+gt;The problem is in the details. The Mars Effect is at best a rather +gt;tiny deviation

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

>The problem is in the details. The Mars Effect is at best a rather >tiny deviation in the distribution of the positions of Mars in the sky >at people's births. The Mars Effect is supposed to work with sports >champions only. For other eminent professionals similar effects are >claimed. The "Mars effect" (=Mars-related deviations of birth frequencies) has been reported to be present in samples of sports champions, business executives, military heroes, physicians. Other planets showing relationships are Jupiter (actors,politicians) Saturn (scientists), the Moon (writers, politicians). The above are "positive" frequency deviations. The Gauquelins reported negative frequency deviations (less births than expected by chance) for Mars (Musicians, painters,writers), Jupiter (scientists) Saturn (painters,writers). This sounds confusing. I calculated a cluster analysis of the entire planetary sector information provided by 11 different professional samples. The resulting order does not make only sense but is nearly identical to the cluster of the professions based on similarity groupings ("free card sorting"). Details on request. >There have been two more or less independent tests: one Belgian >(535 subjects) and one American (409 subjects). The Belgian test >confirmed the Mars Effect, the American test disconfirmed it. There were three independent tests (new data) conducted by skeptics groups, the third group was the French CFEPP. Since CFEPP did not yet report results of data analysis (we have been waiting now for two years) Arno Mueller and I analysed the data. The Mars effect hypothesis has been corroborated even though the eminence of sports people in the CFEPP sample is appreciably lower than in the former Gauquelin sample (eminence by citation counts). >Ertel's contribution is (A) the discovery that among the >sportsmen (oops, sportspersons) that Gauquelin had in his >files (but never published about) there was an anti-Mars effect, >which indicates some kind of bias in Gauquelin's procedure >and (B) that there was nonetheless a trend that Gauquelin couldn't >have faked, namely more famous athletes show a clearer Mars effect. Gauquelin had exempted from analysis and publication sports people of less renown. The criteria however, were subjective (he decided after reading competition records in respective reference books but apparently also AFTER having obtained birth data and Mars sector position for these people). Gauquelin gave me this data when I visited him in Paris. I then did an analysis using Gauauqelin's published as well as unpublished data. The total sample had been divided into subsamples of increasing eminence (citation counts). Result: The Mars percentages increased steadily from the least eminent to the most eminent subsample. The great majority of the unpublished data were contained in the subsamples of least success, so the eminence slope was steeper for the entire sample than for published data only. The trend upwards was very significant, the significance of the trend being independent of the level the entire sample. Interestingly,I found a near-significant trend upwards even with the U.S. athletes data whose general Mars level did not show positive deviations. >I think that Gauquelin >did something like that, thereby introducing a subtle bias that >he was unaware of himself. More precisely, I think that Gauquelin >might have determined the criteria for "championship" AFTER knowing >the athlete's Mars sectors. Initially he was quite liberal in >accepting someone as champion (there are hundreds of Italian aviators >in his files), but gradually tightened the conditions: after the U.S. >test he complained that only Olympic Gold Medal winners were good >enough. Others have turned this complaint into a suspicion that >the U.S. Skeptics are actually a kind of crypto-neo-astrologers, >because they ruined the test on purpose by slipping in semi-cripples >like mere Silver Medal winners (I hope you understand that I am >exaggerating a little here). When Kurtz et al. had published their negative U.S. result (i.e., no Mars effect) Gauquelin travelled to California in order to collect birth data of U.S. athletes on his own. I compared the Kurtz and Gauquelin U.S. samples using citation counts (18 reference sources). I found a remarkable difference between the two samples, Gauquelin's athletes having much more citations than Kurtz' athletes. >One development has been that Ertel and Mueller have found that >among the extremely famous (sportsmen and otherwise) there is >also a kind of anti-Mars effect. This is more complicated. It sounds as if these studies will produce one contradictory result after another. There are puzzling results (see my article in Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 1992). But I can't help. The Gauquelin planetary effects is one of the most solid findings in the field of anomalistics. A comment to R. Nelson's "claims of the enthousiasts". You need not be enthousiastic about making such a claim. If the evidence is convincing you must yield to it, perhaps grudgingly, your affective response doesn't matter. A comment to Mc Grath's "triviality of the Mar's effect" (is this misspelling intentional?): Opinions about the possible importance about the Mars effect differ among skeptics. CSICOP astronomer George Abell said:" The Mars effect, to be real, would require new physics beyond anything that science can at present understand...It would be a very interesting challenge to find positive evidence that such a surprising effect was real." He also said: "To be sure, a lack of an explanation for a phenomenon is not in itself a sufficient reason to reject it; but it is reason for checking it out with great care." Suitbert Ertel Institut fuer Psychologie Universitaet Goettingen Germany


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank