NYC Apple Store SOHO Promotes Astrology
Posted: 11 September 2008 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This Saturday, September 13th, 2008 at 3:00 PM there will be an in-store demonstration by two con-artists peddling “astrology software.”

From the Apple SOHO store webpage:

“Join renowned astrologists Susan Miller and Henry Seltzer for a lively discussion about astrology and TimePassages software for Mac. September 13, 3:00 p.m.”

http://www.apple.com/retail/soho/

My sinking opinion of Apple just sank lower.

For only $199 you can spring for the advanced edition of the software and get “Complete professional grade astrology software with Compatibility Bi-wheel and Composite Chart techniques, Astro Maps, Midpoints, and much more.”!!!!!

IF ANYONE LIVING IN THE NYC AREA HAS SOME FREE TIME THIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON LET’S ATTEND THE PRESENTATION AND SUPPLY THE “LIVELY DISCUSSION”.

[ Edited: 11 September 2008 09:05 AM by JamesShanks ]
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Posted: 11 September 2008 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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JamesShanks - 11 September 2008 09:01 AM

This Saturday, September 13th, 2008 at 3:00 PM there will be an in-store demonstration by two con-artists peddling “astrology software.”

From the Apple SOHO store webpage:

“Join renowned astrologists Susan Miller and Henry Seltzer for a lively discussion about astrology and TimePassages software for Mac. September 13, 3:00 p.m.”

http://www.apple.com/retail/soho/

My sinking opinion of Apple just sank lower.

For only $199 you can spring for the advanced edition of the software and get “Complete professional grade astrology software with Compatibility Bi-wheel and Composite Chart techniques, Astro Maps, Midpoints, and much more.”!!!!!

What a great deal!! blank stare Stealing made legal…..

IF ANYONE LIVING IN THE NYC AREA HAS SOME FREE TIME THIS SATURDAY AFTERNOON LET’S ATTEND THE PRESENTATION AND SUPPLY THE “LIVELY DISCUSSION”.

I could only wish! Too bad I’m 3000 miles away. If anyone attends, I’d like to know how long it takes security to toss you out!  tongue laugh

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 11 September 2008 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I agree that it sounds like a pleasant Saturday afternoon diversion, but like Asanta, I’m a long way away, just a bit farther then she, 3300 miles.

Occam

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Posted: 11 September 2008 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m in NYC, but eeeeh, I really can’t see wasting a good Saturday in that manner. (Although more power to those who want to do a careful and honest job of objecting). This sort of nonsense goes on every day of the week, in a thousand different locations. Better we should object to daily, weekly or monthly astrology columns in our favorite newspaper or magazine.

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Posted: 14 September 2008 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Anyone go and check this out?

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Posted: 15 September 2008 06:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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My report on the Apple Store SOHO astrology nonsense and why it was worth it to go:

The auditorium at the Apple Store was filled. Maybe it’s always filled since the store is so popular but most people I observed did seem to be there for the presentation and were watching attentively. This, I think, is a testament to how wide the belief in astrology runs in our society.

Disregarding the subject at hand and judging the presentation purely on the basis of how the software was presented, I would say it was a pathetic show. I was quite surprised – I had expected a slick sales pitch but it was all extremely unorganized with Suzan Miller sort of rambling on and trying to make chit-chat with the audience but she was blatantly insincere and kept interjecting with a nervous laughter reminiscent of Senator Clinton’s now famous laugh. Henry Seltzer came in late and tried to quickly get his microphone connected and then immediately started with, “I have Barack Obama’s chart! See, there it is!” as he pointed to the large projection behind them displaying a circle with a bunch of colored lines in it. WOW! I was impressed. Well, maybe not.

Instead of a brief synopsis of the software, what it “can do” and how to use it they just immediately started talking about charts, signs and Angelina Jolie?! I guess you were supposed to know what the chart was, what it represented and how to read it. I was reminded of the very interesting and equally valid chart generated by the FSM Church showing the global temperature and number of pirates. They were all over the place, I’m not sure if it was that they were confused or intentionally trying to confuse the audience.

Luckily for me they were taking questions during this whole time and all the questions I heard were run of the mill, generic things seeking guidance for their sign (except for a woman that asked why Sarah Palin’s chart was similar to Obama’s which upset Mr. Seltzer and he blathered on about why it wasn’t.) I knew I wouldn’t get many chances so I was torn what to ask about.

I started by asking why you use the time of birth rather than the time of conception as the date by which to construct your chart. I have to admit that Mr. Seltzer answered this better than I had expected but considering this is one of the “big 10 objections” I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He said it’s because that’s when you become an independent being – when you take your first breath THAT’S when the planets and stars start in control you! They were on to the next question so of course we couldn’t discuss any of this further like, you keep saying it’s the BIRTH and now you are saying it’s the breath – which is it? If being an independent being is the definition then what about a premature baby on life support – do the planets politely wait until he or she is able to removed from the incubator? Can you alter the destiny of your child by forcibly inducing labor at a preferred time? Or, as my wife said, if Angelina Jolie had been born 4 minutes later would she have been ugly?

Suzan Miller began going down the list of astrological signs throwing out worthless chunks of generic nonsense to the eager and willing crowd while Henry started taking volunteers to come up and give him their birth information so he could do their chart as a demonstration (still not having explained what the hell he was doing…)

I asked another question. I REALLY wish I would have recorded the whole thing, not just my questions but the entire presentation. I would like to have it both as entertainment as well as a point of reference for the future (I think I’m going to invest in a small digital recorder…) So I asked them if they have heard of the James Randi Educational Foundation Million Dollar Challenge. “What? Have we huh? Can you repeat that?” I asked again. Suzan Miller said, “I appeared on a television show with Mr. Randi.” Uh, O.K., doesn’t answer the question. I tried to quickly say that if they can demonstrate that astrology and / or this software works that they would be eligible for the million dollars, that I confirmed with James Randi earlier in the week that they would be eligible and all they would have to do is show that they have a higher success than mere chance alone and – then the microphone was taken away from me.

Mr. Seltzer began to dismissively say that it all depends how you define “works” (reminiscent of “It all depends on what the meaning of “is” is.”) Suzan Miller began saying how this is all math and science and they don’t claim to be psychic, in fact, she refuses to go on television with psychics and that when they became astrologers they had to make an oath to uphold the principles of Ptolemy and the ancient mathematicians. She went on and on for a few minutes and I REALLY wish I had it recorded so I could dissect that hilarious jumble of nonsense.

Well at this point, I KNEW I wouldn’t be allowed another question.  This was the point when I wished there some other skeptics in the audience so that additional questions revealing how absurd all of this was might have planted a seed or two of doubt in someone in the audience. My wife and I had to go (we had an appointment) so I wasn’t able to stay to the end but I think I had seen enough. I can’t imagine that all of the sudden, at the very end, they would decide to conclude their presentation with a logical and well-prepared summary.

This brings me to the point of why it was worth it to go in the first place. As we were leaving, a young man came up to me and asked me if this was for real. He was visiting New York from France and just happened to be in the store buying something and saw something going on so he decided to watch. He was appalled. He kept saying that these people can’t really be serious can they?! I said yes, unfortunately, they are VERY serious. He went on in exasperation how in France he knows people that think it’s fun to read a horoscope while they wait for a bus but he doesn’t know a single person that actually believes any of it and that these people are adults and probably have children and that this is dangerous! I agreed with him. We talked for a couple minutes watching the spectacle of nonsense before us and then we both left but as we turned to leave he thanked me quite sincerely for at least saying SOMETHING. I think I was able to alter his perception so that he didn’t think that the whole auditorium was filled with stupid Americans and that made it worth the trip.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks for the report, James, glad you got to put in a couple of questions. FYI astrology is at least as popular in France, and in Europe generally, as it is in the US ... I think the french tourist simply didn’t know what he was talking about. (E.g., check out HERE—and roughly 30% of the US public believes in astrology).

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Posted: 15 September 2008 07:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 15 September 2008 06:52 AM

Thanks for the report, James, glad you got to put in a couple of questions. FYI astrology is at least as popular in France, and in Europe generally, as it is in the US ... I think the french tourist simply didn’t know what he was talking about. (E.g., check out HERE—and roughly 30% of the US public believes in astrology).

I certainly didn’t mean to imply that people in France or Europe do not believe in astrology, in fact, belief in astrology may be higher overall there even if belief in god is lower.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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JamesShanks - 15 September 2008 07:16 AM

I certainly didn’t mean to imply that people in France or Europe do not believe in astrology, in fact, belief in astrology may be higher overall there even if belief in god is lower.

Right, exactly. There appears to be a stronger “new age”-type movement in Europe than here.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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JamesShanks - 15 September 2008 07:16 AM

I certainly didn’t mean to imply that people in France or Europe do not believe in astrology, in fact, belief in astrology may be higher overall there even if belief in god is lower.

I doubt that. I am equally skeptical about Doug’s comment that “new age”-type movement is stronger in Europe than in North America. Perhaps homeopathy is, I don’t know.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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By a “new age”-type movement I mean basically post-Christian spirituality of the vague modern sort, which would include astrology. I admit that I don’t have any data to hand; my feeling comes from having traveled around Europe. I’d be interested if someone had access to data ...

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Posted: 15 September 2008 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Yeah, I tried to look up some numbers, but haven’t found much. But I have lived in Czech R., Spain and Canada, and one might get a better perspective on things once you actually become a part of the culture. Of course, this is far from saying my opinion is of any greater value than yours. It is not. I know people in Europe are absolutely nuts over homeopathy. In Czech, religion, astrology, or any suggestion that ghosts might exist, for example, is pretty much non-existent. In Spain, as I am sure you’ve noticed yourself, Doug, religion still plays a part of their life, but I doubt that many people actually believe any of it.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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George - 15 September 2008 12:22 PM

Yeah, I tried to look up some numbers, but haven’t found much. But I have lived in Czech R., Spain and Canada, and one might get a better perspective on things once you actually become a part of the culture. Of course, this is far from saying my opinion is of any greater value than yours. It is not. I know people in Europe are absolutely nuts over homeopathy. In Czech, religion, astrology, or any suggestion that ghosts might exist, for example, is pretty much non-existent. In Spain, as I am sure you’ve noticed yourself, Doug, religion still plays a part of their life, but I doubt that many people actually believe any of it.

I think each country there has to be taken a bit on its own terms, although there are similarities. In Spain I get the feeling that this sort of ‘post-Christian spirituality’ is a bit less pervasive than in France or Germany, to take two examples.

As for religion in Spain, there is certainly a large minority of people who are active Catholics. To take one obvious example, the spanish Popular Party is very akin to a Catholic version of our Republican party. The difference there is that one can be a successful politician without being religious in any sense. IIRC the present President of Spain, Zapatero, is himself either agnostic or atheist.

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Posted: 15 September 2008 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Sure, I agree.

Also, I just remembered a song by a Spanish group called Mecano, written after Dali’s death in 1989:

“Si te reencarnas en cosa
Hazlo en lapiz o en pincel…”

“If you ever get reincarnated in a thing
Become a pencil or a brush…”

And that’s probably as spiritual as most of the Spaniards will ever get.

[ Edited: 15 September 2008 12:52 PM by George ]
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Posted: 15 September 2008 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think some of the problems with anecdotal observations are that a) we tend to have a circle of friends and people who are more similar to us than the general population, and b) that belief systems seem to be grouped so you might find a whole town most of whom share a common set of ideas.  For example, while I don’t normally talk about astrology, no one I know has ever mentioned it, even to the point of just mentioning their sign, yet, as we know there are many, many people who do believe in it.

Occam

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