Cosmology Culture News

Skepticism is largely wasted on “skeptics”: Astrology division

Spread the love

From a column by someone who sometimes take it seriously:

The belief in astrology has also been the subject of academic study. A 1997 article entitled “Belief in Astrology: A Social-Psychological Analysis” by researchers Martin Bauer and John Durant used 1988 British survey data to test a number of hypotheses that might explain why certain people are more likely to check their star charts than others. Among the likeliest contenders: first, the level of structure and detail implicit in astrology appeals to people with “intermediate” levels of scientific knowledge (because they like the theory and the process, if not the rigor required to disprove it); second, a belief in astrology reflects “metaphysical unrest” most present in those with religious backgrounds who have since moved away from organized religion; and third, astrological belief is more prevalent among those with an, ah, “authoritarian character.” I can’t speak for everyone, but on a personal level: OK, fair enough.

Bauer and Durant found strong support for hypotheses one and two—belief in astrology coincides with scientific interest and education up to a point, but then drops off among those inclined to true scientific rigor, and it does indeed occur more frequently among those, as the authors put it, “alive to religion” but not currently involved in a religious community—but, somewhat surprisingly according to previous literature, none for three. Some believers in astrology might happen to be authoritarian, but there are a number of other traits that predict belief more significantly. Frequent horoscope readers are more likely to be women, for one, and single, and in search of a greater sense of control (none of which are factors that have ever lent much credibility to any practice whose enthusiasts are defined by them).

That sounds about right. “Moved away from organized religion” probably means New Age in most cases.

Other sources also report here, here, and here, for example, that more conservatively religious people are less likely to believe in astrology than those who move away from organized religion.

Astrology, as a determinist theory of life, was at one time a reasonable scientific hypothesis: The larger and more powerful heavenly bodies, we were told, had an inescapable influence on events on humble Earth. And it was true, they did. Except for one thing: The influence turned out to be limited to critical gravitational effects such as Jupiter’s minesweeping of asteroids. These other bodies did not control such matters as whether the Queen had a son or a daughter or who would win the upcoming battle or what the next harvest would be like, which was the sort of thing most people wanted to know about centuries ago.

And then when people go far enough along the path of skepticism, they and up believing in multiverses in which not only can anything be true, but everything is.

Skepticism should be taken in small doses at the right times. – O’Leary for News

5 Replies to “Skepticism is largely wasted on “skeptics”: Astrology division

  1. 1
    Bruce David says:

    Since I have hung out with a lot of people who were once members of an organized religion but have since left, I have known quite a few people who take astrology seriously. I see this as a natural outgrowth of a personality that is willing to question what he or she was taught as a child and open his or her mind to new ideas, even new ideas that might be subject to ridicule in more orthodox circles.

    However, astrology as I have seen it practiced is never used to predict future events. Rather, it is one of many tools or systems that are used to gain insight into one’s own or another’s psychology and personality characteristics.

    Personally, I have no strong opinion one way or the other as to its accuracy.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Axel says:

    Had it been mere hyperbole, that punch-line would have been hilarious. Unambiguously….

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    This following article(s) is/are interesting for revealing that the Gospel of Christ was actually originally written in the constellations of the stars long before it was twisted 180 degrees by modern astrology:

    The Gospel in the Stars: Part 1 (Page down just a bit to find the article)
    http://www.prophecyinthenews.c.....rs-part-1/

    The Gospel in the Stars: Part 2
    http://www.prophecyinthenews.c.....rs-part-2/

    The Gospel in the Stars: Part 3
    http://www.prophecyinthenews.c.....rs-part-3/

    The Gospel in the Stars – JR Church – video
    https://vimeo.com/51606512

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    The practice of looking to the heavens for omens to direct the course of life on earth had its origins in ancient Mesopotamia, dating back perhaps to the third millennium B.C.E. The early astrologers were careful observers of the heavens. From their efforts to map movements of heavenly bodies, catalog star positions, develop calendars, and predict eclipses, the science of astronomy was born. But astrology goes beyond observing the natural influence of the sun and moon on our environment. It asserts that the location and alignment of the sun, moon, planets, stars, and constellations not only influence major events on earth but also control individual lives.

    Interesting that astrology in ancient times seemed closer to astronomy as we know it today. The problem is that astrology is based on untruths and misunderstandings regarding the nature of the universe. After examining more than 3,000 specific astrological predictions, scientific investigators R. Culver and Philip Ianna came to the conclusion that only 10 percent were accurate. Any well-informed analyst could do better than that.

    Professor of astronomy George Abell in the book Science and the Paranormal writes: “If the planets were to exert an influence on us, it would have to be through an unknown force and one with very strange properties: it would have to emanate from some but not all celestial bodies, have to affect some but not all things on earth, and its strength could not depend on the distances, masses, or other characteristics of those planets giving rise to it. In other words, it would lack the universality, order, and harmony found for every other force and natural law ever discovered that applies in the real universe.”

    Scientific discoveries in more recent times have presented formidable challenges for astrology. Consider these facts:
    ? It is now known that the stars that appear to be in a constellation are not really in a group. Some of them are deep in space, others are relatively close. Thus, the zodiacal properties of the various constellations are purely imaginary.

    ? The planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were unknown to early astrologers, for they were not discovered until the invention of the telescope. How, then, were their “influences” accounted for by the astrological charts drawn up centuries earlier?

    ? The science of heredity tells us that our personality traits are formed, not at birth, but at conception, when one of the millions of sperm cells from the father unites with the egg cell from the mother. Yet, astrology fixes one’s horoscope by the moment of birth, nine months later.

    ? The part of the sky through which the sun, the moon, and the planets appear to move, called the zodiac, is divided by astrologers into 12 equal portions, each with one constellation as its sign. In reality, there are 14 constellations in that part of the sky. They are not equal in size and they overlap each other to some extent. So the charts drawn up by astrologers bear no actual physical resemblance to what is in the sky.

    ? The timing of the sun’s journey among the constellations, as seen by an earthbound observer, is today about one month behind what it was 2,000 years ago when the astrologers’ charts and tables were drawn up. Thus, astrology would cast a person born in late June or early July as a Cancer—highly sensitive, moody, reserved—because by the charts the Sun is in the constellation Cancer. Actually, however, the Sun is in the constellation Gemini, which would presumably make the person “communicative, witty, chatty.”

Leave a Reply