Scientific proof for astrology

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Flying Cookie
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Good evening all,

I have found a framework of thought that can allow astrology, considered a pseudo-science, to potentially be true. Here is the outline of the video:

1. The solar system works cyclically, allowing for the reliable prediction of future events for example that the sun will rise tomorrow. Many aspects of the human condition also work cyclically, such a the life and death of generations of people, growth, learning, etc.

2. For two things to be connected, there is no need for a direct connection. For example, Pavlov's dog expected food when the bell rang. The bell is not physically or otherwise connected to the food at all, yet the bell's ring worked perfectly as a predictor of food being made available. In scientific terms, this particular correlation is explained by a common cause (the experimenter).

3. People are reluctant to acknowledge themselves as specks of dust living on a rock in the sky, and this detachment from our environment is the sort of attitude that leads to climate change denying - yet we are inextricably linked to our internal and external environment.

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KeepYourChinUp
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How is this Astrology? There are totally unrelated events that are indirectly connected such as the bell and your dog knowing that means it's treat time but how can that possibly be a representation of natural events?

I think what you're trying to convey is that two seemingly unrelated events could be connected such as the bell with the dog treat but that is only true because we've made it so. To possibly think that the position of a planet means something in your life will change or that the day you were born makes you have certain characteristic is just ludicrous.

http://journals.cambridge.org/action...43921311002602

Scientific testing of astrology has found no evidence to support any of the premises or purported effects outlined in astrological traditions. In one study, participating astrologers attempting to match natal charts with profiles generated by a psychological inventory produced results not significantly at variance with random chance
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Flying Cookie
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(Original post by KeepYourChinUp)
To possibly think that the position of a planet means something in your life will change or that the day you were born makes you have certain characteristic is just ludicrous.
Regarding the article linked, a poorly done experiment not yielding results is not definitive proof of something not being the case. People linked countless "proper" papers on the link between fat and heart disease freely until it was shown the gaps in knowledge were huge and that inflammation from sugar is far worse than fat. I am a scientist, I am fully aware of the fleeting feebleness of the vast majority of scientific studies, and the giant space they leave for biased interpretation and the matching of agendas, if there are any to be met (for example studies on certain drugs and their side effects or lack thereof).

Your statement that a link between a planet's position and a human's characteristic would be ludicrous is based on the assumption - again - that any link would have to be causal - how on earth could the two be possibly linked??

The analogy with the bell and food illustrates this. It would be ludicrous to suggest the bell brings food, or generates food. Yet it is totally correct to assume the bell is linked to the food because it is, and any prediction of that would be right.

In that example the human makes the bell and food be connected, yet similar linked phenomena happen all the time without the need for a human or conscious acting force. For example, I tend to shower in the evening. The two items - showering and it being evening - are not causally linked; I don't shower because it's evening, and it isn't evening because I shower. Rather, they are correlated by a common cause, which is me happening to be at home (prerequisite to being able to shower) in the evening rather than during day time (when I may be outside).

We are happy to accept that the light from the sun has huge influence on our subjective mood e.g. seasonal affective disorder, yet we live under the impression that our lives are isolated. That our bodies and minds are shaped by our environment is no debate anymore. The question is, why do we consider the weather, food, etc. that surround us "environment", yet the greater influences which come off of them (solar system influences linked to the weather which determines food, etc.) not so?
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Simes
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(Original post by Flying Cookie)
Pavlov's dog expected food when the bell rang. The bell is not physically or otherwise connected to the food at all
The bell was connected to the dog through the air as sound waves.
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Martyn*
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Let's look at this from the historical perspective. Astrology was never meant to be true. Look at the evidence. Let's take the sign Cancer. You can look up the characteristics of someone born under this sign. The fact is that Cancer is the crab, and the crab is the sea-beetle. The sign itself is sourced in Egyptian texts as the Kherep and hence our word crab or crib. The kherep is a winged beetle or scarab. See that word scarab and our word crab? Western astrology is not meant to be taken as true because it is based upon an original sysmbolism, which has been lost and reinterpreted over and over again.

Let's take Gemini, the twins. This was obviously Castor and Pollux. But the Greeks borrowed from the Egyptians, they are Shu and Tefnut the twins in the Ennead. In the astrology of Egypt the signs were applied to epochs, thus a king's astrological birth heralded a new age. It was not democratised as it is today.
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Flying Cookie
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(Original post by Simes)
The bell was connected to the dog through the air as sound waves.
Yes, but was it connected to the food? The dog linked it to food.
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Flying Cookie
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(Original post by Martyn*)
Let's look at this from the historical perspective. Astrology was never meant to be true. Look at the evidence. Let's take the sign Cancer. You can look up the characteristics of someone born under this sign. The fact is that Cancer is the crab, and the crab is the sea-beetle. The sign itself is sourced in Egyptian texts as the Kherep and hence our word crab or crib. The kherep is a winged beetle or scarab. See that word scarab and our word crab? Western astrology is not meant to be taken as true because it is based upon an original sysmbolism, which has been lost and reinterpreted over and over again.

Let's take Gemini, the twins. This was obviously Castor and Pollux. But the Greeks borrowed from the Egyptians, they are Shu and Tefnut the twins in the Ennead. In the astrology of Egypt the signs were applied to epochs, thus a king's astrological birth heralded a new age. It was not democratised as it is today.
I appreciate the point that the symbolism has been subject to reinterpretation, but don't see how that is proof of anything. The essence of the word "thyne" hasn't changed just because we now call it "yours". Cancer, Gemini, etc. are just used as convenient reference points to encompass a type of expression, energy, etc.

Even today, there are multiple interpretations available, not dissimilarly to the discrepancy between scientific papers and their coverage in mass media. The overblown or misinterpreted results can mislead people, and the content can be spun differently over time, but if there is a core truth in there, it exists independently of the language or human distortion.
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Martyn*
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(Original post by Flying Cookie)
I appreciate the point that the symbolism has been subject to reinterpretation, but don't see how that is proof of anything.
My point is that the interpretation has been latched onto the symbolism and has been reinterpreted repeatedly over centuries. It proves that western astrology bares little or no relation to the original symbolism.


(Original post by Flying Cookie)
Cancer, Gemini, etc. are just used as convenient reference points to encompass a type of expression, energy, etc.
They are not. That is the result of centuries of development. It is not the original symbolism.

(Original post by Flying Cookie)
Even today, there are multiple interpretations available, not dissimilarly to the discrepancy between scientific papers and their coverage in mass media. The overblown or misinterpreted results can mislead people, and the content can be spun differently over tine, but I there is a core truth in there, it exists independently of the language or human distortion.
The core truth is in the original symbolism and it has nothing to do with an individual's lifestyle, characteristics, or destiny.
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by Flying Cookie)
Good evening all,

I have found a framework of thought that can allow astrology, considered a pseudo-science, to potentially be true. Here is the outline of the video:

1. The solar system works cyclically, allowing for the reliable prediction of future events for example that the sun will rise tomorrow. Many aspects of the human condition also work cyclically, such a the life and death of generations of people, growth, learning, etc.

2. For two things to be connected, there is no need for a direct connection. For example, Pavlov's dog expected food when the bell rang. The bell is not physically or otherwise connected to the food at all, yet the bell's ring worked perfectly as a predictor of food being made available. In scientific terms, this particular correlation is explained by a common cause (the experimenter).

3. People are reluctant to acknowledge themselves as specks of dust living on a rock in the sky, and this detachment from our environment is the sort of attitude that leads to climate change denying - yet we are inextricably linked to our internal and external environment.

Watch the rest here:
There have been some serious studies showing that babies born at different times of year may have different issues with mood, apparently it's something to do with the effect of climate on a baby's neurochemistry.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/scie...r-in-life.html

Perhaps ancient peoples noticed these variations and incorrectly attributed them to the movement of the stars in the heavens.

The real physical effect of the other planets on us is absolutely tiny and even more ridiculously microscopic for the nearby stars we see as constellations in the night sky. However, I do find it plausible that the moon might have an effect, it is quite close and creates tides for example. There is this popular theory that a full moon causes more disorder in the streets for example, although apparently proper research has been unable to find such a link.
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StarvingAutist
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Scientific proof = empirical evidence.

Come on...

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StarvingAutist
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(Original post by Flying Cookie)
Yes, but was it connected to the food? The dog linked it to food.
Yes, through a pattern. The bell rang, the dog got food. The bell rang, the dog got food. The bell rang, the dog got food. And so on. It's called conditioning.

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the bear
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i looked up my horoscope for today... it is uncannily accurate:

"Don’t say anything you’re likely to regret. This could mean that you need to sequester yourself away for the day, as any conflict could turn ugly quickly if people can’t censor themselves."

explain that scientists with your pockets stuffed with pens.
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Joinedup
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You appear not to be questioning the existence of a 'pavlovian response' because it is supported by experimental evidence.

how do you decide which science you want to believe? or do you just cherry pick the ones that confirm your previously held beliefs?
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anosmianAcrimony
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(Original post by Flying Cookie)
Regarding the article linked, a poorly done experiment not yielding results is not definitive proof of something not being the case. People linked countless "proper" papers on the link between fat and heart disease freely until it was shown the gaps in knowledge were huge and that inflammation from sugar is far worse than fat. I am a scientist, I am fully aware of the fleeting feebleness of the vast majority of scientific studies, and the giant space they leave for biased interpretation and the matching of agendas, if there are any to be met (for example studies on certain drugs and their side effects or lack thereof).
You say you're a scientist, but all the same, I'm not sure that you actually understand how science works. For a claim to be taken seriously, many well-done experiments yielding good results, preferably over the course of many decades, must be unable to disprove it. You're quite right that a poorly done experiment not yielding results is not a definitive disproof of astrology, but neither is it any good reason to believe in it. The reason astrology has persisted in the modern scientific age is because it's difficult to disprove, but this is only because it makes almost no falsifiable claims. Even if it did work, it would be extremely difficult to show that it was working, because the claims it makes are so mystifyingly subjective.

It's my personal opinion that astrology falls into the same category as the existence of God - completely out of the ambit of what can be scientifically tested.
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Simes
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(Original post by Flying Cookie)
2. For two things to be connected, there is no need for a direct connection. For example, Pavlov's dog expected food when the bell rang. The bell is not physically or otherwise connected to the food at all, yet the bell's ring worked perfectly as a predictor of food being made available.
I don't think you understood that experiment at all.

The dogs were trained to salivate when the bell was rung.

It was not a perfect predictor of food being available at all.

And it certainly does not provide any evidence that astrology is anything but nonsense, ignorance, self-delusion and con-artists.
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Simes
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(Original post by anosmianAcrimony)
It's my personal opinion that astrology falls into the same category as the existence of God - completely out of the ambit of what can be scientifically tested.
Astrology is easily demonstrated to be nonsense.
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Flying Cookie
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(Original post by StarvingAutist)
Yes, through a pattern. The bell rang, the dog got food. The bell rang, the dog got food. The bell rang, the dog got food. And so on. It's called conditioning.

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I am obviously aware of classical conditioning, and that is not the question raised at all. The point I'm trying to make is that there is a link between the bell and food from the dog's perspective, despite there being no causal relationship between the bell and the food. It is a correlation explained by a common cause (the human). If the dog tried to figure out how on Earth the bell made food appear, it would never find an answer.

By analogy, people should not necessarily approach astrology as inherently causal: there either is a causal relationship between planets' cycles and people's cycles, or there isn't. The former may well be an accurate predictor for the latter without being linked at all causally. In other words, they just happen to arise together due to a shared cause as of yet unknown.
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anosmianAcrimony
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(Original post by Simes)
Astrology is easily demonstrated to be nonsense.
Go on, then.

I'd agree that it's nonsense - indeed, I consider it the worst kind of nonsense: It is nonsense that is practically impossible to disprove, and so sticks around.
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Flying Cookie
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(Original post by Joinedup)
You appear not to be questioning the existence of a 'pavlovian response' because it is supported by experimental evidence.

how do you decide which science you want to believe? or do you just cherry pick the ones that confirm your previously held beliefs?
It's quite simple actually, and it involves the balancing of the knowns versus the unknowns in a given subject. Classical conditioning as a theory is fully explained and as far as I am aware doesn't have any holes in it, therefore it can be comfortably relied upon to be "true".

The same cannot be said about many other things, unfortunately. Scientists are far too reluctant to acknowledge the unknowns, thereby "cherry-picking" whatever half-baked conclusions that may arise out of incomplete data.
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Flying Cookie
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(Original post by anosmianAcrimony)
You say you're a scientist, but all the same, I'm not sure that you actually understand how science works. For a claim to be taken seriously, many well-done experiments yielding good results, preferably over the course of many decades, must be unable to disprove it. You're quite right that a poorly done experiment not yielding results is not a definitive disproof of astrology, but neither is it any good reason to believe in it. The reason astrology has persisted in the modern scientific age is because it's difficult to disprove, but this is only because it makes almost no falsifiable claims. Even if it did work, it would be extremely difficult to show that it was working, because the claims it makes are so mystifyingly subjective.

It's my personal opinion that astrology falls into the same category as the existence of God - completely out of the ambit of what can be scientifically tested.
Well that's exactly the issue: how can one hope to unveil reality, truth, or whatever you may want to call it, by the "scientific" method that from square 1 cannot test anything and everything?

The method itself thereby selects out the type of things which behaves so that it can be found out this way.

I wouldn't be so pessimistic about being able to experiment with astrology or god though, given a change in perspective. The more one finds out, the less one knows, or realises they know. Unfortunately the scientific method has become a dogma that gives people pre-emptive confidence about things we actually know nothing about. Georges Cuvier, a top scientist in France in Lamarck's time, called the idea of evolution from other species the sort of BS magic tricks are made of.

Being overly confident about anything is unscientific itself. The first step in science is observation. How can we allow our observation to run freely if we stunt it from the beginning?
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