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David Hines [userpic]

The astrology question

August 21st, 2007 (06:17 pm)

This, which I was hipped to by vange, got me curious: how many of y'all are into astrology?

I've been surprised at how many people who are into it I keep running into. I once briefly dated a girl who sat me down and did my astrological chart. It seemed odd to me at the time, as my only exposure to the stuff had been in the column next to the funny pages and James Randi's snide comments on the subject. In recent years, I've run into more and more people who take it seriously. I had honestly thought it was a relic, that it stayed in the newspapers because of inertia -- but no! There are people who dig it a lot. In graduate school, I found this particularly surprising. Has anyone else in the social sciences found remarkable numbers of people who really find astrology fascinating and, especially after a few beers, will talk about it for hours? Once a department party gets going, I can usually count on finding at least one astrology conversation somewhere in the house. And it's not always the same people!

I don't want to be rude to anybody -- I try to keep my LJ non-argumentative -- but I did want to ask about it, because sometimes it strikes me as very odd. It's not uncommon for me to encounter people at a party who will, say, rail against global warming skeptics, and creationists, and people opposed to stem cell research, and people uncomfortable with homosexuality because of some Biblical superstition, and who'll then turn around and start sorting the gathering by birthdays.

So: are you into astrology? If so, how into it are you, and how does it fit in to your general world view?


Posted by: cmar_wingnut (cmar_wingnut)
Posted at: August 21st, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)

I think it's amusing and interesting but don't take it seriously.

Incidentally, in The Sims 2 each sim has an astrological sign based on its personality and they're used to calculate compatibility with other sims.

Posted by: mendori (mendori)
Posted at: August 21st, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)

I find it as interesting as I do any other form of divination practices. That is to say, as something which has played a vital role in the development of western and eastern sciences in such a way that we should never dismiss them entirely out of hand as being laughable pseudoscience.
We have the astrologers of China to thank for the longest continuous astronomical observation record in history as a result of their desire to predict the birth of Imperial heirs. Newton and earlier used astrology as a means by which to pay their bills while conducting observations - even Kepler.
Honestly, most "pseudoscience" bloomed into modern science and understanding, and as such we owe a great deal to them. Why will you never see a complete collected works of Newton? Because he wrote Alchemy texts right along side the Principia. And we should never forget that. Now, do I think that the motions of planets have some sort of effect on the daily lives of humans? No. But do I think we can learn much about the world around us from the motions of the heavens above? Sure thing. If nothing else, we learn about the nature and strangeness of statistical correlations.

Posted by: Betty (brown_betty)
Posted at: August 22nd, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)

Astrology fits into my worldview next to phrenology.

Posted by: Maire (mkcs)
Posted at: August 23rd, 2007 09:02 am (UTC)

Good question.

I'm a materialist. I don't like, or believe in, Western astrology. I do, however, occasionally set out tarot readings for myself, pray, and read stuff about Chinese astrology.


The tarot readings are the easiest to explain: I use them to figure out what I think. It's like when you flip a coin to make a decision, then do what you would have done anyway, regardless of the coin's result.

The praying is a childhood behaviour that I fall into under stress, I think. I'm embarrassed by it, just as I'm embarrassed by the religious nature of most of my expletives.

The Chinese astrology? Again, I'm embarrassed. It's just that the year of the Tiger (my birth year) has cool stuff associated in the descriptions. They're flattering, so it must be worth spending time on, surely? Foolish me. *sigh*

Posted by: Basingstoke (basingstoke)
Posted at: August 24th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)

Astrology is horseshit. This is not an opinion, this is a fact. To make it work, you have to make up new rules for the universe, and I'm not buying that without a lot more proof than "because I said so."

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