Is Astrology Just Pseudo-Science and Therefore Astro-Babble?
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Is Astrology Just Pseudo-Science and Therefore Astro-Babble?

One may legitimately ask: “How does astrology work?” The simple fact is that we do not know. But if we don't know, then does that prove that astrology is not scientific? Science is based on theories, right? Wrong. Science is based on observation. More specifically, science is based on the scientific method. Theories are important in science because theories help the scientist make predictions of how things will behave in a new context.

One may legitimately ask: “How does astrology work?” The simple fact is that we do not know. But if we don't know, then does that prove that astrology is not scientific? Science is based on theories, right?

Wrong. Science is based on observation. More specifically, science is based on the scientific method. Theories are important in science because theories help the scientist make predictions of how things will behave in a new context.

But one can make clear observations without any theory at all. For example, I can predict that any heavy object dropped from a table will fall to the ground. The fact that heavy objects do fall to the ground was true before Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity. The laws of gravity, however, expand our understanding of how it works.

It may be said that astrology doesn't make any common sense at all. There is no explanation for why planets should affect humans at all. So how can astrology be a science? Many theories in physics don't make common sense either. Albert Einstein and other 20th Century physicists have proposed all kinds of absurd and seemingly ridiculous ideas, such as the notion that space is curved, and that looking at something alters it position. Now these ideas sound like the ideas of science fiction, but they are seriously taken by physicists.

But what data do you have in astrology? Many people have conducted very impressive research studies. Here are the names of just some of them: John Nelson, Mark Urban-Lurraine and Ann Parker, and more recently by David Cochrane. However, in order for these studies to be considered scientifically valid, they need to be reviewed by experts and published in a scientific journal.

This level of research requires time and money. So, astrology is currently caught in a chicken-and-egg situation – the research requires time and money, and the interest of a prestigious scientific journal, but because astrology is still foreign to our colleges and universities, and they are unwilling to invest resources required to validate the studies.

Astrology has not been disproved. It is unfortunate that the silly “Sun-sign” columns have gained any form of prominence, because they are totally absurd in their content and application. The image of astrology that much of popular astrology conveys to people is more often than not, totally ridiculous. Until articles are published in respected journals that validate or invalidate astrological principles, the teasing question of astrology's status can only continue to be undetermined. However, I think that that anyone who reads the work of serious researchers will be impressed and feel that eventually thorough research will be done to demonstrate the validity of astrology.

So what is astrology? In the latter half of the 20th Century, astrologers discovered complex interactions among the planets, which have developed new schools of astrology. These new approaches are extremely cumbersome without the calculating power of modern computers – even older analytical procedures used in astrology require a great degree of computation. In short, the rules for astrological analysis are very complex.

We would not presume to claim that we have grasped the principles of music by listening to a theme tune from a television soapie. Likewise, astrology will not yield it's insights to those who simply read newspaper Sin sign columns. Astrology's roots lie in an ancient world view which perceived the universe as a single living organism, animated by divine order and intelligence.

The thorny issue of determinism and choice has occupied philosophical and religious thinkers for centuries, and astrology is at the core of this debate.

Images by courtesy of: Stock.xchng

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