Astrology Basics,  Full Moon Posts

The Criticism of Astrology

Question: How do you deal with the criticism of Astrology? Astrology does have its vehement criticism as astronomy’s bastard sister. Apparently, Richard Dawkins noted with disgust that the books promoting astrology easily outsell texts on astronomy. Dawkins reckoned people were holding on to infantile delusions of faith in a magical universe. In Unweaving of the Rainbow, he remarked how people have written to him complaining about his cold, bleak message. Others asked him how he can bear to get up in the mornings. The author has a way of persuading us that life is empty and purposeless with his pessimism and joyless message. Dawkins admits to wanting to properly purge the saccharine and doesn’t tolerate cosmic sentimentality, he’s always been noted as something of a killjoy. But he is allowed his opinion just as we have ours. Dawkins featured Astrology in his series Enemies of Reason. The problems skeptics have with astrology, and what others are “worked up about” are not going to be solved by a legion of astrologers, even the academic ones. When it comes to our practice, though, no longer does the image of the fortune-telling, crystal ball gazing, fatalist astrology exists. Hopefully, people see a more enlightened aspect of this art, the research involved and the celestial connection to the world. It involves, as Steven Forrest says, a symbolism and not a literalism. It’s not that science or astronomy doesn’t also involve things we never see. Not only quarks and quasars but also light “waves” and charged “particles,” magnetic “fields” and gravitational forces. But finding a scientist who is open-minded about astrology, is about as easy as finding a fundamentalist Christian who loves Madonna. Real Science has just an entitlement to tingle the spine which, at a low level, attracts the fans of star trek and Doctor Who and which, at the lowest level of all, has been lucratively hijacked by astrologers, clairvoyants, and psychics. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder Some astrologers consider their craft an “occult” one; others think of it as much a matter of fact as any empirical science. In 1899 an American astrologer using the pseudonym “Gabriel” (such pseudonyms have long been fashionable) wrote in a book called The Gospel of the Stars: “Unlike religion, astrology is based not on faith but on facts. The religious man believes; the astrologer knows.  Experiment and observation are his guides. Astrology – Louis MacNeice According to Stephen Arroyo, it’s pointless to debate with non-believers: As Dr. Stone used to say; “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Even if you think you have outwitted the skeptic, you haven’t. Most people have irrational opinions about religion, politics, and astrology – things that  they have studied in most cases  and yet have strong, emotional and sometimes violent, indignant, and self-righteous beliefs about them. So, if someone is not willing to study the subject before forming an opinion, you may use Isacc Newton’s line: “I’ve studied the subject; you have not.” But if someone is more educated about the subject and sincerely interested, there are of course many references that one can recommend. That is why I included a lot of material to reply to such skepticism in my new book, and I specifically wrote a chapter called “Why should I Really Take Astrology Seriously? – since, unfortunately, most of the educated people in the Western world still do not take it seriously….

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