Experimental Results:Read the whole thing, because there’s much scientific mirth to follow – such as Grumbine’s hypotheses about why Seers’s jello failed to gel. But it was Seers’s attempt to squirm out that I found especially amusing: He “disqualified Grumbine's results because he mixed his box of jell-o in two bowls. That was ‘breaking up the substance’.”
10/20/99 at 2:30 AM EDT my wife mixed a batch of consumer-grade jello according to directions. She split the jello to two containers, one about 1.5 cups, and one about 4, and put into the fridge. When I checked at 6:50 AM EDT, both had firmly jelled.
10/21/99 at 3:45 AM EDT my wife again mixed a batch of consumer-grade jello and split in to two containers as before. At 8:00 AM EDT, both had jelled, though the large was somewhat un-firm.
We followed Mr. Seers procedure both at a time he predicted that the jello would fail to jell, and on a 'control' day. On neither day was there any difficulty apparent in the jelling procedure. His prediction is falsified.
Now that’s funny, because it seems to me Seers had a killer excuse readily available. The void-of-Moon period is supposed to bring about bad luck and stuff going wrong. When you want your jello to gel, it shouldn’t -- but if you’re doing an experiment to show that it won’t gel, it should gel after all! Thus, Seers could claim that Grumbine’s experiment was an example of things going wrong, confirming the astrological hypothesis. This is a problem that could be solved with better institutional design. Two researchers, one astrologer and one skeptic, should run a double-blind experiment, wherein the actual jello makers don’t know what the experiment is supposed to show.