Starbaby: the Great Debunking Scandal
A good alternative sub-title could have been “The Great Coup of Fate Magazine.” If you don’t already subscribe to Fate Magazine, at least get the October, l981 issue. It is full of gems, of which Starbaby is the Crown Jewel for anyone interested in astrology or parapsychology. Dennis Rawlins is the whistle blower on his former cohorts in the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). The primary originator and mover in the Committee is Paul Kurtz, a philosopher in Buffalo, N.Y. and former editor of the Humanist Journal. When he started attacking all religions, the Humanists decided he had become too much of a liability, and they retired him as editor of their journal. As long as he limited his attacks to astrology and the psychic area, he had a fairly free rein. It was assumed the groups under attack were too small or too stupid, or too powerless to be a problem. Attacking mainline Christianity is a horse of a different color.
Kurtz first hit the media in the fall of 1975 when he persuaded 186 so-called “scientists” to sign his attack on astrology and the statement was widely distributed in the media. The level of knowledge held by most of the signers can be illustrated by one I heard about on my travels that fall. I met a woman who knew one of the signers, and when she saw his name on the published list she said to him, “I didn’t know you knew anything about astrology.” He responded, “I don’t.” She then asked reasonably, “Why did you sign the attack on astrology if you did not know anything about it?” He answered, “Because they asked me to.” Can one be any more scientific than that? Dennis Rawlins’ article points out how much less scientific and objective it is possible to be!
I can’t possibly do justice to a 32 page history of lies and manipulations and stupidity perpetrated by so-called scientists. You will have to read the article for yourself. Reprints can be ordered for $1 from Fate, 500 Hyacinth Place, Highland Park, Ill. 60035. Ask for Starbaby by Dennis Rawlins, and keep it as ammunition for any flack from self-anointed scientists. It won’t help you handle your friends who are religious “true believers,” but it ought to shake up the scientific true believers.
Rawlins describes how he started as a skeptic of all claims for the paranormal, including all varieties of psychic experience, and was delighted to share what was billed as an objective investigation of the area. Week by week he was shocked by the obvious bias and dishonesty of the other committee members. They finally voted him out while he was not present, when it became plain that he refused to support their cover-up of failure to refute the astrological results of Gauquelin. The main members of the committee had seen Gauquelin’s highly significant and frequently replicated research as the main obstacle to dismissing astrology, and had centered their attack on his work. Unfortunately, their test case came out supporting Gauquelin and they had to lie in print to cover-up the result. Rather than admit they were wrong and Gauquelin was right, they threw out Rawlins who threatened to blow the whistle. Of course, that did not stop Rawlins. The Fate article is a magnificent expose. I only need to add one item to the information offered by Rawlins. He mentioned that one collection of sports champions gathered in the United States not only did not have above chance numbers with Mars in the zones Gauquelin calls “high intensity.” It had less than chance. Much more on Gauquelin’s work appears elsewhere in our journal, but at this time, we can just say that these High Intensity zones are mostly the 9th and 12th houses in the horoscope, with some emphasis also in the 6th and 3rd houses, and some extension into the 10th and 1st. houses. What Rawlins did not know, or did not consider significant, was told to me in a personal conversation with Gauquelin. The American sample gathered by Kurtz were basketball players. The primary variable for success in basketball is height. Mars in high focus in a horoscope is traditionally associated with short stature but great strength. Instead of the “less than chance” results of the American sports champions being a challenge to astrology and what is being called the “Gauquelin effect,” the results are a further support for the ancient associations with Mars. I will deal with the Gauquelins’ results in another article. At this point, I just want to encourage everyone to order a reprint of the Rawlins’ article from Fate.