Codswallop Detector & Critique of Impure Reason

What produces and accepts codswallop is not just what people think — it’s where they think from, and how they evaluate information.  Assumptions and beliefs are the breeding grounds of codswallop.

Below is a revision of my semi-world-famous ‘Critique of Impure Reason’ first written over ten years ago.  You’ve seen bits of it in many of my posts, but this is the first posting of the full thesis.

It’s an objective assessment of faults, logical mistakes and spurious reasoning most apparent and seemingly inherent in astrology and astro-logic. By no means are these mental preconceptions limited to astrology or metaphysics; they are pandemic in western culture.

If you spot any of the listed nomifications in a post, a conversation, a lecture or an article then you’ve detected Codswallop.

You may want to carry this document with you at all times.


Some crucial definitions:

Logic = Correct reasoning; valid induction and deduction.  The process of accurately moving from specifics to generalizations; and from a general principle to a specific application.  Logic is the principle underlying any art or science.  It is a necessary component in any valid philosophy — even astrology.

Reason = Sound thought or judgment; the ability to think coherently and logically, to form judgments, to draw conclusions or inferences from facts.

Fact = Something known with certainty.  Something that has been objectively verified and having real, demonstrable existence.

Assumption = The act of assuming or taking for granted.  Assumptions lack sufficient evidence and are unexamined; they are conclusions that one begins with; ends hidden as beginnings. To ‘Assume’ is to take on, or put on, the appearance, form, role, etc., of. It is to suppose, to feign, or to pretend (often unconsciously).

Belief = An opinion, expectation or hope.  The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence, in something; assuming veracity, truth or actuality. Beliefs exist in the absence of facts, and often persist in the face of facts.

Below are the beliefs, assumptions, and spurious reasons and conclusions that people think from and speak (post) from.  If one, or more, of these principles is operating, or is the basis of a proposition or an argument, then the presentation is, and the conclusions are, certainly codswallop. Codswallop is defined as drivel; utter nonsense.  All mental forms of bull, horse, and other manure, are codswallop.

Some of the terms below are dictionaried words, others are ‘sniglets’.  A sniglet is a coined word for coined words; for something should be a word because there is an idea in search of a label.

__ Nomification: __________ Justification (definition) ______________

Nomification: The assumption that because it has a name, or that because you can give it one, it has actual existence.

Reification: The belief that because (you say) you can measure it, it is real. It is treating abstractions as real.  [Genius may be real, but IQ — as a numerical value — is only a reified measurement: the concept exists because a test measures it.]

Mathemysticism: Placing (paranormal) meaning in numbers or treating arithmetic and mathematical analysis as holy.  Sanctifying quantification.

Chipmonkism: The assumption that computers are holy, and that if the software can figure it you must accept and use it.  [see references to Gates, Leary, Hand, and Erlewine under ‘Prophets of the Information Age’]

Signification: The assumption that since it exists, it is important.  Assuming the actual to be useful. The belief that everything that exists has relevance in every analysis. See Reification.  The phrase ‘that does not apply’ does not apply.

Democration: The assumption that all things, ideas, and techniques have the same importance and relevance; nothing is any better than anything else.  The belief that all ideas (or all importances) are created equal.

Mystifiction: The belief that the more obscure, mysterious, or unverifiable the source or the reasoning, the holier the truth. [see references at Essenes]

Obfuscation: The belief that unclarity is a sign of, or equal to, intellectual depth.  Only the not understandable is true.  The assumption that since you can’t get it, it must be beyond you.  [see references under Agnew, Buckley, & Rudhyar]

Primefication: The assumption that that which you learn first is right, best, and always true.  “Old dogs don’t need to learn new tricks.” [see references under ‘Olde Tyme Religion’]

Archeosophy: The belief that the oldest information is the most valid.  The ‘ancients’ knew everything (and people have been ‘dumbing-down’ for millennia).  Astrology can only be improved by returning to ancient methods and abandoning modern research & innovation.

Agistosophy: The assumption that older astrologers always know better.  In unrecognized theory, years of astrological study & practice are multiplied by the astrologer’s age for a gauge of veracity.  “I’m older, of course I’m more right.” [references at “Because I’m the Mommy, that’s why”]

Otherology: The belief that that which comes from somewhere else — another discipline or ‘ology’ such as mythology, psychology, phrenology, etc. — contributes the most to astrology.  Astrology is validated as it agrees with otherologies.

Transference: The assumption that expertise in one area automatically bestows transferable expertise in any other area.  ALSO: The assumption that anything useful in one arena is useful in all others.  “If it works here, it must work there.”  [Note astronomers’ opinions on astrology & horary techniques in natal interpretation.]

Authoritism: The dual beliefs that if it’s in print it is true & that famous people are always right (‘authors’ are de facto ‘famous’).  The more famouser the more righter. “If I haven’t already read, or heard of them, they are nobody, and know nothing.”

Contraryism: The belief that only the generally unaccepted is worthy. Different and antithetical is better.  The faith that conventional wisdom, and common sense, are always wrong.

Conspiritorialism: The conviction that the truth is being deliberately withheld from ‘us’ by ‘them’.  The fewer people that know it, or believe it, the truer it is.  Denial is always evidence for, rather than against. [see related topic: Contraryism]

Cynisophy: The belief that cynicism is certain evidence of wisdom.  Only the distrustful can be trusted to assess the truth.  If you can’t see that there is something wrong, then there is something wrong with you. “Life sucks.”

Majoritism: The belief that if most people think so, it most be so.  Truth and reality are determined by polls and votes.  Reality is solely determined by agreement, and the majority always rules rightly.

Neolosophy: The belief that the newest opinion, truth or technique is always best.  This week’s truth replaces last weeks.  If it is invented or proposed it must be used or adopted.

NIHism: The Belief that if it is Not Invented Here, it’s not worth anything, or at least not applicable here.  “If I didn’t invent it, it ain’t.” “Foreigners are always wrong.”  It is also expressed as “In my school we learned to do it this way.”

Simelequation: The assumption that if two things are at all similar they are exactly equal.  If it sounds the same it is the same — even if in different languages.  “Difference makes no difference.” [see Democration]

Nominalnomy: The belief that the name determines the meaning.  It’s based on the faith that astronomers, (etc.), have a god/goddess/force given infallible ability to name (celestial) objects with appellations appropriate to their mystical/metaphysical significance.

Hypotheosis: The belief that assumptions — especially a priori ones — are infallible.  If you have even a shred of evidence, you have incontrovertible proof.  This is an extreme example of  ‘Jacobs’ Law of Increasing Certainty’: “The thrust of every Hypothesis is towards an Absolute.”

Venereism: The belief that nice is holy (and the truth is pretty). Therefore ‘thou shalt not critique or criticize another’ — especially an astrologer. Manners matter more than meaning, and properly polite is superior to perceptively precise.  AKA Venerean Disease.

Lalalalogy: The belief that more lyrical sounding something is, the truer it is.  The prettier the poem, the truer the message.  It is assuming that the pleasant prevails, and that “The truth rhymes.”

Cosmenology: The belief that whatever makes the universe seem pretty, kind, caring, etc., is correct.  “Beauty is Truth.”  [reference Robert Pante, “If you look good, and dress well, you don’t need to have a purpose in life.”]

Audiblation: The assumption that volume makes right.  The louder (and meaner) you say it, the truer it is.  Capitalization Convinces.

Spuriousism: The assumption that if you can make it seem to work for you once, it does indeed work — and must be used by everyone.


The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names.”  — Confucius

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason.
—  Immanuel Kant, ‘A Critique of Pure Reason’

-by Jayj Jacobs