Thanks for responding, everyone. I'll try to make my response brief.
KFS: I know people, I know people who "follow the stock market," but if I want to make an investment, I go to an expert, not someone who looks at the stock quotes on occasion. According to you, then, you have not consulted any expert nor read a book on the subject, yet you are content that you know enough to debunk it. That is one of the reasons debunkers have such a bad reputation among real scientists.
You were not basing your fatalistic interpretation on real horoscopes. You were basing your interpretation on two sentences printed in newspapers. They call them horoscopes, but then, Fox also calls their propaganda "news."
A real horoscope is a full map of certain aspects of the sky made for the exact time and place you were born. A trained astrologer will then spend hours looking at the relationships between the planets, signs, and asteroids. To relate this to what is going on now requires yet another chart be drawn for your current location and time. Not only is it interpreted by itself, but also in relation to your birth chart. It has nothing to do with what you see in newspapers. What are those? Those are actually called "sun sign readings" that categorize people as one of 12 signs and look for some major relationships. They are broad, general, and don't take into account the thousands of bits of information that a trained astrologer would look for. Astrologers use those for publicity and gaining money, not for accuracy.
If an astrologer looks at a chart, the sign of the zodiac is only one of hundreds of things that relate to personality type. I'll leave it to the psychologists to put you into a small number of personality types (thank you Mr. Jung).
My point about the fact that Newton was an astrologer is that it doesn't make sense to use the concepts of an astrologer to debunk astrology unless you want to debunk that astrologer. In this case, you not only did not debunk the astrologer, you were using his ideas.
You say you've "not read many books on astrology." Curiously, though, you've been able to totally misrepresent astrological concepts. KFS, I'm in favor of a true skeptical look at astrology, but misrepresenting it as you have is only making your position look bad.
You ask for recommendations of books on astrology:Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology
by Noel Tyl Cosmic Trends
by Philip Brown Llewellyn's Complete Book of Astrology
by Kris RiskeChart Interpretation Handbook
by Stephen Arroyo and Jerilynn MarshallThe Astrologer's Handbook
by Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker
You wrote: "surely astrology should be able to predict new, as yet, undiscovered planets, stars, nebula or whatever."
Sorry, but there's no logic to that. That's like saying because someone swims in a pool and knows how to do the backstroke they should be able to discover hidden water. After all, they both deal with water. Or why hasn't an airplane pilot discovered some new nebula while flying a plane? That's not what they're looking for.
You asked, "why did Astrology not predict it [the discovery of Neptune]? If it is having an effect, surely that effect was there whether people knew about it or not. Therefore, shouldn’t astrologers be able to say “We don’t know what it is, but there is a planet that moves across the sky doing this”?" The answer is two-fold.
First, it is perfectly possible to do a wonderful astrological interpretation without using Neptune. If you have a knife and fork that work just fine, why should you look for another fork?
Second, astrology looks at Neptune as being related to society more than to individuals. Neptune was discovered in 1846. This coincides perfectly with the massive changes that developed at the end of the first Industrial Revolution and the beginning of the second. This corresponds with the massive growth of a middle class, allowing for more expressions of idealism and compassion, two of the major astrological meanings of Neptune. However, it was also the time of the growth of what became known as the "French Occult Revival." Another astrological meaning for Neptune is spirituality and mysticism. Astrologers would say that society evolved enough for Neptune to be discovered. Being part of society, until society evolved they couldn't have even used Neptune until society was ready for it.
Finally, you wrote, "nothing new has come from Astrology. It’s not a system that can predict things, though it should be able to." That's what I mean by straw man. You invent something that doesn't exist, denounce it, then relate your denunciation to something that does exist. BZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Sorry, no consolation prize, either.
The basic process of welding remains the same, so you could also say that nothing new has come from welding. Welding isn't a system that can predict things, though it should be able to. And welders didn't discover Pluto, either! Therefore, by your logic, welding is a fraud.
PW: writes, "I freely admit that I have neither studied nor read astrogoly books." Then you ask, "Shouldn't two people, born on the same day in the same hospital, have the same personality traits? Yet, they don't. Why?"
BZZZZZ. Wait a minute. You say you've read nothing on the subject, but you know that two people born on the same day in the same hospital don't have the same personality traits. First of all, astrology is far more accurate than that. The motion of the Moon and Mercury, especially, changes dramatically during one day. We'd have to look at people born at the same place and at the same time. The chances of which are highly unlikely.
However, you assume, without any proof, that such people don't have similar personality traits. Your evidence for this is? Oh...you don't give any, do you.
On the other hand, a simple web search will give you absolutely shocking evidence that you're wrong in the numerous cases of twins separated at birth. Unfortunately (and scientifically accurately), such data can only be described as anecdotal, but look at these:http://www.longwood.k12.ny.us/lhs/scien ... twins.htmlhttp://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_q ... n12863703/http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/ ... 63,00.html
Horoscopes, if drawn correctly, do say the same thing as they are factual illustrations. However different people looking at them may focus on different aspects of them, coming up with different conclusions. Would you like to see something similar? Watch a TV show called "House." Different people see the same signs (symptoms) and come up with different diagnoses. So are you going to say you don't believe in Western medicine, too?
Next you bring up a fortuneteller who was wrong. That's totally irrelevant to the discussion. How come so many of the economists were wrong about the world's economy? But you do end with a good question: "how does one know who is truthful and who is not?" When it comes to economists, I don't know. When it comes to astrologers, ask for references. When it comes to politicians, if their lips are moving they are not being truthful (that last one is easy!).