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Why I think astrology is false

Discuss Divination, Fortune Telling - Astrology, Tarot, Runes, I Ching, Tea Leaves, etc. and Predictions.

Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby ProfWag » 08 Sep 2009, 18:54

Don wrote:
ProfWag wrote: I'll try not to associate the them. If I may interject here, however, what little information I have on the subject comes from a 1975 book that my wife had in her closet "The Book of Fortune Telling" by Madam Fabia. Thre are chapters in there on not only Fortune Telling , but astrology and psychics as well. Hence, my untrained connection...


Wow, you went to a real, well-respected source, huh? LOL. If I used a book on some scientific field written by someone on Hollywood Blvd pushing a grocery cart and wearing a tin-foil hat, you'd be all over my butt telling me that I was stupid for believing it.

Whether your "Prof" is earned or self-applied, don't you think you owe it to others and to your own self-respect to investigate a subject before you denounce it? Sorry, but I don't go to Dr. Phil for psychological advice and I don't go to "Madam Fabia" for accurate information on astrology.

Yes, good point about me investigating it before I denounce it. I will do better research and get back to you.
I've discussed the "Prof" thing more on more than one occasion in this forum.
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby ProfWag » 08 Sep 2009, 19:53

Don wrote:



Great. Who are the researchers? Astronomers? No. Astrophysicists? No. They're psychologists! There are a lot of "hard" scientists who feel that psychology is phony. So I question why these people did the research and what their agenda was.

Second their sample was so miniscule as to be irrelevant and meaningless. The author even mentions this problem with other similar studies

Third the information given to the astrologers was created by the test subjects, and test subjects are notorious for lying about themselves for a wide variety of reasons, from Freud's "motivated forgetting" to simple embarrassment.

The authors acknowledge, and I have no reason not to believe, that the design of the test was collaborative. However, just because two children collaborate on building a sand castle does not mean they will be able to finish it or it will last when the first wave hits.

In sum, the design of the test was stupid, the sample too small to be meaningful, the researchers were not in their area of expertise, and there is nothing to show that the subjects who gave information about themselves did not knowingly or unknowingly misrepresent the facts.

Bzzzzzzzzz. Try again?

Hi again Don. Even with my access to scientific journals, I am finding little valuable scientific studies that confirm astrology as a valid field. I have found several articles stating it is an unreliable predicter of a persons personality traits. The Indiana study, in cooperation with the Indiana Federation of Astrologers does not support your field so I would expect your harsh criticisms of a study such as that. I can present to you another scientific study into the field of astrology that also had the cooperation of astrologers. It also failed miserably. So, I will post the abstract here and I will now challenge YOU to show me a study that supports your astrology claim. If you have none, then this discussion is closed in my opinion.

Unlucky Stars for Astrologers - UC Scientist Tests Claims; [FINAL Edition]
David Perlman, Science Editor. San Francisco Chronicle (pre-1997 Fulltext). San Francisco, Calif.: Dec 5, 1985. pg. 8
Abstract (Summary)
Wrong they were, according to [Shawn Carlson]'s results: The astrologers claimed that 28 of their most respected American and European colleagues could accurately analyze an unseen person's character and personality purely by reading the astrological natal charts. Yet when the 28 men and women tried their skills on 126 of those charts, they proved wrong two out of three times.

In this case, however, it was the leading astrologers who defined their own professional abilities by declaring that the colleagues they themselves recommended could accurately read the natal charts of their unseen "clients." Carlson used what are known as "double-blind" techniques - neither the astrologers nor the experimenters knew any answers to the questions that elicited the attempts to match the charts and profiles.

As for the test results, Carlson said in his report to Nature: "We are now in a position to argue a surprisingly strong case against natal astrology as practiced by reputable astrologers. Great pains were taken to ensure that the experiment was unbiased and to make sure that astrology was given every reasonable chance to succeed. It failed. The experiment clearly refutes the astrological hypothesis."
I can give you the referene to the actual study if requested. Oh, and another study was conducted for the Journal of General Psychology in 2008 with similar rresults. I can give you that study as well, if requested.

I'll patiently await your submital of anything that supports your claim of the validity of astrology. At least in the psi world, there is a possible "maybe" that can be debated. I'm not seeing it at all in astrology, at least not enough to suggest more than a little possibility.. If have you have something, please post it, but I'm skeptical that you will come up with one. Oh, and I'm not sure I understand your "Bzzzz" thing, but I'll give it right back at you. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby kungfuscience » 09 Sep 2009, 20:03

Well, I'm back and see there's been plenty of discussion.

Don, before I respond, would you mind just naswering a few questions for me please?

Basically, what does astrology do?

If I went to an astrologer, what could they tell me about myself, my past, my future?

How would the stars, planets etc etc relate to this?

I'm not looking for specifics, but just a general summary.

Looking forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion.
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby Don » 10 Sep 2009, 01:50

Prof, Carlson's work has long been thoroughly disproved. See, for example, the book Moment of Astrology by Geoffrey Cornelius. But if you don't want to read the entire book, look at: http://www.astronlp.com/Carlson%20Astro ... ments.html
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby Don » 10 Sep 2009, 01:57

KFS, that's like asking, "If I went to a doctor, what could he or she do?" The answer, of course, is that it depends upon the doctor. Different doctors do different things. A podiatrist isn't the same as an oncologist, but they're both doctors. They do entirely different things. The same is true with astrology. Different astrologers focus on different things. Any blanket statement I give you is simply going to be false because there will be lots of astrologers who will say, "I don't do that" just as an oncologist will tell you that he or she doesn't treat bunions. A biologist is not a physicist but they're both scientists. A biologist doesn't deal with the effects of gravity.

Why don't you contact a specific astrologer and ask what he or she does, remembering that other astrologers will not be doing the same thing?
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby ProfWag » 10 Sep 2009, 03:49

Don wrote:
Great. Who are the researchers? Astronomers? No. Astrophysicists? No. They're psychologists! There are a lot of "hard" scientists who feel that psychology is phony. So I question why these people did the research and what their agenda was.


What's ironic about your quote above is that in the "debunking" of Carlson's article you presented to me, the one person who wasn't an astrologer but who supported Carlson was a psychologist. Go figure.
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby ProfWag » 10 Sep 2009, 04:11

Don wrote:Prof, Carlson's work has long been thoroughly disproved. See, for example, the book Moment of Astrology by Geoffrey Cornelius. But if you don't want to read the entire book, look at: http://www.astronlp.com/Carlson%20Astro ... ments.html

No it hasn't. Cornelius critiqued it and used a psychologist who had a firm belief in the paranormal to back him up. That was pretty much all that I saw anyway. I could read the book, but I don't see a point in it as there have been no academic references to disprove Carlson's work. This article was not disproved by anyone in academia in a peer reviewed journal. No one. You can claim it has all you want, but it would be false unless you can show a reference to back up your claim. I have asked what evidence you have that astrology works, but so far, nothing. I have provided two references. I can provide more, but it would prove fruitless as you would give excuses and illogical reasoning to dispute it rather than evidence.
So far, your discussions of astrology have not produced one piece of evidence for its validity.
Additionally, when asked a valid question from kungfu, you don't give him an answer. I too would like to know what astrologers do. Could you at least give us a hint? For example, the closest astrologer to me, according to the AFA website, is this person:
Marilyn Frank, PMAFA
Fort Smith, AR 72903
479-461-9466
Expertise:
Natal, progressed, chart comparison

What does this mean? I don’t have a chart to begin with (that I’m aware of) so I don’t see anything to compare. Progressed? Does that mean she can guide me to what I should do in the future or will she tell me what is in store for my future? Finally, Natal, according to wikipedia (I know, not a good source, but the AFA website doesn't seem to discuss it, at least I couldn’t find it so feel free to guide me to a better source.): Natal astrology, also known as genethliacal astrology, is the system of astrology based upon the concept that each individual's personality or path in life can be determined by constructing a natal chart for the exact date, time, and location of a person's birth.
So, if I go back to earlier posts between us, you have said it’s not a question of how accurate the birth time must be to produce a “valuable reading,” but rather it’s that the more accurate the birth time the more accurately representative a reading will be. According to the above reference, Natal’s must be exact. If not, please provide a reference. I can’t seem to find anything in my science journals. So, if I go see her, should I bring my birth certificate so she can see what time I was born? Not trying to be cocky, just curious. Now, to comment on another of your earlier comments concerning twins. You quickly pointed out to me how twins separated at birth can grow up with surprisingly similar characteristics. Now, you may or may not know, but twins are often born several minutes to several hours apart, yet they have similar characteristics. Shouldn’t their stars have aligned differently if they were born, say, an hour apart? Remember, you said it was unlikely that two people were born in the same hospital at the same time. You have mentioned rectification as a way to determine when a person was born. But I don't see how the exact time can be deteremined. Thus, if one doesn't have a birth certificate, then they can't get a reading that is "accurately representative." Looking forward to your rebuttals and to my continued education!
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby kungfuscience » 10 Sep 2009, 07:54

Don, you could still be quite general when describing doctors:

A doctor will help heal you when ill. They will look at your symptoms, and use these to evaluate what is wrong, and work out the best course of treatment. They base this on Evidence Based Medicine.

Let's try a different tack:

Could an astrologer who knows nothing about me what so ever, and who has never met me, produce a description of my personality if they knew exactly when and where I was born?
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby Don » 17 Sep 2009, 04:40

Carlson's work was disproved: that is, it has been shown that his conclusions are not evident for his work.

Natal astrology: (Wikipedia is okay) Natal astrology is the system of astrology based upon the concept that each individual's personality or path in life can be determined by constructing a natal chart for the exact date, time, and location of a person's birth.

Progressed Horoscope: While viewing the date of birth for an individual in an ephemeris, one would count forward the number of days equal to the persons age at the time the reading is desired. A horoscope for that time and place is constructed and interpreted.

Chart Comparisons: Looks at the relationships between the horoscopes of two people and compares them to find areas where they are compatible or challenging.


You wrote:
"So, if I go back to earlier posts between us, you have said it’s not a question of how accurate the birth time must be to produce a “valuable reading,” but rather it’s that the more accurate the birth time the more accurately representative a reading will be. According to the above reference, Natal’s must be exact. If not, please provide a reference."

If you're doing any sort of scientific investigation, the more accurate your observation and calculation, the more accurate the results will be. If a person doesn't have his or her exact time of birth, it is believed possible to discover it through the time-consuming process known as chart rectification.

You wrote: I can’t seem to find anything in my science journals.

Nope. But I bet you won't find an analysis of the Beatle's "A Day in the Life" in your science journals, either. Why should they have anything that is outside their areas of specialization. Likewise, I'll be you could look in every astrological journal that's ever been published and not find any articles on string theory or Mendel's fraud in his record keeping with his peas. That's not their area of specialization, either.

You wrote:
So, if I go see her, should I bring my birth certificate so she can see what time I was born? Not trying to be cocky, just curious.

You could. But why not just write down the exact time and place of your birth? There's no need to bring your birth certificate. She's not giving out passports! :lol:


You wrote: Now, to comment on another of your earlier comments concerning twins. You quickly pointed out to me how twins separated at birth can grow up with surprisingly similar characteristics. Now, you may or may not know, but twins are often born several minutes to several hours apart, yet they have similar characteristics. Shouldn’t their stars have aligned differently if they were born, say, an hour apart? Remember, you said it was unlikely that two people were born in the same hospital at the same time. You have mentioned rectification as a way to determine when a person was born. But I don't see how the exact time can be deteremined. Thus, if one doesn't have a birth certificate, then they can't get a reading that is "accurately representative." Looking forward to your rebuttals and to my continued education!


I wrote they have "surprisingly similar characteristics," not that they were perfectly alike. In an astrology chart, the Moon and Mercury move very fast while Jupiter and Uranus, for example, move much more slowly. Yes, I know that twins can be born several hours (or even several days or weeks) apart. As a result, they will have some similarities and some differences. The longer the period between births, the more differences between them.

I would love to see some research on two people from different families born in the same hospital at the same time (or almost the same time). According to astrology, they should have some psychological similarities that are striking. To the best of my knowledge, such research has never been done. The problem with such research would be determining 1) how do you determine "similarities" and 2) how do you determine mere chance vs. some relationship based on unknown factors?
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby Don » 17 Sep 2009, 04:48

kungfuscience wrote:Don, you could still be quite general when describing doctors:

A doctor will help heal you when ill. They will look at your symptoms, and use these to evaluate what is wrong, and work out the best course of treatment. They base this on Evidence Based Medicine.

Let's try a different tack:

Could an astrologer who knows nothing about me what so ever, and who has never met me, produce a description of my personality if they knew exactly when and where I was born?


KFS, once again you seem to have a fatalistic, deterministic view of astrology. Astrology does not compel, it impels. Take two people, one from a family of abusers and one from a caring family, and even if they started the same they're going to end up differently. Astrology indicates a beginning, not an end. It will help identify characteristics. Perhaps, when born, your personality was such that you'd be a great musician. But if your parents prevented you from playing or even listening to music, there's no way you'd end up a musician.

A horoscope is an indication of a road. There's nothing stopping you from making turns.
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby ciscop » 17 Sep 2009, 11:28

Don wrote:
kungfuscience wrote:Don, you could still be quite general when describing doctors:

A doctor will help heal you when ill. They will look at your symptoms, and use these to evaluate what is wrong, and work out the best course of treatment. They base this on Evidence Based Medicine.

Let's try a different tack:

Could an astrologer who knows nothing about me what so ever, and who has never met me, produce a description of my personality if they knew exactly when and where I was born?


KFS, once again you seem to have a fatalistic, deterministic view of astrology. Astrology does not compel, it impels. Take two people, one from a family of abusers and one from a caring family, and even if they started the same they're going to end up differently. Astrology indicates a beginning, not an end. It will help identify characteristics. Perhaps, when born, your personality was such that you'd be a great musician. But if your parents prevented you from playing or even listening to music, there's no way you'd end up a musician.

A horoscope is an indication of a road. There's nothing stopping you from making turns.


all right.. ill bite
so.. if we are all making turns
then why should we listen to astrology at all?

is just bogus as best
althought quite funny to learn
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby kungfuscience » 19 Sep 2009, 07:46

Don wrote:
kungfuscience wrote:A horoscope is an indication of a road. There's nothing stopping you from making turns.


My plan this weekend was to sit down and give you a long, thoughtful, detailed answer. But I don't need to. If the above is true, Astrology is evidently a waste of time. Any one can say anything to you, and you can either listen or not. why wrap it up in a load of mumbo jumbo about the stars?

Things that work are different. So for example, a doctor may well say, "You should stop smoking, for it increases the risk of a number of diseases, most notably brain cancer". You may well choose the path not to quit, but whether they listen or not, the statement will be true. If an astrologer gives me some advice/a statement, and I don't listen to it, and it's not in any way deterministic, it's obviously just rubbish.

If astrology is deterministic though, well, my original argument still stands, as then it is surely predictive in some way or another, and therefore, should have been able to discover celestial bodies that have an impact somewhere on the system, but have yet to be seen.

I've not throuroughly read all of the discussion, I was going to, but now have no need, but it appears ProfWag has done a fine job with references to the scientific literature which back up the fact that astrology is balony. If not though, check out Quirkology by Richard Wiseman. It covers lots of stuff including a good summary on astrology's falsehood.

good night all.

I could have written a better reply here, but I am tired, a friend has three weeks to see whether chemo will work (10% chance it will), but he may not have that long. It's been a long week, and I am cranky.
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby ciscop » 19 Sep 2009, 10:59

good luck to your friend
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby Don » 23 Sep 2009, 01:34

ciscop wrote:
Don wrote:
kungfuscience wrote:Don, you could still be quite general when describing doctors:

A doctor will help heal you when ill. They will look at your symptoms, and use these to evaluate what is wrong, and work out the best course of treatment. They base this on Evidence Based Medicine.

Let's try a different tack:

Could an astrologer who knows nothing about me what so ever, and who has never met me, produce a description of my personality if they knew exactly when and where I was born?


KFS, once again you seem to have a fatalistic, deterministic view of astrology. Astrology does not compel, it impels. Take two people, one from a family of abusers and one from a caring family, and even if they started the same they're going to end up differently. Astrology indicates a beginning, not an end. It will help identify characteristics. Perhaps, when born, your personality was such that you'd be a great musician. But if your parents prevented you from playing or even listening to music, there's no way you'd end up a musician.

A horoscope is an indication of a road. There's nothing stopping you from making turns.


all right.. ill bite
so.. if we are all making turns
then why should we listen to astrology at all?

is just bogus as best
althought quite funny to learn


For the same reason you go to a doctor for advice on your health.
For the same reason you go to a lawyer for advice on the law.
For the same reason you go to a realtor for advice on selling your house.

The information they give you will show you what they believe (based on their training and experience) will give you the easiest and best direction to follow in areas of health, law, and house sales. If their training and experience is good, and if you follow their advice, things will go easier for you in those areas. If you don't, you will have difficulties.

HOWEVER, the decision as to whether you follow their advice is up to you. People who blindly follow the advice of doctors, lawyers, realtors without consulting with others who specialize in those areas are, IMO, fools. Each of them gives you one set of advice and, IMO, you should consider it. But you should also consider the advice of your friends and relatives based on your knowledge of their background and training. Take all the advice under consideration and come to a decision yourself. THE MORE INFORMATION YOU HAVE, THE BETTER YOUR DECISIONS WILL BE. Astrology merely provides one set of advice. If you're like J. P. Morgan, who said, "Millionaires don't use astrology. Billionaires do," then you'll consider the information as one set of knowledge that can help you in decision making.
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Re: Why I think astrology is false

Postby Don » 23 Sep 2009, 01:55

kungfuscience wrote:
Don wrote:
kungfuscience wrote:A horoscope is an indication of a road. There's nothing stopping you from making turns.


My plan this weekend was to sit down and give you a long, thoughtful, detailed answer. But I don't need to. If the above is true, Astrology is evidently a waste of time. Any one can say anything to you, and you can either listen or not. why wrap it up in a load of mumbo jumbo about the stars?


To people reading this: note that KFS has not departed from actually trying to move back to an area where he's more comfortable, simple denial rather than understanding. This is a typical trick of debunkers and pseudo-skeptics: why pay any attention when I can just ignore it.

KFS, you could also say, The Law is evidently a waste of time. Any lawyer can say anything to you, and you can either listen or not. why wrap it up in a load of mumbo jumbo about the law?

You could also say, Medicine is evidently a waste of time. Any doctor can say anything to you, and you can either listen or not. why wrap it up in a load of mumbo jumbo about the the body?

You could also say Democracy is evidently a waste of time. Any politician can say anything to you, and you can either listen or not. why wrap it up in a load of mumbo jumbo about the Constitution?


Things that work are different. So for example, a doctor may well say, "You should stop smoking, for it increases the risk of a number of diseases, most notably brain cancer". You may well choose the path not to quit, but whether they listen or not, the statement will be true. If an astrologer gives me some advice/a statement, and I don't listen to it, and it's not in any way deterministic, it's obviously just rubbish.


Note that KFS plays with words in the above quote. First he talks about smoking and brain cancer (however, use any disease that is linked to smoking). Note that he talks about how smoking "increases the risk," not that there is a deterministic factor. In short A can lead to B but doesn't always lead to B. He thinks this is legitimate. However, because astrology follows the same concepts and is no more deterministic that smoking in its relationship to brain cancer, he denounces it. This is another typical trick--or attempted trick--by the pseudo-skeptics.

If astrology is deterministic though, well, my original argument still stands, as then it is surely predictive in some way or another, and therefore, should have been able to discover celestial bodies that have an impact somewhere on the system, but have yet to be seen.


I've already pointed out that astrology impels, but doesn't compel. However KFS--who has admitted that he has NEVER STUDIED ASTROLOGY--now tries to deny astrology by claiming his misunderstanding of astrology is real (a straw man) and then he burns the straw man. Sorry, but the people here can see through your argument.

I've not throuroughly read all of the discussion, I was going to, but now have no need, but it appears ProfWag has done a fine job with references to the scientific literature which back up the fact that astrology is balony. If not though, check out Quirkology by Richard Wiseman. It covers lots of stuff including a good summary on astrology's falsehood.

good night all.


ProfWag provided ONE reference which has been disproven. It may well be that astrology is balony. However, it's important to appropriately analyze all information, and your false, deceptive, and perhaps worst of all, self-deceptive attack has been and remains a total failure.

I could have written a better reply here, but I am tired, a friend has three weeks to see whether chemo will work (10% chance it will), but he may not have that long. It's been a long week, and I am cranky.


My best wishes to your friend.

Yes, you are, and perhaps you'd be able to think with logic and clarity rather than mere denunciation if you had a little sleep.

I hope people who have been reading these exchanges will realize what has been going on. KFS and ProfWag have a set of beliefs that set up their understanding of the universe. It's their paradigm. When people have paradigms based on belief rather than knowledge, it's important to defend their belief system and attempt to bully others into believing it so no one will threaten their belief system. Many Christian organizations have done this and still do this. It's what happens when people are insecure about their own beliefs.

Frankly, I don't care a fig if astrology is valid or not. What I DO care about is the advancement of humanity through scientific inquiry. Abandoning science in the defense of a belief system, while claiming to defend the scientific method they ignore, does more to harm the future of humanity then all the people reading their silly newspaper horoscopes combined.
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