Debunking the psuedoscience of Astrology


By Emily Lu
Staff Writer

A plea... For those of you who believe in astrology, please carefully consider what I say. For those of you who donít, think harder about what you can do to help rid ourselves of the psuedoscience.

I mean no ill will to the believersĖsome of my favorite people are genuine astrology buffs. If it makes you happy, and helps you understand life a little better, go for it. The people that upset me are those that may blindly believe in the truth of astrology without really considering where it comes from.

Astrology is not to be confused with astronomy. Yes, astrology is the predecessor to the modern day astronomy that is the scientific study of the Universe, but it is certainly not the same anymore.

Astrology is the study of the aspects of heavenly bodies with the belief that they hold influence over human affairs. The early astronomers did not know much about what was going on in the sky, other than what they were able to observe. At that point, astrology and astronomy worked hand in hand; some of the our most famous scientists held second jobs as astrological forecasters.

At this point in history, though, we need to seriously separate the two. With the scientific knowledge that we have gained in recent history, there is little reason to place much trust in the notion that the Sun, Moon, or planets will affect your day to day life. Five thoughts:

1) Distances. As anyone who has taken introductory physics should know, the force of gravity goes with the inverse square of the distance... ie., the further a body is from you, the less it will affect you. Remember how far away Earth is from the Sun, Moon, and planets (hint: MILLIONS of miles). Though the person who delivered you at birth may be much less massive than any celestial body, they are much closer and would certainly affect you more than the positions of the planets.

2) Other influences. For argumentís sake, letís say that there is some unknown force that far-away celestial bodies do exert. The laws of physics have yet to be completely understood, so Iíll concede that it may be possible that there is something that works independently of distance and might influence the lives of people. But if that force is not distance dependent, why arenít stars, galaxies, quasars, or black holes included in astrological forecasts?

3) Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The three outermost planets were only discovered within the past three centuries. How does that work with the claim that astrologers make about the accuracy of their art for previous times?

4) Precession of the Earth. Due to the slight wobbling of the Earthís axis, the current position of objects in the zodiac circle are no longer consistent with the tenets of astrology set up thousands of years ago. Your "sun sign" is actually currently shifted over by one (i.e., a Leo is really a Cancer).

5) Build me a house of ham. If youíve thought about the human reproductive process, you know that a baby spends about 9 months gestating in the motherís womb before it is born. Why, then, does your birth time matter? Shouldnít it really be the time of conception that would affect who the baby is to become? Or is it that the muscular lining of the mother protects the fetus from all external forces? In that case, shouldnít a ham enclosure do the trick?

Think about it. If I havenít managed to debunk astrology, I hope Iíve at least made you more aware of it. The skies are mysterious, but they need not rule your life.