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Astrology: Pseudoscience and Delusion
Posted: 08 August 2008 10:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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dkv1 - 08 August 2008 08:21 AM

I agree astrology is not a science.

However it is highly instructive. One can draw many lessons from the fact that so many believed in it for so long, and that so many still do. Also one can draw many lessons from the complexity of the system and its innumerable variations, and that people actually used it for guidance. IIRC Hitler was one of them.

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Posted: 08 August 2008 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Through some arcane means I have learned the date and time of birth of one of the posters here.  On casting the data in relation to the present positioning of the moon, Mars, and the other planets at present and at the time of the person’s birth, I was able to come up with a suprisingly accurate reading.

“You have suffered some difficulties in the past, especially in relationships, however, as your self-esteem grows the outlook for your future is becoming very positive.”

Now, I’m not going to say who this is for, but you know who you are.


Occam

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Posted: 08 August 2008 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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When I was a teen-ager my mother and some of her friends got interested in astrology.  Since it was summer vacation and I had little else to do (pre-TV and video-games), I read the books.  I then presented the above (as near as I can remember it) to the group.  Every one of the ladies was sure it was directed at her.  When I told them I had merely put together some of the most common phrases from standard newspaper astrology columns, and hadn’t bothered doing any figuring or using any of the supposed data, I was suddenly in very deep, very hot water. 

Maybe truth is a defense in libel trials, but it sure as hell wasn’t, here.  I was banned from being anywhere near them when they discussed astrology. LOL

Occam

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Posted: 08 August 2008 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Occam - 08 August 2008 04:47 PM

When I was a teen-ager my mother and some of her friends got interested in astrology.  Since it was summer vacation and I had little else to do (pre-TV and video-games), I read the books.  I then presented the above (as near as I can remember it) to the group.  Every one of the ladies was sure it was directed at her.  When I told them I had merely put together some of the most common phrases from standard newspaper astrology columns, and hadn’t bothered doing any figuring or using any of the supposed data, I was suddenly in very deep, very hot water. 

Maybe truth is a defense in libel trials, but it sure as hell wasn’t, here.  I was banned from being anywhere near them when they discussed astrology. LOL

Occam

There is nothing more dangerous than telling people that they aren’t as special as they think they are. Which actually leads into asking what happens to people when they are convinced by society that they aren’t as special as they think they are? Is this the source of criminals? The destruction of the race (like the American Aborigines, or the African Americans)?

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Posted: 08 August 2008 05:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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From A Voice of Sanity

There is nothing more dangerous than telling people that they aren’t as special as they think they are.


Isn’t what each denomination tells the people of every other denomination as often as they can?

And since science and we non-theists are telling them all the same thing and offering more and more evidence, that may explain the degree of antipathy they have for us. LOL

Occam

[ Edited: 08 August 2008 05:05 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 08 August 2008 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Occam - 08 August 2008 05:03 PM

Isn’t what each denomination tells the people of every other denomination as often as they can?

And since science and we non-theists are telling them all the same thing and offering more and more evidence, that may explain the degree of antipathy they have for us. LOL

Occam

Yep. See my thread “The Missing Religion”.

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Posted: 08 August 2008 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Occam - 07 August 2008 02:55 PM

The problem with hard core astrology believers not believing cut-outs is that they look amateurish.  If the person finds an official Astrology site, lifts their sheets of predictions based on moon and planets rising, precise times of birth, etc. then carefully moves all of the predictions around at random, and prints out the result, the readers will accept the authority and believe all of the silliness.

Occam

The time factor is really stupid. I’ve had people ask me my time of birth, but they never ask me where I was born. One piece of information is no good without the other. 3:36 in California is not the same as 3:36 in Paris (pick a Paris, any Paris!). After I point this out to them, I’m told it doesn’t matter (then why ask!). What a piece of crock!

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Posted: 08 August 2008 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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asanta - 08 August 2008 09:31 PM

The time factor is really stupid. I’ve had people ask me my time of birth, but they never ask me where I was born. One piece of information is no good without the other. 3:36 in California is not the same as 3:36 in Paris (pick a Paris, any Paris!). After I point this out to them, I’m told it doesn’t matter (then why ask!). What a piece of crock!

The exact location is as important as the exact time in classical astrology. Ideally we should use the exact moment of conception but this is usually harder to determine.

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Posted: 09 August 2008 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Gee, I’d be a good subject for “accurate” astrological reasoning, since, when my father asked what she wanted for christmas, my mother said she wanted a baby.  I was born on September 26 of the following year.  My father was a precisionist.  LOL

Occam

(Asanta, don’t you dare tell me that gestation isn’t exactly nine months.  A good story is always better than accuracy. smile  )

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Posted: 09 August 2008 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Yes, EXACTLY nine months - that’s why most deliveries are around two in the morning. tongue rolleye

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Posted: 09 August 2008 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Occam - 09 August 2008 12:20 AM

Gee, I’d be a good subject for “accurate” astrological reasoning, since, when my father asked what she wanted for christmas, my mother said she wanted a baby.  I was born on September 26 of the following year.  My father was a precisionist.  LOL

Occam

(Asanta, don’t you dare tell me that gestation isn’t exactly nine months.  A good story is always better than accuracy. smile  )

I think my sibs and I were all christmas presents too - except they weren’t as precise—we were all born in October!  wink

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Posted: 09 August 2008 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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The test some people mention was originally performed by the French statistician, Michel Gauquelin.  He took the birth data of a famous mass murderer, Marcel Petiot, to an astrologer, telling him this was a friend’s data, and asked him to cast the chart and write an interpretation.  He then advertised free horoscopes in a newspaper.  150 people responded and each received the same description.  94% of them replied that this was a good description of their personalities.

Gauquelin continued to perform tests of astrology.  On examining the birth data of 2,000 prominent Frenchmen in the late 1950s, he discovered some apparent correlations.  Particularly, in what he called the “Mars effect”, it seemed that boys born when Mars was in the sky tended to excel in sporting events.  To distinguish this from astrology, Gauquelin dubbed this “astrobiology”.  Attempts to replicate the findings on other data had mixed results. Gauquelin himself remained skeptical and highly critical of astrology, though he felt that there was still a correlation of some kind.  Jan Willem Nienhuys has shown the Gauquelin’s original data set was biased, and his criteria for eminence were evidently rather elastic (for instance basketball players did not seem to achieve eminence by his criteria no matter what they did, so on those grounds he objected to the inclusion of a large number of basketball players in an American study).

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Posted: 09 August 2008 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Tony, thanks for the information on Gauquelin’s research. That is very interesting!

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Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

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Posted: 09 August 2008 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I believe someone in the US replicated that story, and I think they used Ted Bundy’s info for the horoscope.

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Posted: 09 August 2008 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Quoting Tony Sidaway:

On examining the birth data of 2,000 prominent Frenchmen in the late 1950s, he discovered some apparent correlations.  Particularly, in what he called the “Mars effect”, it seemed that boys born when Mars was in the sky tended to excel in sporting events.

I get a kick out of statistics. 

First, 2000 Frenchmen - I’ll assume the male chauvinst attitude was existent then so it was about 1,000 males and 1,000 females. 

Second, I have no idea how often “Mars is in the sky” but let’s guess at 0.5 the time.  That’s down to 500 males. 

Third, he said “prominent”.  Prominent people are usually those who excel in some area.  In general, just about everything about a human is correlated with just about everything else.  (My first stat teacher challenged us to think of two characteristics about ourselves that had a zero correlation coefficient. It was surprisingly difficult.)  So, if one was prominent in one area, it is likely he was quite good in others, including sports. 

Fourth, we need to know the confidence level which wasn’t listed to know the likelihood that the results were coincidence versus real.

Like so many statistical studies, this one sounds much more authoritative than it probably is.

Occam
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[ Edited: 09 August 2008 03:16 PM by Occam ]
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