Category: "Debunking"

Astrology - more ammo

Well Wester doesn't seem to want to budge.

Wow, what a heap of anti-fanboy science desperate crap.

Well if that's his counter argument may be I've already won.

Bad Astronomy has a very good article up on astrology, way better then mine.

I'll quote some sections to further reinforce the one I write last night, I covered a lot of the actual science behind it, but only had a paragraph on things they actually predict and say regardless.

Still having doubts? My friend and master skeptic James Randi performs a wonderful demo of how easily people are fooled by astrology. He went into a classroom, posing as an astrologer, and cast horoscopes for all the students. He had them read and rate the accuracy, and they almost overwhelmingly rated the horoscopes as accurate. The kicker? He had them pass around the horoscopes, and the students saw that every horoscope was exactly the same. It was worded vaguely enough that nearly everyone in the room thought they were being well-described. The horoscopes were so vague they matched nearly everyone, and so their predictive power was meaningless. It was all in the students' heads.

Everybody rates the same piece of text accurate for them!

So as I showed above, there cannot be an effect on us by any "astrological force", no matter how we assume it acts. No matter what, the evidence contradicts such a claim. Also, many astrological claims, even apparently accurate ones, may be nothing more than sleight-of-hand. But still, that does not mean all astrology is wrong. Is there anything that really shows astrology is bunk? Yes, there is.

In the spirit of giving the astrologers more rope, so to speak, let's assume that despite all the scientific evidence against such a thing, there really is an effect on us by the planets. If it exists, it must be measurable, and for astrologers to be able to use it to cast horoscopes, their claims must be consistent. After all, if a force cannot be measured, it cannot have an effect on us, and if astrologers say such a force exists, then all their claims must be based on that force, and should be consistent with each other.

Surprise! Astrologers' claims are not consistent. They're not even internally consistent.

I could show you nearly endless examples of how, say, Sun-sign astrology horoscopes (the kind you see in your newspaper) are completely inconsistent with each other. I could even talk about an astronomical term called precession, which shows that Sun-sign astrology is rubbish anyway. I won't bother, because in the end I think all that stuff is distraction; astrologers will always come up with some lame excuse about how their claims are still correct, when that other astrologer's claim is nonsense (of course, the other guy says that too).

So let's cut to it: astrologers claim they get results that are consistent. There have been studies, tests, experiments, all sorts of things to check this claim. The bottom line is, their claims are wrong.

How do I know? Because I read a wonderful paper, a very thoroughly researched, well-documented, and referenced paper, which shows precisely where astrology fails all its tests. This paper is titled Is Astrology Relevant to Consciousness and Psi?", and was written by Geoffrey Dean, a long-time astrology researcher, and Ivan Kelly, a professor of Educational Psychology and Special Education at the University of Saskatchewan.

Good point I completely forgot last night. If they base their claims are any force, then all astrologers claims would be consistant, go get two of todays newspapers and read the horoscopes they're completely different!

Anyway I highly recommend that article it's really good.

Astrology not only wrong, its lunacy of the worst kind

It was bound to happen, a simple mix-up between astronomy (the science) and astrology (the rubbish) on the forums.

Here's science coming to demolish absolutely any claims that astrology predicts things accurately, or has any other "magical" links to human beings.

I'll focus on the star-sign stuff as that's what Wester was on about in his post on the forums.

Astrologers claim the other planets effect our daily lives here on the Earth, depending on where they were when we were born, and where they are in the present day.

There is only one force that planets could really use against us, that's gravity. The trouble with this is the effect the planets have on us is tiny, it's really really really tiny.

There are three bodies that really push some serious gravitational weight, that's the Earth itself - you don't see us being pulled off and walking on another planet, the gravitational force the Earth pulls on us is huge it's massive it's 1G, it's thousands and thousands of times what even the Moon pulls on us, the Moon has the huge effect on us too, and obviously so does the Sun. The gravitational effect from other planets is millions and millions of times smaller, it's basically just absolutely washed out, it's like being at a concert with the music up full and somebody on the other side of the building trying to whisper to you.

If gravity was the force behind astrology (a lot of astrologers claim it is!) then the Moon would be the most significant body (other then the Earth) by a million-fold, the force the Moon puts on the Earth is huge, it pulls our entire oceans up and down every day, it's massive. The Moon would be the single most important object for an astrologer.

But it's not. Instead all the planets seem to have an equal effect on us. Hmm well that definitely can't be gravity, Jupiter probably pulls on us a billion times more then little Pluto, so even on their planetary things, things certainly aren't equal.

So we know it can't be gravity.

Some astrologers claim there's an unknown mysterious force at work. To fit in with the way they calculate their horoscopes it would need to give all planets equal effect on us, it would also need to be totally undetectable accept by the astrologers.

Problem, if you give all the planets equal effect on us then you'd have to count the estimated one billion asteroids and other planetoids in the solar-system too, after all they're just like planets too, accept smaller, and some are even bigger then Pluto, then of course they'd have to know about the millions of unknown ones too! Then to get really hardcore they'd have to count all the planets in the entire universe. After all if Pluto pulls as much weight as Jupiter despite being way way further away distance and mass obviously doesn't seem to matter at all.

An un-calculable task, as the astrologers don't know where the trillions and trillions of planets outside our solar system are. Yet if we believe that they understand this force, then surely they could predict where the planets are? After all we managed to predict where about 250 planets (and more to coming by the day!) outside our solar system are by their gravitational effect on their parent stars.

But they can't, one astrologer was even quoted as saying if the newly discovered object in our solar system dubbed Sedna was classified by astronomers as a planet he would include it in his horoscopes! Hmmm well firstly surely he must of known about this "planet" before it was discovered by his horoscopes being slightly wrong, secondly I'm sure this magic "force" that these objects cast on us really don't care if we decide to call it a planet or not. Imagine if we decided to de-classify Pluto as a planet, that would really confuse them all!

So we know gravity can't have this effect on us, and we know their "magic" force that nobody can detect, can't have this effect on us, or else by their own logic, they'd have to count ever object in the universe, known or unknown.

Huge flaw #2, if you need even more gaping holes in their nonsense.

There are 12 constellations of the zodiac according to the astrologers; Leo, Aries, Libra etc etc etc. The zodiac are the constellations the Sun appears to travel through as we orbit it, the astrologers assume there are 12, now there were about 2000 years ago, but due to the Earth's wobble as it goes around the Sun it's now shifted and it passes through 13 constellations, yes 13, also due to the wobble things have moved forward a bit, so if you're not getting good results from your horoscopes, try reading the star-sign ahead of yours - that's actually yours, for those who are actually born when the Sun is in Ophiuchus, well I'm afraid they don't include your "star-sign".

The following shows the real dates the Sun is actually in the constellations of the zodiac:

Capricornus - January 19th to February 15th.
Aquarius - February 16th to March 11th.
Pisces - March 12th to April 18th.
Aries - April 19th to May 13th.
Taurus - May 14th to June 19th.
Gemini - June 20th to July 20th.
Cancer - July 21th to August 9th.
Leo - August 10th to September 15th.
Virgo - September 16th to October 30th.
Libra - October 31st to November 22nd
Scorpius - November 23rd to November 29th.
Ophiuchus - November 30th to December 17th.
Sagittarius - December 18th to January 18th.

Compare that to your local horoscope, they're off by several weeks and are missing a constellation! So even if all the stuff about some mysterious force is actually real (which it's not!) then all of their dates are way off anyway!

How do they seem to get a high hit rate? Two things, 1) humans will remember hits and forget misses overtime, 2) they say extremely broad things, like "you will solve a problem today". They never say anything specific like you solved that problem of the washing machine rattling. Most days we probably all solve several problems!

Conclusion: it's all nonsense.

I really hate astrologers

They should all be lined up in front of a wall and shot - and anybody who takes their mumbo jumbo seriously.

Look at this from the BBC:

Hours after a Nasa probe crashed into Comet Tempel 1, legal reverberations were felt in a Moscow court.

But Judge Litvinenko opened hearings into a case which could see Nasa pay a local amateur astrologist millions of dollars in damages.

Right, not a good start. Judge Litvinenko clearly needs to be moved to an area where his decisions don't effect other people.

"Nobody has yet proven that this experiment was safe," says Ms Bay's lawyer Alexander Molokhov.

Right, nobody needs to prove it's safe, because it is safe - you need to prove it's unsafe. What's the comet going to do throw a wobbly and come and get us? No other planetoid has done that.

"This impact could have altered the orbit of the comet, so now there is a chance that the Tempel may well destroy the Earth some day!"

No chance.

However, even if the comet stays at a safe distance from Earth, Ms Bay's own life, she thinks, will never be the same again.

An amateur astrologist, she believes that any variation in the orbit or the composition of the Tempel comet will certainly affect her own fate.

So Ms Marina's claims to be experiencing "a moral trauma" - which only a payment of $300m (252m euros; £170m) can put right.

Yes I'm sure that $300 million (about the same as NASA spent on this mission) will definitely effect her own life, and no doubt the boost in her business due to all this press coverage will effect her own life.

Moscow representatives of the American space agency have ignored Monday's court hearing.

Good.

Marina Bay's legal team remain confident, and they are even looking for volunteers to join in on the claim.

"The impact changed the magnetic properties of the comet, and this could have affected mobile telephony here on Earth. If your phone went down this morning, ask yourself Why? and then get in touch with us," says Mr Molokhov.

Yes an in perspective tiny piece of metal hitting a comet on the other side of the solar system is going to effect your phone. Have they even proved the comet contains an iron core to have a magnetic field?

Shoot them all, or better yet stick them on a rocket and crash them into some more comets.

Anti-Big Bang forces at it again

Recently NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory detected solid (well as solid as anything gets in this arena) evidence that one of the most distant quasar lies 12.7 billion light years away.

The anti-Big Bang crowd have gone into overdrive over this, claiming that the Big Bang theory is "obviously wrong" as how could something like a quasar form so quickly after the Big Bang, which is estimated to of happened 13.7 billion years ago.

They're claiming that a billion years is far too early for such an object to form. Personally I don't see any reason why it is too early, new evidence shows we've already got large clusters of matter forming by that time frame (galaxies in early development), so why not super-massive black holes to go with them?

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