Manual The Scientific Basis of Astrology: Myth or Reality

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The Zodiac

To try to undermine an argument by claiming that the proponent has financial, psychological or other motives rather than address the merits of the argument is an ad hominem and psychogenic fallacy. Many sceptics claim that astrologers make a lot of money. This may be true of a few Sun-Sign columnists who are more like media celebrities than typical astrologers. The fact is that most astrologers devote much of their life to studying their subject and still struggle to make a living or supplement their income with better paid work.

Their motivation is the pursuit of knowledge rather than money. Those at the top of the multi-million dollar "Skeptical Industry" make a comfortable living and notoriety through popularizing their beliefs.

There are lucrative conferences, lecture circuits, books, magazines and journals to promote and like an evangelical church, donations are encouraged by playing on the fears of the faithful. The short answer to both is no. However, much depends on your definition of science. If you are looking for laws, objectivity and predictability, then science is really confined to physics, chemistry and molecular biology. The scientific part of astrology: tidal, seismic and meteorological correlations are an ancient and important part of astrology, but not enough to classify astrology as a hard science.

The same argument applies to many other so-called sciences: such as climatology and meteorology. Most scientists argue that fields that involve human consciousness and behaviour such as psychology, sociology, economics or human senses such as nutrition or music are not science.

It is arguable that evolution is not scientific under this strict definition. The nearest equivalents to astrology are cooking or horticulture which are both a mix of art, science and craft. Science has greatly improved the quality of our lives and enhanced our understanding of nature, but many fields that really matter to our lives are not scientific. Those who dismiss these alternative viewpoints support scientism, Such fundamental beliefs are counter to the open inquiring spirit of science. In scientism a claim is false until proven.

In science a claim is unproven until proven. Some argue that using certain dictionary definitions of science, there's a case that astrology is a science as there is a body of knowledge that can be taught. OED However, the practice of astrology by most astrologers is better defined as an art or a craft than as a science and it would be wrong for these type of astrologers to claim to be scientists. As such it would also be equally wrong for a scientist who has not studied astrology, to consider him or herself qualified to judge such practices since they are outside the realm of science.

If you have read this far, you will now know there are no grounds to dismiss astrology as complete rubbish from a scientific point of view. If you still believe astrology to be rubbish, ask yourself, is your belief based on astrological knowledge and actual experience?

Or is it blind faith inspired by feelings? Or were you won-over by an illusionist's trick? Or were you informed by a second-hand opinion that appears authoritative, but is based on an ill-informed, outdated or prejudiced view of astrology? Those who have studied astrology are the best authorities on the subject.

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Astrologers must learn from history

Criticism of Astrology and Astrologers I admit that I am guilty of most of these criticisms. Astrologers must learn from history that their practice must respond to changing scientific knowledge and changing consciousness to survive. Astrologers should do more research, of the scale and quality of Gauquelin. There are only a few practicing astrologers and even fewer would dare to dedicate their life to the thankless task of research without funding in the face of hostile peers.

The quality of practice of astrology is variable. Though we are limited with the tools at our disposal, many astrologers could take a more empirical approach to their work. Astrologers are largely unregulated. There are professional bodies and astrological schools who require that members adhere to a code of rules and standards. However, not all astrologers comply with that system. Astrologers disagree with each other in fundamental ways even though there is for example, a consensus about the energy connected with the planet Mars.

But then psychologists, cosmologists and climatologists are deeply divided. Does that make their fields less valid or more complex? Astrologers use idioms that can appear unscientific or ignorant. We use the word planets to includes Pluto, the Sun and the Moon. If we say a planet is in Sagittarius, it does not mean it is actually within the constellation. If an astrologer writes about the influence of Mercury, it does not necessarily mean that the astrologer assumes a causal relationship.

Empirical Astrology Why it is no longer acceptable to say astrology is rubbish on a scientific basis.

What is Astrology? Science, Myth, Superstition, or Religion? | EVC – Citizen Science Initiatives

Main News Page. Sceptical Research into Astrology. Return to Home Page. I strongly feel that his comment was not based on any investigation into astrology, was unfounded and was not appropriate in an educational program about astronomy. Follow twitterapi Tweet. Jung, who created the psychological categories of introversion and extroversion and formed the basis for the popular Myers-Briggs personality test, placed astrology on par with mythology in explaining the workings of the human psyche. As far as he was concerned, it was all just in our minds.


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People who claim that astrology as practiced in its current form is based on thousands of years of tradition are wrong. Originally, astrology flourished in the Hellenistic period alongside various sciences like mathematics, medicine, and engineering. When the Roman empire fell in the 5th century, Hellenistic texts of all kinds were scattered and fragmented over the millennium as their standing with Christian and secular European society fell in and out of favor.

Ancient astrology looked to be delegated to dusty Greek attics. In the late 19th century, a group of German linguists stumbled upon previously unpublished fragments of Hellenistic astrological texts. The discovery set in motion a year task of collecting as many of the overlooked texts as they could find in libraries across Europe. In the early s, a group of astrologers decided to translate this and other classical works in the hopes that they would recover something worthwhile. They called the effort Project Hindsight and styled themselves after Renaissance intellectuals reviving the lost art of ancient algebra.

Constellations and the Calendar

After a decade and a half of translation work, Project Hindsight claims to have revived the old astrological methods. No longer a folksy way to look at our individual personality and character, astrology as we know it is getting pushed aside and being replaced by older techniques of looking at why real-world events happen.

Traditional Hellenistic astrology brings a rigor and harmony to astrology that modern methods washed over. The modern system flattened the houses, which describe worldly matters like money, love, and career, into the zodiac signs of the star constellations. The ancient texts never conflated the two.

Prying these important pieces of astrology back apart clarifies how the ancients related movements of the heavens with events on earth. Compare this to new-age psychological astrology, which over accentuates internal matters of the mind and spirit, opening up far too much room for confirmation bias. Modern astrology also hastily assigned outsized influence to the newly discovered planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto without the centuries of observational data that the Hellenistic astrologers were working with.

One of the greatest sticking points where traditional and modern astrology diverge is destiny. Hellenistic astrology describes a causal relationship between the movement of planets and stars and the material world on earth. The ancients also believed in the notion of fate.


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Fatedness runs counter to our modern notion of free will, and therefore many find traditional astrology unpalatable. However, we do not need to believe in a fatalistic view of planetary movements to revive some insights in the work of the ancient astrologers who espoused them. Now, modern psychology can enrich those parts of the astrological tradition. Her writing carries strong feminist and social-justice overtones, hitting on the zeitgeist of the moment not unlike what Alan Leo did in his time over a century ago.

Her audience is devoted and growing, with a regular readership reaching over 1 million people. While people can now preach openly about crystals or sound-vibration healing and only get a single eye roll, those who look to astrology for answers are still in the proverbial closet. The revival of traditional astrology is still in its early days. As with most discoveries from antiquity, it takes time to integrate findings into existing knowledge.

Take the Antikythera mechanism for example, the earliest known analog computer that dates from the Hellenistic period.