Astrology Tells the Truth, Nothing but the Truth
about how desperately we need guidance
I will try to summarize some main flaws of astrology based on many years of experience and research while crawling around in the esoteric “community” and thereafter. I am making my way hand over hand along the skepdic’s webpage on astrology while I write this article but my view on this subject has been fueled by many many other reads and persons not to mention by my own reflections of my doing.
As even some astrologers disagree with the idea of the stars foretelling the future and as obviously nobody in or out the field is taking those daily horoscopes in magazines for real, this text will talk about that kind of astrology that claims to be able to tell people facts about their character status and developement without having any personal information about them but their date, place and time of birth, so called psychological astrology.
As I am not too deeply involved into this matter flaws of knowledge are likely to happen and will be corrected on notice. My approach is a rather logical one as logic often does not require too many details about one subject to prove something isn’t working the way it claims to be but just the right ones. And as astrology is a vast subject I am forced to focus on a few but significant points. Again, should I have missed something insteresting by the end of this article, let me know, I will include it asap.
An Intimate Connection: The Stars and You
The main claim is that the spacial and timely relation between the “stars” can give us clues about ourselves, our character, its possible development, our relationships to others. To be able to do that there must be some kind of connection between the stars and us. Starting point of every astrological analysis is the time of birth of the “analyzed” subject.
How do astrologers explain this relation.
Dr. Peter Niehenke, a German astrologer, uses an old study by biologist Frank Brown in which he thought he found out that oysters are sensitive to the moon’s phases, and transfers this insight to human beings. Unfortunately for him, the study was proven faulty. But even the quite selective and untested transfer from oysters to humans is questionable. Nobody would examine dogs and then just transfer the finding that they have extraordinary smelling abilities onto humans. He claims [Achtung: German] without prove that even fetes are sensitive to this connection to stellar phenomena.
He among other astrologers also clearly states that there is no physical connection that is responsible for the effects described by astrologers. Which is also often the point of critics. Unfortunately he also fails to provide any other possible explanation of this alleged connection.
Other starmongers -forgive my rude tone but here it seems apropriate- refer to quantum physics, without any effort to cite a single study or thesishttp://www.astrologycom.com/astrol3.html to be analyzed or otherwise examined. They throw in words like dark energy and string theory as if these were proven facts but miss the point that no physic would ever claim that at this point. In fact everytime a non-physic talks about those things you might just want to change the channel as you will only continue to read mere baloney.
Then there is Jung. Parapsychologists and esoteric's love Jung. In this case he was cited because he claimed a synchronistical connection between the stars’ positions and us letting open how that exactly -or even vaguely- worked. Again I will keep it short here as there is nothing further to discuss. Or would you discuss with someone who argued that he could make it rain by dancing around without being able to explain why? Maybe he [or she] just danced often enough and crossed out the times when it didn’t rain after his [or her] dancing.
Once again Niehenke: “Die Symbole der Astrologie repräsentieren Systemeigenschaften selbstorganisierender Systeme” meaning: “The symbols of Astrology represent the system-characteristics of self-organizing systems.” referring to the research of Arthur Koestler a former renegate [translator] and parapsychologist. Koestler might have proven that parts of a physical organism can exist even if separated from each other and concluded that they must be connected by an invisible field or the like but as there is no way of proving this non-physical connection, hence... not to be continued.
Hurry, Fetus, Your Fate is at Stake
Let’s assume for the sake of further analysis that there is a connection between the stars and their position to each other and us at the time of our birth. Wouldn’t that mean that two people being born in the same room at the same time had the same start into life? Of course this rarely happens but what are minutes in case of twin-births or triplets to the stars? Does half an hour make a difference when writing a horoscope? What if I were born a woman? In another hospital 20km away? Or in New York [6.079,909 km difference]?
Check the pictures that I have taken of the results. There are six graphics and six tables. I’ve figured out so far that the place and a one hour time difference do not seem to matter too much but I’d be careful to claim that small differences do not matter in the long run. A plane flying only a few degrees out of line long enough might end up hundreds of miles away from it’s original destination. Niehenke gives us four minutes until the constellations change relevantly. So hurry up twins.
Then again the stars surprised me as they did not seem to be interested in me being a male or female representant of my species. At least at stellar level we have reached full emancipation. I feel somewhat comforted by that thought.
Well, as far as the time of birth is concerned, R. T. Carroll from skepdic.com asks how the exact time of birth is determined by the stars. I mean, we know how the doctors do it, right? They note the time when the baby has fully left the body. Only, in Korea they start counting the baby’s age when it is perceived, meaning when it still hangs out in mum’s womb. How does the sun deal with that? Remember the four minute time slot until the planets have moved to the next “fate-al” position so let’s hope your midwife hasn’t forgotten to check her watch when you came out or your character is not the one that you should have gotten. Check his article for many more relevant questions that are not easy to answer.
20 Experts, 20 Opinions
Back to the topic. If I gave 20 astrologers the data of one and the same person, there should be at least 20 similar if not identical horoscopes as an outcome. This experiment was conducted by James Randi, a former show-magician who has dedicated a huge part of his actual life to the debunking of irrational claims. The result was devastating. They all received the data of a mass murderer and came to different results. Only a few people had found clues to aggression to the person being analyzed but failed in determining other characteristics of the examined person. Find his experiment and others here.
Astrology's Success Proves it Right
One last point for today -it’s a vast topic, I need to focus- is the claim that no matter what skeptics say, astrology’s success proves it right. Well this “success” is exclusively based on the subjective perception of the analysed persons. Although in sociology that is quite a viable source of information we would still have to countercheck if there is not a more likely or just simpler explanation of the perceived benefit [Ockham’s Razor]. Taped fortunetelling sessions, that semble horoscope procedures, show that fortuneteller usually just make plenty of assumptions and predictions of which some are very likely to be true. Many information can be guessed from the outer appearance of the candidate. It also turned out that a lot of information is given unrecognized by the client herself. This is picked up by the reader and used later to the astonishment of the client, who hasn’t realized or already forgotten that she was the one giving this info. We tend to cling to the hits but to ignore the misses. The same method applies partially to horoscope readings on the telephone [plenty of assumptions, few hits, misses are forgotten by the client].
A nice intro to cold reading by Derren Brown, a beautiful TV-conjurer.
You will find Derren talking about the Barnum or Forer Effect which denotes the fact that we all tend to think of vague statements about our personality that are applicable for a wide range of persons as highly accurate. An example would be something like “You would like to be appreciated more for what you do.” We also tend to fit things we perceive to our picture of ourself.
These observations explain better than the vague assumptions of astrologers why people think that horoscopes are accurate although these are clearly proven wrong.
The Power of Illusion
Herewith I will finish this article just adding a tiny insight that I have gained when I looked back to the last 20 years of my life. Illusions are mighty. One can not get out of them without help from someone that sees more clearly. I’ve spent years in the delusion that I could develop supernatural powers [Transcendental Mediation, lucid dreaming, Reiki, The Secret], that there are higher planes of existence with demons and gods [Theravada Buddhism], thinking that there is something that determines my life other than the social, psychological and economical conditions my parents had to offer me [karma], conspiracy theories [9/11, Bilderberger, Pharmaceutical Companies etc.] and after all that psychotherapy [above all: Analysis] is something evil. This is just an excerpt of my “stuff”. And all this I have left behind step by step with the help of the right people appealing to my reason. But I have to admit that my mind was always rather analytical, I just chose to not make too much use of it. And with every year of my life I am curious about the next illusion that I will dissolve as I am pretty sure that there will always be some. Just not those I write about anymore. Science and critical thinking are great tools, without them my life wouldn’t be as rich as it is right now.
And although I had a pretty nice time mingling around in the esoteric world I still consider these years wasted. A little regret remains, reminding me to be careful the next time my enthusiasm takes over.
I hope you enjoyed the read. Have a good life.
PS: Sometime the argument comes up that Astrology is very, very old and that something that was contained for that long must have some truth in it. Well, this is another fallacy. Mere age of something doesn’t mean anything except that it is very, very old. Look at 100 old people and check how many of them are wise. You might become disappointed.