Saturday, January 11, 2014

Skeptics and Other Hazards

If you make it known that you study or practice astrology, you will from time to time encounter people who don't believe in it. You will also encounter people who believe in it, but also believe it's the work of the Devil. Ironically, the second group is usually easier to deal with, as you can generally point to a quote in whatever holy book they happen to be using that will support astrology. That won't work with the first group as they have no holy book, and in fact, no central authority. However, they are every bit as dogmatic as the second group.

The first group refers to themselves as skeptics. You might expect that to mean that they are skeptical about things until shown evidence. If that were true, they would reserve judgement until studies were done. The history of astrology skeptics is quite different. They do studies based on their assumptions about what astrology is, then publish those as proof that astrology doesn't work.

Furthermore, members of this group have no problem with saying that astrology is not valid, even if they know nothing about astrology. So they are not really skeptics, they are deniers. And because they do not know what they are denying, you have no hope with them.

The skeptics typically define astrology as the belief that the position of the sun and the planets relative to the earth at the time a person was born determines his and personality. The good news is that this is not true. The bad news is that what astrology really is will be even less palatable to the skeptics.

Astrology is simply the study of cycles as marked by the cycles of planets from the perspective of us here on earth. Astrology relies of the concept of an interconnected universe. In such a universe, the cycles of planets mirror other cycles which control everything. Under this concept, the Planets don't control anything but are simply indicators. And the natal chart doesn't determine a person's life; the life a person decided to have determines when and where they will be born.

In any case, argue with them at your own risk.

The other reason to be wary of those groups is that astrology is still illegal under laws against fortune-telling in some locations, and members of these two groups will be most likely to file a complaint.

tl;dr: Don't argue with fundamentalists, whether materialist or religious.