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At CSICOP: Why millennials and liberals turn to astrology

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Astrology Signs Chart From Stuart Vyse at CSICOP:

One of the most noteworthy aspects of belief in astrology is that it is more often embraced by liberals, which places it in the company of the anti-GMO and anti-vaccination movements (Vyse 2015). A 2009 Pew Research Center study found that people who described themselves as liberal were almost twice as likely to say they believe in astrology than self-described conservatives: 30 percent of liberals compared to 16 percent of conservatives (Liu 2009). Similarly, a 2015 study using data from the General Social Survey data of the National Opinion Research Survey at the University of Chicago found that conservatives were more likely to endorse the statement, “we trust too much in science and not enough in religious faith,” and liberals were more likely to have consulted their daily horoscope or astrological profile (DellaPosta, Shi, and Macy 2015, 1482–1483).

According to the Pew study, belief is also more likely to be a youthful phenomenon, with the youngest age group, 18-to-29-year-olds, having a 30 percent belief rate and belief decreasing with each increasing age bracket… More.

Vyse provides a helpful survey of a robust data set that shows that, ever since astrology ceased to be regarded as a science, it has found a home mainly among people who are not orthodox religious believers. He also provides evidence that interest in astrology is more prevalent among those undergoing life crises who wish they had more control over events. Plus:

The foregoing summary provides a few hints as to why astrology might be surging at the moment. First, it is a youthful movement, and another recent Pew Research Study shows that Millennials are less religious than older generations but not less spiritual. In answer to the question, “Religion is very important,” only 41 percent of Millennials said yes, in comparison to 59 percent of Baby Boomers.

Second, two factors are very likely combining to make astrology more appealing at the moment—liberalism and a need for control. Astrology has a stronger appeal for liberals than conservatives, and in the United States, since November of 2016, the liberal world has been rocked. If ever there was a time when liberals might be looking for a compensatory sense of control, now is it. Conservatives are feeling better, but even if the tables were turned, the Pew survey data suggests they would be more likely to take refuge in religion rather than astrology or other forms of spirituality.

At the risk of setting the cat among the pigeons here, is it possible that belief in superstitions contributes to, and is not merely the result of, political misfortunes? There is a long history of that kind of thing.

* At one time, astrology was considered a science for the perfectly good reason that the heavenly bodies were considered to be bigger and more powerful than Earth. Why would it not be reasonable to believe that they influenced or even controlled events here (as the sun does)? To believe otherwise would be counterintuitive and would require some explanation. Well, the counterintuitive thesis turned out to be correct but the psychological needs cited by Vyse persisted. And not usually among the people some pundits would expect.

See also: Does post-modern naturalism lead to a rise in superstition?

Occult gaining ground among “sciencey liberals”

Skepticism is largely wasted on “skeptics”: Astrology division

14 Replies to “At CSICOP: Why millennials and liberals turn to astrology

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    At one time, astrology was considered a science …

    Some people, of course, still think it is:

    Under my definition, a scientific theory is a proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical, observable data and logical inferences. There are many things throughout the history of science which we now think to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that — which would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one.

  2. 2
    tribune7 says:

    Bob, you seriously don’t think the stars control your destiny do you?

    I’ll concede that attempts to empirically and repeatedly show the impact that the location of celestial bodies has on one’s life could be considered a scientific endeavor but to act on the belief that they do is entirely faith and a rather destructive one.

    I’ll concede something else too, namely that the time of year in which one is born may affect one’s personality i.e. if your first experiences are of being bundled up inside due to cold weather you will have a different outlook than if Mom rocks you outside in the sun with the bees buzzing around.

    But that’s just an interesting thing to ponder, not something about which to make life decisions.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Bob totally misses the point. Astrology makes claims that can be tested- unlike evolutionism

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    @tribune7: As biology returns to Lamarck, it’s finding that birth season shapes the epigenes. There’s more to it than early experience and training. Conventional astrology includes a whole bunch of nonsensical fictional details, but the basic correlation of season to personality turns out to be true.

  5. 5
    Allan Keith says:

    I am will to accept the possibility that the time of year you are born may affect your personality. But if this is the case, I would also expect to see similar thing based on the latitude a person is born. Although, this may explain why us Canadians are so much smarter than Americans. 🙂

  6. 6
    tribune7 says:

    –Although, this may explain why us Canadians are so much smarter than Americans. —

    Two words: Justin Bieber.

  7. 7
    Allan Keith says:

    Tribune7,

    Two words: Justin Bieber.

    Ouch.

  8. 8
    PaoloV says:

    Everybody Has a Creed

    Everybody has a creed. All people believe in something and shape their lives around it. Even agnostics believe very strongly that you ought not believe anything very strongly (which is why it is so hard to be a consistent agnostic). We all have a creed that we live by, whether we can articulate it or not.

  9. 9
    groovamos says:

    Some people, of course, still think it is

    I’m not one of those people and I pretty much ignore it in my every day life. However astrology as a field of inquiry is probably as useful in its own way as is human psychology. I have many liberal new agey friends, and for some of them astrology plays a deep role in their thinking about life and human affairs. And so I refuse to be closed minded on the topic as the so-called free thinkers and most Christians are.

    Fair warning to materialists and conservative Christians here. You know that I as a student of non-ordinary states of consciousness will maybe lay one on ya here. People who experience such states have brought back astrological information from their experiences which themselves run the gamut from out-of-body experiences to near death experiences, to mystical visions of heaven and hell, spectacular dream journeys, to psychedelic therapy. This has been going on for thousands of years and astrological information has been a big part of the human experience. As a result, astrology has been a topic for study in many civilizations.

    I mean how many of you have wondered why is it that this field of inquiry has been a part of so many civilizations? Why does it go back in time not only in the West but also for example to ancient times on the Indian subcontinent?

    You’re going to have to deal with this eventually because we are all destined to see it. And as usual on the topic of human consciousness, the best evidence for it comes from the best scientific evidence regarding the workings of the human mind, which comes from psychedelic research. Which the materialists on here seem never to be able to counter me on, leading me to believe that they are afraid of the deepest reaches of their own minds. You know, where dreams and nightmares and sexual matters and psychological states originate.

    Whether applied to addiction treatment or psychological treatment (the former tends to morph into the latter in therapy) there is a current explosion of research into psychedelics, mainly ibogaine and psilocybin. And guess what. Many of the successful subjects of these studies have brought back from their sessions tales of astrological phenomena discovered in the deep unconscious. The planets of our solar system seemingly have a representation in the human unconscious. Even the researchers themselves have gone through a dilemma on this one, and the most famous one of all, Stanislav Grof speaks of his personal views on the topic of astrology in his autobiographical book “When The Impossible Happens”. Additionally the researchers will tell you that the contents of the experiences in psychedelic therapy seem to be key to the success of the outcome, and you can see one of these researchers in the ibogaine research say this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syztZcpj69U

    So logically one could say:

    (1) ibogaine success rate is the highest of all treatments for addiction
    (2) key to success of ibogaine is the subjects’ experiences in the sessions.
    (3) Some subjects experience a representation of the bodies of the solar system in the unconscious.
    (4) It would be closed minded to reject astrology out of hand, and so I refuse to do so as do the so-called open-minded materialists.

    One more thing. A reminder of all of the controversy over the Mars effect which has held up to statistics and which has been the subject of a huge attack by scientific materialists over the decades. And has flummoxed CSICOP and caused defections from their ranks:

    http://www.theoryofastrology.c.....effect.htm

  10. 10
    News says:

    Tribune7 at 6 and Allan Keith at 7: Point for Tribune7 but Keith could still win by identifying an American pop star whose Bieber-like attributes exceed those of Justin. Perhaps he has other uses for his time… 😉

    Bob O’H at 1, up to the early modern era, there was no evidence against the ancient view of astrology. Disbelief centred on philosophical considerations.

  11. 11
    Allan Keith says:

    New,

    Tribune7 at 6 and Allan Keith at 7: Point for Tribune7 but Keith could still win by identifying an American pop star whose Bieber-like attributes exceed those of Justin. Perhaps he has other uses for his time.

    Given recent events at a Langley BC Tim Hortons, I might simply have to concede the point.

  12. 12
    vmahuna says:

    For the grammarians out there, some centuries ago some clerk screwed up the distinction between “astrology” (the study of stars) and “astronomy” (the study of the influence of stars).

    So Astrologers should be the guys with the telescopes and Astronomers should be the guys with the pentagrams.

    It is of course much too late to fix that.

  13. 13
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    Pharmakia, translated in the New Testament of the Bible as sorcery, is a known gateway to demonic influence. Yes, psychedelic experiences do bring back knowledge that corresponds to astrology and other occult arts. And they open the psyche to the influence and bondage of malevolent spirits whose purpose is to lie, steal, kill and destroy all that is good, true and beautiful. It is an activity that may cost a man his very soul.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Take it with a grain of salt, but there is also this:

    Does God Have a Zodiac? Is the Gospel in the Stars?
    https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/55001-does-god-have-a-zodiac-is-the-gospel-in-the-stars

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