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I've got an idea for a new poll for the C-Realm website. Here's the question:

It wasn't until the 18th Century that astrology and astronomy were recognized as separate disciplines. Some people think it's possible to reunite them. What do you think?

1) Yes, they should be re-united.
2) No, the scientific study of the cosmos should not be tainted with superstition.
3) No, the utility of astrology would be undermined by the narrow vision of scientism.
4) No, each discipline functions best apart from the other.

Would you suggest any changes to the question or the choice of answers? Are additional choices needed?


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
You can remove 1, 3, and 4. ;)
Aug. 7th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that you have never had your chart read, nor have you ever done any personal evaluation of your own planetary and zodiacal inclinations. Essentially, I'd guess you're being condescending out of ignorance, but maybe you can prove me wrong...?
Aug. 7th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
No need to make this personal.

Aug. 7th, 2008 03:38 am (UTC)
I'm not aiming for negative ad hominem - I'm aiming for positive ad hominem. This video went a long way in illustrating a very misinformed interpretation of history and astrology. Sagan's about as relevant an astrological reference as George Bush would be in a Geography course.

If you have no personal experience and rely on iconic heroes to do your thinking for you, well, that's just unfortunate.
Aug. 7th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
My own thinking on it runs something like this: I could have my chart read, as you put it. I haven't, for a few reasons: First, it it would cost money. But mainly, I couldn't accept it as scientific, given that we know people will think an astrologer's prediction written for someone else applies perfectly to them. (Sagan alludes to this in the video, also.)

I'm not sure exactly what is being claimed by astrologers in scientific terms -- I haven't had much luck pinning them down on this -- but I know that stars and constellations are far enough away that any physical effect is concretely impossible. This isn't just a theory either, it is a fact, and we can prove it. I have to stack the chance that some as-yet undiscovered means for arrangement of constellations to affect our lives at faster-than-light speeds against the probability that it's all just made up. Even disregarding experiments that establish that of a lot of 12 nobody can tell which reading was meant for them with accuracy better than chance. In principle, it doesn't look good for astrology, as I understand it.

I'll ask you: Is astrology making scientific claims? Do arrangements of stars, planets, constellations have concrete effects on my life years after I am born? By what mechanism does that effect operate, and is it comprehensible to us or could it be worked into a coherent theory of physical movements?
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
You're asking the wrong questions.
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
I think it would be necessary to answer these questions before we seriously considered re-merging astrology and astronomy. Astronomy is a scientific discipline. Is astrology a scientific discipline?
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
Now you've made a Straw Man.
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
You haven't articulated your views on this, so I don't have much to go on here. Help me out.
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
I haven't articulated my views on this because they're irrelevant to the conversation.

I'm asking about your direct experience with a system of thought that you seem enthusiastic about ridiculing. If you've come to this conclusion after personal evaluation and introspection, then we can gladly agree to disagree; but if you've come to this conclusion out of prejudice, then there's no common ground for the conversation to continue.

You're asking rational questions of a system of allusion and metaphor. Round peg, square hole. Your questions are about as out of place as a farmer in a stretch limo.
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
Just to make clear, I don't have any serious interest in ridiculing astrology. I do have serious interest in making clear the difference between unscientific ways of thinking and scientific ways of thinking that makes astrology, as I understand it, fundamentally incompatible with astronomy.

In other words, I don't want to minimize whatever value you have derived from astrology, but I do want to keep the magisterium clearly non-overlapping. If that makes sense. ;-)
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC)
That position totally contradicts your original statement.
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
It does. I didn't mean to be taken this seriously, but I appreciate stimulating discussion wherever I find it. Thank you.
Aug. 8th, 2008 05:42 am (UTC)
is astrology 'unscientific thinking'? isnt that a bit like saying tim berners-lee is a sex fiend because the world wide web is mostly used for viewing porn?
Aug. 9th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
I don't follow your analogy, but I would say that as I understand it, astrology cannot be described as making scientific claims, or claims that could in principle be disconfrimed by evidence.
Aug. 7th, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
You don't seem to understand the nature of this post. I'm not asking you to take the poll. I'm asking for input into its formulation.
Aug. 7th, 2008 06:15 am (UTC)
Re: ???
I understand the post. It's a tounge-in-cheek suggestion for how you could formulate the question differently. ;)
Aug. 7th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
Re: ???
I was just about to get started putting the poll together. Do you have any non-tongue-in-cheek suggestions for representing all likely viewpoints that people responding to this question might hold and wish to have represented in the set of potential answers?
Aug. 7th, 2008 06:26 am (UTC)
Re: ???
No, I don't. Sorry if you feel I've intruded.
Aug. 7th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
Seem like good options to me. I'd personally opt for choice 4. They're very different, and have no business mingling too much.
Aug. 7th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:41 am (UTC)
That seems a good question set. I'll reserve my opinion for the poll. ;-)
Aug. 7th, 2008 10:43 am (UTC)
I feel like there should be more "yes" options - perhaps outlining different reasons for saying yes, perhaps outlining which discipline should be more important...

Possible issues: astrology as formulated today doesn't actually reflect the real sky. From what I've heard, astrology just divides the sky into 12 equal divisions, but in fact for example Virgo is very large and takes up much more than 30 degrees. (Sorry I don't have exact figures.)
: I might be completely wrong, but I think that astrology doesn't even use the current Gregorian calendar!
: As mentioned by Rupert Sheldrake on the recent Psychedelic Salon episode on the Heavens, modern astrology doesn't make any interpretations of unpredictable events like supernovae, even though in ancient times such an event would be a major omen.

All the things I've mentioned refer to putting some scientific astronomical facts back into astrology. So what astrological points should be put into astronomy?
Aug. 7th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
I understand
I understand the desire for more "yes" answers, but I don't know enough about astrology to formulate anything approaching a comprehensive list of positions for re-integration.

All the things I've mentioned refer to putting some scientific astronomical facts back into astrology. So what astrological points should be put into astronomy?

I have no idea. I must admit that I know next to nothing about astrology. I just don't believe that Carl Sagan knew much about it either, nor do I see any evidence for believing that Richard Dawkins or his followers are credibly informed on the topic. I certainly don't know enough to say whether Sagan's characterization of the principles and methodologies of astrology is at all close to the mark.
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
i dont know about modern astrology, but indian astrology follows the sidereal zodiac...there are old texts like varahamihira's brihat samhita which *do* combine astrology and astronomy. one of the major duties of a astrologer in ancient times was to predict weather phenomena and the skies. i think the art of astrology has been degraded to 'fortune telling'. i have a two part translated version of brihatsamihita and its makes fantastic reading. what tickled me most was the part about devices that can 'disrupt peace'(trying hard not to use certain words here)...essentially, one feeds crows food containing phosphorous and guess what happens when they start shitting it out? dont know if it was tried and tested or if it was in theory level..but thats the bit that i still havent forgotten amongst all the wonderful tidbits in brihatsamhita..:)

even wikipedia has a varahamihira entry.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varahamihira and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brihat-Samhita
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
p.s, titikitetoker: sorry..forgot to add this link about sidereal astrology > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidereal_astrology

my grandfather also studied astrology and he followed a system called ashtavarga. in indian astrology we also have 27 'stars' divided amongst 12 houses. each house will be further divided into 8 degrees that makes for rather tight calculations.

having said all that..since most of ancient astrology is neither practiced or prevalent in our times, astrology and astronomy should certainly be considered as two distinctly different subjects.
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: I understand
"i think the art of astrology has been degraded to 'fortune telling'."

As has Tarot, for the most part.

"having said all that..since most of ancient astrology is neither practiced or prevalent in our times, astrology and astronomy should certainly be considered as two distinctly different subjects."

Aug. 8th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
Modern astrology uses the Gregorian Calendar, yes.

Drawing a distinction between different forms of astrology (Vedic, Tropical, Sidereal or Modern) could get hairy, but you're right in pointing out that they are very distinct schools of practice and thought.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 7th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
equal importance
I think someone who holds that position could select number four without too much discomfort. Number four implies that both disciplines have some utility, but it doesn't require that people accept that they have equal utility.
Aug. 13th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
I'd choose them to work together and be re-united, but it seems unrealistic.
Astrology and astronomy have grown to seperate.
I "believe" in both of them, but they seem to be different animals at this point, maybe in the future they really will combine naturally. In the meantime it's probably better not to skate backwards or hammer puzzle pieces that don't quite fit.
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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