Astrology and Horoscopes

Arguments Of Astronomy Against Astrology

Arguments Of Astronomy Against AstrologyO
nce there were two sisters living under the same roof, Astronomy and Astrology. Sometime in the past they separated because of a man named Copernicus. Later on the older Astronomy got hooked with Galilei whereas Astrology has remained a spinster. She isn’t jealous of her older sister, though. She respects and consults her. On the contrary, Astronomy debunks Astrology usualy on the following points:

1. Astronomers say: The Sun and the Moon are not planets and the Sun is not orbiting around the Earth. Hence, the geocentric system of astrology is not scientific.

Science is a simple and coherent system of statements which affords applicable results. For example, geometry is a science based on axioms which afford theorems and so on.

  • Euclid said: between two points only one straight line is possible. This was an axiom useful for tracing ways and building houses but it has been proved useless when man has wanted to exit the stratosphere.
  • Then Riemann said: there is no straight line between two points.
  • Finally, according to Lobachevsky: between two points there is an infinite number of straight lines.

Today astronomers consider the Euclidean geometry as a subsystem of Riemann’ s geometry which is a subsystem of the geometry of Lobachevsky: compromise upon compromise in order to get practical results. But when astrology makes its own compromises in order to get its own results, this is not scientific.

2. Astronomers say: The starting points of the zodiac signs does not correspond today to the real constellations. There is a distance of about 25° between the real signs and the signs which astrology uses.

The 0o Aries is in fact the 5° of Pisces.

They ignore the distinction between the tropical and sidereal zodiac. The last one is not used by astrology. The fact that the constellation of Virgo occupies an area of 45° in the sky and Libra only 16o is the astronomical image. The astrologer, every year on the day the vernal equinox, takes as zone of 16° (eight degrees above and eight below the apparent path of the sun in the sky) divides this zone into twelve equal parts of 30° each, names the first part Aries, the second Taurus etc and in this circle does his calculations.

The starting point of astronomical and astrological zodiac was the same about the age Ptolemy but even he made the distinction between signs and constellations.

The Indian astrology, which uses the sidereal system, is a different system of delineation of houses and signs. Yet astronomers very well know that this phenomenon (precession of equinoxes, 1° retrograde movement of 0o Aries approximately every 72 years) will bring this point in the same position that occupied at the age of Ptolemy, after 24.000 years. Then at last they will not have this argument.

3. Astronomers initially said: Pluto is a planet but, you astrologers erroneously use him because there are dozens of similar objects in our solar system.

Then in Prague, in 2006, they dethroned Pluto deciding to redefine in the future what a planet is. All this is astronomical fuss. In so far as Pluto affords useful interpretative results in the astrological system the matter of what exactly is does not concern the astrology. This is the reason why a planetary body like Sedna is, at least for the time being, indifferent to astrology; an orbit of 10.000 years cannot afford much information to the astrological system.

4. Astronomers say: in any case, two people born on the same day in the same place have the same celestial configuration but their lives, most probably, will be different.

They ignore the fact that the most reliable method of astrological prediction, that of primary directions, demands exactitude of four minutes in the registered time of birth and this accuracy is rarely attained. Consequently, professional astrologers, in order to survive, have turned the whole thing to nonsense of the type “you Capricorns” that is to say about half a billion people all over the world “today will happen upon an old amour of yours”. These cookies served in the morning-coffee shows on the TV are the bread and butter of many professionals and the deriding of astrology.

5. A trick: the Forer effect

“You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure 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 pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.”

Do you recognize yourself in this description? If you do, you are a victim of the Forer effect. Technically known as subjective validation the effect was named after the psychologist B.R. Forer. In experiments with his students in 1948, he noticed that a person can be inclined to admit some general or vague description of their personality as being unique to them, even though the exact same description would apply equally well to everyone.

Forer gave a personality test to his students and then, without bothering to even read them, gave back the above text – the exact same one to each student, taken from a newspaper astrology column. He asked his students to rate his analysis and received a positive response. His students were convinced that he could read their personalities.

These tests later became known as “Barnum statements” after P.T. Barnum, who used them in his public performances, allegedly stating “there’s a sucker born every minute.” As well, the trick is used now and then by the debunkers of astrology as an explanation for the widespread acceptance of its beliefs and practices.

But in much the same way that new age professionals are vulnerable to believing inaccurate information due to the Forer effect, skeptics are just as prone to their own biased perceptions. If you go to your doctor and hear him say “You need to examine your habits with diet and exercise, because you are damaging your health with your present body weight.”, does that physician’s diagnosis get dismissed along with the entire field of medicine? Even advice that is exact and specific for one individual can often be interpreted as loosely applying to many people.

Thus the Forer effect does not disprove the accuracy of any field; it only establishes that people share many personality traits.