Astrology: True or False – Program 5

By: Tom Warneke, Maxine Taylor, Karen Winterburn, Dr. John Weldon, Dr. Walter Martin; ©1988
What dangers could astrology pose for people who rely on astrologers for direction in their lives? Are there documented cases to show what has happened?

Can Astrology be Dangerous?

Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re talking about astrology. And, of course, I’m holding in my hand Time magazine, and it talked about Nancy Reagan, the First Lady’s, astrologer, a big article about Joan Quigley in here. One thing that fascinated me, though, Maxine, in this article was that it says, when they were talking about how they used to go to Jeane Dixon, the Reagans used to go to Jeane Dixon. The Reagans lost faith in Jeane Dixon, and I was fascinated to find out what the reason was that they lost faith in her as an astrologer. And it said, “The Reagans lost faith in her powers some years back.” What kind of powers are they talking about?
Taylor: I have absolutely no idea but I can tell you that having been written up in magazines and newspapers myself, that articles of that nature use wording that is subject to misinterpretation, number one, and you’re subject to being misquoted. I have no idea what they meant, and you would have to ask them.
Ankerberg: Karen, what do you think?
Winterburn: Well, I think that Jeane Dixon, like any other astrologer, has some real good hits and some not; and it’s not all reliable information and clients do tend to lose faith when the hits have stopped coming. It depends also on how the client is linked to the astrologer, how dependent he or she feels on that particular person as to whether he feels, you know, brash enough to go off and find someone else.
Ankerberg: Dr. Weldon, in your book you talk about not just the ideas of astrology but you have also catalogued what you call “the dangers of astrology” and that’s one thing we have not gotten to. Are there dangers associated with astrology? Is the public being fairly warned about what could happen to them if they do go to an astrologer? Comment on that if you would.
Weldon: I think there clearly are dangers, potential dangers, especially for people who get into it naively and don’t really understand what is involved. And that can happen through something as simple as a newspaper horoscope. A few hits and misses here and there and there’s a greater interest in astrology developed. They go to a professional astrologer who tells them things about themselves that no one could really know. Trust is generated. And then there’s a logical progression. Once the clients are amazed by the self-disclosures, they generate trust. Trust leads to deception. Deception produces unwise or immoral decisions and actions and these produce tragedy.
Now, let me show you some examples of why this is true. One astrologer predicted that a child would be born mentally retarded. And as a result, an individual, the mother, decided to have an abortion. Another advised a client against his child’s appendectomy. The child died as a result. One mother murdered her own son because the astrologer said that he would live a life of mental illness, and she killed him to spare him this difficulty.
A leading theologian who has studied the occult his entire life, Dr. Kurt Koch, stated that “astrology has been responsible for a number of suicides and murders.” To give you two illustrations, one astrologer told a client that she would not marry the man she was engaged to, but they would break up and that she would remain single. Well, she was deeply in love with this man and she became more and more depressed and morose and finally became suicidal and resolved to take her own life. And it was only through the power of Christ intervening that prevented that woman from taking her own life.
In another case, an individual was told by his astrologer that his second wife would be the one that would make him truly happy and his first wife would not. Well, he had to marry first in order to find his second wife. His first wife bore him three wonderful children. They had a happy marriage, but after their third child, he divorced his first wife and then married the one he thought—and was promised by the astrologer—would truly fulfill him and make him happy. She made his life miserable, and he divorced her. Six lives at that point were in some sense, to some degree, ruined.
And the problem with astrology is that decisions are made on the basis of the alleged influence of the stars or the planets as interpreted by an astrologer and often a spirit guide, a deceptive spirit being, that have no basis in reality. Once you have the entrance of spiritistic deception into the interpretation of a chart, you can encounter all kinds of potential problems and tragedies. So I think there is a potential danger for people who get involved in astrology.
Ankerberg: Maxine, this brings up the whole issue of when you’re actually giving counsel to people that trust you,…
Taylor: Yes, John.
Ankerberg: …do you ever worry about the counsel that you’re giving them?
Taylor: I think very deeply about the counsel I give them. And I pray about it beforehand. I think the astrologer has an incredible, incredible responsibility. And the counsel that I give my clients—now, I can only speak for me—the counsel I give my client is, I never tell somebody to do something or not do something. That’s up to them. What I do is I read what I see. I do encourage them to ask me questions. And very often they will ask you, “What would you do in my place?” And my answer is, “What I would do in your place is not what you would do in your place,” so that the astrologer is simply reading the signs for the client. You do not tell a client, “Do this” or “Do that,” and I really cannot imagine how anybody—and now, this is my personal opinion—I can’t imagine how anybody could predict that a child would be mentally deficient. I don’t know how: Because I’ve studied astrology for 22 years; I’ve been a practicing astrologer for 18; I don’t know how they do that. That’s not to say that they can’t. But I’ve not that ability. When I read somebody’s chart, if I were to read your chart, if you asked me what I would do, what I would do doesn’t matter. It’s what you choose to do. And the whole point of doing the chart is so that you don’t become dependent on it. You don’t want to become dependent on an astrologer.
Weldon: My experience, though, has been that most people do become dependent on an astrologer, because they vest in the astrologer almost a godlike authority. Now, these people supposedly can predict the future to some degree, and about 80% of those that I talked to said that in general and specific instances an astrologer is capable of predicting the future. What are the reasons people go to an astrologer for? The major questions in life—health, finances, “Will my spouse die?” “What about investments?” “What about relationships?” Very key issues. And therefore the answers that are given, you open up a Pandora’s Box for potential misuse.
Warneke: Those are key issues, but I think we have to realize that only about half of what astrology does is actually prediction, and that’s a common misunderstanding about astrology. There is another part where you talk about character analysis and so forth, and personality characteristics, very much the same way a psychologist does. I think that certainly we could say that obvious misuse of astrology is pointed out in these cases. Similar misuses have occurred in psychology and other areas, too.
Ankerberg: Two questions that I have for you here, Terry. One is, maybe you’re familiar with Richard Nolle. He’s got an AFA insignia on his book, Interpreting Astrology. And he’s got one about the techniques of astrology. In there he made an astounding statement. He was, first of all, taking apart astrology before he put it back together. And he said that astrologers—now correct me; I want some figures here—he says, “Other astrologers, 50, 60 percent of them are frauds.” Okay, 50 to 60 percent of them are frauds. Now, in what way are they frauds, and what can we do about that?
Warneke: Well, again, as I think Maxine has said over here, I’m not sure what he had in mind. I’d have to have him here to ask him. My own particular belief wouldn’t be that 50 or 60 percent of them are intentionally fraudulent.
Ankerberg: That’s the point that he makes. He says it’s not intentional, but they are frauds. For example, we were talking about the fact we didn’t like the idea of all these newspaper astrologers, okay?
Warneke: Right.
Ankerberg: Well, that’s a bundle right there.
Warneke: First of all, it all depends on how much knowledge you have to have before you are permitted to call yourself an astrologer. I think we remember very well in the newspaper case where a very attractive young blonde lady applied to a particular newspaper syndicate and within no time at all she was syndicated nationally with a sun sign column. She got rather bold and admitted sometime later that she had only studied astrology three weeks before they syndicated her. I’ve known cases of friends of mine that have been approached by major magazines in the country and asked to write a sun sign astrology column. And when my friend said, “But I don’t know anything of astrology,” they said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter anyway. You just write anything.”
Ankerberg: Doesn’t that scare you?
Warneke: It does scare me.
Ankerberg: How many of those people do you think are out there?
Warneke: It would be very, very difficult to estimate. I can only guess. You know, I have a particular theory that amongst doctors probably only—medical doctors—probably only about 10% of them are really very good at what they do, and I think we could say the same for attorneys and auto mechanics. And I think we have to assume that that’s probably true about every discipline. I’m not saying that 90% of them are unethical, but when you take in the unethical, the incompetent, and the snake-oil salesmen and all this, and you put it all together, I think in almost any field, you know, you’re going to find that probably only about 10% of them actually end up being very good at what they say they can do.
Ankerberg: I’ve got to take a break. Dr. Weldon, have you got a final comment?
Weldon: Yeah, I would really disagree with that. I think most of your M.D.’s are responsible and ethical. Maybe only a few percent are frauds. But John Townley—he’s a respected U.S. astrologer with 20 years’ experience—he says this: “I would say that most of the accusers of astrology are probably correct. They think that astrologers are 100% charlatans but I would bring it down to 90%.” In other words, he’s saying that 90% of astrologers are charlatans. Your chance of getting a charlatan are nine out of ten.


Ankerberg: We are discussing, “Is astrology credible.” And we have five guests and we’re going to take questions from the audience this week. Let’s find out what their questions are.
Audience: Yes, I’d like to ask you two how you explain the diversity of personalities and destinies among twins.
Ankerberg: Yeah.
Warneke: That’s a very good question. Do you want to do that?
Taylor: Well, go ahead and I’ll finish.
Warneke: Okay. Well, I assume, of course, that you’re probably speaking of identical twins in this particular case.
Ankerberg: Right.
Warneke: We do know that in the case of very close identical twins, that there are often amazingly close parallels. For example, there is often a higher degree of ability for them to have some sort of inner communication on the mind level and know what the other one is going to say or to speak. In some rare cases they can even speak the same words at the same moment, indicating there is some sort of a link between them when they’re very close. But, in addition to that, you’ll often see things where they live 1,000 miles apart but on the same day, unknown to each other, they met the woman that they were going to marry and her first name was exactly the same name. So there are some unusual correspondences that I think perhaps are accounted for by the similarity in their birth times. But it can’t really be explained in a scientific sense as yet. And I think that psychologists want very much to understand that.
Ankerberg: Let me ask you a question. How then could you as an astrologer that wants to test it scientifically, how could you devise a test for what you just told me? Because what you’re saying is, “Yeah, they’re close to being the same, but really when you get down to testing it, there’s too many variables and just a few minutes makes too much difference.” You couldn’t test it then.
Warneke: Well, if you could get a case where there’s only two minutes apart in birth time, the earth wouldn’t have rotated that much. There would be very little difference. The charts would be almost identical. So that would a pretty good test. Those births are extremely rare, so the average astrologer wouldn’t have access to that kind of data more than once or so in his lifetime. What’s difficult about identical twins is that it’s difficult to get enough data to do a test. That’s the real problem.
Weldon: John, a good test for that would be to have two babies in the same hospital born at the same time.
Taylor: What I’ve found—I haven’t done thousands but I’ve done many—I’ve found that identical twins, if they’re truly identical, are polar opposites in many, many ways. They’re so close, that what you do, what I do, is I take the birth chart of one and I actually invert it and make it the polar opposite. And the parents to whom I’ve read these charts are astounded, because identical twins are not identical. Yes, they do say the same thing at the same time and their lives do parallel, absolutely…
Warneke: Actually their personalities are absolutely opposite in ways…
Taylor: Yeah. And when you actually just take one and make it the polar opposite, you actually invert the chart, you’re able to read them. And that’s what I do in the case of twins.
Ankerberg: Karen, I’d like a comment from you. What do you think?
Winterburn: Well, having four children myself and having helped raise a number of children, you know, having dealt with a couple of cases of twins, but also children who are close to each other in the same family, I think it’s a psychological phenomenon which you interpret astrologically; that if people are close one of them is going to assume the polar opposite position of the other. That’s survival. You’ve got an aggressive-assertive person, his counterpart who is close to him emotionally, physically, sibling or whatever, is going to reverse that. And, you know, it need not be in his chart. You may have to manipulate the chart in order to find the reading that would suit that phenomena, but I think it’s a fairly common phenomena that you see.
Warneke: I have a suggestion. The only man that I know that’s an expert on this is a man named Spencer Grendahl out of Los Angeles. He has a Masters in psychology from Harvard and he has studied this with as many cases as he could get. Now, the number of cases are probably only about 75, which doesn’t constitute a legitimate statistical study, but that’s a larger number of cases. And, of course, he feels essentially the same way. I would agree, except to say that psychology and astrology are, in fact, the very same thing. So if you see psychological traits, they should be apparent in some way in the chart. And if I didn’t believe that, it would be very easy for me to back out of this. I think that’s a very good test of astrology.
Ankerberg: Do you think really that psychologists would agree with you, that psychology and astrology are the same thing?
Warneke: I’ve got a quote laying here on the floor from Carl Jung that astrology is a more supreme system of psychology than anything else that psychology has devised, and he is considered about the most formidable voice in psychology.
Winterburn: Let me just say in response to that, that it should be, yes. If astrology is valid, there should be that indication. But we have a situation where the birth chart is the same or similar. Maxine is saying she, on her own initiation, is switching these things around to get a valid reading. The reading that you get from setting up these two charts, which are either exactly the same or just a few minutes off—maybe different ascendant or whatever but basically the same—is not valid; because you have the behavior—polar opposite behavior—of two siblings, and that is not coming out of the chart. She has to manipulate the chart by turning it around because that’s the way she feels she can read this.
Warneke: That’s one technique, but the reason I recommended Mr. Spencer Grendhal is because he has another technique which does not manipulate the chart or turn it around which accounts for very fine differences where there are less than two minutes. His technique—I’ve seen him present that case—and he said, “I don’t claim to say that this works in a hundred percent of the cases, but it’s fairly convincing—probably 85 [to] 90 percent of the cases.” The technique that he suggests seems to work very well when we apply it to adult twins less than two minutes apart who have lived 20, 30, 40 years so you can see considerable personality differences between them.
Ankerberg: Terry, the skeptic of astrology would say, “What you have just said in all of that is, you don’t need astrology to explain what you just said.”
Warneke: I think you do, because I think what we’re talking about is, although the twins are very different, there are a thousand ways that you can be opposite from each other. The point is, sometimes not understanding what’s opposite there but what is really the content of their character. I mean, if one is aggressive and the other is passive, that’s one way to be opposite. If one is an athlete and the other one is a very intellectual type, that’s another way of being opposite. But it’s very important to know whether you’re looking at an athletic, or an intellectual, or an aggressive. I think one of the interesting cases where two gentlemen that are born less than two minutes apart where one has chosen a life of homosexuality and the other one is heterosexual.
Ankerberg: Dr. Weldon?
Weldon: Yeah, I’d like to comment on the interpretation of a chart. It’s, first of all, entirely subjective. In our The Facts on Astrology book we state, “At least seven independent studies have indicated that even with the best astrologers, there is little agreement as to the meaning of a chart. Seven additional studies revealed that people who have horoscopes interpreted for them cannot tell the difference between a right chart and a wrong chart; and even astrologers, professional astrologers, cannot tell the difference between a chart that is supposedly true and entirely reversed.
The Chairman of the United Kingdom Astrological Association here is describing a person who is very meek, but astrology predicts should be aggressive. And he shows the problems you get into as an astrologer trying to interpret these, you know, up to thousands of different variables. He says this—and he’s criticizing astrologers—he says, “If I find a very meek and unaggressive person with five planets in Aries, this does not cause me to doubt that Aries means aggression. I may be able to point to his Pisces ascendant or to his sun conjunct Saturn or to his ruler in the 12th house. And if none of these alibis are available, I can simply say that he has not yet fulfilled his Aries potential. Or I can argue, as I have heard argued, that if a person has an excess of planets in a particular sign, he will tend to suppress the characteristics of that sign because he is scared that, if he reveals them, he will carry them to excess. But if on the next day I meet a very aggressive person who also has five planets in Aries, I will change my tune. I will say he had to be like that because of his planets in Aries.” The point is, as one of my instructors at the conference said, “Take any astrological indication, it can mean anything I darn well want it to mean.”

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