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Astrology Science Or Scam?

  1. Aug 21, 2005 #1
    I AM FROM INDIA ,AS U MIGHT KNOW ASTROLOGY HAS ITS ROOTS IN INDIA , PEOPLE HERE ARE CRAZY ABOUT ASTROLOGY ND ANYTHING RELATED TO IT .
    PEOPLE HERE MAKE MONEY BY PASSING RANDOM STATEMENTS WHICH ARE THEN TREATED AS PROPHECIES BY THE GULLIBLE FOLK OVER HERE .
    NOW I KNOW ABOUT HOW ASTROLOGY DOES NOT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ,THE GRAVITATIONAL FORCES PRODUCED BY NEARBY OBJECTS WHICH IS GREATER THAN THE EFFECT OF NEARBY PLANETS AND HOW PEOPLE TEND TO ACT IN A WAY TO MAKE THE PROPHECIES COME TRUE ,BUT THESE ARGUMENTS ARE QUITE COMMONPLACE NOW .
    IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE TO PROVE THAT ASTROLOGY IS NOT A SCIENCE BASED ON 8000 YEARS OF DATABASE AS claimed by astrologers here .
    i want sometin that can shut these people upp .
    PLEASE HELP !!!
     
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  3. Aug 21, 2005 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    How accurate do the Indian astrologers claim their predictions to be? Oresme in the 14th century provided a method to confound astrologers of the "perfectly accurate" school.

    It is a mathematical fact that if you have n independent cycles, as it were the circling of the planets through the zodiac, then if the periods of these cycles are linearly independent over the integers (which I will explain in a moment) then no aspect configuration will ever exactly recur, so 2000 or 10,000 years of history won't provide a prior case of a given aspect upon which to base prediction. On the other hand, if these cycles are NOT linearly independent over the integers, then only a finite number of aspects will ever occur, which cannot possibly account for all the continuously varying changes in the world.

    "Linearly independent" means that no linear combination (sum of multiples, including possible negative multiples) of the periods comes out to zero. Or put in terms of positive numbers, no sum of multiples of some of the periods equals any sum of multiples of other periods.

    This is known as Tschebyshev's theorem in Diaphantine approximation, proved in the 19th century, but Nicole Oresme proved the simplest case, n=2, in the 14th century.
     
  4. Aug 21, 2005 #3

    HallsofIvy

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    One thing that has always puzzled me: If everything astrologers say about the stars affecting our lives were true, how would they know what those influences are. Every "astrologer" (or believer in astrology) that I have asked that of just refers to books written by others. How did those others know?

    Of course, scientifically, one would answer such a question by doing research- perhaps look at many people who have (approximately at least) the same sign configurations and see what they have in common. That sort of research has been done, repeatedly, both by astrologers and debunkers- the result has consistently been "null"- they have nothing particular in common.

    There was one famous research done the other way. An early twentieth century astrologer (he was Adolf Hitler's astrologer- but try not to let that prejudice you) looked at the star positions for a large number of people he considered "artistic" to see what they all had in common. He finally came to the conclusion, and published, that they all had Uranus within a 10 degree range!

    Now, Uranus is not visible with the naked eye and not one of the planets normally used in astrology, but doesn't that prove that the planets and stars can influence humans in specific ways? No, it doesn't. This is often taught as an example of why a "control group" is necessary. Had he also looked at people who were not "artistic", he would have found Uranus in that same area! He used only living people who were old enough to have shown themselves artistic- all of his subjects were born with a period of about 30 years. Uranus's period is so large that that constitute about a 10 degree section of its orbit!
     
  5. Aug 21, 2005 #4

    selfAdjoint

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    In the 1940s and 50s a number of French astrology entusiasts worked with the birth announcements of people mentioned in sports and other catalogs to try to determine if their "birth signs" supported their later type of eminence. French birth announcements include the time of birth to the minute. Jung actualy worked with a group doing this in about 1946. Later a well known publisher of this research was named (except for my spelling uncertainty) Gauquellin. He claimed there was evidence for , as I recall it, "Mars in the ascendant" for notable athletes. The US skeptic's organization CSICOP took on this research and claimed to debunk it but turned out to have calculated the astronomical probabilities wrong and wound up with egg all over their faces. The French research was nevertheless not determinative, since the catalogs were spotty and subject to possibly slanting choice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  6. Aug 21, 2005 #5

    Kerrie

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    One of my favorite topics to discuss with skeptics...astrology is much like pschology-not an exact science, but a guiding factor into understanding what moves human beings to be who they are and make the choices they do. I think skeptics don't realize astrology is not a science, let alone exact, but a tool. Astrology is a study of cycles between the celestial matter and human matter-essentially all the same matter in different forms.

    For four years I have debated this topic, here AGAIN is a link on the topic we discussed extensively...perhaps I should keep a link in a signature.... The Physics of Astrology-PF
     
  7. Aug 21, 2005 #6

    loseyourname

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    The title of this thread presents a false dichotomy, by the way. Not every claim is either scientific or bullsh*t.
     
  8. Aug 21, 2005 #7

    LeonhardEuler

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    From what I've read of this you seem to be saying that astrology is not a science, and therefore should not be put to the same standards of rigor as a scientific fact. But think about what it means for something to be scientific. It simply means that it can be demonstrated or falsified by experiment. If astrology is not scientific, then it is useless. I do not mean to say that anything which is not scientific is useless, but that this makes astrology in particular is useless because it is supposed to make predictions. Astrology makes truth claims which can be tested by experiment. If you do not expect these claims to be verified in experiments, then what exactly are we to make of these claims? You say it should be taken as a guide and not as fact. I would take a weather forcast as a guide and not as a fact because data show that given certain previous measurements of temperature, pressure, etc. it will be more or less likely to rain at some point in the future. But if it can not even be demonstrated that the predictions of astrology are more likely to be true of those it claims a given prediction to be true for more than simmilar people it doesn't claim the prediction to be true for, then what use is it? Why should I believe it?

    I remember reading a quote about astrology. I don't remember who wrote it or exactly what it said, but let me put the basic idea down: Don't you think its incredibly egotistical for a man to look at the motions of planets and the arrangement of stars and think that all of these things happen to predict the most trivial events of his life? It would be like a worm looking at the rise and fall of nations and thinking that all of this happens to predict whether another worm will fall in love with him or something. It's absurd, there is no reason to believe it is true.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  9. Aug 21, 2005 #8

    Kerrie

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    So psychology can also then be considered useless?
    Actually, if you had taken some time to really study what astrology is, you would find this is NOT what it is. It's about studying people and the relation of their strengths/weaknesses to the geometrical positions of the planets. Those who use astrology to predict their future certainly may feel they are not in control of their choices and destiny. Astrology does not claim this whatsoever, and if it does, then your sources are very misinformed.

    Weather forecasts are a good comparison to astrology, tendencies based on past patterns are what help us forecast what could happen or come to be.
    So please, tell me what sources you have to make you believe this, and have you done any objective research on your own (like understanding how it works)? Based on what you have said in your post, it would seem to me you have only subscribed to the silly newspaper sun sign horoscopes, and really have no idea how much math/geometry and human psychology is involved. This is the major problem I see with the skeptics-they take what they think is astrology at face value, and don't learn what exactly it entails. To learn how it works actually takes a lot longer time then most realize. So, instead of beginning a debate, I suggest reading my link I posted. I like to use that link as a reference because instead of beating down the topic because of what preconceptions were formed, members actually wanted to understand what and why it is referred to as the "oldest" science.
     
  10. Aug 21, 2005 #9

    SGT

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  11. Aug 21, 2005 #10

    LeonhardEuler

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    Psychology is based on experimental evidence and makes predictions that can be and are validated by experiment. This is the only reason to believe it.

    You say that astrology is about people studying their strengths and weaknesses based on the geometrical positions of the planets. What evidence is there that there is any relation at all? I don't have to provide evidence that there isn't a relation. It is a baseless claim and the default position is skepticism. Weather forecasts are not a good comparison to astrology. One is based on actual empirical statistical correlations between observable measurements and the other is not. I do not have to study astrology to not believe it any more than I have to learn ancient Greek and learn every little detail of Greek mythology to conclude that it is very unlikely that the Greek gods exist. Greek mythology makes baseless claims and I have no reason to give them any credibility unless I am presented with actual facts to substantiate these claims. I treat astrology the same way. Since there is no reason to believe that some ball of rock or gas hundreds of millions of miles away is controling people's personalities, I don't believe it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  12. Aug 21, 2005 #11

    Kerrie

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    you still didn't read the link, i won't bother replying to you any longer since you have made the choice not to read the link.
     
  13. Aug 21, 2005 #12

    SGT

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    I have followed part of your link. particularly I read all your posts. You challenge LeonhardEuler to research astrology in order to understand how it works. Since you have being studying it for 12 years, you certainly understand it. Could you please explain it to us. I have not 12 years at my disposition to study it and even if I had, it would be too late to post on this thread.
     
  14. Aug 21, 2005 #13

    LeonhardEuler

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    I read the beginning of the link, but forgive me for not reading all 106 posts. I just don't think the details of astrology are relevant to its validity any more than knowing how many brothers Athena had is relevant to the valididty of Greek mythology. If you think some details of it will make it seem more reasonable, though, I would like to know them. For now, though, I believe that astrology is a dangerous myth that thrives on people's poor logic. I like this example from the bad astronomy link:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  15. Aug 21, 2005 #14

    Kerrie

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    SGT, I appreciate your openness...it is refresing
    :smile:

    the link is a PF thread we had, and i would just be repeating what it says. as i mentioned before, many questions were asked about how it works in that thread and i am afraid of being redundant.

    the main points are:
    astrology does not claim to be a science, does not predict and IS subjective. it is based on a theory that says "as above, so below, as within so without, as the soul, so the universe". basically stating that human life and all matter are all connected in one form or another, but still respects the fact that we are beings with a given amount of free will to make our choices. a natal chart is a picture of the aspects of the planets in relation to earth-for me personally, i typically look at the aspects and positions of the sun, mercury, venus, mars, jupiter, saturn, and especially the moon. hardcore astrologists will use EVERY planet and major planetoid, but i find they don't point out major personality tendencies.

    once i have looked at where and what those objects are, i study that individual to see if there are strong tendencies. for example, i have found that those with the moon in leo when they are born TEND to be extremely stubborn in their ways, and can "scare" those when their anger is ignited. i have known about 5 people with this placement, and had the same response by all of them. of course, where the moon is in the chart has an impact of what can ignite their emotions too.

    with this in mind, people who are aware that they have this tendency might keep it under control. when they make choices-using this example-to not express their anger to frighten others, they are choosing, or using "free will" to overcome this tendency. when a person consults a certified astrologist, the astrologist will point out personality habits and help that seeker to be aware of those habits.

    so really, to say astrology predicts is absolutely silly because it doesn't predict anything except possible personality strengths and weaknesses.
     
  16. Aug 21, 2005 #15

    Kerrie

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    well then, i guess i am done discussing it with you. a scientist who wants an objective view of the subject would be open to reading both sides, not just what they want to believe. plain and simple, you are not being objective about it.
     
  17. Aug 21, 2005 #16

    LeonhardEuler

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    Astrology does predict. You suggest that people "with the moon in leo when they are born TEND to be extremely stubborn in their ways". This is a prediction. You could ask people's friend's whether they are stubborn or not. You could do this with a big group of people in this category and a big group of people not in this category (making sure that the people you ask don't know what you're looking for) and see if there is a statistically significant difference. If there is, then this suggests the valididty of the claim. If there is not, then there is good reason to disbelieve it. Beware of beleiving claims based on anecdotal evidence.
     
  18. Aug 21, 2005 #17

    LeonhardEuler

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    I am open to reading both sides, but I only want to read what is relevant. Like I said, I don't believe the details are relevant until the fundamental epistomological question is answered: How do you know? What is this based on? Why should I believe it? Until this is answered I would be wasting my time learing details derived from principles I have no reason to accept. The notion that the postion of a ball of rock in outer space at the moment you exit the womb determines your personality seems crazy to me and I won't believe it without evidence.
    I am open to hearing what you think is relevant, and I hope you don't interpret this as me being grumpy, but I do have a strong personal dislike for astrology because of all the poor people who give away money believing this stuff and because of the fuzzy logic it encourages.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  19. Aug 21, 2005 #18

    Kerrie

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    so do i, please don't consider my 12 years of studying anything of making money off of people-i would consider it insulting.

    TEND means to be inclined to, not necessarily a guarantee of what is or will be. a lot of people operate on "auto-pilot" thus fall into weak tendencies when they don't excersise their awareness of themselves.
     
  20. Aug 21, 2005 #19

    SGT

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    Well, you say that it works, not how it works. Do you have any idea about the how? It is certainly not gravity or electromagnetism, since it is independent of distance. Do you have any idea of wich physical interaction would be behind astrology?
    Why do you discard the influences of Uranus and Neptune? Is it because Babylonians didn't know those planets? Is it because they are too distant? If distance is involved, why do very distant constellations have any influence?
     
  21. Aug 21, 2005 #20

    Kerrie

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    that's the big mystery that no one knows-what moves the planets in their cycles? what moves people in their cycles? it is certainly a force of somekind. perhaps it is a force we have yet to understand...our current version of science certainly isn't final, and can be added to or changed by a profound understanding or discovery that lies ahead down in the future...

    in my own opinion, the "influences" of the further planets move slower in orbit, thus traditionally in astrology would be more "generational" then personal.

    constellations actually have nothing to do with astrology-another big misunderstanding that many do not realize. there are 13 constellations in the zodiac, yet only 12 are used to "name" the signs. and that is all the influence they have of western astrology-just the names and symbols. to me, astrology is a connection that incorporates 50% geometry, math and astronomy, with the other 50% being human psychology. those who follow what astrology is most likely believe that all of life is connected, and feel that we are a part of our world, not a seperate being from it.
     
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