by Claus Larsen
In the Euro 2004 soccer championship, two Danish astrologers tried their luck in predicting the outcome of the matches. Based on the thousands of years of experience, it should be a relatively easy task to determine such a binary result. Alas, it turned out to be yet another astrological failure of cataclysmic proportions.
Danish astrologer Lars Robert, who is known for his incoherent ramblings on the astrology boards, was the first to flip the celestial coin. On June 22nd, Denmark played against Sweden, and Lars Robert confidently predicted a win for Denmark. Unfortunately, the result was 2-2.
Lars Robert has for some time now claimed that he is in the process of developing a system, based on astrology, that will allow him to predict the outcome of sports events. He hasn’t been all that successful, though, and his record shows it. During the qualification matches, he had an impressive string of failures:
In the June 7th, 2003 qualification match between Denmark and Norway, Lars Robert predicted that Norway would beat Denmark. He later changed it to a draw. Denmark won 1-0. Robert then claimed that he had been “proven” on some “sportsastrological aspects”, without clarifying what those were. He also had “misread” the horoscope…
He then predicted that Denmark would beat Luxembourg. Denmark won 2-0. Luxembourg hardly has a team worthy to play in the 2nd league in Denmark, so the result was practically a given. Next prediction was that Serbia/Montenegro would beat England. England won 2-1, yet another failure. Lars Robert then stated that, while it wasn’t an excuse, he had “forgotten” to include the relocation of the match to London, so “the picture was changed dramatically”.
It gets worse.
After two rather obvious correct results (Italy beat Finland, Sweden beat Poland), Spain would beat Northern Ireland. It was a draw, 0-0. Nevertheless, he claimed “approximately” a hit here, and was “proud” of his prediction.
England – Slovakia would be a draw. Result: 2-1. Incredibly, he also claimed “approximately” a hit here as well.
Although his tally was flat-out wrong, his fellow astrologers applauded him and suggested he should go gamble. They were talking about winning billions, so I suggested that he started slowly by applying for the JREF Challenge. He chickened out, by claiming that it had to be 100% precise first….
During the championship, held in Portugal in June 2004, another Danish astrologer, Eskild Rasmussen tried his hand. After some botched predictions, he came up with this prediction, 6 minutes before time in the match between Denmark and Sweden:
“I don’t believe in any more goals in the rest of the match… but never say never.”
A couple of minutes later, the Swedes scored their last goal. His reaction was a classic example of post-hoc reasoning:
“The Swedes score – in the second-last minute (before the extended play): MC is in trigon to the Sub – ASC on its way to trigon to Jupiter. It is obvious: The Sun is on the Swedes’ side – they play wearing yellow – one could also see that the Swedes were dominating, while the Sun were on the decendant… Part of the exercise of following a soccer match astrologically is to learn (astrology) from the events.”
Lars Robert then criticized Eskild for casting a horary horoscope for a soccer match – as if he had done any better with his “system”. Sour grapes, I guess…
Two days later, Eskild tried again, this time at the match between England and Portugal: Portugal had two chances of scoring: in the 25th minute, and the 35th minute. Since the two were so close together, it could mean just one goal.
After he realized that this prediction was (also) wrong, he came up with one more: Portugal would have two more chances, in the 65th and 75th minute, again resulting in only one goal.
Wrong again: Portugal scored in the 83rd minute. Eskild’s comment:
“…dead against the prediction!”
How dare those darn Portuguese oppose the celestial powers??!? Maybe that’s why he added: “But I dare not predict any more now…”
And then again, he did. Never one to admit defeat, he proclaimed in the 115th minute: “England scored to 2-2! ….I’m still in the game…” He then merely listed the scores and was silent from then on.
This put him off a bit, because he did not get back after the match between Greece and France. He claimed that the “thesis” that the “small” nations beat the “big” ones is “confirmed”, since Greece beat France 1-0. He listed a number of various astrologically based reasons why he was right, but since it is after-the-fact, we cannot put any trust in that. That he didn’t use the same aspects throughout the tournament is also something that should cause concern: Throughout the whole “exercise”, he simply chose the explanation that would fit in that moment. If it later turned out wrong, he would simply switch to another that seemed to fit better.
The show must go on
Holland met Sweden on June 26th, and Eskild figured that the probability that Holland would win was the biggest. His reasoning was, that Sweden usually plays in yellow (the Sun, and therefore supports Jupiter), while Holland plays orange, a “typical Gemini-color”.
Here are his predictions:
- Holland scores after 18 minutes.
- Sweden scores after 47 minutes (2 minutes into the extended 1st half).
- Holland scores after 60 or 65 minutes.
- In the last 6 minutes, both teams fight hard, and can both score.
Although he first claimed that Holland will win, he later had misgivings, and pointed to a “surprise” result. The self-preservation trait of astrologers seems to be ingrained…
After the first half, no goals had been scored. Eskild explained this by pointing to the hot weather – it leaves the players lethargic! He tries to patch the very wrong attempt with a last minute prediction that Sweden might score and then Holland. He was wrong again, the match ended 0-0, even after the extended period, so it had to be resolved by penalty kick. Holland won.
Completely forgetting his previous misgivings and wrong predictions about the goals, he then claimed to be right about the result. About time, one might add…
On June 27th, the Czech Republic met Denmark. No definite predictions of when goals would happen, only when a situation would be “dangerous”. The most exciting moments would be after the 66th minute, but Denmark would win, but not with all that many goals – he guessed 1-0 to Denmark.
The Czechs obliterated Denmark, 3-0, in one of the most persuasive wins in the whole tournament. All three goals scored before the 66th minute.
Eskild lost his calm after the first goal:
“It is all wrong…have I made a mistake of the Mercury/Jupiter roles?”
After the second goal (the 63rd minute), he quickly recovered, and claimed to be right about the moment being exciting. After the third goal, he merely reported it. The day after, he explained (away) his failed prediction as the Danes’ lack of “winning mentality”. All that was needed was to turn his claim “180 degrees”, and we would get the right impression of the match. He then lamented that he didn’t connected the red shirts of the Danes with Mars, because then, he would have understood that Denmark was represented by Jupiter. In his own words, a “learning process”…
Undaunted, Eskild then moved on the match between Portugal and Holland. Portugal, he informed a stunned public, was represented by Jupiter (because they were playing on their home field!), so Holland would win. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to make astrological predictions, which, retrospectively, was a good thing: Portugal won, 2-1. Always able to look at the bright side, he pointed to the “rule” than the “traditionally big” nations lost to the “small”. If that was to be followed, Greece would win over the Czechs in the next m
Eskild only made predictions for the second half of the match (after he had seen that no goals had been scored), and according to those, Greece would possibly score after 52-60 minutes. He was “pretty sure” that Greece would score in the 67th minute. In the 73rd minute, a possible goal, but unclear to whom.
Greece won, 1-0, after playing for 103 minutes.
After the match, Eskild falsely claimed that he had predicted that the Czechs would dominate in the second half. Among the reasons was the red color in the Czech’s numbers on their shirts – that gave the needed connection to Mars!
Amazing what lengths people will go to…
Eskild was rather reluctant to predict the outcome of the finals between Portugal and Greece. Although he had, before the match started, claimed that, since Greece were the underdogs, they would probably win, he completely changed his tune, after the first half was almost over: Now, Portugal had taken the role as Mercury, and would win. Later astrological observations confirmed this!
After Greece scored their goal, he completely forgot all about his previous predictions, and a couple of minutes into the second half, he pointed to a predicted “advantage” that would happen at the end of the match. A few minutes after, Greece scored what turned out to be their winning goal – but Eskild still claimed that he had been right: They scored “exactly” the way he had “predicted”!
Gee, golly. Forgive me, if I don’t have all that much faith in you, Eskild.
We are not talking about some amateur armchair astrologers here. We are talking about astrologers who have a clientele large enough to make money from it. How can they do this, if they both are so incredibly wrong, again and again? Because people have a need for this kind of mumbo-jumbo to be true. They want to shift the responsibility for their own lives on to something that they cannot be blamed for. They seek connections where no connections are. And astrologers are there, ready to exploit this superstitious belief.
“Why, actually, are professional astrologers not jailed for fraud?”
Richard Dawkins, “The Real Romance in the Stars”
On the Astrology forum, Lars Robert had this to say:
“I have had some interesting and learning experiences regarding this, which, for now, I will only tell people in the absolute inner circle about.”
One can understand why… The Danish Astrology Forum (Danish only)