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A Critical Analysis of the Human Design System (Part 1)

Is Human Design a Pseudoscience?

I recently came across a video called “Human Design Exposed” on youtube that led me down a path of researching critiques of the Human Design System and analyzing for myself what does and doesn’t hold true in my 3+ years of being fully immersed in the experiment. This article is going to dive deep into the several critiques I came across and unpack them in detail from my perspective.

  1. Human Design is not a science, in fact, it is a pseudoscience.

The Jovian Archive website states that Human Design is a synthesis of ancient and modern sciences. While it does not explicitly state which ones, the website does include a graphic suggesting that it is a synthesis of I’Ching, Western zodiac, Sephirot of the Kabbalah & the Chakra System. 

The Definition Book of Human Design - The Science of Differentiation, further includes that Human Design synthesizes two types of science: The ancient observational systems of astrology, the Chinese I’Ching, the Hindu-Brahmin Chakras and the Tree of Life from the Zohar/Kabbalist tradition; and the contemporary disciples of Quantum Mechanics, Astronomy, Genetics and Biochemistry. It also specifically mentions that Human Design is not a belief system or a philosophy and that it is a logical, empirical and practical system that you can experiment with to reveal your true nature.

The International School of Human Design states that, “ancient wisdom traditions like the I’Ching, Hindu Chakra system, Tree of Life (Kabbalah) and Eastern/Western Astrology are synthesized with the Science of Neutrinos, Genetics and Physics to create a genetic blueprint of the nature of your being… a Human Design BodyGraph.”

What can be gathered from the three most official sources of Human Design is that the Human Design System is a science because it is a synthesis of various sciences. It could also be purported that it is science on its own (the science of differentiation), whilst also being a synthesis of various sciences.

What is Science?

According to the Science Council, “Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.” Scientific methodology involves various steps including measurement and data collection; forming a hypothesis which is testable and falsifiable and which includes both deductive and inductive reasoning; testing the hypothesis in experiment using dependent and independent variables; analyzing the data to accept or reject the hypothesis; modifying the hypothesis if needed; repeating the experiment until no discrepancy is found between observations and hypothesis; critical analysis of the theory and finally peer review and assessment.

Yup, for a science to be called a science, something that explains the natural and social world logically, the process is quite rigorous and intense. And rightly so, nothing can be stated as fact unless it has been proved to be so against all reasonable doubt. The scientific method is a method of trying to prove one’s hypothesis wrong through experiment and if it cannot be proved logically wrong through data collection, only then it is considered to be a true explanation of the natural world. This is a long and difficult process that is balanced with peer review and assessment. Not only does a scientist try to prove their hypothesis wrong, their peers too analyze the experiment and the data to ensure that science as a field remains trustworthy and dependable.

Does Human Design qualify as Science on its own?

  1. Data Collection and Measurement: Jovian Archive has a database of 41,992,752 charts so far on the basis of which it calculates certain statistics. This includes the percentage of the different Types that exist as well as the percentage of Profiles, Definitions, Authorities, Incarnation Cross Orientations and Incarnation Crosses. It is clear that those associated with the system have been working with data since a long time.

  2. Forming a hypothesis that is testable and falsifiable, that includes both deductive and inductive reasoning: To be honest there are many hypotheses in this system but strategy and authority and center mechanics are the ones that are most emphasized because Ra Uru Hu suggests that we can verify them on our own through experiment. Ra mentions that he was given the information by a Voice, so it seems like he began his process by deductive reasoning i.e. working backwards with an already given theory. As he was working backwards he also observed certain phenomena like Type/Aura, Authority, Not-Self Themes etc. which all later combined to form the Human Design System through inductive reasoning. While certain concepts in Human Design are testable and falsifiable through experiment, there are also those that cannot be verified through experiment, which he called the “gray courses”.

  3. Testing the hypothesis in experiment through dependent and independent variables: This is the stage where I see that we are at right now when it comes to the Human Design System. While telling people to go experiment on their own is a way of spreading the knowledge so the right people and resources can come on board to investigate the knowledge, it is not a scientific method of testing the claims made by the Human Design System. Devising a scientific experiment that could verify the hypothesis is where we are stuck at. And it makes sense why this is where we’ve been for a very long time. Say for example, we have a hypothesis that Generators have an open and enveloping aura. What kind of experiment would you design to prove this? Firstly we’d have to start with scientifically proving that there is such a thing as an aura. In 1992, The term biofield was proposed by an ad hoc committee of  complementary and alternative medicine practitioners and researchers convened by the newly established Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Research has been ongoing in the field without any conclusive evidence so far. You see, the process for something to become a legitimate science is long and hard and requires resources and dedication from many generations of interested scientists.

In my personal opinion, it is clear that the Human Design System is not yet a science. In fact, in my opinion there isn’t even a proper experiment that has been devised yet that could prove any of its hypotheses. Perhaps the place to start is to rethink what we want to prove in the first place. Is it aura mechanics? Is it Center Mechanics? Is it biological correlation of the Gates to the Genetic Codons? Is it the existence of the magnetic monopole? It is also valuable to note that its claims of being a synthesis of various sciences is also not 100% accurate. The Chinese I’Ching and Astrology are ancient divination systems, not science. The Hindu-Brahmin Chakra system and the Kabbalah are also traditional belief systems, not science. While the Human Design System does include the concept of neutrinos which can be explained using quantum physics, it does not include anything else from it either. Biochemistry is another area of science which is often mentioned in correlation with Human Design, from my research it is evident that there is only a potential correlation, nothing substantive at all yet.

In conclusion, neither does Human Design qualify as a science on its own and nor do the disciplines it synthesizes qualify as science.

But does this make Human Design a pseudoscience?

Pseudoscience refers to the beliefs and practices that claim to be scientific but lack the true method and essence of science. 

  • Pseudosciences practice motivated reasoning i.e. they tend to work backwards from desired results rather than following evidence and logic wherever it leads. Pseudosciences only look for confirming evidence and disregard disconfirming evidence i.e. fall prey to confirmation biases. 

  • Pseudosciences shift the burden of proof on others rather than taking responsibility for proving their theory conclusively. 

  • Pseudosciences do not try to disprove their own theories and are not conservative and careful like other fields of sciences. Pseudoscientists also often demonstrate hostility toward scientific criticism. 

  • There is also a tendency to rely upon anecdotal evidence and testimony. Anecdotes are uncontrolled, or ad-hoc observations. They are not systematic; they are, therefore, plagued with confirmation bias and recall bias. 

  • Pseudosciences are also marked by a failure to progress. Sciences that are legitimate and useful tend to progress over time whereas pseudosciences tend to be stagnant. Pseudosciences are chasing their tail or are endlessly trying to establish their basic principles or the very existence of the phenomenon that they are studying, but they do not build a body of evidence.

When we assess Human Design through this lens, it would seem that confirmation bias is a huge part of experimenting with Human Design strategy and authority. It also shifts the burden of proof on its experimenters rather than sharing evidence of its validity. It also relies heavily on anecdotal evidence and testimony. In the 30 years that Human Design has existed on the planet, there is very little statistical evidence to show for its validity. Does this mean it is pseudoscience? 

In my opinion, it can be seen that way if its proponents present it as a science before it actually becomes a science, if it ever becomes a science. Now I do recognise that the scientific process is rigorous and takes time and potentially many many failures in experimentation before anything can be stated as a logical explanation of the natural world. And there are plenty of pseudosciences or more accurately, protosciences that eventually developed into real sciences. For example, the pseudoscience of alchemy developed into chemistry, while the protoscience of astrology developed into astronomy. You see, nothing that is final in the eyes of science today is conclusive forever. After all, science is the human race’s attempt at understanding the natural world around it through data and evidence. And it is important to note that science does not even try to understand the unnatural world, which belief tries to understand through its own experiential process. 

Science is constantly changing and transforming, so are the belief systems around the world. And then there is that which is totally unknowable. So what is Human Design? A protoscience? A pseudoscience? A belief system? A revelation? A bit of everything perhaps? I am not certain yet. What is clear to me from my examination so far though is that Human Design is not a science yet and it should not be referred to as such by its practitioners.


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