Astrology: True or False – Program 2

By: Tom Warneke, Maxine Taylor, Karen Winterburn, Dr. John Weldon, Dr. Walter Martin; ©1988
Astrologers claim to learn certain information from the alignment of stars and planets. But who decided on the meaning of those stars and those alignments? Why are there so many different, often conflicting, charts?

Who Determines the Meaning of the Stars?

Ankerberg: Welcome! I’m sure you’ve seen many of the magazines, Time, People, have talked about what’s happening in this country concerning astrology and we wanted to look into this. Is astrology credible? Why is it that so many people are dabbling—they say 40 million Americans dabble in astrology. Maybe you do. Does it have a good foundation? Is it really scientific? Is it part of the occult? These are all questions that we’re asking tonight. Does it have a relationship to Christianity? If so, what is it? If not, why? And I want to come this week, folks, to this area of what astrology is actually based on. If there is supposed to be some relationship between the planets, the stars, the sun, the heavenly bodies, and that which takes place on earth—different astrologers define this differently and you’re able to define it any way that you want to. I want to know, on the basic definitions of what the signs mean and what the effect is and how it’s supposed to affect people, where did astrologers get that information? In other words, how does an astrologer know what characteristics a person born under a certain sign should have? Who told you? Terry, start us off.
Warneke: Well, first of all, astrology has been studied in every major civilization on the planet for at least five or six thousand years—I mean, every major civilization. So what’s going on here is there’s a tremendous wealth of data. There is more data as to what particular bodies do when they are in certain places in the sky than there is data in physics or astronomy or any other field.
Ankerberg: But hasn’t that data conflicted… I mean, the Chinese horoscope and the Zodiac were different than the one in Europe,…
Warneke: No, not at all.
Ankerberg: …they had certain signs that you didn’t have in Europe.
Warneke: No, not at all; not necessarily at all.
Ankerberg: They didn’t have the Rat in Europe.
Warneke: No. What you’re talking about is the signs they use for each year in Chinese astrology.
Ankerberg: Well, that was part of their Zodiac in China.
Warneke: Yeah, but they also… what you see is they popularize in the press the part of Oriental astrology that’s not done in Western astrology; but every part that’s done in Western astrology is also done in the Oriental astrology, too.
Ankerberg: But I’m saying, where…okay, we’ve got that. We talked about it last week that some of it came out of Babylonia where they said this was from the gods and they had a polytheistic base. You don’t believe that as a scientist. What I’m saying is that the definitions have kind of cruised through history and now we’ve got these characteristics that seem to be arbitrarily placed on the signs. And I’m saying, why should anybody believe that those characteristics fall for those signs?
Warneke: Well, I suppose from a scientific point of view you should say probably you shouldn’t just “believe it.” Astrology is not based on belief, it’s based on information and it’s based on observation.
Ankerberg: What is the evidence that science gives us that backs it up that it’s true?
Warneke: Well, I think that the evidence that you’re looking for is the thousands of years of collected information, as I said, for, like the Planet Mars. We’ve seen it go around 2,000 times. It’s been observed in every culture by literally millions of people, and they record and they put their heads together and try and determine if there’s anything that you can predict when Mars is in a certain particular place it will have a certain type of influence. Obviously, a great deal of the information that they come up with doesn’t work, the same as any scientific experiment. But over a great period of time, you begin to get a repeat in your data and you begin to see that there are certain things that you can say about it. Now, in regards to what you said about polytheistic origins, let me point out that you could say that monotheistic religions originally, if you go back far enough, were polytheistic. There’s no question. If you want to go back to 8,000 and….
Ankerberg: Don’t…don’t say that….
Martin: Now you have crossed over into my bailiwick of which you know nothing.
Warneke: If you want to say that 8000 or 10,000 BC astrology sometimes surfaced as a religion, you can say that; but it hasn’t been practiced by the great men of astrology that way for literally thousands of years. The point is, we’re not up here representing worship of the stars, we’re talking about studying it to understand it….
Ankerberg: So your main proof for the effect of what happens to people that under certain signs this effect should take place to certain people is based on basically thousands of years of history.
Warneke: Empirical evidence.
Ankerberg: Okay, then why is it that all astrologers don’t agree and you’ve got it mapped out cold?
Warneke: The same reason that all scientists don’t agree. If you were to take any particular… if you were to take all, or brought a lot of geologists into this room, they would agree on most things, but there would be certain….
Ankerberg: But that’s not science, see; then it’s still hypothesis. A scientific theory is where people that are Hindus, Buddhists, Christians could all look at it; it’s demonstrable; it’s repeatable. And if they all see the evidence, then it becomes a theory.
Warneke: That’s what the layman thinks, but you’re over-simplifying a great deal. For example, in geology the best geologists in the world argue over what causes the continents on this planet to drift. You end up with several theories.
Ankerberg: I thought you might say that, so I asked Purdue University, a Doctor of Astronomy, PhD, from the University of Illinois and three degrees in astronomy to give us a statement from the scientific angle concerning astrology. And this is from Dr. Sherman Kanagy at Purdue, and he says, “As a professional astronomer and as one who has researched the pros and cons of astrology for several years now, I have concluded that (1) nearly all astronomers would agree that the sun, moon, planets and even the most distant stars do indeed exert the forces on human beings on the earth, however, the effects”—which is what we’re talking about—“the effects of the sun and the moon on humans are either not well established or are not of the type that traditional astrologers would claim. Traditional astrologers claim more than a mere influence. The claim that the moon’s presence in one’s sun sign means that one will undergo emotional upheavals has no relation to the occurrence of the tides, for example. Also, the known forces from the stars and planets on a baby are negligible compared to terrestrial forces such as the gravitation of the body of the doctor who delivers the baby….”
Warneke: Sure.
Ankerberg: “…Even given the existence of such forces, there is little reason to believe that they could affect the personalities of babies born when the celestial bodies are at a particular position in the sky. Most statistical studies that have been done to test whether astrology works have failed to confirm astrological claims. The few that do seem to support astrology have been criticized for their poor design or their faulty use of statistical methods.” So, here a professor in science at Purdue is saying that the scientific angle, you might have the tradition but the fact of the statistical tests of science to prove these kinds of things is not there.
Warneke: At the current level of statistical testing, most of the statistical tests that have been used to test astrology are far too primitive a test, because the number of variables that are being integrated in some of the conclusions are too great for the statistical tests. In other words,…
Ankerberg: Okay, what statistical test do you want to point to that proves your point? Give us something that you think that astrology can prove scientifically.
Warneke: Well, for example, I think probably one of the more reliable ones is the Gauquelin studies.
Ankerberg: I’m glad that you brought that up. Okay, let’s talk about that.
Warneke: Okay.
Ankerberg: What do you want to say that Gauquelin actually proved?
Warneke: What Gauquelin demonstrated—and please forgive us for the mispronunciation of his very difficult to pronounce French name. We all say it slightly differently and they’re all wrong I’m sure. We need him here to say how to pronounce it—but, basically, Gauquelin tried to demonstrate that if planets were near what astrologers call “angles”—which is in a more layman sense would be rising, setting, on the celestial meridian at the time of birth, at either end of it—that they had a very strong effect on personality. Now, he did not say, for example, the statistical findings demonstrated that if someone had Mars rising at the time of birth—notice we’re not talking about astrological signs; we’re talking about planets—if we had Mars rising at the time of birth, there was a slightly greater likelihood that this person might be involved in certain pursuits in life than if they didn’t have Mars. We’re not saying that everyone that has Mars is going to be involved in that pursuit. For example, we find a slightly higher characteristic of Mars in military people with military backgrounds….
Ankerberg: Can I read you a quote from Gauquelin on his own study?
Warneke: I know what the quote is going to be.
Ankerberg: Okay. Gauquelin himself said this: “Every attempt, whether of astrologers or scientists, to produce evidence of the validity of astrological laws has been in vain. 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 play any part, however humble, in the totality of effects random and otherwise which form the fabric of our lives and mould our impulses to action. Confronted with science, modern and traditional astrology are seen to be imaginary doctrines.” Now, that’s Gauquelin on that very study.
Warneke: Yes. And I realized, of course, before I even mentioned the Gauquelin that he had written that book.
Ankerberg: But why did you mention a scientist, then, as proof when he himself says it’s not true?
Warneke: Well, of course, Gauquelin wrote quite a few books, and the one that you’re quoting from is a later book. He reversed his own opinion on some of his own work. I think there are a lot of people that have studied his work that find that the work is to a large extent verified.
Ankerberg: I asked Dr. Weldon, in his book he has researched and done a couple of chapters on Gauquelin. Tell us about what you found.
Weldon: This is the latest book that I could find by Gauquelin and he says this in the conclusion. He says, “Can there be a conclusion?” He says, “I am still tormented by two feuding demons. The first is the fear of having been mistaken in asserting that astral influence is real. The second is the agonizing thought of all I’ve been unable to discover or explain.” And he goes on to say that after 30 years he is still fascinated by the subject and he concludes, “But today I would not allow myself to draw drastic conclusions as I have sometimes done in the past.” So, the whole problem with the Gauquelin study is that it’s been investigated for 20 years, it is still inconclusive. There have been a number of tests done on the Mars effect and nothing conclusive can be said about it. It has not proven an astrological effect.
Ankerberg: We’re going to take a break right here, and I want to come back, and I want to come back to you folks on this, and we’ve got to keep moving. Please stick with us. We’ll be right back.

 

BREAK
 
Ankerberg: Okay, we’re back and we’re talking about the scientific evidence for the verification, the validity of astrology. I think people out there in the audience, they just love how sure you astrologers are that this is what it is, okay? And I mean, we haven’t crossed that bridge yet, and here I’m quoting another PhD, Ken Boa, who also has a PhD here in the sciences, and he says, “How do astrologers know that their method of interpretation is valid? What is the basis, for example, for saying that the sextile and the trine aspects are good and the opposition and square aspects are bad?” Is it because of mythology or who told you guys?
Warneke: We don’t say that. We say something else about them that’s been interpreted by….
Ankerberg: But where do you get that information? I want to know, where do you get it?
Warneke: You seem to dwell on this particular point a great deal.
Ankerberg: I’m still waiting for an answer.
Warneke: Okay. I’ve given you the answer and I’m going to give you the same answer over again. The basis of science since the Renaissance is to go by information, by data. In other words, you don’t make up your mind what something means, you go out and collect data then you make up your mind after you analyze the data. We have 6,000 years of data. Is that not enough?
Ankerberg: Okay, let me bring up four things that, in reading the literature, I’ve found. Number one is, you’re assuming about four things. You’re assuming, number one, that you’ve got an infallible recorder—that they all recorded it absolutely perfect—no errors. And even the guys in the association, Maxine, that I’ve been reading say you’ve got to scratch that; we’ve got to do a lot more research, get rid of all the myths, okay?
Warneke: Sure.
Ankerberg: Number two is it would suggest that we have now, after we’ve gotten this body of literature from an infallible recorder, we have an infallible interpreter to find out where the error is at. In other words, if Maxine’s buddies are saying the truth in their books, the fact is, we’ve still got to weed that out. We don’t have a body of information that is solid. And number three, if we did have what you say this tradition going on back, then there would be just one book; the astrologers would open it up and it’s like Karen was saying, you put the computer on and basically the things go in and we all know, and voila, it would be easy for our scientists to check this out and we’d be in business. But the problem is, the astrologers themselves have different theories, as we’ve talked about in the other program; and the fact is, the data isn’t condensed yet. And I think you would admit that yourself, wouldn’t you?
Warneke: Well, yes, John, I thought you were supposed to be asking us the questions.
Ankerberg: I’m just saying, isn’t that true?
Warneke: A good deal of what you say is true, but that is also true of every other science to exactly the same degree. Obviously, the problem of….
Ankerberg: Wait, wait, wait….
Weldon: I would really disagree with that. Astrology is so contradictory it can’t possibly be true. The people I talked with at the convention, I got different answers on whether or not they used the same house system—there’s all kinds of different house systems; the relevancy of the aspects, the angular relationship between planets, on and on and on. Again, one contradiction after another. The books that I looked at were just full of contradictions; and even leading astrologers admit that there is a great deal of contradiction in astrology. But I do want to go back to one point that you had mentioned earlier, Terry, that I did not take your course. And I did. It was given July 6 at 3:00. It was, “The archetype of planets.” And you began by stating, “The real basis of astrology is the planets.” And Maxine, I did take your course as well on July 6, 1:15 p.m. to 3:00. It was called “Can I Rise Above My Chart?” And in that course you stated, “I have many experiences in the spirit world, and I think channeling is very important.” “Channeling is wonderful if you have a guide that you can trust and is spiritual.”
Taylor: That’s correct. May I explain what I meant?
Weldon: And you also stated, “You are God”—speaking to the audience—“and who we are is God in an earth-bound body.” Now, number one, that’s not Christian theology; that’s pantheism, okay? And number two, spirit guides fit the characteristics of demons, whether you’re looking at it from a historical perspective or from the perspective of biblical demonology. You can go into any ancient culture or modern culture you want, they all believe in the reality of evil spirits. You look at the characteristics of those spirits, you look at the characteristics of modern spirit guides you find in channeling, and they are one and the same.
Taylor: May I respond to that?
Ankerberg: Certainly. Go ahead.
Taylor: First of all, what I said you’ve lifted out of context, but since you have said it, I do want to respond to it. Many of my colleagues do use spirit guides. You asked me if I use them. No, I do not. I think channeling is wonderful if you have a wonderful spirit guide, and the truth is, there are wonderful spirit guides. I said that because many of my colleagues do use them. Many of my colleagues use many things that I don’t. That does not mean that astrology is wrong or that they are wrong.
Weldon: Well, it was earlier stated that astrology is not something occultic. Let me read you a few statements from astrologers on the nature of astrology itself in this regard. Sepharial who is with Walter Old, he was a Kabbalist and a theosophist, he says this: “The astrologic art is held to be the key to all the occult sciences.” Sybil Leek, the famous witch, in her book My Life in Astrology, says, “Astrology is my science; witchcraft is my religion.” Doreen Valiente, in her book, An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present—she’s a practicing witch—says, “Astrology is another of the fundamentals of magic. It is studied by witch and magician alike.” Theosophist and humanistic astrologer Dane Rudhyar states, “The astrologer has authority as one who deals understandingly and effectively with the occult.” And he says, “Astrology is occult knowledge.” Henry Weinegarten, a leading astrologer, director of the National Astrological Society in New York says that, “Almost all occultists use astrological timing in their work.”
Ankerberg: Okay, hold on, John. First of all, it’s not unusual, Karen, because you also picked up, in your professional astrological counsel, you also picked up a spirit guide. Why is it so easy in astrology when you get into it, because you didn’t go looking for one, but you also picked one up yourself. How did that happen and what are we talking about here? Because I understand that this may be new to the audience, but it is not new, especially in your story.
Winterburn: Okay. I didn’t “go looking for one” in those words, in those terms, but I went looking for the meaning and what makes astrology work. And whether they were people—and there were some good old-fashioned occultists, astrologers, probably the most candid of the astrologers I knew, and then there were the New Age types, you know, who were trying to refurbish the image a little bit. But the thing that makes astrology work is an intermediary source of knowledge, and a higher intuition than you could know, about the character of the person, about the future of the person. When I went after it, I went after it through meditation; I went after it through putting myself in altered states of consciousness by various methods. There’s a whole vast array of technologies by which you can do this. And as I said before, any astrology that is done well is done in an altered state; otherwise, it’s schlock astrology. And I really believe that any astrologer will hold to that, however they alter their consciousness. Whether it’s through techniques of Eastern Zen meditation or, you know, any kind of Eastern meditation. In my experience, I have tried many things. They all lead to the same road; they all end up in the same eventuality, and that is you need an intermediary source. I would like to ask Maxine….
Ankerberg: Okay, we’re going to have to hold the question until next week, we’re out of time. But get the question on the board and we’ll start with it.
Winterburn: Okay.
Ankerberg: What is the question?
Winterburn: The question is, “What is a wonderful spirit guide? What characteristics would a wonderful spirit guide have?”
Ankerberg: I’d like to know, too, and I think the audience would. And if you will join us next week, we’ll start with that question.

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