The Astrology File
Gunter Sachs and IMWA
Some
of you will have already heard of Gunter Sachs (1932 – 2011) – a jet set
photographer and documentary filmmaker who became famous when he married (and
soon divorced) Brigitte Bardot. It is
less known that he was interested in astrology and actually founded an
Institute, the Institute for Empirical and Mathematical Research into the
Truthfulness of Astrology concerning Human Behavior and Predisposition”
– IMWA for short. He was
qualified to carry out such research since he had studied mathematics and
economics at University.
Whilst
the Gauquelins had done all their work by hand, Gunter Sachs was able to take
advantage of the entry into the computer era.
He resorted to IT specialists and to the highly
qualified services of statisticians working at the Faculty of Statistics at
LudwigMaximilian University, Munich (Germany) to process and analyze the data of millions
of individuals that he secured via his high level contacts from official
authoritative sources, such as Federal Office of Statistics in Berne.
He spent
two years carrying out research designed
to answer one fundamental question:
“Does the star sign under which a person is born have any
influence on that person’s nature?
Methods
The
Institute set out to carry out a series of studies designed to see whether there
were differences that could not be explained by chance in the behavior of
individuals belonging to the 12 star signs, related to a specific parameter,
e.g. divorce. In simple words: do people
belonging to one or more star signs divorce more than people belonging to other
star signs?
Before
starting the actual research, the team set a few guidelines:
· Studies were to be published even if they
failed to prove the existence of differences among star signs. Also negative results were of interest
·
Research was to be
based exclusively on actual data collected by officially recognized bodies
· Astrologers were NOT
to be directly involved or interviewed.
Their expertise was not required, since the studies were related to a
parameter that could easily be ascertained without their help
· Any factors that might have distorted
statistical results were to be examined and explained scientifically. An example is the fact that more births occur
in spring than in autumn
· Results were to be presented using preset definitions
in compliance with generally accepted statistical terms in the
scientific community
· All calculations and results were to be checked by
a suitable neutral authority, such as a University
Statistics
The
book includes a chapter explaining statistics for non statisticians to help
with the comprehension of the presentation of the results.
Contrary to what one might believe statistical tests used in scientific studies cannot demonstrate that a theory is valid with certainty. All they can do is say how probable a certain difference is due to chance and not to the factor under investigation.
In other words, the results provided the
probability that the differences observed among individuals belonging to the 12
star signs were due to chance. It goes
without saying that such a probability was as low as one in a million, then it would be very likely indeed that the theory that star signs influence behavior
is true.
In the
studies the statisticians set the following definitions for the differences
observed among star signs:

“slightly significant”= the probability
that the difference was due to chance was no more than 5% i.e. 1 in 20

“significant” = the
probability that the difference was due to chance was no more than 1% i.e. 1
in 100

“highly significant” = the probability that the difference was due to chance
was no more than 0.1% i.e. 1 in 1,000
IMRA results – overview
The question  Data source(s)  Nature of the data  Sample size  outcome 
Who buys astrological literature? (versus general population)  Heyne Publisher
German Federal Office of Statistics  Sales of zodiac sign booklets
Birth statistics 19501979  300,000 sales figures
23,879,000 births  Highly
significant difference Odds:
1:10,000,000 
Who marries whom?  Swiss Federal Office of Statistics  All marriages in Switzerland between 1987 and 1994  717,526 men and women  Highly
significant differences Odds: 1:50,000 
Who divorces whom?  Swiss Federal Office of Statistics  All divorces in Switzerland between 1987 and 1994  109,030 couples  Slightly significant differences Odds:
1:26 
Who is single?  1990 census in Switzerland  Marital status of whole Swiss population aged 1840 yrs  1,293,141 unmarried men 1,225,702 unmarried women  Highly
significant differences Odds:
1:10,000,000 
Who studies what?  Universities Clearing House in Germany  Applicants to University places in 10 disciplines in
19941996
 231,026 applicants  Highly
significant differences Odds:
1:10,000,000 
Who does which job?  1990 census in Switzerland  Respondents to questions on prof status and
current/last occupation
 4,369,000 respondents on prof status and 3,590,913
respondents with one of the 47 most common occupations  Highly
significant differences Odds:
1:10,000,000 
The question  Data source(s)  Nature of the data  Sample size  outcome 
Who dies of what?  Swiss Federal Office of Statistics  All deaths in Switzerland between 1969 and 1994  1,538,005 deaths subdivided into 32 causes  Significant differences: Odds: 1:270 
Who commits suicide?  Swiss Federal Office of Statistics  All suicides in Switzerland between 1969 and 1994  30,358 suicides  Highly
significant differences Odds: 1:1,000 
Who commits which crimes?  Central Criminal Records Office in Switzerland  All convictions for 25 types of offences between
1986 and 1994  325,868 convictions  Highly
significant differences Odds: 1:5,000 
Who drives how?  British
insurance company VELO  traffic accident insurance claims in 1996  25,000 claims Specifying amount of damages  Highly
significant differences Odds:
1:10,000,000 
Who plays football?
(versus general population)  Archives of Kicker Magazine
German Federal Office of Statistics  all footballers in the German league between 1963
and 1998
Birth statistics 19501979  4,162 players
23,879,000 births  Highly
significant differences Odds:
1:10,000,000 
Do these results prove that astrology is true? Click here to find out what I think
Would you like to find out what Gunter Sachs discovered about your star sign? Click here