Monday, February 09, 2009

Science and Astrology: the Proof in Astrophysics?

PUHLEEEZE!!

This article shows exactly why astrologers have no clue on how things are accepted to be valid in science. This person is trying to grasp as the flimsiest straw based simply on one, ONE, hypothetical musings on a "theoretical astrophysicist". I'll let you read the rest of the article, which really provides ZERO evidence to accept the validity of astrology. But what gets my goat is what was said at the end of the article:

Thus far, the few scientific studies that support astrology have shown significant correlations, but correlations are measurable observed links between one happening and another....they don't reveal predictable outcomes. So, perhaps astrology will never be confirmed by the majority of scientists, but even Seymour points out that scientific thought...both ancient and modern...is fallible due to preconceptions and that astrology is dismissed without study by the average scientist.


But what about not accepting something FIRST before valid and convincing evidence are presented? It is NOT the job of science to prove that you are wrong, it is the job of whoever is trying to show that something is valid to find convincing evidence. Every single scientific discovery and new ideas have to go through that process. Einstein had many doubters to all of his idea when presented. Quantum mechanics had a lot of challenges against it. It is when these ideas are backed by overwhelming body of evidence (as in empirical evidence), only THEN are they accepted to be a scientific idea and considered to be valid. Not before then.

Yet, so many people, including this "astrologer" have already accepted astrology to be valid, despite the lack of any valid evidence. Astrology is dismissed because of that. And considering that such a belief has been around for hundreds of year and it still can't get beyond the phase of trying to prove its existence, it has been understandably categorized as crackpottery. A valid phenomenon never languishes in the land of "is it true, or is it not true" for that long. Our understanding of every single valid phenomenon improves with time, from the moment of discovery to making even more careful measurement of its various properties. We know more about the top quark mass now when compared to when it was first discovered at the Tevatron. We know more about the behavior and puzzling properties of high-Tc cuprate superconductors, even though we still don't quite fully have a valid theory for it. All of these phenomena have gone way past the "discovery" phase and into more detailed studies. One cannot say that about "astrology", that is still stuck at first base.

It is crackpottery.

Zz.

20 comments:

YKhan said...

I don't see what has got you so angry about what the astrologer said in your quote of her. It seems like she said very reasonably, "astrology will never be confirmed by the majority of scientists". It's also very reasonable to say that science used to believe a lot of things in the past, which they thought they had convincing proof of, which turned out to be crocks. Aether theory, Dark Matter and Dark Energy among other things. :)

ZapperZ said...

But you ignored the rest of that statement "... but even Seymour points out that scientific thought...both ancient and modern...is fallible due to preconceptions and that astrology is dismissed without study by the average scientist."

This is an attempt to somehow indicate that the very reason why it can't be confirmed is a sufficient excuse to actually consider astrology to have a CHANCE of being valid, and thus, cannot be dismissed. This is silly logic. It forces all of us to accept the infinite myriad of pseudoscience and crackpotteries just because they can't be falsified.

Dark Matter and Dark Energy have more empirical observations, in the short amount of time that they have been theorized, than the hundreds of years of astrology, thankyouverymuch!

Zz.

Anonymous said...

ZZ, don't waste your time or your blood pressure. The Examiner is an absolutely crap newspaper published by wingnut moron Phillip Anschutz. One of those free things they toss on your steps whether you want it or not. The online version is worse - their business model seems to be lining up journalist wannabees, publishing their drivel, and paying them nothing. Not any surprise something like this astrology article would appear.

ZapperZ said...

Ah, thanks for the info. I should have known better.

Zz.

YKhan said...

So basically you are saying you dismiss astrology because it's not dismissible? Let's face it, all fields of science are strewn with plenty of examples of stuff that were previously considered primitive, laughable, witch-doctorish, etc. but later turned out to have a ring of truth to it. Examples include traditional medicines. What used to be considered hokus-pokus before but accepted later was simply a matter of scientists coming with new methods for analysing them. And let's not forget scientists are humans too, full of their own emotional baggage, beliefs and preconceptions. The much-touted Scientific Method can only measure as well as the measuring tools, if the proper measuring tools aren't available, nothing can be inferred.

ZapperZ said...

No, I dismiss astrology because of what I wrote here:

"A valid phenomenon never languishes in the land of "is it true, or is it not true" for that long. Our understanding of every single valid phenomenon improves with time, from the moment of discovery to making even more careful measurement of its various properties. We know more about the top quark mass now when compared to when it was first discovered at the Tevatron. We know more about the behavior and puzzling properties of high-Tc cuprate superconductors, even though we still don't quite fully have a valid theory for it. All of these phenomena have gone way past the "discovery" phase and into more detailed studies. One cannot say that about "astrology", that is still stuck at first base."

No, and I mean NO, valid observation languishes in the phase of "discovery" for THAT long.

Zz.

Mystical Mayhem said...

When you stop huffing and puffing and getting angry, and making comments, like "Pullleeze!" and "Thank you very much!" (How old are you exactly?)your highly educated, scientifically stuffed brain might just open enough to intuitively grasp what the astrologer is saying! I doubt it, but it just might! I would take a psychologically educated guess, and say you have never actually studied it, but for some reason you are very threatened!

ZapperZ said...

And in YOUR huffing and puffing, you STILL neglected one thing - the ability to show the empirical evidence for the validity of Astrology!

Unless you've forgotten, in science, such evidence is the ONLY thing that counts. So I definitely and intuitively grasped what he was saying. And I am far from bring threatened by it, because if I am, I would not be talking about it in some blog, but would have done something MORE substantial!

But hey, I'm sure you saw that coming in the stars....

Zz.

Mystical Mayhem said...

http://cura.free.fr/quinq/02negre2.html

I am not interested in providing Scientists with proof, nor looking for it. Direct experience has been enough for me. This is something you grasp with your intuition, not your mind. Intuition needs no measurement, it just is! Astrology is not a Science. It is has a scientific 'structure', the rest is an art. It is about the outer world reflecting the inner, and moving in that unity. You need a developed intuition to understand the value of that, not a chemistry set. You, like a lot of Scientists, totally miss the point of what it actually is. To read a well written and perceptive article on what astrology actually is and does, please refer to the above link. It puts it where it needs to be, into the the realm of the symbolic. No disrespect to the value of science, and the need for authenticity where it is needed, but to those who 'understand', Astrology stands up on it's own, it needs no dissection in a lab.

ZapperZ said...

Thank you so very much! You have said more than I could ever have done in why Astrology is quackery. I therefore completely agreed with you!

Zz.

bbbl67 said...

ZZ, if you think about it honestly, it takes no more faith, blind belief and quackery to believe in Astrology, than it does to believe in Dark Matter & Dark Energy. Both are subjects of which there is absolutely no physical proof, a lot of theories that amount to nothing, but there is just something about them seems right to their believers. :)

ZapperZ said...

Come again?

One is where there are compelling OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE, the other is not even a science! One is in a situation where we continue to test and to find evidence. The other doesn't have a continuing "study". One is based on established physics, the other is not. So how is it that you can put them on the same level?

Is this another symptom of the same disease where one can't tell the difference between anecdotal evidence versus scientific evidence?

Zz.

Mystical Mayhem said...

Which word did I use that you misinterpreted and read as "quackery?" Was it 'intuition' 'art' or 'symbolic?' Astrology is a tool, and for those who know how to use it, it is a valid tool. It isn't about whether a lump of rock floating in space emits cosmic rays and effects us, it's about knowing how to move with the natural order of the universe. This is neither religion, or science, it's about understanding natural rhythms and cycles. There is so much fuss and bother over astrology, and has been, well, ever since scientists started laying down the rules. Astrology is valid to those who know how to work with it. Why should you, or anyone else, invalidate that, because your mind cannot grasp what needs to be understood with the intuition,which is by the way, not a belief, but a function, like thinking and feeling. By the way, making statements such as "Well, you would know that, you saw it in the stars" is worse than useless, and only based on the misconception that is only used to "tell fortunes". You have to understand astrology from the inside, not the outside, it doesn't matter a pair of dingo's kidneys whether it can be proved by
science. Even if it was, it would make know difference to anything, except you guys might just shut up and get off our backs! You are so intent on "observation" from the outside, you have forgotten how to look inside. We need to have both levels in balance here. I for one, don't care whether it is 'validated' by science or not. I understand it, and that's all the proof I need. I'm quite secure in that knowledge.

You know it seems to me that you hide behind a lot of defenses and barriers that demand to be called "scientific proof". If you let your intellectual defenses drop, you might just have an interesting experience other than 'observational'. You might make a connection with something other than 'empirical proof'.

I wish you well in your interests.

ZapperZ said...

Nothing that you have said here has given me any indication that whatever it is you think about Astrology is actually valid. All what you have stated is that it is, and that the rest of us have to take your word for it. After all, how can any of your statement be falsified?

If I ever need a mole inside the Astrology camp to make it look very, very bad, you would be the perfect person for it. Who needs enemies when they have "friends" like you? Each of your comments here have cemented Astrology even more as a crackpottery BELIEF system that has no validity, and somehow, doesn't feel the need for one.

Zz.

Mystical Mayhem said...

You still haven't actually stated what it is that I have said that makes it look "very, very bad", other than the fact that I am not providing you with some kind of measured and metered safety net for you to hang 'your' particular 'belief system' on. I don't feel the need for the Scientific community's blessing to validate astrology, because 'I' personally don't need it. I "get" what astrology is about, and I don't need it tested, metered, measured and given the okay by science. I don't look to it as a science, or use it as a science, therefore I don't need it to be validated by science. Astrologers who do, are just insecure about it, and allowing themselves to be intimidated. I don't have a dependency on science (or astrology) I just 'get' it. I can 'see' how it works, 'why' it works and 'what' it works for I know how ti use it for myself. I don't need it validated. It has to be studied and grasped, as I said, with the intuition, not with measuring tools. That moment of 'knowing' is the eureka moment when you suddenly realise what it is about, and once you have got to that stage with it, you don't need outside validation from anybody or anything. It's a bit like taking the stabilisers off your bike when you are a kid, and just getting on and riding it. You just 'know'!I'm not really sure where you are coming from with your accusations of "with friends like you, who needs enemies," that's a bit childish and irrelevant really. I think your particular belief system and dependence on "solid facts" (just as much a belief system as anything you are accusing me of) is not particularly relevant where astrology is concerned. In other areas, it is needed, but not here. Astrology does what it does, and has done since the year dot, without the blessing of conventional science to allow those who naturally have a feel for it to study it without ridicule, (and even certain death at some points in history.) It has no validity for you, because you don't understand it. You would really have to study it to understand what the validity of it is, but you just want to see scientific evidence, to back it up, without understanding what it does first. It doesn't need your back up. That is why it has consistently survived throughout time. It has, of course like everything else, been exploited, especially by the media and poor journalism. Astrology doesn't need blind faith either, it is a specific area of knowledge, which people with closed minds cannot hope to access. You either get it or you don't, it really is as simple as that! You have a 'belief' that people who have a way of looking at life through a different lens to yours are, what was it?, CRACKPOTS (Hmmm" capitol letters!)and quacks! You are making childishly angry statements about things that you can't measure and at this point can't even understand, so basically, you are just throwing tantrums. Now get off your high horse and live and let live! Your pulse rate just might go down! It does not need solid evidence, and anyway belief in a solid universe is getting a bit old hat these days isn't it!

ZapperZ said...

Wait a second. You mean you want me to show you valid evidence from what you've said that allows me to draw up such conclusions? You want to to show that A leads to B, and that the reasoning is rational? What, I'm not allowed to use my "intuition" and "feelings" to conclude that what you've said is crackpottery? It's all "internal", see? It doesn't require any external evidence of any kind.

Zz.

Mystical Mayhem said...

Oh grow up man! Your sounding more and more like an overgrown anally retentive schoolboy still trying to gain approval and the right to exist from Daddy! In your case projected on to Science. What do you think would happen if you let go of your safety net of constant scientific approval? Maybe you would disappear into a puff of logic!? Your ability to communicate effectively still seems to be stuck at 'first base'.

I disagree with your statement! "A valid phenomenon never languishes in the land of 'is it true or not true?' for long". Astrology isn't languishing, it is still standing because it is strong in it's own right. It hasn't gone the way of the Flat Earth Society, because it holds it's own truth that cannot be measured, and doesn't need measuring, except in the eyes of the scientific community. However, it's only 'stuck', as you see it, in 'the land of truth and untruth' in the eyes of scientists who hold it there, because it never really has been totally dismissed by science. We all agree that the earth isn't flat, we don't all agree that astrology has no validity, the debate has been raging for centuries. Not all Scientific thinkers debunk it, some of them actually 'get it', but they are the ones with the open minds. Astrologers in general don't really give a toss whether it's scientifically acceptable or not, because most of us don't class it as a science. So therefore, having the scientific community giving it's blessing has no real meaning to us. It doesn't rely on it. It's as simple as that!

Your anger is about not 'getting it'. It goes right over your head, and that is what really riles you. Here is something that you don't understand, and is beyond you. What makes you think we all look to science as validation for everything? What makes you think that people are unable to explore unknown territory without having it first validated by the great god science? (or the arrogance of scientists playing god) Isn't that a bit like having to get your parents approval before you go off and do something new on your own? What is wrong with coming up with your own insights that are right for the individual and don't need the backing or approval of anyone or anything else? Why is astrology so threatening? What is all the shouting and raging about? Scientific proof is a valid requirement for a lot of things obviously, but it isn't needed for everything. Astrology doesn't need it, it will still be what it is, with or without scientific validation.

By the way, it does need to be studied, like anything else. You wouldn't expect Students of science to not have studied their subject before they pass judgment on what does and does not pass as "valid" would you? However , expecting those who naturally gravitate towards astrology, to wait until empirical evidence is produced first before exploring it is laughable. Freedom of thought is still with us in this day and age(just about!) I think we can make our own minds up about what we let our minds explore, without being dictated to.

ZapperZ said...

You shouldn't accuse anyone of being a school boy when you don't know when to use "your" and "you're".

Secondly, the "flat earth" concept is FALSIFIABLE! Astrology isn't, and that's why it continues to linger! It loves in the never-never land, just like you said, of the imagination that can't be falsified.

No one is asking for approval here, and I definitely do NOT feel "threatened" by it. If I were, I would have done more meaningful endeavor against it rather than ramble about it on a blog!

Furthermore, I have no idea what you are so pissed at with the original blog, because none of what I've said contradicts what you have said, which is that Astrology isn't a science, and it has nothing that can be verified. If anything, YOU would be appalled that someone would think that Astrology could be "proven" using Astrophysics! It would falsify everything you have claimed about astrology. So why you are bitching at me about?

Zz.

Shadow said...

I'm not getting involved in this debate. I love astrology to death. I own 50 something books regarding the subject and think breathe and speak it daily. It is a study that I like to believe in. I have my views and I'm smart to not let anyone who isn't me alter them. Now why would I do that?the way I see itis, I know shark I know. I've read whstnive read. I've done my own research and experimentation . Ive been this way and that. I'm sure the opposing side hsntheiroen story too but the thing is I just don't care what you believe in. To the amazing astrologer who so fiercely defended her views in astrology, I love you. And i want you to know you have nothing to prove to anyone. There will be those people who just want to argue with the same damn statement ''you have no proof'' blah blah even after you say'' I don't need facts. I use intuition.'' and answer their question.they arenjust going to keep pressing your buttons and acting that very same way that humans do. Your njuet going to have to let it happen. Its not worth the stress for you and if they started the disagreement with a fixed view such as that you are honestly most likely not going to change. People are stubborn. To the person who repeatedly antagonize the astrologer accusing them saying "you have no evidence'' what is the point that? YOU as an individual know she doesn't have proof for you, why'd you have to keep rubbing it in? Don't you thinkthats a little mean? You will accomplish nothing by doing this. If anything , your end result will be sadness. There are people who believe in jesusnand gd and other religionsnwenhave absolutely no proof of yet becausebthey have a better reputation with society they wiki get away with their beliefs. Johnnie you need to learn to coexist and lastly you two need not enter debate unless unintentionally have an oprnmind to change your views. I wish you both A good day. Peace and love!

ZapperZ said...

Dear Mr/Miss Shadow,

I decided to approve and release your incoherent comment, because, frankly, you are the POSTER CHILD for why only weak-minded people who lack analytical skills would be the one DUPED into believing such a thing. In trying to counter my argument, you have done more HARM to your cause than I could ever do in years of work.

Your comment is a conglomerate of self-contradictory. For example, you said:

"It is a study that I like to believe in. I have my views and I'm smart to not let anyone who isn't me alter them. Now why would I do that?the way I see itis, I know shark I know. I've read whstnive read. I've done my own research and experimentation . Ive been this way and that. I'm sure the opposing side hsntheiroen story too but the thing is I just don't care what you believe in."

Yet, later on, you want us to take the high road and wants to "...unintentionally have an oprnmind...". Hilarious!

The article I'm arguing was about Astrology bastardizing astrophysics and using the results from that as "proof". You somehow missed that point.

In any case, thanks for a couple of minutes of hysterical giggling. Your comment is one of the funniest I've read in ages! It's a classic and deserves to be framed!

Zz.