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Tags rejected , mdc , john a keeran , astrology , challenge application

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Old 27th June 2005, 09:54 AM   #1
KRAMER
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,434
"JAK" KEERAN, Astrologer

I John A. "JAK" Keeran, believe that I can show a correlation (better than chance) between celestial objects and human personailty traits. I will perform this feat using techniques attributed to the pseudo-science of astrology.

Enclosed are my test protocol and Million Dollar Challenge Application.

-"JAK" Keeran

*My proposed test will be composed of twenty (20) "family triads". Each triad will be composed of one student (age 18-25) and her/his parents (both mother & father). The total particpants will, thus, be 60 (twenty groups of three).

*All parents and students participating must entrust a photocopy of their birth certificate to a designated JREF official or JREF appointee who will control the test.

*The student and his/her parents will each fill out a form with 100 questions. This questionnaire will be a single, standard form for all 60 participants. No names will appear on the questionnaires, and the questionnaires will be randomly numbered and distributed to the participants. The JREF appointee will maintain the only list correlating names and questionnaires. Each question on the form will relate to the student's father (his personailty/character traits) and offer a range (strongly strongly disagree, somewhat disagree, don't know, somewhat agree, and strongly agree) or a comparison (more like, neither, etc.) or a "fill in the blank". These questionnaires will also be entrusted to the designated JREF official or JREF employee.

*After the collection of all 60 birth certificates and questionanaires, JAK Keeran will be provided a packet for each student which includes the three questionnaires of his/her family triad PLUS the birth data (date, time & location) for that student and her/his mother only. IT IS CRITICAL TO THE VALIDITY OF THE TEST THAT NO NAMES APPEAR ON ANY MATERIALS GIVEN TO JAK.

*JAK will produce an astrological "natal" chart for each stuident and mother of the 20 triads (40 astrological charts). These will be filed with the JREF official.

*Next, the JREF official will send JAK a combined list of birth dates (date, time & location) for all of the sytudent's fathers (again, NO NAMES), and JAK will produce and "unknown fathers" astrological chart for each date on the list (20 charts). These, too, will be filed with the JREF official.

*DEMONSTRATION: For each triad, based upon the questionnaire and the student's chart, JAK will deduce which unknown father's chart is the best match. Given the match, JAK will record the birth date of the father with the matched family triad. At the end of the demonstration, JAK will provide a list of birthdays for each of the fathers of the 20 family triads.

*ANALYSIS: If there is no relationship between the astrological horoscopes and people, then the odds of a match should be roughly 1 in 20. If JAK matches two students correctly to their fathers, this will be considered lucky. Three (3) matches would be considered very lucky. Upon a 4th or 5th match, matching ability is at or exceeding 20%, and the test should be deemed successful. This should warrant acceptance into the next step of the Challenge. Failure to meet or exceed the 20% match threshold will be deemed failure of the test.

CONSTRAINT #1 - All questionnaires and birth certificate photocopies must be provided for each student triad to the JREF official. All birth certificates must provide three critical pieces of information: location of birth (lattitude and longitude for large cities), date of birth, and time of birth within 4 minutes.

CONSTRAINT #2 - No birth certificates (or photocopies thereof), and certainly no participant names, are allowed to be sent to or seen by the demonstrator, JAK Keeran.

KNOWN RISK #1 - There are no expected physical risks to any of the participants.

KNOWN RISK #2 - Psychological (emotional) risks might occur if the charts are interpreted as "true" for any participant. If participants want to have such "readings" of their charts, they must sign a waiver stipulating they understand that this is a study and that the information is likely flawed to some degree (and likely to a very large degree).


=============================================

Dear Mr. Keeran,

We are in receipt of your JREF Paranormal Challenge application.

We have several questions regarding your protocol proposal.

Firstly, how is it possible to determine that the birth certificate data is correct? How can an acceptable test be constructed around a questionnaire? That is, how can it be positively determined that the subject’s answers are true and accurate?

Also, we believe that you may misunderstand the nature of the Challenge in one vital area: The JREF cannot supply you with any data for your test.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to supply all that is necessary for the test to be carried out, and the test must be double-blinded in order to be acceptable. The JREF itself only acts as an observer. We do not actually conduct the test or take part in it in any way.

Finally, how do you propose to compile the data you need for the test?

Obviously, the first real hurdle in arriving at an acceptable protocol is the question of where/how you will find and secure the necessary test subjects.

We look forward to your reply. Also, if there is an email address we can use to correspond with you, it would certainly expedite matters.
__________________
KRAMER,
JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk

Last edited by KRAMER; 17th October 2005 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 1st July 2005, 09:29 AM   #2
KRAMER
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Hi Kramer,

I am in receipt of your letter dated 6-27-05 (addressed "Dear Mr. Keeran") wherein you asked a few questions regarding my JREF Paranormal Challenge application. I will address them in order below:


JREF QUESTION: "Firstly, how is it possible to determine that the birth certificate data is correct?"

JAK ANSWER: That is a potential anomaly working to my disadvantage. With a larger sampling of data, the impact of birth certificate errors should be reduced. My belief is that the accuracy of my techniques is significantly greater than chance. Thus, I can sacrifice some accuracy of sampling data and still show results which are greater than chance.

JREF QUESTION: "How can an acceptable test be constructed around a questionnaire?"

JAK ANSWER: Criteria of acceptance is in the discretion of JREF. If a questionnaire is not acceptable to JREF, some other approach will be necessary. The purpose of the questionnaires is to profile the father. With a father's profile, I will use astrological principles to deduce which father's birth chart (natal chart) best matches any father's profile. If astrology is useless, my attempt at matching should be no better than chance. If the principles have any substance, my accuracy of matches should beat chance.

JREF QUESTION: "That is, how can it be positively determined that the subject's answers are true and accurate?"

JAK ANSWER: This is the reason for having 3 questionnaires for each family, one from the father, one from the wife, and one from the offspring. With three questionnaires asking identical questions, I can reduce the "weight" of conflicting information and increase the weight of corroborated information. Nevertheless, this is another weakness in the test working to my disadvantage.

JREF RULE: "The JREF cannot supply you with any data for your test. ... the test must be double-blinded in order to be acceptable."

JAK RESPONSE: My intent was to give as much control to JREF as possible to ensure that the test is double-blinded. If JREF does not want to act in that role, we will need to discuss who would be acceptable to JREF for such a role. I would suggest assigning one of your advisors or an interested university professor.

JREF QUESTION: "Finally, how do you propose to compile the data you need for the test?"

JAK ANSWER: I'm not sure what you are asking. "Compile" as in collect? "Compile", as in analyze? "Compile" as in ensuring a double-blind result? "Compile" as in ...?

JREF QUESTION: Where/how will you find and secure the necessary test subjects?

JAK ANSWER: My expectation is to involve university professors (local or remote) in various fields. Mathematics students might use this test as a project in applying statistical methodology or chaos theory. Astronomy students might use the test as a project to learn about sideral time and computing the motion of planets. Philosophy students might use it as a test of formal logic (truths, fallacies, etc.). Psychology students might use it in conjunction with learning about Jung (who used it). Psychology students might also recognize and appreciate my contention that, even if astrology is completely wrong, it helps a therapist ask penetrating questions, and the answers may prove beneficial.

Best regards,
JAK
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KRAMER,
JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk

Last edited by KRAMER; 17th October 2005 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 1st July 2005, 11:35 AM   #3
KRAMER
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Hello JAK,
Thank you for your speedy and most thoughtful reply to my letter.

The "weaknesses" you refer to within your protocol proposal work not only to your own disadvantage, but also to the extreme disadvantage of the validity of the test results overall, whether they be positive or negative. The JREF always strives to achieve a test protocol whose results will be conclusive. A test that may or may not prove the vailidity of the claim cannot be accepteable to us. We must mutually agree to a test protocol whose results are NOT open to interpretation, and the one you have submitted does seem to be "full of holes", so to speak.

One of the most basic problems in testing astrology is the variance in recorded birth data. Birth certificates often contain imprecise birth times, and, as the exact time of birth is imperative in constructing an accurate "natal chart", this really tosses a Wild Card into the proceedings, and we cannot be sure how to solve this conundrum to the satisfaction of both the applicant and the JREF.

Please do not take this as a reluctancy to test your claim. Nothing would please us more than to see an acceptable test of astrology carried out.

Regarding your confusion over the word "compile", allow me to re-state the question:

Where will you find the proposed data? How will you procure it? Are you aware that all test-related costs are the responsibility of the applicant? I understand from your subsequent answer that it is your hope to involve a various departments at a University to help you. Have you actually investigated this possibility yet?

Please understand that the procuring of all the ingredients necessary for the testing of your claim are your own responsibility. Are you amenable to a test that would be more cost effective and less logistically strenuous?

It is our conviction that an acceptable test of astrology can be much simpler than the one you offer us here. The questionnaire aspect of your proposal is highly questionable (no pun intended), leading us to believe that the matching of family members based upon the aforementioned questionnaire has little if anything to do with astrology. Indeed, one could simply ignore the natal charts entirely and make the determination via the questionnaire alone. This, of course, would prove nothing about astrology. Hence, we feel that any acceptable test of astrology should include charts alone, ideally, if astrology has any validity to it at all.

However, if you insist upon incorporating a questionnaire into the protocol, the test could be as simple as this:

12 subjects, each born under a different astrological sign. Match 11 out of 12 subjects to their correct "signs", and you will have passed the preliminary.

Thusly, the problems with the exact birth time is eliminated (as are the enormous logistical barriers encountered in administering a test according to your proposal), and the family triad determination is no longer necessary. Simple claim, simple test.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 5th July 2005, 12:08 PM   #4
KRAMER
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Hi Kramer,

Let me try to address some of the issues you raised:


A.) "One of the most basic problems in testing astrology is the variance in recorded birth data. Birth certificates often contain imprecise birth times, and, as the exact time of birth is imperative in constructing an accurate "natal chart", this really tosses a Wild Card into the proceedings, and we cannot be sure how to solve this conundrum to the satisfaction of both the applicant and the JREF."

a. I'm not sure how this would negatively affect the JREF. A bad birth certificate would make the astrological analysis worse (than it already is). The likelihood of an error improving the performance of astrology is not likely.

b. As with true sciences, astrology has "ranges" of validity. For instance, a chemistry experiment will have "plus and minus" symbols to indicate acceptable variances. On a grosser scale, water is liquid between zero degrees Celsius and 100 degrees Celsius. Similarly, a variance in a birth certificate may have an impact, but the degree of impact directly relates to the degree of variance. I was taught to request a birth date within 4 minutes. However, even 1 minute can be significant, or 30 seconds, for that matter. Even so, 4 minutes admits to the "range" issue. As the variance increases, so does the impact.

i. I know that the JREF isn't interested in the "hows" and other technical details of astrology, but the time is only critical if a "planet" is on the border of one of the 12 astrological "houses". If it sits at the end of one house, it is read for that house and the next house. A variance of 4 minutes or an hour could throw it into the next house and alter the reading. Yet, for planets that are well inside of an astrological "house", being plus or minus 10 minutes or even an hour may not have any appreciable effect. I am aware of how time variances affect an astrological chart. As a result, if I find a planet sitting "early" in an astrological chart, I will realize that the birth time may be off, and that I should allow an alternate analysis with that planet sitting late in the previous "house".

ii. In other words, my analysis will allow, and compensate, for birth time variances.

c. If I fail the JREF Challenge, it is not likely to be due to faulty data. There are far more serious problems with astrology, as well as my expertise, that are more likely to cause a failure. As an analogy, around the turn of the
19th-20th century, many aspired toward human flight. Failures were abundant. But, finally, 2 guys from a bicycle shop got it right. It wasn't elegant, it wasn't a regularly scheduled airline, but it got us off the ground. My hope is to do the same for astrology. It won't be pretty. I only hope to get this off the ground. If I "crash", I won't be the first in JREF annals.


B.) "Regarding your confusion over the word compile, allow me to re-state the question: Where will you find the proposed data?"

i. The data will come from the questionnaires and the birth date/time/locations.

b. "How will you procure it?"

i. Where will I find willing subjects? I have a wealth of college students around the country to entice. Given the collateral subjects that astrology intertwines, I may find various professors willing to have students participate to learn more about these other subjects:

1. Astronomy/astrophysics; calculating planetary positions (useful for NASA launches to Mars and other celestial bodies).

2. Psychology; history of psychology (Carl Jung);

3. Sociology/Psychology; research: "does astrology hold strong appeal to the masses? If so, why?"

4. Mathematics/Statistics; sampling, deviation, chaos theory (Mandlebrot Set, Julia Sets, fractals)

5. Economics research: "how does astrology relate to chaos theory and economics?" (among other predictions, astrology predicted the stock market crash of 2001-2002, predicted its recovery, and predicted the oil price increases in 2004-2005).

6. Philosophy; truth/logic, research: "knowing that planets cannot affect people, is astrology worth investigating?"[/b]

C.) Please understand that the procuring of all the ingredients necessary for the testing of your claim are your own responsibility...It is our conviction that an acceptable test of astrology can be much simpler than the one you offer us here. Are you amenable to a test that would be more cost effective and less logistically strenuous?

a. Yes. What do you propose?

D.) "I understand from your subsequent answer that it is your hope to involve a various departments at a University to help you. Have you actually investigated this possibility yet?"

a. Yes. I easily attract interest in astrology. I can offer people a robust, integrated, verifiable theoretical framework explaining the brain, mind, and emotions based upon thermodynamics, neuroscience, and economics, but given a choice of that or having their "chart done", they always seem to choose the latter. I attract interest in astrology whenever I bring up the subject. A theory of the mind, however, only brings yawns and glazed looks. So, yes, I have investigated the marketability of astrological charts. I can find parents through students or students through parents. I have many groups through which to network as well as two local universities.

b. And No. Even though I have many contacts with professors in a number of fields, I have not approached them with a request for student participation in an astrology test. I have been waiting to see if JREF would be amenable to the challenge before expending more time and effort laying a logistical foundation for the test.


E.) "The questionnaire aspect of your proposal is highly questionable (no pun intended), leading us to believe that the matching of family members based upon the aforementioned questionnaire has little if anything to do with astrology."

a. On the contrary, the purpose of the test is to show that principles within astrology have verifiable correlations to human personality traits. The questionnaires will focus on traits that astrology denotes. By looking at the "blind" charts of the fathers, and matching them to questionnaire traits, I will be verifying that astrological traits are predictable and systematic; the hallmarks of a true science.

F.) "Indeed, one could simply ignore the natal charts entirely and make the determination via the questionnaires alone."

a. I believe that this is incorrect. The questionnaires will have no birthday information about the father, so you cannot determine the birth date/time/location of the father. It would be a guessing game with about a 1 in 20 chance of success. The intent of having college students is to ensure that all fathers were in the same general age bracket. (My expectation will be that the parental birthdays will all fall within a 20 year period - generally "baby boomers" born about 1945-1965). By having their birthdays within one generation, it significantly reduces my ability to compare fathers' birthdates against wife/student birthdates and make matches based upon likely age groupings - they are all in the same age grouping.

G.) "We feel that any acceptable test of astrology should include charts alone"

a. A test using astrological charts alone does not seem possible.

b. If you are suggesting that I provide some test of prediction, the personality traits can be predictive. If testing shows a strong correlation, then at birth, the personality traits (including strengths and weaknesses) will be uncovered.

c. Other forms of prediction are greatly misunderstood. If the expectation is that I will predict that someone will win the lottery or crash their car, then the expectation is too great for the strength of this pseudo-science. At best, astrology is akin to medicine in the 15th and 16th centuries. To expect a physician from that time to perform successful open-heart surgery would be hopeless. Similarly, to expect astrology to perform great feats of prediction today is also hopeless.

d. Again, if you have an alternate test, what do you propose?


a. 12 subjects, each born under a different astrological sign. Match 11 out of 12 subjects to their correct astrological signs, and you will have passed the preliminary.[/i]

i. Are you talking about their "Sun sign" (as featured in daily newspapers) or their Ascendant? People show more traits matching the sign on their Ascendant than their Sun sign, and you need to have your chart made to find your Ascendant. If your Sun is in your 4th house, it represents your mother. If it is in your 10th house, it represents your father. If it is the 3rd house, it represents your siblings. If it is in the 7th house, it represents your co-workers. If it is in the 11th house, it represents your friends. True astrology is far more complex than most people's superficial understanding.

ii. Again, your Ascendant is more representative of you than your Sun sign. However, it represents "how others see you". In other words, a questionnaire asking someone, "How do you think others view you?", is not very useful or accurate.

iii. Does the person declare their "Sun sign"? I use sidereal astrology which relies upon accurate astronomical positions of planets.

iv. Matching 11 out of 12 subjects is a high degree of accuracy - far above chance. It is your prerogative to "set the height of the bar", but that seems very high. This is a pseudo-science akin to medieval medicine - not a shrinkwrapped, high-tech tool.


b. What are your thoughts on this?

i. My initial reaction is not favorable, but I may warm up to it after thinking it over. Give me a few days.

ii. In the meantime, what are the odds of matching 11 out of 12 - strictly chance?

Thanks,
JAK
__________________
KRAMER,
JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk

Last edited by KRAMER; 17th October 2005 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 5th July 2005, 12:36 PM   #5
KRAMER
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Hello JAK,

Thank you for your extensive reply. I regret that time does not allow me to respond in kind.

When I asked, "Where will you find the data"...what I meant to ask was the following:

WHERE WILL YOU PROCURE THE BIRTH CERTIFICATES?

As regards your reticence to make direct requests from Universities until you have assurance from the JREF that we would be amenable to a test, rest assured that we are quite entirely amenable to a proper test that is conducted under controlled conditions, the results of which would be wholly apparent and NOT subject to interpretation.

Another conundrum that arises within your protocol proposal is the following: Although we can be reasonably sure that the birth certificates will verify the identity of the mother, how can we be certain that the father of record is actually the biological parent? In order for the test to be truly verifiable, some sort of DNA proof of parenthood would be required, would it not? Are you financially able to assume the cost of DNA testing for dozens of test participants?

Regarding the JREF's suggestion for an alternative test, we have already proposed a very simple one in my previous email, to which you replied in a manner that only confuses the issue and further supports the lack of any scientific basis by which astrology itself can be tested, and it is only by mutually arriving at an agreeable protocol that your claim can be tested under the rules of the JREF Challenge. We are not confident that this is possible, in this case, but we continue to be open to any subsequent suggestions you may have. This is always the responsibility of the applicant.

Regarding "setting the bar high" for what the JREF would consider a successful demonstration of your claim, well, yes, we do set the bar high, but not inappropriately so (in our opinion), considering the Million Dollar Prize we offer in return.

I know this may appear as though we are being "difficult", but I assure you that we are anxious to test any and all Astrology-related claims that are submitted to us, under proper conditions, of course.
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Old 11th July 2005, 12:49 PM   #6
KRAMER
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Hi Kramer,

Let's explore your earlier suggestion:

"However, if you insist upon incorporating a questionnaire into the protocol, the test could be as simple as this:
12 subjects, each born under a different astrological sign. Match 11 out of 12subjects to their correct signs, and you will have passed the preliminary."

If I understand your proposal correctly, the 12 subjects will fill out my questionnaire. (Of course, no names or other means of identification will be on any of the questionnaires.) From each questionnaire, I will determine the correct "Sun sign" of the subject. Further, I must match 11 out of 12 subjects correctly.

Since I will have no names of the subjects, may I be given the 12 birthdates (with times and locations) to create 12 natal charts (again, no names)? From the charts, I will match each chart with, what I believe to be, a corresponding questionnaire. From the matching, I will declare the "Sun sign" for each numbered questionnaire. The "Sun sign" will be according to the American Ephemeris for the 20th Century 1900 to 2000 at Noon.

Is the above agreeable? - JAK


==============================================

Hello JAK,

We would first need to see the questionnaire. Obviously, if one of the subjects believes in astrology, the answers given could easily direct you to the correct answer. For example, if, according to astrology, Capricorns are notoriously unfunny (without an appeciable sense of humor, that is), a Capricorn could answer in ways that are consistent with the alleged attributes of a Capricorn.

So the answer to your question is that we would be agreeable to this sort of test, IN PRINCIPLE, but we would first need to go over the questionnaire with a fine tooth comb. Perhaps the next step would be for you to forward to us the questionnaire you have in mind to use.

-Kramer, JREF
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JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk

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Old 25th July 2005, 11:03 AM   #7
KRAMER
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Hello JAK,

How's that questionnaire coming along? Should we be expecting something soon?

-Kramer, JREF Paranormal Claims Dept.


============================================

Hi Kramer,

I've been delayed a bit by two issues. First, my business has been sprinting to the finish-line on a project. Second, my computer is sick, and I may be out of commission while my laptop goes to the Computer Hospital.

I've got about 40 or 50 questions complete, and I am limiting myself to 100 questions. The questions are setup with a "strongly agree", "agree", "not sure", "disagree", and "strongly disagree" structure. (I've attached the questions that I've completed, not that you will open them due to JREF policy on attachments, but to use this email to transfer them to an office computer at Deer Creek.)

JAK
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JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk

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Old 1st August 2005, 01:10 PM   #8
KRAMER
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Hi Kramer,

My computer is back from the doctor (no viral infections, just a hard drive suffering a slow death). And I'm back on-line with a new hard drive.

I know you can't open attachments, so I placed my astrological questionnaire on a website:

http://www.creativitygame.com/questionnaire.html

Let me know if it "passes muster".

Thanks, JAK


==============================================

Hello JAK,

This questionnaire really is quite nebulous. Your conclusions thereof would not prove anything conclusively.

Any test of astrology that would be acceptable for the JREF Challenge must be far more "scientific".

-Kramer, JREF
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KRAMER,
JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk

Last edited by KRAMER; 17th October 2005 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 2nd August 2005, 01:09 PM   #9
KRAMER
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Hi Kramer,

The questionnaire may seem nebulous, but each question directly relates to one of the 12 principles (planets/constellations/houses) of astrology. For instance, stubbornness relates to Venus/Taurus/2nd House. "Laughing on the outside but crying on the inside" relates to Sun/Leo/5th House. Strong Saturn/Capricorn/10th House factors are "practical" or "methodical". The questions are not haphazard nor without reference. For instance, the first ten questions reference astrology as follows: #1 Taurus, #2 Cancer, #3 Scorpio, #4 Virgo, #5 Sagittarius, #6 Aries, #7 Cancer, #8 Scorpio, #9 Aries, #10 Capricorn.


If you wish, I can resubmit the questionnaire with references to the planet/constellation/house which each question. On average, I have about 8.3 questions for each of the 12 zodiac signs (no less than 8 and no more than 9). By virtue of the answers, I hope to get a solid indication of the zodiac signs affecting the participant, his/her spouse, father, mother, and boss. Further, Saturn/Capricorn/10th House relates to the father, husband, and boss. By finding similarities between those three, I can deduce the likely Saturn/Capricorn/10th House combinations. With the astrological charts created, I will then match them based upon their closeness to the Saturn/Capricorn/10th House combinations I am looking for. My ability to accurately make such matches is the crux of my success or failure.

As for scientific, the questionnaire is similar to psychological and sociological questionnaires. The question in my mind is now, what do you mean by "much more scientific"? Are psychology and sociology not scientific? If they are, then what separates their questionnaires from mine? If theirs has a systematic basis behind the questions, then my questionnaire meets that criterion. It, too, has a systematic basis behind the questions. Again, each question was designed to uncover an astrological effect. Please qualify "much more scientific". Or is producing the correlation between questions and astrological effects sufficient?

Thanks, JAK


=============================================

OK, JAK, let's see a revised questionnaire and I will present it to Randi for review.

I hope you don't think I'm trying to avoid testing your claim. The opposite is true.

We simply cannot agree to a test that is full of holes. It needs to be as air-tight as possible.

-Kramer, JREF Paranormal Claims Dept.
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JREF Paranormal Challenge Desk

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Old 3rd August 2005, 01:32 PM   #10
KRAMER
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Hi Kramer,

The astrological questionnaire is built in an Excel spreadsheet, and the columns on the right-hand side pertain to the astrological planet/sign/house corresponding to the question. The legend for the numbers follows:

1. Mars/Aries/1st House - "How others see you" or "looking in the mirror"; strengths include taking the initiative and leadership; weaknesses include acting on impulse and without a plan ("Fire, ready, aim").

2. Venus/Taurus/2nd House - Money and money handling; strengths include steadfastness and a focus on quality; weaknesses include being self-indulgent and stubborn.

3. Mercury/Gemini/3rd House - Communication (fast & transient - mostly oral); strengths include a quick mind and handling multiple tasks; weaknesses include "too many irons in too many fires" and being the hare - not the tortoise.

4. Moon/Cancer/4th House - Comfort and Safety; strengths include nurturing and protection; weaknesses include not taking action and hyper-sensitivity (being emotional).

5. Sun/Leo/5th House - Showy; strengths include self-expression and teaching/mentoring; weaknesses include pride and "all play and no work".

6. Mercury/Virgo/6th House - Communication (slow & permanent - mostly written); strengths include attention to detail and service to others; weaknesses include "not seeing the forest for the trees" and being a worrier.

7. Venus/Libra/7th House - Beauty and Order; strengths include organizing and creating harmony; weaknesses include being "wishy-washy" and critical.

8. Pluto/Scorpio/8th House - Sacrifice to Create; strengths include being tenacious and powerful; weaknesses include being ruthless and insensitive.

9. Jupiter/Sagitarrius/9th House - Expand and Grow; strengths include understanding general principles and having vision; weaknesses include being careless and lazy.

10. Saturn/Capricorn/10th House - Restrict and Focus; strengths include being practical and responsible; weaknesses include being stodgy and rigid.

11. Uranus/Aquarius/11th House - Sudden Changes; strengths include being creative/innovative and tolerant; weaknesses include being scattered and not following through.

12. Neptune/Pisces/12th House - Hidden and Unknown; strengths include imagination and spirituality; weaknesses include deviousness and lack of focus.

The first column of numbers in the spreadsheet (to the right of the questions) has a number (from above) which corresponds to the question on its left. The rightmost 12 columns are merely tallies for the questions and summed at the bottom. These allowed me to ensure I was asking about the same number of questions for each planet/sign/house.

NOTE: Some of the questions may not seem to relate to the legend above, but that is because the legend includes only a taste of what's included. For example, Neptune rules all liquids, so questions regarding drugs, alcohol, oil, gasoline, blood, milk, water, lakes, oceans, saliva, bilge, sewage, hair shampoo, eye drops, fruit juice, and all other liquids (as well as creatures inhabiting them) have a Neptunian influence. This is why the question about working for the navy is marked with a 12 (Neptune rules the oceans). But naval ships also have guns and missiles which are ruled by Mars/Aries (military, weapons and fire). I would expect both Mars/Aries/1st House and Neptune/Pisces/12th House to be prominent in the chart of someone working for the navy. Reading an astrological chart is far more complex and difficult than one would suspect. As a result, I will attest that my questions are born of the various signs and astrological principles. If necessary, I can divulge the relationships of all questions and astrological principles just as I have done for Neptune and the navy. However, my understanding is that the JREF is not concerned with such information:

"PLEASE: Do not burden us with theories, philosophical observations, previous examples, anecdotal evidence or other comments! We are only interested in an actual demonstration."

Again, I have placed the updated astrological questionnaire on my website:

http://www.creativitygame.com/questionnaire.html

Let me know if it "passes muster".

Thanks, JAK


=============================================

OK, JAK, I will try to get Randi to read this upon his return to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow, and I hope to have a reply for you by Monday as to whether or not this will be sufficient for a preliminary Challenge test of astrology.
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Old 4th August 2005, 09:50 AM   #11
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Hello JAK,

Randi has approved the questionnaire. The only sticking point now is this: HOW will the 12 subjects be chosen?

Obviously, the subjects must have no knowledge of (or interest in) astrology. How will the subjects' impartiality be determined conclusively? It would be quite simple to locate 12 skeptics, but this would stack the deck in the JREF's favor. Have you considered this problem? And if so, what is your suggestion?

There has been much talk in the JREF forums regarding your motives in applying for the Challenge, and I myself have wondered about this, considering the statements you have made that clearly show your disdain for pseudo-science and your placement of astrology into that category.

The official JREF position on this is as follows:

We are not concerned with what you think. We are solely concerned with the question of whether or not there is any substance to your claim, and Randi feels that the proposed test is an acceptable one.

And by the way, 10 "hits" out of 12 attempts would suffice.
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Old 4th August 2005, 11:40 AM   #12
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Hi Kramer,

Let me respond to your last email -

Hmm... Let's see. I have to match 11 out of 12.

Seems kinda "stacked" in the JREF's favor already.

Yes, I have considered the problem. Skeptics are ideal candidates. Not only are they unlikely to know much (if anything) about astrology, but the staunchest skeptics should harbor no need to dishonestly answer the questionnaire. They would be confident that astrology is hogwash, and being devious would not be necessary for them to quash astrology. Further, their attention to detail and high value of critical thinking and should add to their integrity in answering the questionnaire. The only downside would be the potential of "clustering" - charts of similarly minded people tend to have similar charts (identical twins are the worst situation). Thus, I would NOT want 12 professors or 12 bankers or 12 mathematicians. (Nevertheless, if that ends up the case, I will deal with it.)


KRAMER: There has been much talk in the JREF forums regarding your motives in applying for the Challenge, and I myself have wondered about this, considering the statements you have made that clearly show your disdain for pseudo-science and your placement of astrology into that category. The official JREF position on this is as follows:

We do not care what you think. We only care if there is any substance to your claim.


I had not entertained ideas about submitting a challenge until the thread "A New Angle for the JREF Challenge" (from your post of 4/8/05 @ 10:36 AM) opened the door:

quote: Originally posted by KRAMER
...
I have just consulted Randi; Although it has never happened before, there is absolutely no Challenge rule or moral imperative that would preclude us from accepting a Challenge application from someone whose goal was to prove that an allegedly paranormal phenomenon does NOT exist. Anyone from either side can apply for the Challenge.

Why on earth didn't I think of this before?

An applicant does NOT need to actually believe in his claim in order to apply for the Challenge.


My motives are simple. I believe that logic is paramount. If any paranormal or "woo-woo" phenomena is to be given any credence, it must withstand scientific scrutiny.

Based upon passed experience with astrology, I encountered what appeared to be "predictability". Knowing that the known laws of physics would not support such predictability, I was beside myself trying to find my error or some other cause. To date, I am still without an explanation. The Challenge provides an opportunity to allow others to look at the "mirage" which I have been seeing. Hopefully, a test involving others will cause the mirage to disappear.

Yet, if by some remote quirk the "mirage" has some shred of truth which is seen by others, then the discovery will be quite startling. (Yeah, hold your breath.) In such case, ensuing investigations may prove quite stimulating (and even lucrative). Thus, if I win the Challenge, I am immediately rewarded for being a kook. If I lose the Challenge but provide results which are significantly greater than chance, I win again.

On the other hand, if I fail and my results prove to be no better than chance, well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Plus, this challenge can be referenced by others as an honest test. (I would LOVE to have a$trology with$tand $cientific $crutiny!!!! Why would I purposely "shoot it in the foot"?)


KRAMER: Randi feels that the proposed test is an acceptable one. And by the way, 10 "hits" out of 12 attempts would suffice.

Oh darn. The only way to get 11 out of 12 is if I am allowed to submit the same chart for two questionnaires. That would be handy if I was confident in 10 matches of charts & questionnaires and had only two that confused me. I could then submit one of the remaining charts with both questionnaires knowing (yeah, right) that one set would have to match. But now, only having to correctly match 83% of the charts & questionnaires, the challenge is "in the bag" - you guys are toast.

Okay, what's the next step?


=============================================

Hello JAK,

Once again (as you neglected to answer the question, but rather offered comment instead):

How do you propose to chose the 12 subjects? THAT is the next step.

p.s. Although you feel that skeptics would be the perfect subjects for such a test, this would allow you an "escape portal" if you failed (as in, "The subjects gave answers they knew would throw me off track"), and Randi is traditionally reticent to allow such excuses to be available and ready-for-use by applicants following the test. Hence, I fear we must seek an alternate gene pool for your test subjects.
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Old 8th August 2005, 09:56 AM   #13
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Hi Kramer,

I would always have an "escape portal" regardless of who was in the test. I have a plethora of excuses. Randi could not possibly cover all of the excuses I can dream up. But excuses and "escape portals" are irrelevant. Who cares why it failed? Who cared why all of the initial attempts at human flight failed? What mattered was when someone finally succeeded. THAT was of interest to many and worth caring about. If my test crashes and burns, and I cry like a baby, so what? It doesn't matter. It will only matter if I succeed.

And for me, I don't have to win the Challenge in order to succeed. You are focused upon protecting the $1M. I am focused upon beating chance. I am betting that any ability to beat chance with astrology will be worth more than $1M in the long run. And if I ever beat chance, I need objective witnesses. The Challenge is providing that.

We, first, need an intermediary (or facilitator) to hold the information and to pass me the pieces which I am allowed to see. A JREF Forum member could perform this task. (Any bias on the part of the JREF member is of no consequence if the collection and dissemination of information is his/her only task.) I can solicit interested parties from a new thread. (My preference is that a JREF intermediary be a professor as well.) Is this acceptable to the JREF?

The other alternative I find favorable is having a local professor as the intermediary. This would also ease the logistics of the test. Would a local Colorado professor be preferable to the JREF?

Once the intermediary is chosen, the 12 participants need to be selected. This can be done by the intermediary or by me. However, my involvement may taint the test. The intermediary gathering participants is my preference. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Finally, does the JREF need to screen the selections?

Thanks, JAK


=============================================

Dear JAK,

You couldn't be more wrong when you state that the JREF's focus is on "protecting the Million Dollars."

Our focus lies solely in determining the Truth of the matter.This is the true spirit of the JREF Challenge, sir, which is desgined to determine whether or not paranormal phenomenon actually exists. Clearly, your purpose in applying for the Challenge is entirely other. No matter.

We are not in favor of using the JREF forums for locating test subjects.

We would suggest that Jim Alcott of PSICOP in Canada chose the 12 subjects and administer this end of the preliminary test, as he has Randi's confidence, as well as having much experience in such matters. The JREF itself would NOT need to screen the subjects. We only need to agree with you on the choice of "intermediary", and we see no need to have someone within your vicinity acting in this capacity. In fact, the entire test could easily be conducted via email & fax. Hence, all you would receive are the completed questionnaires. This is not a demand, but rather only a suggestion.

If you find yourself amenable to this, we will forward Mr. Alcott's email address to you, from which point you and he can easily make the necessary determinations.
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Old 8th August 2005, 10:41 AM   #14
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Hi Kramer,

I believe I have multiple options:

a.) Advertise locally and get a scattered representation of the local populous as participants. A local intermediary to control the test would also need to be identified. The intermediary could be garnered from those responding to the advertisement.

b.) Allow an interested JREF Forum member to be an intermediary. Again, advertising anywhere (either locally or remotely) to attract participants would be feasible.

c.) Focus on having a college professor (local or remote), intrigued or amused by the test, become an intermediary passing data between student participants and me.

d.) I am open to your suggestions.

My experience has been that many people are interested in having their "chart read". For me, finding 12 willing subjects is not the difficult part. Finding 12 willing subjects who meet JREF criteria might be.

I am flexible in the choice of participants and willing to accept suggestions offered by the JREF. My inclination is toward college students with a professor working as an intermediary. What would be the JREF preference?

Thanks, JAK


=============================================

Hello JAK,

By now you may have received my email in which I mentioned Jim Alcock of Canada's York University. If you are amenable to his participation, please contact him at the following email address: J******@****.****.YORKU.CA
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Old 8th August 2005, 10:51 AM   #15
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Hi Kramer,

I was thinking it over, and though students were my preference due to the ease of the logistics, they are not well suited for the questionnaire. Students are less likely to be married than the general population, and they are not likely to have established a career. All of the questionnaire's questions have factors regarding marriage (spouse) and a career (boss). As a result, I am falling back to the advertising approach whereby I get a random sampling of the general population.

As for the intermediary, I still prefer a professor (hmm...or even a grad student). The Challenge definitely has educational benefits regardless of the success or failure of my test, and someone within an educational institution is more likely to see, appreciate, and utilize those benefits.

Thoughts?

- JAK


==============================================

Hello JAK,

I have cc'd this to Jim Alcock in the hopes that it will serve to jumpstart matters.

I agree with your assessment therein. Students are indeed a poor choice.
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Old 9th August 2005, 11:02 AM   #16
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From Jim Alcock, Investigator

Hi Randi and Kramer -

I will be delighted to be involved in this. At the moment, I have just arrived in Vancouver, and will be back in Toronto a week from now. I will have limited access to email this week (at the moment I am using a Mac for the first time in my life -where are all the usual buttons?) So, I hope a week's delay won't matter. Then, I will happily dig into this in great detail.

Cheers, Jim

Professor James Alcock, PhD, C.Psych.
Department of Psychology
Glendon College, York University
Toronto

==============================================

Hello Jim,

Thanks so very much for your speedy reply.

I look forward to working with you on this.
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Old 9th August 2005, 11:19 AM   #17
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Hi Kramer,

Regarding your suggestions:

"We would suggest that Jim Alcott of PSICOP in Canada chose the 12 subjects and administer this end of the preliminary test - the entire test could easily be conducted via email & fax. Hence, all you would receive are the completed questionnaires."

This is most agreeable. Please forward Jim's email, and we will get started.

One note, however, not only will I be getting the questionnaires, but I expect a single email from Jim with the birth data (birth date, birth time, birth location) and no other information. There should be one line of birth data for each questionnaire I receive. Jim will need to keep track of with line of birth data corresponds to which questionnaire.

Thanks, JAK

P.S. My intent in the matter is also to determine the truth of the matter. Plus, because I am hopeful of the outcome, my test will be an honest one. If I fail, it will not be for lack of trying nor for lack of earnest hope for success.


==============================================

Hello JAK,

I am pleased to hear that you are welcoming Jim Alcock into the preliminary test.

We have received an email from him in which he agrees to help with the test, so I am certain that you will hear from him within a week, upon his return home. Please be sure to "CC" me on all correspondence you share with him.
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Old 9th August 2005, 11:23 AM   #18
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The Preliminary Test Protocol, Pending Randi's Approval

Hi Jim,

I have been given your contact information by "Kramer" of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF).

I have applied for the JREF Million Dollar Challenge attempting to prove some merit for astrological principles and techniques. (I will not be proving nor disproving the cause for any of the techniques should they be successful.) I expect that Kramer has given you an outline of the proposed test as well as your purpose. I will reiterate them here so that we all are on the same page:

1. An intermediary (Jim Alcock) will me assigned to ensure the controls of the test and to coordinate the flow of information.

2. The intermediary will be responsible for choosing 12 participants for the test, ideally one born under each astrological month.

3. Each of the 12 participants should download/print a copy of the questionnaire from the website:

http://www.creativitygame.com/questionnaire.html

4. The intermediary should also download/print a copy of the questionnaire to be used as a master ensuring that it is consistent throughout the duration of the test.

5. The intermediary will also collect birth data from each participant. The birth data should come from a source document (a birth certificate) to show authenticity (test verification).

6. The intermediary will keep track of which questionnaire belongs to which birth data.

7. Upon collection of all questionnaire and birth data, the intermediary will mail/email/fax all questionnaires as well as a single list of the birth data to the tester (JAK).

8. The tester will create an astrological birth chart for each line from the birth data list.

9. Comparing the information from the questionnaires against the astrological birth charts, the tester will deduce which chart corresponds with which questionnaire.

10. The tester will then create a list identifying the matching and noting the Sun sign for each of the 12 participants. This Sun sign will be from the American Ephemeris for the 20th Century 1900 to 2000 at Noon (ISBN 0-917086-20-1).

11. Success will be determined by the tester correctly matching at least 10 of the 12 questionnaires to the corresponding birth data.

12. All questionnaire, birth data, and astrological charts will be sent to the intermediary for conclusion of the test.

Let me know if this meets your understanding of the test. If not, let's have Kramer clarify whatever I may have misunderstood.

Thanks,
JAK


============================================

Hello JAK (and Jim),

This protocol looks good, but we have some small refinements. Firstly, the 12 subjects will not dowload the questionnaire from your website. The questionnaires will be printed out by Jim Alcock and he himself will deliver them (via fax or mail) to the subjects. Also, and this is a minor tweak, the birth data Jim Alcock delivers to JAK should be submitted in a list that is assembled chronologically, as we see this to be an acceptable method of randomization.

If you are amenable to these refinements, we can move forward.
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Old 10th August 2005, 12:34 PM   #19
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Hi Kramer,

This is fine with me. As long as the questionnaires can be correlated to birth data by Jim, and as long as the chronology of questionnaires (as I receive them) is not in any way related to the chronology of birth data (again as I receive them), then we should be fine. However, the chronologies of everything sent to me should be tracked for test verification purposes.

One last note: my tools are only good for the northern hemisphere; I cannot create astrological charts for anyone born south of the equator or north of 66 degrees latitude. Additionally, most of the work I have done has been for people born between 60 degrees west longitude and 140 degrees west longitude in the U.S. and Canada. I am not confident in my system for other areas (or other cultures). As a result, for the preliminary test, I would prefer participants who live in the continental U.S. and Canada. The cultures of these two neighboring countries are very, very similar, and I would be comfortable using my system for people born in these countries.


Thanks, JAK


===========================================

Hello JAK,

We have no problem restricting the subjects to American and Canadians only, but we cannot understand the meaning of the first paragraph in this email (pertaining to the chronology/randomization issue). Please clarify.
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Old 11th August 2005, 07:38 AM   #20
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Hi Kramer,

Sorry for being obtuse. The chronology issue is just an emphasis of an issue we all intuitively know already. If Jim receives the questionnaires and numbers them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., then the lines of birth data should be thoroughly shuffled so that the first line of birth data is not for the first questionnaire, the second line of birth data is not for the second questionnaire, etc. Variations of this would be easily deciphered encryption codes - codes which could be deduced from the information and lead to an easy correlation of questionnaires and birth data. I trust that Jim and you naturally would not do this unless by accident. And I would expect both of you would be cognizant of the issue and ensure that the data does not correlate in any fashion. Thus, this issue is a "given", and needs no further discussion. My intent, though, of presenting it was to lead into the last sentence:

"However, the chronologies of everything sent to me should be tracked for test verification purposes."

If I am able to win the Challenge or even show results which are significantly better than chance, I am sure that the data sent to me will be (and should be) carefully scrutinized. Part of that analysis will undoubtedly be looking for "hints" given by the format or sequencing of the information I receive. Regardless if the integrity of the test and the integrity of all parties involved, any correlations ("hints") that are found will taint the test. I only wish to avoid anything which might taint our test. By tracking the order of the lines of birth data and the sequence of questionnaires as sent to me, we will have evidence to show randomness in the presentation of information. This evidence will help quell questions about the integrity of the test.

- JAK


==============================================

OK JAK,

Yes, you are right; this IS rather obtuse and convoluted, and we think rather unnecessary.

Jim Alcock is a very proficient, experienced researcher, who knows how to randomize. We would ask you to discuss your concerns on this matter with him and trust his extensive experience in this regard. We know how to conduct these types of tests, and you really have no need to be concerned over this.

We trust that you and Jim will come to mutual agreement.
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Old 23rd August 2005, 12:26 PM   #21
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...from Jim Alcock

Hi John and Kramer and Randi:

I am back in town now, and I have been giving some thought to this test. We have to be very careful with regard to the choice of participants. For example, people who maintain an interest in horoscopes may well come to view themselves in terms of what they have read about the meaning of their sun signs. If a person is a "Virgo" and knows what that is supposed to mean about his/her personality astrology-wise, then he/she may respond to te questionnaire according to that belief (whether or not he/she has any inkling about the nature of this test and its focus on astrological signs). Indeed, there is some reason to believe that horoscope devotees may even have to some extent shaped their personalities and behaviours according to that belief. "I'm a Vïrgo, we are all ..."

So, to be sure that we are examining the correspondence between astrological sign and personalities, we need to be sure that neither the personality itself, nor the individual's responses to the test, have been distorted to some extent by knowledge of the person's sun sign. This is NOT a minor problem.

How do we eliminate this problem? Keeping the participants ignorant of the astrological aspect of the study is a good first step, but certainly on its own does NOT eliminate the problem. Ideally, we need to choose people who have no knowledge of their sun sign and what it is supposed to mean.
However, it is hard to recruit people by asking,"Do you know your sun sign?" for that obviously tells them that the study is about astrology.

Further, people who do not know their sun sign are probably less likely to have knowledge of their time of birth, for they will not have bothered to find out. (I am not sure off-hand whether most, or all, or any birth certificates also record time of birth. If they do, this would not be a problem).

John, I don't know how this would sit with you, or with Randi and Kramer, but I would be inclined towards the following: Since we do not know in advance the possible confounding effect that knowledge of sun sign might cause, and since it would take some considerable effort to eliminate its possible effects, a two-step procedure would be in order:

1. First, run the study without regard for possible knowledge of sun sign.

If the results are negative, there is no point in going any further. The test fails.

2. If the results reach the criterion for success (10/12 correct), we cannot know whether the results support astrology or simply reflect the effects of the participants' knowledge of what they should be like if astrology is correct. We then run a second, definitive, study where we take all the pains necessary to eliminate that possible influence.

Please let me know your thoughts on this. We also have to discuss and agree upon the procedure for selection of participants.

Sincerely,
Jim Alcock
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Old 24th August 2005, 07:05 AM   #22
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From "JAK" to Jim

Hi Jim,

I like your thinking.

Regarding your first point:
"1. First, run the study without regard for possible knowledge of sun sign.
If the results are negative, there is no point in going any further. The test fails."

Yes, we must obscure any indication that astrology is involved.
Fortunately, my questionnaire does not focus on "Sun sign" information. If you, or the JREF, do not require a representation of all 12 astrological signs, then it will ease your job. Perhaps you can get birthdate information in your initial interview. Many research questionnaires request sex, race, and birthdate information. Asking for this should not raise suspicion. Of course, I couldn't care less about the sex or the race of the participant, so you can discard that info or, at least, not send it to me.
You can further obfuscate the critical information by asking for other "driver's license" information (marital status, hair color, eye color, height, weight, etc.). Finally, as one member of JREF proposed, you can present this as a sociological investigation which, in my opinion, is exactly what it is.

To attempt to obtain as many different signs as possible, you might approach 20 or 25 "volunteers". From that group, you may obtain a greater variety of Sun signs to be represented. If the JREF still requires the full complement of 12, then you may need to continue soliciting volunteers until one from each sign is included. This will be a "JREF call".

One other condition of the participants which Kramer & I have discussed is the age group. The questionnaire leans heavily toward participants with both a career and a spouse. So, we decided that you should favor age groups over college age. College students are not likely to have established a career nor are they as likely to be married. (However, please allow Kramer to reconfirm this.)

Jim, in regards to your second point ("2. If the results reach the criterion for success (10/12 correct) we cannot know ...), if we approach potential participants as described above, it appears to already eliminate much of the danger you describe.

Let us know if we are in agreement.

Thanks,
JAK
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Old 29th August 2005, 11:04 AM   #23
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From Jim Alcock, Investigator

Subject: RE: JAK's Astrological Questionnaire

Hi again - first of all, I am not sure, Kramer, just how we are to proceed.

Surely you and the JREF want to vet the procedure, since it is your prize that is under consideration. So, what happens? Do John and I come to an agreement and then submit it to you?

Second, John, my concern is still a valid one with regard to what does such a test show.

Let's suppose your were to get 12 out of 12 correct. My point is that this might be showing an "astrological" effect, or it might be showing an effect of how people see themselves in light of their knowledge of their astrological signs.

By way of a silly example, suppose that we were testing the validity of the old nursery rhyme about "Monday's child is full of woe, Tuesday's child has far to go, Wednesday's child works hard for a living, Thursday's child is loving and giving..." (I forget the rest). Suppose, for the sake of argument, that one devised a questionnaire of some sort that was set up to evaluate indirectly the correlation between day of birth and these characteristics of woe, hard work etc. Of course, we would need to avoid cuing the subjects about the purpose of the study, and this you and I already agree on.

However, what I am getting at is this: To the extent that subjects have some knowledge of the nursery rhyme (or were taught it as a child, even though they may forget the details), then there is always the possibility that the child born on a Wednesday expects to be woeful, and answers the questionnaire in that manner,,, etc etc. leading to "hits".

This is much more likely to be a factor with astrology, where so very many people know their sun sign and what it is supposed to mean.

Thus - and I am not being difficult here just because this is astrology; this is the same concern that I would have for any similar study in psychology - a single test is not enough to confirm the astrological effect, unless we could be absolutely certain that no one has any such astrological knowledge.

Now, we can never be absolutely certain, but we can certainly try to eliminate the impact of such an effect, but to do so is complicated and time-consuming. That is why I suggest a preliminary test, free of such complexity. If the preliminary test fails, then there is no point in going on. If it is successful then we must go further to see what the cause of the success was.

Cheers, Jim

============================================
Kramer's response to Jim:

Hello Jim,

Yes, just negotiate with John and then email the protocol to us for final approval.

It was Randi himself who told me to contact you, so you can trust that you have his complete confidence in these negotiations. Feel free to telephone Randi here at any time to discuss matters, if you need some guidelines in advance of your chats with John.

I strongly agree with your concerns about the true meaning of the test results, Jim, and I have expressed similar concerns to Randi, but Randi has told me that beating Chance is all JAK needs to do to pass the preliminary stage of the Challenge. He simply has to do what he claims to be able to do, under proper observing conditions.

I also agree that a pre-test (prior to the official JREF preliminary test) must be conducted. This would be a "Base-Line" test that Randi normally requires, anyway.

Finally, I believe it is vital to the integrity of the test that we do everything in our power to be sure that the test subjects do not know enough about atsrology to be able to "fudge" the questionnaire by giving answers they think will correspond to their "sign".

This may prove difficult, but surely it is not impossible.
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Old 30th August 2005, 08:38 AM   #24
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From Randi, to Jim Alcock

Jim, the "pre-test" Kramer refers to should be part of the preliminary, conducted before that actual test run at the same time and place. That way, we have evidence that under the circumstances in place, the subject can properly perform an "open" run, thus avoiding the claim that things weren't just right at that time and place....

- James Randi
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Old 30th August 2005, 11:41 AM   #25
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from Kramer...

Hello Gentlemen,

There's been much debate about how to be sure that the subjects answering the questionnaire have no real knowledge of astrology. One JREF forum member suggested that chosing a religious group (such as Quakers, Amish, etc.) would be a good way to do that, thinking that "highly religious folk" would be less likely to support astrology.

Believing this to be a good idea, I suggested it to Randi, who immediately chastised me for my sloppy thinking.

"Are you joking? Religious people? That's where these kinds of silly ideas like astrology COME FROM!!!! Plenty of church-going folk believe strongly in astrology, or at least in the possibility that it works. They're the exact type of people that WOULD believe such nonsense."

Of course, he's right.

This problem is actually a non-issue that neither of you should be concerned with.

So long as proper Double-Blind procedures are in place and the subjects do NOT know that they are involved in a test of astrology, there is no need find subjects ignorant of it.

-Kramer, JREF
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Old 31st August 2005, 12:00 PM   #26
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from "JAK" to Jim

Hi Jim,

Regarding the portion of your email directed to me:

Near the end, you suggested a preliminary test. As I understand it, that is what this portion of the JREF Challenge is. Only $10,000 is at stake. (Please have Kramer confirm.) A more stringent test design can be created for the final test when the remainder of the million dollars is at stake.

You also note that the preliminary test should be free of complexity. The JREF also wished to simplify the test, and the test we are embarking upon is the result of JREF's suggestions and mine. I'm not sure what other simplifications you have in mind, but I am open to suggestions. Please clarify.

Regarding your other comments and concerns, my questionnaire is designed to gather information about Saturn, the Moon, Capricorn, Cancer, and the 4th and 10th Houses. These usually are only obliquely related to a person's Sun sign. Consequently, most people know little or nothing about these planets, constellations, and "houses." The only people who may "taint" the questionnaire, due to prior knowledge of astrology, are those trained in astrology. As part of your screening, you might ask a question such as, "Are you trained or knowledgeable in any of the paranormal or occult sciences like ESP, reincarnation, astrology, telekinesis, palmistry, numerology, etc.?" If the answer is "Yes", then you could hold that questionnaire in reserve pending a decision by the JREF.

However, if a participant is knowledgeable or trained in astrology, it will generally tend to work in the JREF's favor and to my disadvantage. The reason is that most astrologers use the American Ephemeris to locate planets and signs. Unfortunately, the American Ephemeris is drastically in error (by about 30 degrees - over 15% of the night sky). For instance, the American Ephemeris locates Mars tonight in mid to late Taurus. Taurus starts with the Pleiades (a small but bright star cluster known as the "Seven Sisters") and goes eastward to Aldebaran (a bright red giant star), the Hyades star cluster, and then the horns of Taurus (above Orion). If you take a pair of binoculars and look toward the south or southeast around 2 AM, Taurus should be readily visible along the ecliptic (roughly in the neighborhood of 40-60 degrees above the horizon). Mars, one of the brightest objects in the sky, will be further right from the Pleiades - IN THE CONSTELLATION OF AIRES! The American Ephemeris is obviously wrong. (Here is the JPL Simulator's position of Mars - note the Pleiades star cluster to the left of Mars: http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/ws...bfov=5&brite=1 .) The effect is that the vast majority of western astrologers of the northern hemisphere will construct astrology charts with grossly inaccurate information which will cloud and distort all astrological information and its analysis. Again, such distortion can only work to my disadvantage.

I believe the key statement you made is this,
"…unless we could be absolutely certain that no one has any such astrological knowledge."

If you qualify this with "… no one has any such 'Saturn, Moon, Cancer, or Capricorn' astrological knowledge", then I believe we are okay. With what I am asking, knowledge of the Sun sign is oblique and useless. It is extraneous noise just as prior psychological knowledge is extraneous noise in a psychological test. If someone has taken the Myers-Briggs or DISC test, they may form conceptions about themselves before taking a psychological test. But such prior experience should not significantly taint a well-designed psychological test. Similarly, prior knowledge of "Sun sign" should not significantly taint my questionnaire which ignores the Sun sign and focuses on other astrological factors.

I suggest you lean toward the "criteria of truth" known as Negative Pragmatism - postulated by Harvard professor, William Earnest Hocking - "What works may or may not be true, but what fails cannot possibly be true because the truth always works." For astrology, if I am successful, then it may be due to the influences of planets and constellations, as most astrologers believe, or it may be something else (like chaos theory, which I favor). Either of these explanations "may or may not be true." However, if I fail, then it proves that whatever I have done is NOT the truth - because the truth always works. Even so, the issue of astrology will still be up in the air. Just as the failures of many crashed airplane prototypes did not refute the possibility of human flight, my failed test will not refute the possibility of astrological techniques being predictive and useful.

We are not building an "iron-clad" proof or disproof of astrology. We are only establishing a benchmark of effectiveness of astrological techniques. Past tests and experiments have shown astrology to be useless. I am bringing a new twist - astronomical correctness, improved techniques channeled through a medium, and a systematic analysis and application of techniques. If I succeed, the techniques I use can be learned and tested by others - the scientific method. The cause of effectiveness will await further investigation and analysis. However, the utility of effective astrological techniques could affect the educational systems throughout the world as well as job applicant screening, counseling (as Carl Jung did), and many, many other applications.

This test needs to be run whether a million dollars is at stake or $10,000 or just our time and JREF's time. The potential, if the results are positive (success at a rate of "better than chance"), is huge.

JAK
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Old 1st September 2005, 06:21 AM   #27
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Written by JAK in the JREF Forums

Astrology is clearly a pseudo-science with severe weaknesses and breakdowns. Further, it has no standardized system or methodology. As a result, any astrological test is only a test of one astrologer's techniques and ideas. This is true of mine as well.

Even so, please keep in mind my "human flight" analogy. Many, many attempts were made with all sorts of contraptions before the Wright brothers got it ... well ... "right". All of the other contraptions failed for a variety of reasons. Trying to sort out each failure individually would be very time consuming - and pointless, since the Wright brothers succeeded. And herein lies the issue: Should we stop investigating astrology because of all of the failures? Or should we allow the investigations to continue in case, by some miracle, someone makes it work?

JREF has decided to encourage investigation. I have chosen to seriously investigate. As with any contract, if you have a willing seller and a willing buyer, and the details of the contract are agreed upon, you have a binding contract. JREF and I have, essentially, a contract to investigate my system of astrology on the off chance that it might work.

-JAK


==============================================

No Comment.
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Old 1st September 2005, 01:03 PM   #28
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This "JAK" person has made these statements:

1. Astrology is clearly a pseudo-science with severe weaknesses and breakdowns.

Agreed, though I think it doesn't even qualify as a pseudoscience.


2. Further, it has no standardized system or methodology.

Also true.

3. As a result, any astrological test is only a test of one astrologer's techniques and ideas. This is true of mine as well.

Yes, we've always recognized that. So?

4. Should we stop investigating astrology because of all of the failures?

Sounds like a good reason to me, but the JREF is required to test any and all clearly-stated paranormal claims.

5. Or should we allow the investigations to continue in case, by some miracle, someone makes it work?

That's not a good reason, since we don't care about miracles, only facts. And what do you mean by "allow"? The JREF "allows" ALL investigations to continue: of the Tooth Fairy, of the Easter Bunny, of Tinkerbell; we just don't care to waste our time.

6. JREF has decided to encourage investigation.

No, we haven't. We just don't care.

7. I have chosen to seriously investigate.

Well, have a good time.

8. As with any contract, if you have a willing seller and a willing buyer, and the details of the contract are agreed upon, you have a binding contract.

Gee, you're right. But what's for sale, by whom, who's the buyer, and what contract are you blathering about?

9. JREF and I have, essentially, a contract to investigate my system of astrology on the off chance that it might work.

Show me the contract that so states the situation. Next question....?
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Old 9th September 2005, 07:20 AM   #29
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JAK comments on Randi's Comments

Hi Jim, Kramer,

It's been about a week since I've heard about my challenge from either of you, so I am requesting a status. Are you able to find volunteers? Are you encountering any difficulties which I may be able to help with?

Also, it appears that Randi has posted comments on my challenge thread.

I am honored since he rarely posts anywhere (only 39 posts noted as of this date).

I would like to comment in return:


4. Should we stop investigating astrology because of all of the failures?

Randi quote:
"Sounds like a good reason to me, but the JREF is required to test any and all clearly-stated paranormal claims."

The term "required" is interesting. I shall reference this later.

6. JREF has decided to encourage investigation.


Randi Quote:
"No, we haven't. We just don't care."

This, too, is interesting. Providing a $1 million dollar challenge, IMO, encourages people to look for paranormal abilities and proclaim them. If JREF is not encouraging this behavior in people, why advertise a reward for this behavior?

8. As with any contract, if you have a willing seller and a willing buyer, and the details of the contract are agreed upon, you have a binding contract.


Randi Quote:
"Gee, you're right. But what's for sale, by whom, who's the buyer, and what contract are you blathering about?"

I suspect that your lawyers were very explicit about the wording of the JREF application form because they may have to defend it. As a result, I was not allowed to make any changes whatsoever. If changes are made to a contract, typically, both parties need to initial it. (Point #4 of the application is very similar to other contracts I have made: "No part of the testing procedure may be changed in any way without the agreement of all parties concerned.)

I have not bothered my lawyers about the binding legality of the JREF $1 million dollar challenge application, but it "smells" very close to a contract. In substance, the contract stipulates that if the applicant (seller) has a viable paranormal ability, then the JREF (buyer) will pay $1 million dollars for it (point #8 of the application): "In the event that the claimant is successful under the agreed terms and conditions, that check shall be immediately surrendered to the claimant, and within ten days the James Randi Educational Foundation will pay to the claimant the remainder of the reward, for a total of US$1,000,000. One million dollars in negotiable bonds is held by an investment firm in New York, in the "James Randi Educational Foundation Prize Account" as surety for the prize funds."

However, point #7 is designed to free the JREF of contractual obligations: "When entering into this challenge, the applicant surrenders any and all rights to legal action against Mr. Randi, against any persons peripherally involved, and against the James Randi Educational Foundation, as far as this may be done by established statutes."

Even so, the "crack in the door" may be the reference to "established statutes".

9. JREF and I have, essentially, a contract to investigate my system of astrology on the off chance that it might work.


Randi Quote:
"Show me the contract that so states the situation. Next question...."

I do not believe that we have a typical "binding contract". If we did, a representative of the JREF would have had to sign my application and provide me with an original. (The JREF would have an original, and I would have an original of the application.)

However, please note my purposeful use of the term "essentially". "Essentially" is different from "actually".

We do not have a typical contract. We likely do not have a true contract. However, much of the law is based upon interpretation. The essence of a contract is: if the contractual conditions are met, then one party must fulfill the seller's obligations stipulated in the contract, and the other party must fulfill the buyer's obligations stipulated in the contract. If the conditions of the contract are met, both parties become legally bound to the obligations. Contracts can be intricate and lengthy or very simple. (Binding contracts have been written on napkins.)

Whether or not the JREF $1 million dollar challenge application can be interpreted as a binding contract remains to be seen. However, my lack of a signed original application from the JREF certainly weakens my legal position.

Lastly, if a contract is not in force, then how is the JREF "required" to do anything, as noted in point #4 of the JREF $1 million dollar challenge application? If there is nothing binding (like a contract), the JREF has no need to fulfill any obligation. Or is the obligation bound to the formal establishment of the foundation itself?

But all of this is an unnecessary digression. (It appears that anything I say is presented in the worst way causing needless consternation by many.)

Please. Let us dispense with the viscous and turgid legalities. I am much more interested in running a test.

Again, what is the status of the progress of my challenge?

Thanks,
JAK


==============================================

Dear JAK,

It is my understanding from Jim Alcock that you and he were getting along spendidly and that a test protocol was forthcoming. Please correct me if I am mistaken in this regard.
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Old 19th September 2005, 08:55 AM   #30
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From Jim Alcock, to JAK

Subject: RE: JAK's Astrological Questionnaire

Hi John -

OK, I am now ready to go. Just some details:

1. Can you send me your questionnaire as an XLS attachment? When I print it from your website, it prints with all sorts of extra stuff, including theheading "astrological questionnaire."

2. Most people I have contacted as potential respondents do not know the time of their birth. Your email of 19/8 suggests that birth time is not important. Is that correct?

3. I agree to proceed without going to great lengths to test for astrological knowledge. YOur argument that the sunsigns that people use are not meaningful and do not bias results towards your hypothesis notwithstanding, I am aware of at least one informal study where a skeptic was able to predict an astrologer's "success" with judging the sun sign of a number of subjects simply by finding out how much each subject knew about/followed horoscopes. In any case, for me, if the test fails, then we don't have to worry about biases and confounds. If it succeeds, then we need to go further to find out why it succeeded,without presuming that the explanation necessarily lies in your system or astrology in general.

4. Point for clarification. I am confused by 1. your statment that knowledge of astrology won't work in favour of your hypothesis because "The American Ephemeris is obviously wrong" (email of 31/08) and 2. your statement that "The tester will then create a list identifying the matching and noting the Sun sign for each of the 12 participants. This Sun sign will be from the ?American Ephemeris for the 20th Century 1900 to 2000 at Noon? (email of 09/08)"

So, I am lining up adults who have jobs and are married/partnered, who were born in Canada or the US, and who do not have any readily apparent knowledge of or interest in astrology. I will endeavour to get someone from each astrological sign.

Cheers, Jim
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Old 19th September 2005, 08:56 AM   #31
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From Kramer

Hello Jim, Hello John,

How can we be sure none of the test participants are made aware of the fact that this test involves astrology if the plan is to ask them about their knowledge of astrology, which I am assuming must be done in order to ascertain the participants lack of knowledge?

Asking their time of birth may also clue them in to what the experiment is all about, don't you think?

So if birth time is not important and is not inquired about, I think this would be a good thing for the applicant, should he pass the preliminary test.
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Old 19th September 2005, 11:42 AM   #32
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Hi Guys,

First, time of birth is critical. The three pieces of information I require are: date of birth, time of birth, and location of birth. If any of these three data is missing, the test falls apart.

If I misled anyone about needing a birth time, it may have been my request for the birth time to be within 4 minutes. The further away from 4 minutes we go, the more error is introduced into the analysis. I can tolerate some variance, but I need a time. With a birth certificate, whatever time is documented is close enough for me.

Let me address the other points in-line:


How can we be sure none of the test participants are made aware of the fact that this test involves astrology if the plan is to ask them about their knowledge of astrology, which I am assuming must be done in order to ascertain the participants lack of knowledge?

My expectation is that no question will be asked "up front" with the word "astrology" in it. After the questionnaire has been filled out and submitted, then asking the "astrology" question will allow screening applicants for such knowledge. The question could be oblique: "Do you know what an 'ascendant' is? If so, please explain." Only serious students of astrology will likely know the answer: "The ascendant is the sign on the first house." Or "the ascendant is the sign on the horizon when you were born." Such knowledge will disqualify the candidate. If the candidate has no clue, then the candidate is "good," and the questionnaire should be submitted.

Asking their time of birth may also clue them in to what the experiment is all about, don't you think?

Yes, this is possible. But if a copy of the birth certificate is requested, the candidate may not think about what data on the certificate is to be used. Just make "submission of a photocopy of your birth certificate" a mandatory requirement, and any questions regarding "Why?" should be brushed off (i.e.: "The researchers made it a requirement, and we are complying."). Anyone who refuses to submit a birth certificate is disqualified and should not be given a questionnaire.

CAUTION: Some birth certificates do not have a birth time. These, too, should be disqualified.


So if birth time is not important and is not inquired about, I think this would be a good thing for the applicant, should he pass the preliminary test.

Again, birth time IS important.

3. I agree to proceed without going to great lengths to test for astrological knowledge. YOur argument that the sunsigns that people use are not meaningful and do not bias results towards your hypothesis notwithstanding, I am aware of at least one informal study where a skeptic was able to predict an astrologer's "success" with judging the sun sign of a number of subjects simply by finding out how much each subject knew about/followed horoscopes. In any case, for me, if the test fails, then we don't have to worry about biases and confounds. If it succeeds, then we need to go further to find out why it succeeded, without presuming that the explanation necessarily lies in your system or astrology in general.

I agree. If anything in the test works, first and foremost, we need to check for holes in the test.

4. Point for clarification. I am confused by 1. your statment that knowledge of astrology won't work in favour of your hypothesis because "The American Ephemeris is obviously wrong" (email of 31/08)...

For tonight (Sept. 19, 2005), the American Ephemeris claims that the Sun is in Virgo (wrong, the Sun is in Leo), Venus is in Scorpio (wrong, Venus is in Libra), Mars is in Taurus (wrong, Mars is in Aries), Jupiter is in Libra (wrong, Jupiter is in Virgo), and all of the other ephemeris positions are wrong, too. You can "eyeball" Mars tonight. As you look toward the southeast (roughly) after 1AM, Mars will be to the right of the Pleiades (Aries) - not to the left of the Pleiades (Taurus). You can also verify this with Jack Horkheimer or any university astronomy department. You can check it on-line at the JPL Solar System Simulator (http://space.jpl.nasa.gov/). Attached is info showing the constellations of Gemini and Taurus (note the Pleiades on the right of the 1st image) and the position of Mars (second image) for tonight. (Mars is to the right of the Pleiades and Hyades.)

Because almost all western (Canada & U.S.) astrologers use the American phemeris, anyone adhering to that system will likely screw up my questionnaire.


2. your statement that "The tester will then create a list identifying the matching and noting the Sun sign for each of the 12 participants. This Sun sign will be from the American Ephemeris for the 20th Century 1900 to 2000 at Noon? (email of
09/08)"

So, I am lining up adults who have jobs and are married/partnered, who were born in Canada or the US, and who do not have any readily apparent knowledge of or interest in astrology. I will endeavour to get someone from each
astrological sign.

Cheers, Jim

Thanks, Jim. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

JAK
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Old 14th October 2005, 09:35 AM   #33
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An Inquiry

Hello JAK,

It's been almost a month now since we last received a "cc" from you on your correspondence with Jim Alcock, and the status of the forthcoming test of your claim for the JREF Paranormal Challenge.

Please advise.
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Old 17th October 2005, 07:59 AM   #34
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from JAK (to Kramer)

Hi Kramer,

We are making progress, but Jim is still collecting volunteers.

Jim can give you a clearer status if you need it.

-JAK
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Old 17th October 2005, 08:00 AM   #35
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From Kramer (to Jim Alcock, Investigator)

Jim, please give me some more details on the present status of this claim.
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Old 10th November 2005, 07:22 AM   #36
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from Investigator Jim Alcock, to JAK & Kramer

Hi to both of you.

I am sorry to tell you that I have now hit a brick wall with regard to carrying out what I originally thought would be a very easy piece of work. While I had managed to persuade six people to provide me with birth certificates without giving away very much in terms of why I needed to see them, NONE of the birth certificates produced for me carry birth times,only the dates. (This is true of my own birth certificate as well). I have therefore stopped trying to enlist others in this project.

So, I am sorry, but I have to withdraw from assisting in this project. It has become just to frustrating, and I have got nowhere.

Sorry, but I gave it a good try.

Jim Alcock
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Old 10th November 2005, 07:33 AM   #37
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To JAK, from Kramer

Hello JAK,

By now I am sure you have received the email from Jim Alcock in which he states that he feels there is no choice for him but to withdraw his participation from the proposed test of your claim. Although we are, of course, disappointed by this, we feel that Jim has gone above and beyond what is required of investigators.

According to the Challenge rules, it is the applicant himself who must provide all the necessary ingredients for the test.

At this point in time, we are prepared to confess that there is no possible way to conduct this test according to your stated requirements.

I am quite confident that you will strongly disagree with my assessment, so I look forward to your speedy reply.
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Old 10th November 2005, 09:20 AM   #38
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from JAK, to Kramer (cc; Jim Alcock)

Thanks Jim for all of the effort.

Kramer, I think birth times on birth certificates are more common in the U.S. Got any other referees in the CONUS?

-JAK


================================================== ======

Hello JAK,

What do you mean by "referees in the CONUS"?

Sorry, but you've lost me on this one.
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Old 10th November 2005, 01:13 PM   #39
KRAMER
Former challenge facilitator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,434
Hi Kramer,

I have never had difficulty with people having a birth time on their birth certificate. However, I have almost exclusively worked with people living in the USA. I have personally seen birth times carried on birth certificates over the past 30-50 years from Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, and Colorado. The only exceptions have been for those who do not have a birth certificate and have had one created by legal action (like my mother). If the participants are located within the USA and born within the last 60 years, I am confident that the criteria of the test can be met. BTW, CONUS is a military term for continental US the contiguous 48 states. May I suggest Jack Horkheimer or another of your U.S. based colleagues?

Let me know when you are ready to resume the challenge.

Thanks, JAK


================================================== =======

Hello JAK,

Please forgive my ignorance of US Military jargon, and many thanks for the clarification thereof.

Please let us know when you have secured a means of procuring the data you require in order to resume the Challenge. Once you have done so, I will contact Jack Horkheimer.
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Old 11th November 2005, 10:15 AM   #40
KRAMER
Former challenge facilitator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,434
Chaos Theory? Is that Paranormal?

Hi Kramer,

My first plan is to solicit volunteers from JREF. I know it is not your preference, but it is cheap and fast. Here is the thread I plan to create:

Okay gang, here's the situation:

JAK's JREF CHALLENGE -

In a thread, Kramer said that you didn't have to believe in something to create a challenge for it.

I took him up on it and submitted a challenge to see if astrological techniques have any merit. The challenge was accepted.

Do I believe that we are guided by the planets? Absolutely not.

Do I believe astrological techniques have merit? Maybe. That is the point of the challenge.

The only hope of astrological techniques being useful is if some other underlying law of nature is at work. (I'm voting for Chaos Theory.)

CHALLENGE STATUS (11/10/2005) -
The challenge was assigned to a canadian (Jim Alcock) to administer control over the challenge. Unfortunately, it appears that canadian birth certificates do not carry a birth time (as U.S. birth certificates seem to do). And Jim has been unable to gather viable participants.

Jim has bowed out.

Kramer has just (today) tasked me with securing "a means of procuring the data" required.

CHALLENGE SITUATION -
If I get my cronies involved, the test is likely tainted. It is best to gather data from folks who do not know me.

IMO, the Religion and Philosophy forum may have the best mix of "dirts and woos." ("Dirts" believe in stuff you can touch and scientifically test - like dirt. "Woos" believe all sorts of non-scientific stuff - ghosts, religion, karma, etc. If you are somewhere in-between, you are a "dwort" - part woo and part dirt. I'm a dwort.)

If you would like to participate in this challenge, please follow these rules:

1. You are married and over the age of 30. (This is due to the questionnaire targeting working people with spouses.)

2. You were born in the USA. (Other countries will be included in the second phase should I pass the first one.)

3. Your birth certificate has a birth time, birth date, and birth location on it.

4. You are willing to send a photocopy of your birth certificate to whomever Kramer chooses to administer the test.

5. You are willing to fill out the questionnaire at http://www.creativitygame.com/questionnaire.html

6. You are not knowledgeable about astrology other than your Sun sign. (If you can correctly answer the question, "What is an ascendant?", then you are disqualified.)

7. If you do not wish to answer the questionnaire truthfully, regardless of the outcome, you cannot be accepted.

8. You agree not to divulge to anyone that you are participating.

9. Posting to this thread may disqualify you as a candidate. (Kramer will decide.)

10. You will send an email to Kramer avowing to the above and requesting acceptance. Also, please include your birth date (mm/dd/yyyy) in the email. Those who are accepted as viable volunteers will receive further instructions from Kramer or the challenge administrator assigned (Jim's replacement).

It does not matter if you think astrology is bunk. It does not matter if you read your horoscope every day.

Do not worry about being the first to respond. We need 1 participant from every Sun sign (12 volunteers). You maybe the 100th volunteer, but you may also be the first of the Sun sign we are still looking for. Further, in the case of multiple volunteers, those with the least contact with me may be preferred. If you've never seen me post, and you want to participate, you are an excellent candidate.

I will create a post here when we have accepted the initial 12 applicants.

Let me know if this is an agreeable approach.

Thanks,
JAK.
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