Talk:Astrology

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This pseudoscience related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

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Editorial notes
  • Main article on a wider topci

It's G*M*m/(r^2), isn't it? humanbe in 18:00, 23 July 2007 (CDT)

Eh, yeah, typo I guess. MiddleMan 18:04, 23 July 2007 (CDT)

"Interestingly, of all pseudosciences, astrology is the only one to have provided rich benefits to modern science." What about alchemy? It was the foundation of chemistry.. Dyskolos 23:53, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Uhh, maybe I should have thought about the word "modern" a little longer before hitting Save.. Dyskolos 23:58, 25 July 2007 (CDT)
I don't think alchemy produced much useful "evidence" or observations to get chemistry up and running. But that why I said "rich" benefits. humanbe in 13:47, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Surely countering pseudoscience has helped to create the scientific method - so thats some self referential good from Psci. Keepmoißt 00:05, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Hmm...what do you think about adding something to the "value" section to the effect that astrology, especially in Asia, affected actions on a wide scale (when/if invasions happened, etc.) and thus a record of horoscopes is of great value to historians in the sense of context. --Kels 07:10, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

We could broaden that, yes. I only mentioned "people's horoscopes". But, yes, astrological/astronomical observations (made because of belief in astrology) help historians more broadly than I wrote. I only wanted to add the section because as astronomy was borning, astronomers had at their fingertips a huge, relatively accurate, database of observations already. humanbe in 13:47, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

Seven reasons.[edit]

Wonderful post. :-) Can the author be serious?--Bobbing up 17:13, 30 March 2008 (EDT)

Seems like a little too much work for a joke, doesn't it? --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 17:14, 30 March 2008 (EDT)

Before making a change supporting astrology[edit]

Yes, many events in the past have been influenced by astrology, astrology can be coerced to showing certain universal aspects of the human condition match up to ambiguous combinations, and can even be coerced into making very specific individuals (though only after the fact), etc... Please make specific, testable, predictions based on someone born on a specific date and location. Until then, astrology is the realm of handwavery, generalizations (Bob will fall in love and be disappointed before finding his true love), aspects of lining up with environment (a baby born in October in the northern hemisphere will spend the first several months indoors while one born in May will spend the first several months with outdoor experiences - these early experience differences do not need to influence Libra vs Taurus). Western and eastern zodiacs create differing predictions for a person born at the same time and place (neither of which have anything approaching relevance or testability). --Shagie 17:26, 30 March 2008 (EDT)

Also, before making claims that "trained astrologists" make the skeptics go wooooooo, see cold reading. humanUser talk:Human 17:40, 30 March 2008 (EDT)

Warnings box[edit]

See here for an explanation before you revert, please. This message brought to you by: Toastrespondand honey 11:26, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Propagation speed issue?[edit]

Since speed of light is finite, would there be some lag issue being the effect felt being earlier than it can be observed? K61824Practicing involuntary celibacy 18:43, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Nah, the "astrological effect" probably also propagates at the speed of light. So our observation is in "sync" with the "effect". Haha, what effect? ħumanUser talk:Human 20:01, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
This was raised in a bullet point I just removed so I figured I'd clarify a little. Light propagates at, well, the speed of light (in a vacuum, but the interstellar medium and everything else only slows it negligibly). Similarly, gravity propagates at the speed of light also. Anything that we haven't observed or detected can be said to "not exist"; so light and influence from distant stars that hasn't reached us yet simply doesn't exist; or at least stays in the past relative to us. So there is no lag or discrepancy. There's a good few minutes in Brian Cox's Horizon programme 'What Time Is It?' where they explain it (although it's really an interpretive point) the light may have left 4000 years ago, but you're are looking at it now, that is what it looks like now because that's what we're seeing it as now. It's an odd issue to describe, but is key to relativistic thinking. Scarlet A.pngtheist 13:48, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

A few things[edit]

I was thinking about adding a few paragraphs to the article but wanted to check with everyone before i do.

- We already know where celestial bodies will be at a certain point in the future

If what it takes is to observe the positions of celestial bodies, why not make horoscopes for longer time periods? we can calculate where for Mars will be in a month from now. Astrologers could easily make computer programs that generate "accurate" data every day. Why not make a horoscope for the next 100 years? oh yeah, i know, there isn't any profit in it. Selling random rants every day is much more profitable.

- Astrologers claim that looking at the stars is looking at the future. It's actually looking at the past because light travels for years to reach us (depending on the distance of the object we observe)

- Astrology does affect some people Because they choose to believe it. Instead of making informed decisions based on data they choose to listen to those random rants in newspapers.

- If astrology is based on observing certain celestial bodies, why are there many contradicting predictions.

- My personal favorite, a quote of an astrology believer: "you need to have an open mind (read be gullible) for the astrology to work". --193.198.16.211 16:38, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

So if you don't believe in it, it doesn't work, and your destiny is in your own hands? Fine by me. Mind, you, it'd be interesting to find out how the planets know what we think of them! Totnesmartin 16:48, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
On your first point, I have the impression that some astrologers do make much longer predictions.
On your last couple of points - I remember making similar ones to a "believer". I was told that no real "believer" reads the newspaper horoscopes - they are for the uneducated. The "true believers" have personal astrologers who have no connection with the people who write for newspapers. So it would seem there are various types of believers and that the arguments against some won't necessarily work for all. --BobNot Jim 18:40, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
What the BON suggests is exactly what they do. The daily newspaper things are jokes to people who take astro seriously (well, to everybody...). And you can get your chart (at birth) done nicely on line now, all you have to "know" is how to interpret the current and future celestial arrangements in the light of a person's chart to, um, predict their future or whatever. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:13, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
You may be able to get a free horoscope online, but you'll still probably have to fork out to get a "proper" interpretation. Totnesmartin 21:04, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

The holistic point of view[edit]

I have cut the following supplied by a BON.

Cut starts.

+++ The holistic point of view +++

The intuitionist view of astrology is dependent on a rationalization of multiple cycles in time. Astrology is thus the study of time. Since everything in the universe works in cycles, from the smallest to the biggest, like planets, atoms or the most obvious 24 hour cycle of night and day, had led ancient people to believe that human consciousness is also governed by these cycles.... Over centuries of observations, ancients had discovered cycles pertaining to people and socio-political conflicts and decided to mark these cycles and rhythms with objects in the sky. When discussing astrology, it is not the energy that travels to us from the stars, but mostly the synchronization of these cycles held together that create what is known as time. Theoretically our 24 hour clock only depicts a cycle of day/night but there could be rhythms of an unlimited about of situations, the same way there are an unlimited amount of colors. Planets/stars are used as reference points because they are the least endangered reference points and less likely to sway from their rhythm due to their natural state and far from an earthly conflicts. The stars around us form a 360 degree cardinal system that relates the state of a cycle within a specific sign. It is rationally precise to observe that each sign adjacent to each other are related and share a mixture of the next, like gradual colors of a rainbow, the symbolism depicts time vs space or a cycle vs its location. Like everything else in life, things can be viewed from a physical approach (3 dimensional, material) or from a relationship model (4 dimensional, holistic). It is this higher understanding that ancient civilizations depicted as proper understanding of astrology because it can only be viewed 4 dimensionally. Rationalization becomes more complex in such states and may only be understood by cultivating parallel thinking of cross-linking of multiple so called "unrelated" situations. This process is also known as intuition. Astrology is the study of natural rhythms that happened to be in perfect concordance with the planets of our solar system. And since we are part of this universe like the planets are, we follow the same cycles. Western astrology unfortunately is false and has a 23% discrepancy. Indian-astrology or side-real astrology is the most accurate that has been used successfully for millenniums. Please reconsider this rational approach to astrology, life is not simple to understand and definitely cannot be understood in a material (3d) mindset. Never the less, when calculated properly, it sheds the truth.

Cut ends.--BobSpring is sprung! 06:40, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

It's an interesting interpretation of what astrology claims to be, but doesn't seem to explain much in reality. If someone can tack down a source for where that interpretation comes from, I'd have no problem with giving it a mention. Scarlet A.pngtheist 08:26, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Surprised you bothered to paste that garbage here after cutting it. Oh well, we are nice people after all I guess. ħumanUser talk:Human 10:44, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The above is a pile from "Indian astrology." I'd heard about this years ago. I found a phenomenally bad Wikipedia article, with a section on the astrology Samhita. The story I'd heard was that people would visit a keeper of the Book of Bhrigu, and occasionally someone had a horoscope there. Allegedly, very accurate. Indian astrology has a different practical method than the Western form, so criticisms of Western astrology, in theory, might not apply. The "discrepancy" is precession of the equinoxes. See Wikipedia, Siderial and tropical astrology and Hindu astrology. More accurate woo is still woo. --Abd (talk) 04:30, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
I think you mean more precise. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 10:14, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

What I intend to add[edit]

I', glad to see a rational candid discussion/explanation about astrology. I personally does not hold on or believe astrology. But I have learned and has a good knowledge on astrology for the sake of passion of old sciences and archaic knowledge. What I'm going to write would not be 100% rational and candid, but I intend it to be "just informative" in the point of view of astrology.

I assume you mean things like history, prominent figures, and even insights into the mindset of modern astrologers? Could be neat. Majintahu (talk) 04:28, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

Chaos theory section[edit]

Chaos theory and butterfly effect

Chaos theory is a field of study in applied mathematics, with applications in several disciplines including physics, economics, biology and philosophy.[1] The butterfly effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory: namely, a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.[2]

I don't understand the context in which chaos theory is being discussed, or why it is relevant to the Astrology article. I'm not saying it isn't relevant, but the relevance is not clear from this excerpt. Nyx (talk) 23:00, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

The context of invoking SDIC wasn't clear to me either, so I removed it. There was no reason why there was an assumption that there would be a chaotic system in this particular case. IRWolfie- (talk) 20:23, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Nonsential[edit]

The current article is not good. Astrology is a complicated art, besides being bollocks. It is used as a kind of entertainment, and for some personality, date preparation analyses. The physics behind it should be a basis for some sharp comments. The current article doesn't profit good enough from the inherent humour, so I'm preparing a new version here. Rursus dixit (yada³!) 15:15, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Some other notes:
  1. woo is not a technical term, astrologers are more precisely con artists or quack psychologists that are in a delusion that their pretty elaborate system works, which it provedly don't,
  2. like a previous commentor, I don't understand why the section Chaos theory and butterfly effect is in this article,
  3. to claim that it is a 'religion', is giving astrology undue weight, at most it can be regarded as a subreligion addon module to ones personal mytho-cosmology claiming for example that "even if it is untrue for all astrignorants, it is a spiritual way to get in harmony with cosmos for astrenlightened ones"; astrology is however much more like a psychologically unsound pseudoscience, making blatantly false and mostly ridiculous claims ("Tauruses are stubborn", "Capricorns are capricious" and similar idiolabelling stuff),
  4. section Potential forces try to make a negative proof by searching the universe for all powers and relations that aren't supposed to be there – in a finite Wiki, such an approach will fail pathetically as long as the article is shorter than 1·1060 byte and probably if it is longer too, the right way to go "disproving" astrology is to compare the terribly long list of psychological investigations with negative results with the tiny (some say: "empty") list of psychological investigations with positive results,
The rest, I'm going to incorporate in my currently pretty mature alternate, in order to replace the current one. Rursus dixit (yada³!) 15:51, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

astrology[edit]

A truly rational person will know that astrology is truly bullshit. Despite all we know they stick to bronze age belief (as much as the bible followers). We have discovered the earth orbits the sun, the speed of light, the cosmic microve backround, the expansion of the universe, water molecules on mars, evolution by natural selection, and many more. --Delphinidea (talk) 23:54, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

How does any of that specifically disprove predictions by astrology? Scarlet A.pngtheistModerator 09:23, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Was that the purpose of the post? Anyway, astrological predictions are disproved by them not coming true. Or, more accurately, by their not coming true at a rate better than chance. Given that, the mechanism by which they are supposed to work (or not) is largely irreverent. (Some odd spacing in that first post??)--Weirdstuff (talk) 09:44, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Another argument against astrology[edit]

Given the limits on the availability of information in ancient times, the assumption that the Earth was the centre of the universe, and 'the tendency to see patterns and assume connections whether or not they actually exist' there were some reasons for astrology emerging - and some times it may well have been used as a cover for providing sensible advice ('the stars say now is not a good time to go to battle and the generals say the soldiers wish to be home bringing in the crops' etc).

However - as sentient life emerged on one small planet in a corner of a random galaxy, it has probably emerged elsewhere - and if astrology 'worked' some bizarre results could emerge (the same combination of stars leads to a garden in which butterflies can flap their wings on one planet, and cause the downfall of an empire on its near neighbour'). 171.33.197.73 (talk) 15:30, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Yet another argument against astrology[edit]

Astrologers often include Uranus and Neptune (and I don't know if asteroidsminor planets too) in their charts. Why they did not discover them indirectly before scientists, noticing how something unknown affected their predictions in the same way Neptune's (and perhaps Uranus too, not sure) existence was deduced that way by astronomers? --Panzerfaust (talk) 17:27, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

Goodpost.gif I think we should add something to that effect to the article. Christopher (talk) 17:50, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
'Add enough epicycles and you can make a retrograde moon of Halley's comet' the centre of a series of circular orbits' (would epicycles work with Uranus?) - likewise fit in enough 'undiscovered planets, dwarf planets, long period brown dwarfs, and inhabitants of the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud' and you can have enough numbers to prove any calculation.

There is astrology in the sense of 'first astronomers/observers of the night sky for purposes of calculating seasons, Nile risings and directions' and similar extrapolating from 'things tend to repeat on Earth every so often, and the night sky does too' to 'there must be some connection' (but which may be indirect - it may take 12 years for Jupiter to return to its initial position - and to build up sufficient resources to fight the next war). The former is the direct ancestor of astronomy as we know it - the latter is astrology as we know it (even if encouraging record keeping useful for the former). 82.44.143.26 (talk) 18:32, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

Precession changing the dates[edit]

A brief skim didn't reveal this already in the article, but a point worth mentioning is that the dates given for each sign have shifted since those were observed ages ago. For example: on the first of January, when the right ascension of the sun is approximately 280° 36', the sun is actually in Sagittarius, not Capricorn as it was in the past. Also interesting is how Ophiuchus, despite taking up more space than various other constellations on the ecliptic, gets completely skipped because it doesn't happen to lie on one of the 30° increments. Similarly, how each constellation doesn't take up 30 degrees on the ecliptic but wildly varying lengths. Maybe I'll be bothered to draft up a table of actual dates for each constellation (going by the boundary defined for each). —Kazitor, pending 08:04, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

Zodiac § table of datesWikipedia's W.svg has the actual dates for each. —Kazitor, pending 08:05, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
Got around to adding a bit. Might need cleaning for those who aren't much into astronomy. —Kazitor, pending 01:03, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

How to remember the difference[edit]

A Dara Ó Briain quote.

"Astrology, logy, log, unit of poo. Astronomy, nomy, nom, nom nom nom Brian Cox is delicious!"

Uses of astrology[edit]

  • 'Entertainment and employment' (eg writing the astrology columns in the newspapers and those reading them being entertained by how wrong their particular entry is).
  • A means of creative decision making equivalent to coin-flipping/justifying a decision already made.
  • Especially in olden times - a means of, and reason for, finding patterns.
  • Again, mostly in olden times, a way of advising the ruler and others that reduced some of the risks to the advisers/encouraged the leaders to avoid procrastination etc. Anna Livia (talk) 15:28, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Worth including if there's a snarky enough way to frame it. If you can soak that faint praise in the rarified derision it deserves, it'll come out as a delicious snide remark. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 15:34, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Who hasn't applied the first two (including 'reading the entries and picking the one you like best') on occasion; the third is linked to calendar making etc - and the last might be a rational policy for councillors etc (especially when failure or wrong advice may have negative consequences, the real reasons are too technical for the person being advised or 'a face saving reason' is required. Anna Livia (talk) 16:07, 22 March 2019 (UTC)