Friday, September 29, 2006

My horoscope

Jupiter’s passed through Orion and coming to conjunction with Mars;
Saturn is wheeling through infinite space to its pre-ordained place in the stars;
And I gaze at the planets in wonder, at the trouble and time they expend
All to warn me to be careful in dealings involving a friend.

Donald Swann

Yet another song from At the drop of another hat, but it points my general disdain for astrology. I removed my date of birth from my Blogger profile because it used this information to display my “star sign”, which is all complete rubbish. How anyone can take horoscopes seriously is beyond me, almost on a par with those adherents to the Flat Earth theory I posted about last week.

Private Eye, in an issue a couple of weeks ago. mocked Jonathan Cainer’s “predictions” regarding the re-classification of Pluto, but the fact that he was so spectacularly wrong misses the point, really. As Swann points out, it is inconceivable that the apparent motions of the Sun, Moon and planets of the Solar System through purely nominal constellations, thousands and millions of parsecs away, can affect our life on Earth to such a degree as astrologers claim. Astrology is a pseudo-science, with nothing at all scientific about it. You only have to listen to astrologers speaking, or read their columns (and most newspapers* have their “Stars” columns) to realise how much of what they write is generalities that could be broadly applicable to almost anyone.

It always amazes me that otherwise normal people read horoscopes and believe them: though why those who claim not to believe still read such columns “just for fun” is also beyond me. You might as well read predictions based on the pattern your tea-leaves make in your cup (though this can be avoided by using a good tea-strainer and high quality tea), or by interpreting the entrails of a sacrificed chicken (and you could eat the chicken afterwards). All these so-called astrologers, or anybody who claims to be able to predict future events from anything, are like stage magicians, fooling the public by sleight of hand and misdirection.

* The Sunday Telegraph used to have (and hopefully still does have) a weekly spoof astrology column written by “Psychic Psmith”. It was very funny, and poked fun at the stupid things that generally get written by “serious” astrologers.


At Sat Sep 30, 01:16:00 am, Blogger First Nations said...

does this go for divination by sheep liver and the flights of birds as well?
worried haruspice
ditto melted lead in a cup of water?

At Mon Oct 02, 01:06:00 pm, Blogger Tamburlaine said...

Sheep's liver divination, eh? Not familiar with that one. But don't worry, I'm sure there are plenty of gullible people in the world so that any haruspice can sleep easily, I'm sure (unless they swallow the lead by accident!).


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