I introduce part six (mercifully the final part) of the Astrology Challenge – my attempt to see if any astrologer can explain how the ancients worked out all those detailed rules astrologers use.
The astrologers’ replies to this question can be summarized as:
- Don’t know
- It’s complicated
- You go figure it out (here, read these books)
- Myth, legend, divination could be true
- Science doesn’t know everything
- Er… yeah that’s it.
At first, when I started all this, I wondered if I was being too hard on these people. After all, they replied in fairly friendly terms when they needn’t have replied at all (although only three out of seven replied with any thoughts – a fourth just gave book recommendations). But as I read back through their dopey replies, I think if anything I’ve been too generous with them. To say that something imagined could be true, and to equate the writings of myth and fiction with truth, is just absurd. If you think anything imagined could be true, you have no way to judge the truth or otherwise about anything, and no basis to reject any idea no matter how ridiculous. You are in complete freefall. You will never learn anything new with this approach.
And to suggest that we need a different “paradigm” from science is just nonsense cloaked in pseudo-intellectual language. Of course science doesn’t know everything, but that doesn’t mean there is a better method. And the idea that some things require a different approach from that of science is idiotic. Science just means we test our hypotheses against external reality. If something has an effect, this effect can be measured and compared with what was expected – ie it can be tested scientifically. If science cannot test something that just means that the thing has no measurable effect. And what is the difference between something with no measurable effect and something that doesn’t exist? - Nothing!
This week’s Guardian Unlimited life asks several scientists the question, what is the one thing everyone should learn about science? Antony Hoare (senior researcher at Microsoft Corporation), gave this answer:
I would teach the world that scientists start by trying very hard to disprove what they hope is true. When they fail, they have a good reason for believing what they hope is true, and can even convince others of its truth.
Do you think any of these astrologers ever tried to test their magic fairy tale pictures in the sky fortune telling system this way, to see if they could prove it wrong? Of course not; they’re too busy looking for “other paradigms” that will not challenge their silly beliefs, to gain any real knowledge. That’s why they’re pseudo-scientists, not scientists. And they basically admit it – are even proud of it! It’s disheartening to realize that certain people are beyond reasoned discussion. Disheartening, but instructive. The astrologers essentially admitted astrology really is just made up, and furthermore this OK by them. And these people are allowed to vote and drive on the public roads. Their arguments are an insult to the intelligence.
Anyway, there you have it: made up crap that doesn’t make sense and doesn’t work. Astrology is ludicrous crap, every part of it from top to bottom, inside out, every way you care to look at it. There can really be no doubt any more.