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Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

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Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

Post  cshahar on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:03 am

Having been reading hands for several years on a casual basis, and now researching the topic much more extensively, I am not quite sure I would call palmistry "scientific". For instance, the major references sources sometimes contradict themselves and each other. Readings often rely on the intuition of the palmist as much as their knowledge. There seems to be little by way of mainstream experimentation. What little science is devoted to palmistry focuses on very specific issues, such as the d2/d4 ratio and prenatal testosterone levels.

Of course, I have much more to read. And I actually would be proud to call Palmistry an art. Any thoughts on this subject?

-Charles

cshahar

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Re: Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

Post  GoodPalmist on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:41 am

Without wanting to contradict or support any point you make or intend to make in your post, I want to ask:

Don't scientific studies sometimes contradict one another ? There's even the case of a Nobel Prize winner (in medicine if I recall correctly) whose conclusions were later found to be wrong by later research !!

Personally, I think it is a science whose scientific underpinnings will be discovered in due course. But until then, it will remain a combination of art and science. Conclusions based on empirical observation will largely be the guide to read palms until that day we discover the exact cause and effect between the palm and our inner and outer life.

Just my 2 cents.

GP

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Re: Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:26 am

Regarding the question...

"Is palmistry / hand analysis scientific?"

I think the answer to this question really depends on what meaning we attribute to the word 'scientific'. I think that only if we use a very general meaning - taken from daily life, then one could say that palmistry is a science. But... then one should preferably be very careful with making any associations with 'academic science'.

For, in 'academic science' people use high (objective) standards regarding testing a hypothesis. While in the field of hand reading (in the palmistry literature) a simple anecdotal observation is usually accepted as 'proof'.

So, regarding the standards for accuracy... while in 'academic science' these standards are usually very well defined, in the field of hand reading the standards are basically unclear and not very well defined (an example concern the poor quality of illustrations that are often included in palmistry books).


By the way, at my website I present the following definition:

"What is Palmistry in 2010?
Palmistry is the practice (or art) of studying the hands, usually with the intent focussed on one (or more) of these four aspects of life: 1 - health consultation, 2 - character interpretation, 3 - life purpose orientation, 4 - divination."

http://www.handresearch.com/online-palmistry-reading.htm


So, my answer is... that
one could safely describe hand reading as follows:

Modern hand reading (palmistry) includes:
multiple systems of knowledge about the hand, occasionally featured with specific scientific elements.


PS. Regarding the specific scientific elements involved... Charles already mentioned the '2D:4D digit ratio' - where finger length is involved.

But there are quite a few more scientific elements available, including:
- the nails (color, shape & structure relate to health issues);
- dermatoglyphics (including fingerprints related to genetic issues);
- and the major hand lines (simian line Sydney line are recognized by medical science as a minor physical anomaly).

EDIT:

PPS. The aspect regarding the 'multiple systems of knowledge' should be recognized in the fact that there are various systems of hand reading available which are all featured with a different philosophy about human nature, including:

- Buddhistic Palm Reading (origins: China)
- Elemental Chirology (origins: England)
- Life Purpose Hand Analysis (origins: US)
- Psychodiagnostic Chirology (origins: Israel)
- Vedic Palmistry (India)

___________________________________________
sunny

Martijn van Mensvoort
Hand researcher & psychologist in The Netherlands (Holland)
Presents: Multi-Perspective Palm Reading + the Global Palm Reading Network

Martijn (admin)
Admin

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Palmistry, Science, & Superstition

Post  cshahar on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:11 pm

Well articulated Martijn: Much of the corpus of palmistry knowledge is based on anecdotal evidence, specifically the experience of readers themselves.

What I have problems with is the "generalization" factor. I once read an article in Reader's Digest in which a woman described her experiences as a telephone psychic. She had no special clairvoyant abilities but was able to fake her readings by relying on the fact that her statements applied to 95% of humanity at one time or another. She was also a very good reader of non-verbal cues (tone, pitch of voice), and was able to infer many things that were quite subtle.

Anyway, I have never had a reading that impressed me from astrologers or clairvoyants because of this generalization factor. Martijn, psychologists know how superstitious behavior arises: it has to do with an intermittent re-enforcement schedule. So if a horoscope column is right once every few days, the person will focus on those times, and come to believe in it, despite the fact that it is wrong the rest of the time. What this suggests is that even random descriptors in a newspaper horoscope column will fool people into thinking they are accurate reflections of character, and have predictive validity in their lives.

Intermittent re-enforcement is a powerful conditioner of human behavior. A palmist can easily believe (for instance that a Girdle of Venus= Sensitive Person) because they are right sometimes. The fact is, the majority of people they read probably have the qualities that they describe. In that sense, as you say, palmistry can only be considered scientific colloquially, in the broadest sense of the term.

-Charles



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Re: Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:49 pm

Thank you Charles!

Regarding your latest comments, obviously those thoughts related to what is also known as "the Barnum-effect" (or: Forrer-effect).

But that probably promises to become the topic of a new future discussion...?


...I think your initial philosophical 'what is it?' question which you presented at the start of this discussion, is sort of a different type of question than questions that relate to more specified issues such as the 'reliability' & 'validity' of hand reading - which are directly related to the psychology between the hand reader & the client!

A few years ago I have described some issues that relate to the psychology during a hand reading consult (featured with 2 of my experimental tests):
http://www.handresearch.com/hand/Evolutie/psychoEngels.htm

It's a rather complex matter, but the results are a tell tale story!

___________________________________________
sunny

Martijn van Mensvoort
Hand researcher & psychologist in The Netherlands (Holland)
Presents: Multi-Perspective Palm Reading + the Global Palm Reading Network

Martijn (admin)
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Faith in Palmistry

Post  cshahar on Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:35 pm

Yes, exactly my points are summarized in your interesting experiments.

So how is it that you still have faith in palmistry? Have you decided that when all the spurious effects are brushed away there is still something relevant and accurate in palmistry, or have you found refuge in the few theories that relate to science, albeit in a rather indirect manner to the rest of palmistry. I am not trying to be difficult here, just curious. You and I have similar psychology backgrounds... and I hope I don't come away disappointed once all my research is done!

-Charles


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Re: Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

Post  Martijn (admin) on Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:22 pm

cshahar wrote:Yes, exactly my points are summarized in your interesting experiments.

So how is it that you still have faith in palmistry? ...
Hi Charles,

One of the things that I have learned over the years is that 'studying palmistry'... is not exactly the same as 'studing hands'.

So, I am not sure that you're asking the right question...???


Let me explain...

Sorry, I can not answer your question with simply a couple of words. It took me quite a few years of my life to find out that focussing on fundamental details is probably the best strategy to approach the truth in this field.

So basically my website sort of provides a few answers to your question: e.g. I think that making sharp observations on the hand is really a requirement for doing solid research, and finding objective results.

But the content of (traditional) books usually doesn't meet my standard...!!!

So, over the years my interest became much more focussed on the hand, than on the theories in the literature - for multiple reasons!! Though I realize that reading books is an important tool for finding inspiration, etc - one should also be aware that theories usually only say 'this is true', while other books might claim the opposite!

(In general, disappointment is usually not much more than a 'temporary perception')


... Charles, what do YOU think: did you ask the right question?

___________________________________________
sunny

Martijn van Mensvoort
Hand researcher & psychologist in The Netherlands (Holland)
Presents: Multi-Perspective Palm Reading + the Global Palm Reading Network

Martijn (admin)
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The Right Question?

Post  cshahar on Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:19 pm

Perhaps that is not the question. If one can help people attain some self-knowledge, that is really what is important. And if you learn something about yourself as well, that is also a bonus. I would say to devote so much time and effort requires that both these conditions be attained if it is to be a worthwhile endeavor. Books don't lead to wisdom. Life experience may. The more open a person becomes the more they get from life... and the better palm reader they become.

The real question is, does it help people grow, including yourself? And that is a personal answer and reflection.

-Charles

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Re: Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

Post  Martijn (admin) on Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:53 pm

... the 'real question'

Well anyway, the answer to your question is a simple: 'yes'.


But Charles, in the perspective of the issue that you raised in your first message:
'Is Palmistry an Art of a Science?'..., I think your rather personal questions are going ... ( )


Now, ... I would prefer to re-focuss on your initial question... but what do you prefer regarding the continuation of this discussion?


PS. I think that 'wisdom' has a rainbow of aspects: some of them come with experience, some by reading books, some by reflection, and some... simply arise from the heart/soul.

___________________________________________
sunny

Martijn van Mensvoort
Hand researcher & psychologist in The Netherlands (Holland)
Presents: Multi-Perspective Palm Reading + the Global Palm Reading Network

Martijn (admin)
Admin

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Fluid Science?

Post  cshahar on Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:28 am

Getting back to this subject, it is interesting that psychology considers itself to be a science, specifically a "behavioral science". And yet there are many in the pure sciences who would scoff at such an assertion. The problem lies with the complexity of human nature. As you said, there are no easy formulas in palmistry. To be a science, certain features and structures of the hand would have to have predictive accuracy beyond what one would expect by chance. This connection would have to be replicated, that is, demonstrated over a wide variety of individuals, across different time frames and environments. Otherwise palmistry will always fall short as a science.

It is interesting that Andrew Fitzherbert brings up something I call the Exclusion Hypothesis, in which he mentions that a person with a certain sign on the hand, such as a "Poison Line", will always demonstrate an addictive trait, but that not all addictive personalities have a poison line. This suggests that the signs of the hand are merely hints or signposts of unlocking a human puzzle. As such they cannot be considered as static variables in an equation, but rather as fluid markers to be taken in the context of the whole hand. This is a different way to look at science.

-Charles

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Re: Is Palmistry an Art or Science?

Post  Martijn (admin) on Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:01 am

Hi Charles,

(Sorry for not responding earlier)

Yes, I think as well that Fitzherbert's "exclusion hypothesis" does show how hand reading works.

Though, one should also be aware that one single characteristic in 'isolation' from the rest of the hand...is usually completely meaningless - because it only provides a clue that could point to different directions!

I remember that Lynn mentioned this important axiom a few months ago in her radio interview with Kenneth Lagerström. And for example, there are only a few hand characteristics known which almost always point to the same issue: such as for example the link between 'single crease on the 5th finger' and Down's syndrome.

Arnold Holtzman writes in his 2nd book:

"There is one rule in handreading in psychological diagnosis which overrides all others. This one rule hold that everything modifies everything else. Everything has an influence on everything else, and everything is influenced by everything els."

There are many ways to describe the issue.

Thumb up

PS. Charles, I would love to hear more of what you have on your mind... plus how you have managed so far to deal with this issue. You're very welcome to start discussions on other fundamental topics!!

___________________________________________
sunny

Martijn van Mensvoort
Hand researcher & psychologist in The Netherlands (Holland)
Presents: Multi-Perspective Palm Reading + the Global Palm Reading Network

Martijn (admin)
Admin

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Location : The Netherlands

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