There is no single moment that a person is born.
The fact that some official somewhere writes down a time of birth is irrelevant. Do they pick the moment the water breaks? The moment the first dilation occurs? When the first hair or toenail peeks through?
When the last toenail or hair passes the last millimeter of the vagina? When the umbilical cord is cut? When the first breath is taken? Or does birth occur at the moment a physician or nurse looks at a clock to note the time of birth? Why is the moment of birth chosen as the significant moment rather than the moment of conception?
Other than the Sun and the Moon and an occasional passing comet or asteroid, most planetary objects are so distant from us that any influences they might have on anything on our planet are likely to be wiped out by the influences of other things here on Earth.
No one would claim that in order to grasp the effect of the Moon on the tides or potatoes one must understand initial conditions of the Singularity before the Big Bang, or the positions of the stars and planets at the time the potato was harvested. Initial conditions are less important than present conditions to understanding current effects on rivers and vegetables.
Finally, astrology is probably the most widely practiced superstition and most popular Tooth Fairy science in the world today. Nevertheless, there are many who defend astrology by pointing out how accurate professional horoscopes are. Basically, to say astrology works means that there are a lot of satisfied customers. There are a lot of satisfied customers because thanks to subjective validation , it is easy to shoehorn any event to fit a chart.
To say astrology "works" does not mean that astrology is accurate in predicting human behavior or events to a degree significantly greater than mere chance. There are many satisfied customers who believe that their horoscope accurately describes them and that their astrologer has given them good advice. Such evidence does not prove astrology so much as it demonstrates the Forer effect and confirmation bias.
Good astrologers give good advice, but that does not validate astrology. There have been several studies that have shown that people will use selective thinking to make any chart they are given fit their preconceived notions about themselves and their charts.
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Many of the claims made about signs and personalities are vague and would fit many people under many different signs. Yet, astrology continues to maintain its popularity, despite the fact that there is scarcely a shred of scientific evidence in its favor. Even the former First Lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan, and her husband, Ronald, consulted an astrologer while he was the leader of the free world , demonstrating once again that astrologers have more influence than the stars do.
See also cosmobiology , magical thinking , Mars effect , rumpology , and How F. Don't be surprised if we next hear from the astrologers demanding their "rightful" place in our universities.
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Ivan Kelly, foremost critic of astrology, sent me a copy of a troublesome article by astrologer Valerie Vaughan. Vaughan claims that astrologers are persecuted by establishment science. That is why astrologers can't get "access to research funding. At most, it might be considered a social science. Having firmly established that astrology is a social science, she then notes that "other social sciences, such as history, are not regularly attacked for their failure to apply scientific methodology in a laboratory setting.
Apparently, Ms. Vaughan does not understand that scientific methodologies can be and are regularly applied outside a lab in the social sciences. Some of these methodologies are based on logical principles such as Mill's Methods , which most astrologers do not seem to believe apply to their discipline. Some of these methodologies involve the use of statistical analysis of data. Vaughan understands the need for statistical analysis, but does not believe the usual scientific protocols apply to astrology. She says that scientists "insist on statistical analysis using random samples.
But astrology cannot be proved or disproved using random samples because astrology is based on the premise that conditions are never random. But Vaughan has something else in mind. Those studies made the assumption. Or suppose that preliminary research does reveal some validity in astrology, but in a later attempt at replicating the results, the Moon is void of course or Neptune is rising?
Of course the results will be inconclusive!
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This sounds like special pleading to me. Further complicating matters, she says, is that when scientists read "non-astrologers" test astrology they test parts of a person's chart. They ignore "the wholeness of a chart. Astrology is incredibly complex; there are innumerable variables which must be considered before an astrologer can confidently make a statement. Practitioners of astrology know that no one factor, such as the Moon in Aquarius, can 'mean' anything in an absolute sense.
That Aquarian Moon could be out-of-bounds, in a different house, opposed Saturn, or affected by any number of other conditions that modify its significance. Vaughan has no awareness that it is this very complexity which marks astrology as a pseudoscience. Nothing could ever disprove it.
Astrology can explain everything that happens, even contradictory events. There is always some ready ad hoc hypothesis to explain away any apparent refuting data. However, what is disturbing about Vaughan's article is not her profound misunderstanding of science and scientific methodologies, but her call to astrologers to take to the road like the creationists did a few years ago and go on the attack. She is outraged that there are now textbooks in our schools that "contain entire units or learning activities aggressively aimed at teaching students to distinguish between science and 'pseudoscience.
This must be changed, she says. The debunkers of astrology are "intellectual control junkies who cannot bear the thought of a phenomenon they can't explain. Because of their need for intellectual and financial control, they keep expanding their territory, applying the scientific approach to areas that are just plain none of their business. According to Vaughan, "scientist debunkers [of astrology] have entered the realm of public school education, but what else would you expect with Pluto currently in Sagittarius?
That is not all.
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Vaughan invites us to go with her down the slippery slope to envision science "infiltrating" the humanities, religion, philosophy, ethics--where "even poetry and drama are at risk. Vaughan's article is primarily a call to action. She urges astrologers not to sit back and be persecuted by Science. She advises that astrologers try to get astrology into the public school curriculum under the guise of "multicultural frameworks. Since every culture in the world has developed a form of astrology, it is inherently diverse A possible tactic is to approach the school authorities about admitting Western Astrology as a valid cultural tradition, and see what happens.
Another approach, she says, is to try to take advantage of "a new educational craze which emphasizes student participation. The idea here is that, if students show an interest in a particular question no matter how unrelated it is to the established curriculum , teachers are supposed to follow the direction of inquiry and incorporate it into the lesson. In other words, if students in an astronomy class show an interest in astrology, the new standards stipulate that the teacher shouldn't say that this is a topic students are not supposed to be learning.
It will be interesting to see how this kind of situation is handled, because it is in direct confrontation with the standards that allow science teachers to debunk astrology under the guise of instruction in science history, 'critical thinking,' and scientific method. Knowledgeable readers might shrug and laugh at Vaughan's notions and suppose that astrologers aren't going to get that close to any school curriculum. Think again.
Astrologers have children and can belong to the P. Their kids can bring them to school for show-and-tell.
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Or, they could have credentials like Vaughan. She has a master's degree in Information Science and is the director of a science education library, where her duties include staying current with "guidelines and trends in science teaching, and to review the latest curriculum materials available. Astrologers now have their own college.
Kepler College was established in Seattle, Washington, in and has been granted the power to issue both bachelor's and master's degrees in astrological studies. Upon launching their website, the folks at Kepler announced:. Kepler College is the first institution of its kind. Kepler College serves those who are pursuing careers in astrology, as well as those who seek to develop or upgrade their skills and incorporate them into other professional practices. To enhance these experiences, and to further astrology as an academic discipline, we consider research and academic interaction with other colleges and universities to be major priorities As a Kepler College student you will acquire academic credits in a number of areas while you study one major theme astrology.
You will earn credits in astronomy as you study the mathematics of the sky. You will earn credits in psychology as you probe the psyche of a chart and see it reflected in life. Throughout this process, you will learn about life. Kepler College has held distance learning symposia and it is to be expected that it will engage in outreach programs, perhaps fulfilling Vaughan's dream of a grass roots infiltration of curricula in public schools. See also communal reinforcement , confirmation bias , crystal power , cold reading , dream , fortune telling , graphology , I Ching , iridology , magical thinking , metoposcopy , Myers-Briggs , numerology , oracle , palmistry , personology , phrenology , physiognomy , psychic , reflexology , runes , scrying , subjective validation , tarot and How F.