Talk:Astrology

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Cjcooper (talk) 05:02, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

Good articleAstrology has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
DateProcessResult
July 11, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
December 13, 2006Featured article candidateNot promoted
January 2, 2014Good article nomineeListed
Current status: Good article
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Welcome to Wikipedia's Astrology article. This represents the work of many contributors and much negotiation to find consensus for an accurate and complete representation of the topic. Newcomers to Wikipedia and this article may find that it's easy to commit a faux pas. That's OK — everybody does it! You'll find a list of a few common ones you might try to avoid here. The sections of the WP:NPOV that apply directly to this article are:

These policies have guided the shape and content of the article, and new arrivals are strongly encouraged to become familiar with them prior to raising objections on this page or adding content to the article. Other important policies guiding the article's content are 'No Original Research' (WP:NOR) and 'Cite Your Sources' (WP:CITE).

Since the nature of this topic has been deemed controversial, all contributors are asked to please respect Wikipedia's policy No Personal Attacks (WP:NPA) and to abide by consensus (WP:CON). When updating the article, be bold, but not reckless. Feel free to try to improve the article, but don't take it personally if your changes are reversed; instead, come here to the talk page to discuss them. Also remember this "Discussion" page is only for discussion on how to improve the Wikipedia article; it is not to be used as a soapbox, or for comments that are not directly relevant to the content of article.

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

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Heliocentric astrology[edit]

reditrects here but there's no discussion of it. Either a mention should be included or the redirect should be deleted. Serendipodous 13:01, 5 May 2020 (UTC)

First Sentence[edit]

The first sentence of this article as of June 24 2020 says "Astrology is a pseudoscience...". There are four citations at the end of this sentence claiming to support that statement. I followed the links to the page's citations [1][2][3][4] etc and found that whoever wrote this first sentence is actually using trickery to summarize the definition. Reference [1] is from the UK Dictionary https://www.lexico.com/definition/astrology and says

"The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world." This definition defines astrology as a study.

Reference [2] is from the Merriam Webster dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astrology and says:

"the divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects" This definition defines astrology as divination.

Reference[3] is from The Blackwell Dictionary says: "...mainly known as a divinatory art." This definition defines astrology as an art.

It is only reference [4] "Why Astrology is a Pseudoscience" by Paul R. Thagard https://philpapers.org/rec/THAWAI

which mentions the word "pseudoscience", and that is someone's opinion, with no independent review of whether this opinion is valid.

Therefore, Wikipedia has no right to define astrology as a pseudoscience, since there is no evidence given that it was correctly termed a science, in the modern sense, in the first place. It seems that the writer of the current sentence is simply using the derogatory term "pseudoscience" as an ad hominem slight and vengeance to get a personal opinion across, both of which are against Wikipedia's policies, and should therefore be deleted, and replaced with an alternative linguistic definition of astrology. Alternatives might include:

                        metaphysical study
                        spiritual study
                        belief system
                        theory
                        symbolic language
                        art

Cjcooper (talk) 18:30, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Hello @Cjcooper:, you should read the rest of the article as well. There are multiple other citations that support the pseudoscience statement. For example, ref 14 (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) states that "There is widespread agreement for instance that creationism, astrology, homeopathy, Kirlian photography, dowsing, ufology, ancient astronaut theory, Holocaust denialism, Velikovskian catastrophism, and climate change denialism are pseudosciences." Keep in mind that astrology is literally the text book example of what a pseudoscience is. This is in no way "someone's opinion, with no independent review of whether this opinion is valid". Current version of the article is perfectly correct.--McSly (talk) 18:47, 24 June 2020 (UTC)

Hello @McSly, The statement "There is widespread agreement..." is not evidence of something being correct. For example, and encyclopedia of cooking could say "there is widespread agreement that British cooking is pseudo-cooking". Would Wikipedia then be bound to start off a page about British cooking with the words "British cooking is pseudo-cooking". I hope not. And in order for something to be termed a pseudo-science, it would have had to have been claimed to be a science in the first place. But there is no evidence in the article, or the citations, that astrologers ever claimed that astrology was a science, as we understand science today (standing up to repeated experimental testing, making accurate predictions etc). It looks to me as if the first sentence is a deliberate jab at astrologers by someone who thinks that astrologers are not bright enough to know what modern science is. Ther truth is that modern astrologers are quite happy with astrology being termed a belief system, art, metaphysical study, ancient philosophy, divinatory study etc, with the only link to science being the astronomy on which it is indirectly based. Music, ballet and painting all depend on scientific principles but are of themselves arts, not sciences. Similarly, the art of astrological interpretation indirectly depends on the observable science of planetary cycles in a metaphysical way, incorporating spirituality and psychology. By continuing to term astrology a pseudoscience, Wikipedia is only giving the impression to readers of one-upmanship and vengeance, as the term is derogatory. It does not make Wikipedia editors appear to be "on the level", neutral or acting fairly, in my opinion, and I have a science background.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Cjcooper (talkcontribs)

Well, I have no doubt astrologers are happy to be described in positive terms instead of negative terms. That's why we rely on independent sources. So far, your whole argument seems to be that "you don't like it" and you have yet to produce a single source to back it up. On WP, we edit articles based on what reliable sources say on the topic. The sources are clear that not only astrology is pseudoscience, but it is the example used in textbooks to explain what pseudoscience is. Whether we personally agree or think that is to "only giving the impression to readers of one-upmanship and vengeance" has zero relevance. If you think the pseudoscience description should be removed, please provide the specific sources needed to back up that change. --McSly (talk) 12:07, 25 June 2020 (UTC)

Hello McSly, You are probably right that astrologers would prefer not to be described by a negative term, especially on a social media platform which used to be known for its unbiased presentation. Wikipedia itself describes the word pseudoscience as pejorative, so it should not be difficult to understand why anyone, whether they are an astrologer or not, might assume that Wikipedia had a Chip_on_shoulder about astrology, using the word pseudoscience to unnecessarily insult, when several other un-insulting linguistic descriptions of astrology are available. So yes, I do think that the pseudoscience description should be removed and replaced with " Astrology is a branch of esotericism. My source for this statement comes from later in the Wikipedia article itself, where someone has written, in the Western section "Along with tarot divination, astrology is one of the core studies of Western esotericism". Since Western astrology is cited as being a core study of Western esotericism, it seems reasonable to assume that Eastern astrology is one of the core studies of Eastern esotericism, and therefore that both Western and Eastern astrology are part of/branches of the general term "esotericism".Cjcooper (talk) 01:37, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a "social media platform". It is an encyclopedia. And neutrality does not necessarily mean "balance". If the consensus of the best available sources is that astrology is pseudoscience (and so far as I can tell, it is), then the neutral presentation of the subject is that the article reflect that consensus. Unless you can demonstrate that a substantial amount of reliable reference material does not agree with that classification, it is correct that it appear as such. Do you have any good references which dispute the classification of astrology as pseudoscience? (As a means of comparison, an unnecessarily insulting and non-neutral term would be to describe it as "bullshit" or "woo". "Pseudoscience" might not be a term astrologers like, but if it's accurate, it is no more needlessly pejorative than describing a convicted murderer as exactly that.) Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:25, 27 June 2020 (UTC)
When a topic is pure nonsense, an encyclopedia should, and in this case does, describe it as such. Pseudoscientific is exactly on the mark, neatly indicating in mainstream terms the utter utter nonsense it describes. We dont do handwaving. -Roxy the elfin dog . wooF 12:35, 27 June 2020 (UTC)

Since you all apparently can't be bothered to actually read @Cjcooper's (admittably long worded) posts, allow me to summarise it as concisely as I can, in big, easy to read letters...

ASTROLOGERS DO NOT CALL THEMSELVES SCIENTISTS. ASTROLOGERS DO NOT CALL ASTROLOGY SCIENCE. THEREFORE, BY DEFINITION, IT *CANNOT* BE PSEUDOSCIENCE.

And a thousand astronomers who wait in line to espouse that astrologers are fraudulently pretending to be scientists doesn't make it any more true than does a thousand Chinese communists declaring that the Dalai Lama's reincarnation will be controlled and regulated by the CPC make that to be so (and there are *plenty* of sources declaring it to be, but no reasonable editor would advocate stating that in wikipedia's voice). Firejuggler86 (talk) 09:44, 30 July 2020 (UTC)

I think the above comment sums it all up nicely. -Roxy the inedible dog . wooF 11:54, 30 July 2020 (UTC)
Right, so the word "pseudoscience" should be removed, woof.
I for myself am not convinced that astrology is bullshit, neither am I that it makes sense. Which leads me to want to read about it, to form an opinion, get to know more about it. Finding an article to start with a derogatory word like "pseudoscience" immediately stops me from reading further, since obviously, the article is tainted.
My suggestion would be 'belief system', which is quite neutral and for people that get the shrugs from everything spiritual, they know they can stop reading.
But who would read this article? Certainly everybody has at least an idea about what astrology is, so I would deem the article to be directed toward interested readers. Why shy them off? ˜˜˜˜ H. (talk) 14:46, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
"The article is tainted" - so you don't want spoilers? You say you want to form an opinion, but as soon as there is the slightest danger of that happening, you start complaining. It seems you want to keep sitting on the fence, so you reject everything that could change that state of affairs.
Well, it does not matter, since we will not adapt the encyclopedia articles to pander to your dogmatic agnosticism, or whatever it is. If you do not want your state of opinionlessness endangered, you should avoid websites that contain information, such as Wikipedia. --Hob Gadling (talk) 15:29, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
From your reaction it looks like I insulted you. I am sorry if I did.
What you call a spoiler makes me feel like someone trying to force his opinion on me. H. (talk) 19:48, 22 September 2020 (UTC)
I don't think it matters much whether astrologers actually claim to be scientist or not. They claim to arrive at knowledge, facts, about earthly realities, don't they? Or, if they avoid that claim, I think their clients tacitly assume they do. I know it's often packaged with mumble-jumble about needing to be interpreted, and not being definitive but something the client can take into account and influence with his/her own choices and actions, but still, unless some connection between the stars/planet and earthly matters is assumed, the whole exercise is vacuous.
This means, I believe, that astrology must be classified either as pseudoscience, religion, belief system, or superstition.
Obviously, as with e.g. cold reading, a good astrologer can consciously or subconsciously twist the interpretation of any horoscope to make sense for the client, and may in fact be a positive force in the client's life (not unlike what can be the case with e.g. i ching oracles).-- (talk) 19:06, 7 September 2020 (UTC)

Decapitalize 'Ancient'?[edit]

It should be the correct spelling. It's used in 'Ancient Greece' and in 'Ancient Greece and Rome'. Thraex64 (talk) 02:43, 3 July 2020 (UTC)

Someone needs to clean up the provocative wording in this article.[edit]

For example:

"Those who continue to have faith in astrology have been characterised as doing so '...in spite of the fact that there is no verified scientific basis for their beliefs, and indeed that there is strong evidence to the contrary.'[117]"

The above statement attacks the believer as opposed to the belief, and one sees no logical use for it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2600:1700:24D0:2CA0:54D3:5438:BA5B:2312 (talk) 05:31, 16 July 2020 (UTC)


'pseudoscience', another example of brilliant 'wikivoice' again. this should be removed immediately if wikipedia wants to aim to be objective, because the source listed is merely 'Why astrology is a pseudoscience' — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.109.70.26 (talk) 23:38, 29 July 2020 (UTC) Can't agree more. At the very least say "quasi-science," although even that is assuming the 20th century bias that "science" can be reserved only for the empirically knowable, whereas the word connotes any organized species of human knowing/a body of accumulated knowledge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.87.133.26 (talk) 22:02, 21 August 2020 (UTC)

Astrology is a pseudoscience. Saying so is NPOV; omitting it is POV. Unless, perhaps, there are good sources labelling it as a e.g. religion, or something else, other than science. Quasi-science is not anywhere near the mark.-- (talk) 10:10, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
PS. Protoscience seems like a meaningful word in relation to pre-modern astrology, alchemy, humorism, and other non-scientific endeavours which involved observation of real phenomena that eventually became part of astronomy, chemistry and psychology (the observations, that is, but not the speculative, religious and supernatural theories). However, according to the wikipedia article on protoscience, a better word for these endeavours would be prescience. In relation to modern astrology, pseudoscience is the more accurate term.-- (talk) 18:09, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

Scientific analysis and criticism[edit]

This section is too abstract and difficult for many readers and probably most people who believe in astrology. Astrology is more a pseudoreligion than a pseudoscience for most people, even those who only half believe it and don't take it seriously.

A better and more easily comprehensible summary of why it's nonsense would be to summarize the physicist Nils Mustelin's criticism, which consists of an analogy even children can understand: He created "tramology", a parody of astrology based on the scientific fact that trams exert a greater force of gravity on a city's inhabitants than planets because they are so much closer. --Espoo (talk) 08:53, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Fix footnote 8[edit]

I would like to fix footnote 8, but unfortunately, I cannot. Can someone else with the appropriate rights do so? ˜˜˜˜ H. (talk) 14:49, 7 September 2020 (UTC)

Hamaryns, can you be specific about what needs fixing? GirthSummit (blether) 15:06, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
What happens is that the footnote marker is shown like this: theoretical[8]:249;[9] H. (talk) 19:43, 22 September 2020 (UTC)