User:Rursus/Bad antiastrology

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Inferior quality attacks on astrology:

Astronomical Society of the Pacific[edit]

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific present ten arguments against astrology[1] that almost uniformly should never be used in a serious debate, since they undermine the scientist position against the pseudoscience astrologers by being consistently fallacious.

num argument grade dismissal
1. What is the likelihood that one-twelfth of the world's population is having the same kind of day? fail A straw man argument. Professional astrologers don't claim that[2], they claim that many planet positions of the present is to be compared to the many planet positions of a birth chart, and that the synthesis define the events for the person with that birth chart that day[3].
2. Why is the moment of birth, rather than conception, crucial for astrology? fail blatantly Why should the conception, that has no effect on the nerve system whatsoever be more important than the birth? Personality is about the nerve system, and a psychologist, forced to choose between birth and conception, would have to choose the birth as most influential external moment for defining a personality type, since it is near the maximum of myelinization process, that to a large extent determines the future neural pathworks in the growing brain.
3. If the mother's womb can keep out astrological influences until birth, can we do the same with a cubicle of steak? fail Has what serious relevance to astrology as a pseudoscience? Arguing with derogatory scorn in a serious question, is contraproductive, and automatically leads to the reflection:
with such "friends", we don't need any enemies!

Letting the Astronomical Society of the Pacific argue on our side will safely deliver all sympathies to the astrologers.

4. If astrologers are as good as they claim, why aren't they richer? fail Same criticism as for number 3. Derogatory scorn is not a valid anti-astrology argument.
5. Are all horoscopes done before the discovery of the three outermost planets incorrect? fail Another case of a straw man argument. The astrologers claim that the outermost planets exercises less influence than the inner one, so that while the earlier horoscopes were correct, they might be improved by perusing the outer three... sorry... two planets, and an arbitrary number of asteroids, planetoids, plutoids and cometoids...
6. Shouldn't we condemn astrology as a form of bigotry? fail Astrologer Bob Marks, correctly classifies this as an argumentum ad hominem[2] and thus a fallacy. Beside that, the word "bigotry" indicates something political or something religious, that has no connection to science and verifiability.
7. Why do different schools of astrology disagree so strongly with each other? pass This is one of the valid arguments against astrology. It can actually be used beside the two more important ones, that the Pacifics blatantly forget:
  1. all the numerous properly conducted scientific experimental psychological investigations show that astrological predictions and psychological evaluations performed under traditional astrological metodology exhibit no success whatsoever, astrology doesn't make better than pure guess,
  2. the reason that astrological practice "works" can be attributed to a large number of well researched psychological artifacts in reasoning[4],
8. If the astrological influence is carried by a known force, why do the planets dominate? fail Another straw man. The astrologers don't claim that, instead they usually claim that it is an unknown force.
9. If astrological influence is carried by an unknown force, why is it independent of distance? fail Astrologers don't claim "independent of distance". Also: we know of physical forces that don't have an inverted-square relation to distance, so an explanation can easily be invented against that pretty pointless argument.
10. If astrological influences don't depend on distance, why is there no astrology of stars, galaxies, and quasars? fail Same arguments as per number 9.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific should preferrably quit from the debate between astrologers versus science, since they obviously don't have enough intellectual stamina to research astrology properly in order to debunk its claims, but instead resort to an ugly cavalcade of misrepresentation of the astrologers' thinking. A skeptic is a true warrior, but these crippled peasants will make the war a chaotic mess. Astrologer Bob Marks easily spanks these squeaks with pretty simple counterarguments[2][note 1]. Nine points of ten fails, so the Pacifics must stay at home and hide in the cellar.

The 1975 Bok-Jerome-Kurtz statement[edit]

In 1975 Bart Bok, Lawrence Jerome and Paul Kurtz wrote a statement condemning astrology as pseudoscience. This statement was signed by 192 scientists (including 19 sad cases of Nobel Prize winners), but Paul R. Thagard, University of Michigan-Dearborn, dismisses this statement as flawed in its entirety[5] for the following reasons:

Bart Bok's claim grade Thagard's dismissal
using statistics to investigate astrology is a waste of time since astrology lacks a physical explanation fail the lack of a physical foundation hardly marks a theory as unscientific, Wegener proposed continental drift without a scientific explanation
the individuals' desperation in seeking solutions to their serious personal problems fail psychology of popular belief is also in itself irrelevant to the status of astrology: people often believe even good theories for illegitimate reasons
astrology is a system of magic rather than science, and it fails because its interpretations and predictions are founded in the ancients' magical world view. fail the alchemical origins of chemistry and the occult beginnings of medicine are as magical as those of astrology, astrology cannot be condemned simply for the magical origins of its principles

Therefore Paul R. Thagard claims that the statement fails to demonstrate the pseudoscience status of astrology, and instead upholds the unwillingness of astrologers to let their claims be put to scientific test, as the real basis for astrology being pseudoscientific. He explicitly enumerates the criteria for a pseudoscience as a theory or discipline which purports to be scientific, but:

  1. "has been less progressive than alternative theories over a long period of time, and faces many unsolved problems; but"
  2. "the community of practitioners makes little attempt to develop the theory towards solutions of the problems, shows no concern for attempts to evaluate the theory in relation to others, and is selective in considering confirmations and disconfirmations."

We can at the very best use those old 1975 unenlightened signatores as cannon fodder in our war, hoping that they will for a moment bewilder our enemies before the real attack.


  1. Astrologer Bob Marks also makes a good case against the correct argument number 7 by evasion:
    First of all, there are disagreements in every field. Secondly, the disagreements between astrologers are not nearly as great as you make them out to be.
    Thirdly, there has been, until recently, no certification of astrologers.
    The "secondly" counterargument is incorrect since the Hindu astrology gives contradictory statements to the Western astrology, while both still appears to work, and the "thirdly" argument is simply irrelevant.


  1. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific: The Universe At Your Fingertips Activity: Activities With Astrology
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Bob Marks, Astrologer
  3. Paul R. Thagard: "Why Astrology Is A Pseudoscience":
    It would be most unfair to evaluate astrology by reference to the daily horoscopes found in newspapers and popular magazines. These horoscopes deal only with sun signs, whereas a full horoscope makes reference to the "influences" also of the moon and the planets, while also discussing the ascendant sign and other matters.
  4. Artifacts in reasoning – Hidden persuaders make astrology work by Geoffrey Dean and Ivan W Kelly
  5. Why Astrology Is A Pseudoscience, by Paul R. Thagard