Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Questions for astrologers

Just in case you thought this was going to turn solely into a rabid anti-religion blog I'm going to throw in some questions about astrology that I have never really seen satisfactorily answered by the astrologers or astrology believers that I have come into contact with, in the hope that some might stop by.

  1. Define what you believe astrology to be and what uses you think it has.
  2. Whether you believe that celestial bodies directly influence and affect events or personalities, or whether you believe that they merely correspond to the occurrence of events, what mechanism connects life on Earth with these celestial bodies to the extent you believe?
  3. Which event is more important astrologically - a person's birth or a person's conception? Why?
  4. At what point are you considered 'born' in your system of astrology? Why?
  5. Does your system of astrology take into account precession? Why or why not?
  6. Do you use tropical or sidereal forms of astrology? Why?
  7. Was your system affected by the change from Julian to Gregorian calendar? Why or why not?
  8. If you believe in horoscopes, do you believe that the only worthwhile horoscopes are prepared for individuals or do you believe generic ones (such as the daily overviews given in newspapers, magazines and on astrology.com) serve a useful purpose? Why or why not?
  9. Does astrology only work on the Earth, or would it work for an alien life form standing on another planet across the galaxy? Would it be exactly the same?
  10. How have you discounted cognitive bias from your conclusion that astrology works?
  11. What would it take to persuade you that astrology does not work as claimed?
  12. The astrology challenge: If I provide you with the time and place of my birth, could you write an astrological prediction for me for the year 2006 as if you were writing it on January 1st of that year? If not, why not?

This last one is very important. As yet I have issued this challenge to some half a dozen astrologers (mostly over at Skeptico's blog) who were absolutely convinced of the power of astrology. The only one who accepted was one who practised astrology as a hobby, and the results were pretty poor. The others all, without fail, simply never responded again. Funny how these people often don't have courage in their convictions when faced with a challenge that might actually result in failure.

Astrology is bunk. Horoscopes are bunk. I submit that many professional astrologers know this and are simply liars, cheats and frauds. The rest are simply deluded.

If you're an astrologer, why don't you prove us skeptics wrong? Answer the questions, take the challenge.


  1. You could also ask them how all the detailed rules of astrology were worked out. Good luck with that though - I asked that four years ago with no answer yet other than, er, we made it all up.

  2. Aren't 3 and 4 virtually the same?

    I like #7.

  3. do you really need the annoying captcha thingy?

  4. Techskeptic:

    I don't think 3 and 4 are the same - 3 is getting at the arbitrary decision to use birth time as the important part for astrology - but conception is arguably a far more important event in your life so why not that? (I know why they don't use that - but do astrologers?)

    4 is getting at the fact that there is no definition within astrology as to what constitutes birth - when you are wholly out of the womb or when the umbilical is cut for instance? More importantly (I think) is it simply the time that it says on your birth certificate, which may not be the exact time you were born (say you were born before midnight on the last day of one star sign, but your birth certificate says after midnight on the first day of the new star sign)?

    And what is the annoying captcha thingy?

  5. the word verification. You really only need it if you start getting spammed. My blog has never had it. Idont get much spam. Then again I recently switched to IntenseDebate comments, but that was a move to allow me to diable trolls.

    As for conception, seems to me that would be inaccurate since presumably the exact hour matters (right?), conception could be weeks off of a guess.

  6. Fixed that, didn't realise I had turned it on!

    And conception is far too inaccurate because you can never get an exact time, which is why astrologers arbitrarily decided birth time is the key time - I want to know why astrology thinks conception is not as important as birth though.