Is astrology real? Reading horoscopes is a popular diversion, but is there any science to suggest it means anything?
Aug 26, 2019 Is astrology a science? Astrology can be defined as a form of divination that is founded on the belief that life on Earth is influenced by celestial bodies and its alignments. Astrology is generally about the alignment of the planets and stars at the time of a person’s birth somehow can influence the nature and future of one’s life. In some ways, astrology may seem scientific. It uses scientific knowledge about heavenly bodies, as well as scientific sounding tools, like star charts. Some people use astrology to generate expectations about future events and people's personalities, much as scientific ideas generate expectations. Jun 25, 2020 This is, of course, very different from the study of astronomy, which is the scientific study of celestial objects, space, and the physics of the universe. A specific aspect of astrology—the. Jul 12, 2020 sciencegeo Literally, astrology is a system about the proposition that celestial bodies and astronomical phenomena have effects on human character and destiny. So is astrology a science? What is the history of astrology? Why do we believe in horoscopes? Aug 25, 2019 Astrology a science or superstition takes a unique route to arrive at specific conclusions. It’s a pseudoscience that combines scientific and factual beliefs and practices. This methodology is a combination of contradictory and exaggerated claims that also lack openness and systematic practices.
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As many as 70 million Americans read their horoscopes daily. Well, that’s at least according to the American Federation of Astrologers. According to a study done twenty years ago by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 25 percent of Americans believed that the positions of the stars and the planets affect our daily lives. In 2012, the General Social Survey found that 34 percent of Americans surveyed consider astrology to be 'very' or 'sort of scientific' and also reported a decrease—from two-thirds to around one-half—in the fraction of people who consider astrology 'not at all scientific.'
Astrology is generally defined as the belief that astronomical phenomena, like the stars overhead when you were born or the fact that Mercury is in retrograde, have the power to influence the daily events in our lives and our personality traits. This is, of course, very different from the study of astronomy, which is the scientific study of celestial objects, space, and the physics of the universe.
A specific aspect of astrology—the forecasting of a person’s future or the offering of advice on daily activities via horoscopes—is particularly growing in popularity. Magazines like The Cut reported an increase of 150 percent more hits on horoscope pages in 2017 than in 2016.
Clearly, lots of people are looking for ways to interpret the stars for advice. Astrology is founded on understanding the positions of the stars, which seems like a scientific enough pursuit in itself. But is there any science to back up whether astrology impacts our personality and our lives?
Here's the short Answer: No. None whatsoever.
But since I have you for five more minutes of this six-minute-or-so podcast to fill, let’s look at exactly how astrology has been tested.
THERE is a tendency in modern society to confuse astrology and astronomy, or worse yet, to consider one a legitimate alternative to the other. Although both arose from the wonders of the night sky, from stars to comets, planets, the Sun and the Moon, astronomy had a practical motivation. Knowledge of motions of these orbs made it possible to predict and plan for certain significant events, such as the changing of the seasons and planting of crops.
Many ancient astronomers, however, believed that “harmonies” or “synchronicities” exist between celestial configurations and human activities. They thought that celestial objects of the night sky exerted a special power over humans, particularly in foretelling the course of their life. Thus, along with the practical came the whimsical and the spiritual—astrology.
Astrology is a superstition that has no scientific basis. Its roots can be traced at least as far back as the Mesopotamian civilisation of the third millennium B.C. Today, astrology remains a popular delusion. It has trickled down to everyone, and people now find it routinely in newspapers and magazines.
Using medieval methodologies, astrologers generated a set of rules to make vague auguries and portents of a person's future and explain events on Earth. A diagram of the heavens called the horoscope is one of the tools of their trade. The horoscope shows the position of the Sun, planets and the Moon relative to the twelve constellations of the zodiac as they were thousands of years ago. Since then, change in the orientation of the Earth's rotational axis due to precession shifted the position of the ecliptic—path of the Sun against the background of stars. Consequently, the location of the constellations in the sky changed. They no longer correspond with the constellations in the horoscope.
As an example, astrologically I am an Aquarius because the Sun is believed to have been located in that sign at the moment of my birth. But that was thousands of years ago. In the year I was born the Sun was in Capricorn, not in Aquarius.
Astrologers divided up the year equally, ignoring variations in the size of the constellations. Since Virgo is huge, they chopped some of its sky and added it along with bits of Scorpio to the tiny Libra to bring it up to size. Astronomers call it “equal-opportunity swindling.”
There are currently thirteen zodiacal constellations, not twelve. Astrologers have ignored the thirteenth one, Ophiuchus, because they believe that this constellation was invented by the astronomers to bedevil them.
Unfortunately, people put their trust on the predictions and advices offered by the astrologers without demanding proof or verification. By doing so, they are not gaining any real knowledge. Instead, their blind faith on the prophecies shows a lack of understanding of what science is and of the distinction between scientific theory and faith-based convictions. Many careful tests have shown that, despite their extraordinary claims, astrologers really can't predict anything.
Astrologers sometimes argue that astrology is based on statistics and may not, therefore, be accurate for an individual. If their claim is true, then there should be a correlation between astrological lore and the different signs under which a person is born. Scientists have made serious attempts to test this hypothesis, but no correlation has ever been found.
Scientific disciplines based on hypothesis but with no consistent body of supporting evidence are called pseudoscience. Astrology is one of them. The difference between science and pseudoscience is the difference between objective reality and subjective impressions. Pseudoscience misrepresents real scientific discovery and contributes to anti-intellectual attitudes. It replaces exploration and discovery with mysticism and magic. Astrologers vehemently deny this and steadfastly resist any attempts to tamper with the veracity of astrology.
Is Astrology Accurate
Is Astrology A Science Or Pseudoscience In Your Opinion
Scientists play intellectual games that have certain rules that need to be followed. They accept conclusions that can be verified by repeated observations or experiments, or by making predictions that can be tested. Astrology fails to meet these criteria.
Put simply, the tenets of astrology provide ample evidence of its absurdity. Effects of astrology do not exist in the Universe.
The writer is Professor of Physics at Fordham University, New York.