Talk:Astrology

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Good article Astrology 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
Date Process Result
July 11, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
December 13, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted
January 2, 2014 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article
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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

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Principles
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"Pseudoscientific divination"[edit]

Is this really needed? No system of divination was ever scientific.

True, but we don't want to misinform people and have them think this is real.ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 22:52, 7 April 2016 (UTC)

As a late note to this question: "Divination" and "pseudoscience" aren't synonymous - a system can be one without the other; astrology is both. François Robere (talk) 15:22, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

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Scientific analysis and criticism[edit]

In this section (Scientific analysis and criticism), there is a statement: "There is no proposed mechanism of action by which the positions and motions of stars and planets could affect people and events on Earth that does not contradict well understood, basic aspects of biology and physics."

This is the core argument in that section, and yet it is easily debunked: Electromagnetic force is the key mechanism by which celestial bodies influence matter on Earth. Biological cycles, such as human menstruation, are obviously influenced by the moon. The question then becomes what other celestial influences are there impacting life on Earth? This question must be seriously addressed before anyone can criticize astrology. I will remove the statement quoted above from the article sometime in the near future if nobody has an explanation. Rtdrury (talk) 01:29, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

Your proposed course of action would be unwise. The arguments you propose are what Wikipedia calls "original research"; that is, your own deductions rather than statements from an authoritative source. Shock Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:42, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
Are you proposing a mechanism as per the section? Well then - go and write a book or an article about it, get it published in a reputable journal, and then it could be included here. Otherwise Boris's assertion holds. François Robere (talk) 19:54, 10 August 2016 (UTC)
I was ready to jump on this and bring up OR too, but I think the original post does point out that there is an issue with the wording, not the sentiment, of the statement. Even given that it's buried deeply in the context of astrology, the sentence taken by itself is overly broad. Of course there are natural, non-mystical forces (gravity, etc) exerted by at least some celestial bodies (moon) that can demonstrably impact people. I think we're fine as is, because it is deep in the context such that we get the meaning, but it could probably benefit from a clarification that we're referring to the positions and motions, as understood by astrology, not in a general sense. It is not original research to point out that the way in which the sentiment is currently written states more than it was intended to. The intent was to state that the mystical, etc, forces attributed to the movements/positions of the bodies by astrology has no scientific basis, not that no impact by celestial bodies is possible.12.11.127.253 (talk) 20:52, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
I've edited the sentence for accuracy. I think further elaboration would over-complicate the sentence, and is not needed in context. As for the OP's intent, it seems he wanted to open a whole new discussion about mechanisms, which would indeed constitute "original research". François Robere (talk) 17:00, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Arabian Astrology Table[edit]

Yesterday, an IP added a table on Arabian Astrology without giving any sources and apparently based on OR. Unless someone objects, I will remove this within a few days. AstroLynx (talk) 11:15, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Oh, I see you comment now. I have already removed it. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:04, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
And, now, an IP has restored the table. I will avoid a war on this. Isambard Kingdom (talk) 14:46, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
The newly added section on Arabian Astrology appears to be largely original research and mentions no reliable sources. Needless to say, there is very little connection with traditional Islamic astrology for which there are numerous reliable sources. AstroLynx (talk) 15:02, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, and it actually links to asteroids (Ceres, Vesta, etc.), which were only relatively recently discovered (1801, 1807, etc.), long after the actual emergence of astrology. The table obviously took a lot of work to make. It is amazing what some people will do, but it needs to be removed. Thanks, Isambard Kingdom (talk) 15:11, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

"With the onset of the scientific revolution astrology was called into question"[edit]

This statement is misleading. It implies that the calling into question of astrology coincides with the onset of the scientific revolution (which our article suggests begins around 1543). Not only is this false: the article itself has a section titled "Medieval objections". I suspect that the intention is to state that only with the scientific revolution in astronomy were scientific as opposed to theological or philosophical objections raised against astrology. (Even that may not be strictly true: Augustine's primitve twin study seems scientific!) My main concern is that it gives the wrong impression about the relative popularity of astrology. In fact, astrology, at least of the prognostic or fatalistic variety, was highly suspect in intellectual circles in the Middle Ages. It rose in popularity simultaneously with the scientific revolution, only to fall out of fashion (as a pseuoscience) during the Enlightenment. Srnec (talk) 00:53, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

I suggest that you qualify the statement rather than remove it altogether. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 00:57, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
Adding "more widely" should be sufficient adjustment. Even though some of the smartest medieval (and even classical) minds doubted astrology, some form of it was still widely accepted. Ian.thomson (talk) 01:00, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
But is that ("more widely") true? My understanding is that astrology increased in popularity and acceptance among intellectuals in tandem with the scientific revolution, at least at first. The Renaissance and the "rediscovery" of classical texts assured this. It declined later, in the seventeenth century. John Calvin wrote against astrology, as did Pico della Mirandola. I am not aware that Copernicus ever did. Kepler, Brahe and Galileo were practitioners of it. Srnec (talk) 02:44, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
Ah, right, it did become more popular during the Renaissance, but it fell out of favor during the Age of Enlightenment. "Scientific revolution" tends to cover a period from the mid-Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment. Perhaps specify the Age of Enlightenment instead, or say "during the scientific revolution" instead of "with the onset"...? Ian.thomson (talk) 07:43, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
But that still implies that the calling into question is a modern development. I am not sure if the purpose of the clause in question is mainly to time the decline of astrology or to time the beginning of the scientific testing of astrology. In either case, I think the present wording misleads. What about reducing the clause to "Since the scientific revolution, astrology [has been challenged...]"? The link can remain, and the connection with the scientific revolution, while more vague, is also more accurate. Srnec (talk) 01:55, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
What was coming to my mind when I first started reading your post was "Astrology was more widely called into question during the Age of Enlightenment" but your suggestion also works. Ian.thomson (talk) 02:49, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
This wording was originally mine. I've edited as per your critique to clarify. Ping me if it needs further work. François Robere (talk) 17:31, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Frankly, I am still of the opinion that the clause is useless and can be removed. Beginning the paragraph "Astrology has been challenged..." is fine. Srnec (talk) 22:37, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
The idea was to give the lead the overall structure of a short history (I say "overall", as the first paragraph contains other material as well), and as the definitive strikes to Astrology's credibility came from modern science it seemed to fit rather well. I'll see tomorrow if we can cleanly drop it (without the paragraph looking out of place), or restructure or something. François Robere (talk) 20:28, 25 April 2017 (UTC)