Astrology, Celestial Wisdom or Pseudoscience?

We were created from stardust and one day, hopefully this century, we humans will return to the stars. Some people move on. They think the stars and planets determine their fate. Is Astrology Sense or Nonsense?

What is Astrology?

For those wondering why most names for sciences end in “logy”, except “astronomy”, this is because astrology existed before astronomy. Astronomers who study celestial bodies in a scientific way wanted to distinguish themselves from astrologers.

This is no wonder. Astrology is the belief that the position of the planets and stars at your time of birth determines your fate. Although astrologers use detailed methods to extract predictions about your future life course from the positions of the stars, these methods have no scientific basis. In short, astrologers do just about everything that a true scientist would dislike.

Astrology is still popular. This, even though there is no evidence that it works. Source:

For example, there is no clear working mechanism of astrology. The midwife's gravity on a baby is four times that of the planet Mars's gravity, for example. The only celestial bodies that you really notice as a human being are the sun (day and night) and the moon (ebb and flow, in combination with the sun). Besides the earth itself, of course. And possibly hitting asteroids. In the latter case, an astronomer can of course make an accurate prediction of your date of death. And hers and the rest of humanity, of course.

What shape?

Another problem with believing in astrology is that there are at least three different astrologies. Chinese astrology is based on the year of birth, Indian (Vedic) astrology and related Greek astrology is based on the positions of planets. And also the Mayas (and probably the Incas too) had an elaborate form of astrology. Assuming the same position of the stars, an Indian astrologer therefore makes a different prediction than a Western one. The yugas of Indian astrology are very different from the baktuns of the Maya.

This while, for example, the Chinese, Greek and Mayan versions of the Pythagorean Theorem, yield the same result.

Gauquelin: Proof That Astrology Works?

The French psychologist Pierre Gauquelin discovered, in his own words, a “Mars effect“. The position of the planet Mars during the birth of someone would affect the chance of becoming a successful athlete. This discovery caused quite a stir, and was embraced by astrologers to defend their belief in the stars. It later turned out that he had made the necessary methodological mistakes. For example, the effect appeared to no longer occur with dates of birth after 1950, when doctors communicated the date of birth.

A similar effect, where the month of birth is one statistically significant effect appeared to have on Canadian ice hockey achievements, could be traced back to an apprentice's age. If a student has a birthday just after the selection year starts, he is much bigger and stronger than a student who reaches that age at the end of the year. Simply because he is almost a year older. He is therefore more likely to be seen and scouted as an “ice hockey talent” than the younger student.

In short: stars and planets are very interesting, but do not determine your fate.

Unless you decide to become an astronomer or an astronaut. Or move to Mars. Stars do not determine the future, our future is in the stars.

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