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Trump, Clinton, Astrology and "Spooky at a Distance"

Reader comment on item: Is Radical Islam in Decline?
in response to reader comment: months gone by

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Sep 16, 2016 at 16:29

Hello again, Moh

I just did some lookups about "action at a distance", to see whether I have any understanding at all on the matter. My point of contact with this thinking, of course, is in quantum mechanics -- specifically, the quantum-mechanical view of bonding, especially in crystals. The main trouble scientists seem to have had with QM, is the "non-locality" of it all. Linus Pauling, for instance, presented a view of molecular bonding several decades ago, that seemed to work well in explaining organic chemistry. It was based on very local interactions between atoms in the molecule. In trying to understand crystal structure, however, Pauling's model breaks down because it can't explain things like the Jahn-Teller effect. Enter QM, which presents a new model of bonding based on adding the wavefunctions of the atoms of the ENTIRE CRYSTAL (i.e. not just local interactions). What's more, it includes the concept of "spin-pairing", which speaks of electronic interactions between atoms that aren't even "bonded" to one another.

Stranger than any of this, to me, is the fact that this bonding model is based not on atomic orbitals, which have a physical reality; but on the wavefunctions, which do not. To be specific, atomic orbitals and molecular orbitals alike are manifestations of the SQUARE of the wavefunctions. Orbitals can therefore exist in "real" space (as in, the "real number system"), even when their wavefunctions are made up of complex imaginary numbers (numbers including the physically impossible √-1. The very "real" molecular orbital or crystal orbit, then, derives not from something that is "real", but from something that is imaginary.

I had this sort of thing in mind, when I asked you what you thought of astrology. This ancient intellectual endeavor suffered much from rationalists in recent centuries, because it seemed to be based on real planets "influencing" (through "local interaction") not only our physical and emotional makeup but also intangibles such as our outlook on life, things we deem important or not, career fields and hobby interests, etc. In cases such as lunar cycles influencing the tides, and even menstrual cycles, the planets, sun and moon are understood to influence things by dint of their mass, affecting us through gravitational and perhaps electromagnetic forces.

According to the notion of local interaction of heavenly bodies, affecting one another through forces such as gravity, the earth should have the greatest influence on us, followed by the sun, then the moon, then (a long way off) Jupiter; and the other planets should have little impact on out makeup. Astrology, however, treats all these bodies equally: even Mercury and Neptune (and to many astrologers, Pluto and even Ceres) are thought to "influence" us a great deal, depending on which "sign" and "house" they are in, how they are "aspected" to other planets, etc.

Gravity and electromagnetism do not explain or support such notions, just as trying to combine atomic orbitals cannot explain the Jahn-Teller effect. Just as molecular bonding can be understood by underlying "imaginary" wavefunctions, though, it is not unreasonable to conceive of the planets interacting with one another, and with life forms on one another, according to an underlying "imaginary" function.

Do you get my drift? I am not talking here, about psychics, tarot-card readers and "sun sign" astrologers who write columns for the newspapers, often found alongside the comic strips. I am talking about astrology as a putative SCIENCE, based on possibly yet-to-be-explored "laws" described by mathematics.

One strong argument for the mathematical, scientific nature of astrology, is the fact that the "signs" of the zodiac are not based on lunar months, nor even on solar days: A "sign" is exactly 1/12 of a year, and a "degree" is not a day, but exactly 1/360 of a year. Moreover, the "signs" no longer correspond to the constellations when astrology first came to the fore, well over 2000 years ago: The orientation of the solar plane, or "ecliptic", and the stars and constellations has changed over the years, so that people born "under" the zodiacal sign Aries are now physically born under the constellation Pisces. The astrological interpretations, however, are not based on which constellation is physically overhead, but on a purely mathematical "clock" attuned to the days of the Magi.

Astrology, thus, is not a pseudo-science based on the "influence" of various constellations and of the mythical gods they correspond to; it is a poorly-researched (by modern standards) science based on astrological observation and mathematics. It is poorly understood, because the manifestations of its operations are not easily measured, as is, for instance, the rate of acceleration due to gravity. Instead, it manifests in proclivities, general appearances, personality traits and the like.

My first contact with astrology, happened when a woman was roughing out my "chart", based on my birthdate. According to her rough calculations, I should have had a "Taurus ascendant". The moment she saw that, she said, "but of course, you're not a Taurus rising; you're Aries rising." Was she a psychic? Not at all: Aries and other fire and air signs rising indicate tall people, whereas Taurus and other earth and water signs rising indicate short people; and I am extremely tall. Even my features could be considered "ovine", rather than "bovine". She noticed other traits as well, some of which are suggested at


I was rather amazed at the fact that she could have been so certain in her estimation; and indeed, when the math was corrected for my exact time of birth, as well as my longitude and lattitude of birth, I was found to be solidly Aries rising. Everything in astrology is not that clear-cut. By reading "your" sun-sign reading in the local newspaper, for instance, you could probably read the "readings" for all twelve signs and exclaim, "Why, that's exactly me!". Professional readings, likewise, are more likely to leave one confused or deluded, than inspired and directed.

It is for these reasons, that I have not spent a great deal pursuing astrology. The idea of an underlying, "imaginary" (yet very real, in another sense) "clock" being like a musical score written for a celestial "conductor", is intriguing. What is your opinion?

Concerning relevance to matters at hand, the planetary alignments for the upcoming US Presidential election contain nothing that I would note as being of long-term importance. The NEXT inauguration, however, on 20 Jan. 2020, is an auspicious day. That is one reason I am not awfully concerned about which geriatric candidate gets elected this time around.

Good to talk with you again. Shalom shalom :-)


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (75) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
2Is radical Islam in decline? [680 words]PrashantOct 22, 2016 16:34233541
5People's call for establishing secular democracies in Islamic nations [133 words]PrashantSep 30, 2016 22:59233094
1Radical Islam (not) in decline [106 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
François GravelSep 20, 2016 04:26232875
Islamic reformation? [68 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Fragonard, PxSep 12, 2016 17:46232635
Allah's "helpers" wouldn't allow it [82 words]Michael SSep 14, 2016 15:32232635
2Treating Muhammad as a mere mortal [682 words]PrashantSep 20, 2016 08:19232635
Muslims will likely convert, after a humiliating defeat in battle. [63 words]Michael SSep 22, 2016 19:23232635
Salman Rushdie, diamond splitter [118 words]Fragonard, PxSep 22, 2016 19:33232635
Muhammad is worshipped more than any idol or Christ [150 words]PrashantSep 24, 2016 20:14232635
We don't need to impress Muslims; just highlight their hypocrisy [147 words]PrashantSep 24, 2016 20:23232635
Isham can only be defeated by force. [636 words]Michael SSep 26, 2016 04:53232635
errata [53 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 30, 2016 05:59232635
Continents; and small note about Dawkins & Evolution [326 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 06:35232635
continental capers [47 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 8, 2016 02:26232635
1Yes, Australia is unique [200 words]Michael SOct 25, 2016 16:16232635
aircraft carrier [297 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 27, 2016 06:17232635
USS Oz [108 words]Michael SNov 1, 2016 19:42232635
Australia's Importance in the South Pacific [306 words]M ToveyNov 8, 2016 15:35232635
2why Pakistan was Missed in your speech. [132 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
imtiaz hussainSep 8, 2016 15:51232432
recognition of problems is a healthy sign. [61 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 10, 2016 06:12232432
Simple everyday things can also be signs of radicalism [118 words]PrashantSep 10, 2016 12:20232432
Americans don't even know what is happening in America. How can we know about Pakistan? [182 words]Michael SSep 11, 2016 03:44232432
Good to see you again, Moh! [222 words]Michael SSep 11, 2016 21:45232432
months gone by [557 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 14, 2016 06:31232432
Should the world vote in the US elections? [482 words]Michael SSep 15, 2016 02:55232432
Trump, Clinton, Astrology and "Spooky at a Distance" [1091 words]Michael SSep 16, 2016 16:29232432
Correction -- I meant 20 Jan. 2021 [23 words]Michael SSep 16, 2016 16:32232432
Can Islam be reformed? [125 words]dhimmi no moreSep 17, 2016 12:04232432
insight into Americans (or lack of) [457 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 18, 2016 01:45232432
re Astrology [380 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 18, 2016 02:22232432
Radical Islam will likely go down with a bang [570 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 00:15232432
Does Pluto control Mickey's life? [893 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 02:31232432
God is on the side of the Muslims (for a time) [224 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 22:59232432
Entanglement in the news [182 words]Michael SSep 19, 2016 23:12232432
some , not all, may have that intention. [274 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 20, 2016 05:34232432
2Only Muslims can reform Islam [74 words]dhimmi no moreSep 20, 2016 07:23232432
Signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars [1234 words]Michael SSep 20, 2016 12:02232432
The Eternal Sovereign Does Not Side With Islam/Muslims - They Only Serve Under Duress [449 words]M ToveySep 20, 2016 15:44232432
Queen squared [272 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 21, 2016 06:35232432
Muslims, Arabs, Egyptians and Aramaeans in the Bible [441 words]Michael SSep 22, 2016 00:31232432
1Virtually no Hillary signs [785 words]Michael SSep 22, 2016 09:20232432
on being being [361 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 23, 2016 06:40232432
1Australia and the US attacking Israel [691 words]Michael S.Sep 24, 2016 02:34232432
The Muslims will convert suddenly, at least in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. [554 words]Michael SSep 24, 2016 02:54232432
Do universal laws constitute "Consciousness"? Good question. [947 words]Michael SSep 24, 2016 04:04232432
Astrological aspects, and the 2020 US election [725 words]Michael SSep 24, 2016 16:12232432
self unfullfilling prophecy [440 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 29, 2016 00:02232432
forgiveness etc [279 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahSep 29, 2016 00:25232432
Picking Up the Pieces in a Darkened World as Israel Picks up the Torch [260 words]M ToveySep 30, 2016 18:24232432
Re [99 words]George SOct 1, 2016 21:57232432
The US President has just provided the basis for a US-led UN attack on Israel: [265 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 02:34232432
Forgiveness, eternal life and Richard Dawkins [496 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 04:55232432
The beast will probably be elected in 2020 [110 words]Michael SOct 2, 2016 22:08232432
I expect Israel to defeat a massive Turko-Iranian Islamist attack, stopping the mouths of the Islamists. [313 words]Michael SOct 5, 2016 04:29232432
All Things Will Be Revealed in Their Due Time - Democratic Processes Notwithstanding [109 words]M ToveyOct 5, 2016 17:23232432
yes, but...... [201 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 6, 2016 08:13232432
real gold [52 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahOct 6, 2016 08:22232432
1Some objections [432 words]AlexandrosOct 19, 2016 07:26232432
Anything will do, as an excuse to attack Israel [22 words]Michael SOct 26, 2016 15:30232432
AOK on the aneurysm [240 words]Michael SOct 26, 2016 19:26232432
Pakistan in the Middle, But Farther East [164 words]M ToveyOct 27, 2016 18:35232432
lowering BMI [226 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 1, 2016 01:40232432
Beer bellies and smacked fannies [312 words]Michael SNov 5, 2016 07:21232432
Pakistan is complicated. [104 words]Michael SNov 8, 2016 00:31232432
the empty shell [351 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 8, 2016 06:42232432
Probably not enough time for 1000 cuts. [281 words]Michael S.Nov 10, 2016 01:31232432
Pakistan does not have to be complicated [151 words]PrashantNov 10, 2016 07:55232432
Caste and Democracy [433 words]Michael SNov 13, 2016 03:11232432
the aftermath [107 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 13, 2016 20:40232432
inevitability of it all [67 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 13, 2016 20:45232432
Interesting times. [297 words]Michael SNov 15, 2016 05:01232432
EU needs cleansing [177 words]Mohammed Waza Khiddif id'UllahNov 18, 2016 08:22232432
Schulz doesn't seem that bad [510 words]Michael SNov 21, 2016 05:13232432
ergo [7 words]rwSep 7, 2016 21:23232416
The decline of political Islam started on June 30 2013 in Tahrir Square Cairo [48 words]dhimmi no moreSep 7, 2016 17:30232410

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