Anti-Science

Star Sign + Dollar Sign = Waste of good electrons?

Well, as the resident technology nerd, I thought I would take our current theme of the heavens, and connect it to one of my favorites–computers!

Seems that in the claim stakes of internet domains, astrology.com is a key property. Sadly, horoscopes seem to be the other thing you can sell online and actually make money on. In the words of a CNET report:

The business is largely a matter of writing a program that can churn out scripted horoscopes for any sign, any day of the week. …. purveyors of horoscopes sit back and collect advertising revenue against those daily readings, as well as fees for sending other marketers “leads” in the form of e-mail addresses from interested consumers (which must sign up to get their reading). Horoscope sites like Astrology.com also make money from the sale of astrological reports, which cost about $10 each.

Why is this in the news? Seems the original owner of Astrology.com, Kelli Fox, wants iVillage, the current owner, to stop using Fox’s photo and name on astrology reports. See, having a “reputable” astrologer’s name attached is apparently key to the $5 mill/year business. And gosh, what a resume that gal has! She studied at the College of Humanistic Astrology, received accreditation from the National Center for Geocosmic Research, and has American Federation of Astrologers accreditation. Top that, Mr. Bad Astronomer!

One of Ms. Fox’s complaints is that iVillage has broadened the scope of her original sale of horoscopes for women to horse racing and psychic readings. So, basically, she’s upset that her snake oil has been re-labeled. Read the whole article for the details–it’s alternately appalling and amusing. She is now suing iVillage for cybersquatting, which I mention mainly because I really like the word “cybersquatting.”

Just to prove I’m a tech geek, I looked up “astrology” (red line) and “horoscope” (blue line) on the google trends tool, and compared it to “astronomy” (orange line). The search data…well, it just doesn’t look good. This map is a log scale.
google graphs

Two happy data points: the news items on astronomy do far outweigh the news items on star signs–except on days when famous astrologers die.

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38 Comments

  1. Cosmic, I was going to make the same comment about that little misspelling.

    I always like it when woo's start suing each other, because it means that at some point, they might end up in court and be asked to explain their nonsense. Always good for a laugh, and also for referencing to in an argument with other woos later on.

  2. This is why I'd like to inject some anti-astrology memes into the memeosphere:

    Remember the scene in Cosmos where Carl Sagan buys two newspapers from the same New York subway newsstand and checks their horoscopes, finding them horribly contradictory? I’d like to see that. I also want to go into the Public Library’s microfilm archives and get the horoscopes from all newspapers printed in New York City the morning of 11 September 2001. How much money are you willing to be that none of them said “Avoid tall buildings” or “Acts of kindness by strangers will bring great meaning”?

  3. Although this is also funny:

    Have someone start off with a Blasphemy Challenge and get interrupted by a guy with a Naruto-style ninja headband (with a cross instead of a hidden village symbol), and go through a bunch of prayer hand signs to some actiony music. The Blasphemer gives him a funny look and continues the video.

    (Good idea, Bronze Dog.)

  4. The really interesting thing to me was the bump up in search traffic around the first of the year–you gotta know it's people looking for reassurance about their future. Sigh.

    And–did I mispell something? See, this is what happens when you compose posts while you're in bed naked! Your head and fingers get cold, and don't work correctly.

  5. The Center For Geocosmic Research came up ACCESS DENIED. The other one worked:

    "Through the AFA, you'll be guided to accredited astrologers and, if you wish to delve into the subject further, we can be your source of the finest education (including our award-winning astrology correspondence course)."

    Accredited astrologers? Oh, gee, I want to take that correspondence course, for sure! It'll go real well with my physics DVDs.

    Rebecca>/b>, Blake's idea is not bad if you need to do an easy quick videoblog. Just get a bunch of newspaper and fashion magazine horoscopes and compare them. The fashion magazine ones are always more relationship/sex oriented. That could be amusing.

  6. Melusine, if you're at work, maybe it's blocked? I'm able to get into CGR just fine. And damn, it's got some entertaining stuff to read. At least 3 more blog entries right there :)

    I especially like this workshop: "WHY IT'S HARD TO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE (OR PREDICT IT EITHER) "

    You'd think a bunch of astrologers would have that down….. :D

    The ethics statement is interesting too.

  7. Yep, at work I can't even do a Google search on "astrology," but I can on "astrologers." I can't get into James Randi's site at work either. They don't want people looking at horoscopes all day – it used to be very popular along with sports.

    I went to a Catholic high school (even though my family is Greek Orthodox and I was an atheist before going there), and once a visiting priest came to our religion class and railed against reading horoscopes. A real fire and brimstone speech, because if you read horoscopes you were not accepting God's plan for you, i.e., not having trust in Him, divine providence, et cetera.

    I remember thinking, "Yeah, way to go, Father…no, wait…what's the difference?" It was a "fun" four years.

  8. What an amazing tangle this is. One wonders, of course, why Ms. Fox didn't see it coming…

    It makes me think of how ID advocates quibble with each other all the time, and how much the really weasely ones howl in outrage when their fallacies are pointed out.

  9. "And–did I mispell something? See, this is what happens when you compose posts while you’re in bed naked! Your head and fingers get cold, and don’t work correctly. "

    Dnnnit, Bggrrl! Now MY fnigers won werk right 'cos your in deb naked and clod!

  10. I think that article is an attempt by someone to dance out of the fact that they know astrology is bunk.

    You know what else "encapsulates and convey the core aspects of reality"… science.

    But it does so in a matter that is testable.

    The article seemse to be more of a vield smashing on science, as if it does not apply to everyday life. Which is wrong. The more you know about reality the more you can make your own conclusions. Astrology seems to me to be a way to avoid reality. To shortcut learning about the world and instead try to force the reactions of people into "houses" and "signs" rather than actualy think things through. To me it is just intellectualy lazy.

    Other than the preamble I was not interested in learning about how the alignment of the stars effect ones life.

  11. "Analogy: Whereas a clock tells what time it is, Astrology describes what kind of time it is."

    I alsoe found this to be fairly funny.

    What types of time are there? Angry time? Happy time? Slow time? (unless you live on a gravity well) Drinky time? Dance Time? Money time?

  12. Hmm, so N.R. Miller thinks that Astrology speaks to matters that are "testable"…hmm…tell you what:

    You give me a solid laboratory test that verifies and quantifies the meaning of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, and in return I will give you an ice cream cake. Deal?

    P.S. Yes indeed there are such things as Angry times, Happy times, Slow times, etc. – have you not noticed?

  13. Someone:

    What sort of meaning would you like for Beethoven's 5th? You see, there are several ways of obtaining data about it. We could find musicologists and Beethoven scholars and find out what they know about the man, his life at that point, the musical styles prevalent at that time, the culture, etc. Maybe he even left notebooks, letting us in on what he intended for the piece. Using all of that information, we can get a whole bunch of really interesting data about the piece.

    Similarly, we could consult composers and examine the structure of the music, look at chord changes and progressions, or even just stick to the methods of transformation used on the leitmotif as the song progesses. We can get some conceptual 'meaning' there.

    Or do you mean 'emotional' meaning? Because, see, that's what we call 'subjective,' and varies from person to person. We could, I suppose, conduct a broad-based study of how people from different demographics react to the song, what they perceive it's meaning to be, etc… I'm sure, after a thorough statistical analysis, we would find interesting trends in the data, and could even possibly determine a range of 'meanings' attributable to the work.

    We could even, theoretically, find people who have never heard Beethoven's 5th before, and conduct a double blind test. A scientist, rendered unable to hear via earphones, could play either Beethoven or another classical song at random and ask the test subject to describe what it 'means'. I'm no scientist, so I'm not good at designing these sorts of tests. But someone could, and probably already has.

    Of course, we are dealing with an actual, existing musical composition here, which makes the whole data gathering/testing process quite easy.

    The difference, in this case, is that any time anyone has ever studied astrology in a similar way, there is no evidence that suggests its validity exists at all. And believe me, people HAVE studied it. And it's meaningless.

    One could probably get a really good sociological study out of measuring the effects of BELIEVING in astrology…whether those people behave differently based on horoscopes, what emotional effects that has, that sort of thing. But as far as there being any proof other than anecdotes and a whole boatload of confirmation bias? Nope.

  14. You are confusing "times" with time.

    The "analogy" says that it can describe what sort of time exists. Time is not something that lends itself to being Happy Angry or Dancy, it is just TIME.

    I never said that astrology was testable I said science was, astrology is not, hence it is not a viable way of looking at the universe.

  15. Quoth N. R. Miller:

    To shortcut learning about the world and instead try to force the reactions of people into “houses” and “signs” rather than actually think things through. To me it is just intellectualy lazy.

    It is also deeply prejudiced. Astrology might be better called "astro-ism", for it shares with racism and sexism the vile characteristic of denying human uniqueness and variety. I will not tolerate a belief system which judges me by the day I was born, any more than I should a system which judges me by the color of my skin.

    Astrology is morally offensive in the deepest degree; it is only redeemed by the fact that it is also completely wrong.

  16. Dear Expatria, you hit upon the very point I was trying to make – which is that Astrology speaks to matters which are "subjective" and thus not amenable to the objective quantification provided by the Scientific Method.

    In other words, you cannot prove or disprove Astrology by scientific means – it speaks to matters which are simply outside the realm of the materialistic, determinist realm of the Scientific Method.

    No two conductors and no two orchestras will interpret Beethoven's 5th in quite the same way, and no two listeners will experience the piece in exactly the same way, yet the symphony still retains a certain unique "coherence" of non-quantifiable "meaning" that is understandable to any human being nonetheless.

    Similarly, no two souls would act out the inherent potentials of a given birthchart in exactly the same way, any more than two actors would interpret the role of a given character in a play the same way.

    That is because there is such a thing as "free will" which operates within the constraints of "fate". A talented and experienced Astrologer will be able to regognize the constraining parameters of an individual's personality or life experience, and suggest the possible range of expressing those unique potentials, to both the highest & lowest degree, but that does not mean Astrologers can predict what any individual will make of the ball that is thrown their way. Some people will take that ball and run with it, others will just let it drop at their feet.

    It seems to me that Kelli Fox tried to expand the collective understanding of Astrology beyond the old fortune-telling aspects of the subject, and it breaks my heart (as an honest Astrologer) that the corporate enterprise which has taken over the operation of the original site she founded is now promulgating the very bad impression you now hold about Astrology, which she sought to dispel.

    Please be aware that the site she founded (referenced in the article which started this blog post) is now but a mere, poor, bastardized reflection of what she originally created and intended, thanks to corporate disregard for the values and ethics of true Astrologers these days. Big sigh. That is why I pointed you towards the Astrology White Paper on her new site. I guess we really do have a long way to go before people understand that Astrologers these days are not about labeling people and judging and minimizing the wondrous powers of the human spirit to rise above whatever apparent restrictions we may seem to face at the hand of so-called "fate".

  17. Hmm, you really seem to be stuck on the whole mistaken notion that Astrology presumes to "predict" things that can be quantifiably replicated in a laboratory. Astrologers do not presume that the planets are "causing" things to happen here on Earth, it's the people like yourself with the materialistic, deterministic mindset who make such pronouncements.

    For example, you wrote:

    "I call bull. Again either you are FATED to do something or you ARE NOT."

    To answer that, I say the point I was trying to make, and forgive me if I was not clear enough, was that Fate vs. Free Will is not an "either / or" proposition in the minds of modern Astrologers.

    Why do you think we are either "FATED" to do something or we are "NOT"? And how did you manage to infer from my words that I was saying anything like that? I said something very different, namely, that there exists the power of individual Free Will to operate freely within the constraints of the parameters of Fate.

    ?

    Sorry, I guess I'm having a hard time communicating effectively with a mindset that is so different from mine…

  18. As for this comment of yours: "The Pink Unicorn is outside of the scientific realm as well, if you cannot, or do not even wish to try, to prove your claims then they are not applicable to life."

    Ok, if we cannot prove everything "scientifically", then let's all dismiss every poem that was ever written, every work of art that was ever painted, and every piece of music that was ever composed or improvised.

    Your inability to grasp the value & meaning of things that science cannot explain yet is really beyond me. Oh, and by the way, what is the meaing of "gravity"? I know you can tell me the formulas that describe how it functions, but can you tell us what it means?

    There are still many mysteries left in the universe that science has not yet begun to "solve" let alone "explain".

  19. Someone: (Or maybe we should hazard a guess and call you Kelli?)

    Sure. Pull the word 'subjective' out of context and make it mean what you like. Go for it. The fact is, the predictions of astrology work on NO level, objective, subjective, or otherwise, to any degree greater than BLIND CHANCE. The subjective portion comes from individual response TO the claims, which CAN be measured and 'quantified' to a degree, and normalized statistically. I can 'think' that an astrologer has predicted something, I can subjectively pull bits and pieces out of a description that fit my biases (much like you did with the word 'subjective' in my post). None of that lends any validity to the theories of astrology. Not a jot.

    Your explications are laughable. How on EARTH do you know there is a 'meaning' to music that is known to all humans? I'd wager that the deaf humans who also can't read music have little idea what you're talking about. No two 'souls' act out a destiny in the same way? What?? You're attaching agency to a non-existant, religiously derived precept that modern neuroscience more or less blows out of the water.

    ' A talented and experienced Astrologer will be able to regognize the constraining parameters of an individual’s personality or life experience, and suggest the possible range of expressing those unique potentials, to both the highest & lowest degree, but that does not mean Astrologers can predict what any individual will make of the ball that is thrown their way. Some people will take that ball and run with it, others will just let it drop at their feet.'

    Here, you've basically just said that astrologists are psychologists without the, you know, formal training and education and clinical practice. How funny.

    You are moving the goalposts. If there is fate, there is no free will. This is BY DEFINITION an either-or statement. If there is free will to resist fate, then what you are CALLING fate is not fate. Or, if you are saying we are limited by some GREATER fate and that free will gives us lattitude to move within it without altering that greater destiny, then I call shenanigans. If this is the case, then you are doing nothing more than giving people ill-conceived advice, not Astrology. There's little point in changing if the end result is the same, so why bother at all?

    The fact is that, if there were any validity, ANY validity at all to astrological predictions, there would be a corresponding trend in the data that would indicate this. There is not. It doesn't matter whether you believe it's fate, free will, the actions of stars and planets, or otherwise. The cause is irrelevant. If there were an EFFECT taking place it would, in fact, be measurable. It is not. Therefore, the best and most parsimonious conclusion to draw is that there is no effect requiring explanation. All data has indicated this to be the case.

    If something were truly outside of the realm of science, there would be no effect at all, meaning that it just as well (for our purposes) does not exist. Just because science can't 'solve' everything by no means says that what you believe is valid. Just because science doesn't know everything does not, therefore, mean that anything you can think of is true. Just because something cannot be COMPLETELY disproven does not mean that belief and disbelief are equally valid stances. Logic and reason can tell you which case is better supported and, in the case of astrology, it's the case against.

    We CAN prove music scientifically. IT EXISTS. We can also, as you IGNORED in my post, propose simple experiments and surveys to figure out how people respond to music and make some extrapolations about 'meanings' detected therein. Or, on a different level, we can study the development of music, beginning with primal rhythms played out by our ancestors all the way up to and including the current state of music. It all exists. It's all there, open to study, and quantifiable.

    Astrology's history is ALSO open to study. However, while we can detect music (we can see the eardrum react to its presence, can look into the brain and detect its reaction to the stimulus, we can even measure the soundwaves music creates in the air) we absolutely CANNOT detect any reasonable effect that the proposed basis of astrology (the movements and locations of stars and planets) has on our lives. At best you're looking at a VERY weak tidal force, exponentially weaker than that of the moon as the stars are far more distant. If you are NOT making predictions based on the movements of celestial bodies, then how is what you are doing 'astrology?' Why is it, then, not simply fortune telling? Or, as it were, slightly informed guessing from vague clues and personality hints that are no different than anything anyone else is capable of picking up thanks to our brains, evolved to be socially attuned pattern-creating devices. In short, how is what you are doing NOT just cold/warm reading?

    'What is the meaning of gravity?' You're a lunatic…what you are asking makes absolutely no sense. You may as well ask 'what is the meaning of blue?' I'm sorry to be so blunt, but let's be frank, here: There is no meaning. WORDS have meanings, concepts described by words do not. Gravity is a force. There are reasons for its existence, but no meaning. It means nothing, it intends nothing, and its significance is only determined by its effects. IT means nothing. It simply IS. Things just ARE. Or, they are not. In the case of astrology, the IDEA exists, its history exists, and its practice exists…its practical applications, theoretical implications, and effects do not.

    I will not waste my time or this blog's space further discussing this matter with you as I know it will only be the equivalent of running headlong into a wall over and over again in the hopes that the atoms will line up just right and allow me to phase through. I suggest you read a book, any book, about real actual science (perhaps astrophysics?) and maybe try to understand why what you are proposing about 'modern astrology' is utter tosh. We've been kind enough to study your 'white page,' so at least do that much before you spout off circuitous nonsense.

    (I apologize for my tone, but not my content. Pseudoscience, especially the kind that tries to make a buck off of naivete, makes me cranky.)

  20. Rather than just declare that I am wrong and don't understand what you mean please try to offer the alternative. What is it that "astrology" thinks it does?

    If "fate" exists, it is the end all and be all. Either it does exist and you are destined to fate or it does not. It is either/or by deffinition.

    I have a big problem with this. It is not an argument. It's not even applicable to this conversation so I'm going to nip it in the bud.

    You Say:"Ok, if we cannot prove everything “scientifically”, then let’s all dismiss every poem that was ever written, every work of art that was ever painted, and every piece of music that was ever composed or improvised."

    I can prove that such things exist, they are physical items. We can even see the effects of ideas on brain chemistry. We cannot see the effects of planets on peoples lives.

    You Say: "Your inability to grasp the value & meaning of things that science cannot explain yet is really beyond me."

    As far as astrology goes, there is nothing to explain. There are legitimate mysteries, do not try to attach your hooey to that.

    You Say: "Oh, and by the way, what is the meaing of “gravity”? I know you can tell me the formulas that describe how it functions, but can you tell us what it means?"

    The meaning of gravity? Like what? What does it mean to my life? How about that it's the holding force of the universe. I love how you pretty much said,"explain something but don't do it in such a way that anyone can understand, and that proves me right."

    "There are still many mysteries left in the universe that science has not yet begun to “solve” let alone “explain”."

    Ah the god of the gaps argument. Nice. Science doesn't know anything yet so astrology MUST be real. Sorry we don't work that way. It's just silly.

  21. “Which is that Astrology speaks to matters which are “subjective” and thus not amenable to the objective quantification provided by the Scientific Method.”

    Wrong. Astrologists make claims that either do or do not come true. More often than not those claims do not come true.

    “In other words, you cannot prove or disprove Astrology by scientific means – it speaks to matters which are simply outside the realm of the materialistic, determinist realm of the Scientific Method.”

    Then do not ask us to take it seriously. The Pink Unicorn is outside of the scientific realm as well, if you cannot, or do not even wish to try, to prove your claims then they are not applicable to life.

    “No two conductors and no two orchestras will interpret Beethoven’s 5th in quite the same way, and no two listeners will experience the piece in exactly the same way, yet the symphony still retains a certain unique “coherence” of non-quantifiable “meaning” that is understandable to any human being nonetheless.”

    Except that music can be heard and quantified and recorded.

    “Similarly, no two souls would act out the inherent potentials of a given birthchart in exactly the same way, any more than two actors would interpret the role of a given character in a play the same way.”

    Wait what? Doesn’t that negate the whole thing? You are basicly makeing excuses for why astrology does not work. Either it does or it doesn’t. Not that it works only sometimes with some people. I bet if we truly took a real decent sampleing we would find nothing better than chance on the “mapping” of someones life.

    “That is because there is such a thing as “free will” which operates within the constraints of “fate”. ”

    I call bull. Again either you are FATED to do something or you ARE NOT.

    “A talented and experienced Astrologer will be able to regognize the constraining parameters of an individual’s personality or life experience, and suggest the possible range of expressing those unique potentials, to both the highest & lowest degree, but that does not mean Astrologers can predict what any individual will make of the ball that is thrown their way. Some people will take that ball and run with it, others will just let it drop at their feet.”

    You are still assuming that the alignment of planets makes you who you are out of the starting gate. Which is nuts. You have NO proof of this. It’s bunk and by saying that people make thier own destiny you negate your entire belief structure.

    “I guess we really do have a long way to go before people understand that Astrologers these days are not about labeling people and judging and minimizing the wondrous powers of the human spirit to rise above whatever apparent restrictions we may seem to face at the hand of so-called “fate”.”

    No but it does make unfounded claims that, if you buy into the bull, shortcuts your wonderment at the universe and your need to better understand the universe. It makes judgements on someones life based on nothing. As Blake Stacy said before it’s just as bad as judgeing who some one is based on their skin color.

  22. First of all, Expatria, I am flattered that you thought I was Kelli Fox but no, I am not her.

    Second of all, I don't have time just now to respond properly to all the valid questions you people have raised, so I will say just this:

    Why are you so hung up on the whole notion of prediction?

    Modern Astrologers are NOT about "prediction", as you know it.

    I will hopefully have time to address all the interesting points you raised tomorrow, but I just want you to know in the meantime that you harbor a seriously mistaken notion of what Astrology is really about.

  23. Hi folks – if that white paper link I provided (see earlier post) didn't give you even a hint of understanding what Astrology is about, I'm sort of at a loss for words right now as to how to explain things better. Perhaps someday soon I will have the time to offer a different way of illuminating the Astrological perspective, but for now I guess we just have to agree to disagree. In the meantime, please remember that "Science" has not yet figured out the answer to every last mystery in the universe, and that's a good thing! It sure would take all the fun out of scientific discovery if the scientists were to find they already "know it all" ;-)

  24. So your saying you can't explain what astrology does? Or don't want to?

    The article you linked was LONG as crap. As I said in my first reply to you, I only read the preamble. In the preamble all it seemed to point out was that astrology is a predictive but innacurate idea.

    Again you are making a god of the gaps aregument. That because science doesnt know everything that means astrology exists. Which is what we call a logical fallacy. It is not up to science to dissprove astrology. It is up to you to provide the teansy tinyiest bit of proof.

    But, your belief in astrology is partialy representative of a the fact that you couldnt care less about the fun of scienctific discover. Instead you are looking for intellectualy lazy shortcuts. I.E. Astrology.

  25. Hi N.R. Miller,

    Since you have claimed logical fallacies in what I've tried to convey to you, I suggest you read your previous post again. You'll notice that you are putting up the old "straw man" argument. I didn't say I "can't" explain, or "don't want" to explain, but rather that I don't have time right now to try and think of another way to connect with a mindset that cannot glean any understanding from what was written at the Astrology White Paper link I provided to you.

    You also reiterated that you didn't even bother reading it.

    I see no point in investing more energy in trying to convey the Astrological perspective to you with yet more words, seeing as you are not even inclined to read a well-written article that attempts, in good faith, to explain Astrology to those who have little or no familiarity with the subject.

    Furthermore, your "god of the gaps" argument is invalid, because I did not claim that Astrology "must exist" if Science doesn't know everything yet. I simply offered a reminder that you cannot simply discount something just because science hasn't yet uncovered a causal mechanism for it.

    You seem rather prone to hurling personal insults my way (e.g. calling me "intellectually lazy"), which reduces my interest in engaging with you any further. If I have misread your intentions, and you are instead sincerely interested in having a friendly dialog/debate on this topic, do let me know.

  26. I read your article, Someone, and it answers absolutely nothing at all, nor does it provide any statistics to back up its assertions of the influence of birth charts or any of the junk contained within them. Basically, the biggest claims it makes are a bunch of name-droppings of people like Jung and J.P. Morgan, none of which proves or validates a damned thing aside from a self-selecting bias for all of the people who believed in astrology. For each of those, I'm sure there are many, many public figures who would say the exact opposite.

    Then, the 'history' of astrology doesn't treat on the fact that for the longest time, astrology and astronomy were correlated. Neither, by the way, does the fact that something has been used for a 'long time' mean that it necessarily works.

    Claiming a lack of time is a cop-out, quite frankly. I think you are incapable of responding to the questions and criticisms that have been levied against you. Why else would you point us to that same article, which does not answer our questions, again?

    Please, take your time and answer the rebukes you've been given. I'd love for you to do so, even if you take just one a day. Heck, it doesn't take long. Took me about ten minutes to write this post while I was doing a few other things. We have all the time in the world. But if you want to wriggle out of responding, I'm afraid I won't let you go un-called on it.

  27. Hi Expatria –

    Why do you start out by calling the Astrological meaning of birthcharts "junk" in your first sentence?

    Do you feel it makes you sound more persuasive to be flat-out insulting to me from the start?

    Do you think that makes me want to read the rest of what you have to say?

    Please remember that you are talking to a real human being here, not some inanimate computer screen.

    I would hope that we could have a discussion based on the merits of the arguments, without insulting each other.

    Oh well, perhaps you are just a lot younger than I am, and thus I just don't "get" your communication style…

    Anyway, potential generation gaps aside; you ask for "statistics" to back up the "assertions".

    It goes back to what I originally asked you; can you provide "statistics" to "prove" the "meaning" of Beethoven's 5th Symphony?

    You offered some interesting ways of gaining objective data about the piece. These approaches you proposed certainly do yield interesting results, from a scholarly musicologist's perspective. Yet none of those methods can result in what a musician or listener would consider the definitive "answer" to the "meaning" of the work.

    You insinuated that I should be able to prove or explain Astrology to you in a mere ten minutes, otherwise my lack of a quick, flippant response to your post will be seen by you as a "cop-out".

    Therefore, I ask you to take ten minutes (set your timer now) to try and "prove" the meaning of Beethoven's 5th to me in a few words. If you have trouble doing so, perhaps you will connect with some of the difficulty I face in communicating with you.

    You seem to think Astrology can and should be framed in terms of "non-falsifiable" hypotheses. I say it can not and should not be framed in such terms.

    That is the real crux of the issue for us to discuss. Is something worthless if it cannot be proven by means of "statistics"? Is everything in the human experience reducible to scientific "proof"? Do you presume to say that if Science can't "prove" something yet, it doesn't exist?

  28. You're right, someone, we cannot communicate. You are talking at cross-purposes. There is no point in discussing this further as you are confusing meanings with effects. Meanings are subjective, but if astrology has any actual merit, it's more than just the meaning of a piece of music. That's a silly comparison to make. You are not discussing the 'meaning' (as in significance) of astrology on people's lives. You are trying to say there is some validity in its uses, therefore that there is some practical 'effect' gained from using it. This is where the trouble begins and ends. If there were an effect, it would be testable. There is not. Good day.

  29. I dont have a lot of time this morning but I'll get back to your problems with the response to me (which includes not understanding the straw man argument).

    But I wanted to awnser two things first.

    1.) Is everything in the human experience reducible to scientific “proof”?

    ABSOLUTLEY.

    2.) Do you presume to say that if Science can’t “prove” something yet, it doesn’t exist?

    No but we can't say it does with ANY certainty until there is even an inckling of proof. And when there is even statistical data that is contrary to such a thing as astrology it's a good bet to say it doesnt exist.

    But as science is ALWAYS open, if you have any proof feel free to present it.

    I use this alot so please take it to heart. "Put up or shut up."

  30. Having read the white paper it does seem to imply that astrology is not predicting what will happen, but rather giving advice on what you should do. I am unaware of any scientific tests that have tried to evaluate whether or not people do better when taking this advice, but I think we can be reasonably sure that taking astrological advice does not make a big enough difference to peoples lives that it is obvious that astrolgy works. There are few astrology sections in The Economist despite J.P. Morgan's comments.

    If Astrologists do claim to be able to give good advice then that is a testable hypothesis and is certainly not beyond the realm of science. It has been repeatedly shown that astrology has no predictive power, I am not sitting at the edge of my seat waiting to see if it is any good at helping people make life choices. Folk psychology is a thriving industry, it is no surprise that astrology should be there too.

  31. Of course we arn't just talking about the advice, we're talking about the idea that the planets and stars have an effect on everyday life.

    I'm fine with people going to someone for advice. Even if its something as bunk as a "life coach" but why oh why do they need the hoopla of astrology to do it.

    NOW let me get back to that posting adressed to myself.

    YOU SAY: Since you have claimed logical fallacies in what I’ve tried to convey to you, I suggest you read your previous post again. You’ll notice that you are putting up the old “straw man” argument. I didn’t say I “can’t” explain, or “don’t want” to explain, but rather that I don’t have time right now to try and think of another way to connect with a mindset that cannot glean any understanding from what was written at the Astrology White Paper link I provided to you.

    That is an incorrect assesment of the straw man. I did not remake your argument. You refused to convey what astrology means to you through means other than a long rambleing article on the subject. When asked where we are wrong, as you have said we are, you claim to be ready to explain then say if we can't understand your webpage you will not explain it.

    Therefore, can not or will not is fairly apt. But a stupid point for us to get hung up on. Lets move on from that.

    YOU SAY: You also reiterated that you didn’t even bother reading it.

    Absolutley, it meanders about history. It was neither compelling nor straightforward enough to hold my attention. There is no reason for me to read it when nothing supports it. I have a large webpage and supporting notes from a man purporting growing earth theort with no scientific support. Would you like to read them?

    YOU SAY: I see no point in investing more energy in trying to convey the Astrological perspective to you with yet more words, seeing as you are not even inclined to read a well-written article that attempts, in good faith, to explain Astrology to those who have little or no familiarity with the subject.

    You have not tried to convey any perspective. You have only said that I am wrong on my "assumptions". If I am wrong correct me. But if you simply say I am wrong I will not fold over and say "oh well then you must be right." Support yourself.

    YOU SAY: Furthermore, your “god of the gaps” argument is invalid, because I did not claim that Astrology “must exist” if Science doesn’t know everything yet. I simply offered a reminder that you cannot simply discount something just because science hasn’t yet uncovered a causal mechanism for it.

    Theres nothing to support a mechanism of any kind. But I can only take from your constant "science doesnt know anytihng" that you beleive astrology is simply undiscovered. I.E. God of the gaps.

    YOU SAY: You seem rather prone to hurling personal insults my way (e.g. calling me “intellectually lazy”), which reduces my interest in engaging with you any further. If I have misread your intentions, and you are instead sincerely interested in having a friendly dialog/debate on this topic, do let me know.

    Astrology is intellectually lazy. It purports shortcuts in understanding without proof does it not? I am interested in debate, but I am a crass man. You will ALWAYS know where I am comming from. If you can counter the idea that astrology is intellectually lazy be my guest.

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