd century BCE it would evolve with the Hellenestic.(which is clear on current version) Bladesmulti (talk) 06:02, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Thankyou. The 3rd century BCE Hellenistic astrology in India is uncontroversial; what is inadequately supported currently are two things: 1) any mention of earlier origins, and 2) the 2500 BCE date, which I agree we should immediately remove, thankyou. For (1) we need an exact source, or we must remove the claim under WP:FRINGE. But since you mention a possible source, we ought to investigate it. All the best, Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:34, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
The earliest mention I've seen is Pingree 1990, "The Puranas and Jyotihsastra: Astronomy": "The concepts of [Mount] Meru [as axle of heaven and earth] and Dhruva [the pole star] serve to date this cosmology to the middle of the last millennium B.C. at the earliest." This means a date of around 500 BC for the earliest Hindu astrological concepts is imaginable but not proven; Pingree's analysis goes on to say "a date sometime in the third or fourth century A.D. for their common source [of the Puranas] seems quite likely". Is this what you meant? Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:05, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Anything like "Some of the earliest text related with Astrology are found in Vedanga Jyotisha." Can replace the current sentence that you have disputed. And I can added 3-4 reliable sources to that. That's it. Pingree also considered Vedanga Jyotisha to be one of the earliest. Bladesmulti (talk) 08:27, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
OK, let's try that. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:31, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Basically, it covers up all analysis whether by James or David or any other. I moved it to starting sentence, as per the periods. Bladesmulti (talk) 10:11, 4 September 2014 (UTC)
Not sure I follow you there, nor am I sure that the sentence works as the introduction, but we'll leave it for now, pace future developments. I have however removed the source which does not appear reliable and independent per WP:FRINGE. Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:52, 4 September 2014 (UTC)