More conceptually, belief in astrology implies a belief in cosmological predestination; it's a form of determinism — but a completely fictitious one at that.
Pseudoscience Related to the Earth
In the original Cosmos , Carl Sagan argued that astrology continues to survive and thrive because. It pretends to satisfy our longing to feel personally connected with the Universe. Astrology suggests a dangerous fatalism. If our lives are controlled by a set of traffic signals in the sky, why try to change anything? Indeed, astrology works hand-in-hand with sentiments suggesting that the events in our lives are a "matter of destiny" and that certain things are just "meant to be.
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Astrology is also bad for us and our interpersonal relationships. Because it tells us to pre-judge people according to their astrological signs, it basically makes us complete assholes. As Benjamin Radford noted in Discovery News , it's not dissimilar to racism:. Both astrology and racial stereotypes are based on a framework of belief that basically says: "Without even meeting you, I believe something about you.
I can expect this particular sort of behavior or trait stubbornness, laziness, arrogance, etc. When an astrologer finds out a person's astrological sign, he or she will bring to that experience a pre-existing list of assumptions prejudices about that person's behavior, personality and character. In both cases, the prejudices will cause people to seek out and confirm their expectations.
Which brings up an excellent point: people who subscribe to astrology are often victims of an observational selection effect, a cognitive bias in which we observe those traits we've been primed to notice, while remaining blind to other characteristics. This causes us to assess people the way we either want to perceive them, or the way we expect to perceive them.
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Either way, it's typically a skewed — and biased — impression. Horoscopes work the same way. They're often crafted to work in tandem with our supposed "personality types," and the observational selection effect does the rest. Though perhaps I'm giving the horoscope writers too much credit; their daily "predictions" are often so vague and open-ended that they could apply to anybody at any given time.
It's also important to note that astrology is also potentially harmful to our sense of self.
Astrology and science
If we feel that we're supposed to behave or feel a certain way, it could run in conflict with our "natural" or ingrained predispositions. Disturbingly, it could also lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, changing our personalities, behaviors, and even decision-making processes in those directions which fall in accord with our astrological expectations. Indeed, it's very upsetting to hear about people who defer to their astrological sign or horoscope when making important life decisions.
Online dating sites are a good example of this, where it's not uncommon for a prospective partner to literally turn down a potential match based solely on an "incompatible" sign. Talk about missed opportunities. More famously, Nancy Reagan used astrology after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in She consulted an astrologer, Joan Quigley, who offered insight on which days were "good," "neutral," or "bad" in order to influence her husband's schedule.
Astrology: Science or pseudoscience?
This included everything from signing bills to foreign travel. Nancy later wrote that:. Astrology was simply one of the ways I coped with the fear I felt after my husband almost died Was astrology one of the reasons [further attempts on his life did not occur]?
I don't really believe it was, but I don't really believe it wasn't. Sorry, Nancy, but it wasn't. Astrology is bunk — a colossal waste of time, money, and emotional energy. These forecasts are regularly read around the world.
Astrology doesn't work and never worked. Here's why
Undoubtedly many people read their horoscopes just for entertainment value, or as a topic for conversation. But some people attach scientific credence to astrological predictions and regard astrology as a valid way of understanding human behaviour. A surprisingly large quantity of scientific research has been carried out to evaluate the claims of astrology over the past 40 years. There is no evidence to support such claims. It should then be a cause for concern if citizens make important life decisions based on entirely unreliable astrological predictions.
For instance, people may decide for or against a potential marriage partner based on astrological sign. This happens quite often in India. Some may make rash financial decisions based on predicted good fortune. Reassuringly, it turns out that the number of people in Britain who think that horoscopes are scientific is small. And a similar proportion thinks the same across the European Union as a whole. However, if we ask people whether they think astrology is scientific, we see a different picture.
In a Eurobarometer survey of attitudes towards science and technology, a randomly selected half of respondents were asked how scientific they thought astrology was. The other half were asked the same question about horoscopes. The results shows a surprising disparity in opinion.
In research I carried out a few years ago, I tested the hypothesis that people get confused between astrology and astronomy, and it is this that could account for widespread apparent belief in the scientific status of astrology. Even well-respected national newspapers have been known to make this mistake.
westernhomeopathy.com/wp-content/dating/9468-hook-up-with.php My survey also asked people how scientific they believed various activities to be. One of these was astronomy. Using a statistical technique known as regression analysis, I discovered, after adjusting for age, gender and education, that people who were particularly likely to think that astronomy was very scientific were also very likely to think the same about astrology.
This points to semantic confusion about these terms among the general public.
In the same study, I was interested to look at other explanations for why some Europeans think astrology is scientific and others do not. If one does not have an adequate understanding, it might be difficult to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. So it turns out to be. When taking a wide range of other factors into account, those who have a university degree and who score highly on a quiz tapping scientific knowledge are less likely to think that astrology is scientific. In line with previous studies, women are more likely than men to think astrology is scientific, regardless of their level of education and knowledge about science.
The most interesting result, however, is based on an idea proposed more than 50 years ago by the German sociologist Theodore Adorno.