What is your attitude to astrology?

I have always been a great fan of astronomy though I didn’t ever have any thoughts about astrology when it’s turned out that it is the foundation of today’s astronomy. For proper understanding of my question recommend you to watch this video

So what do you think of it?


The value of astrology in the development of modern astronomy cannot be understated. This becomes even more obvious when comparing astrology as it was practiced back when astronomy wasn’t yet a thing, and astronomy today: Both deal with observation of the cosmos in search for truth about existence.

Astrology asit is practiced today… well, let’s just say that any actually serious astrologer that still deals with observation will become an astronomer before long. And everybody dealing with astrology without conducting observation… well, they’re not really doing actual astrology, are they? They’re just comparing tables to come up with a bunch of mystical interpretations. They’ve got left behind by the truth and are engaging in make-believe instead.
This is the main reason why I see astrology back when and astrology today as two completely separate things. One was an earnest endevour for truth that can basically be described as science, though the motivation might have been mystical and the interpretations haphazard due to lack of proper tools, while the modern version is just superstition that exists without the hard work put into it, and just using the flawed tools of interpretation they left behind. It’s very much to astronomy what alchemy is to chemistry.


My opinion is: in the past, there was no real distinction between astrologer/astronomer, whatever they were called, they watched the stars (and planets and the moon) and wrote down patterns that they observed, and used what their predecessors had written down before them, and figured out systems that are essential for time and space measurement and navigation.
And, if you can predict the arrival of an eclipse or a ship or the seasons, they figured, surely you can predict the fate of men, right? Nobody could prove them wrong, right?

And when telescopes where invented (optical physics), “half” of them continued on towards physics and Voyager and Hubble, and the other „half“ ignored modern inventions and reality (e.g. your astrological sign is not the constellation in which the sun stood at the day of your birth, it’s one off). :woman_shrugging: In short, I understand why someone would care about astronomy, somebody please explain the astrology part to me.


I understand your feelings. But then, you’re a Pisces, born with the Moon in Virgo, and with Saturn ascendant. It’s inevitable that you would feel the way you do.



I find this an interesting topic. Kevin, you haven’t told us your thoughts yet?

I mean, it’s good that humans want to understand their own character and choices, and many esoteric “divinations” can be seen as brainstorming exercises. E.g. write words on cards, ask a question, draw random cards, and try to think in new ways about your problem, using the cards as prompts, and repeat that to gain insights about your own motives that you were in denial of (tarot). Not a bad idea. Though I wouldn’t use that method to tell another person at the fair whom to marry, that’s not what it’s there for.

I‘m aware that this information about the zodiac is not new, and laypeople reading horoscopes in the newspaper don’t insist that “some magic sunlight shining down“ is how it works. And we all can see that constellations don’t have borders, and other cultures see different constellations in the same stars.

The Babylonians etc. assumed that the universe was made by the gods, symmetrical and perfect (and calculateable), and it was the humans’ task to recognise the holy symmetry. (Modern physicists similarly assume that it’s the humans’ task to recognise the laws of physics.) Even past stargazers saw in their records that the 12X30 year was ~5.25 days too short, and instead of assuming calendars needed a few “31sts” and a leap day, they assumed their measurements had been imperfect. It can’t be the god-made universe that’s imperfect, right? :wink:

Why does the number 12 (and 60) pop up in time measuring in all cultures, why not base ten, if we all have 10 fingers on two hands? We also have 12 phalanges on one hand, and using the thumb as pointer, any human culture can come up with with an even better base 12 measuring system. 12 is divisible by 2,3,4 (a half, third, quarter of 12 are easy to understand), whereas ten is divisible by two and five only, and talking about obvious segments like thirds and quarters suddenly requires ugly fractions.

And did you ever wonder why the leap day is in February? And why September to December etc. are the 9th-12th months, but they are named after the Latin words for the 7th-10th? The Roman year started on March 1, that way, the month names make sense. And in the end of the year (February!) used to be some sort of ill-defined leap month because the symmetry didn’t work out.

And people of the past said, obviously, something like patterns in the sky (zodiac) must have been made perfect by the gods and be evenly divisible by 2,3,4, not by 13, right? And astrologers assumed, if our observations contradict that, that’s just human imperfection—so observation can be ignored. And astronomers were curious about the observations and ignored the divination part instead.


For the record, I think astrology is bunk. No, that’s unfair - it’s absolute bunk. Utter drivel.

I can understand people pretending they believe in it, to appear fashionably chic. But anyone who actually thinks there’s any truth in it is weak in the head. They should not be allowed to vote, and probably shouldn’t be allowed to cross the road on their own.


Perhaps Al says it best…?


I agree. However, like the article I posted above, a person’s interest in it can lead to interest in real science. Over time, perhaps they will come to realize astrology is not based on accurate science.
We all have an inborn need to believe in something higher than ourselves. Astrology and horoscopes seem to offer that for some people. Unfortunately, for the die-hard believers, their lives can become so dependent upon ‘what the stars say’, they become as addicted as an alcoholic or drug addict. And it can happen to people you would not suspect. Nancy Reagan was one such person.
From wikipedia
Reagan acknowledged in her memoirs that she altered the President’s schedule without his knowledge based on astrological advice, but argues that “no political decision was ever based [on astrology]”.She added, “Astrology was simply one of the ways I coped with the fear I felt after my husband almost died … Was astrology one of the reasons [further attempts did not occur]? I don’t really believe it was, but I don’t really believe it wasn’t.”


As for me, I think that astrology generated some heat for those people who had a desire to know more, expand their boundaries. That’s why we have astronomy now.
Unfortunately, now it has become rather a tool to manipulate people than give them knowledge, but astronomy actually does give people such required knowledge.
To conclude, I think that astrology used to be a good basement for nowadays astronomy, and I want to believe that there are still people who treat astrology like science but not as an instrument to annoy people.


I love Astronomy, i got an okay 5" reflector telescope on a German Equitorial Mount. I was showing Saturn’s rings to my kids this past summer. It works well enough, but the focusing unit is sloppy and hard to focus.

As for astrology, its cute, but I draw the line when people start telling me how Venus is entering Uranus. I’m not interested in that part. :wink:


Astrology is about as far from science as the stars are from us. I totally agree with Polyphemus - anyone who believes even a grain of the predictions of astrology is only rowing with one oar. Hard to believe these people are allowed to have children.


But a study announced in December from a team of researchers in the journal Icarus now claims the IAU’s definition was based on astrology — a type of folklore, not science — and that it’s harming both scientific research and the popular understanding of the solar system.

This should please @stryker99 :wink:

Oh god, not that again. As much as I respect Tombough, the current definition is elegant and clear.


What an odd topic to argue about. Pluto was the first and only planet (at its time) discovered by an American. And Americans are the only ones who are referring to the introduction of a dwarf planet category as a “demotion”. :thinking: Other countries went straight to “Guess we need to teach a new mnemonic in school.” Did some Americans take this change as a personal offence or political slight?

Why do we have categories such as “planet” at all? Humans make up categories to be able to quickly refer to groups of properties that are relevant to us — dangers, food, can these two animals breed, locations that require different means of transport to reach, etc. There are many more categories that undeniably exist, but we haven’t named them, simply because we don’t talk about them.

So some scientists study physical properties that are relevant to how we send probes and robots through our solar system remotely. And instead of listing large objects’ names every time, we say “planets”. If we keep having to say “this navigational strategy works to swing-by any planet except Pluto, Ceres, …”, “This formula works for all planets except Pluto, Ceres, …”, then this human-made category doesn’t serve its purpose to let humans convey information in a compact fashion.

We can’t change physics so we change the category. :woman_shrugging: The universe doesn’t care about our stupid categories. Pluto doesn’t care. It’s just us. :grin:


Americans want to argue about everything. :unamused:
Personally, it does not bother me at all. :wink:

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We even have categories for different types of murder.

We have infanticide, genocide, patricide, nepoticide, homicide, pesticide, rodenticide, spermicide and lots more.

With one exception - there is no word for killing nieces. Apparently nobody has ever killed their niece or needed to make up a word for it. All nieces in the history of the world are just too nice.

How strange is that?


Categorizing is a way to put everyone on the same page. It is essential for common understanding and development in science, otherwise we’d get stuck in mappings, translations and misunderstandings.
Still we know very little about outer space (the common things are even fuzzy for categories), but lets add new recent discoveries (as ‘arm brake in Milky Way Galaxy - we do not know exactly how galaxies are formed and the categories are shallow).
And I like this good reminder example: Weird Universe: 10 of the Strangest Objects Ever Discovered, rogue planets and so on.

Developing more technologically sophisticated tools, gathering and categorizing new information is what we still do.