Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Astrology is Baloney

Way back when, about 40 years ago, when I was finishing my undergraduate career at the University of Minnesota, a lot of what is now called "New Age" stuff was in vogue. I knew a few students who would hardly do a thing without consulting a horoscope, and I remember one student remarking cattily of her roommate that "whenever she gets nervous, she heads for her hash pipe." By the way, these were nominally Catholic kids.

About that time, I did an experiment. I read the horoscopes every day - one day late. That was to remove both sources of bias, for and against (I was "against" anyway). If I remember, the horoscope was totally wrong about 75% of the time, and mostly wrong another 20%, leaving about 5% of the time it was somewhat or reasonably accurate at having predicted yesterday. If I remember my statistics right, 5% chance error in any experiment is tolerable.

(There's a line in Thornton Wilder's play The Skin of our Teeth where the Boardwalk fortuneteller says "I tell the future. Keck. Nothing easier. Everybody's future is in their face. Nothing easier. But who can tell your past, -- eh? Nobody!")

Anyway, about fifteen years after that, I was researching a novel and had to know something about medieval cosmology, so got a book from the library called The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need, or some such, and read up on it.

I found that:

1, Astrology doesn't take into account the existence of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto;
2, Astrology says that everything depends on date and time or birth -- why not conception? (That will throw a person nine signs backward.)

And some time later, I found out that because of the precession of the equinoxes (look it up) the first sign of spring in AD 2000 is not Aries but Pisces (look up tropical zodiac versus sidereal zodiac), because the star charts the astrologers use are a couple thousand years out of date. So everyone is an additional sign off in the same direction.

Anyway, as Mr. Spock might have said, it's illogical and an illusion. I think "BS" or even stronger words will serve too.

Hitler was addicted to astrology; I wonder about BHO.

Last point: the Church condemns it (see the Catechism) and that suits me fine!

No comments:

Post a Comment