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Tests of Astrology: A review of hundreds of studies
New book is essential reading for anyone curious about astrology

Abstract -- Forty years ago astrologers could cite a handful of tests to support their claims. Today there are new approaches, new data, and hundreds of new studies, all of them summarised in a new book containing information not available anywhere else -- not in astrology books, not in science books, not even on this website. It is essential reading for anyone curious about astrology. See full article for details.

Cover of Recent Advances Forty years ago astrologers could cite a handful of tests to support their claims. Examples include John Nelson on shortwave radio quality, Vernon Clark on the predictive ability of astrologers, and Michel Gauquelin on professional occupations. These tests were reviewed in Recent Advances in Natal Astrology: A Critical Review 1900-1976, which was the result of a collaboration between more than 50 astrologers and scientists.

Recent Advances was acclaimed by both astrologers and scientists as the world's best survey of evidence-based astrology. For example it was "The most important book ever written on astrology" (Phenomena Publications, Canada), and "Clearly a major work, indeed the only one of its kind" (Professor H J Eysenck, University of London).

But that was forty years ago. Since then much has happened. There have been new approaches, new data, and hundreds of new studies, most of them riding on the revolution in research due to computers. But there have been no new surveys in book form. Until now, see next.
Cover of Tests of Astrology Tests of Astrology
384 B5 pages (176x250 mm), 350,000 words, over 1200 references, nearly 600 visuals, glossary, subject/author/book indexes, soft cover, durable sewn binding. The book is larger than most other astrology books and took four specialist compilers (including the main compilers of Recent Advances) eight years to prepare. Most of the information is not available anywhere else -- not even on this website.

Contents The longest chapter (230 pages) summarises hundreds of empirical studies published between 1927 and 2015 taken from over a hundred books, journals, PhD theses, and sources such as conference reports and websites. Other chapters cover the role of personal experience, how astrology was discovered, the evolution of scientific tests, why tests are needed, the Gauquelin research, time twins, the 'wrong chart' effect, and overviews of chart factors. Plus meta-analyses and funnel plots, symbolism, truth, meaning, hidden persuaders (artifacts), the future of astrology, and the case for and against astrology. All comprehensively indexed.

Everything in one place Readers seeking empirical findings (almost all of which are negative, with previous positive findings being exposed as artifacts) can now have all of them in one place. Astrologers seeking ways to improve their service to clients despite the negative empirical findings will find much that is available nowhere else.
Sample pages Look inside At 350,000 words the book is a large one. But as these examples show, the material is carefully set out with no waffle or spare words to waste your time. Those in a hurry can retrieve material by subject, author, or book title using indexes with rarely more than two page references per entry (none generated by computer). Altogether there are nearly 4000 index entries.

Top Book covers are shown where it could be useful, as in this survey of Moon gardening books and lunar effects on plant growth

Middle Each study has its own individual section with a listing of the main results so that reference to the original is not needed, as in these reviews of sign effects in marriage. Numbers are of course important if you are to judge conclusions for yourself, but are rarely given in astrology books. Or if given they are invariably chosen to support the case, which means you never see the other side of the story -- an obfuscation that ends with this book

Bottom Wherever possible results are not only graphed as in this survey of publication bias, but the graph is annotated in plain English. Many topics are necessarily technical, but just looking at the graphs will give you a good idea of what is happening. There are more than 200 graphs and nearly 200 tables, all with easy-to-understand captions.
Publisher logo Price Tests of Astrology is published in the Netherlands where this website is located. Posted price is 44 euros (about £38 or USD47) by air mail to any country. The Dutch post office cannot deliver by sea mail. Because the book is non-profit (neither compilers nor publisher make any money from it) it is not available in bookshops even though it has an ISBN (978-90-824929-0-3). It is available only by mail order direct from the publisher. You can pay by PayPal or ebank. Sorry, no credit cards. For how to pay via these options, and to check book availability, please email the publisher wout DOT heukelom AT hetnet DOT nl. Books are in the mail within 3 days of receiving your order.

What reviewers are saying about Tests of Astrology

Review by Tim Trachet, Dutch skeptic journal Skepter, October 2016 (translated excerpts)

The bulk of this thick book consists of summaries of the studies that have been carried out on astrology in the course of time, altogether more than three hundred publications, in which the interested reader will find a wealth of information. The final chapters are particularly instructive for all who want to have a critical view of astrology. It discusses in detail the many psychological means by which an astrologer can convince his client - cold reading, the Barnum effect, but there are many more. And some pointed observations about the failure of astrologers. The authors conclude that there is more to astrology than being true or false. They give a number of arguments pro and con. For skeptics, the book contains a lot of useful information.

Review by Ray Ward, The Skeptical Intelligencer Volume 19(4), 8-9, Winter 2016 (excerpts)

Recent Advances in Natal Astrology (1977), perhaps the most frequently referred-to critical work on astrology, is now out of date and this book constitutes the most comprehensive summary of the subject. It includes personal stories of astrologers and believers who changed their minds; the discovery of astrology; the evolution of tests and why they are needed; a whole section on the Gauquelin work; hundreds of empirical studies over 1927-2015; test overviews; artifacts (including a good general discussion of why people see what they expect to see); the future of astrology; the case for and against; a glossary; and name, subject and book indexes. The book ends with a summary: there is no physical way astrology could work; hundreds of tests have shown it does not deliver useful factual truth; the claimed as above, so below links do not exist; charts are meaningful even when wrong; outcomes are explained by hidden persuaders; and claimed experience is unfounded because it is never tested under controlled conditions; hits are chosen, misses ignored, failures explained away, and unwelcome test results dismissed because, it is said, astrology cannot be tested.

Unsolicited comments from readers

From the first nine reader responses:

"Very impressive ... Prodigious effort ... Should be the definitive account of astrology for the foreseeable future ... A high standard of professionalism in layout and editing ... An absolute boon to have such a huge amount of information collected in one source ... A perfect reference ... Impressive ... It is TERRIFIC, and astounding reference book ... Congrats on another magnum opus!"

From a response on readability:

"As to the book Tests of Astrology, I must say that I am very impressed with the printing. Each page is remarkably easy to read, even though it is dense with printed information. You must have used special paper and printing [we didn't]. At first I was a little puzzled why some paragraphs were in smaller font than others [they were quotes] and then I realised that it keeps the text interesting and is easy on your eyes. You have done an excellent job condensing large amounts of information into straightforward and easy to read paragraphs."

From long-time US researcher Therese Hamilton:

"I am greatly enjoying Tests of Astrology. The book is very attractively laid out, with an initial approach that is entertaining, humorous and factual. The background research required for the thousands of quotes and citations (articles, PhD theses, Internet links, personal communications, 600+ books) can only be called massive. Even if Tests of Astrology provides little or no support for astrology, I see this book as a 'must have' reference for serious researchers. At almost 500 pages of meticulously formatted text and graphics, TOA is actually several books bound into one volume. Congratulations on a Herculean task!"

Also available from the same publisher is the following book:

Cover of Astrology under Scrutiny Astrology under Scrutiny
Published July 2013 in the Netherlands as the final issue of the Dutch research journal Astrologie in Onderzoek founded 1977. 364 B5 pages (176x250 mm), 201,000 words, 249 graphs/diagrams and photos. Indexes, hardcover, sewn binding.

Contents Brief history of Dutch research into astrology. Summaries of the best 110 articles from 27 years of Dutch research including every empirical study (about half of the total). Founder of this website Rudolf Smit describes his life as a skeptical amateur astronomer who became a prominent Dutch astrologer and then a skeptical doubter again. A memorial tribute to Michel and Francoise Gauquelin.

The main part (220 pages) covers meta-analyses of empirical tests, the astrological literature, history of research, polls of astrologers, prize competitions, symbolism, intuition, psychic ability, divination, role of non-chart factors, lessons for astrology (from graphology, palmistry, alchemy, phrenology, Tarot, wrong charts that work), use of astrology in counselling, how astrology was discovered, future of astrology, case for and against astrology, and more. More useful to working astrologers seeking guidance than Tests of Astrology.

Price 25 euros (about £20 or $US27). Postage and packing costs are the same as for the other book, as are details for ordering, see above.

What reviewers said about Astrology under Scrutiny:
"The most informed and informative book of its kind Correlation 2014.
"Future comments on astrology will hardly be possible without it" Zeitschrift fur Anomalistik 2013.
"Remarkable ... will be a staple for the indefinite future" D&J Parker, authors of The Compleat Astrologer

Group picture Long time coming
Neither book was compiled in a few weeks or months or even before breakfast. The planning started in May 2008 in Utrecht (pictured) and continued for eight years while material retrieved from university libraries, academic databases and astrology collections around the world was being reviewed. It was a long hard slog. As far as we know, nothing important has been missed.

Production team for both books from left: Dr Geoffrey Dean (Australia), Rudolf Smnit (author in 1976 of De Planeten Spreken, the planets speak), AinO publishers Cygnea van der Hooning and Wout Heukelom (The Netherlands). From top: Arthur Mather (Scotland, co-compiler in 1977 with Geoffrey Dean and 52 collaborators of Recent Advances in Natal Astrology, rated by the astrology-related journal Phenomena as "the most important book ever written on astrology"), Dr David Nias (England, co-author in 1982 with Professor Hans Eysenck of Astrology Science or Superstition, the world's first book on astrology written by psychologists for ordinary readers, it became the standard reference in academic studies with several foreign-language editions, today Google returns 120,000 web pages that cite it). The criticism that scientists are ignorant about astrology is not relevant here because both Dean and Smit are former award-winning professional astrologers. At last serious astrology gets the attention it deserves.

Please tell your friends about Tests of Astrology and its Dutch prequel Astrology under Scrutiny.

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