Atheism Skepticism and Astrology. How the Stars and Planets affect / influence / foretell our future / life. Why astrology is harmful even if its not bullshit.

1. In what way does a planet influence a persons life? What force does it use to influence? Gravitational? Electromagnetic? If it is any known force like gravitational then the mother of the infant exerts 34 times more influence than the planet mars.

My Answer:

Now let a train start from point A, after one hour the train reaches a town in the mountains, the clockman notes this down. After another half an hour the train reaches the sea, the clockman again notes this down. Likewise he notes down the scenery at all the major points on the rails. It goes through snow covered towns, deserts, tunnels etc etc.

Now someone climbs some train at point A. The clockman tells hims that in one hour he will be on top of a mountain. One hour later voila the man finds himself on the top of a mountain. He is amazed. The clock man now tells him in another half hour he will see the sea. Again it happens as foretold. Pretty soon every one is amazed at these predictions. As time passes on people come to associate the clock with the change of scenery. They start thinking that the (capital C) Clock is influencing the change of scenery.

Now along comes a skeptic. People tell him that the position of the clock can correctly influence the scenery of the future. The skeptic is skeptical naturally, he asks "How the deuce can a clock at such a great distance change the scenery?". He measures the gravitational pull of the clock and shows that it is trivial and can't influence anything. He asks the people to explain why they still believe. They shrug, they believe because they have seen the clock accurately influencing the scenery. The skeptic asks the clockman to explain. The clockman is unable to explain because he is not the original clockman who made the notes associating the scenery to the position of the clock. He is his great great descendant and he doesn't know the connection between the clock and the scenery. All that he has is his inherited notes which don't explain HOW those notes were arrived at.

Do you see the analogy? The planets are like the clock. They move with clockwork precision. The time you were born determines at which point you get on the journey of life. And the planets mark the change of scenery that you will see throughout your life. To think that the planets influence your life is like those people on the train thinking that the clocks influence the change of scenery. The planets are merely the clocks. The scenery will change with precision even if the clock is destroyed. The scenery of your life likewise will change precisely even in the absence of the planets.

Life cycle is cyclical. That is it repeats. We are born, grow up, get education, get employment, get married, have children, grow old and die and the process repeats with our children. Anything that repeats may form a pattern of repetition. Hindu Astrology believes that life patterns repeat in a 120 year cycle. The date+time of your birth determines at which point you enter the cycle of life and this in turn determines the pattern of your life. The position of the planets are used to mark the different stages of that pattern.

2. What if new planets are discovered? Will it invalidate the previously cast horoscopes?

See the train analogy above. New planets merely refine the description of the scenery it does not change the position of the clock of your life. It does not change the past positions of existing planets. Does it matter if the trains are clocked by one clock or a hundred? Does it matter if life patterns are clocked with one planet or a hundred?

To us time measurement devices are ubiquitous. We have watches, wall clocks, cell phones, timers, computers etc etc. Name any device and it will have a clock in it. To the ancients this was not so. To them the heavenly bodies were the ONLY means for telling the time. We forget this important point when evaluating their data. They HAD to use the planets to clock life patterns. They couldn't do otherwise. Since we NOW have even atomic clocks we can dispense with the use of the planets and use clocks directly in astrology. So we can now rename Astrology as Clockology or something like that.

3. Astrology is not falsifiable, therefore it is not science.

No probabilistic theory is 100% falsifiable or 100% verifiable. No matter how much we improve weather prediction or earthquake prediction or astrological prediction there will always be room for error. There will always be a chance no matter how small that a given weather/other prediction will turn out to be inaccurate or even wrong.

4. Astrology is not parsimonious, therefore it is not science.

Hindu astrology depends only on the time and place (for timezone correction) of your birth and nothing else, the planets and stars are merely the clocks used to predict the scenery. They do not influence anything.

Puppets of destiny

Anectodes can't be taken as evidence, but they can motivate us to look for theories. My dad died on 20080727 due to liver problems. A few months later I happened to glance at his Hindu horoscope which was predicted in 1995 and it said father will expire on 20080712. When my mother died in 1998 I was not much of a believer in astrology, so I didn't save her horoscope. But I remember showing it to my friends and relatives that the horoscope turned out to be pretty accurate in predicting the date of her death. When the same thing happened last year with dad, I was astounded by the accuracy of that prediction, and I started to think that maybe there was something to this horoscope thingie. I started questioning how the horoscope could so accurately predict something that will happen 13 years into the future. This page is the result of my reading up on astrology and what other atheists say about it and thinking about how the planets could possibly predict the future. If horoscopes are true then we are merely the puppets of destiny and we can influence our future only with great difficulty.

Why astrology is harmful even if its not bullshit.

Here are some of the reasons that I think astrology is harmful even if its not total bullshit.

  1. People just stop trying. If the future is predicted to be rosy, they stop trying because they think the future will be rosy anyway. If the future is predicted to be gloomy, they stop trying because whats the use of trying. Either way they stop trying. Only when people are unaware of the future, will they make their best efforts at life.
  2. Short term astrological readings are invariably wrong. This is because the astrologer is under great pressure to sugar coat things so that people will hear what they want to hear. So he will say things like you will have a few months of difficulty and then everything will be fine. If you want short term readings, get a computer software that is not forced to lie to you.
  3. Astrology might be true but many astrologers are charlatans. They are out to make a quick buck out of people's gullibility.
  4. If you can predict the future, you can't change it or can only change it with great difficulty. So whats the use of predicting the future? If you can change the future with ease then by corollary it becomes unpredictable.
  5. Astrology is surrounded by the most outrageous mumbo jumbos. You wear this talisman you will avoid this trouble etc and people will do the most untested, unproven and idiotic things to try to influence the stars and planets to do their bidding. Instead of the planets influencing the people, the people try to influence the planets by all sorts of ridiculous rituals.

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