LESSONS IN THE MYSTERY OF SKEPTICISM: Jeffrey Armstrong, Michael Shermer and Vedic Astrology

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
—Bertrand Russell

To go against my nature and get straight to the point is not easy, but here goes:

Simply press here now to watch spiritual teacher and Vedic astrologer Jeffrey Armstrong come out shining against well-known skeptic and debunker Michael Shermer.

That video—but a miniscule moment in the history of, let’s say, mystics and skeptics in conversation—is the actual point of this blog.

But after viewing Shermer’s challenge to Jeffrey and Vedic astrology, you still might want to read what I wrote before I decided to simply write “press here” and send you, as they say in the movie biz, straight to video.

In the essay I offer a summary of the challenge, a few juicy anecdotes, dare I say a little behind the scenes gossip and, of course, the ultimate answer to the mystery of existence.

Unfortunately, due to an old habit, I wrote the damn answer in a code that I’ve forgotten how to decipher.

Anyway, read on.

***

May I begin by saying, despite my skepticism, I’m a big fan of skeptics. I have to be, seeing as I am one.

Granted, skeptics can be a little mean-spirited. Sometimes they even lack a sense of humour. I think this is due, deep down, to a skeptic’s awareness and fear that they can’t debunk the absolute mystery of existence—or as Gottfried Leibniz put it:

Why is there something instead of nothing?

Or, put a completely different way by Richard Dawkins:

…our own existence once presented the greatest of all mysteries, but that it is a mystery no longer because it is solved.

Hm…uh…well, nonetheless, I have a soft spot for skeptics.

There’s something very comfortingly big brotherish about skeptics, offering their debunking noogies at every unexplained headlock—and wouldn’t you know it, life often is a headlock, so it works out perfectly.

THE SKEPTIC YOGI

Skeptics are obsessed with a version of what the ancient Hindus (and a few modern ones) called Samkhya: in short, the study of matter.

The best of skeptics, indeed, could be called yogis in this path.

And let’s face it, so many things need to be debunked. For instance, most people in the United States believe terms like liberal and conservative still have meaning.

Of course, in the same breath, what needs to be answered is why on earth we all don’t just love each other more and never stop laughing given the fact that we’re existing on a huge, round, rock-like ball that feeds infinite beings, spins through space, is warmed by a spinning ball of fire 93 million miles away, never crashes and we don’t fall off.

But that’s a different essay.

SKEPTICS AND SKEPTIC TANKS

I’ve seen the you tube clips where, say, skeptic James Randi debunks the likes of, say, Uri Geller—either by reproducing what Geller does through magic, or through analysis of Uri on videotape.

Randi’s debunking has, by all accounts, really bent Uri out of shape—without Randi ever touching him, incidentally.

Debunking is pretty fun, it’s true—although I always find it difficult to see someone get excessively humiliated. We are all humans, after all, struggling with the condition in our own ways, all smugness aside.

But enough about my fears—or as Leonard Cohen put it:

Needless to say
I am one of the fakes,
And this is my story.

ENTER MICHAEL SHERMER

Speaking of skeptics, I’ve also seen a lot of Why Darwin Matters’ skeptic Michael Shermer skillfully ply his debunking trade.

Michael has debunked everything from UFO abductions (although he was caught paying off martians) to walking on coals without the aid of shoes or a pep talk to remote viewing without the aid of somehow cheating.

ENTER JEFFREY ARMSTRONG

For, my dear friends, I’ve recently watched Michael Shermer—who had every advantage at his disposal including final edit, home field and his own rules imposed for the study—seeking to debunk Vedic astrology and, in the process of the attempted debunking, spiritual teacher Jeffrey Armstrong.

Michael, it turned out, was unadmittedly yet thoroughly outshined by Jeffrey’s astrology readings at every classic potential debunking moment.

I think most any viewer will be at least intriguingly impressed.

BIAS AND OTHER MIRACLES

Now I must confess two things:

One, I have always been skeptical of astrology.

Two, Jeffrey Armstrong is a friend of mine.

Jeffrey, it turns out, is a brilliant and encyclopedic teacher and scholar of Eastern spirituality—in particular what’s called Vedanta, with its many rich, wonderfully co-existing yet specific paths.

Jeffrey is so studied in these subjects, in fact, he speaks all over the world, including re-invigorating the Hindu dharma to Indians themselves, both the diaspora and Hindus in India.

For this to happen, my dear friends, after a thousand years of Indian colonization by Muslims and the British (my grandfather was an accountant in the Raj), is in itself a miracle that no skeptic has yet explained.

AND A BIT ABOUT ME

I have always been fascinated by science (biology, physics, chemistry), psychology, philosophy and theology, the nature of self and the infinite concepts of the Divine.

I’ve also, at different times, been obsessed with sharks, Tintin, hockey, music, creativity in all forms, women in many forms, astronomy and the gathering of lint in my navel.

Most of all, though, I just hope I’ve become a kinder, more loving, discerning, grateful person—more sattvic, in the Sanskrit. I hope my actions are practiced in gratitude, with greater awareness of ahimsa—or not causing harm.

From Jeffrey’s teaching I have learned a lot about the Vedas, specifically, that I could never have learned otherwise; not to mention a deeper knowledge of Buddhist paths, Taoism, indigenous paths, tantra, the Abrahamic religions and the human journey in general.

RICHARD DAWKINS AS METAPHOR

Further, I’ve learned different tastes of seeing, listening, feeling and experiencing others and myself—in ways I think folks like, say, evolutionary biologist and anti-God crusader Richard Dawkins (again, I am a big fan) could unfortunately on some level, for better or worse, only dream of (or not).

I conclude this from his writings on religion. Such a great mind and person, but he doesn’t seem to be able to simply ask.

And therefore in the process this brilliant atheist colonizes ‘God’, so-called, just as certain fundamentalist strands of religion have colonized ‘God’ for two millenia, by different forms of force and coercion.

At least on some level, and in line with Dawkins, I truly believe one’s abilities—and I use that word advisedly—might be due to one’s evolutionary propensity, again for better and worse.

It is ironic that so many intellectual geniuses can’t even relate enough to said journey to constructively, expansively or rationally approach the problem and/or ignorance they perceive.

As Ben Franklin described the predicament:

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

How many self-described people of reason do you know stuck in this paradox?

And granted, Richard will also see things in ways that I can only dream of. Such is life. His writings and grasp of evolutionary biology are often stunning.

Still, to quote the king of scientific uncertainty himself, Werner Heisenberg:

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

And to quote Jeffrey Armstrong:

The source of existence will appear differently to everyone according to their level of evolution.

But of course, if any of this is accurate, then how varied evolutionary levels ‘express themselves,’ given our incomprehensible complexity, remains a mystery—and for similar reasons.

AND WE ALL SHINE ON

And so I am posting here a clip (from, I think, 1999) of the show in which Jeffrey Armstrong goes up against Michael Shermer’s skepticism, and displays his vast knowledge and skill in Vedic Astrology, which he has been sharing now for over thirty-five years.

Summarizing the study (as it was labeled by Michael Shermer):

In a scenario set up to debunk astrology, Jeffrey Armstrong reads NINE charts in about TWENTY minutes. Most charts are usually given an hour of study each.

EXPERIMENT I: Face-to-face reading with a skeptic. The subject, afterwards, said Jeffrey’s reading “officially blew me away.”

EXPERIMENT II: Nine “blind” readings. Results: 105 of 137—or 77%—of Jeffrey’s statements deemed accurate, ALL scores 63% or over, high of 89%.

EXPERIMENT III: The kicker. Two of the nine, unbeknownst to Jeffrey or the subjects, have their charts switched. Accuracy rating drops to 38 and 21% respectively. Switched back to true charts, accuracy goes to 94 and 92%.

Even more than skepticism, I appreciate the wonder of humility and generosity.

I think a skeptic should apply their same debunking enthusiasm in the opposite way when he or she has been statistically and undeniably knocked down in every round, or even eventually loses by unanimous decision.

As I said, I have always been skeptical of astrology. But Jeffrey’s knowledge and insight of Vedic astrology, practiced with depth, has made me sit up as a discerning listener—for myriad reasons—as opposed to the know-it-all I can be.

May I remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Every [person] I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.

ANECDOTAL UNDERPANTS

One friend of mine, incidentally, had a reading with Jeffrey. The first thing Jeffrey said was, paraphrasing, “…looking at both the placement of your Sun and Ketu in the twelth house, I’d say you’ve never met your father.”

It was true. Dad had scooted away, never to be seen again, at the first news of the pregnancy, over thirty years ago.

Ah, you say, but that is merely anecdotal or coincidental. True, perhaps, but I just also saw in my chart that I may one day type at 3 am with underpants on my head, and guess what…?

BEHIND THE SCENES

As for the piece with Michael Shermer, I recently learned from conversation with Jeffrey that, in his opinion, by far the best astrology moments from the ten-hour, three camera shooting day were left out from the final cut (the piece you saw, incidentally, is an abridged version of the original 18 minute version).

For example—and this really did happen (all my jokes aside):

Due to Capricorn rising in her chart, Jeffrey mentioned the first woman’s eyebrows would probably have a tendency towards bushiness. It turns out—cut from the piece—that the woman not only responded “Yes,” as we saw, but for that reason, in high school, she was actually nicknamed “Bush” (go easy, this is a family blog).

Coincidence? Luck? Or is something hairy?

Jeffrey told the charismatic older man and his wife, according to their chart, that they were likely in the middle of house renovations and living there at the same time (due to certain transits in both their charts). They were astounded and said they were—and would never again live in a house while it was being renovated.

And the Asian American woman who said she’d in fact had a strong relationship with her father, didn’t hear (but you can hear it if you listen) Jeffrey say that she might have had a “difficult father relationship�? or “separation from father.�?

Her father, it turned out, had been in China for something like the last ten years, in which time they had hardly if ever seen each other.

And there are other tidbits too personal to mention.

So you see, both skeptics and charlatans—and all the rest of us—stack the deck.

Afterwards, upon seeing how difficult it was for skeptics to admit defeat, Jeffrey commented to his wife: “It appears they have ended up in the skeptic tank.”

Further, Michael Shermer, seemingly caught off guard by Jeffrey’s accuracy, supposedly delivered an ending so irritable and unbalanced that Jeffrey called the show’s producer and pointed out that it was “out of integrity” for them to not point out that the experiment had gone completely in favour of astrology.

The producers, to their credit, made sure the ending was changed.

But even after Jeffrey’s statistical success under the worst possible conditions, Michael’s closing statement rose only to:

While skeptics will explain the results of our study as due to chance and wishful interpretation, believers will see them as further proof that the stars and planets directly influence our lives.

One can only imagine the lambasting that would have resulted had the last two “double blind” readings unfolded with opposite results. The term “tarred-and-feathered” clucks to mind.

But one can figure out for oneself (although I can’t) the actual statistical probability of what happened, happening by pure chance—particular given the last switcheroo. Very slim.

The study’s results—and the fortitude it took for Jeffrey to be a “sitting-duck” and do the show (I believe two other astrologers, justly fearing for their careers, had declined)—are worthy of respect and intrigue and at least temporary concession by an honest skeptic.

Why?

For the simple reason, according to a scientist friend of mine—yes, a scientist, who even occasionally wears a white lab coat—the results are at the very least “statistically interesting.�?

HUMAN NATURE

But the skeptic often forgets that, like believers or mystics, so-called, their nature also precludes their conclusions—even when the results should create a different response.

Indeed, in humility I would suggest that the skeptic’s nature—even perhaps for evolutionary reasons, like the rest of us—leads their belief system, too.

Thus, in the field of skepticism, if one is not careful—like with any person obsessed with being constantly right—the utter joy and humour within the mystery of being alive risks being deconstructed, even killed off, not unlike, say, the evolutionary cul-de-sac of those poor old knuckle-dragging Neanderthals (who, science has revealed, were mostly very hairy skeptics).

Never forget, for instance, that famous, recently-decoded sentence allegedly written in beet root juice in the Lascaux caves in France by a too-proud Neanderthal:

Cro Magnon man can kiss hairy butt if he think he more smarter than me are because of his so-called “neo-gortex”—whatever that are—and his so-called new and improved “imagination.”

And look where that attitude got him.

The mystery of who and what we are, to any truly deep and rational thinker, remains decidedly unknown.

To finish, I would like to reiterate that Jeffrey is first and foremost a spiritual teacher and scholar (and a wonderful poet), and to increase the sustainability of your spiritual or physical journey, I would highly recommend looking into his vast reservoir of Vedic, and cross-cultured ancient and modern knowledge.

Our bodies, after all, are talking to us, and we don’t even know it. Mine, for example, just said something like: “Go…bed…soon….you…”—whatever that means.

And with that I offer lots of love to Jeffrey, to Michael and to you—and to paraphrase the Bhagavad Gita—that we may come to realise how hopelessly we follow our individual propensities (and believe it to be our true self) on the journey towards who we truly are.

And in that journey, in this crazy world, may we find a little more compassion for each other.

Pete xoxo

PS Please feel free to comment.

PPS I think I’ll finish with Wide Open. Press here to hear it.

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15 Responses to “LESSONS IN THE MYSTERY OF SKEPTICISM: Jeffrey Armstrong, Michael Shermer and Vedic Astrology”

  1. Kim Linekin says:

    Very interesting post and video clip, Petie. I agree with the people who commented below the clip on YouTube that there are ways the study could’ve been made even more scientifically rigorous (e.g., play all nine readings to each subject and have the subject pick which reading applied to him/herself), but considering the show was produced by a sceptic and thus engineered against Jeffrey, it’s even more impressive that he beat them at their own game.

    Now if only Jeffrey could predict when I’ll have the disposable income to try out a reading…

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lovely Kim,

    Of course it can always be more rigorous, and the point is that skeptics so often don’t use science.

    In my opinion, however, the method the commenters might have been suggesting seems to me would be highly subjective…

    Getting the subjects to read nine different charts, figure out which is closer to themselves etc…sounds like a disaster to me. Further, there are not nine charts only. There are endless combinations of charts, and the descriptions are by an astrologers admittance, not perfect, not carbon print outs. It’s astrology, after all!

    Michael Shermer used an increasingly difficult method at three different turns, and at every turn, with Jeffrey, on this particular day, whatever it means, Michael was, let’s say, outshined.

    The actual way an experiment might work would be to have a skeptic/scientist who had any respect at all, and between the two people, the scientists and, say, the astrology, work out what is actually being done, and figure out the best way to study it. The scientist actually has to have some understanding of what an astrologer is doing (and care enough and be open enough).

    Indeed, had the skeptic really wanted to explore the situation, he would follow up a failed debunking, ask what is going on, and try to figure out how to fund a study, which is never cheap. The nature of the skeptic on these shows, perhaps often for good reason, is to make the person look like an arse—which isn’t particularly nice or scientific, necessarily.

    The switch at the end is statistically interesting, by any standard—no matter what it ultimately means (indeed it might have been luck, but the chances of it happening like that are what, 1 in 72 or something?—I’m not very good with stats) particularly given the repeated success of over say 60%-90% or whatever it was on 7 or 8 straight, and then an utter collapse on two straight when switched.

    But what do I know? I am a skeptic, and a dreamer.

    Again, imagine the response if the results had been different. The only response from a skeptic when every turn was met as a success for Jeffrey, has to be: “Not rigorous enough!”

    That was my point in the essay, and the commentators show it. Skeptics, or most anyone with certain beliefs—we all see it, too, when people are dug into a political party—will just hold onto those beliefs at almost any cost, and rarely even give a concession, even for one little experiment.

    I love humans!

    Pete xoxo

  3. Jan/VEDA says:

    Pretty good job by Jeffrey. Time to take on James Randi’s $$$ price challenge? Well, afaik Randi has declined some applicants so it could happen again… ;)

  4. [...] For a really long-winded essay on the piece (which I wrote in my long-winded way), press here. [...]

  5. Milind says:

    Very inetresting article. You have discussed everything neutrally. I just wanted to add one thing……there are vedic astrologers in India who can perform even better and these guys don’t charge a dime. It runs in their families for generations!

  6. Dear Milind, thanks for the note. That Vedic astrologers work for nothing in India is a wonderful and intriguing thought (clearly the talent not only runs in their familes, they live with their families). Working for nothing in North America (perhaps for astrological, but probably economic reasons) is a disaster! But thanks for reminding me of this article. It’s been fun to occasionally read the comments on youtube beneath the post and see how both skeptics and believers respond to what they see according to their nature or propensity more than anything else.

    Welcome to the human condition!

    All the best,

    Pete

  7. R0YB0T says:

    Are you serious?
    Do you really believe that an astrologer can see if you have bushy eyebrows or if you father left you by looking into OUTER SPACE and some old Hindu scripture? Does that mean he would not have abandoned his child if “your Sun and Ketu in the twelth house” was in a different position?

    What is more reasonable:
    1. Armstrong was cold reading like all astrologers do, combined with knowing your Age, Sex, and Location of birth and the good old Forer effect.
    Or
    2. He saw all of those things in the Planets and Stars and some old Hindu text?

    Let’s stick to the video.

    1st Woman, Bushy Eyebrow Lady:
    - The 1st woman he has the benefit of seeing in person along with her data (Age Sex Location of birth.)

    - She is dressed like a business woman (tends to be in charge), he gets a quick hit on that.

    - Bushy eyebrows? Yeah we can all see that.

    He now says something major happened within the last 2 to 3 years.
    He guesses:
    -changed jobs,
    -changed careers,
    -made a decision,
    -got out of a relationship,
    -mother or father died,
    -something happened within your life within he last 3 years.

    Now look at her while he is saying that. As soon as he said something happened within the last 2 years she gets visibly upset and tilts her head to the side while blinking and looking as if she is about to cry, he then ups it to 3 years and tosses “mother or father died”.

    Who the hell hasn’t had something major happen in the past 3 years?

    That was an easy debunk. He did some cold reading along with the Forer effect achieved good results. Magicians do it all the time.

    Ok now the 2nd part of the test where he switched the two lady’s readings:
    - Remember he has their AGE, SEX, LOCATION OF BIRTH.

    - The two women have a large age difference. One is confirmed to be 53,
    the other is much younger (30′s) and states that she has a “little girl”.

    - Armstrong predicted that “this person Will have good children” You would not guess that a 53 year old woman would be having ANY children would you?

    - He guesses that the 46+ year old would probably have more than 1 marriage. That is a safe guess for a woman her age in America.

    That was also a very easy debunk as long as you can think rationally and not be scammed easily. If I were to make a few dozen guesses about a 46 year old woman, and then made a few dozen guesses about a 30 year old woman, you would be able to tell who I am talking about.

    Bonus Round!
    The Asian Woman Jennifer:
    - He guesses that she would put on more weight after 40. It is called menopause.
    - He said she would like dancing or martial arts. I do not know many girls who have not Danced or taken Martial arts. He might as well guessed she has a period once a month.
    - Why was he wrong about her father? That’s because he is just guessing.

    Bonus Round 2!
    The Rest:
    Let’s see what other incredibly vague and lame information Jefferey Armstrong gets supposedly from the stars, planets and the ancient vedic scriptures. Try not to laugh… just kidding laugh as much as you want.

    - They are a bit of a clown or was probably a smart alec or the comedian growing up.
    - There speech is at times strong, they could be a speaker.

    - This is definitely a person who has been a lot of places and done a lot of things. He says this to the gray haired guy who is married to the older woman.
    Really? An older guy might be well traveled and might have done a lot of things?

    - Probably Wealthy and good looking. A good dresser (which planet tells you this??)

    - This is a person who has some detail ability.

    - This is a supportive person.

    - THIS PERSON COULD HAVE BUSHY EYEBROWS!!! (which planet tells you this?)

    - THIS PERSON COULD HAVE CAR PROBLEMS!!! (if only he was born with Mars in the 10th house instead of the 12th house then he would not have bought that Chevy Nova!!)

    Conclusion:
    This video shows the Forer Effect and Cold reading being used in an irresponsible way, which is for any reason other than Entertainment Purposes.

    It is painfully obvious what he is doing, and to think adults in 2010 still buy into this crap in modern countries shows how lacking our education system really is. We need critical thinking classes for our youth so they do not grow up buying into these scams.

    Astrologers use the same techniques Psychics and Mediums use. The difference is they try to inject a bit of science into their bullshit to make it appear legitimate.

    Basically he is practicing psychology without a license, though it is more like abusing psychology.
    If you spent years talking to people guessing what their issues are, you would get really good at it! Magicians do the same thing but don’t claim they have powers or some pseudoscience that tell them your information.

    Here are some videos of responsible people using the same methods:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7XIf-z1J4w
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btP_vy5cQq4

    To Mr. McCormack:
    I know this is an old post (2007) but I just stumbled upon it, anyhow I hope you do not get scammed or taken advantage of in the future. There are a lot of Astrologers, Psychics, Mediums, Dowsers, and other con artists out there that would gladly take your money. Think critically and hold onto your wallet!

  8. Dear Roybot,

    Thanks so much for your skepticism. Vital and great. Your comments have much legitimacy. On the flipside, unless I missed you talking about it, you didn’t mention the switch at the end. Indeed, it does not prove anything, but it is in its moment, statistically interesting. The odds of the results being more positive than negative (at east as Shermer set the rules) for ALL of the subjects, except the last two, that were switched, and then highly positive when switched back, is statistically interesting. Again, it doesn’t prove anything. It’s just highly unlikely to happen. Even one of my scientist lab-coat friends said that it was, in the moment, statistically interesting. That’s the HONEST response to the Armstrong/Shermer day, whether one likes or dislikes, or believes or doesn’t believe, in astrology. Similarly, if in the cold readings all had gone the opposite way, THAT would have been statistically interesting, negative for astrology, while still not being a “scientific” experiment. Left/Right/Theist/Atheist, I just try to be an honest man.

    Truth is, I’m not very big on astrology. Oh, I think a “planet” doesn’t actually say bushy eye-brows or whatever. If I understand correctly (which I don’t, but…) , a strong Saturn, for instance, means one perhaps is good with material things. With a few other strengths it may show up as detailed or whatever. Good with cars is an extrapolation from that, I think. Again, I don’t have much knowledge, but the manual doesn’t say: “car mechanic”, as far as I know.

    But thanks again. If we want to really talk about charlatans, backed by “science” and so-called “rational” thinkers, let’s figure out the bail out, the transfer of wealth and the record bonuses and profits and so on. Now that, my friend, is pseudoscience that really packs a punch.

    All the best,

    Pete

  9. R0YB0T says:

    Thank you for the reply Pete.

    I did address the two women who were switched which was taken by many as the most impressive part of the reading.
    This is explained rather easily.

    “Ok now the 2nd part of the test where he switched the Two Lady’s readings:
    - Remember he has their AGE, SEX, LOCATION OF BIRTH.

    - The two women have a large age difference. One is confirmed to be 46,
    the other is much younger (30’s) and states that she has a “little girl”.

    - Armstrong predicted the younger woman “Will have good children” You would not guess that a 46 year old woman would be having ANY children would you?

    - He guesses that the 46+ year old would probably have more than 1 marriage. That is a safe guess for a woman her age in America.

    That was also a very easy debunk as long as you can think rationally and not be scammed easily. If I were to make a few dozen guesses about a 46 year old woman, and then made a few dozen guesses about a 30 year old woman, you would be able to tell who I am talking about.”
    Basically the guesses you can make on someone vary greatly depending on their age sex and location.
    (edited from the original post to correct errors)

    Also I agree, there are more pressing matters at hand than pseudoscience. Though it is during hard times that people tend to go for “alternative” solutions. And again I appreciate your response.

  10. Marc Alan says:

    Armstrong’s hits, in my opinion, don’t for a moment validate Vedic astrology or any other type of astrology. The video is very interesting, mainly because Shermer appears to “lose.” I wonder if Shermer himself ever wrote a post-script to that episode. If anyone has the link, please post it.

    So why, if Vedic astrology is bunk, did Armstrong get so many hits? And if Vedic astrology (apparently ONLY Vedic astrology is “scientific” according to Armstrong) is a proper scientific tool, then why hasn’t it been embraced by the scientific community? Why would they let something so wonderful wither away at the margins of society? Or perhaps the community of Vedic astrologers is making inroads towards a TOE that modern science can’t even dream of? Hey, why not? As long as they get a few spectacular hits from time to time, they get to play in the sandbox with the other boys and girls.

  11. JJ says:

    Doesn’t the Forer effect apply here for some of the more general comments and therefore account for at least a good deal of the hits? Doesn’t having the gender, date and location of birth account for the rest?

    The result of the switch is more interesting, but part of it can be explained by the age and possibly location of birth.

    After accounting for these effects, is what we’re left with significant? Is it repeatable? If so, it should be studied, because if astrology is true, the universe doesn’t work the way we think it does and it means re-writing a lot of science.

  12. Hey JJ,

    The Forer effect is very interesting, of course. What makes this moment interesting, of course, is, as you have said, the switch. The Forer effect tells us the numbers should not have changed. That was the point of the Forer experiment.

    Granted, the show is NOT science, but I wish I was statistically/probability inclined enough to figure out the likelihood of the stats changing only on the last two subjects, who also happened to have their charts switch. Even if it is pure chance, what was the chance of it happening only where it did? Everywhere else, Jeffrey Armstrong (Foner phenomenon or not) had above average success. If you know a mathematician who can figure that out, I’d love to hear the results.

    Your final sentence is to me exactly correct, and fun. Being a skeptic myself, yet always baffled by the world, I’d like to study it, and I’m also a filmmaker, so I’ll see what I can do.

    Wishing you all the best. Thanks for your comments,

    Pete

  13. Vivek Kaul says:

    I am skeptic myself, but I am not sure about this statement by r

    Armstrong predicted the younger woman “Will have good children” You would not guess that a 46 year old woman would be having ANY children would you?

    Why can’t 46 old year woman have children?

  14. R0YB0T says:

    @Vivek Kaul

    If you were to guess that a person will have children in the future would you place that bet on the person in their 30′s or the person who is 46?

    He is just guessing things based on the data he has. Instead of admitting that he is guessing these things he is claiming to get this information from the stars.

  15. Observer says:

    Astrology is an unreliable tool for predicting future. Jeffrey Armstrong is interested in marketing ancient Indian mystical teachings and thus make money out it. Most of these teachings in India are given for FREE. I don’t understand why Jeffrey is selling mystical and spiritual teachings of India for money. He didn’t originate it. I wonder if he can predict any future events accurately like marriage, birth of the child, death, accidents etc on particular date. I have had my astrological readings from well-known Vedic astrologers but none of what they predicted came true. If I say that these so-called Vedic astrologers are full of crap then that would be aptly appropriate based on my own person experience with multiple Vedic astrologers.

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