Astrology is not a science

Many people who think of themselves as scientists like to call astrology a “pseudoscience.”  Pseudoscience is defined as “a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method” but some writers go so far as to call some of these fields of study “fake sciences,” meaning they purport to be science but are not.  These theorists claim that because astrology is scientifically incorrect (planets don’t move backward and the Sun doesn’t orbit the earth) it is a fake science.

From what I can remember from high school science, the scientific method involves a series of testing with predictable results that are the same in every test.  I don’t think anyone can argue that astrology, in any form, can be thought of as passing scientific muster.

The practice of astrology has no rules, and there are countless branches and techniques that are completely different from each other.  Two exact natal charts can result in two totally different human beings who make different choices and have very different lives, and two individuals undergoing the exact same planetary transits will have unpredictable experiences.  However, this does not negate the fact that an astrological reading of a natal chart from a skilled astrology can be an accurate representation of the various factors of the human personality.

Recently an article has been circulating about the political groups who most believe that astrology is scientific.  As with most such debunking articles, this one is based on who reads newspaper “horoscopes.”  I think most people understand that newspaper horoscopes are not astrology, so the entire premise of this study is flawed from the beginning.

Still, the study shows that more and more people believe in astrology which I think is encouraging and likely […]

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By |2019-08-26T13:46:56-04:00February 25th, 2014|Astrology|4 Comments

Astrology and the Forer Effect

astrology skepticHere is an interesting article about an experiment performed in 1948 by Bertram R. Forer who collected statements from sun sign columns and then presented them to his subjects as though they were personally assessed as part of a personality profile.  Note: “horoscopes” are not sun sign forecasts, the horoscope is the actual map of the sky at a given time – the astrological chart, if you will.

These statements include the following:

You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself.

While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them.

You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside.

At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.

You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others.

At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved.

Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.

The author of this article is correct – these do all apply to everyone to some extent or another.  The Forer Effect is designed to prove something psychologists call “Subjective Validation,” or as the author says, “you are far more vulnerable to suggestion when the subject of the conversation is you.”

The author goes on to write:

Seen straight on, […]
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By |2019-08-26T13:48:08-04:00July 7th, 2010|Astrology, Favorite posts, Sun sign astrology|2 Comments

More on Sun Signs and the Olympics

Astrological Signs

Yesterday we introduced the work of statistician Kenneth Mitchell’s analysis of the correlation of certain astrological signs with sports that correspond to those signs.

Moving on to Taurus – Mitchell learned of a sport called Bull Leaping and from the pictures deduced that Pole Vaulting and gymnasts would have similar skills.  Taurus, of course, is symbolized by the bull.  Mitchell found that those born under the Taurus Sun sign had a 128% greater chance of winning medals in these competitions than the average athlete.

Mitchell also discovered that Taurus athletes born in 1985-1987 won 21 medals instead of the expected 8.5, a 200,000 to 1 event.  During this period Neptune was in Capricorn (which is trine, or harmoniously aspecting, Taurus) and it was sextile Pluto in Scorpio (opposing Taurus).

Geminis excelled in sports that required team players (the twins are always striving to complete themselves), but Cancers followed the trends of the general population of athletes and showed no statistical variations in any field.  Leos excelled in sports where they could compete as individuals rather than teams, which we would expect because of the need for Leo to express one’s individual Self.

Virgos excelled in skiing competitions, sprinting and hurdles – sports needing a great deal of discipline.  Mitchell notes that the fast reflexes required by these sports are not known to be a Virgo characteristic, but I would argue that because Virgo tends to be more comfortable in the body than other signs this would make sense.

Gymnastic competitions that require balance were the strength of […]

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By |2019-08-26T13:49:08-04:00August 22nd, 2008|Sports, Sun sign astrology|Comments Off on More on Sun Signs and the Olympics

Astrology: Misunderstood, disrespected

I love finding quirky little articles that “debunk” astrology and posting them here. Like this one:

Think there’s no harm in astrology? Click around and you’ll find cases such as that of Myanmar’s former prime minister, General Ne Win, who decided to issue the nation’s currency in denominations of 45 and 90 and other multiples of nine, a number his astrologer said was his lucky number. The move immediately made citizens poorer since all other once-valid forms of currency were now worthless.

This comes from an article about a new website that evidently debunks just about everything, including veganism.

My brilliant readers know that astrology has nothing to do with lucky numbers, and this is just the kind of misconception that causes the kind of disrespect that astrologers have had over the centuries. There are more intelligent skeptics out there, but lumping so-called astrology in with veganism and calling them both irrational beliefs is more hilarious than insulting!

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By |2019-08-26T13:49:56-04:00July 24th, 2008|Astrology, Sun sign astrology|Comments Off on Astrology: Misunderstood, disrespected

Chris Brennan on Richard Dawkins

Chris is one of the smartest astrologers around, and he has a great breakdown of four of Dawkins’ arguments against astrology. Here’s just the fourth, but it presents an excellent discussion of the argument between the tropical zodiac (0 degrees of the cardinal signs at the solstice/equinoxes) and the sidereal (adapted to precession):

according to Dawkins, astrology hasn’t changed since the time of Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century ‘despite a shift in the Earth’s rotational axis that has thrown Ptolemy’s zodiac out by 23 degrees.’ [quotation from Dawkins].

The problem with this statement is that in the process of borrowing old arguments from earlier skeptics Dawkins got mixed up due to his unfamiliarity with the subject that he is attempting to dispute. Skeptics of astrology tend to favor this argument that centers around the fact that the sidereal zodiac of the constellations has moved out of alignment with the tropical zodiac of the seasons over the course of the past 2,000 years since horoscopic astrology was developed. The problem with Dawkins’ statement is that since he is under the assumption that Ptolemy was the one who invented astrology, he assumes that Ptolemy was the one who originally used the sidereal zodiac of the constellations, and then later astrologers started using the now common tropical zodiac of the seasons. But in actuality Ptolemy was the one who instituted the tropical zodiac of the seasons as the main zodiacal reference point in the western astrological tradition, as opposed to the sidereal zodiac of the constellations that prevailed prior to Ptolemy’s time. So, basically, Dawkins got it completely backwards. His first historical mistake led to another even more ridiculous one. This is from a guy who fashions himself as some sort of champion or advocate of reason and rationality against […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:57:36-05:00September 16th, 2007|Science|Comments Off on Chris Brennan on Richard Dawkins