Any scientific basis for astrology


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That was taken over by the idea of divination, where you can actually look at things in nature and study them carefully, such as tea-leaf reading.


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Odenwald points out that in societies where people in the lower classes had less control over their lives, divination could seem pointless. The Sumarians and Babylonians, by around the middle of the second millennium BC, appeared to have had many divination practices — they looked at spots on the liver and the entrails of animals, for example — and their idea that watching planets and stars was a way to keep track of where gods were in the sky can be traced to The Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa.

Imagine a straight line drawn from Earth through the Sun and out into space way beyond our solar system where the stars are. Then, picture Earth following its orbit around the Sun. This imaginary line would rotate, pointing to different stars throughout one complete trip around the Sun — or, one year. All the stars that lie close to the imaginary flat disk swept out by this imaginary line are said to be in the zodiac.

The constellations in the zodiac are simply the constellations that this imaginary straight line points to in its year-long journey. These Western, or tropical, zodiac signs were named after constellations and matched with dates based on the apparent relationship between their placement in the sky and the sun.

The Babylonians had already divided the zodiac into 12 equal signs by BC — boasting similar constellation names to the ones familiar today, such as The Great Twins, The Lion, The Scales — and these were later incorporated into Greek divination. Astrology purports that astronomical bodies have influence on people's lives beyond basic weather patterns, depending on their birth date. This claim is scientifically false.

Numerous scientific studies have disproven that astronomical bodies affect people's lives according to their birth date. For instance, Peter Hartmann and his collaborators studied over individuals and found no correlation between birth date and personality or intelligence. In one of the most famous experiments, Shawn Carlson had 28 astrologers make predictions and then tested the accuracy of their predictions. Before conducting the experiment, he fine-tuned the method so that various independent scientists agreed the method was scientifically sound, and also so that all of the astrologers agreed the test was fair.

As published in Nature , he found that the astrologers could do no better at predicting the future than random chance. These results agree with fundamental science. Fundamentally, there are four forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force.

If an object affects a person, it must do so by interacting through one of these fundamental forces. For instance, strong acid burns your skin because the electromagnetic fields in the acid pull strongly enough on your skin molecules that they rip apart. A falling rock crushes you because gravity pulls it onto you. A nuclear bomb will vaporize you because of nuclear forces. Each of the fundamental forces can be very strong.

The problem is that they all die off with distance.

The nuclear forces die off so quickly that they are essentially zero beyond a few nanometers. Electromagnetic forces typically extend from nanometers to kilometers. Sensitive equipment can detect electromagnetic waves light from the edge of the observable universe, but that light is exceptionally weak. The gravity of a star technically extends throughout the universe, but its individual effect on the universe does not extend much beyond its solar system. Because of the effect of distance, the gravitational pull of Polaris on an earth-bound human is weaker than the gravitational pull of a gnat flitting about his head.

Similarly, the electromagnetic waves light reaching the eye of an earth-bound human from Sirius is dimmer than the light from a firefly flitting by. 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. 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.

Written in the stars

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.

In with the new

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?

How does astrology work? | Science Questions with Surprising Answers

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. 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.

Does Science Back Astrology?

Follow twitterapi Tweet. How Wikipedia has been hijacked by 'guerrilla skeptics' who push an anti-astrology agenda.

Why Astrology Is a Crock

Scepticism can be used to justify institutional bias even among respected scientists and journals.

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