Astrology, a Practical Test: Objects That Affect You at Birth

I usually don’t like making grandiose statements ahead of myself, like “Astrology is totally unscientific”, because I prefer leaving the benefit of the doubt until I check the claim. In the case of Astrology, however, there’s no use pretending.

Astrology isn’t science. It makes baseless predictions, relies on overly-generalized statements and has a false basic premise*.  You can read this online from various other sources, and there isn’t much use for me to reiterate the points made.

Picture by joelwillis via Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

What I am going to do is test the basic premise.

* Phil Plait, “The Bad Astronomer”, has a great analysis of Astrology that goes over all the above, and more, as does the skeptic dictionary and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific among many, many others. You can also watch Australian Skeptics’ Richard Saunders brief live argument with an Astrologer.

Note: For your convenience (and due to popular demand), I added an automatic tool where you can measure the force applied by any object at any distance. Test it yourself!

Click here to open the Force Calculator!

(opens as a new window).

The basic premise of astrology

Astrologers claim that the positions of the planets and “Zodiac” signs (constellations of stars) at the moment of our birth – and generally throughout our lives – affect our personality, mood and affairs.

I will not get into the so-called  “metaphysical” effects, a mishmash of misunderstood physical theories (quantum physics, dark matter, dark energy, etc) with some pseudoscientific new-age unfalsifiable claims (from “fate” and “luck” to “planetary energies”, whatever that means). What I will do is treat the claim that astrology has merit in science. Many astrology-believers think that since the planets exert gravity, they might affect our brains, and therefore our moods.

Many people give the moon as an example. The moon’s gravity is known to affect tides – a powerful force we can witness. Many take this as proof that the planets’ gravity is affecting our bodies. On its face, the claim makes sense.

We are going to examine it.

Gravity, the force of masses

Any two objects with mass exert gravitational force on one another. That force is related to the masses of the objects and the distance between them by the formula:

F= G \frac{M, m}{r^2}

left( G=6.67\cdot 10^{-11} \frac{mbox{m}^3}{mbox{kg} \cdot mbox{s}^2} right)

Where G is the universal constant of gravitation, M and m are the masses of the objects and r is the distance between them.

Since we think of planets as incredibly big objects, the idea that their gravity affects our bodies sounds reasonable. But to a newborn, there are other “massive” objects around that exert the same type of force as the planets. They might be much smaller than the planets, but they are much closer, too. If the position of planets at the moment of our birth defines our personality, so should the positions of objects in the delivery room.

This is a testable claim.

The test: planets vs. delivery room

We are going to compare two forces, those coming from the planets and those coming from objects in the delivery room, to reach a conclusion:

  • If the forces from the objects in the delivery room outweigh those from the planets, then astrologers should, at the very least, ask the weights and positions of the people in the delivery room when they calculate your chart.
  • If, however, the forces of the planets are substantial, then astrology might have some scientific merit. This is what we are about to check.

OMG! Math! Panic!

Relax.

We are about to calculate physical forces so there is some math involved, but you can choose if you want to see it or not. Yes, I’m that considerate.

If you want to go over my math so you can repeat it yourself, add to it (items I missed?) or criticize me (peer-review away, mathematicians) you can reveal the calculations by clicking the “Show the Math” links.

Otherwise, just continue reading the solutions only. Those are useful too.

kthxbai!

One more note: Forces are directional (vectors), but in this case, since we want to calculate the maximum possible force, we will treat them as if they are “lined up”, and therefore calculate them numerically.

What about the mother?

Right, the mother is also in the room, and her body also exerts a gravitational force on the baby. However, The baby is inside the mother, and in her midsection. He is, almost literally*, in her center of mass. For all intents and purposes the mother’s gravity “cancels out” from all directions and there’s no use adding her into the calculation.

* Physicists, stay calm, think “spherical chicken in a vacuum” and bear with me here.

On we go.

The delivery room

Since my intent is to calculate the most basic hospital delivery room, I put in the most basic items that should be found in one. There are likely many more people and pieces of equipment in and outside the room, but the goal of these calculations is a “conservative estimation.”

Therefore, I will ignore the size of the hospital, other people walking by and other large machines that exist in the building. See “Conclusion” for more about those.

Here’s a list of what should be the most basic elements in a delivery room:

People:

  • A doctor (obviously)
  • A nurse
  • OB tech (whose job is to help the doctor and nurse during the actual birth)
  • The partner (assuming the mother has one)

Objects

The Calculation

In the following section I will calculate the force exerted on the baby from each of these elements by estimating their weight and mass and their relative distance.

I will assume average-sized staff (75-85 kg), leaning towards the thinner side, to keep my estimate conservative. I will also assume that the baby is level with their midsections (i.e., their centers of mass) which will allow me to ignore their height in my calculation.

Show the Math

The Doctor

The doctor stands directly in front and above the baby before it is born. If anything affects the baby, he is it.

  • Mass = 82 kg
  • Distance from baby = 0.3 m (30 cm)

F_{doctor}=G\frac{82 kg \cdot 3.6 kg}{(0.3 m)^2}=(6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kgcdot s^2}) \frac{295.2 kg^2}{0.09 m^2}=2.19\cdot 10^{-7} \frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by the doctor’s gravity = 2.19\cdot 10^{-7} N

The Nurse

  • Mass = 75 kg
  • Distance from baby = 1 m

F_{nurse}=G\frac{75 kg \cdot 3.6 kg}{(1 m)^2}=(6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg\cdot s^2}) \frac{270 kg^2}{1 m^2}=1.8\cdot 10^{-8} \frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by the nurse’s gravity = 1.8\cdot 10^{-8} N

The OB Tech

This person will be standing next to the instruments, monitoring the delivery. He will likely be a bit further away than the doctor and nurse.

  • Mass = 80 kg
  • Distance from baby = 3 m

F_{OB Tech}=G\frac{80 kg \cdot 3.6 kg}{(3 m)^2}=(6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg\cdot s^2}) \frac{288 kg^2}{9 m^2}= 2.13\cdot 10^{-9}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by the OB Tech’s gravity = 2.13\cdot 10^{-9} N

The Partner

  • Mass = 80 kg
  • Distance from baby = 0.5 m

F_{Partner}=G\frac{80 kg \cdot 3.6 kg}{(0.5 m)^2}=(6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg\cdot s^2}) \frac{288 kg^2}{0.25 m^2}= 7.68\cdot 10^{-8}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by the partner’s gravity = 7.68\cdot 10^{-8} N

Bed or Birthing Chair

  • Estimated mass: 276 lbs = 125.19 kg
  • Estimated distance: 0.05 m (5 cm)

(Source: http://www.spinlife.com/Drive-Medical-600-lbs.-Bariatric-Full-Electric-Frame/spec.cfm?productID=82578 this isn’t a birthing bed, but it’s close enough for an estimate)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 125.19 kg}{(0.05 m)^2}= 1.2\cdot 10^{-5}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by the bed’s gravity = 1.2\cdot 10^{-5} N

Heart Monitor

  • Estimated mass: 25 kg
  • Estimated distance: 1 m

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 25 kg}{(1 m)^2}= 6\cdot 10^{-9} \frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by heart monitor’s gravity = 6\cdot 10^{-9} N

Scale (to weigh the baby)

  • Estimated mass: 3.6 kg
  • Estimated distance: 3 m

(source: http://www.egeneralmedical.com/detecto-digital-baby-scale-scale-71170.html this is a small version, good enough for our calculation, but it’s worth noting most hospitals will carry a much larger one, on wheels, obviously weighing much more).

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 3.6 kg}{(3 m)^2}= 9.6\cdot 10^{-11} \frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by the scale’s gravity = 9.6\cdot 10^{-11} N

Blood pressure monitor, Stethoscopes and other random small items

There are a LOT of items in a delivery room, and I am very likely to forget a whole bunch of them. We will estimate, though, a total of 5 kg of extra random items like more chairs, the blankets and sheet, stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, picture frames, and anything else that might exist in a room and didn’t add into the calculation. This is a very very conservative calculation.

I will take the average distance of all of those random items as 4 meters.

  • Mass = 5 kg
  • Average distance from the baby = 4 m

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 5 kg}{(4 m)^2}=7.5\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

The force exerted by the random items’ gravity = 7.5\cdot 10^{-11} N

Total Maximum Force

So, to summarize (and, for those of you who cared not for the mathematics, to state in the first place):

  • The Doctor = 2.19\cdot 10^{-7} N
  • The Nurse = 1.8\cdot 10^{-8} N
  • The OB Tech = 2.13\cdot 10^{-9} N
  • The Partner = 7.68\cdot 10^{-8} N
  • The Bed = 1.2\cdot 10^{-5} N
  • Heart Monitor = 6\cdot 10^{-9} N
  • Scale = 9.6\cdot 10^{-11} N
  • Other Small Objects = 7.5\cdot 10^{-11} N
Show the Math

  • From people: 2.19\cdot 10^{-7}N + 1.8\cdot 10^{-8} + 2.13cdot 10^{-9}+7.68\cdot 10^{-8} N = 3.1593\cdot 10^{-7}
  • From objects: 1.2\cdot 10^{-5}N + 6\cdot 10^{-9}N + 9.6\cdot 10^{-11}N + 7.5\cdot 10^{-11}N=1.2006171\cdot 10^{-5}

Total Force: 1.232cdot 10^{-5} N

The Planets

EDIT: I have recalculated the forces from the planets. It seems that during the initial calculations I made a rather small (but recurring) conversion error, and due to vigilant commentors, it was properly corrected. You should note, though, that the total force after this re-examination didn’t change. My calculation was fine, I just had a problem with how I wrote it out in the process (in the math part). Apologies.

Now, astrology claims that the planets exert a force on the baby, and their different locations change that force ever-so-slightly to somehow affect the baby’s personality traits.

The idea that the planets exert a force, even on the baby, is true. Whether or not it is canceled out or overwhelmed by other forces is a different issue.

Our next step, then, is to calculate the maximum force that can be exerted from the various planets, and combine them to get the maximum possible force exerted by the planets.

Show the Math

Mercury

  • Mass: 0.3302\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 77,300,000 km (7.73 \cdot 10^{10} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 mbox{kg} \cdot 0.33\cdot 10^{24} mbox{kg}}{(7.73\cdot 10^{10} m)^2}=1.33\cdot 10^{-8}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Mercury = 1.33\cdot 10^{-8} N

Venus

  • Mass: 4.85\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 38,000,000 km (3.8 \cdot 10^{10} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 4.85\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(3.8\cdot 10^{10} m)^2}=8.06\cdot 10^{-7}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Venus= 8.06\cdot 10^{-7} N

Mars

  • Mass: 0.642\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 54,600,000 km (5.46 \cdot 10^{10} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 0.642\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(5.46\cdot 10^{10} m)^2}=5.17\cdot 10^{-8}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Mars= 5.17\cdot 10^{-8} N

Jupiter

  • Mass: 1899\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 893,000,000 km (8.93 \cdot 10^{11} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 1899\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(8.93\cdot 10^{11} m)^2}=5.72\cdot 10^{-7}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Jupiter = 5.72\cdot 10^{-7} N

Saturn

  • Mass: 568\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 1,195,000,000 km (1.195 \cdot 10^{12} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 568\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(1.195\cdot 10^{12} m)^2}=9.55\cdot 10^{-8}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Saturn = 9.55\cdot 10^{-8} N

Uranus

  • Mass: 86.8\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 2,580,000,000 km (2.58 \cdot 10^{12} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 86.8\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(2.58\cdot 10^{12} m)^2}=3.13\cdot 10^{-9}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Uranus = 3.13\cdot 10^{-9} N

Neptune

  • Mass: 102\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 4,400,000,000 km (4.4 \cdot 10^{12} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 102\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(4.4\cdot 10^{12} m)^2}=1.27\cdot 10^{-9}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Neptune = 1.27\cdot 10^{-9} N

Pluto

I am including it in because astrologers do, too.

  • Mass: 0.0125\cdot 10^{24}kg
  • Minimum Distance from Earth: 4,200,000,000 km (4.2 \cdot 10^{12} m)

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 0.0125\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(4.2\cdot 10^{12} m)^2}=1.7\cdot 10^{-13}\frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

Maximum Force by Pluto = 1.27\cdot 10^{-13} N

The force from all the planets combined

All of the forces above were calculated as if the planet is in its closest position to the Earth. The chances that all planets together will be in such positions are incredibly small. This doesn’t usually happen, and the resultant combined force is much smaller. However, we can still calculate the maximum theoretical force that can be produced by all planets combined on the newborn baby.

Here they are:

  • Mercury = 1.21\cdot 10^{-8} N
  • Venus = 8.06\cdot 10^{-7} N
  • Mars = 5.17\cdot 10^{-8} N
  • Jupiter = 5.72\cdot 10^{-7} N
  • Saturn = 9.55\cdot 10^{-8} N
  • Uranus = 3.13\cdot 10^{-9} N
  • Neptune = 1.27\cdot 10^{-9} N
  • Pluto = 1.27\cdot 10^{-13} N

(Before you protest about Pluto, read this: there are many problems with including Pluto in the calculation of gravity – the least of which is his “partner” Charon, who’s of similar mass. However, Astrologers calculate Pluto into their maps, and so I thought it would be appropriate to include the force it exerts, too.)

Show the Math

1.33\cdot 10^{-8}N + 8.06\cdot 10^{-7}N + 5.17\cdot 10^{-8}N + 5.72\cdot 10^{-7}N + 9.55\cdot 10^{-8}N + 3.13\cdot 10^{-9}N + 1.27\cdot 10^{-9}N + 1.27\cdot 10^{-13}N=1.5442\cdot 10^{-6}N

Total Force = 1.54297\cdot 10^{-6}N

Comparison

So, what do we have?

  • The combined forces of the delivery room = 1.232\cdot 10^{-5} N
  • The combined forces of the planets = 1.544\cdot 10^{-6} N

Difference =\frac{1.232\cdot 10^{-5} N}{1.544\cdot 10^{-6}} = 8.01

The forces from the delivery room are 8 times bigger than the combined force from the planets, and we have calculated a very conservative estimate.

Proponents of the claim might jump out of their seats and claim the forces are extremely close. They seem close (if a factor of 8 is considered close) but we have to remember a few important issues that show conclusively that the forces from the planets are minuscule compared to the forces exerted on the baby from his immediate surroundings:

  • The planets do not, ever, line up where they are all as close to Earth as our calculation asserted. The realistic force from the planets is lower.
  • Our estimates for both the distances, the amount of people and their weight was very conservative. In reality, hospitals have a lot more people and staff, much more equipment in the room and directly outside of it.
  • Hospitals are huge places. If planets as far as a few billion kilometers exert force on our newborn baby, the MRI machine (that weighs 50-60 times the weight of the doctor, nurse and OB Technician combined) at some floor below, and the CT machines somewhere in the hospital should be taken into account as well. Those would dramatically increase the difference between the two forces.
  • And, one of the most notable point of all: We ignored the Earth’s gravity!

We ignored the Earth’s gravity!

To be fair, I ignored the Earth’s gravity in both cases, for a very good reason: it absolutely trumps both. Since it is also coming from the ground, and the other forces are spatially distributed, my goal was to show that even without gravity, the difference exists, and is indeed noticeable.

But the Earth’s gravity is important here.

The Earth isn’t a perfect sphere; its radius varies from 6357 km to around 6378 km.

Assume the baby is 6360 km from the center of the Earth.

Show the Math

F=6.67\cdot 10^{-11}\frac{m^3}{kg s^2}\frac{3.6 kg \cdot 5.974\cdot 10^{24} kg}{(6.36\cdot 10^{6} m)^2}=35.46 \frac{m\cdot kg}{s^2}

In this case, the force exerted on him by gravity would be 35.46 mbox{N}

As you can see, this is 10^6 times more than the forces exerted by the occupants of the delivery room, and 10^7 times more than the force exerted by the planets together. It’s a powerful force, gravity.

And there’s more. The Earth’s gravity isn’t constant. It varies across the surface of the planet (as the radius varies). We usually use the average rounded number for the gravitational acceleration (9.806 mbox{m}/mbox{s}^2) but in different locations on the Earth, the number varies.

If the claim astrologers make is that the force from other planets affect a baby’s personality – and we’ve seen how small that force is! – then the change in the Earth’s gravitation should have an effect too. In this case, Astrologers should consider the location and elevation of your birth as well as the date and time, to calculate the variations in the Earth’s gravity.

The next time an Astrologer offers to calculate your chart, you should reminder them about that.

One more thing: The Labor Itself

We didn’t include this part in the initial calculation, but this is definitely something that we should take into account, since this is likely to be quite a powerful force.

A baby doesn’t just “walk out” of the womb, it is pushed out by the mother’s muscles. If you see any TV shows at all, you know that at the moment where the baby – and doctor – are ready, the doctor will ask the woman to “Push!!” resulting in the baby’s head being pushed out (if all is well) and the doctor assisting the baby the rest of the way.

This “push” and the movement out of the woman’s womb also exert force on the baby. On top of that, there is usually a large amount of time during which the woman’s body exerts force on the baby before it actually comes out. This would apply pressure on his body; obviously, it’s not enough to harm the baby, but it definitely exists. And labors can be long… long and tedious processes. Ask your mother how long she was in labor.

So for a large number of hours (36 is the average!) the baby is subjected to pressure from the mother’s contractions, and then to the force that pushes him or her out of the womb.

So.. why don’t Astrologers ask how long your labor lasted?

Conclusion

There are many things that are plain false in the claims that Astrologers make, and many blogs and sites covered the reasons why. Now, though, you could see for yourselves how the basic premise – that planets’ positions, affect the personality trait of a newborn baby – is just silly.

If the planets’ positions affect the baby’s personality traits, so should the Doctor’s position, the OB Technician, the position of the heart monitor, the CT machine down the hall and the size of the hospital and the amount of people in it.

So, unless Astrologers are willing to take these components into account when they produce your “Chart”, it seems their claims are plain silly.

And you should tell them that.

Do you have more objects to test?

Now you can. Due to popular demand, I’ve prepared a small tool to help you calculate the force from object at any distance. Play with it, and share your findings in the comments!

Click here to open the Force Calculator!

(opens in a new window).

Resources

Thanks

Once again, thanks goes to:

  • Capn_Refsmmat, for some language issues, for his mastery of the LaTeX plugin and for his math peer-review.
  • Daniel Grrrrrr for his English support and patience. Lots of it.
  • UnintentionalChaos (from ScienceForums.net) for some math peer-review and clarity correction issues.
69 comments
Krista
Krista

Hi great art! i'm so excited and i add "Like" (facebook) to www.smarterthanthat.com

Abdul Sovey
Abdul Sovey

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Andrea
Andrea

Moneypoo, I love your entire page. This discussion is interesting, but I love you for having a force calculator.

I work for NASA, but I'm also a Wiccan... (lots of Wiccans love astrology). I love science, and I love Unexplained things. My more rational witchy friends usually say astrology is a "mythological system, more comparable to literature than to astronomy." However, I have also known astrologers who hate astronomers and science in general... (I argued once with the columnist Rob Brezny)... sigh. But I think those tend to be the ones who never bothered to actually study science much, or who think astronomers spend much energy or time worrying about astrology at all. (I don't know any who do.) I suppose astrology and astronomy could exist just fine if astrologers would stop calling what they do "scientific." It just doesn't hold up in that way. But it includes some lovely symbols.

mooeypoo
mooeypoo

Andrea, thanks for the comment! I don't really have a problem with people liking or following astrology, I have friends who do that too. My only problem, and I agree with you on that one, is when people insist to claim it's scientific.

It includes more than just lovely symbols, it's a really great historical attempt to make sense of the skies. I think if we look at it that way, it can be beautiful. We don't have to claim it's scientific or that it's true to admire the idea as an attempt to explain the skies before we knew more about them.

Tom the Numerology Guy
Tom the Numerology Guy

Numerology is using numbers to determine and predict things about your life and coming events. While not as publicly accepted as other sciences, many people believe there are recurring patterns in life that can be seen in studying numbers and then used to predict things that have not happened yet.

You can get a numerology reading to see what numbers say about your own life.

Sandra Langstaff
Sandra Langstaff

Great way to demonstrate what reasonable folks have known all along, but (sorry) there is an easier way, with no math necessary (no offence, math!) Here it is: TWINS! We all know twins, and we know that they are born together (albeit a few minutes apart). Why don't they share a fate? We know that their *fate* or life events which happen beyond their control are very different. How is this possible, given that according to astrologers they are born under all of the same important astronomical signs / events / gravitational pulls / alignments? Of course, my being a twin helped lead me to this exact conclusion, as I cringed every time astrology was cited as a factor in my life or my sister's life - since while these proclamations were being stated, I was watching different factors impact myself and my twin. Now, if what I witnessed had 'matched'', for example if we both received bad news on the same day, had a strange visitor on the same day, won money on the same day, etc. I would have become the strongest supporter of astrology. But of course that didn't happen, and the only interesting thing about being a twin has to do with being alike genetically, which is all about science not superstition. Great article, keep up the good work!

raja
raja

mr astrologer ,

since you belive in rekhi and all this stuff and you also being an astrolger , you must be aware of indian vedic astrology which is another animal altogether to confuse the already belivers and practioners of astrology. when tradional and classical vedic astrolgy which is claimed to be written by ancinet sages of india ( by the way they dint consider neptune, uranus, pluto atall ) failed in predicting things , some new technique was started by the name of KP astrology which said it was devloped because the man who devloped saw differnce in lives of identical twins who had the same birth chart , and he figured out that every chart is unique and is only made for 1 person in 25000 years in heaven , and what differnce was made in the destiny of twins was matter of some seconds which changed the constellation in which they were born completely and so did there future . this system has become popular now in india and now previously failed astrolgers are learning this and claiming that now they can pin point exact predictions .

even when this attempt failed , some new man has started something called cuspal interlink theory which says that its just not the sub lord of the constellation but the sub sub lord of the constellation has something to do in the results ,they ask some important events in your life like your marriage birth of your child death of you mom and dad day you got a job and do some birth time rectification and check it with your time and come to a precise time which match according to the time and date of the events you mentioned and then according to that time cast your chart and then make future predictions which they claim to be true . they take blind charts and study them and predict exact events happened in a persons life on a given day and , date and year . so now this new system is about to make a wave , and iam sure in some another years another new system will come which will say its actually when a women concieve a child that exact second when the sperm enters is required to predict exact future of the child .

you being an astrologer can you claim that a 10 year old now can be a prime minsiter or president of the country in comming 30, 40 , 50 , 60 years ? can you predict the magnitude of ones poverty and ones richness in the chart by telling that some 1 will earn exact amount of dollars ?

by the way how are sure astrologers are that jupiter gives wisdom and power in life and saturn gives misery when it is badly placed in some sign or some constellation or some cusp or some sub cusp or some other sub sub sub cusp . who has told you guys that saturn will no matter what behave this way ? ok lets say some sages who were super amazing and had some great powers in them like christ, buddha saw it some 2000years ago , and what is the proof that this so called amazing wisdom about saturn , mars and venus is passed on to you and your community is 10000000000% accurate , unadulterated ? neptune , pluto and uranus is simply not taken into consideration in indian vedic astrology , they say they dont matter and if it is so then why not ? the sages dint see that in comming years this planets will be discovered ? and if yes then why dint they predict them that they will be discovered and passed on a message to future genreations that pls that time predict this and this and this according to there nature and so called infulence on human beings ? .

so astrologers blame nodes, saturn, mars, and some bad affilacted venus, and moon or any planet which is the lord of 7th house . while in west uranus and pluto along with this other planets are also bashed up because the poor planets were looking or aspecting or were in your 7 house . and on what grounds you made friendships of sun and mars ? and make a nuclear war like situation between saturn and sun ? why does sun represent father and not uncle ? why is mercury planet of communications? and why pluto is not a planet of romance ? .

antioxidants found in fruits are same in usa, uk, india and africa but just the divorce planet becomes differnt in differnt countries . some say 1 particular type of casting a chart is perfect while others say its not just the house and planets its the constellation that matters . why as a great enlightened community under the guidance and information passed by some highly evolved sages dont come to 1 particular conculsion atleast? maybe because it cant come and will never come because by the time if atall it will come then some new system will be found by some 1 who will say predictions are going wrong manytimes because global warming has made some planets change their mood considering poor earth which is warming up .

enough of all this from my side this was a long long post if no 1 can predict why i wrote so manythings is because my mercury must be quite strong because being a planet of communications and being in an exalted state i t made me just go on and on and on or maybe MR ASTROLOGER can tell exactly if it is mercury , saturn or pluto ?????? what say ?

Astrologer
Astrologer

@raja,

Hi, Raja!

In general, I like your post - this is position of real thinker (regardless you may not support/accept some astrological believes/claimes :) )!

I can investigate your Mercury position and prezent in public or in private what shows my astrological software for that in order to exclude personal influence and to be objective:)

In general I am maily using western astrology and not sure for the answers you have about vedic astrology. For some questions you wrote, I am also interested, and not sure what is the reason.

In general astrology is based on the ancient heritageof tha sages, but for me and my frends we have serious reasons to think that there is somthing worthwhile.

You can send your data to [email protected] (birth date , time and place)

Astrologer
Astrologer

@TheBlackCat,

Budism in established 2500 years before, and even nowadays exist Master -to - disciple lineages - few different! That is not "new age" - the provide studing , not just believe, and ways to develop new levels of conciounes and new skills!

like this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Yogas_of_Naropa , education and faite is not the same! But six yogas of Naropa is advanced techniks.

Reiki is more accessible and it found in Japane in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. It is irrelevent to classify this things to "new age", and they worked, much more than relaksation.

For me astrology is proven by my experience. And one ot the ways is you also to have this experience, if you want - even for fun:)))

Astrologer
Astrologer

It is not the gravity considered in Astrology, and we do not live onli in 4 dimensions.

Even in modern phisics is considered multidimensional Universe , and ancient Sages and Iniciated know it. And also with esoteric education can be developed senses for this...other "dimensions" - and this schools existed thounsands years befor Oxford and Harvard universities to be found.

You mass/gravity calculations are irrelevant, that is not the point. Influences of planest are mainly from spiritual nature...

"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter," Yoda

I made chart-readings of peoples which never met in live and they been surprised how exact the things said for then are!

If you are a real scientist , give your data fere and see what a person who you never met in live can tell for you based on your astro chart - completely free of charge!

Moriel Schottlender
Moriel Schottlender

By the way, if you want to make my chart so I can publish your claim and explanations for what astrology actually says (i promise I will give you a voice on my site) along with my analysis of it, I will be very happy to. My birthday is today (March 19th) I was born in 1982, at 17:05, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Is this information enough or do you require more?

Astrologer
Astrologer

Hi, Moriel!

I made your chart. Please mail me to [email protected] to send you a chart reading.

Adn you can decide wheder to publish it in public.

Mike Wagner
Mike Wagner

@Astrologer,

Not kidding, mocking.

There's a not-so-subtle difference.

Those parameters are just as valid for your calculations as any other astrological garbage.

A very simple test can be done. Using you and other "astrologers" who are unknown to each other, each can submit their own horoscope based on a profile.

Good luck hitting with any accuracy.

Though we both know there's no accuracy in it. Confirmation bias does the work to cover up the misses.

Mike Wagner
Mike Wagner

@Astrologer,

Don't forget to take into account the spacetime distortion cause by those who believe in sentient pickles on the 4th second of the hour in the ascension of Saturn into Uranus.

Moriel Schottlender
Moriel Schottlender

Perhaps, but in physics we consider quantifiable effects. The only quantifiable force from far away planets is garavity, unless you want to show us which effect, precisely, you want us to measure.

I find it interestsing when pseudoscientists play both fields; on one hand they claim science can't answer anything that relates to their field and on the other insist on getting themselves into scientific definitions or scientific subjects.

Choose one. If you want to be scientific, show measureable effects (or accept the fact that none is found in properly blinded experiments. If you don't want to be scientific, stop claiming you are comparable to reality.

~moo

Joe
Joe

Well stated, however, there is a common ground between both science and the metaphysical studies, and to choose one would cut out a whole world of understanding. I know it muddies both of them up, however it is the only way as far as I can see to find the place where matter and metaphor marry.

Respectfully,

Joe

mooeypoo
mooeypoo

I'm not sure I know what you mean. Which common ground? Physics doesn't quite gets into things that aren't quantifiable, or measurable. The basic principle that distinguishes a scientific theory from nonscience one is (A) falsifiability and (B) prediction.

If you can't measure, how can you predict? and how can you falsify?

If there's no measurable effect on reality, how can you distinguish between a theory that has no effect on reality and one that doesn't exist?

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

"is not the gravity considered in Astrology, and we do not live onli in 4 dimensions."

Yes we do.

"Even in modern phisics is considered multidimensional Universe"

No, some (but not all) proposals for a possible replacement for modern physics (which may not even be needed) consider the existence of extra dimensions that exist on sub-subatomic length scales, but none of those extra dimensions extend even to the molecular scale, not to mention the human scale and certainly not the interplanetary scale.

"and ancient Sages and Iniciated know it. "

Source please. I am unaware of any discussion of string theory or loop quantum gravity amongst "ancient sages". I mean original sources from people living in ancient times, not new-age gurus stating what their spirit guides told them people did in ancient times.

"And also with esoteric education can be developed senses for this…other “dimensions” – and this schools existed thounsands years befor Oxford and Harvard universities to be found."

Yes, and they also thought that bloodletting was an appropriate treatment, that the universe was composed of four or five elements including fire and air, that the sun orbited the Earth, and that lightning was the work of the gods. I would hardly consider "the ancient" an infallible source of knowledge.

"You mass/gravity calculations are irrelevant, that is not the point. Influences of planest are mainly from spiritual nature…"

But what about direct measurements checking for the presence of such influences? They are also negative.

"“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter,” Yoda"

You do realize that Yoda is a Muppet from a movie, right? Or do you believe Jedi Knights are real?

"I made chart-readings of peoples which never met in live and they been surprised how exact the things said for then are!

If you are a real scientist , give your data fere and see what a person who you never met in live can tell for you based on your astro chart – completely free of charge!"

You should look up the "Forer effect". People tend to rate general, random statements that could apply to anyone as being specifically about them. This is a well-known and well-studied psychological effect.

It reminds me of the demonstration where someone gave horoscopes to every student in a class. Almost the entire class said the horoscope was very accurate. It turns out they were all given the exact same horoscope.

So people saying that their horoscopes are accurate is expected even if the horoscopes were totally bogus. What would be impressive, and scientific, is if people were able to pick their own horoscope out of a pile of random horoscopes without knowing it was theirs. But these tests have already been done, and they have failed.

Skepticus
Skepticus

@TheBlackCat,

¨It reminds me of the demonstration where someone gave horoscopes to every student in a class. Almost the entire class said the horoscope was very accurate. It turns out they were all given the exact same horoscope.¨

Not to mention that the horoscope given, was that of a notorious mass murder, Dr Petiot.. You would think people might want to disown a horoscope, cast as it was, on a life of such... well... horror! Of course, the actual reading, was the same old namby pamby ´juice´, and pseudo-psychological meta twaddle, that all astrologers hand out for gullible ´true believers´. The delicious irony, is that the charlatan frauds of astrology, not only succeeded in in delivering a false positive, in the misplaced agreement of those students, but also they failed to avoid a false negative in the correlation of typical, run of the mill character traits, with astronomical data, cast for an insidiously evil (hardly human) being. What a f...ing joke.

Astrologer
Astrologer

"Source please. I am unaware of any discussion of string theory or loop quantum gravity amongst “ancient sages”. I mean original sources from people living in ancient times, not new-age gurus stating what their spirit guides told them people did in ancient times"

I general I do not consider modern New Age gurus. May be the ancient wisdom is not using exactly the term 'string theory' , but existence of other realms exept the phisical is known from thousands years, and this been not question of believe, but practical experience after the process of initiation. And Pythagoras is one of the famous ancient Initiated, he been not just a mathematician - his education been for many years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoras

"You do realize that Yoda is a Muppet from a movie, right? Or do you believe Jedi Knights are real?"

For sure, I know it is Muppet, but George Lucas is not! He included in this movies some ideas, based on the ancient wisdom, not just ...fiction. Search Google for 'Star Wars Tech avi'

About horoskopes - better verify in personal!

Skepticus
Skepticus

@Astrologer,

¨ I general I do not consider modern New Age gurus.¨

TheBlackCat: ¨That is good, at least.¨

Not so fast TBC. With all due respects, we as skeptics, have a duty to consider the claims of any claimant, however pretentious or misguided they may seem. We should also honor the open mindedness of our pretentiously ¨non-new-age¨ counterparts. (or in this case scorn their lack of it). I would rather point out, that Astrologer is swallowing the assumptions of new age BS uncritically and using the same idiotic... (sorry idiosyncratic), terminology hijacking, equivocating and misdirection as any cultivated New Age / BS guru. Just a minor quibble, ´cos I am sure you are only playing devils advocate, and bending over backwards to give concession to what you may see as a minor point, while delivering the sucker punch on another. ;)

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

As I know, in 19 century do considered that allready everything is discovered, nut it is not. Even in phisical plane it is not. But there is also the Spirutual – some people just use things in relation of the other realms in his daily live, not jut to believe that if will live goog live will not go to the hell.

Just because we don't know anything does not in any way imply that any specific thing exists. Just because we don't know everything doesn't mean we therefore know there are invisible gnomes in my yard, for instance. You are saying that because we don't know everything, somehow we do know some specific thing that we really don't.

In order to establish that the "spiritual plane" is responsible for astrology, you have to do three things. One, you have to show astrology actually works, which I have already pointed out it doesn't. Even if there is a spiritual plane, if astrology does not actually work at all, if it isn't able to tell you anything useful about anyone or anything, then all this talk about other planes is irrelevant. Asking whether astrology uses the spiritual plane, gravity, or nerdions as its mechanism is pointless when all evidence indicates astrology doesn't work at all in the first place. Asking what the mechanism is for something that doesn't actually happen is a meaningless question. So before you start talking about the spiritual plane, you need to provide some reason to think that astrology is anything other than the Forer effect and other well-known psychological effects that have nothing at all to do with the planets or the stars.

Once you have done that, you have to show that a spiritual plane actually exists, which you have not bothered to do you have just taken it as a given. Lots of people have thought that there was a spiritual plane (although by no means everyone, asserting that there was such a thing was likely to get you killed in medieval Europe, for instance), buts lots of people have thought lots of things that later turned out to not be true (like bloodletting). Finally, you have to establish that the spiritual plane has some connection to astrology, which you have also just asserted as true while providing no reason to think it is true.

I talking about the experiance of many people, including my. They are not obligated to prove anything to the physicists with double blind experiments.

If you want anyone to believe it is anything other than well-known flaws in human psychology then yes, they do. We know that perfectly natural illogical thinking can produce exactly the sorts of things we see with astrology. This is established psychology, beyond any question. If you expect people to believe anything else is going on, the burden is on you to show that these perfectly natural effects are insufficient to explain what is happening. Double-blind studies are the only way to do this. Individual experience cannot do it because individual experience is exactly where these sorts of problems appear.

I know – it is possible to heal another human in distance, and I made it myself, regardless how unscientific it could looks. Tha fact is fact.

Once again, there are a lot of well-known psychological and biological effects that can make people think this sort of thing is happening when it isn't. Lots of people think they are being cured when they aren't (we know this because many go on to die from the disease they were supposedly cured of, for instance). Lots of diseases are self-limiting, like the cold will disappear on its own. Others have upswings and downswings. Whatever the case, the burden is on you to rule out these others effects. Someone claiming they got better is not helpful because one, they may not actually be better (how long did you follow up on these people to see if they were really cured?) and two they might have gotten better without your help. That is why we need large double-blind placebo controlled studies, to see if your treatment helps more than just doing nothing. Such tests have been done and have been overwhelmingly negative.

There exist a ssytem named Reiki. Even have a clinics, where it is used. Momy peope have initiation in it and use it in daily live. My first level initiations was for just around 40 euro in equivalent. And it is WORTHY!.

This is exactly the sort of new-age stuff you said before that you don't accept. If you look at the section in your link on research on the subject, existing research is flawed but looks more negative than positive.

Also I remember a experiment made with tibet budist monks and nevrophiolologists – with modert scanners – It been proven that meditation can change the activity ot brain centers, and that can be detected with apparatuses.

So what? Lots of things can alter brain activity in a lot of different ways. Meditation is one of them, but so can simple relaxation exercises. There is nothing at all strange, spiritual, or supernatural about that, it is well-studied and well-accepted aspect of neuroscience. The brain is a complex dynamic system and lots of perfectly natural things can alter its behavior in interesting ways.

You can find this lama in UK – see the www adress at the end of the movie…

Once again, I thought you said you didn't listen to new-age gurus. Why are you promoting one now?

But if you dont want to accept other points of view

I am perfectly happy to accept other points of view exist and should exist. But if you want me to think your point of view is true you should provide some reason to think it is a valid point of view. You have not done this.

Astrologer
Astrologer

@TheBlackCat,

As I know, in 19 century do considered that allready everything is discovered, nut it is not. Even in phisical plane it is not. But there is also the Spirutual - some people just use things in relation of the other realms in his daily live, not jut to believe that if will live goog live will not go to the hell.

I talking about the experiance of many people, including my. They are not obligated to prove anything to the physicists with double blind experiments. If you ignore them, you can miss something - which can not be in your favor. I know - it is possible to heal another human in distance, and I made it myself, regardless how unscientific it could looks. Tha fact is fact. There exist a ssytem named Reiki. Even have a clinics, where it is used. Momy peope have initiation in it and use it in daily live. My first level initiations was for just around 40 euro in equivalent. And it is WORTHY!. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reiki

I hope you will not be as United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, mentiouned at the end.

Also I remember a experiment made with tibet budist monks and nevrophiolologists - with modert scanners - It been proven that meditation can change the activity ot brain centers, and that can be detected with apparatuses.

http://brainimaging.waisman.wisc.edu/~lutz/Lutz_et_al_2009_JN_attention_stability.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAVCN7rYNY4

You can find this lama in UK - see the www adress at the end of the movie...

But if you dont want to accept other points of view

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

I general I do not consider modern New Age gurus.

That is good, at least.

May be the ancient wisdom is not using exactly the term ’string theory’ , but existence of other realms exept the phisical is known from thousands years, and this been not question of believe, but practical experience after the process of initiation. And Pythagoras is one of the famous ancient Initiated, he been not just a mathematician – his education been for many years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoras

Wait, what? I thought we were talking about multiple physical dimensions here. Now you are saying "other realms except the physical". Where did that come from?

We are not talking about the sci-fi concept of parallel dimensions here, we are talking about normal physical dimensions like left/right and up/down. At least that is what physicists are talking about when they talk about multiple dimensions, and by extension that must be what you are talking about when you cite them for support. They are most certainly not talking about "other realms", not to mention non-physical realms. On the contrary, they are talking about physics, so by definition the one and only realm they are talking about is a physical realm.

About horoskopes – better verify in personal!

No, it is far, far worse to verify personally. If you just verify personally, then you get into problems like the Forer effect (did you bother looking that up like I suggested?) You need large double-blind studies to find out of something like that actually works better than chance, studies that, as I keep saying, have been done and have shown no effect.

Joe
Joe

Astrologer:

In debating with Black Cat, you are dealing with a hard-core skeptic on the attack, someone who has probably fought many battles in the name of science to the point of being hardened and who doesn't have much room for give. I like the points you make about the muppet and modern physics. I'm down with the Jedi.

Here is a link to an article entitled "Quantum effect spotted in a visible object"

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/42019

Black Cat, here is another important link for you:

http://www.revolholic.com/kiri/KOKOBWARE.jpg

Karl Withakay
Karl Withakay

What happens if you rotate the bed 180 degrees right before the baby is born? Do astrologers take that into account?

Moriel Schottlender
Moriel Schottlender

Oooooh! nice. I wonder how hard it would be to create a force simulator that takes into account the directions of the planets and celestial bodies, too. Hmm. Could be a good project for summer break.

Alan
Alan

I think the notion that it's the gravity of the planets that affects the personality is an attempt by astrologers to attach a physics-based aspect to their beliefs, since this is what science demands of them. The argument of course is absurd, since as you said the gravity of all objects around us (even in the 9 months of pregnancy) have far more effect. Even if you were to make up the fact that they DID have significant pull, every time you turn your body you are reorienting yourself with respect to the planets. If the moon is in front of you, when you turn around it's now behind you. As you go about your day the overall effect of these ever-changing gravitational pulls would blur into an even mush of omnidirectional pulling. Of course, even if you kept somebody completely locked in position for their entire pregnancy, it's a COMPLETE leap of made-up, unproven (and conveniently unprovable) theory that gravity in any way will affect personality. And this is the problem - astrology has the ability to shift it's arguments and theory at will, much as the origin of astrology probably never talked about gravitation pulls - this is a new twist conveniently added on a whim based on a scientific attack. The bigger problem is that as scientist we're trying to argue away somebody's belief systems. There's simply no end to the counter-arguments that will be easily acceptable to those who believe, no matter how improbable or plain silly. They are literally willing to accept the completely absurd arguments (see above) in order to maintain and justify their beliefs. The problem though is that as science tries to dismantle these belief systems, we end up accomplishing the exact opposite of what we intend. We desire to turn people off of their beliefs though scientific proof, and show them that the way of science is superior, but what ends up happening is that they a) end up clinging even more tenaciously to their beliefs, b) they discard what little critical thinking they apply to their beliefs and c) begin to distrust and despise science and the scientific method because it is now a threat to them. They start to separate themselves from the 'elitist science-types' and begin a war with their scientific attackers. You can see this in the debate over evolution vs. creationism. Science is vilified and demonized by the creationists, and they as a pack move further away from all things science. Now when scientists warn about global warming, it's no surprise that the creationists are the first to criticize and be skeptical because science has attempted to wrong them in the past - they are now 'at war' with science, which began with evolution but now spills over into all other areas. Wouldn't be surprised if the Texas school board decided to cancel science classes altogether.

Skepticus
Skepticus

@Alan,

¨Wouldn’t be surprised if the Texas school board decided to cancel science classes altogether.¨

Yeah! Then I suppose the next step, will be to lobotomize the child at birth. I don´t know why they insist on slapping the baby (if they still do that). In the case of creationists, it would be far more appropriate to slap the parents, for even having children in the first place.

Theres a plan hmm? A) Lobotomize your child. B) Teach it that beliefs are primary to reasoning, before the capacity for reason develops. C) keep your child away from all influences that enhance credulity and reasoned acquisition of new information and/or self correction, such as the learning of any critical thinking skills, rational reasoning and intellectual honesty/hygiene. D) Indoctrinate your beliefs into the dear thing, an.... um... er... wait, never mind with the lobotomy step, I just realized it´s totally redundant. There? a far more humane way to achieve the same result in the last three. Can I hear ya say... Hallelujah!!!?

Joe
Joe

I think you are making quite a bit of assumption based on what you think I am saying RE:

"this is a new twist conveniently added on a whim based on a scientific attack. The bigger problem is that as scientist we’re trying to argue away somebody’s belief systems. There’s simply no end to the counter-arguments that will be easily acceptable to those who believe, no matter how improbable or plain silly. They are literally willing to accept the completely absurd arguments (see above) in order to maintain and justify their beliefs. The problem though is that as science tries to dismantle these belief systems, we end up accomplishing the exact opposite of what we intend. We desire to turn people off of their beliefs though scientific proof, and show them that the way of science is superior, but what ends up happening is that they a) end up clinging even more tenaciously to their beliefs, b) they discard what little critical thinking they apply to their beliefs and c) begin to distrust and despise science and the scientific method because it is now a threat to them."

First of all, I have a lot of respect for science. I do however believe that it is ONE way of thinking, and that the more you try to "turn someone off" to their beliefs, the more time you're spending focusing on a reaction, as opposed to what actually exists. Like if someone talks sternly to you, and you focus on proving why they are wrong for talking sternly to you instead of on the importance of what they actually said.

I don't vilify or demonize science. But I do believe that scientific thinkers often ignore very scientific aspects of evolution, most often things having to do with the right side of the brain. I believe that everything operates on a matrix of frequencies. Time, color, locations in space, mass, density, emotions, and I believe that the world is made up of a bouquet of these frequencies, which all relate to each other. I also believe that one day, not so far from now, these things will be measurable.

Joe
Joe

Hi Black Cat,

I didn't receive your previous posting in the other section, I apologize for saying you aren't fun to debate with. And yes, you may be right, astrology may not have qualitative values to measure, in the current state of understanding in physics. I still think that will change. Especially with time. That doesn't mean that I am ignoring science.

Here's an important link:

http://www.accelerator3359.com/Wrestling/pictures/earthquake.jpg

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

"Belief is a very complicated thing. It walks a fine line between certainty and malleability. The same is true for reality. Scientific principles nail down aspects of reality, but they can’t explain others. Metaphysical perspectives, almost by definition cannot be nailed down. But to deny them is almost like denying that you’re alive."

No, there is no fine line in reality. Either something is real, or it isn't. Something can't be "sort of real". Whether you believe in something does not and can not define whether it is real or not, otherwise we could make anything real just by believing in it.

"Metaphysical perspectives" is one of those vague terms that can mean just about anything. I cannot comment on that statement unless you are more clear about what you mean by it.

"You’re right, I don’t think you could convince me that astrology is not real, because it’s a choice that you have to make based on your own experience. That doesn’t mean that I’m not open to different ways of interpreting it. "

Okay, so you are completely closed-minded and totally impervious to logic, evidence and argument. That means this discussion is over, I guess. I can't have an discussion with someone who just rejects everything I say for no other reason than it contradicts his or her position.

"Given the components that you require to be convinced it is real (re: plausible mechanism, sin undiscovered forces), it seems as though it’s not possible right now. "

I specifically said I did NOT require those things. I said they would help, but that they were neither necessary nor sufficient. What is necessary and sufficient is that astrology be shown to actually work beyond mere chance. Those tests can be done right now and have been done many, many times. They have overwhelmingly failed. Therefore, I conclude that astrology does not work. Further evidence could chance my mind, but right now the evidence points strongly in one direction: against astrology.

"However regarding birth time, it seems fairly plain that if you were born in the darkest of winter in a northern country, and then exposed to bright sunlight and vegetation, different types of foods, it would effect your development."

It may seem obvious to you, but the evidence contradicts your position. It may have some effect, but if it does the effect so far overwhelmed by other effects to be pretty much totally irrelevant to someone's real life.

"But would you discount imagination from the realm of science?"

I don't know what this means. Once again you are making vague statements that are impossible to answer. Would I say imagination might be useful for coming up with scientific ideas or scientific experiments? Of course, that is obvious. But it can't end with imagination, you need to do the science. It can only be a starting point, and it might not even be that if the thing you imagine contradicts the evidence (as is the case with you here). Do I think imagination can be used in place of or trump evidence or logic? Absolutely not, no where close. Do I think imagination can alter reality, or that imagining something makes it real? No, definitely not, or else we would not have a consistent reality at all.

Joe
Joe

Belief is a very complicated thing. It walks a fine line between certainty and malleability. The same is true for reality. Scientific principles nail down aspects of reality, but they can't explain others. Metaphysical perspectives, almost by definition cannot be nailed down. But to deny them is almost like denying that you're alive.

You're right, I don't think you could convince me that astrology is not real, because it's a choice that you have to make based on your own experience. That doesn't mean that I'm not open to different ways of interpreting it.

Given the components that you require to be convinced it is real (re: plausible mechanism, sin undiscovered forces), it seems as though it's not possible right now. But that doesn't mean that it won't be later. However regarding birth time, it seems fairly plain that if you were born in the darkest of winter in a northern country, and then exposed to bright sunlight and vegetation, different types of foods, it would effect your development.

But would you discount imagination from the realm of science?

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

So, in short, you have no answers to any of my objections. Thanks, that is what I figured but I am glad you clarified it.

As Philip K. Dick said, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." If something requires someone to already believe in it in order to see any effect is almost certainly imaginary.

It is actually very easy to argue with me: just show me the evidence. That is all I ask for. Show me anything that astrology can do that is not at least as compatible with well-known psychological effects as the Forer effect. Show me a plausible mechanism that does not involve making up new fundamental forces that behave completely differently than all the other forces. Show me that people born around the same time have traits in common more often than people born at other times. (note that the first and last are sufficient conditions, the second is neither necessary nor sufficient but would help)

You have given me speculation that some aspects of astrology may be valid (despite the evidence to the contrary), you have given me excuses why you don't need to deal with contradictory evidence, you have given possible mechanisms that involve making up entirely new completely inconsistent forces for which there is no other evidence. What you have not provided is any objective reason to think that astrology is real. That is all I ask for. Is that really such an outlandish demand?

I would say the one with which there is no point arguing is you. If you don't care about the mechanism, don't care about the evidence, don't care about the basic principles, don't care about the history, and don't care about the effectiveness, then you are a true believer and there is nothing that can contradict your position.

So I have said what would convince me astrology is real. So answer this: what would convince you that astrology is NOT real? If you want people to believe I am the unreasonable one and you are the open-minded one, then surely you could tell us all, as I have, what would convince you that you are wrong.

Joe
Joe

RE: sham

There is no point arguing this with you, because you don't seem to have any interest in finding anything that you want within the realm of astrology. This is something that you need to have, an investment of the slightest trust, to get you past the cloud of skepticism that surrounds it in order to see any of the amazing qualities that the field has.

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

"And yes, you may be right, astrology may not have qualitative values to measure, in the current state of understanding in physics. "

No, that is the exact opposite of what I am saying. As I said several time, astrology DOES have qualitative and quantitative values to measure, but it fails pretty much every such measure. Evolution has qualitative and quantitative values to measure, but passes every such measure. That is the difference. And that is why you are ignoring science.

"I said “I don’t know that that is true.” And you can assume that you know that is true, but that is really the closest you can get."

Sorry, I didn't realize what that line was referring to.

It certainly wasn't common practice to include extra planets in the horoscopes until after the planets were discovered. I guess you could claim that a small number of astrologers knew and kept it a secret from the rest of the world, but unless you make an ad-hoc rationalization like that there is no way that what I said wasn't true. History has shown you can't keep a secret like that amongst a large number of people for any length of time. So at the very least almost all astrologers are a sham, and the parsimonious conclusion, absent any evidence to the contrary (which there isn't), is that all astrologers are a sham.

Joe
Joe

I did address the question of "Why did astrologers not realize that there were other planets?"

I said "I don't know that that is true." And you can assume that you know that is true, but that is really the closest you can get.

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

"I don’t vilify or demonize science."

No, you just ignore it.

"But I do believe that scientific thinkers often ignore very scientific aspects of evolution, most often things having to do with the right side of the brain."

What does this have to do with evolution? And what does it have to do with the right side of the brain, for that matter? We aren't talk about art or language here, so what does the right side of the brain have to do with anything? (I should add that the right brain/left brain thing is a gross oversimplification) We are talking about what should be specific, consistent, measurable effects.

Actually, if you look at it from an evolutionary standpoint, if astrologers are right and birth time has such a huge impact on our lives, you would expect our ancestors to have evolved to give birth at the time that would be most advantageous for survival. The fact that, unlike many temperate species that time their births to the seasons, we give birth across the whole year (which is fine in the tropics) is also evidence against astrology.

"I believe that everything operates on a matrix of frequencies. Time, color, locations in space, mass, density, emotions, and I believe that the world is made up of a bouquet of these frequencies, which all relate to each other. I also believe that one day, not so far from now, these things will be measurable."

Time is a frequency? What does that even mean? Frequencies, by definition, oscillate back and forth between multiple states. Time is a linear progression. By the very way in which we define time it can't be a frequency.

Skepticus
Skepticus

@Joe,

¨ Sorry, that wasn’t Alan, it was Black Cat, my bad.¨

Grrr... Your bad? Your bad!!? Is that the best you can do to concede ¨your bad¨. Let me have a shot.

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

"Birth time is relevant because survival has many bases on the variation of a species (including time of year), and when you are born effects your immediate surroundings and development."

As I said above, the evidence contradicts this conclusion.

"Time as a linear progression is very much dependent on who’s culture you ask to interpret it, and which scientist. Ask Einstein, ask Schreodinger, ask Feynman."

No, all those scientists say time is a linear progression for any individual. The rate it which other people observe your time progressing may vary, but everyone will always see everyone elses' time progressing forward (unless you travel faster than the speed of light, which all indications are is impossible), although the rate may vary, and everyone will always perceive their own time as progressing forward at a constant rate.

And what things like relativity say about time won't help you here because the variation in the flow of time is not cyclic, repetitive, or oscillating, which is what is required for there to be a frequency.

And what cultures say about time is irrelevant. Or are you saying reality is a cultural construct? If assume there is a single, objective reality then what different cultures thought in the past is not relevant. If you don't make that assumption, then there is really no basis for discussion, is there?

"Case in point."

Once again you don't seem to actually address my point.

Joe
Joe

Sorry, that wasn't Alan, it was Black Cat, my bad.

Joe
Joe

Birth time is relevant because survival has many bases on the variation of a species (including time of year), and when you are born effects your immediate surroundings and development.

Time as a linear progression is very much dependent on who's culture you ask to interpret it, and which scientist. Ask Einstein, ask Schreodinger, ask Feynman.

Joe- “But I do believe that scientific thinkers often ignore very scientific aspects of evolution, most often things having to do with the right side of the brain.”

Alan-"What does this have to do with evolution? And what does it have to do with the right side of the brain, for that matter? We aren’t talk about art or language here, so what does the right side of the brain have to do with anything? (I should add that the right brain/left brain thing is a gross oversimplification) We are talking about what should be specific, consistent, measurable effects."

Case in point.

Joe
Joe

Time is a linear progression? You are missing out holmes. It's not very fun debating with you.

Stephen Mackenzie
Stephen Mackenzie

Well, I think we've established the self correcting nature of SCIENCE! A great, thought-provoking post...

Joe
Joe

Gravity is not the only force to be considered. There are a multitude of forces that are far beyond what our current forms of science are able to quantify. From what I've read, science in it's current state can't actually explain gravity without considering the possibility of dimensions outside of our measure. Including the 7 or so other dimensions that are speculated to exist (M-theory), aside from the 4 we are familiar with (which we still don't even fully understand), that leaves a lot of open ground.

If you consider this to be possibly true, it leaves the method of approach above to be missing components for calculation.

I'm just saying, there is a lot more going on than a lot of scientific thinkers are willing to admit. And, if it exists beyond a scientists perception, does that make it non-science (ha ha)? Isn't that one of the underlying principles of science? To believe in nothing until it can be proven?

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

First, gravity is the force being considered because that is what many astrologers claim is the force responsible.

But lets imagine that there is a force we are missing. What properties would it need?

First, it would need to somehow be undetectable by any modern method, yet still have such an overwhelming impact on our biology and psychology that it overwhelms both local and intrinsic variability. Considering that the forces that apply to our body are no different than those that affect anything else, the idea that there is a force that overwhelms detectable forces for the body yet has no effect on anything besides the body and produces no measurable changes in the body seems pretty implausible.

Next, the force must only be exerted by planets. It cannot be exerted by local objects like people and buildings (despite the fact that people and buildings are made of the same materials as planets), it cannot be exerted by moons (even moons like ours that have identical composition to planets) or asteroids. Yet it is exerted by rocky planets, gas giant planets, and ice-balls like pluto. This is despite the fact that there are moons bigger than planets, rocky planets are much more similar to asteroids than they are to the gas giants or pluto, and pluto is much more similar to other trans-neptunian objects like eris and comets than to any of the other planets.

It cannot decrease in intensity with distance. All forces we know of follow what is called the inverse square law, their intensity is proportional to 1 over the square of the distance from the source. This new force must not obey that rule, the intensity must be independent of how far the source is. However, we know there are hundreds of planets outside our solar system, none of which have an effect on astrology. So within the solar system it must be independent of distance, but nothing outside our solar system can have any affect whatsoever.

That is a lot of very random and hard-to-believe properties. But let's assume this force exists. If that is the case, then shouldn't have astrologers have detected that their measurements were off and realized there must be other planets? No astrologer predicted the existence of Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. If they were looking at a real effect, wouldn't errors in their reports tipped them off that they were missing objects? But it didn't. That means we have to add to the list of properties that the force is only exerted by objects that we know exist.

Even if we assume the force exists, we can still directly test whether astrology works. If the horoscope was a useful way of determining a person's characteristics, people should be able to pick their own horoscope out of a group of randomly-selected horoscopes. They can't. If astrologers were looking at real effects, the horoscopes should be consistent in some way. They aren't, even coming from the same astrologer. If the force really had an effect, we would expect people born at the same place at the same time should have more in common than two random people. They don't. So whether the force exists is really irrelevant to astrology, what matters is whether astrologers can say anything useful and whether your time and place of birth have a significant impact on your life. Neither is the case.

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

And I don't want to get into a debate about whether Pluto should or should not be considered a planet, astrologers treated it as one for almost a century when making horoscopes, so what we choose to call it now is irrelevant to this discussion.

mooeypoo
mooeypoo

I think the best point to make about pluto is simple: EVEN IF there are any sort of unknown forces/influences/whatever coming from those celestial bodies, the classification of pluto should've never mattered -- astrologers should've (a) known that pluto is surrounded by hundreds of bodies that are close to it in size even before science found them and (b) not cared when pluto "lost" its planet status and instead add Charon too to their charts.

And yet, they didn't predict this, they didn't even think anything is different, and now they're comfortable just tossing it out instead of adding the other items of comparable size that supposedly should emit the same sort of force.

Total bunk.

TheBlackCat
TheBlackCat

"It would seem that this argument is dismissing thousands of years of astrological/astronomical study in advanced ancient civilizations."

Way to completely dodge the question. Care to actually address the point I made? Why did astrologers not realize that there were other planets?

"What about radiation? Aren’t there many other forces in the universe such as this?"

There are four forces in the universe: strong nuclear, weak nuclear, electromagnetic, and gravitational. The first two only work over subatomic distances. There may be others, but they only work over far smaller distances than that (as small or smaller than most subatomic particles) so they can be neglected for these purposes.

The only ones with any effect at a distances even several orders of magnitude smaller than the scales humans deal with are electromagnetism and gravity. Electromagnetism is far stronger but drops off more quickly with distance. Gravity is far weaker but extends much further. All forces, though, follow the inverse square law, there are no exceptions to that.

Generally speaking, when people refer to "radiation" they are either referring to either high-energy electromagnetic radiation, which interacts with matter by the electromagnetic force of course, or particle radiation, which is matter itself and interacts with other matter largely through some combination of electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear forces. It interacts by gravity as well but for objects that small gravity is negligible compared to the other three forces. Both forms of radiation interact by means of one or more of the four forces.

So short version: no, there aren't many more, and even if they were you still have to explain how they would work without losing strength over certain distances but not work at all over other distances.

"If you met a evolutionary biologist who was really a newspaper salesman, and a crappy evolutionary biologist, would you dismiss evolutionary biology?"

No, but evolutionary biologists were never, or almost never, able to provide useful information under controlled circumstances better than chance (which is the case with astrologers) then yes I certainly would reject evolutionary biology. Evolutionary biology is accepted specifically because it makes detailed, quantitative and qualitative predictions about previously unobserved phenomena that are non-trivial and turn out to be true beyond sheer chance. Astrology does not.

Joe
Joe

Thanks for the reply,

I don't know that this is true however:

"No astrologer predicted the existence of Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. If they were looking at a real effect, wouldn’t errors in their reports tipped them off that they were missing objects? But it didn’t. That means we have to add to the list of properties that the force is only exerted by objects that we know exist."

It would seem that this argument is dismissing thousands of years of astrological/astronomical study in advanced ancient civilizations.

RE:

'Considering that the forces that apply to our body are no different than those that affect anything else, the idea that there is a force that overwhelms detectable forces for the body yet has no effect on anything besides the body and produces no measurable changes in the body seems pretty implausible."

What about radiation? Aren't there many other forces in the universe such as this?

RE:

"Even if we assume the force exists, we can still directly test whether astrology works. If the horoscope was a useful way of determining a person’s characteristics, people should be able to pick their own horoscope out of a group of randomly-selected horoscopes. They can’t. If astrologers were looking at real effects, the horoscopes should be consistent in some way. They aren’t, even coming from the same astrologer."

If you met a evolutionary biologist who was really a newspaper salesman, and a crappy evolutionary biologist, would you dismiss evolutionary biology?

Astrology in it's truest essence (in my opinion) says that the stars are reflective, rather than influential.

Please read my response below to Alan for more on the conversation.

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  1. [...] quite dead yet, so beating it isn’t such a bad idea. My friend Moriel Schottlender wrote up a nice dissection of astrology walking through the steps showing (despite many astrologers’ claims) that gravity clearly is [...]

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