So what is wrong with astrology?

Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 in Knowing for Sure Blog, Tough Questions | 2 comments

So what is wrong with astrology?

It is not surprising to me that the topic of astrology comes up several times a year, usually in the form of someone asking me what sign I am. I see some former students on Facebook posting about it, and over the years I have heard people make decisions based, in part, on what their horoscope says. For some this is just a conversation piece, just something to talk about with only mild interest. In Sept. 2010, the Pew Research Council did a study on a variety of topics just to see what percent of the public actually believed in issues such as: UFO’s, evolution, ghosts, afterlife, and astrology to name a few. “Among the public, one-in-four (25%) believe in astrology, (including 23% of Christians)” 1

So one quarter of the population, (1 in 4) believe there is some truth to astrology, and nearly as many Christians. I remember as a young man occasionally reading my horoscope and at times being amused by how seemingly accurate it was. Other times, when friends would talk about different people, we were sometimes surprised how precisely astrology would fit their personalities. Was it really that accurate, or was it just worded in such a way that it ‘seemed’ to be true? And really, what did it matter? For many, astrology seems to be a harmless past-time, like bowling or knitting. But is it harmless? Do people hold it more credible than they should? Are some people making serious life long decisions, about their jobs, carriers, marriage, health, college, children, based on what their sign is, or what their horoscope says for that day or week? The answer to that is yes.

Signs

 

 

 

 

 

The underlying message of Astrology is that the sun, moon, planets, and stars influence and even determine what our personalities will be. In other words, everyone born under a particular sign should have certain personality traits. For example, Aries should be adventurous and an outgoing individual. Someone born under the sign of Taurus should be physically and emotionally strong and have a dislike for change. Virgo’s should be quiet and family oriented, while Capricorn’s are hardworking, reliable, short-tempered, and have a hard time with authority.

Throughout history, people have struggled to find meaning for their lives, direction for decisions they have to make, and they fall prey to others that use astrology to make money, manipulating those foolish enough to believe astrology may actually work. Volumes have been written about astrology, the different personality types and how they relate to each other. Astrology sites make tens of millions every year, and Amazon has nearly 10,000 books on astrology alone. If something in our popular culture has such an impact in the lives of millions of people, you would think they would take a few minutes and see if it really has empirical, (verifiable), evidence to support the claims it makes.

If you look, you will see that Horoscopes are listed under “entertainment” in most newspapers, but that does not excuse the fact that for some, this ‘entertainment’ influences, if not directs, the lives of millions. The fact that it is listed under entertainment does not excuse its negative consequence and impact on our culture. Thousands of movies and books written each year for entertainment have no part in a supposed intelligent, moral, and ethical society. Just because a culture becomes accepting of a behavior does not make it right. Thousands would be entertained in Rome each year by watching gladiators fight to the death, but did that make it morally right?

Over the years, science has researched the validity of Astrology, and concluded it to be lacking. One example are twins that have the same sign, and despite being born under the same constellation position, and solar position, their personalities and lives come out quite different. Another example can be found in an article written by April Lorier, “…studies have shown that horoscopes themselves are inaccurate. A study of men re-enlisting in the Marine Corps from 1962 through 1970 showed that their astrological signs were just as likely to be ruled by Venus, the planet of love, as they were by Mars, the god of war.” 2 In other words, those under the sign of Mars should be majority of those who enlist in the Marine Corps, or at least have a higher enlistment rate compared to those under the sign of Venus.

Let’s look at another issue with astrology concerning the ever changing position of the earth’s axis. Hipparchus (c.190 BC – c.120 BC) was the first astronomer to recognize the precession of the earth’s axis. This is significant because the earth’s axis has a slight change, to the tune of 1 degree every 72 years, in its precession. Much like the slight wobble you would see in a spinning top, the earth, if you can picture it, has a wobble as it spins. According to Livescience.com, “Unbeknownst to the ancient astrologers, the Earth continually wobbles around its axis in a 25,800-year cycle. This wobble—called precession—is caused by the gravitational attraction of the Moon on Earth’s equatorial bulge. Over the past two-and-a-half millennia, this wobble has caused the intersection point between the celestial equator and the ecliptic to move west along the ecliptic by 36 degrees, or almost exactly one-tenth of the way around. This means that the signs have slipped one-tenth—or almost one whole month… ” 3 So the sign that everyone thinks they are, could be off by about three weeks. That could throw a huge wrench in the astrological match making industry.

After reading about astrology, I took a moment and looked up my astrological advice for this week and thought I would share it.
Monday – You will long to escape from reality on Monday. Get lost in a good book.
Tuesday – You could be short-tempered.
Wednesday – Count to ten before venting your frustration on others.
Thursday – A new friend will bounce into your life. This person has oodles of charm.
Friday –
Saturday – A relative will share a secret on Saturday. Try not to look shocked!
Sunday – New adventures will come your way when Venus in Leo trines Uranus on Sunday. Say goodbye to the comfort zone this weekend.

Since most of us have 9-5 jobs, the comment about wanting to escape reality is pretty safe considering it was on a Monday. Getting lost in a good book could be sound advice for everyone. I don’t recall being short-tempered on Tuesday, but you would have to ask my wife. Wednesday I hiked up Clouds Rest in Yosemite with some friends and don’t recall being frustrated by anything, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Then again, it does not say I will be frustrated, but just gives some simple advice about counting to ten when I get frustrated. Again, good advice for anyone. New friend on Thursday? Nope. Friday it skipped, but as of this posting on Saturday I have not heard any new secrets. If you really look at what much of horoscopes say, it is common sense and generalities, which makes it easy to hit the mark. I visited another site and for the same Monday the 1st of July 2013 it came up with this.

“You’re feeling rather sensitive today. You may want to rescue every injured animal from the side of the road. Combine this nurturing, loving instinct with a warrior drive that will take charge and lead the fight. This powerful energy duo is very action oriented. Send your loving, internal instincts out into the world to do good.”

I always want to rescue/help injured animals on the side of the road, unless it is a deer, in which case I want to finish it off and fill my freezer with venison. Never heard of combining a loving instinct with a warrior drive. Good luck with that one. Send your love and instincts out into the world and do good? Who is going to argue with that? I’m not, since I am not really sure what it is telling me.

Just a few years ago a census and survey center in the United Kingdom did one of the largest tests on Astrology ever taken. It investigated the marriages of over ten million people and found, “This research shows that astrological sign has no impact on the probability of marrying – and staying married to – someone of any other sign. For decades, popular astrologers have promoted the idea of ‘love signs’: compatibility between partners with certain combinations of birthdays. If the more than twenty million married people in England and Wales offer any indication, lonely hearts who worry
about the zodiac [signs] are wasting their time.” 4

Horoscopes, Zodiac signs, Tarot cards, Chinese horoscopes, Mayan horoscopes, and Numerology, can all be found in major newspapers around the world and all would fall under astrology. People pay good money for books written about Astrology and all sub topics within. People also pay others to give them serious advice based on beliefs in astrology. Do yourself a favor. Next time you’re tempted to read your horoscope for today, don’t waste your time. Just follow my advice for any day, and go read a good book.

Fortune Telling Joke

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deuteronomy 4:19
And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.

Isaiah 47:13–15
Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely, they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. . . . Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.

 

Sources:

1. Allen, Jodie T. Auxier, Richard C. “Why should we care what people think when so many are do dumb.” pewresearch.org. Pew Research Center, 10/30/2010. Web. 7/3/2013. http://www.pewresearch.org/2010/09/30/why-should-we-care-what-people-think-when-so-many-are-so-dumb/

2. Lorier, April. “Astrology Disproved by Science.” Christian Nature. Christiannature.blogspot.com, 8/13/2010. Web. 7/2/2013. http://christiannature.blogspot.com/2010/08/astrology-disproved-by-science.html

3. Braganca, Pedro. “Astrology: Why Your Zodiac Sign and Horoscope Is Wrong.” Live Science. Livescience.com, 10/23/2007. Web. 7/2/2013 http://www.livescience.com/4667-astrological-sign.html

4. Voas, David. “Ten million marriages: A test of astrological ‘love signs’.” Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research. ccsr.ac.uk, 3/25/2007. Web. 7/5/2013. http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/research/VoasAstrology.pdf

Other Sources:
http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/astrology_checklist
http://christiananswers.net/q-eden/astrology.html
http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/what-is-wrong-with-astrology/

2 Comments

  1. Re: your question of What’s wrong with astrology?
    Short answer: Everything

    • Hey Gary! Yes, much like shooting at the broad side of a barn with a shot gun. Hard to miss with such a big target. 🙂

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