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What are the principles on which astrology rests?

  1. Mar 19, 2003 #1

    Tom Mattson

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    This stems from the threadThe purpose of pseudoscience. Astrology was referred to as being dismisses as pseudoscience. Is it unscientific? Or is it just getting a bad rep from its identification with the daily paper horoscopes?

    I have no idea, as I have never looked into the matter. So let me ask:

    1. What are the foundational principles on which astrology rests?
    In other words, what are its axioms?

    2. What are the claims of astrology? In other words, what does one mean when one says that "astrology works"?

    3. How is #2 deduced from #3? Or are the axioms identical to the claims?

    Thanks,
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
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  3. Mar 19, 2003 #2

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    I am at a total loss to think how planets and stars can have any influence or effect on our future in terms of astrology.
     
  4. Mar 19, 2003 #3

    russ_watters

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    My take on astrology: Before the scientific revolution, atronomy and astrology were pretty much the same thing. There were a few true astronomers though who called themselves astrologers because thats how they got access to the King's research money. When science was invented (discovered?) during the Rennasance, astronomy separated itself from astrology. Since then, any science having to do with the stars is astronomy. If there WERE a scientific theory to arise from astrology, it would not be astrology, it would be astronomy.

    Not so fast. Any pshrink will tell you that there is more depression in the winter than the summer. WHY? Even the tides can affect your mood (Surf's up!! duuuuuude). So there ARE effects and there is real science to describe them. But thats not astrology.

    Astrology is not sceince (and never will be) because it is not studied in a scientific way. Any junior high kid could conduct a scientific study on astrology. But scientific studies are rarely done. WHY?
     
  5. Mar 19, 2003 #4

    Kerrie

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    Thanks for your interest on one of my favorite subjects


    What are the foundational principles on which astrology rests?

    The same force that moves the planets, move us.



    What are the claims of astrology? In other words, what does one mean when one says that "astrology works"?

    Astrology is a tool that claims to show strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies by interpreting the aspects of the planets to one another. It is like a blueprint of one's soul...why it works is because so many people fall into the auto-pilot syndrome and forget to excercise their free will (or complete awareness/developed intuition in my book)...



    How is #2 deduced from #3? Or are the axioms identical to the claims?

    Can you be a little more specific on this question?


    Being objective on astrology (and I feel obligated to do so that I do not lend bias to it because my ego tells me to claim its validity), I would say that the major weakness on astrology is how varied the interpretations of the aspects can be...thus, my reason I study people myself over learning from a book...

    I would be most happy to answer any more questions
     
  6. Mar 20, 2003 #5

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    Kerrie

    What are the foundational principles on which astrology rests?

    The same force that moves the planets, move us.


    Could you be more specific, please? What force are you referring?

    Astrology is a tool that claims to show strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies by interpreting the aspects of the planets to one another.

    This is what I don’t understand. Planets are millions of miles away from us and have been and will continue to orbit the Sun for millions, if not billions of years. A very tiny bit of gravitational pull is about the only influence they can have on the Earth and each other, aside from the joy we might get from viewing them with a telescope.

    What would happen, for example, if a large brown dwarf rogue made its way into our solar system and completely destroyed one of the key planets used in astrology? And what if this collision had such an effect as to knock other surrounding planets out of their orbits? Would astrology need to be re-written?

    Why couldn’t one simply gain knowledge of strengths, weaknesses and tendencies from studying people instead?
     
  7. Mar 20, 2003 #6

    Tom Mattson

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    So, gravity then?

    Is there some systematic way to determine these these strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies? What input data do you use (birthday, etc)?

    Sure. You said that the foundation of astrology is that the same force that moves the planets also moves us. From this principle, how are claims regarding our strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies logically deduced?

    OK, that's fine. Let's just focus on your interpretation of it.
     
  8. Mar 20, 2003 #7

    Kerrie

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    Astrology is like a reflection...

    (Q)~

    The same force that moves the planets, move us.

    you tell me, what does move our planets, satellites, asteroids, etc? this is where the debate of "God" could come in, but I really don't want to lead this discussion there...Gravity is a part of it, but what motivates the movement, do we know?

    This is what I don’t understand. Planets are millions of miles away from us and have been and will continue to orbit the Sun for millions, if not billions of years. A very tiny bit of gravitational pull is about the only influence they can have on the Earth and each other, aside from the joy we might get from viewing them with a telescope.

    see my comment above...astrology is a theory obviously at this point, but those who study it long enough begin to understand it's "language"...

    What would happen, for example, if a large brown dwarf rogue made its way into our solar system and completely destroyed one of the key planets used in astrology? And what if this collision had such an effect as to knock other surrounding planets out of their orbits? Would astrology need to be re-written?

    i guess we will find out what happens if and when that happens...astrology does not claim to be the final answer...which leads me to your next question...

    Why couldn’t one simply gain knowledge of strengths, weaknesses and tendencies from studying people instead?

    i do study people along with their birth information and compare their tendencies, etc with the aspects in their chart...more often then not, people are a match to their chart...

    Tom~

    Is there some systematic way to determine these these strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies? What input data do you use (birthday, etc)?

    for the natal chart, I use the birthdate, the EXACT time and EXACT place of birth (latitude and longitude) to calculate where the planets were in relation to the person at the time of their birth...now, one could argue why the chart is not calculated at the time of conception, and my answer to that would be that the fetus does not have free will until it is completely separate from their mother...most astrologers now use a computer program to input the birth information, as hand calculating takes a long time..

    You said that the foundation of astrology is that the same force that moves the planets also moves us. From this principle, how are claims regarding our strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies logically deduced?

    i deduce them by comparison of the aspects to the individual, or event (astrology can be used for a an event as well)

    here is my favorite example of astrology into play:

    11/2000 (presidential elections)
    Mercury in Retrograde in Scorpio~
    Mercury = planet of communication, media, facts, etc.
    Retrograde = planet appearing to move "backwards", but generally interpreted as "fowling" up the typical characters of the planet in retrograde
    Scorpio = planet of power (more US presidents have been Scorpio then any other sun sign:wink: )

    so, with these typical characteristics, it is easy to see a "reflection" from the sky to the events occuring to earth, much like a mirror...
    what i would like for all to remember is, astrology isn't a science, but a tool...
     
  9. Mar 20, 2003 #8

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    Kerrie

    you tell me, what does move our planets, satellites, asteroids, etc? this is where the debate of "God" could come in, but I really don't want to lead this discussion there...Gravity is a part of it, but what motivates the movement, do we know?

    I would much prefer the natural laws explanations as opposed to debating gods. Gods have yet to be shown to exist. As well, there is a vast amount of varying interpretations for gods and no one interpretation is valid.

    From the General theory of Relativity, there is a well-known metric called the Robertson-Walker metric. This rather complicated mathematical model forms a basis for representing the current model of our universe. It explains the possibility of how the universe first came into existence (Big Bang Theory) and describes quite accurately the current expansion of the universe. Many of our current observations agree with this theory. A few unknowns still exist, but they are working on solving them.

    In a way, you could say this theory might describe the motivation of movement that you refer. And since the theory is derived from General Relativity, we must be talking about Gravity.

    Back to the question at hand – how does gravity move us?

    astrology is a theory obviously at this point

    Technically, I would have to disagree. Astrology cannot be considered a theory, nor can it be even considered a hypothesis. It does not fit the criteria required for theory development.

    I believe Tom has outlined those criteria in another thread regarding Pseudoscience.

    more often then not, people are a match to their chart...

    Perhaps that’s why Astrology is considered Pseudoscience. If the results are not consistent each and every time, it cannot be considered valid. But I do agree with your methods of studying people. I think if you spent more effort on that part alone, the consistency of your results will increase. And if you spend enough time studying people without comparing your results to Astrological charts, you may develop your own theories that could be accepted into the scientific community.

    And that would be a major achievement!

    what i would like for all to remember is, astrology isn't a science, but a tool...

    The problem is, as I stated above, the tool you are using is not consistent; therefore your results will always have varying degrees of uncertainty. It might be better for you to replace Astrology with another tool that will give you more consistent results.
     
  10. Mar 20, 2003 #9

    Tom Mattson

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    Re: Astrology is like a reflection...

    OK

    Is it a simple matter to write that system down, or is it too cumbersome? Perhaps there is a link online?

    OK, I have inserted a [?] icon at the part I don't understand. How did you determine what kind of planet Mercury is? It would seem that this represents another axiom of the theory, along with the first one you mentioned.

    A tool to be used for what end? Prediction? Explanation after the fact? Pardon my ignorance, but that example is the first I have ever seen of "Astrology In Action".

    I guess my fundamental questions are:

    What does astrology claim to offer, and how does it deliver?

    I realize that you say, "astrology isn't a science", and I am having no trouble accepting that so far. :wink: What I am wondering is whether or not it is pseudoscience, or just plain mystical.
     
  11. Mar 20, 2003 #10

    Kerrie

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    www.astro.com i highly recommend this reputable site

    see the link above, it is very informative..

    based on the years of studying, it is traditionally accepted as so, and from what i gather when mercury does go into retrograde every couple of months, communications of all kinds TEND to get messed up...

    i hope that people don't use astrology as prediction, it is a map of your psychological tendencies...it is up to the individual to become aware of those tendencies and decide if they are positive or negative in their life..

    (Q)~
    this question i will admit that i do not know, do you?

    Free will of that person is what makes it inconsistent...see my comment above to Tom...

    logically, what keeps me motivated to continue to study and learn it is the fact that MOST people do match up to their chart because (in my opinion anyway), most are on auto-pilot..
    (Q), a better way to prove what validity astrology does have is for me to do a natal chart for you, if you choose...this is the real way i can have the opportunity prove it, not just by debating it...

    it might be better to understand the perspective that astrology is more of a human "psychological tool" then a scientific one..

    here is a quote that i like to use in describing astrology:
    as above, so below
    as within, so without
    as the universe, so the soul
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2003
  12. Mar 20, 2003 #11

    Tom Mattson

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    Re: www.astro.com i highly recommend this reputable site

    I don't see it.
     
  13. Mar 20, 2003 #12

    chroot

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    Mercury is a Roman god similar to the Greek god Hermes. Both served as messengers between mankind and the gods, and thus Mercury is held to be a symbol of communication.

    The planet was named Mercury by its Greek discoverer, Timocharis, circa 260 BC. It was so named because it moves so quickly from night to night.

    The coupling of these two facts leads to the conclusion "the planet Mercury itself represents communication." Whether or not the coupling makes any sense is up for debate. Man invented the god Mercury, and stipulated that he move so quickly between gods and earth. Man named the planet Mercury. As a result, the only real connection between the planet and the concept of communication is one formed by man himself. This leads me to question the validity of any conclusions based on that connection.

    There are a total of four (known) fundamental interactions in the universe. The only two that operate at sufficient range to allow the planets to interact with us are electromagnetism and gravity.

    Gravity is extremely weak. Saturn exerts less gravitational force on you than does a nearby housecat. While it certainly cannot be said to have zero gravitational influence, it has a neglible influence. The electromagnetic interaction comes in the form of light, allowing us to see the planet as a bright dot in the night sky. How the presence of this tiny amount of reflected sunlight can be said to affect one's life and personality is beyond me.

    Like many good movies, astrology requires a suspension of disbelief -- in other words, if you're not willing to stop thinking so damn much, you can't appreciate astrology. I'll let it be known right now that I cannot stop thinking so damn much.

    Astrology is a psychological game masquerading as an astronomical phenomenon. Astronomical bodies really have no bearings on the subject of astrology -- you can derive similar psychological "readings" from tarot cards, or the bumps on the skull. Astrology is persuasive because it uses something that seems overtly scientific, even though it doesn't use any actual science. You can plug in your birthday, or the latitude and longitude of your birthplace, and do a lot of numerical manipulations -- this seems very precise and scientific. It seems that the profile that pops out of is somehow derived from those numbers. However, if the birthday and birthplace are used to calculate the positions of planets, and the planets are themselves unrelated to actual human behavior, then the birthday and birthplace are unrelated to actual human behavior. You might as well plug in your dog's birthday and the coordinates of Saddam Hussein's secret bunker -- you'll probably come up with a profile that is similarly successful at describing your personality.

    There are many adjectives that one can use to describe someone's personality, and all such characteristics are spectra -- virtually no one is entirely kind, or absolutely happy, or completely devoid of fear. As a result, almost anyone will match a good portion of almost any randomly-generated psychological profile. Try it, you'll see.

    What I find funny about astrologers is that they are thrilled when 75% of an astrological profile matches their subject. A psychologist, however, would see the same 75% as an overwhelming failure.

    - Warren
     
  14. Mar 20, 2003 #13
    Astrology is right in that heavenly bodies do affect us, but physics takes that qualification and makes it a quantification. Effects supercede emotions, force supplants fate, determinism replaces prognostication.

    When the stars were "gods" and the planets "wanderers," man projected his hopes and fears against the sky, a predictable yet metaphysical pattern of lights. Now the science of astronomy has brought astrology down to earth, but the fundamental passion to explain our place in the universe remains.
     
  15. Mar 20, 2003 #14

    Kerrie

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    so, you would say then that you had your natal chart interpreted? would you also so tht these were "credible" astrologists, or just interpreting from a book? the fact that you threw this comment in here shows me that you have a pre-disposed bias against it already, and therefore would not be willing to look at it objectively...

    i desire to see astrology on the most realistic level, and welcome valid questions (such as Tom's) to challenge what i have learned...i do not want to be led by something false, however, as i mentioned before, the coincidences i have witnessed in people against the basic accepted interpretations of the aspects are quite high for not being that well accepted by the scientific community...

    one thing also to remember is that most serious astrologers do know a lot about astronomy and often keep up on astronomical news...so, some of you skeptics can at least give us the credit for basing our interpretations on the astronomical facts:wink:
     
  16. Mar 20, 2003 #15

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    Kerrie

    this question i will admit that i do not know, do you?

    Quite frankly, gravity doesn’t really move us – it actually resists our motion. Our movement is governed by the strength of our muscles to overcome the force of gravity.

    (Q), a better way to prove what validity astrology does have is for me to do a natal chart for you, if you choose...this is the real way i can have the opportunity prove it, not just by debating it...

    I’m game – how would you like to proceed? I can PM you any information you require.

    Chroot – are you up to the challenge?
     
  17. Mar 20, 2003 #16

    chroot

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    There's a challenge?

    - Warren
     
  18. Mar 20, 2003 #17

    chroot

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    What's a "credible astrologist?"
    Of course I have a bias against it -- I thought I made that clear. However, I am more than willing to look at it objectively. I hold the objective opinion that it is pseudoscience. You hold the subjective opinion that it is meritous despite of all its logical and practical flaws, and despite the fact that it cannot be demonstrated to actually mean anything.

    - Warren
     
  19. Mar 20, 2003 #18

    FZ+

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    Astrology a science

    Yes, study of Astrology is a science. But it doesn't tell us about our futures. It instead shows the vulnerability of the human psychology to finding significance where it simply does not exist.
     
  20. Mar 20, 2003 #19

    Kerrie

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    (Q)~perhaps it's this balanced force of resistance and gravity that is synonomous with the reflection of astrology to our own personal motivations...i truly do not know though...

    pm me with your birth info...
     
  21. Mar 20, 2003 #20

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    chroot

    There's a challenge?

    Sure, just PM your birth info to Kerrie and lets see what she comes up with.
     
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