Debate With an Astrology Skeptic
In my experience, about 50% of the people I encounter are skeptics of astrology, and 50% embrace astrology.
The negative perception of astrology is understandable. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation (one of the most important rules of statistics) is mostly absent from today’s astrology, which consists largely of sporadic timing indicators.
One event, such as Jupiter transiting your natal second house, didn’t automatically cause the other (sudden monetary gain) just because they happened at the same time.
However, the collection of thirty other markers forming the patterns that symbolize financial success is symbolic of your financial gain.
Likewise, eating an apple every day and losing three pounds in one week does not mean apple consumption causes weight loss. You lost weight because you exercised and, aside from eating apples, ate a very healthful diet.
Time after time, the astrology skeptics are oblivious to the fact that the astrology they are familiar with—horoscopes and other superficial forms of the ancient science—have nothing to do with the authentic science of astrology. 99% of the astrology you find on the Internet includes frivolous rip-offs of reliable methodologies.
Even upon learning this, though never having studied it, the cynics still reject astrology.
Often, skeptics launch the “anecdotal” claim, that findings are purely subjective and unreliable.
Anecdotal translates to “findings not approved by the conventional science authorities, the bureaucratic and academic locked-in-pedantic-thought masters of all knowledge.”
Attempting to further marginalize astrology, skeptics put forth misinformation like this, from the University of California, funded by the National Science Foundation:
“Astrology is not a very scientific way to answer questions. Although astrologers seek to explain the natural world, they don’t usually attempt to critically evaluate whether those explanations are valid — and this is a key part of science. The community of scientists evaluates its ideas against evidence from the natural world and rejects or modifies those ideas when evidence doesn’t support them. Astrologers do not take the same critical perspective on their own astrological ideas.”
Notice the “don’t usually attempt to critically evaluate” bit, then the final sentence damning every astrologer, giving no exceptions.
You won’t find a thorough outline of the astrology they’ve studied to come to their conclusions because they haven’t done any studying and experimentation beyond cursory dabbling, completely going against the spirit of science.
I’m sure everyone values conventional science for the many wonderful achievements, but it’s myopic to insist on rigid scientific rules and then label something “pseudo-science” if a straightforward explanation doesn’t exist.
The modern scientific method won’t give you all the answers. It’s up to you through investigation and self-discovery to find the answers that conventional science cannot provide.
Below is the transcript of the debate with an astrology skeptic.
Astrology? Really? Please — it’s the 21st Century.
Indeed it is the 21st century–everything about you is knowable these days, including, through my expertise, your hidden weaknesses and when you are most vulnerable.
I don’t believe in the astrology you’ve been exposed to either. For more information, read this blog post: http://scottpetullo.com/blog/2013/11/astrology-is-a-science/
Why do you have the astrology sign of Leo featured prominently at the top of your website if you so despise astrology?
So why are you trumping sham 19th century beliefs — and trying to make a living at it? Just curious.
Since I know, as do you, that astrology has zero basis in facts. Never has, never will. Here is an entry from the online version of The Skeptic’s Dictionary written by a professor of scientific philosophy at Cal Berkeley. skepdic.com/astrology.html
We may agree more than you realize.
I reject 19th century astrology, I don’t advocate it.
“The unfortunate departure from authentic astrology began in the 1600s and accelerated with the advent of ‘modern astrology’ in the late 1800s. Readily accepted in the marketplace due to its lack of complexity, Sun sign and psychologically based astrology began its ascent. Although such superficial astrology does serve as an introduction to the genuine science, regrettably, it’s very misleading.”
Read “Sun Sign Astrology Origins & Why You Should Avoid it,” which includes the quote above, for more information:
Especially amusing in the linked article you provide above in your comment is the contention that there should be 13 astrology signs and not 12. Read why it’s a contention based on misunderstanding here:
“Myth: Astrology is Pseudo Science Because Constellations Change”
I address the core arguments of the linked article you provided in the linked articles below.
“Astrology Mocked Yet Modern Science Rife With Fraud and Bias”
In this article linked directly above, I quote Dr. Kary Banks Mullis, Nobel-Prize winning scientist, who believes astrology is a science, offering his view on why today’s scientists deny that astrology is an authentic science.
Other, related articles below:
“Addressing Astrology Skepticism”
“Avoid the Modern Astrology Triviality Trap”
“Why Today’s Astronomers Dismiss Astrology as Nonsense”
“The Horoscope Trap”
Would you please point me to the scientific journal that you took that data on which your conclusions are base? I would be interested in the confidence levels that they used for their analysis.
I’ll await the data. And scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles.
You may be disappointed to learn that the “scientific journal” (i.e., pay for play) and “peer review” (i.e., pal review) approach has been corrupted beyond recognition in recent decades.
Here’s an article outlining how conventional science today is filled with fraud and propaganda, and how 157 peer reviews failed to catch fake cancer study:
“…when it comes to scientific research…fraud, propaganda, and misrepresentations are now commonplace…”
Here’s Dr. Kary Banks Mullis, a Nobel-Prize winning scientist, on why conventional scientists reject astrology and why they are wrong:
“The reason they don’t pay attention to it (astrology) is that it would embarrass them in front of their colleagues. There’s no proven body of facts…that says human behavior does not contain elements that are related to planetary patterns at the time of birth. Instead, there’s a broad and arrogant understanding among social science professionals that folklore, like astrology, is for simpletons. Without doing any simple experiments to test some of the tenets of astrology, it has been completely ignored by psychologists in the last two centuries…Most of them are under the false impression that it is non-scientific and not a fit subject for their serious study. They are dead wrong. Whether or not the present-day practitioners of astrology are using scientific methods has no direct bearing on whether the body of knowledge they employ is true and valid.”
Michael Crichton, in “Next,” exposes the folly of modern science and peer review:
“…Next lesson: Peer review. All of Hwang’s (Korean scientist whose work was found to be fraudulent) papers in Science were peer-reviewed. If we ever needed evidence that peer review is an empty ritual, this episode proves it. Hwang made extraordinary claims. He did not provide extraordinary evidence. Many studies have shown that peer review does not improve the quality of scientific papers. Scientists themselves know it doesn’t work. Yet the public still regards it as a sign of quality, and says, ‘This paper was peer-reviewed,’ or ‘this paper was not peer-reviewed,’ as if that meant something. It doesn’t.”
“Science is as corruptible a human activity as any other. Its practitioners aren’t saints, they’re human beings, and they do what human beings do—lie, cheat, steal…sue, hide date, fake data, overstate their own importance, and denigrate opposing views unfairly. That’s human nature. It isn’t going to change.”
Predictive analytics is used in economic, weather, business, intelligence, and other forecasting (including the sort I do). There’s nothing “junk science” about it. Empirical research, without the scientific journal stamp of approval is still science, whether the “science authorities” want to admit it or not.
More information about how I use predictive analytics in my work, how and businesses and federal/state gov. entities use predictive analytics here: http://scottpetullo.com/blog/2010/05/predictive-analytics-gut/
So there you go. Your data, and thus your interpretation, is not up to the Pepsi Challenge. Ergo, it is not scientifically sound. So it is merely your opinion.
Contrast: Real, hard-working scholars place their work before other har-dwoking scholars to tear apart.
That is how science works. Thousands of skeptics tearing each other apart, looking for weaknesses, finding strengths. It is the ultimate crowd-sourcing.
Despite your “pal review” remark, peer review is NOT American Idol. It is a shark tank that has even the most tenured researchers open to changing opinions to conform to reality. And when a scholar refuses to conform to reality – Einstein;s refusal to take sub-atomic quantum effects as observed in experiments – they ultimately damage their reputation.
Even researchers into the paranormal used peer review – until it became evident that Psi did not appear to exist. People could not project thoughts. Nor could they inject thoughts into minds. And data analysis of Astrologers’ and psychic predictions proved no better than chance. And thus, universities pulled their funding.
Instead sloppy, pseudoscientific works (ie posts uses scientific sounding words but can neither be proven nor disproven) are the real “pal review.” An author’s friends “plus” them, especially if they agree with their stance. And thus they bypass the scrutiny of the true skeptic.
I suggest you read The Amazing Randy. Or watch the TV show The Mentalist. Both paint Psi and its commercial aspects in the proper light.
This discussion isn’t about “psi” or psychics. It’s about astrology.
To be “scientifically sound” to conventional standards, it must involve the following:
1. Systematic observation and experimentation rather than mere theory.
2. Thorough data analysis, adequate enough to test the premise and substantiate the conclusions.
3. Methods and measurements that deliver valid, consistent figures across multiple checks and balances.
My work involves all of the above–the objective collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. It does not include peer-review, and I’ll explain why.
I’ve been doing this work professionally since 1997 and none of my clients have ever inquired about “peer review.”
The business owners, high net worth individuals, decision-makers in the three-letter security and fed/state law enforcement agencies, private investigators, security investigation industry pros, and others who consult experts such as myself don’t care about peer review. All they care about is results.
James Delingpole said, “Peer review is not a perfect system. In the golden era of Twentieth century science it wasn’t even thought necessary: neither Watson & Crick nor Einstein were peer reviewed. But in today’s abstruse, fragmented world where the various branches of science have grown increasingly recondite and specialized, peer-review has become widely accepted as the least worst method…What we see happening is the deterioration of ‘peer review’ into something more akin to ‘pal review.’”
Again, Michael Crichton, in “Next,” reveals the truth about peer-review:
“…Many studies have shown that peer review does not improve the quality of scientific papers. Scientists themselves know it doesn’t work. Yet the public still regards it as a sign of quality, and says, ‘This paper was peer-reviewed,’ or ‘this paper was not peer-reviewed,’ as if that meant something. It doesn’t.”
Your comment, “…data analysis of Astrologers’ and psychic predictions proved no better than chance. And thus, universities pulled their funding…” is exceedingly amusing, considering such “studies,” all of which are organized by skeptics with an agenda, involve “horoscopes” and other superficial forms of astrology. Provide links to such studies and I’ll tell you exactly why they are disingenuous. How do I know? I know because in my early years of this work I did the same sorts of studies and invalidated the same trivialized forms of astrology.
As I’ve already said, I don’t believe in the forms of “astrology” you’ve been exposed to either.
Universities didn’t “(pull) their funding.” No university has funded any such objective study involving ancient methodologies. Today’s scientific studies are directed/funded by those who have a financial or other interest in the outcome. The university is the proxy and the researchers are aware the desired outcome and the source of their paycheck–they know the game.
This is worth another mention–Michael Crichton, in “Next” on the folly of “scientific studies”: “Psychiatrist John Davis looked at the trials funded by pharmaceutical companies in competition for the most effective of five different antipsychotic drugs. He found that 90 percent of the time, the drug manufactured by the company sponsoring (paying for) the study was judged superior to the others. Whoever paid for the study had the best drug.”
Again, you speak of “psi” and psychics but that has nothing to do with the topic of this discussion–the validity of astrology.
It always amazes me when people draw conclusions based on the limits of their understanding, as in this case–denying the validity of astrology, not even having researched it, beyond trivialized, modern versions of the ancient science.
Copyright © 2014 Scott Petullo