Byline: COLIN WILSON
A MYSTERY woman donor has upset Britain's academic establishment by giving [pound]500,000 to fund a university degree course in astrology, a subject that most scientists regard, at best, as a pseudo-science.
She has decided to keep her identity a secret - a wise precaution, since if her name were made public she would almost certainly come under vituperative attacks from those who think she needs her head examining.
Professor Alan Smithers, director of a think tank at Liverpool University, has gone on record suggesting that astrology is an intellectual form of pornography.
There was a time when I would have agreed with Professor Smithers. Thirty years ago, I was writing a book called The Occult, and trying to make up my mind whether to include a section on astrology. Could it, I wondered, be taken seriously, or was it a confidence trick to take in gullible newspaper readers?
Then I recalled that I had a pocket diary with a couple of pages on astrology - a straightforward account of the 'sun signs' - (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, for example) and the characteristics of the people born under them.
It took me only 15 minutes to become …