January 13, 2005
Skeptics alert: Astrology and Leadership

Formerly known as NIF, the professional organization for Norwegian master engineers, Tekna, is now organizing a training in "Astrology and Leadership"; yep that's right! (via Knut)

My translation of the announcement:

Astrology and management

Astrology has at all times and in most cultures helped leaders in their strategic choices. Using astrology we can find answers to many strategic questions, for example how the business will develop in the future. In this lecture, we will show how astrology can contribute to a better management and a better strategic understanding.

Gisle R. Henden is teaching strategic management at BI and is running his own consulting company
I'm speechless. First I thought it was a joke, then I looked up Mr Henden in Google, and it transpires that not only is he teaching management at BI, a private Norwegian school (where, incidentally, weblogger Espen is also teaching), he's also actively pushing his astrologer-background in miscellanous publications, leading a private astrology school and what not. I'm still surprised from seeing the presentation of the "Astrology School"'s Business Astrology semniars (PDF, in Norwegian):

Are Norwegian Managers this stupid?

Fellow physicists, astronomers and any scientifically minded skeptics, please make sure you head to Ingeniørenes Hus, Kronprinsensgt. 17, Oslo on the 17th January 2005, 1700-1900.

My advice to managers seeking advice? Stick to more traditional economical analysis and management techniques!

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let me first state that, while Mr Henden previously was connected with the Norwegian School of Management, I am fairly certain he is not now. And while he was here, he taught basic strategy on an hourly basis - and certainly did not do astrology as a part of the school curriculum. And I am quite certain that the Norwegian School of Management in no way recognizes Astrology as in any way imaginable useful or relevant to business management.

As for the session itself, my first reaction is that TEKNA must be really desperate for presenters, secondly that there seems to be an audience for absolutely anything that purports to tell the future (on the other hand, how do you determine what star sign a corporation is born under - do you use the IPO date? The first time the idea popped into the founder's mind? The first sale?)

As for the stupidity of managers (assuming that anyone who is or wants to be a manager ever turns up for this thing), I am reminded of Keynes' statement that "Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist." Or, in this case, astrologist.

Posted by: Espen on January 13, 2005 03:45 PM

I thought Managers should have some common sense.
Next time i make a bad decision i'll blame the stars

P.s I am looking for a Gmail invitation is thre someone who can help me?
please send to Henk@henkdamiaans.nl

Posted by: Henk on January 14, 2005 03:10 PM

My favorite chestnut about astrology disproves the pseudoscientific argument that stars and planets affect a person through gravity. The heavenly bodies have less gravitational effect on a human at the time of her birth than the doctor in the delivery room.

Perhaps we should form a doctor-centric astrology: "Born under the sign of the foot of the bed, with hands ascendant into mom's birth canal."

Posted by: Nick Douglas on January 15, 2005 11:33 PM

One fascinating aspect of this post is that Google Adsense on the comments page lists four astrology services....

I often wonder why we are so circumspect and polite when people start spouting New Age "wisdom". Anyone who takes astrology seriously is an idiot. It's that simple.

Then again, I am an Aries, so I am likely to say that....

Posted by: Espen on January 16, 2005 02:54 PM

Michel Gauquelain (sp) a recognized great in
late-mid twentieth century Mathematics, was blacklisted in France, and mocked among academic circles after finding statistical
significance in twins-studies in Astrology.

His career was shattered by a tendency toward
mob-mentality...not to be confused with healthy
Instead of crying out for fellow
Jackals to yowl at the dissenting belief,a true
skeptic seeks the truth...actively...and rather
than mock what i don't understand,or attack it...
i can seek to understand a paradigm,and move on
if a science seems useless to me.

The Grand Inquisitors were not "skeptics"...
they had an agenda to destroy that which threatened
to rattle the little cage of their World-view.
The big difference between mockers and them was that
they were empowered by the small-minded cultures
they served to make decisions over peoples lives,
with Armies at their disposal.
Most Westerners still don't believe all Life is
interconnected, the ignorant majority won't be
comfortable for another generation or two
with the truth that we are all actually energy patterns with a "matter" form...
and quite unified with All-That-Is...terms
like "Universe" and, well, "Stardust"...
tend to make the brutish pseudo-intellectual
a bit uncomfortable...whereas the G.B. Shaws,
Goethe's,and Ghandi's of the world "Get it".

I am skeptical of Astrology;
and...many of the brightest people i know,
including Phd's in Psych, History, and Chem.
find it useful, or at least interesting.
It is much less harmful than any science which
creates terms like "Smart Bomb".

Posted by: Peter Thomas on September 27, 2005 12:03 AM

I suggest that you consult my website to learn how to statistically prove that the Sun sign personality prototypes are correct! A friend of my father's, Sidney Boyden, told me they were correct, and I proved it statistically. Sidney Boyden was founder of Boyden & Associates, a leader in the executive search industry. Look it up.

Posted by: Thomas Lee Taylor, MD on December 3, 2005 05:49 PM
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