Renay Oshop, uses big data, AI and advanced statistics to challenge what science thinks it knows about astrology.
photo by: Skeptiko
On this episode of Skeptiko…
Renay Oshop: We decided to just grab a screenshot of the top 1000 people who have [the highest] Twitter follower numbers, people like Justin Bieber… he had the most Twitter followers, Oprah Winfrey was in there, Dalai Lama was in there. Then we looked for their charts…
Alex Tsakiris: So the chance of these celebrities having that [particular] alignment of those planets is over 90%, and then of the control group, it’s 45%… the odds of that just being chance is far less than 1 out of a hundred right?
Renay Oshop: That’s a good summary, so that was step one and then step two on that paper was to show a correlation…
Alex Tsakiris: So of your list of 86, those are spread across the top 1,000 ranking, so you might have somebody and they might be down [around 900], but the the real stunner is that any one of those 86 who happened to rank in the top 100 had a 100% correlation between that and having this certain position of the planets.
Renay Oshop: That’s absolutely right, that’s what we found.
Alex Tsakiris: Wow, that is pretty incredible.
Stay with us for Skeptiko…
Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris, and this introduction’s going to be a little bit of a long one, because this story today is a long one, an interesting one. It’s about astrology.
It starts with me getting an email — the kind of emails I love to get from a Skeptiko listener who’s well-informed, is science orientated, and is digging for more. The email is from a guy named Jonathan and he writes…
Dear Alex, I write you as a huge fan of your show, out of all your guests it is Dr. Julie Beischel and her rigorous methodology that has impressed me the most. She clearly has a love of science and uses the scientific method to discover knowledge once thought undiscoverable.
In that vein, I wanted to introduce you to the work of Renay Oshop, she’s using her genius level mind and mathematical skills to investigate astrology and getting results like Dr. Beishel’s.
Now Jonathan goes on, but you get the gist of the email. It Catches my attention. I love Julie’s work, exactly as he said, using scientific methods to unmask bullshit scientific paradigms, he doesn’t say that, I do, and give us a better sense of what’s really going on in these kind of fringe areas that we think may be somewhat true, but we can’t really put our hands on.
Astrology? Hey great, [it] fits into that category. We all know it’s bullshit, right? Well, we all kind of think it’s bullshit, but we kind of think maybe there’s something to it. We know the Ancient Chinese were into Astrology, and we have Vedic astrology from India, and then of course we have Ancient Egypt and Babylon, and a lot of history that somehow rolls into the astrology that we see today and gives us this sense that — while this daily reading stuff that we read might not be true — I think a lot of us have a sense that, maybe there’s something there that all these great traditions,