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Statistically Speakin

Statistically Speakin

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Published by Rohiniranjan

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Published by: Rohiniranjan on Mar 12, 2010
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01/07/2013

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Traps in jyotish! Savdhan researcher!
byRohiniranjan, Crystal Pages
Research in jyotish is quite the common endeavour these days. It ranges from the statistical endto the exploratory end of the spectrum of the term research. Both ends have their problems. Atthe statistical end, one of the biggest problem is the unavailability of database resources to mostindividuals. Commercial databases are extremely expensive and have their limitations when usedby jyotish researchers; however, any serious number crunching would require one to have adecent collection of birthdata and charts with biographical details and the software must havesome sort of searching and pattern recognition ability. It is not uncommon and by no means anew trend amongst jyotishis to put too much emphasis on their own charts or of their fewrelatives and friends. While important, this meagre database of a few dozen charts is simply notadequate and sadly deceptive. The other kind of research is the exploratory kind and deals withlooking for unique ‘astrosignatures’ or tags as they are sometimes called. Traditional tags arebasically all the yogas such as gajkeshari or mahapurusha yogas and the umpteen othercombinations for fame, fortune yogas and the misery or penury arishtas. The exploration can beof existing combinations or even into novel territory. Either way, it is easy to imagine howimportant it is to have a utility that would allow one to test the combination in, not one or two oreven two dozen charts but in hundreds of charts.A couple of years ago, there was a discussion going on what combinations are necessary formaking one an astrologer. A number of combinations were proposed by the participants, mostlynot even with classical citations, though claimed to be so. One combination which was verysimple was cited as a possibility, with all the caveats. Immediately one experienced person jumped on this and provided a few examples of obviously non-astrologers who had such acombination. He also claimed that he had tested the combination in about five hundred charts of astrologers he had and did not find it to work. He did not elaborate on the details of the chartsand everything hung on ‘trust’. This kind of situation is fairly common and simply unacceptable.Imagine how things would go if a scientist claims he has found a wonder drug and does notelaborate on it or the tests he had conducted on the new medicine and expected other doctors tobegin using it on their patients! Anyway, without going into any comparison of scientists andastrologers, which some may find distasteful, the situation is simply unacceptable and cannot becalled research. There is a lot of distrust in the jyotish scene and many do not like to share theirdatabases with others, partly for personal reasons (confidentiality of clients or simplepossessiveness and information hoarding) or for ‘malefic’ past experiences when shared ordeclared birthdata had been distorted under the garb of “rectification” and the picture made evenmore confusing and garbled than it started out to be.Leaving aside greedy or malicious intent and display thereof, jyotishis being simply ordinarymortals, one and all, there is sadly an ignorance or unawareness of tricks that ‘numbers’ play onour perception! One common tendencies is that of many individuals of giving specific percentagevalues even when talking about estimates. If someone who has experienced the performance of a
 
lot of jyotishis over decades states something like: half of them were correct, or three fourths of them were correct, one gets the sense that an estimate is being expressed and this causes nolasting confusion. However, when the same person, particularly when a reputed teacher says that82% of predictions can be correct in experienced hands, the innocent-sounding statement cancause a lot of false impressions and confusion. Firstly, the quality of the source assuages doubts,and people tend to accept such statistics with fewer questions (and there is a lot of religious-typefaith in jyotish and amongst jyotishis!), secondly, the only way one can give such specificpercentages (82%) indicates that a documentation of some sort has resulted in the numbers whichmay not have been the case. Thirdly, the matter that had been predicted could vary from serious(illnesses, deaths, bankruptcy, even marriage or finding jobs or immigration) to minor (an illnessaverted, a minor accident, a minor setback at home or at work, an infatuation that remainedunexpressed not coming to fruition) etc. Should we be equating these two categories andlumping those together when preparing the score card for jyotishis? Did the 82% success ratetake into account such finer and extremely important differences? I do not think so! And, many jyotishis at this point begin to switch camps and run away from numbers and begin to talk aboutesoterica and the divine nature of jyotish and find alternative definitions for science and researchand the ‘classroom’ suddenly turns out into Halloween or Holi in India. Very colourful but hardto identify any meaningful details!Lest someone be mistaken, I have gone on record for not claiming jyotish as a science or havingsolely a numerical/quantitative aspect and am comfortable if one talks qualitatively. After all, noteverything in jyotish is really a mathematical expression or a product that can be defined. Eachindividual can honestly view their own predictive record going back some years and judge that.However, if you are going to throw around numbers, you better know what you are talking about.Just because jyotish is not a science does not mean that we need to stop talking or thinking aboutit scientifically or at least rationally.Recently, on a forum that has some very fine and energetic jyotishis and jyotish students,discussion began to address on the issue of ‘sexuality’ and the association of venus and mars, theclassical culprits on this matter and the 7
th
house. There was also a corollary expressed abouthow benefics can reduce the sexual drive and how Saturn and rahu can reduce or enhance the areaunder debate. A couple of examples were also discussed indicating the influence of malefics onvenus and the expression of sexuality. I too contributed a few postings indicating that in additionto the combination in the 7
th
, there could be other factors in the chart (neither related to mars norvenus) which led to prominent expression of sexuality.Regardless of whether this combination (mars and venus in 7
th
) is associated with sexuality orhypersexuality etc or not, I thought I will give the astrodatabank software (3.0) a spin and seewhat it tells us regarding distribution in its database.Firstly, I decided to include only charts that met with the Rodden ‘A’ grade quality. Even thishigh quality set contains thousands of charts and forms a reasonably useful sample. Next I usedthe filters to select charts with ‘sexuality’ issues (using category subset or view). After this, Iadded the filter: venus and mars in 7
th
house. The following distribution was seen for the differentascendants (e.g., for aries below, the two planets would be in libra, and so on)
 
ASCDTCountAries13Taurus28Gemini26Cancer36Leo20Virgo37Libra48Scorpio33Saggitarius32Capricorn33Aquarius30Pisces13Aries, leo, pisces seem to have mars and venus in 7th noticeably less than cancer, virgo, libra andother sign. What does that mean? One could look into things such as: was the database includingcharts from a certain subset of birth years or months? This is not the case. Then is it a hemisphericeffect? Births are commoner in certain signs (long ascension) in different hemispheres (north vssouth) or there could be other reasons. All these questions must be considered when doing apopulation distribution examination. One obvious thing to examine was if the 'sexuality' samplebiased and had more charts from a certain signs and if that pattern followed the above countdistribution. The following table and chart indeed shows a northern hemispheric (summer signs)predominance with the middle ascendants being higher in frequency than the two tailends.However, the distribution of counts is not quite the same as the ascendant distribution. Whatto do?

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