Did Newton study astrology?

I was trying to track down a half-remembered quote and found an article worth shredding. Here’s the one I was looking for, and a good introduction besides.

However, in the case of Newton, the astrological literature presents a different view and even claims that Newton was in secret an ardent student of astrology.[3] As evidence the following anecdote is often quoted: when the astronomer Edmond Halley (1656-1742), of comet fame, once spoke depreciatively on the subject of astrology, Newton is said to have berated him with the remark: “Sir Halley, I have studied the matter, you have not!”

Robert H. van Gent
http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~gent0113/astrology/newton.htm

First tangent: burn, baby. That there’s how you put a clever silly in his place- albeit on a grander scale than we properly may aspire to. Halley:Newton::Scalzi:Heinlein.

Second tangent: it’s a principle of rhetoric that one always ought to claim the universally recognized supermen of history for one’s own team, for the purpose of increasing the prestige of one’s team. Hence the arguments over whether Einstein was Christian, atheist, or agnostic. Luckily, there is no such ambiguity about Newton; atheists are forced to weakly pronounce “Newton was a scientific genius, too bad he spent most of his time and intellect on that Christian stuff, which we all know is for stupid rednecks.”

Newton might as easily have said, “Sir Atheist, I have studied the matter, you have not!”

Here’s a thesis so easily debunked you know it must have come out of a university (and so badly positioned within the essay you would think the writer must be a professor of English composition).

However, none of these studies have turned up one shred of evidence that Newton ever conducted any research on astrology.

Nice wording, ya weasel. Is conducting research on a topic the same as studying it? Moving the goalposts, as Vox puts it. But hey, was he an “ardent student”, as the astrology literature claims? Let’s look at the evidence given within this retard’s article to determine whether there is evidence to suggest Newton “ever studied the matter” (Gent’s initial statement of the problem, before moving the goalposts again).

Corroborative evidence on how minimal Newton’s interests on astrology really were can be found by inspecting the inventory of the books from his library that was made up after his death.

[…]

At his death, Newton’s library possessed no more than four books on the subject of astrology:

Okay, first of all, if I discovered four astrology books in the average retard’s library, I would conclude that they held at least a passing interest in the matter. If I discovered four books in Newton’s library on any subject, I would assume he had read all of them from cover to cover, and could likely thereafter profess a reasoned opinion or two on the subject.

Second of all, there is not much to say on the subject of classical Western astrology. It is an analytical science (and a shallow one, at that) requiring only definitions, equations, and reference charts, and not a broad lore like zoology, which can sustain original treatises on every species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, and kingdom. The four books probably contain significant overlap. All of the necessary information on the subject- Jewish, Egyptian, Eastern astrology included- probably amounts to less unique information than the first edition of Black’s Dictionary of Law.

Last, these are not the easygoing astrology books you’ll find at Barnes and Noble:

a work by the German astrologer Johann Essler from Mainz (end 15th/begin 16th century),[8] a treatise on palmistry and astrology by the English doctor/astrologer Richard Saunders (1613-1675),[9] an almanac from the same using the pseudonym Cardanus Rider[10] and finally a work debunking astrology by the philosopher-poet and Cambridge professor Henry More (1614-1687).[11]

If you don’t believe me, you can look them up. One of them is an almanac, which is a handy sort of reference to have around when you’re a practising student. Might as well have had a folder stuffed with newspaper clippings of the past year’s horoscopes. (See? I’m just starting at rhetoric, and I’m already better than this clown.)

Sure, let’s do enthymemes about proportional representation. Only 3% of the books in Newton’s library were about physics. Therefore, he never spent much time on the subject. (And now that I think about it, I don’t think I own a single hardcopy book on psychology.)

The strongest argument Gent can make is that these books weren’t dog-eared like many of Newton’s other books (nevermind that the almanac is missing). Does this paint the picture of a 200-IQ genius (the likes of which appears perhaps once per millenium or so) who didn’t read the books, or a 200-IQ genius who assimilated a relatively easy subject in a month and moved on?

Naturally, I’ve saved the killing blow for last. The weasel put this in an endnote at the very bottom of the page:

In a recent study James Frazier has correctly pointed out that my quote from Cowling (1977) was inaccurately phrased in my original paper. Citing Whiteside, I should have written “he never found any reference to horoscopes among […]”. There are of course several references to astrology in Newton’s writings regarding alchemy and biblical chronology but none of these support the claim that Newton had an interest in traditional or judicial astrology.

Really? Gosh, forgive me for thinking this is a little different from…

However, none of these studies have turned up one shred of evidence that Newton ever conducted any research on astrology.

…and that it certainly begs questioning the implied conclusion in the subtitle of the article…

Isaac Newton and Astrology: Witness for the Defence or for the Prosecution?

…because it may be a little impertinent of me to note that, if Newton referenced astrology in his writings on alchemy and biblical chronology- which together composed the VAST BULK of his writings- and applied his vast physical and astronomical knowledge from his physics and astronomy library to the calculation of problems in biblical chronology, then it might be more accurate to say that BIBLICAL, ASTROLOGICAL CHRONOLOGY WAS THE SINGULAR, OBSESSIVE PASSION OF A GENIUS SO FAR BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THESE MODERNIST RETARDS CAN’T EVEN SEE THAT HE CREATED DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS AND THE LAWS OF DYNAMICS AND THE LAW OF GRAVITATIONAL ATTRACTION AND STUDIED OPTICS AND THEOLOGY AND CHURCH HISTORY FOR THE EXPLICIT PURPOSE OF CALCULATING THE MOTIONS OF THE HEAVENLY BODIES BECAUSE HE ALONE AMONG MEN WAS READING THE UNIVERSE LIKE THE GIANT TIMEPIECE HE BELIEVED IT IS.

No, this little pussyfooted bitch can’t even state his own thesis properly. He cites the theses of other intellectual midgets in their prestigious little Cambridge journals (prestigious because Isaac Fucking Newton studied there), citing other midgets, ad nauseum. Maybe he thinks he can stand in the light of the truth and say “I never said that, I was just quoting that guy. I never said anything at all, if you read it closely.” Fucking mindless cowardly impotent prick.

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About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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2 Responses to Did Newton study astrology?

  1. Heaviside says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characteristica_universalis#G.C3.B6del_alleges_conspiracy

    http://www.autodidactproject.org/quote/hegel-combinatoria1.html

    It would be interesting to know which modern groups continue the hermetic tradition that Leibniz and Newton belonged to, if any.

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