Talk:Astrology/Archive 13

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Despite my own scientific background, one of my pet projects on Wikipedia involves toning down positivists' overstatements of science's import, as well as untangling confusions between science and positivism itself--and both overstatements and confusions have pervaded this article, with its "then-along-came-science" attitude. This approach strikes me as quaint, hearkening back to the 19th-century philosophy of August Comte. Above, EagleEye tackled some of these overstatements and confusions, and did so both more implicitly and more eloquently than I could. And, as he has done here, so have I tried to do in the article itself, by removing often-subtle instances of anti-astrology bias. But alas, some bias remains, and I can't fix it alone. One repair could be achieved through talk-page consensus, the other through article collaboration. First, it is inappropriate to include astrology in Category:Pseudoscience, because no evidence is presented that it seeks to be scientific in the same sense that, say, astronomers aim for scientific precision. We see Andrew Fraknoi (I'll come back to him later) explaining how physicists have treated astrology as the fusion of astronomy and psychology, but we don't see astrologers treating it the same way. In fact, the article states that "Modern astrologers define astrology as a symbolic language, an art form, and a form of divination." A pseudoscience would imply--erroneously--that statistically significant relationships exist between operationally-defined ("objective") variables, whereas art and symbolism permit subjects to perceive and construct meaning. If a person was born in July but appears to have a "Sagittarian" personality, then the art of astrology might not be as suited to his tastes as to a July-born individual who seems more "Cancerian." The notion that "July-born/Cancerian demeanor" cannot be "validated" in experimental conditions is meaningless unless someone purports that it can be experimentally demonstrated. Therefore, in order to categorize astrology as a pseudoscience, we need to demonstrate that astrologers have presented themselves as mainstream (e.g., experimental) scientists, and that someone in a reliable source has used this presentation as a justification for calling an art a false science. The second kind of repair involves exploring astrological symbolism in more depth throughout the article. The mention of Jungian synchronicity is a beautiful start, but I don't know enough about astrology to add a whole lot more about it on my own. Also, there is still some bias in the text. Look, for example, at this statement: "Astronomy began to diverge from astrology after a period of gradual separation from the Renaissance up until the 18th century. Eventually, astronomy distinguished itself as the scientific study of astronomical objects and phenomena without regard to the astrological understandings of these phenomena." This tells us about what astronomers did and thought, but says virtually nothing about the subjective continuation of astrology. If astronomers saw themselves as scientific, how did astrologers see themselves? If astronomers disregarded astrological understandings, did astrologers also dismiss astronomy? Someone who knows more than I do about the history of astrology might like to address this matter. Finally, in fairness to the "hard-core" scientific crowd, it appears that Andrew Fraknoi, who is cited in the article as a vehement opponent of astrology, apparently teaches a course on "physics for poets." Therefore, it appears that, perhaps with some justification, his reconciliation of the poetic and the scientific leaves no room for the "poetic science" of astrology. I'd be interested in knowing why this is the case. Cosmic Latte (talk) 09:31, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

We as editors have no business demarcating science from pseudoscience here. So long as nice solid references prominently describe astrology as pseudoscience, we should cite them as saying such and characterize it thusly. Whether it is pseudoscience is immaterial. - Eldereft (cont.) 20:50, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
This "nice solid reference" doesn't in fact describe astrology, as pseudoscience or as anything else, but instead shoots out some percentages and correlations as if they were bullets aimed at astrology's very heart. Or perhaps they're more like confetti, tossed around by the winning team while they sneer and chant "pseudoscience!" as one might chant, "loser!" In any case, the National Science Foundation (which I respect for other reasons) is saying pretty much what I'd expect it to say. Science is not, in an of itself, a critical enterprise, but it is an efficient one; so, what better way to justify itself than through the most efficient means possible, namely by heightening in-group/out-group sentiments via the reduction of the arts and humanities and other non-sciences to "pseudo-" or "false" sciences? Plenty of "prominent" individuals have taken a stance like this. The NSF's stance is obvious; I could have guessed it without even looking at the source. Just as prominently, yet nowhere near as predictably, Paul Feyerabend argued that the line between science and non-science cannot even be drawn. At the very least, there should be a reliable, third-party source (this should sound even more familiar than WP:PSCI), without obvious scientific or astrological bias, that can demonstrate that, given a reasonable definition of the word "false," astrology "falsely" presents itself as a science, and is therefore a pseudoscience. I suggest that this could be achieved via the demonstration that a significant number of astrologers subscribe to positivistic beliefs about the proper (e.g., experimental, deductive-nomological) discernment of truth, or maintain that astrological understandings have been or can be validated via the methods prescribed by those beliefs. It might not be my editorial business to make this suggestion; but as it is my business to uphold the spirit of WP:RS, I should expect someone in a third-party source to make a comparably "detatched" suggestion. I think that WP:PSCI is quite reasonable overall, and might even be of scholarly merit outside Wikipedia. Yet I also find that it contravenes WP:RS in allowing "the scientific community," with its positivistic biases and disinclination toward any reflexivity that might temper its biases, to have the final say on what constitutes "true" or "false"/"pseudo" science. I don't expect to change an ArbCom decision overnight, and I never expected to be able to remove the category from this article without encountering some serious resistance. Hence the lack of any removal of it on my part. But consensus can change, and changes need a catalyst. So hopefully I've at least provided some food for thought. Cosmic Latte (talk) 22:20, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Come to think of it, if we don't want to rock the boat, then perhaps Category:Pseudoscience should be reserved for what WP:PSCI refers to as "obvious pseudoscience," and three more categories should be made to correspond with the other levels proposed in WP:PSCI. Astrology could therefore be categorized as "Practices generally considered pseudoscientific" or "Beliefs often labeled pseudoscientific" or something along those lines. Cosmic Latte (talk) 01:32, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
well said and bravo, Cosmic Latte. I'm so tired of the jejune anti-intellectual Gestapo that sometimes parades as "science" in Wiki and attempts to crush all other intellectual curiosity. As though the rest of us "don't understand." NaySay (talk) 18:28, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Opening paragraph

There have been several back-and-forth edits (but not all by the same people) of the opening paragraph and the inclusion of the word 'incorrectly':

Astrology (from Greek ἄστρον, astron, "constellation, star"; and -λογία, -logia, "the study of") is a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which incorrectly hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide useful information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters.

From past versions and common sense, it seems as though the agreed version did not include 'incorrectly': I have deleted the word and am pointing it out on the talk page so that users can keep an eye on the issue, in case it turns into a revert war. Cardiffajax (talk) 14:45, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree. A general overview of astrology should not focus on whether it works - read the studies and the recent history and let the facts speak for themselves - but also its influence on literature, history and its role in the history of science. This is not just something some crank made up one day and should not be dismissed in such black and white form in a neutral encyclopedia. - filelakeshoe 15:08, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia needs a whole new family of articles discussing Season of birth

..for a scientific view (and not mixing astrology, pseudoscience related flamewars etc). For example: "The season in which a baby is born may influence the baby's birth weight as well as how quickly the baby gains weight during the first four months of life." --AaThinker (talk) 21:56, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

I made a small start. --AaThinker (talk) 22:11, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Extensive list of people by astrological sign from [What was done]


I'm operating the web site What was done.

As part of this site there are extensive lists of people by astrological sign.

I think that a link to the list will contribute to the astrology article but since I operate the site I ask before adding the link.

Here one can see the what was done people by astrological sign lists.

The main benefits of the lists are

  • size – The lists contain almost 20,000 people and will contain even more soon. List at astrology site usually contain dozens of people.
  • non current time bias – regular list usually refer to people living today or that died not too long ago. The what was done list show people from all over the historical time line.
  • no Confirmation bias – when astrologists give as an example a person of a sign, they tend to choose someone that represent the sign attributed behavior. Of course, that might cause to severe confirmation bias. In the what was done list people were not chosen by any such criteria.
  • no Anglo-American bias – Most of the Anglo-American astrologists tend to give as examples people they are familiar with. In the what was done lists people from all over the world appear.

WhatWasDone (talk) 07:40, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I added the link People by astrological sign lists

to the article. WhatWasDone (talk) 05:32, 10 May 2009 (UTC)


The lead currently says "Scientists in the contemporary Western tradition have labeled astrology a pseudoscience or superstition". Are there any scientists in non-Western traditions who consider it science? Also, laying the pseudoscience to rest, it's in the Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience. Skepdic also has an entry. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 16:12, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

We should from now on refer to it as "The ancient Babylonian pseudoscience of Astrology". Artw (talk) 17:28, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Redirect from "Creation Astronomy"

I was surprised to find myself ending up on this page after typing in "creation astronomy." They are two totally different things and I see no obvious mention of "creation astronomy" in the article on astrology. I guess there must not be an article yet for "creation astronomy" but I don't think wikipedia should be redirecting that search term to this page. I have very little wiki experience and don't know how to change this myself so I am just pointing this out for possible further discussion or edits by someone who knows what they are doing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jaxpac (talkcontribs) 20:51, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Scientific Journals dealing with astrology

If we claim that only a handful of scientific journals deal with astrology research, better references are needed. Citing something that can objectively be consider a scientific journal would be a nice start. CapitalElll (talk) 17:20, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

In response to this: In a nutshell, the prior version seems preferable on account of both readability and verifiability. More elaborately: First, as for, "If you are going to call 'Jyotiṣa' by 'Indian astrology', then calling 'Vedic science' by 'Indian proto-science'." I'm not exactly sure how B is supposed to follow from A here, but there are reasons to pipe Jyotiṣa, as well as reasons not to pipe Vedic science. "Indian astrology" is a piped link to Jyotiṣa because that is what a WP:PIPELINK is all about. The preceding sentence is about India, so "Indian astrology" provides better flow into the next sentence than "Jyotiṣa". The link is piped to enhance basic readability in this article, not to illuminate anything substantive about that one. Vedic science does not need to be piped because it is perfectly readable as-is, especially given that the Vedas are already mentioned in the lead. The term still is abstract, but that's why it's linked--so that readers can explore it of their own accord and let the facts speak for themselves. "Indian proto-science" is also abstract, and it has the additional disadvantages of 1) being vague in excess of mere abstraction, and heading into WP:EGG territory; 2) sounding contrived (Jyotiṣa, being a foreign word, is a good candidate for piped linking on the English Wikipedia, whereas "Vedic science" is English to begin with, and considerably more succinct than "Indian proto-science"; 3) sounding biased (India is immensely populous, containing more people than the United States and all of Europe combined, so we're certainly not giving anything undue weight by acknowledging their terminology); and 4) being flat-out wrong. While Jyotiṣa is Indian astrology (is it not?), Vedic science is not a conglomeration of "Indian proto-science", but rather an umbrella term for a variety of disciplines, some of which are helpfully termed "protoscientific", others of which--including martial arts and phonetics--are not. You might say that Indian astrology is a protoscientific branch of Vedic science, but it is not a branch of a protoscience called Vedic science (the "science" in "Vedic science" retains the older, broader connotations of the term, as also found in formal science, social science, and even computer science). Additionally, the sources confirm that astrology in India is treated as a "science". Second, as for removing the phrase, "There are only a handful of journals dealing with scientific research into astrology, as astrological journals seldom are directed towards scientific research and as scientific journals rarely cover astrological topics"--again, I don't really see the point. All that this is saying is that astrological and scientific concepts don't cross published paths very often. But they do cross paths on occasion, which is why an "Astrology and science" section is able to exist. Scientists do study astrology (as the whole of Astrology#Research demonstrates), but they tend not to conclude in its favour. And astrologers do take notice of what scientists are doing ([1]), but they aren't necessarily fond of what they see. Cosmic Latte (talk) 19:12, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Let's focus on the scientific journals first. they do cross paths on occasion is very different from There are only a handful of journals dealing with scientific research into astrology. There are NO scientific journals that deal with astrology other than to denounce it as fiction. I've added a citation needed tag. If it not addressed, I will remove the sentence. Not only because no scientific journals deal with astrology, but because the reasoning in the sentence are original research. CapitalElll (talk) 05:23, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Astrology and economics

It is totally in context, the section is about astrology and science. REmarkably, there are many who think that economics is no better than astrology in many respects, from the scientific point of view. --DTMGO (talk) 05:12, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Astrology has been compared to economic predictions by popular economist John Kenneth Galbraith, placing the astrology in a better position than economic forecasting: "The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable."[1]

This is a comment about economics not astrology. It's meant as an insult to economics because astrology is so widely accepted as nonsense. What you are doing is like trying to add the quote economics is like dog crap to the article on dog crap. CapitalElll (talk) 05:32, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Bias against astrology

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Please do not use this talkpage as a forum for discussing the validity of astrology. If you would like to make specific suggestions for improvements to this article in keeping with Neutral point of view and Fringe theories, please start a new section at the bottom of the page. WikiProject Countering systemic bias, Neutral point of view/Noticeboard, or Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard may be of use. - 2/0 (cont.) 01:03, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

The bias of a number of editors on the astrology article is a long running problem. Just look at the comments in the sub-section here above on Astrology and economics. In addition to being appalling, such attitudes motivate edits on this article that result in frequent edit wars. It is necessary to remind of the fact that astrology is an ancient field of human inquiry and knowledge and as such deserving of respect. Moreover, please note that one of the pillars of Wikipedia is the need for all to observe a neutral point of view.Odin 85th gen (talk) 13:19, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Astrology is an ancient field, but not of knowledge. Verbal chat 15:42, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
The point was not to ask editors to demonstrate further cases of such bias, as you have now done voluntarily. Clearly, the prevalence of such comments only confirms the difficulty the article is faced with.Odin 85th gen (talk) 16:38, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
NPOV doesn't mean accepting all claims at face value. Verbal chat 17:06, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
What part of the following do you not understand?

"Neutral point of view is a fundamental Wikimedia principle and a cornerstone of Wikipedia. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources."

Odin 85th gen (talk) 18:16, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
That has nothing to do with the comment I made. RS are critical of a pseudoscience or belief, then wikipedia should represent that. That is part of being neutral - not accepting all claims at face value, and not giving the adherents view undue prominence. Knowledge of astrology should be in this article, but astrology isn't knowledge. It's bunk. Verbal chat 21:03, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Odin 85th gen, I believe that you may be misinterpreting that policy. It does indeed require that our articles cover their topics without polemic, but the very same policy requires that we include not only what astrologers themselves have to say about astrology, but also how the idea has been received by people outside that community. In particular, academic study of astrology is closer to anthropology than astronomy - documenting rather than practising. It also mandates that we do not adopt the worldview of any system, as this article should be accessible to people who are not familiar with the topic. Statements of history may be made as statements, but statements unique to astrologers must be attributed as $_SYSTEM predicts ... Consider by way of analogy how Kronig-Penney model and Born-Oppenheimer approximation differ from Gliese 581 and diamagnetism. At any rate, specific suggestions for improving the article exist in other sections, so I see no reason to continue this thread here. - 2/0 (cont.) 00:57, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
After reading the policy on NPOV, you may want to read WP:FRINGE which explains why Wikipedia should not and is not obligated to treat Astrology as being legitimate. Once peer-reviewed evidence is published in reliable sources to support the validity of astrology, those sources can be included. Since that has not happened, and will not happen due to the fact that astrology is a farce, this article should not portray astrology as a serious undertaking. The Seeker 4 Talk 01:57, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Astrology is not a fringe theory. It is an age old knowledge of mankind. It is true, many charlatans and lesser lights have used and abused it. The people getting involved in editing this article, mostly Westerners with limited knowledge of astrology's authorative past and vibrant expression in the East, push an agenda to present all of astrololgy as a fringe theory and to write it off wholesale. Few of the critics here, for example, know that astrology in India is based on the classical zodiac as opposed to the imaginary zodiac of the West, or that Indian astrology only uses the planets in the solar system that are visible to the naked eye and does not rely on the invisible and distant outer planets and bodies as is done in the West. Moreover, many do not know that interpretation of the horoscope in the East is focused on the rising sign and degree and not on the sun-sign as is the case in the West. This results in a major difference in the reading and for predictive accuracy. Astrology in India is popular for a reason. The research studies of Western scientists of Western astrology has no bearing on astrology in the East. In my view, the editorial stance of many here reflects a systemic bias based on ignorance of astrology taken as a whole.Odin 85th gen (talk) 04:37, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Your gripe is with science not with us. Produce a scientific article which supports your position and it will be added. Until then, science calls BS on astrology. CapitalElll (talk) 20:38, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that immensely valuable insight and tip. One more thing, if Western scientists haven´t studied Eastern astrology and declared it BS, what papers should be cited?Odin 85th gen (talk) 21:43, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
ooo, you got me there. This negative proof you have presented has caused me to forget basic logic. Let's rewrite the article on the premise astrology is science. CapitalElll (talk) 22:50, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Are you stating that scientists who have studied Western astrology and found it BS, assume Eastern astrology is BS? That would be highly interesting given that a) Eastern astrology is fundamentally different from Western astrology (see below) and b) the scientists haven´t studied Eastern astrology. This would imply that the scientific method includes a leap of faith.Odin 85th gen (talk) 06:34, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be a "western" scientific publication. If you can provide a scholarly scientific journal from an eastern source (or any other source for that matter, as long as it is agreed upon as a scholarly, peer reviewed scientific source) it can be included. Until you provide such a source, all known sources say astrology (whether eastern or western) is bunk. You can keep claiming a "systemic bias" but until you provide some actual evidence, not just rhetoric, that astrology in any form has any validity, it will continue to be treated as all reliable, scientific sources treat it. The Seeker 4 Talk 12:22, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm saying that things are not facts because you wish them to be. Provide some references and we'll see. Until then astrology dramatically fails the smell test: the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. LOL! Seriously? CapitalElll (talk) 17:06, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Eloquently stated. Bravo. This article about astrology has been officially sacrificed on the altar of the Church of Science. A=ME2NOdin 85th gen (talk) 22:28, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Indian astrology

I propose the following incomplete sentence

"Indian astrology uses a different zodiac than Western astrology and is a branch of Vedic science"

be expanded to give a balanced/complete accounting of the main differences

"Indian astrology, a branch of the ancient Vedic science, is fundamentally different from modern Western astrology in that is based on the classical zodiac and the Sun, Moon and visible planets while interpretation of the horoscope is focused on the ascendant."

This description is slightly longer but includes detail that is important for the comparison. The sentence aims to correct for systemic bias in the description.Odin 85th gen (talk) 13:19, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

I am in favor of expanding the treatment and comparisons of various forms of astrology, but that sentence plopped at the end of the lead was already out of place in the lead section, and I have moved it to the appropriate section. If for some reason discussion wends towards keeping that or a similar sentence in the lead, I would note that the clause is fundamentally ... in that [it] is redundant with actually saying why it differs. Additionally, the meaning of "fundamentally" might be construed ambiguously, and the term Vedic science should be defined when it is introduced. - 2/0 (cont.) 00:31, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Suit yourselves, I wash my hands of this article. Best of luck with it.Odin 85th gen (talk) 04:38, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject on countering systemic bias

For the record, I have lodged the following entry concerning astrology on the WikiProject page on Countering systemic bias.[2]Odin 85th gen (talk) 11:09, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps we can address the bias together. Do you have references? CapitalElll (talk) 14:59, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Performing vandalism on the entry doesn't strengthen the case you make [3]. PS Don´t bother replying, I've hit the Unwatch button on this page.Odin 85th gen (talk) 18:35, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

This is not the "Astrology in the US" article

I've removed the reference to how many Americans believe in astrology from the lead. Anyone wanting to see it there, please explain why it's a more relevant statistic than how many Europeans, or Africans, or Chinese believe in astrology. --Ashenai (talk) 17:16, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Please add those statistics here so we can debate their proper place in the article. The line has "in the US" so is not assuming US = world. I'm not an American, btw. Verbal chat 17:22, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea whether there are other statistics, or where they are. My point was that none of the above statistics would be appropriate in the lead, especially because that sentence's only purpose seemed to be to slyly undermine the sentence about science considering astrology a pseudoscience. --Ashenai (talk) 17:26, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Here it is

In one poll, 31% of Americans expressed a belief in astrology and, according to another study, 39% considered it scientific.[2][3]

Please find it a nice home in the article. CapitalElll (talk) 17:41, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
I made a little segue for it and put it in the "world culture" section, does that seem allright? Someone originally put it in the Science section, but it didn't really seem to belong there. --Ashenai (talk) 18:27, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Astrology as a reality of postmodern society

I just made a succession of two edits to the first paragraph that were deleted. I changed the sentence, "Scientists consider astrology a pseudoscience or superstition," to, "While scientists consider astrology a pseudoscience or superstition, astrology as a psychological language has become a normal feature of the postmodern landscape."

I believe this to be a fair, balanced and incisive edit, and I do not understand why it was deleted. While it allows for considerable elaboration, the statement stands on its merits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pomoblackbird (talkcontribs) 11:40, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

It was deleted because you did not provide citations from trustworthy sources for it, and the four references that were left after it only referred to the previous sentence, about scientists considering astrology a pseudoscience.
If you click on the history tab of the article, you can see who edited the article, and the reasons they gave in their edit summaries. --Ashenai (talk) 11:45, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

I take your point regarding the citations to astrology as pseudoscience. However the substance of my remark is not particularly subject to either contradiction or citation; it is more an qualitative description of broad cultural and societal realities such as common usage of astrological terms. Pomoblackbird (talk) 11:54, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

"Broad cultural and societal realities" are subject to contradiction and citation as much as everything else. If they really are "broad realities," providing proof in the form of a citation should be fairly straightforward. --Ashenai (talk) 12:00, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

There's very little on astrology in the postmodern context; I'll see what I can find.Pomoblackbird (talk) 12:16, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Please understand that everything in an article is subject to our core principals of providing references from reliable sources. Without that, the information you propose including appears to be original research. Odd as it may seem, we editors aren't even allowed to assert that the sun always rises in the east based on our own experience. We can quote historical records indicating that all previous sunrises were in that direction, and we can quote physicists or astronomers explaining why this is so and why it's likely to continue, but any and all information we present as factual must come from a reliable source (in the appropriate field); if no recognized RS has written on a topic, or expressed a specific concept, then we can't either. I hope this helps, and thanks for your efforts to contribute, Doc Tropics 18:07, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
In addition, if there is really "very little on astrology in the postmodern context", then maybe that information is too detailed for an overview encyclopedia article. --Art Carlson (talk) 20:29, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be better to make it simple. Astrology has always been a language capable of profoundly deep psychology. This is not something postmodern or new. The postmodern involvement has been more to examine the errors and fallacies of the skeptical view, for example Ertel on Carlson. Apagogeron (talk) 04:10, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Biblical commentary

The Bible comments on astrologers in Isaiah 47:13-14. Samuel T. Cogli (talk) 00:31, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Agreement to prevent injury

I heard there is an agreement that astrologers abstain from predicting things like "Be careful in stairwells tomorrow" because it caused huge rates of injury with old ladies who believe in astrology. In any case, it should be in order to enlarge on the theme of psychological influence and real-world consequences. Also, please expand on INDIAN CHINESE and other exotic superstitions blamed on planets and stars. Y23 (talk) 11:24, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Evaluation of Astrology (Astrology and Science Section)

The entire second paragraph is an appeal to authority, a rational fallacy, The quote from the Humanist article is unsubstantiated and purely an appeal to the authority of the group that stated it. Sagan's statement is an appeal to his own authority. He would need to demonstrate that the principles he mentions are in error by their scientific evaluation, which he had not done.

The single study cited with a negative outcome for astrology (Dean/Kelly) in paragraph four is a very bad example. The publication of that study, packaged like a Trojan backdoor virus within another study on a different subject, is hearsay with no details given as to the design criteria, the analytic methods, or the evaluation of the data. Without these details, normally published in any scientific journal, there is no way to appraise that study or offer any criticism whatsoever. For these reasons, this source is not reliable and should not be cited.

The entire fifth paragraph, on confirmation bias and Forer effects, has nothing to do with the empirical evaluation of astrological research data. It is based on assumption, or the preceding "appeal to authority fallacy." It offers no substance to the topic under discussion and biases the whole Astrology and Science section.

Paragraph six mentioned the Mars effect but fails to mention the far stronger planetary eminence effects predicted by Gauquelin and discovered by Ertel. Discourse on eminence effects has been conspicuously absent on the skeptic side since their discovery in 1988. These must be included.

Also in paragraph six, astrological journals are incorrectly referred as "fringe journals." These journals are mainstream within the astrological community. If skeptical publications are not fringe journals, then astrology journals are not fringe journals either. It is unfair to obscure what either of these types of journals are. The language used poisons the well.

I'd remove the section on obstacles to research. Astrological researchers know very well how to conduct research and that is not an obstacle. Funding is not available for research on either side, either for or against astrology, so that argument is null. What practitioners believe is completely irrelevant to this section. Astrologers have also said that they believe science will find ways to evaluate astrology (Nanninga) so the comment to the contrary is nullified. The only statement of value here is the one regarding prevailing attitudes against astrology among scientists.

The final argument on mechanism is epistemologically incorrect. Mechanism cannot come before evaluation. This is putting the cart before the horse. The only statement of value here is the one pointing out this fact. It is incorrect to suggest, as this section does, that astrology cannot be scientifically evaluated without an astrological mechanism. Apagogeron (talk) 02:24, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

See WP:NPOV, WP:FRINGE, and WP:RS for policies and guidelines in these areas. For example, "fringe journals" comes from an WP:RS, and has been discussed previously. Verbal chat 19:15, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
No dispute with Wikipedia guidelines, just that they should be adhered to. Regarding the statements on fringe and the sources cited, Benski (note 56) is a book and Neisler (58) is a book. The Zelen, Kurtz, and Abell article cited (57) "Is there a Mars Effect" was published in the biased fringe journal "The Humanist," which has been publicly discredited for its authoritarian sentiments and general disregard for providing evidence to support its strongly held views. As discussed, Sagan offered his assessment on this point, and Feyerabend also offered similar commentary. The refutation of The Humanist article, also entitled "Is there a Mars Effect" was published by the researcher himself, M. Gauguelin, with evidence, in the refereed science journal "Journal of Scientific Exploration," which is not a fringe journal. Why are books and a disreputable fringe source cited and genuine refereed sources not? This is contrary to WP:RS. Apagogeron (talk) 16:40, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

The "Research" section contains a statement that has a reference note but the note is not valid according to WP:RS, "Studies have repeatedly failed to demonstrate statistically significant relationships between astrological predictions and operationally-defined outcomes."

For such an unequivocal statement, see WP:REDFLAG, one expects to find refereed articles referenced WP:SOURCES. Instead, there is only one link to a web article (an invalid source), "Your Astrology Defense Kit" by Andrew Fraknoi, which itself contains NO properly referenced sources. One of the articles Fraknoi mentions is the highly disputed, NON-REFEREED 1985 study by Shawn Carlson, which has been discredited in a recent refereed science publication, The reassessment of the data by qualified scientists, using the commonly accepted protocols, which Carlson states in his article but did not follow, shows significant evidence in FAVOR of the astrologers.

Because the opening "Research" statement fails to meet the Wikipedia criteria for verifiability, it should be replaced by a properly supported statement that more accurately reflects the current state of astrological research. Apagogeron (talk) 14:50, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

I added the Carlson reference. I couldn't find the publication referred to in the link you indicated. CapitalElll (talk) 16:46, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
Re: Ertel on Carlson paper, you would need to go to a university library or order a copy, JSE does not post the current issue on its web site: The citation is: Ertel, Suitbert. “Appraisal of Shawn Carlson’s Renowned Astrology Tests.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 23:2, pp 125-137 (2009). The opening "Research" statement is clearly in violation of WP:RS. Apagogeron (talk) 17:13, 22 August 2009 (UTC)
I have removed the Carlson reference added by CapitalElll and reverted the opening statement to the verifiability flag as it was before. As I mentioned above, the Carlson paper was never peer reviewed and a reassessment by scientists demonstrates that it contains serious flaws. See Ertel on Carlson. The Carlson article was published as opinion in the "Commentary" section of Nature. Apagogeron (talk) 00:07, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Stand up for science

I'm just stating an humble (I hope) opinion here, based on my education and experience. I think that this article about astrology, though generally well written, may be overly obsequious regarding stating the rationalistic, scientifically obvious. Astrology is indeed a pseudo science, and there has never been found any empirical, reproducible evidence to corroborate claims such as that the position of Pluto and Saturn determine what next will happen to me in the supermarket next Thursday.

It can be shown trivially (I can do it myself with Newton's F = GMm/r^2 and a calculator) that the gravitational attraction of the body of the doctor that gave you birth is more than that of the moon, and the gravitational attraction of the other planets is far less than that. And the electromagnetic fields of the other planets exert forces which are orders of magnitude less than that. Beyond the possible forces, all you have to go on is Jung's synchronicity, and if you buy into that poppycock, then you need to go join a commune and worship the Easter bunny and Santa Clause. It's not science or mathematics or statistics, and it sure as hell ain't empirically reproducible stuff. It's self-indulgent delusion. Astrology is in the same category as the reading of the future by looking at animal entrails, or converting the letters of your name to numbers and adding them together to come up with a magic number that describes your inner unknown angelchild. I think this article, in the interest of the integrity of Wikipedia, should be a bit clearer in refuting this superstitious nonsense.

But overall, I think the article is good -- and interesting. It's just a bit too meek on the side of rationalism.

Just an opinion. I'm not gonna change anything in the article. I'll let the rest of you all duke it out.

Worldrimroamer (talk) 03:51, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Science vs astrology statement and related citations

There are now six citations concerning the statement "The scientific community considers astrology a pseudoscience or superstition."[1][2][3][4][5][6] Of these, five citations deal with the validity of western sun sign astrology.

[1] Astronomical Society of the Pacific: POV/OR article against "western sun sign astrology"
[2] Humanist: statement of 186 scientists in 1975 is still missing
[3] Robert Hand "The History of Astrology": An article about the correct zodiac (tropical or sidereal), which does not reach a conclusion on the merits of either one. Irrelevant for the question of scientific merit of astrology.
[4] Book cited but without reference to subject matter, methods or findings.
[5] Rudolf Smit, "The case for and against astrology" is a web site discussing the case for and against western sun sign astrology. Conclusion: "There is more to astrology than being true or false."
[6] Jennifer Viegas, 1886, "Scientists dump cold water on astrology": a reported study by a Danish psychology department Professor critical of western sun sign astrology. The newspaper article cites a study which is not found.

Conclusion. These citations show that it is western sun sign astrology that is being questioned or rejected. The citations are either missing, irrelevant, ambiguous, or of low quality. The statement by 186 scientists is still missing. One citation [3] deals with which zodiac (tropical or sidereal) is historically more relevant, and is written by an astrologer, who evidently believes in the value of astrology. The only citation with some merit [5] comes out undecided on the case for or against astrology, but cites scientists who reject astrology and others who think such a rejection is not well informed. The statement could therefore be revised to read, accompanied with only two of the citations earlier presented (add if more valid citations are found):

"While there are exceptions, scientists tend to consider Western 'sun sign' astrology a pseudoscience or superstition."[5][6] Odin 85th gen (talk) 08:26, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
All astrology. To say that there is some other astrology that is considered scientific is false. --TS 13:37, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
It is exactly that POV which is lacking sources. The sources shown don´t go this far, they just address scientific views on western sun sign astrology. Odin 85th gen (talk) 17:34, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Statement of 186 and Paul Feyerabend's rebuttal

Thanks to Mystylpix we have access to "Objections to Astrology" - Statement by 186 Leading Scientists [4]

The main arguments against astrology: 1. Assertion that there are no scientific tenents for astrology 2. In ancient times a belief in astrology was based on a "magical world view". 3. Given the vast distances from Earth to other planets in the solar system, the gravitational or other effects are puny 4. It is a mistake to think that the forces exerted by the stars and planets (note: this includes the Sun and Moon!) at the moment of birth can in any way shape our futures. 5. It is not true that the position of distant heavenly bodies makes certain days or periods more favourable to particular kinds of action. 6. The heavenly bodies do not determine ones compatibility or incompatibilty with other people. 7. People have a need to think their destiny is predetermined than take responsibility for their lives. 8 Astrology promotes irrationalism and obscurantism. 9. Need to challenge the pretentious claims of astrological charlatans. 10. Not only is there no verified scientific basis for peoples belief in astrology. Actually, there is evidence to the contrary. Of the 186 Leading Scientists there are 18 Nobel Prize winners and thereof several economists!

What is most fascinating is the article that follows by Paul Feyerabend, the world famous philosopher of science and the scientific method. He writes

"Now what surprises the reader whose image of science has been formed by the customary eulogies which emphasize rationality, objectivity, impartiality and so on, is the religious tone of the document, the illiteracy of the arguments and the authoritarian manner in which the arguments are being presented."

He then writes

"The learned gentlemen have strong convictions, they use their authority to spread their convictions (why 186 signatures if one has arguments?). They know a few phrases which sound like arguments, but they certainly do not know what they are talking about."

As for the rest of the spirited article, including the conclusion on page 22, now that is something worthy of a Noble Prize! Odin 85th gen (talk) 21:20, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I teasingly entered this spruced up version of the sentence (quickly reverted):

"After 186 scientists objected to the "pretentious claims of astrological charlatans" in a statement in 1975, the famous philosopher of science, Paul Feyerabend, scolded them for the "illiteracy of their arguments, authoritarianism and ignorance of the subject matter."

The fact of the matter, however, is that this is based on direct quotes. Jesting aside, we should seriously consider revising this sentence. Feyerabend drives home the claim that these men were ignorant of astrology in the following anecdote:

"When a representative of the BBC wanted to interview some of the Nobel Prize Winners they declined with the remark that they had never studied astrology and had no idea of its details."

Doncha just love it Odin 85th gen (talk) 21:42, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Y'know, "teasing" editing is generally frowned upon in these parts. I encourage you to keep this up. Skinwalker (talk) 21:45, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Come now, you should lighten up. The point is simply that the gig is up on this who-hoo statement of the SCIENTISTS. I am just doing my bit here by reading the cited material and reporting back. The sentence about the scientist needs to be changed. Here is another draft formulation to make it more consistent with the facts.
"In 1975, 186 leading scientists signed a statement expressing their objection to astrology as being unscientific. Paul Feyerabend later criticized the statement, including the 'illiteracy of the arguments', 'authoritarian tone' and 'ignorance of the subject matter'."
For now the fact that the 'scientists' were reacting to western sun sign astrology can be kept to the side, in view of their pervaisive ignorance of astrology. Feyerabend's article is short and to the point. Highly recommended reading[5]. Odin 85th gen (talk) 22:30, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Astrology a Pseudoscience?

Based on arbitration and clarification on same, the Pseudoscience category, which has been applied to this page, and to the Astrology category in general, requires a reliable source indicating that it is in fact pseudoscience to sustain its application. Can you point out some reliable source that will settle the matter? If not, we'll need to remove the Pseudoscience category tag from this page and also from the Astrology category. Thank you.-- self-ref (nagasiva yronwode) (talk) 23:50, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Start with references 9-11. — Scientizzle 00:42, 10 October 2008 (UTC)
Astrology is probably what I'd call an obvious pseudoscience. That said, I recognize that my own biases here could be precluding me from seeing the truth of it all. However, the Encyclopedia Britannica describes Astrology as such: Though often regarded as a science throughout its history, astrology is widely considered today to be diametrically opposed to the findings and theories of modern Western science. With that from a mainstream encyclopedia, I'd say it is safe to regard Astrology as a "generally considered pseudoscience" in terms of WP:PSCI. -- Levine2112 discuss 00:49, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Astrology has never been proved to be a "pseudo-science" therefore I do not see the need for any "tag" on this page whatsoever. This is opinionate bias and the label should be removed. Although the subject of astrology is quite controversial, it does not preclude it being labelled as a psuedoscience based on the opinions of others, even from a mainstream encyclopedia. Eagle Eye 00:52, 28 December 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by EagleEye (talkcontribs)

Things do not become pseudoscience because they were "proven" as such; they become pseudoscience by claiming to be scientific, when in actuality they are not. Astrology clearly fits this, because as some astrologers themselves admit, astrology does NOT follow the scientific method. If it does not follow the scientific method is cannot, by definition, be science. I suggest you do a little bit more reading and research before spouting that the "opinions of others" are bringing astrology down, so to speak.

The so-called "scientific method" is nowhere evern near absolute in truth, as many scientists themselves differ over what constitutes the "scientific method" which constantly is in flux, and changes when what was once deemed "impossible" using this same claim, becomes mainstream. Astrology, has always been a science, and gave birth to many of the sciences today, mainly through the very principles of the scientific method, which is observation. The term "pseudoscience" was created, and is used mainly by materialists who feared intrusions into their specialty areas and use this term to denounce that which they feel threatens their particular areas, such as astrology for instance. The definition of the word "pseudoscience" is clearly one created and used to denounce that which is most feared to take precedence at any time. As for "scientific method" - this term is always undergoing changes as we learn more about the world and the universe, sometimes re-discovering ancient beliefs that nnot to long ago were considered fantasy, or myth. Scientific methods always are in flux, and there is no one "method" that holds absolutely what is and what is not science. Nor should there be.--Eagle Eye 23:45, 26 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by EagleEye (talkcontribs)

Haha, ignorance is bliss hey buddy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Here is the definition of the term pseudoscience from the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary:

According to this definition Astrology is not a pseudoscience because it is not "erroneously considered a science."

Sometimes words are used incorrectly in general usage and this is one example where people incorrectly substitute the terms pseudoscience and superstition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Concerning being a pseudo-science, I do not agree seeing how astrology does not purport to be scientific. It's mystical.Jersey John (talk) 15:07, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I have removed some weasel wording, POV and factual errors in the lead, however the article is still very biased towards the validity of astrology. I think some editors keep forgetting that no original research is allowed here, nor "equal" treatment, undue weight, etc., and think they can impose some sort of consensus reality. This needs to be an encyclopedic article, if advocates of astrology are unhappy, they should be aware this is not a forum to influence the public. (talk) 21:47, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
Wonderful edit. I fully support it. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:15, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Pseudoscience was apparently invented long before science, how fascinating! Artw (talk) 22:59, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The revertion on my previous edit was pathetic, I'm sorry. Astrology is a pseudoscience, that's it's main defining feature, and should be right in the first sentence. It's the way it's defined in all the encyclopedias I've come across, and it's what science and scientists consider astrology to be. It's an undisputable fact. Plenty of weasel wording in the lead tries to suggest that science does not fully reject astrology, that there is a sizeable amount of people who believe in it (placed right next to its naming as a pseudoscience), which is irrelevant but might influence those who think reality is made of some kind of consensus.
I'm sure this violates more wikipedia policies than I could name, and it's just plain dumb. Again, if advocates of astrology are unhappy, wikipedia is not here to make them happier, just to expound the the facts. Let's keep wikipedia a respectable place. (talk) 15:43, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
"Astrology is a 2300 year old pseudoscience"??? Artw (talk) 17:08, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
No, it's not a pseudoscience, everyone else is wrong - encyclopedias, scientists, scholars, all reliable sources - and you and your original research are correct (...) This discussion has already taken place in this article, why are we wasting time? (talk) 17:45, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Really? Checking online Enclarta doesn’t mention Science at all and Britanica has “Though often regarded as a science throughout its history, astrology is widely considered today to be diametrically opposed to the findings and theories of modern Western science”, which seems like the kind of concise summary of astrologies relationship with science we should aspire to. Randomly slapping “is a pseudoscience” into the first line of articles is imprecise, as well as horrible writing, and not the kind of thing a real encyclopedia does. Artw (talk) 17:57, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
"Generally considered pseudoscience / 16) Theories which have a following, such as astrology, but which are generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community may properly contain that information and may be categorized as pseudoscience."
Many astrologers still claim astrology is a science, and it was an even more common claim historically. It's also the first thing that comes to the mind of most people when you say the word "pseudoscience".
As for horrible writing, please check your spelling of "Enclarta", "Britanica" and "astrologies" (and this comes from someone whose mother tongue is not English) (talk) 21:08, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
This persiflage may be fun for you guys, but its irrelevance tries my patience. Whether you wish to categorize astrology as a "pseudoscience" or not within some sort of empirical framework has nothing to do with the purport of this article. It is: 1) an overview of the intellectual history of astrology 2) an overview of its concepts. If we do not succeed by those criteria, then we're at fault. If our citations are not accurate in describing the actual history and practice of the thing, then we are at fault. Were this not Wikipedia, but instead The Scientific Encyclopedia, I would be wholly in sympathy with all of this. But in a compilation that includes articles on Britney Spears, "Hot Dog Variations," knitting and heavy metal rock bands, this sort of zeal appears to be wholly rooted in bias and bullying. Put in your paragraph to make your points somewhere and to shake your fingers at those of us who dare to show an interest in this topic if you must. It's part of the discussion. But this is not the reading list of a science class, nor is it some sort of proselytizing literature. -Nadine Harris NaySay (talk) 18:20, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry if it's not 'fun', but astrology *is* a pseudoscience - which has an undoubtable negative conotation in society, but it's nonetheless a fact. The article is still heavily biased towards the 'validity' of astrology in many places, and out-of-place considerations about 'materialism' and a general frame of understanding which is apllied to everything else are made in a effort to sidestep the issue. This is about the facts as they stand, not as astrologers and people who believe in it would like to be, and it's irrelevant if you, or a thousand more people, feel 'bullied' or happy by this. I suggest moving all of those arguments to a single section or article - and present them as the views some people may hold, not as statements of fact. A rebuttal would then also be pertinent. Wikipedia can be a good place to learn, but not in this article as it stands. Let's change this. (talk) 03:01, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
The lead is now worse than ever before. "Many contemporary western scientists consider astrology a pseudoscience or superstition", "In one poll, 31% of Americans expressed a belief in astrology and 39% considered it scientific according to another study". Wow. A very clear attempt to picture the understanding of astrology as a pseudo-science as being momentary, and on the part of just a few scientists - and what the heck is a "western scientist"? Science is pretty coherent (unlike pseudo-sciences and religions) and free from regional or cultural biases, due to the very nature of what science is. What is the relevance of the poll in *one* country (possibly making this a US-slanted article)? Maybe the same as when folks try to insert that in the lead for the article about creationism. Wikipedia is not the place to peddle astrology. This is a shameful article, and I urge all those who edit in good-faith to fight the garbage a few insist on insert. They might get angry, arbitrarily revert all edits that don't make them happy, attempt to make this an (even more) unenjoyable discussion so that the rest of us quit, but we might as well scrap wikipedia if we begin allowing articles like this to exist. For goodness' sake, let's all work to change this sorry state of things! (talk) 00:45, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Our Anon IP freind appears to be jamming a bunch of editorializing into the article in a way that's not particularly helpful or clarifying. It's flat out bad writing more than anything else so I'm reverting it again. I really don't think people are going to start thinking wikipedia endorses Astrology as rock hard science just because the article doesn't say "pseudoscience! pseudoscience! pseudoscience!" every second paragraph. Artw (talk) 23:54, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Reading through the article it doesn't seem to me to be biased towards any view that Astrology has scientific validity. Assuming the statistic on the number of americans who believe in astrology is correct - i.e based on statistically valid sampling methods - then it is an interesting (and slightly scary!!!)fact relating to how astrology is perceived and the influence it holds in the world's most powerful nation. Insofar as the lead covers the status of astrology in the modern world it is surely absolutely correct to state as two neutral facts (a) that scientists consider Astrology to be a pseudoscience or unscientific and (b)many people believe in it to some extent. The two facts do not contradict one another. Elsewhere in the article the views of scientists regarding astrology and the general failure of scientific experiment to find evidence in support of astrology are clearly outlined. In short, the article lead seems fine to me as it is and does not reflect a 'position' on whether or not astrology can be considered scientific. Mother shipton (talk) 07:36, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

I would tend to believe astrology is a superstition more than a pseudoscience. When I think of pseudosciences, I think of things like parapsychology, biorhythms, intelligent design, phrenology, physiognomy, graphology, etc.Mmyers1976 (talk) 19:54, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

LOL! This is akin to asking "when did you stop beating your wife?" It really is the sort of discussion one would be likely to hear at a Star Trek convention. However, putting aside all the other fields you don't like, astrology has been central to the development of the physical sciences and to a lesser extent, to mathematics, and if for no other reason it is worth having a good historical understanding of it for that. Superstition or pseudoscience or Aunt Sadie's bumpersticker. NaySay (talk) 14:34, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
An inane and unconstructive comment.Mmyers1976 (talk) 09:11, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

"Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome. In this sense, science may refer to a highly skilled technique or practice." This is Wikipedia's first line in the Science article. Astrology certainly falls under that category. Notice it says "capable" of predicting, not effective at predicting. Also, was Aristotle's physics science? I think so- it just didn't use the scientific method. Social sciences: do they use the scientific method? I think not, in the main. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:45, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

A monkey throwing darts at a board is "capable" of predicting the stock market. Just because astrology makes broad predictions that sometimes come true does not make it a science. Angryapathy (talk) 13:37, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

One argument used often here seems to be, "Astrology has many adherents, and is historically significant, so it must be a science." Just because something is widely accepted does not make elevate it to a different level. Let's be clear: astrology makes predictions based on the location of celestial bodies. However, tarot cards make predictions by which cards are drawn. What makes astrology more "scientific"? Because it uses astronomy, which is a science. But no matter what information is used, astrology does the same thing as tarot cards: predicting outcomes based on a set of data. Just because the practice to come up with the prediction can be complicated doesn't make it a science. And just because astrology uses science does not make it a science. Angryapathy (talk) 14:00, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Compromise proposal on science vs. astrology

Listen, this controversial issue has plagued the editors of this article for some time. I propose we put it to bed with the follwing revision of the text. The intro needs to better and more fairly reflect the sources and the story. The intro also needs to be rearranged for better flow. The two short paras dealing with a definition of astrologers and astrology should come before a seperate para on science vs. astrology. Here goes:
"From ancient times the study of astronomy accompanied that of astrology. Since the Age of Enlightenment, astronomy has become a seperate field of study, along with other scienctific fields. The views of scientists towards astrology have ranged from warning about it being a pseudoscience or a superstition[4][5][6][7] to the embrace of the study of extra-terrestrial influences on life on Earth.[8][9]
I hope others can agree to this compromise to settle this long simmering contentious draft issue. Odin 85th gen (talk) 08:28, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
This isn't a compromise. The current text is correct and supported. Astrology (be it Western, Northern, South by SouthWestern) has no scientific validity. You are the only one shouting, so the ending of the "match" is for you. I'd be happy for it to end. Verbal chat 09:38, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Regarding your two sources for the contention that some scientists "embrace .. the study of extra-terrestrial influences on life on Earth", the first one is from a philosopher (not a scientist) and the second from an anonymous web site, and in neither case is your wording even close to an objective summary of the views presented. I agree with Verbal. Your proposal has been examined and found wanting by your fellow editors. It is time to accept that and turn your energies elsewhere. --Art Carlson (talk) 12:17, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm new to this page in the sense that I first came here in response to the RfC, but from what I have observed during this time, I agree entirely with Verbal and Art Carlson. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:36, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Feyerabend was a world authority on the philosophy of science, in a league with Thomas Kuhn and Imre Lakatos. He was no fan of astrology per se, but appears to have appreciated its main assumptions and based on his scientific knowledge and common sense, he thought it worthy of further study. Feyerabend concluded about the statement of 186 scientists objecting to astrology that it only showed that
"As usual the greatest assurance goes hand in hand with the greatest ignorance".
In effect, he is saying that the scientits are full of crock in condemning astrology. He saw them reacting to astrology as a caricature of its limited practitioners. By not understanding the scientific case for or against, they made a mockery of their own subject, science. You then argue over ways to present the pseudoscientific statement of the scientists as proof that astrology is a pseudoscientifc inquiry. Ultimately, the point is that an enclyclopedic entry should be written in a way that shows some respect for the subject matter. Such reverence would manifest in a truthful, balanced representation. Your lack of knowledge and appreciation of the main assumptions of astrology, has given you a certitude of its limits. Hence, you feel completely justified in manipulating or selecting facts, no matter how questionable, for your claim to disprove astrology. This is what I and many others are reacting to. Open your minds, gentlemen, to the mysteries of life and the possibilities of astrology. You may disagree, but I am convinced that the future will bring fresh scientific advances in our understanding of geocosmic influences on the mental vibrations and actions of human beings. There are still plenty of mysteries in life and if past is prologue, many surprising discoveries await. In any event, I hope you'll come to appreciate that this most ancient field of study deserves your full respect. Odin 85th gen (talk) 22:25, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Moving this discussion per consensus to User talk:Odin 85th gen#How do scientists see astrology?. --Art Carlson (talk) 10:57, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

The Lede

The purpose of the lede is to define the subject, create its context in regard to other subjects, sumarize the article and entice the reader. See WP:LEDE It is not the place for criticism. The sentence about scientists not believing in Astrology is completely out of context no matter how many citations are attached to it. Scientists don't believe in lots of things that are New Age, religious or spiritual but we don't make a statement about it in the lede of all the articles on religion, meditation, crystals or what have you. The placement of this sentence in the lede creates undue weight and strong point of view WP:NPOV. There is plenty of opportunity in a later section of the article to portray criticism by scientists but the lede is not the place for it.-- KbobTalk 16:12, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. The lead, per policy and guideline, is supposed to summarise the contents of the article, and scientific research into a field is always important. This doesn't violate NPOV, it is indeed essential to it. Verbal chat 17:09, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I think the fact the astrology has -ology attached, which is almost always attached to a scientific pursuit, necessitates qualification in the lead that it is in fact a pseudoscience. Angryapathy (talk) 22:44, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Magi Astrology

I'm surprised that nothing in the astrology article mentions magi astrology and/or the rather new (the coming out into public view of a very old and ancient Chinese tradition and society of astrologer monks in Chinese history) Magi Society, based now in New York City. The Society has conducted rather extensive scientific and statistically significant research involving many thousands of public figures -- 40,000 to 50,000 plus? public relationships/marriages -- "proving" the significance of some of the traditional meanings of the symbolisms of the various planets/heavenly bodies, and disproving others. Much more precision than some of the hopelessly contradictory messages from traditional Western astrology are given as to the meanings of the various planets as found in their books and on the Society's websites, along with much evidence to support their conclusions. Is this new knowledge akin to a Columbus discovering a "new world" of astrology? Wouldn't it be prudent to find out? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:46, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Doing a simple search of Magi Astrology, I see no reliable secondary sources that mention it. So no, as of now, it does not warrant inclusion on WP. Angryapathy (talk) 20:37, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

RfC: Wording of statement about scientific opinion

Should the statement about scientific opinion be further qualified? --TS 12:04, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

The current wording in the lead says "Scientists consider astrology a pseudoscience or superstition."

Should this be qualified, and if so, how? Should some of the few scientists who do not consider astrology a pseudoscience be enumerated, or should the breadth of this opinion be qualified, say, by citing the opinions of learned institutions or prominent scientists? --TS 12:05, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

One of the citations lists (I think it's 186) prominent scientists. That could be mentioned. The problem I have with it is simply saying 'scientists believe...' is a particularly bad example of weasel words. Obviously it doesn't mean 'all' scientists, so it must mean 'some' or 'most.' Yet the 'some' or 'most' remains silent. The weasel word is implicit rather than explicit. It would be better just to make it explicitly a weasel word than to do it the way it's done currently.
And BTW, of course astrology 'is' a pseudoscience. It's utter bunk. It's one of my pet peeves, but bad writing is also one of my pet peeves. Mystylplx (talk) 12:18, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
  • No Disagree with qualifier. A vanishing minority of "scientists" may be found who will believe anything at all. There is absolutely no reason to note this fact in every article about non-scientific subjects such as astrology. Our aim is to be an encyclopedia, not a column for Ripley's or News of the Odd. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 13:02, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
    There's also no reason to make blanket statements about what "scientists" believe. It is, as you said, an encyclopedia. Statements should be factual. Blanket statements about the beliefs of "scientists" are not only unsourced, but sloppy writing as well. Where is the citation that backs up that sentence? Mystylplx (talk) 13:26, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
    "Scientists" is generally acceptable shorthand for "the scientific community" which most definitely views astrology as pseudoscience, if not outright hoaxery. Are you disputing that the scientific community views astrology as pseudoscience? This was not the question in the rfc. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 13:53, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Then why not simply say "the scientific community considers astrology a pseudoscience?" That statement isn't nearly as sloppy. Mystylplx (talk) 14:00, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Because then people would complain that there is no such thing as the scientific community and did you take a poll of all scientists ever?. In all seriousness, that would be an acceptable phrasing so far as I am concerned, though I still prefer my alternative below. - 2/0 (cont.) 14:11, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
It's better to make the statement about 'the scientific community' than about 'scientists.' But I prefer your suggestion as well. Maybe both would be ideal--The scientific community considers astrology a pseudoscience because...Mystylplx (talk) 14:49, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
  • No need. This is not quite on the level of thermodynamic "impossibility" (sure, all the air in the room might randomly bounce into the same corner at the same time, but it never will), but the opinion of scientists qua scientists that astrology is scientific is vanishingly fringe. Project Steve for comparison. We could, however, drop the appeal to authority and list instead a few reasons (without belabouring the point, I think, as this article mostly treats the social phenomenon and history). We also appear to be missing this source from the NSF. - 2/0 (cont.) 13:51, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
  • No qualifier. This isn't even a close call. The sentence is correct as it is. Please see WP:FLAT. I do not see it at all as a case of bad writing; indeed, adding a qualifier would make the writing worse. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:21, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Very first paragraph from WP:FLAT "The threshold for including material in Wikipedia is that it is verifiable, not that we think it is true. That is, readers must be able to check that the material has already been published by a reliable source. Editors should provide a reliable source for quotations and for any material that is challenged or likely to be challenged, or the material may be removed. Verifiability is one of Wikipedia's core content policies." Making blanket statements about what scientists believe violates that rule. Severely. Mystylplx (talk) 09:02, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
In this case, it is no more an unverified blanket statement to say that scientists consider astrology to be unscientific, than it is to say that scientists consider flat-earth claims to be unscientific. (I realize that you provide below some anecdotes about acquaintances who like astrology as counterexamples, but that is UNDUE and OR, at least for the lead.) When I made my RfC comment at 15:21 yesterday, I was endorsing this version of the lead. The one I find there now is much inferior, very weasly and misleading. I think it a bad idea to keep editing a disputed passage while an active RfC is in progress. Let the RfC process work, and if you are confident that you are correct, then it will confirm that. Continuing to fiddle with the wording while the RfC is trending the other way tends to confirm the kind of editing that WP:FLAT warns about. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:41, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I think you are misreading WP:FLAT. What it says is we don't have to give equal weight to goofball theories; it doesn't say it's OK to make unsourced statements about the beliefs of amorphous groups like "scientists." That is 'original research.' The anecdotes I provided below are on the talk page, not a part of the article, so don't count as UNDUE or OR. The blanket statement about the beliefs of "scientists" was a part of the article and does count as WP:OR. Mystylplx (talk) 18:11, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I should clarify something I worded too vaguely: by referring to UNDUE and OR, I meant to say that it would be those things to write the actual page based on that, not that it was those things to say it in talk. But the sentence in the lead has four citations after it. How is that unsourced? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:04, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Because none of the citations back up the blanket statement. This goes to what I mentioned earlier and why it is sloppy writing and weasel words. What exactly does the statement "scientists consider astrology a pseudoscience" mean exactly? Obviously it means anything from "two scientists" (thus the plural) to "all scientists" but is ambiguous within that range. To make it slightly more explicit would be to add the word "some" or "most" or even "all," but those are clearly weasel words. Interesting that adding a weasel word makes it more explicit.... So the statement as it existed was quite weasily, but wasn't even explicit in its weasiliness. You can't remove the weasiliness of a statement simply by removing the weasel word and making it even more ambiguous and open to interpretation--that just makes it even more weasily. "The scientific community" is better because at least then it is referring explicitly to the community as a whole and is thus less ambiguous. Mystylplx (talk) 23:26, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
  • No need Not even close to a need. Even scientists who believe in Astrology will usually agree that there is no scientific basis for such a belief. This isn't bad writing either. Verbal chat 17:13, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Whether there's a scientific basis is beside the point. The question is whether it's good writing for an encyclopedia to make unsourced blanket statements about what "scientists" (or any group) believes about something without specifying who those scientists are or providing a citation to back up the blanket claim. Your belief that scientists will "usually agree" doesn't count as a valid citation. One of my best friends is a professor of geophysics and though he doesn't believe in astrology he doesn't "consider it a pseudoscience" either. He also tells me he knows quite a few scientists who are believers in astrology. That shouldn't be that surprising, there are lots of scientists who are Christians, and astrology is no more irrational than Christianity. Geoffry Dean is an example of a scientist who was once a believer and now a skeptic.
But the main point is it's bad writing. The Britannica article mentioned below does it much better, describes rather than pronounces, and does it without the appeal to an amorphous authority called "scientists." Mystylplx (talk) 09:02, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
  • The current statement is too weasely and lacks perspective. Here's how Britannica puts it, "Though often regarded as a science throughout its history, astrology is widely considered today to be diametrically opposed to the findings and theories of modern Western science.". Their statement is better. Colonel Warden (talk) 08:27, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree it's still too weasely, but it's less so than before. The way Britannica puts it is better still. I agree.Mystylplx (talk) 09:02, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
The main problem I see with "often regarded as a science throughout its history" is that it's false. The last astronomer who produced significant work in astrology was Johannes Kepler, and it isn't a coincidence that he lived in the dawn of what we now think of as the scientific age. To Kepler, if the word "scientific" meant anything, it was unlikely to mean anything like what it means today. He wouldn't have regarded astrology as either scientific or unscientific. --TS 09:37, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think anything has been gained by substituting "the scientific community" ( linked to "scientists"), for "scientists." "Consider" is better than "believe," but the actual issue is not belief at all but the relative impossibility of expressing astrological claims in a way that they are testable. Maybe something to the effect that astrology does not lend itself to testing via the hypothetico-deductive method, which is regarded as essential to a science. Too wordy, I guess, but seems closer to the right idea.Rose bartram (talk) 15:48, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the statement should be qualified whether it relates to "scientists" or the "scientific community". While it is fine to include a reference to the statment by 186 scientists, it should be noted it is from 1975. The link to this statement does not work. Moreover, some of the citations to back up the claim of the scientist refer to other things. That needs to be fixed. In any event, the views of these scientific people, no matter how accomplished in the natrual sciences as taught in western universities up to that time, it is almost certain it reflected a limited exposure to or knowledge of astrology at that time. Moreover, the exposure would most assuredly have been to some form of western astrology. In Wikipedia, which is mostly used by Western people, there is scant knowledge of traditions in the East, including the fact that many steeped in the ancient Vedic astrology find astrology as practiced in the West suspect. The primary reason for that is the fact that western astrology
a) uses the tropical zodiac, whose signs are 24° away from the signs in the traditional/visible zodiac
b) places an overemphasis on the Sun-sign,
c) treats the influence of distant sometimes puny planetary bodies that are not visible to the naked eye as equal in influence to that of the nearer visible planets, and
d) lacks the logic of the ancient horoscopic tradition which emphasises the functional (malefic or benefic) nature of planets as per their house rulership, i.e. depending on the ascending sign.
In other words, the scientists of the 1970s were exposed to some form of astrology as practiced in the West almost 35 years ago, most likely by hippy types. In this regard, the Western approach to astrology has been criticised for having developed without sufficient attention to interpetative or predictive accuracy. Many of its practitioneers in the 1970s were self-taught or trained by self-taught astrologers without sufficient attention to the scientific requirements of this work. As was popular back then, many gravitated to psychological insights of astrological symbolism rather than accurate interpretation or prediction. It is a fact that astrology, like any other field, has developed a great deal since then, both in terms of scholarly work by western astrologers (e.g. Robert Hand), efforts to organise and accredit such education (e.g. Kepler college) and then there is the influence of Vedic astrology to focus more on the interpreative/predictive use of astrology (e.g. David Frawley). This is why it is important to qualify such statements. Moreover, scientists of today are likely more aware of the scientific complexities of reality than those of only 35 years ago were, due to advances in scientific knowledge. As a result, scientists are no longer as willing to uniformly reject some notions, like that of God (e.g. Stephen Hawking) just because they cannot be proven. They acknowledge the possibility. Accordingly, scientist of today are less likely to reject something just because they don´t know it or because famous peers of theirs have done so. Accordingly, to say the "scientific community" rejects astrology is not a true statement of today's reality. The statement does not include the views of all scientists living today. A scientist faithful to the scientific methodology only rejects and accepts that which can be understood and tested. While some sub-set of astrology may have been tested and rejected it is not astrology as a whole. In short, while it is ok to quote those scientists who are on record to reject astrology or classify it as a pseudoscience. However, the statement needs to be qualified or described as to what form of astrology the statement refers to, when the statement was made and who made the statement. If other views are identified, these should also be included and qualified. After all, wikipedia is first and last a reference work. Odin 85th gen (talk) 22:28, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I realize that you put a lot of effort into that comment, and I also take note of the discussion at your talk page, but please. "The statement does not include the views of all scientists living today." It does not claim to. There are, of course, individuals with (ahem) idiosyncratic views within any group, but we do not have to give them undue representation. Beyond that, your comment is a lengthy exercise in original research. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:06, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
The comment is only an explanation of why the statement should be qualified. Your comment and views may just as well be called OR. That isn´t the point, however. The point is only that the description should be fair and reflect as well as possible the material that is being cited. As the description stands, it fails to accurately reflect the essence of the information. The statement should account for the fact that it is describing the views of scientists in 1975 and they were commenting on a form of astrology, Western astrology, as it was practiced then.Odin 85th gen (talk) 23:26, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) I've added two sources, one surveying views of scientists, the other reflecting recent scientific views. I hope that helps with the issues of sourcing. I'm fairly neutral about "scientists" versus "scientific community," although I think the former is more succinct, but I think it silly to debate whether the possibility that some scientists dissent from the majority view should make it unencyclopedic to describe the scientific consensus as a whole. And if editors want very much to distinguish between general views of astrology versus views of certain specific Eastern refinements, then that might belong in the page, but not in the lead. --Tryptofish (talk) 00:02, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

"The scientific consensus as a whole" is also not a phrasing I would have a problem with, though "the scientific community" expresses the same meaning (I think) and does so more succinctly. More succinct is better up till the point where it starts becoming ambiguous. Simply saying "scientists consider" is too ambiguous in my opinion. It allows people to choose their own weasel word, "some," "most," or "all," to put in front of it, which ends up being more weasily than if we just picked a weasel word and used it. Mystylplx (talk) 02:25, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
  • If the scientific consensus is that it is a pseudoscience, then it should be backed up my a multitude of sources. For example, in the lead of the Intelligent design article, it states that "unequivocal consensus in the scientific community is that intelligent design is not science" which is backed up by a huge amount of sources and notes, as it is quite a bold statement.--Otterathome (talk) 11:44, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
    As one of the editors who helped get the ID article to FA status, I can assure you this is a completely different situation. No one is seriously considering putting science textbooks with sections treating astrology as a valid science in US classrooms. This was the case with ID; indeed, Dembski hasn't given up yet. This is one of those "incredibly obvious" situations. Scientists don't bother to comment on astrology simply because it is not taken seriously as a scientific subject by any serious professional scientist. Period. There are no or few direct refutations because it is so well established that there is no point in bothering to comment. The ID article editors had a much harder time with cites until those morons in Dover tried to add ID to the schools and netted themselves a court case - with accompanying scientific refutations. Show me one scientific study of astrology; show me one accepted public school textbook which has astrology in the science curriculum; and I'll be delighted to retract this statement. Otherwise, end this foolishness. Puppy has spoken. KillerChihuahua?!?Advice 19:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

No qualifier The statement is correct as written. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:01, 6 October 2009 (UTC)


I noticed that the Astrology article is included in 15 categories, which I find a bit much. When I look closer, I see that 9 of these (Ancient astronomy, Divination, Early scientific cosmologies, Esoteric cosmology, Folklore, History of astronomy, History of ideas, New Age practices, and Pseudoscience) are actually super-categories of Astrology. There are policies about when to include an article in both a category and its super-category, but I find these hard to understand and to apply in this case. I would prefer to apply common sense: If someone is reading the Astrology article and wants to browse related topics, he would start with the Astrology category and then be lead anyway to the other categories. If someone is browsing, say, the Pseudoscience category, he can find the Astrology article through the Astrology category, he doesn't need a direct link. In other words, I think it would be an improvement to remove the article from those 9 superfluous categories. Support? Objections? --Art Carlson (talk) 07:41, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Given the resounding silence, I guess I'll be bold and do it. --Art Carlson (talk) 07:44, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
The pseudoscience category didn't go away, apparently because it is part of Template:Pseudoscience. --Art Carlson (talk) 07:56, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Slightly odd-sounding sentence

Contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking regard astrology as unscientific...

No doubt, but why single out these two? It sounds weird. Surely all contemporary scientists regard astrology as unscientific, don't they? (talk) 03:37, 24 October 2009 (UTC).

Dr. Richard Tarnas

I propose the works of this author be mentioned in the article, to bring out the real diversity of views in academia on the subject of astrology. What follows is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. Tarnas.

Odin 85th gen (talk) 20:03, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I would say would not be considered a reliable source. Angryapathy (talk) 20:12, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
I was a little surprized to see a Wikipedia article on both Richard Tarnas and his employer, the California Institute of Integral Studies. Both articles seem to lack secondary sources. At any rate, before he is singled out for inclusion here, I would want to see some secondary sources supporting his significance. --Art Carlson (talk) 20:37, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
OK, Art, I'll look into it. As a side note, check out the dust jacket on his new book Cosmos and Psyche, A NEW COSMOLOGY FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM (Winner of Book of the Year Prize, Scientific and Medical Network). It has some very interesting people making supportive statements, including
Odin 85th gen (talk) 21:30, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Looking over Richard Tarnas, I see no reason why we would need to include another new age author in this article. Angryapathy (talk) 21:56, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
The argument transcends new age authors. The article describes a too narrow view of the reality of science and what scientists think. There is a growing dissension in the scientific community, reflected in a novel branch of 'idealist' scientific literature that has emerged in recent decades, focusing on a wider approach to science. The motivation has been to transcend the limits of 20th century scientific thought, which is based on a singularly narrow axiomatic edifice of a materialist conception of the universe, including a complete lack of understanding of the conciousness-energy nexus in the created universe. This living idealist cosmological conception is the domain of vedic astrology. The only reason astrology remains a 'mystical' subject is due to our lack of understanding of the dynamics involved, of the cosmic influences on human and all conciousness. This is not least due to the resistance of a majority of the scientific establishment to peek outside of their nappy materialist cosmology. Indeed, before Einstein's revolution of quantum physics, Newtonian physics was a safe and comfy place for scientists to inhabit, too. They were of course taken with great surprise, when a major paradigm shift took place. Well, others have suggested we are in the process of another such revolution. Wikipedia readers would be well served if the astrology article reflected this fact. In any event, here is another take on this issue, albeit without discussion of the astrological dimension[9]. While I realise full well that many here will not agree, nevertheless, I hope they enjoy the discussion from a Western perspective. Hopefully, in time, such changes can be incorporated into the article, perhaps once more editors come around to the importance of a shift in the foundation of the scientific method, or with more such publications for citation, also with regard to astrology. Odin 85th gen (talk) 13:06, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

The scientific community?

The scientific community considers astrology a pseudoscience or superstition.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The above is a bit narrow scope. The law considers it a pseudoscience / superstition in most countries, and I am a member of the jurisprudent community and consider it such. Why do only the 'scientists' as 'scientific community' is linked to get to have their views represented? Given that things only pass into law as an expression of the belief and views of electorates put forward by ministers of parliament one could deduce that 'the people' of each nation consider it a pseudoscience or superstition. Therefore wouldn't the correct approach be to state that it IS a pseudoscience or superstition but is considered a belief system to those who believe in it? (talk) 23:48, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

You need to reference whatever you add to a reliable source, which is what the above does.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 00:08, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
The legal situation of those practicing astrology in Great Britain became difficult following the "Witchcraft Act of 1735" and the "Vagrancy Act of 1829". To the best of my knowledge, these laws are still on the books. Accordingly, those practicing astrology in the UK are still liable to be branded as 'charlatans, rouges and vagabonds'. The legal status has nothing to do with the above definition. The only thing the scientific and judicial communities share is a profound ignorance of astrology and an associated emphatic negative bias which essentially concludes that astrology is not worthy of careful scientific inquiry. Odin 85th gen (talk) 15:05, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
Charlatans and frauds would be an accurate description of astrologers. Science has investigated the claims of astrology, and found them lacking. Why should we accept your claims without evidence? It's worse than that actually, we have evidence (as a result of "careful scientific inquiry") that astrology is bunk. (Please don't attempt to answer my question, it is rhetorical.) This is not a general forum Odin, so please keep your personal views out from now on, and the rest of us will try to do the same. If we can find references for the laws opinion, I see no reason not to add it. Verbal chat 15:47, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
The ignorance of the scientific community of astrology is a demonstrated fact. It has also been aserted by a world authority on the Philosophy of Science, Paul Feyerabend. He includes the following in a learned article about the subject:
A "demonstrated fact" which has been demonstrated WHERE? If astronomers have established accurate orbital calculations for the major bodies within our system, and scientists over a wide range of fields have not produced anything showing an direct influence on "fate"/behaviour, etc., AND they have shown that the claims made are for INCORRECT planetary positions, then shurely shome mishtake has been made by making this claim without any sort of reference? (talk) 14:56, 21 November 2009 (UTC)Lance Tyrell
"When a representative of the BBC wanted to interview some of the Nobel Prize Winners (who signed the statement of 186) they declined with the remark that they had never studied astrology and had no idea of its details."
For balance, this should be inserted in the article. Odin 85th gen (talk) 17:53, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
We could certainly add a Legal status. I hesitate to add the legal community to the scientific community in the above sentence because, at least in jurisdictions with something like the Daubert standard, the legal opinion is derived from the scientific opinion. - 2/0 (cont.) 18:04, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

If and how to mention Vedic/Eastern views

I've brought this discussion over here from Artw's talk page, per his request. In case the context is unclear at first, refer to this section's heading, which I've tried to make as self-explanatory as I could. Cosmic Latte (talk) 10:28, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I'm wondering if you'd explain what it is, exactly, that you feel is wrong with the lead as I've been putting it? Thanks, Cosmic Latte (talk) 16:35, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Haven't we had this discussion before? the edits attempt to represent science as being devided into "western" and not western, with the not western science being aproving of astrology. This simply is not true - science is science. Artw (talk) 16:54, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
I would think that the very existence of "Vedic science" contradicts this view. I didn't invent the term; it's been around for quite some time. Even in the West, different people mean different things by the term "science" (which in its broadest sense, as you may well know, means something like "systematic study"): Natural scientists mean empirical hypothesis-testing, while computer scientists and mathematicians ("mathematics" being related to a Greek word meaning science/study) deal with more symbolism and abstraction (e.g., algorithms), and social scientists use all of the above and more (e.g., history). Even "astrology" (sharing the -logy suffix with words like "physiology" and "geology") literally means "science/study of the stars", while its Indian counterpart (Jyotiṣa) means "science of light". Perhaps science is science, but science is not always modern science (which, having emerged in in the 1800s, if glossed over as "science" would disqualify the likes of Newton and Copernicus as scientists!). And the overwhelming majority (90%, if I recall correctly) of an enormously populous nation (one out of every six people alive) subscribes to the distinctly non-modern science of Jyotiṣa, which is further categorized (not by me, but by what our old friend WP:DUE calls a significant minority of the entire human race) as one of the Vedic sciences. In fact, even if its formal name were "Hocus-pocus malarkey", it still would be a reasonably prominent belief system, and one that would seem sufficiently on-topic to note. Perhaps there is a better wording, which could more clearly indicate that Vedic science is not a modern science; I figured the basic antonyms "Eastern" and "Western" would do. But in any case, there is a community, even if it is not the modern-scientific one, that regards astrology as a legitimate branch of systematic inquiry (i.e., science), and surely this community is substantial enough to merit early mention. Plus, given that China, which is roughly as populous as India, has its distinct astrology, one could say that Eastern astrological studies (I don't know if the term "science" would apply as well in China as in India) are relevant to up to 1/3 of all human beings. Perhaps the problem with the lead was that it gave off the impression that modern science and Vedic science were as comparable methodologically as they are etymologically. This impression clearly would be false; it is not an impression that I, being acutely aware of the etymology, received, but perhaps it is an impression that other readers might get. I'd be happy to work towards a phrasing that would acknowledge such a prominent belief system, but would not tacitly convey (as much pseudoscientific discourse, admittedly, does) that this belief system is upheld by the principles of the modern science that did (thanks to the Renaissance and other factors) happen to develop in the West. I've no interest in turning any article into a battleground for some epic, Wikipedia-wide science-pseudoscience war; I'm not trying to take the side of anyone or of anything, for my interest lies in the explicitly editorial task of conveying an encyclopedic balance between semantic precision and semantic nuance. I'd be glad to try to come up with a better phrasing, and would be interested in any suggestions that you may come up with as well; however, I ask that, when considering reactions to my edits or responses to my comments, you bear in mind that my intentions are not partisan or adversarial. Thanks, Cosmic Latte (talk) 18:10, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
Query: Why does Vedic Science link to a disambiguation page instead of an article on Vedic Science? Is there even such an article? Angryapathy (talk) 15:07, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
To me, it seems more like a list/stub than an actual dab page. Sort of like a less-developed analogue to the Fields of science article. Cosmic Latte (talk) 13:16, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Sanskrit terminology for astrology

I saw this content was removed regarding Sanskrit terminology for asrology. I'm not familiar enough with this subject matter to determine whether it is important and relevant so I wonder if it should be left out, restored elsewhere in the article, or put back where it was? But I thought it might be worth discussing so I'm posting it here for consideration. The more ancient Indian term for astrology is Jyotish, or jyotiṣa in Sanskrit, meaning "light, heavenly body". ref name=JyoVed "Vedanga Jyotisha". Retrieved 2009-11-18. "Eastern and western scholars suppose that the treatise was written some 3400 years ago." /ref ChildofMidnight (talk) 07:40, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

I've been reverting it because it needlessly crowds the lead, and is largely irrelevant. In the box on the right there are no less than 9 different types of astrology (Babylonian astrology,Hellenistic astrology,Egyptian astrology,Hindu astrology,Western astrology,Muslim astrology,Chinese astrology,Sidereal astrology,Tropical astrology) - I don't think they should be mentioned in the lead, This article is about Western Astrology and frankly the only person adding this continuously is a Vedic Science believer. Whereas three editors have removed it. Phil153 (talk) 08:04, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
I think most editors here will disagree with the following statement by Phil153 that "This article is about Western Astrology" The title of this article says Astrology and even if an English Wikipedia entry it should fairly reflect its origins, wherever they may be. Should an article about Mathematics only focus on Western math? If this or other editors would like this article to focus exclusively on the form of astrology that developed from Greek times in Europe and later America, it would need to be titled accordingly as the English word astrology is a catch phrase for all types of astrology and significantly re-edited. A better approach would likely be to create a new article about Western astrology. As for the ad hominem attacks on me as simply some "Vedic science believer" is not only rude and in bad faith but irrelevant. As I think this is a mute issue, I am placing the Indian information back in the lead where it belongs. Odin 85th gen (talk) 10:25, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
The title of this article is the Western word for astrology, and you're inserting the etymology of Jyotish in the lead, which has its own article with its own etymology. That doesn't make sense to me, especially in the lead. I've reverted it. I've made my case plainly: there are numerous words for Astrology going back to the beginning of history; why include this one? And why in the lead? It's merely extraneous information that doesn't belong in the lead. Three separate editors have reverted your contributions; and this is the third time you've readded them. Please review WP:3RR and WP:Consensus. Phil153 (talk) 11:11, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
And I apologise completely for mentioning your frequent vedic science editing, it was slightly rude of me. I have no evidence to suggest that your desire to continually re-add Vedic terms to the lead of the astrology article despite opposition has anything to do with a desire to promote that said "science". Phil153 (talk) 11:19, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
This might be a good time for other editors to weigh in on this issue. Odin 85th gen (talk) 12:33, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
The onus is on you to justify why it should be included in the intro, while other non-western forms of astrology should be excluded. Could you also explain why you are so passionate in adding references to indian astrology? It may give us a better idea of where you're coming from. MisterTin (talk) 16:52, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
Agree, I currently see no reasons that justify adding this to the lead. Verbal chat 17:07, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
MisterTin, as I´ve noted before, there is a clear bias in the article. This is reflected in either a subconcious cultural bias of English speaking editors such that they consider Greece the origin of any or all knowledge. Alternatively, this may be an innocent lack of knowledge of the fact that astrology, like many strands of knowledge, have their origins before and beyond Greece. The literary record is clear on this. To highlight the Greek origin of the English word of astrology, perpetuates this misleading presentation of the origins of astrology. Indian astrology is the oldest documented form of astrology, much older than also e.g. Chinese astrology. By the way, I could add that CosmicLatte is another editor who is trying to correct for this imbalance in the presentation. Odin 85th gen (talk) 18:05, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't belong in the lead - the section on Vedic astrology exists and Vedas is already mentioned in the lead, quite enough. We seem to have one editor edit warring (that last self-revert keeps Odin w/in 3rr) for what appears as POV pushing. Accusing your fellow editors of bias or ignorance, as you just did, is unacceptable. Vsmith (talk) 18:56, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
No reason to get indignant, Vsmith, there is a long scholarly debate on the independent origins of Western versus Indic cvilization and it has been blemished by biases. We see a microcosm of such impulses here. Edwin Bryant, Lecturer in Indology at Harvard University wrote a book in 2001 exposing "...the extent to which both sides of the debate have been driven by political, racial, religious, and nationalistic agendas." The aim of his book is to restore balance to the scholarship, which is something to emulate here. We cannot expect to eradicate it unless people are made aware of such latent tendencies. Interestingly, in trying to right the imbalances, I have been accused of such biases! Life never ceases to amaze and amuse. [10] Odin 85th gen (talk) 15:35, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Then this appears to be a semantic misunderstanding. Astrology is used to mean greek astrology. When we say indian astrology, we mean indian beliefs that happen to resemble greek astrology. Hopefully that clears things up for you. MisterTin (talk) 19:08, 20 November 2009 (UTC)
You are being completely illogical. The article makes no pretense about being about Western astrology only, but discusses all traditions. Indeed, it is a universal article about astrology. Still you suggest it should be described as only Western in the lead.Odin 85th gen (talk) 01:34, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
No need for personal attacks. Your grievance is with the English language, not with me. MisterTin (talk) 17:17, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Western astrology

A decision has been reached by a few editors to exclude from the lead information showing the multicultural roots of astrology, especially those showing its origins outside of the Western world. Moreover, the statement has been made that this article only deals with Western astrology. If this is so, I propose this article be rewritten and edited such that it fits this new narrower definition. It would then be retitled as Western Astrology. Another article can then be written based on material currently in this article dealing with other traditions herein as well as a summary of the new Western astrology article. Such an article could then be titled Astrology and would have as a goal to describe astrology as a global and historical phenomen. The new article would of course also be in English, unless, of course, there is a policy implied by these editors which states that English Wikipedia is restricted to deal only with phemoena in the Western world. Of course, the easiest solution, and which I favour, is to just keep this article as is and widen it to account for the complete historicity of the subject matter. Odin 85th gen (talk) 18:26, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Sounds like you are proposing a WP:POVFORK, and your summary is inaccurate. Verbal chat 18:48, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
You have summed up inaccurately what I am saying. Indeed, I am not for creating a fork, but to keep the article, but make it a truly comprehensive article, free of this tiresome Western bias. Odin 85th gen (talk) 19:11, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Before this discussion goes any further, you'll need to provide references for your proposed taxonomy. MisterTin (talk) 21:24, 21 November 2009 (UTC)


Can you consider the proposed add-on sentence on its own merit, please?

The English word astrology derives from Greek αστρολογία : ἄστρον, astron, "constellation, star"; and -λογία, -logia, "the study of", meaning the study of the stars. A synonym for astrology is the more ancient Sanskrit term jyotiṣa (ज्योतिष) meaning the science of light. [10]

Odin 85th gen (talk) 23:09, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Please consider WP:DEADHORSE. Your proposed addition merely clutters the lead with the etymology of a word from one culture out of many, and not even the one that started astrology. If we add that etymology then why not add the etymology of "紫微斗数" and "ilm al-nujum" and "དཀར་རྩིས" and ...? Phil153 (talk) 23:23, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
FWIW the actual greek article has a terminology section, but this one doesn't at the moment. The article might improve from having one. Even then I'm not sure that Sanskrit is necessarily desirable there either, but it might make some sense, maybe.- Wolfkeeper 02:23, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
The effort to update the article with relevant information is not a deadhorse issue. The etymology (ज्योतिष) was there to balance the Greek one but it could be dropped. Your assertion that India was not the culture "that started astrology" is a matter of dispute. The flowering of the Indus Valley civilisation in the third millennia is known to precede the second millennia Babylonian civilization. In fact, the rise of Babylonian astronomy/astrology in 1600 B.C.E. coincides with the exodus from the Indus valley caused by the drying up of the Saraswati river around that time. The literary record also shows that astrology in India emerged millennia before it did so in Greece. The sentence cites the earliest known literary record of astrology (Jyotish Vedanga) dating back to at least 1200 to 1000 B.C.E (pre-iron age), but likely earlier. Some recent debate has revolved around the issue if Greek horoscopic astrology was of independent origin or not. Odin 85th gen (talk) 09:10, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
It's a non sequiteur, it shouldn't go in the lead. Verbal chat 09:51, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
That use of the term seems to be oxymoronic. How can different cultural expressions of the concept of astrology, occuring as they do over a timespan, be a non-sequitur? Odin 85th gen (talk) 10:04, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Due to differences of view or lack of consensus on the inclusion of the terms used in different cultures to describe the concept of astrology, I propose to rearrange parts of lead, move disputed description of the word astrology to the relevant sections in the main body of the text and also remove citation to article by Rob Hand, as it is not supporting the claim made. The proposed edit to the article shows this change, but may be reverted in total or part if there are strong feelings that this is not an improvement. However, please note that this issue should not be considered settled until editors are in agreement on a consensus. Odin 85th gen (talk) 08:48, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Of horoscopes and hot sauce

I agree that Western practices probably are most prototypical of the English word, "astrology". It would be a mistake for the lead to ramble on and on about Jyotiṣa and the like, because the contents of the lead would then be disproportionate to the contents of the article body. But I think that a complete omission might be an instance of "undue non-weight" (or something like that). If you'll pardon the huge shift in subject matter, consider the Spanish loanword, "chalupa". Just as English-speakers might readily associate "astrology" with Anglo-European practices, so would Spanish-speakers most easily associate "chalupa" with a dish that bears hardly any resemblance to the well-known Taco Bell creation. But it would be counterintuitive for one to omit Taco Bell from the chalupa article--even from the lead, if that were a fuller article. It strikes me as even more peculiar to omit Jyotiṣa entirely from the lead (of this article)--because, while Taco Bell just sort of decided to co-opt "chalupa", the words "astrology" (lit. "study of the stars") and "Jyotiṣa" (lit. "science of light") have been semantically similar for ages. So I propose that at least a very brief mention of Jyotiṣa in the lead would be appropriate, while acknowledging that such a mention should not gloss over the enormous methodological differences between modern science and Vedic science. Cosmic Latte (talk) 13:46, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Come to think of it, I think I've found the perfect spot for such a mention: The lead already includes the line, "Astrology has played an important role in the shaping of culture, early astronomy, the Vedas..." (emphasis mine), so I don't think there ever has been an explicit consensus against noting Eastern tradition in the lead. I think a very brief mention of Vedic science or Jyotiṣa could fit into the paragraph in which this line is found. This is not the same paragraph that mentions "the scientific community", so I don't think it would lead to the aforementioned "glossing over". Cosmic Latte (talk) 18:57, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Astrology, if defined as in the lead to be "a group of systems, traditions, and beliefs which hold that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters" most certainly did not influence "the Vedas". Only quacks like David Frawley make such claims. It has no basis in fact. The purely etymological definition, however, does fit the bill, as the Vedic people, just like many other ancient groups, did "study the stars", typically for calendar-related reasons. And in that sense, "astrology" was exactly the same as "astronomy" back then. So it would be equally true, equally correct and equally accurate to say that "astronomy influenced the Vedas". What is definitely not true is the notion that astrology in the modern sense "influenced the Vedas". Any claim of that sort will require proper sourcing from peer-reviewed academic literature, not pop-gurus like Frawley. (You may, however, state that he has made the claim. This is not the same as basing the veracity of the apparent "fact" on his say-so.) rudra (talk) 15:51, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Astrology is an integral part of the ancient Vedas, linking man and the stars via the law of karma in a wide ranging cosmology of spiritual development. Aurobindo said that ancient vedic civilisation was steeped in symbolism which modern man may find difficult to understand. Astronomy was the method to track the movement of divine bodies across the sky, which astrology offered an interpretation for. The vedic myth of the Moon's nodes, Rahu and Ketu, the mortal enemies of the Sun and Moon is a testament to this. The Moon's nodes were astronomical devices to track solar and lunar eclipses but also have astrological meaning in the horoscope. To call astrology a calendar system is therefore wrong. To equate astrology and astronomy as influences in the Vedas is therefore equally wrong, even if the two developed hand in hand. David Frawley is a scholar and believer of the vedas, including astrology. Even if his views on the Aryan invasion theory have offered a needed challenge to the lax consensus of western academians, he is not a quack...except perhaps to a duck :). It is interesting that the views on Vedic culture are very two sided. On the one hand we have the eastern practitioneers which know something of the essence of this civilisation and can make thoughtful assessments but do not present it in academic garb. On the other we have the western academians who know little of the essence of this civilisation but something about the historical artifacts and present the information with thee legitimacy of academic precision but are vulnerable to arrive at naive conclusions. Clearly the two sides need to be reconcilded. With that in view, scholars of both the vedas and of vedic anthropology could be cited in the article. Odin 85th gen (talk) 08:59, 22 December 2009 (UTC)


Re. [11]: Psychology and astrology have a rather complicated relationship. The experimental approach (tracing back most prominently to William James and Wilhelm Wundt) does not assume a priori the validity of any psychological assertion. In contrast, the analytical approach (founded by Carl Jung) takes for granted certain things (such as the existence of an unconscious mind or a collective unconscious), and therefore does not accept only a posteriori declarations. The relationship between Jungian psychology and astrology is discussed at length in a book entitled Psychological Astrology. Essentially, then, the reason for specifying "experimental" psychology is to indicate that psychological approach which does not regard "psychological" as an appropriate descriptor of "astrology". Cosmic Latte (talk) 16:22, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Please provide a source for analytical psychology accepting astrology. Verbal chat 16:42, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
I didn't actually say that analytical psychology "accepts astrology"; I rather said that the two are reasonably compatible with one another, reflecting the very thesis of the source I provided. Ultimately, then, the assertion that "psychology explains much of the continued faith in astrology as a matter of cognitive biases" is diminished by the fact that there is a type of psychology (i.e., Jungian psychology--notice where this redirects) that would not explain astrological faith in such a manner. This type of psychology might be more inclined to invoke the principle of synchronicity. Which reminds me--if you still desire that I demonstrate an "acceptance" of astrology by Jungian/analytical psychology, I'll quote a source that has been in the article for ages: "To these persons, and others, he explained his interest in astrology to be a means by which he could quantify his theories of synchronistic phenomena"; "Jung's famous astrological experiment, in which he utilized several hundred horoscopes to study the interactions of Sun, Moon, Mars, Venus, and Ascendant in married people, turned out to be more than just an attempt to prove astrology"; "In the early 1950s, Jung presented his work on synchronicity, including his astrological experiment, to the world. He considered this material to be some of his most advanced work, but it was not well-received"; and so on. Cosmic Latte (talk) 17:06, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Verb tense and pipelink

Two things, re. [12]:

  • I'm assuming "sense" was supposed to be "tense". If not, then please pardon the first part of this section. The intention was only to organize astrologers' and scientists' beliefs, not to imply what I'm guessing you think I might have been trying to imply, namely that 20th-century science has been superseded by something else in the 21st century. I don't see how my version has this implication (if it did, then wouldn't one assume that a 21st-century update would follow?)--but if it does, the problem should be extremely easy to remedy. Instead of "By the late 20th century, astrology was generally considered a pseudoscience", how about "By the late 20th century, astrology came to be generally considered a pseudoscience", or "By the late 20th century and into the 21st, astrology was generally considered a pseudoscience"? This strikes me as a simple copy-editing issue.
  • I'm guessing that there was no problem with the personality type pipelink, which also got reverted. If there is a problem, it very well might be valid, but I'd like to know what it is. But if, as I'm guessing, there's not an issue... *sigh* looks like another instance of collateral damage (despite good intentions, of course) from a bulk revert.

Cosmic Latte (talk) 16:41, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Re the first, I see no reason for the change except to muddy the waters. 2, yes, that clarification is fine. Verbal chat 16:43, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
How is it muddying the waters to indicate that the scientific position on astrology followed the historical division between science and astrology? The latter "follows" from the former not only in time but also in logic: Science and astrology had to distinguish themselves from one another before science could regard astrology as distinct from science. I would therefore think that my arrangement, far from muddying the waters, helped to make things crystal-clear. Cosmic Latte (talk) 17:15, 22 February 2010 (UTC)


The layout of this article desperately needs fixing. The boxes and images are screwing it up. Very unprofessional appearance. Some of those boxes should be made into horizontal ones to place at the bottom. -- Brangifer (talk) 18:43, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Influence on global warming?

Should we mention the possible effect astrology has on global warming? [13] As recognised by the South Dakotan legislature of course. (Sorry couldn't resist.) Nil Einne (talk) 17:59, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

The topic of Face reading is created based on the following....

-- (talk) 05:48, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 05:53, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 05:55, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 06:00, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

-- (talk) 06:06, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

The relationship of the topic with science....

-- (talk) 05:58, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Physionomics - new area...???

-- (talk) 06:11, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Science and Engineering Indicators 2006 cited in the lead

In what looks like an attempt to make astrology look respectable, an editor has made the following change to the lead.

Previous version (A):

Astrology is generally considered a pseudoscience or superstition by the scientific community, which cites a lack of statistically significant astrological predictions, while psychology explains much of the continued faith in astrology as a matter of cognitive biases.[4][11][12][13] The scientific consensus, as expressed by the National Science Foundation, considers belief in astrology to be a pseudoscientific belief.[14]

New version (B):

Astrology is generally considered a pseudoscience or superstition by the scientific community, which cites a lack of statistically significant astrological predictions, while psychology explains much of the continued faith in astrology as a matter of cognitive biases.[4][11][15][16] In 2006 the U.S. National Science Board published a statement which said it considers belief in ten survey items, astrology among them, to be "pseudoscientific".[17]

I propose changing this to the following, much stronger version (C):

Astrology is generally considered a pseudoscience or superstition by the scientific community, which cites a lack of statistically significant astrological predictions, while psychology explains much of the continued faith in astrology as a matter of cognitive biases.[4][11][18][19]


"Astrology is generally considered a pseudoscience or superstition by the scientific community" is a precise, correct and extremely strong statement. The sentence continues with a clear and convincing explanation why scientists regard astrology as pseudoscience/superstition. This sentence is present in all three versions.

(A) is defective in three ways:

  • While sort of reaffirming the first sentence, the second sentence shifts the focus from astrology per se to those who believe in astrology; i.e. it shifts the focus from producers and consumers of the pseudoscience to just the consumers. At the same time it drops "or superstition", which is present in the first sentence mere belief in a connection between stars and fate, or mere reading of newspaper horoscopes, are too simplistic to be convincing examples of pseudo-scientific beliefs. This oddity produces a cognitive dissonance that undermines the first sentence and detracts from what it says.
  • Since the source never explicitly claims anything about academic consensus, the second sentence fails WP:RS#Academic consensus.
  • The lead should be concise summary of a concise article. Such useless repetitions are incompatible with encyclopedic brevity, especially in the lead.

(B) has similar problems:

  • The new version of the second sentence creates the impression that there is doubt among scientists about the nature of astrology as pseudoscience. That is incorrect (no such doubt exists) and contradicts the previous sentence. The impression is created by (1) grouping astrology inside a group of ten items (for no good reason other than mentioning the ten items is the best way to make it clear that the source doesn't actually speak about astrology in detail), when there are other sources of better quality (i.e. high-quality sources about pseudoscience and/or astrology, as opposed to this source on science statistics) that describe astrology as an epitome of pseudoscience, and (2) giving the impression that there was so much doubt about the question that the NSB formed a taskforce to settle it, which then published a statement in 2006 (an impression conjured up through the incorrect use of "statement" for what is a passing mention in a huge document about something entirely else [14]).
  • The lead should be concise summary of a concise article. Such useless repetitions are incompatible with encyclopedic brevity, especially in the lead.

(C) The obvious solution is to return this passage to the excellent state in which it was until February – with one exception: The (first) sentence should stand on its own, as a separate paragraph, to highlight its importance just in case someone doesn't get it. (The sentence was previously attached to the end of the first paragraph.) Hans Adler 08:43, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


Hans, your wikilawyering and allergy to the NSB/NSF has gotten you to go way too far, yet again. You are grasping at straws that aren't even there.

  • Your responses are misleading and downright deceptive, especially when you attempt to smear me as someone who would "attempt to make astrology look respectable". You know full well that I consider astrology and homeopathy to be among the most classic examples of pseudoscience there are. I would never do such a thing, and my change doesn't do it either. Your character assassinations need to stop. That's really despicable.
  • While I'm not going to do anything about it, your edit summary when you removed part of the content in the box at the top was also another smear on my character. You wrote "... makes it appear that there is any doubt whether this article falls under pseudoscience." That's bull and you know it. Its presence actually strengthened the impression that the scientific community isn't in doubt by including the National Science Board itself as a backer of that position.
  • The word "superstition" hasn't been dropped or even touched. I don't know why you even mention that.
  • You have repeatedly objected to the wording "scientific consensus". I have dropped it and you complain? Very odd. You should have been happy you got your wish. Now it looks like it's less than the scientific consensus, so who's making it seem like astrology is "respectable"? The previous version was stronger. You also know that the addition of that wording doesn't violate WP:RS#Academic consensus because that part of RS doesn't speak of this type of situation at all. Those words were added because the majority of editors in the two RfCs affirmed that the NSF/NSB statement did reflect the scientific consensus, and they approved of that wording. I wouldn't have added them if the community hadn't spoken. That you now object to its removal is rather odd.
  • The new version (B) doesn't create any "impression that there is doubt among scientists about the nature of astrology as pseudoscience." On the contrary. It doesn't make any essential change to what was already there, so it doesn't change any "impression", and its presence only affirms that not only are scientists not in doubt, the National Science Board isn't in doubt either. That strengthens the impression that scientists aren't in doubt at all.
  • The two sentences already stand on their own. That hasn't changed at all.
  • Your proposed replacement is an exact copy of my new version. I suspect you made a copy and paste error there.

The rest of your comments are more misleading wikilawyering designed to deprecate the National Science Board and cast doubt on this improvement of the existing content which even accomodated one of your objections.Brangifer (talk) 14:51, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

BullRangifer, as long as you try to fit everything I am doing into your prejudice that I am pushing a pseudoscience POV you are not going to understand anything. That's precisely why we have the behavioural guideline WP:AGF, which you are routinely ignoring.
And I must say, if you don't understand how language works and aren't able to work with it, you had better leave it to people who do. Perhaps you will understand it better if we take an unrelated hypothetical example that is structurally similar:

Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization.

Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization. In 2006 the European Union published a statement which said it considers Al-Qaeda to be a terrorist organization.

The second sentence in the second example very clearly undermines the first sentence. If Al-Qaeda just is a terrorist organization, objectively, then the second sentence is so entirely irrelevant that it makes no sense. Any intelligent reader will therefore conclude that there is something problematic about the first sentence: Apparently is so rarely actually called terrorist in public that it's worth pointing out that someone does!
Thanks for pointing out that I pasted too much into version (C). I have fixed it. Hans Adler 15:29, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I guess the more interesting question is would you allow a statement that Al-Qaeda just is a terrorist organization? What if you had a source that said so? How about a section of a European Union report that listed a section entitled 'Terrorist Organizations' then had a gallup poll about 10 organizations.... whould that be sufficient for you? What if your definition of a terrorist organization clashed with that of the European Union? It would be interesting to see what you consider a sufficient source that Astrology actually is a pseudoscience.... Guyonthesubway (talk) 17:40, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Please come back when you are willing to contribute seriously to this discussion rather than attack a straw man. I have made it absolutely clear that astrology is the epitome of pseudoscience, and that the main problem with BullRangifer's version is that it suggests otherwise. You are either just attacking me without reading what I have written, or trolling. Neither is appropriate. Hans Adler 18:08, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
My point is that you appear to be pushinhg a POV about your definition of pseudoscience, by allowing certain things to becategorized as such, and heavily contesting others. You're content to allow the statement 'astrology is pseudoscience' but contest 'ghost hunting is pseudoscience'. So I'm giving you the opportunity to defend yourself. Demonstrate for the poor unwashed a good reference for a statement that a topic is pseudoscience or pseudoscientific and demonstrate your great wisdom for this unworthy one, that he might learn. Alternately you might conceed that you have a preconceived definition of the term. Guyonthesubway (talk) 18:38, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Hello? If you continue with your fantastic (and wrong, to avoid any ambiguity) claims about my position I will have to go to a noticeboard to ask for a topic ban. Of course ghost hunting is pseudoscience. It is ghosts that are not pseudoscience. If you can't see the difference between ghosts (thrilling stories about haunted castles, Hamlet's ghost, etc.) and ghost hunting (people going superficially through the motions of doing science) then that simply shows that your world view is totally distorted.


So you seriously want me to give you good sources for astrology being a pseudoscience? OK, no problem. Let's start with the best one:

The problem which troubled me at the time was neither, "When is a theory true?" nor "When is a theory acceptable?" my problem was different. I wished to distinguish between science and pseudo-science; knowing very well that science often errs, and that pseudoscience may happen to stumble on the truth.

[...] I often formulated my problem as one of distinguishing between a genuinely empirical method and a non-empirical or even pseudo-empirical method — that is to say, a method which, although it appeals to observation and experiment, nevertheless does not come up to scientific standards. The latter method may be exemplified by astrology, with its stupendous mass of empirical evidence based on observation — on horoscopes and on biographies.
[...] It was rather that I felt that these other three theories [i.e. "Marx's theory of history, Freud's psycho-analysis, and Alfred Adler's so-called 'individual psychology'"], though posing as science, had in fact more in common with primitive myths than with science; that they resembled astrology rather than astronomy.
Astrology did not pass the test. Astrologers were greatly impressed, and misled, by what they believed to be confirming evidence — so much so that they were quite unimpressed by any unfavorable evidence. Moreover, by making their interpretations and prophesies sufficiently vague they were able to explain away anything that might have been a refutation of the theory had the theory and the prophesies been more precise. In order to escape falsification they destroyed the testability of their theory. It is a typical soothsayer's trick to predict things so vaguely that the predictions can hardly fail: that they become irrefutable.


4. The case of astrology, nowadays a typical pseudo-science, may illustrate this point. It was attacked, by Aristotelians and other rationalists, down to Newton's day, for the wrong reason — for its now an accepted assertion that the planets had an "influence" upon terrestrial ("sublunar") events. In fact Newton's theory of gravity, and especially the lunar theory of the tides, was historically speaking an offspring of astrological lore. Newton, it seems, was most reluctant to adopt a theory which came from the same stable as for example the theory that "influenza" epidemics are due to an astral "influence." And Galileo, no doubt for the same reason, actually rejected the lunar theory of the tides; and his misgivings about Kepler may easily be explained by his misgivings about astrology.
Karl Popper, Science as Falsification

Some features of this source:

  • The author is highly notable, a highly respected philosopher of science, and probably the most widely cited expert on pseudoscience. (Not a statistician or biologist or stage magician.)
  • The source deals entirely with the topic of pseudoscience. (Not primarily with science statistics or the price of oranges in Oklahoma.)
  • While astrology is not in the main focus of the source, it does come up repeatedly and in detailed discussions. The question of pseudoscience, for Popper, is whether something resembles astrology or astronomy, i.e. astrology (pseudoscience) and astronomy (science) are the two standards between which one needs to find a clear demarcation.
  • The source says explicitly that astrology is a pseudoscience, and a typical one too: "The case of astrology, nowadays a typical pseudo-science".
  • The source was not superseded by later publications of the author on the same topic which dropped the claim that astrology is pseudoscience. (Obviously I can't prove this.)
  • The source is widely cited.


I can't possibly find anything better than this, but there are other sources of equal quality that help us sketch a more complete picture:

Most philosophers and historians of science agree that astrology is a pseudoscience, but there is little agreement on why it is a pseudoscience. [...] matters of verifiability and falsifiability [...] questions of progress and Kuhnian normal science [...] objections raised by a large panel of scientists recently organized by The Humanist magazine. Of course there are also Feyerabendian anarchists and others who say that no demarcation of science from pseudoscience is possible. However, I shall propose a [...] criterion for distinguishing disciplines as pseudoscientific [...]

I begin with a brief description of astrology. It would be most unfair to evaluate astrology by reference to the daily horoscopes found in newspapers and popular magazines. These horoscopes deal only with sun signs, whereas a full horoscope makes reference to [...]
[...] [new criterion for pseudoscience] [...]
[...] For these reasons, my criterion marks astrology as pseudoscientific. [...]
Of course, the criterion is intended to have applications beyond astrology. I think that discussion would show that the criterion marks as pseudoscientific such practices as witchcraft and pyramidology, while leaving contemporary physics, chemistry and biology unthreatened. [...]
One interesting consequence of the above criterion is that a theory can be scientific at one time but pseudoscientific at another. In the time of Ptolemy or even Kepler, astrology had few alternatives in the explanation of human personality and behavior. Existing alternatives were scarcely more sophisticated or corroborated than astrology. Hence astrology should be judged as not pseudoscientific in classical or Renaissance times, even though it is pseudoscientific today. Astrology was not simply a perverse sideline of Ptolemy and Kepler, but part of their scientific activity, even if a physicist involved with astrology today should be looked at askance. Only when the historical and social aspects of science are neglected does it become plausible that pseudoscience is an unchanging category. Rationality is not a property of ideas eternally: ideas, like actions, can be rational at one time but irrational at others. Hence relativizing the science/pseudoscience distinction to historical periods is a desirable result.
But there remains a challenging historical problem. According to my criterion, astrology only became pseudoscientific with the rise of modern psychology in the nineteenth century. But astrology was already virtually excised from scientific circles by the beginning of the eighteenth. How could this be? The simple answer is that a theory can take on the appearance of an unpromising project well before it deserves the label of pseudoscience. The Copernican revolution and the mechanism of Newton, Descartes and Hobbes undermined the plausibility of astrology.6 Lynn Thorndike [27] has described how the Newtonian theory pushed aside what had been accepted as a universal natural law, that inferiors such as inhabitants of earth are ruled and governed by superiors such as the stars and the planets. William Stahlman [23] has described how the immense growth of science in the seventeenth century contrasted with stagnation of astrology. These developments provided good reasons for discarding astrology as a promising pursuit, but they were not yet enough to brand it as pseudoscientific, or even to refute it.
Paul Thagard, Is A Pseudoscience

Some features of this source:

  • The author is a professor of philosophy, psychology and computer science and an expert on philosophy of science.
  • The fact that astrology is a pseudoscience isn't merely central to the source – it appears even in the title.
  • The document is a peer-reviewed article.
  • The very first sentence of the article is a claim that astrology is a pseudoscience according to the relevant academic community.
  • The author demonstrates complete familiarity both with the prior literature and current discussion on classifying fields as pseudoscience and with the details of astrology.
  • Towards the end, the source goes into interesting details about the history of astrology that should help us to expand and properly contextualise information in Astrology#Before the modern era. (I.e., yes, scientists like Kepler once did astrology, but no, this doesn't mean it's respectable now.)

It would be absurd to require sources of this extremely high quality for other topics before we call them pseudoscientific, and in fact we don't. (On the other hand, we still can't permit misquotation, but that discussion is not very relevant to this article and should be done elsewhere.) But it is simply disruptive to vehemently push a source that is far inferior into this article if all it takes to find these first class sources is one quick Google search.

If you haven't read these sources before, but are playing a sceptic and pseudoscience expert on Wikipedia, then you are – no, I am not going to continue this sentence. Hans Adler 19:45, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


Here is another one:

[...] Astrology, rightly taken by Popper as an unusually clear example of a pseudoscience, has in fact been tested and thoroughly refuted (Culver and Ianna 1988; Carlson 1985). [...]

Kuhn's view of demarcation is most clearly expressed in his comparison of astronomy with astrology. Since antiquity, astronomy has been a puzzle-solving activity and therefore a science. If an astronomer's prediction failed, then this was a puzzle that he could hope to solve for instance with more measurements or with adjustments of the theory. In contrast, the astrologer had no such puzzles since in that discipline “particular failures did not give rise to research puzzles, for no man, however skilled, could make use of them in a constructive attempt to revise the astrological tradition” (Kuhn 1974, 804). Therefore, according to Kuhn, astrology has never been a science.
Popper disapproved thoroughly of Kuhn's demarcation criterion. According to Popper, astrologers are engaged in puzzle solving, and consequently Kuhn's criterion commits him to recognize astrology as a science. (Contrary to Kuhn, Popper defined puzzles as “minor problems which do not affect the routine”.) In his view Kuhn's proposal leads to “the major disaster” of a “replacement of a rational criterion of science by a sociological one” (Popper 1974, 1146–1147).
Kuhn observed that although his own and Popper's criteria of demarcation are profoundly different, they lead to essentially the same conclusions on what should be counted as science respectively pseudoscience (Kuhn 1974, 803). This convergence of theoretically divergent demarcation criteria is a quite general phenomenon. Philosophers and other theoreticians of science differ widely in their views of what science is. Nevertheless, there is virtual unanimity in the community of knowledge disciplines on most particular issues of demarcation. There is widespread agreement for instance that creationism, astrology, homeopathy, Kirlian photography, dowsing, ufology, ancient astronaut theory, Holocaust denialism, and Velikovskian catastrophism are pseudosciences. There are a few points of controversy, for instance concerning the status of Freudian psychoanalysis, but the general picture is one of consensus rather than controversy in particular issues of demarcation.
Sven Ove Hansson, Science and Pseudo-Science

Some features of this source:

  • Up to date (first published less than 2 years ago).
  • Tertiary source (article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). This is both an advantage (we can expect a bit overview, and guidance for our treatment of the topic; pointer to many secondary sources of high quality) and a disadvantage (for citing secondary sources are better).
  • Cites Popper in relation to astrology, and cites the above paper by Thagard, proving that both are indeed relevant. (Does not refute or qualify either.)
  • Tells us that also according to Kuhn, astrology is a pseudoscience, and more: According to Kuhn it has always been one. And Popper comes to a different conclusion when applying Kuhn's criteria (i.e. astrology not a pseudoscience), which for Popper means Kuhn's criteria must be defective. In other words: A necessary property of any reasonable definition of pseudoscience, according to Popper, is that astrology is one.
  • "There is widespread agreement for instance that creationism, astrology, homeopathy, Kirlian photography, dowsing, ufology, ancient astronaut theory, Holocaust denialism, and Velikovskian catastrophism are pseudosciences." – explicit statement on academic consensus, very useful. (But caution: It speaks about ufology, not UFOs. Elsewhere the text explains how many sceptics use a much wider definition of pseudoscience than they profess to be using: "Common usage seems to vacillate between the definitions (1)+(2′) and (1)+(2″); and this in an interesting way: In their comments on the meaning of the term, critics of pseudoscience tend to endorse a definition close to (1)+(2′), but their actual usage is often closer to (1)+(2″).")

Hans Adler 20:48, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Great Stuff. Question, while none of this explicitly mention Ghosts, its looks pretty easy to me to suggest that under critera (1+2"), the belief in the existance of any supernatural phenomenon meets these critera. Certainly the appearance of an entity that defies the laws of physics seems to fit. Perhaps now you can stop insulting my world view. You on the other hand seem to favor a strict (1+2) interpretation. Guyonthesubway (talk) 21:30, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I have favoured a strict (1+2) interpretation because I am not an expert on pseudoscience and was not familiar with the other definitions before I re-read the Hansson article now, in the context of the current conflict. (I have seen all three sources before while doing research for list of topics characterized as pseudoscience.) (1+2) is how our article pseudoscience defines pseudoscience, it is how wikt:pseudoscience defines pseudoscience, and it is how every dictionary I have seen defines pseudoscience. We can't promote (1+2) as the official definition of pseudoscience and then use (1+2") as if it was the same thing. Note also how all the good sources ask "Is X a science or a pseudoscience?" It makes no sense to ask: "Are ghosts a science or a pseudoscience?" This question does make sense for ghost hunting, though.
Also note that even under the laxest criterion (2") ghosts are not necessarily pseudoscience. You have a better case with that criterion, but I would argue that ghosts, in the most general context, are not part of any doctrine but simply of human culture. If ghosts are pseudoscience, then religion is an even clearer case of pseudoscience (as it is connected with doctrines), and you would never get away with that. (I am saying this as an atheist who likes to poke fun at religions.) Hans Adler 21:58, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

    "...[A]bout three-fourths of Americans hold at least one pseudoscientific belief; i.e., they believed in at least 1 of the 10 survey items...[29]"

    "[29] Those 10 items were extrasensory perception (ESP), that houses can be haunted, ghosts/that spirits of dead people can come back in certain places/situations, telepathy/communication between minds without using traditional senses, clairvoyance/the power of the mind to know the past and predict the future, astrology/that the position of the stars and planets can affect people's lives, that people can communicate mentally with someone who has died, witches, reincarnation/the rebirth of the soul in a new body after death, and channeling/allowing a "spirit-being" to temporarily assume control of a body."