Why do so many of us believe in astrology although we know it has no legit scientific backing?
Why do so many of us believe in astrology although we know it has no legit scientific backing? A question I answered on Quora.
Well, I’m going to have a bit of a rant in response to this question. This question, or similar, will no doubt come up again… but there you go. It’s the nature of the beast we are dealing with.
Comment on the question and astrology
First off you need to define the “astrology” you suggest that “so many of us believe in.” There is an assumption we all know what astrology is. If it’s the stuff that can be found in the media – I suspect it is that you are thinking of – well that’s just Sun-signs and a poor version of proper astrology.
It doesn’t require much effort to get involved and accept it or reject it on the part of the public (all you need is your date of birth to get involved). And any fool or armchair critic can get away with criticising this version of astrology under the pretence that it is the proper stuff they are referring to.
Although, in my opinion, the astrology of newspapers and magazines has done a great disservice to proper astrology, I’d suggest it does have some value for people even on this generalised level. People can relate to their “star sign” (Sun-sign) and that is why they believe in it. And if it encourages them to look deeper into astrology that is all to the good in my opinion.
But in truth, I doubt that many of us do look any deeper or even know what proper astrology is.
How many of us, for instance, can say what signs the Moon, Mercury or Venus were in when we were born (and that is just a few of the planets). Even simpler, how many of us can say what house our Sun is in, or what our rising sign is.
Until we know such details, we don’t know much worth knowing about astrology, certainly not enough to say truly whether we believe in it or not. We’re just playing around the edges.
Comment on “legit scientific backing”
My view is that science, or more appropriately scientism, will never back or endorse astrology – probably for a long time to come. It is not in its remit. It doesn’t matter how much research or evidence is provided in support of astrology, it will find ways to ignore or quash that evidence, and push it back to the fringes.
It’s a different paradigm
Look under the covers and I’ll wager you’ll find scientism peddles a belief, nay religion, that is materialistic and mechanistic in nature. It lives in a different worldview to the holistic/spiritual worldview of astrology.
Scientism keeps anything holistic or spiritual at arm’s length and enjoys labelling it fringe or pseudoscience – or worse. And they will lump in there with it, “things that go bump in the night,” ESP, NDE, UFOs, anything that challenges the all-encompassing nothing is real that can’t be explained by (or fails to meet) the scientific method, within this prevailing materialistic construct. It’s all “fairies at the bottom of the garden” and to be denied.
Astrologers are better continuing research for the sake of astrology, than for endorsement by science. If the latter comes about – great. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.
People who don’t know any better continue to say there is no evidence for astrology, and yet there are studies that provide evidence for astrology.
One of the biggest studies ever made (in any research area) was carried by Michel and Francoise Gauquelin (The Mars Effect – see Notes). And we know (or should know) how poorly their work was/has been treated.
It clearly upset the apple cart, was identified as paranormal research (speaks buckets), with every effort made of reruns in Belgium, France and the US, to reject it and push it back to where it was deemed to belong. No one researching into astrology should expect any better treatment looking to science for endorsement – certainly not at this time.
Rant over… my wife is calling me for tea and biscuits.
A lot is written about The Mars Effect. The Astrology Podcast site provides a useful exploration of it.
Want to know more about proper astrology? Take a look at my series, Discover Proper Astrology on Kindle. They cost less than a cup of coffee each. Or buy PDF copies here.