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Competitions in astrology
Results including the superprize

Geoffrey Dean and Arthur Mather

Most of this article originally appeared as the following four articles by us in 1980-1987: £500 prize -- for you? (letter) Astrological Journal 1980, 22, 19-20. Did anyone win the world's biggest astrology prize? Astrological Journal 1981, 23, 162-166. Did anyone win the world's biggest astrology prize No 2? The results and a new bigger superprize Astrological Journal 1983, 25, 203-210. Superprize results Astrological Journal 1986, 28, 23-30, 92-96, 274-275; 1987, 29, 86-90, 143-147 (and also in FAA Journal 1985, 15(3-4), 19-32, and 1986, 16(1), 65-72). To improve on-screen readability, additional sub-headings have been inserted in bold italics, and repetitions (as when an article summarises an earlier article) have been deleted. Occasionally later material has been added in [  ] where this could be helpful.

Abstract -- The most common competitions in astrology are those inviting the reading of an anonymous birth chart, but they have little research value because they rarely have controls. More useful are competitions aimed at specific targets such as the Astrological Association's 1970-1980 £25 prizes for contributions to astrology, the £500 and £1000 prizes offered by Recent Advances in 1980-1981 for proof of signs, the $US5000 superprize 1984-1987 offered by an astrological consortium for evidence that the accuracy of chart interpretations cannot be explained by non-astrological factors, the 5000 Dutch guilders (about $3000) Astrotest of astrologers 1996, and the £200 Truth of Astrology competition 1997. Prizes for testing astrology have also been offered by US astronomers in The Gemini Syndrome 1979 (all fees and expenses would be paid for every success in mutually-agreed tests of astrological claims), and by the Centre Belge pour l'Etude Scientifique des Influences Astrales 1982 (a Grand Prix Astrologique of 100,000 Belgian francs, about $1700, for convincing evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between heavens and terrestrial destiny). This long article describes in detail a total of nearly 70 entries (many representing a major research project) from a total of 15 prize competitions, of which perhaps the most notable and useful was the superprize. It was (and still is) the largest prize offered specifically in astrology, it was the only prize to focus on non-astrological factors, it attracted a good response from a total of 14 countries, and its panel of eight judges was easily the most expert panel ever assembled. The topics addressed by the entries were roughly equally divided between personality, events, and other areas such as discrimination, synastry and horary. Only one entry was successful but this was a fake entry designed to test allegations that the prize was unwinnable because appropriate tests could not be designed and the panel of eight judges was not impartial. This article brings together four articles by the authors originally published during 1980-1987. Although the competitions described are now more than twenty years old, they are unlikely to be repeated, and their results are as pertinent today as they were then. With 50 references.

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