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Astrology and Science August 11, 2005

Posted by gantech in Personal Ramblings.

Tell me one theory in Science where the exact logic behind it is fully known. Right from our birth we go through various stages where we learn various theories. We satisfy ourselves by saying that we have understood the logic behind it. But if we keep questioning some points in that theory then it boils down to saying that "That is a fact" and there is no more explanation. So basically, we evolve through various degrees of logic before we finally come to a stand still and then there is no more explanation. We stand to accept that as a fact (atleast for a period of time until some one digs deeper)

Astrology is not much different. My friend Aswin says that the astrologers use very old data. Accepted, their data is outdated. Let their predictions be wrong. So that means that, the usage of the same methods today is wrong. But how can that totally refute the very basics of Astrology. And one more thing, people didn't make laws for astrology and then leave it there. That too was developed as a Science. The conventions were different those days and everything was referred to as a "God". There were people who constantly worked on it increasing it's predictive capabilities. They didn't sit dumb. By they I refer to the various scholars of the yesteryears. Astrology didn't develop in India alone. The science simultaneously and independently (or so I know) developed elsewhere as well. But the principles of prediction are so similar. How do we account for that.

I learnt some principles of Astrology without questioning it's fundamentals. I was wrong in that. But there is so much of Science and Mathematics in it. The age-old principle of teaching was "You believe what the Teacher says, then you question it and learn more" or so I believe. The principles of Prediction are so vague and loose that it is not correct to base the predictions on only one factor. You can't relate predictions to one or even a hundred factors and get some statistical data from it saying "this is no better than chance" I wouldn't read or believe any of those. When you question those principles it is equivalent to questioning a Physicist "What do you think is the grand Unfied theory today?" Today's Science is not enough to check the validity of astrological predictions. That doesn't mean that you don't question it. But the fact remains that you can't get answers which is so for many scientific problems.

Another point that I would like to make is about those weekly daily or yearly predictions. I really tell you. That is just not Astrology. Stop quoting them as examples where Astrology has failed. Today, Astrology has gone into the hands of wrong people and they are exploiting it to their benefits. Say there are 12 Billion people on earth. How can a billion people have the same predictions. Just doesn't make sense.

All these sciences or so called "sciences" of astrology, Vaasthu Shaastra and so many more are as far as we know very very vague. As far as I believe we are not able to accept it because of the circumstances under which we have grown. I am not able to answer anybody who at the end of a very long fight asks me "O.K tell me one guy who always predicts correctly" There are no Astrologers like Physicists or Mathematicians.

That, there is so much of Science in Astrology or that it developed simultaneoulsy elsewhere or that the principles are similar doesn't answer the question. But we must accept the fact that we do not know much about it, and unless somebody comes to know more about it, we (who don't know anything) shouldn't comment on it's capabilities.



1. Aswin - August 12, 2005

I said clearly in my posts that I am not arguing that science will lead to a “theory of everything”. The debate about Astrology is different. Please.. realise one thing, debates on Astrology are not something like debating on whether God exists or not, is everything Maya or so on. Astrology tries to make “predictions” in our material world and I am perfectly justified in refuting it from observations of the “material” world. You seek to predict happenings around us but turn a blind eye to these very happenings for centuries..sorry.. I don’t agree with this.

And u say.. “Let their predictions be wrong.. usage of same methods is wrong..can’t refute basics of Astrology”
This is an ambiguous statement. Please tell me what the “basics” are. And show me the predictions that work. Till these happen, I will treat it as non-science. (and nonsense)… one that is not “based” on every-day happenings.
And u go on to make more ambiguous statements..”Astrolgy developed as a science”,”increased its predictive capabilities”.. give me examples that qualify your statements(particularly for astrology being a ‘science’..conformation with observation is a pre-requisite for a ‘science’ ). Continuing the debate without understanding what u mean is tough..so clarify these points first. And I made one thing very clear in my post here… 500 yrs back, Astrology and Astronomy was often practiced by the same people.They could not have done much better with what they knew. But now, we know MUCH better. True that as observers, our ancestors did exceedingly well, with naked eyes. But their interpretations (Astrology)are wrong. Insisting on Astrology is like insisting on living in those times.. u r most welcome to do that!..but do not waste others’ time. Requesting support for something that has been falsified repeatedly over the past 500 years is sure ly an avoidable fantasy. Let me remind you again that you can ‘disprove’ any of the theories of today’s science by doing just one experiment. All of them are firmly rooted in experiment and in many cases, derive their existence from them..if u show one verifiable anamoly in the domains in which they seek to describe nature..that is it.. the theory is ‘wrong’. NONE will argue against this. This is in start contrast to what Astrologers do…live in a world of their own, removed from ‘reality’ as seen by the rest on this planet . And this is exactly what irks/angers any rationally minded person.

2. Kumar - August 12, 2005

To add to what Aswin has already said, I’d really appreaciate it if people determined their own future instead of trying to know it from others. It would do them a world of good!

3. Ganesh V - August 12, 2005

You are right on Kumar, precisely the reason why I quit learning it and I too got into the same frame of mind as Aswin. I started to question it’s fundamentals. I didn’t like to pursue it any further. I was in no mood to make it my career and I started to have other interests too.

BTW Aswin, what do you find vague in “Let their predictions be wrong.. usage of same methods is wrong..can’t refute basics of Astrology”

You yourselves said that there are two parts to Astrology as studied in the old days. One the Astronomy part and the other predictions. Now from the data that we have today, we know that the data that they had is not correct or was less precise and so on. Now do you accept that the astrologers of today use the same data for their predictions. Now that we don’t know the principles of Prediction, we can say that there is every possibility that their predictions may be wrong. So what is the point in saying that their principles of prediction are wrong (this is what I meant by basics, sorry for using the wrong words) Nobody has pursued it till today and updated the techniques that are used.

However if you just want to say that the predictions today are all wrong and nonsense and that they are not good enough, I stand by you. They are indeed incorrect. But the reason is the lack of people pursuing it and pursuing it by questioning it. People who learn it do not question it and pursue it. They just question it and leave it (like you) or try to learn it and find that nobody answers their qns and then leave it (like me) or just don’t question it at all and continue to learn it and make horrible predictions. Does that answer your question?

If anybody feels that I am just wasting your time. We could stop this debating. We’ll just stick to our views.

4. Aswin - August 12, 2005

I never said that Astrology was in two parts. I clearly defined my division: Astronomy + Astrology. The former is the observation and the latter is the theorising. The latter is wrong.
And can u please tell me what on earth are these ‘principles of prediction’? call them ‘basics’ or whatever you want.. but tell me what they are…don’t give it another name.
The vagueness that I was referring to is.. I thought you were trying to defend Astrology in some measure..but u say “let the predictions be wrong?” ..is this a defence??.. it looks more like “giving up”.
And as far as Astrologers using the same data for predictions…. so what? Drawing nonsensical conclusions from any data set is not impossible. You just have to be imaginative. It is not ‘science’.
U say
“Now that we don’t know the principles of Prediction, we can say that there is every possibility that their predictions may be wrong. So what is the point in saying that their principles of prediction are wrong”

wait a minute.. u don’t know the principles.. neither are u able to predict things and I am not allowed to point out the failures or the lack of any physical principle ..then what am i supposed to do? ..sit like a duck and see all this rubbish float around me? ..sorry i won’t do that.

and if u don’t think u r wasting ur time.. i don’t have a problem debunking Astrology in the strongest terms whenever i get a chance.

5. Aquarian - September 24, 2005

Well Written debate

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