Talk:Astrology/Archive 15

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"Stars" as a general or specific term?

I don't know the history of this very well, but when astrology began, many ages ago, weren't all the heavenly bodies (stars and planets), except the sun and moon, called "stars" and considered to be the same thing? If that's the case, it should be explained that the word "stars" is being used in a very general manner, and not specifically for what we now (since the 2006 redefining of "planets") consider "stars". -- Brangifer (talk) 21:36, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

That's an interesting point, although the word "star" specifically isn't much use for pre-anglophone history, and I'd argue that even the earliest records of stargazing (babylonian, chinese, &c) make a distinction between "the 5 lights that move around relative to other lights in the night sky" and "all the other thousands of fixed lights in the night sky" bobrayner (talk) 21:56, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
You're no doubt right about that. The ancients didn't have TV or artificial lighting to turn the night into day, and sitting outside under the stars was a common pastime. I'm sure they used lots of time observing the heavens and many knew more about the heavens than your ordinary man nowadays. They knew where things were, what their normal movements were, and observed anything odd that was happening. -- Brangifer (talk) 06:05, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
"Astronomy" isn't just about the stars either. And "star gazing" includes watching the planets. Greek astêr meant a light in the sky, not a ball of gas supported by internal fusion. Sure the planets were different: they were the ones that moved. — kwami (talk) 08:15, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Ok, so how can we incorporate these varied historical linguistic insights into a less recentist article? Ocaasi (talk) 13:28, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Inserting here a comment I posted in the above section "Ironically ..." in answer to another point:
The Latin astro comes from the the Greek aster which was used to refer to the stars/luminous celestial bodies. We don’t need a citation for that because it’s an uncontroversial derivation. Up to the 18th century astronomers and astrologers frequently used the word star, or 'stellar' in reference to the planets (just as they used the word 'planet' in reference to the Sun). That’s why Latin titles of older astrology works such as De judiciis astrorum were translated into English as ‘Judgment of the Stars’. The Greek word planet was used to distinguish the 'moving stars’ from the 'fixed stars', as I explained when I inserted the text for footnote 3: “The Greek phrase plánētes astéres 'wandering stars' was applied to the seven visible planets (including the Sun and Moon) because of their observable movement against the 'fixed stars'”. In ancient astrology the planets were also referred to as “the star of Mars”, the “star of Saturn”, etc. So the word astrology is not a misnomer because it is historically applicable to both 'fixed stars' and the planets as 'moving stars'. Costmary (talk) 16:32, 6 March 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Costmary (talkcontribs)
I agree there is nothing wrong with the name. But when even the astrologers you provide in your sources believe it's a misnomer, there is a real misunderstanding here that needs to be addressed. — kwami (talk) 22:03, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
See my post of 10:18, 8 March 2011 (UTC) which answers this Costmary (talk) 13:04, 8 March 2011 (UTC)


Excellent new introduction, folks. Up next: redefining chemistry as "a material science founded on the notions of Egyptian alchemy", and introducing Medicine as "the science and art of healing, which traces back to the suspicion that your poop makes you depressed." (Humorism is not to be confused with WP:HUMOR, even if my reference to the former qualifies as a fine example of the latter. *G*) Anyway, we'll save the easiest work for last; we won't have any problems defining the universe in etiological terms, because we all know exactly Who came up with the idea, and we all can agree on what was on His mind back then (hehehehe). Cosmic Latte (talk) 18:47, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

I have no idea what you meant by that. Was that sarcasm mixed with praise or just sarcasm? Ocaasi (talk) 18:54, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
The new introduction has become an offspring only a mother could love :) There is complete certainty that astrology is by definition a false science. There is also by definition only one star, the Sun, in Western astrology. To heck with the fact that the constellations that historically define the signs of the zodiac are full of stars. Of course, traditional sidereal forms of astrology do not matter in this regard, hence the reference to only Western astrology here. In this article, one can only wonder where sarcasm ends and ridicule begins. Erekint (talk) 20:50, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Erekint, your suggestions are welcome, especially with regards to regional/branch differences. But the pseudoscience issue is well sourced and pretty diplomatically handled. Is there a factual inaccuracy you can correct? Ocaasi (talk) 21:02, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
If you can attest to a branch of astrology that uses the stars, please give us a ref. The constellations do not define the signs in western astrology. — kwami (talk) 22:28, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Ocaasi: It was sarcasm--or, at least, that's what it was supposed to be. The sarcasm evidently wasn't all that "good"; but it was good-faith, as I was attempting to use WP:HUMOR in order to "show" a problem (as I see it) which could prove tedious to "tell" about in all its dreary detail. Plus, I figured that it might be nice to splash a little sunshine into one of Wikipedia's stormier seas of article discussion; but I do apologize if I've only made the waters murkier. I'll try to clarify the matter very soon, opting now to "tell" the things that I had tried to "show" above. Cosmic Latte (talk) 01:33, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
No problem Cosmic. I support all attempts at sarcasm on the internet, especially where they fail miserably. See, sarcasm. I'm glad the intro is looking better! Also, don't take the spaghetti monster's name in vain. Everyone knows spaghetti monsters don't imbibe. Ocaasi (talk) 01:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

"Some see astrology as predictive, with the planets controlling human destiny; others see it as determinative, with the planets determining our personalities and who we are." —That's not really what those words mean. The first would be "determinative"; I can't think of the proper word for the second. — kwami (talk) 20:47, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Either one is "determinative." Both "controlling human destiny" and "determining our personalities" mean the positions of the stars determine something about us. Mystylplx (talk) 00:07, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
How about s.t. like "Some believe the planets control fate / human destiny directly, others that they influence us by determining our personalities." — kwami (talk) 07:41, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Looks reasonable to me. bobrayner (talk) 07:43, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Is this the discussion that is supposed to be continued, because it didn't get folded up and therefore conforms to "policy, guideline or source-based reason to continue this discussion"? It's not just the appalling ignorance of the vast history and literature of astrology that is very troubling about the Wikipedia article and discussion, but the patronizing and irrational vehemence against it that infects the article and is the much accepted mode of discussion. Why is this? Doesn't anyone else see this as a recipe for extreme misrepresentation and the intellectual disaster the article has become? Apagogeron (talk) 01:59, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Remove straw man and authoritarian arguments

Proposed introduction - does it have consensus or is it breaking policy?

Pseudo-rationality of scientific sceptics