Thursday, November 25, 2010

Astrology debunked

A few days ago I wrote about the Forer effect and 'subjective validation'. In the cited article, reference was made to 'a mishmash of lines from horoscopes' collected for the experiment. This led one reader to chide me via e-mail for being 'negative' about astrology, and ask me to 'correct' that misperception.

I'm afraid I can't correct it. I'm very negative about astrology! I regard astrologers as charlatans, and those who believe in their predictions as - at best - over-credulous and deluded. I know there are those who will disagree with me (and still others who'll claim that any religious or spiritual or supernatural belief is just as fictional), but I'm afraid that's where I stand.

For those who aren't sure, I highly recommend Phil Plait's debunking of astrology. It's one of the most factual and logical I've yet discovered. Here's his summary of astrology.

Summing Up

I had a lot to say here! So just to make it easier on you, here are the main points of this page:

  • There is no force, known or unknown, that could possibly affect us here on Earth the way astrologers claim. Known forces weaken too fast, letting one source utterly dominate (the Moon for gravity, the Sun for electromagnetism). An unknown force would allow asteroids and extrasolar planets to totally overwhelm the nearby planets.
  • Astrologers tend to rely on our ability to remember hits and forget misses. Even an accurate prediction may be simple chance.
  • Study after study has shown that claims and predictions made by astrologers have no merit. They are indistinguishable from chance, which means astrologers cannot claim to have some ability to predict your life's path.
  • There is harm, real harm, in astrology. It weakens further people's ability to rationally look at the world, an ability we need now more than ever.


Astrology is wrong.

See? Told you I'd repeat it. That was one astrological prediction you could actually count on.

There's more at the link. Interesting and entertaining reading, as are the other Web sites to which he links for more information.


1 comment:

Bob@thenest said...

When I read the word "astrology," the word "hogwash" immediately comes to mind as an unrepressable synonym and neurons stop firing.