Kathmandu: There can be few scientists brave enough to stick their heads above the academic parapet and claim to have found proof that, contrary to hundreds of years of scientific inquiry, the movement of heavenly bodies does affect how we behave down on the ground.
But few scientists are precy seymour , In his latest book The scientific proof of Astrology. The former plymouth University as tronomy lecturer, and member of the Royal Astronomical Society, argues that while he does not believe in horoscopes, movements of the sun, moon and various planets influence us.
Seymour argues that their movement interferes with the earth's magnetic field. Due to this, unborn babies are exposed to different magnetic fields that toy with the development of their brains.
Seymour 's suggestion has largely been received with the shortest of shrifts."All I can say is that i have yet to meet another scientist that agrees with his views," says Jacqueline Mitton of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Seymour 's book is just the latest salov in an ongoing battle that pist a majority of scientists against the substantially fewer as trolosgists. Most scientists dismiss seymour 's arguments simply because the change in the earth's magnetic field is minute, the magnetic field is pathetically weak compared to those produced by gadgets and infrastructure.
The earth's field is most disrupted by bad weather on the sun. A huge magnetic strom there releases clouds of particles that blast earth. But at worst, these stroms make the magnetic field waver by nothing more than one to two percent. As for seasonal changes, they do exist, but are so small as to be almost unmeasurable.
"If the earth's magnetic field collapsed to zero, we'd get a higher dose of radiation from space and that would have an effect on our behaviour, but I don't think it would make it any easier to predict if you're going to come into money one week or the next," says Massey.
While Seymour is widely seen as a scientist who hsa joined the defence of the astrologers, it was an ex-astrologer who helped deliver the most significant blow to the credibility of his former profession.Last year, Geoffrey Dean carried out probably the most robust scientific investigation into astrology.He led a study of 2,000 people,most born within minutes of one another, and looked at more than 100 different characteristics, ranging from IQ to ability in art and sport, from anxiety levels to sociability and occupation all of which astrologers claim are influenced by heavenly bodies. He found no evidence of the similarities that astrologers would have predicted.
But despite the intellectual mud-flinging, science is too blunt a tool to definitively rule out that astrology is bunkum.Some scientists certainly believe there are valid questions to be asked. Mike Hapgood,an expert in what astronomers refer to as "sun-earth interactions", says we have no real data on how, if at all, magnetic fields might affect human behaviour.
Hapgood, however, argues that it could be folly to dismiss out landish ideas too easily. : You need to do the science properly to find out anythings solid. If anyone ever finds a cause, the subject will get out of its trough and become truly interesting," he says.
The world "cause" is the key. So far, studies that claim to support astrology point out correlations between one happening and another. But correlations do not always point to causes and effects. And with nothing else to go on, the nature of the real cause and effect can only be speculated upon .
Despite these arguenents, a thing that remains incontrovertible about astrology is its popularity. And with his second book, seymour has undoubtedly benefited from the eagerness of people to give up their money for a heavenly belief.
-Guardian news service