The Instigator
SirMaximus
Pro (for)
Tied
8 Points
The Contender
Swedishperspective
Con (against)
Tied
8 Points

Astrology is pseudoscience.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/22/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,069 times Debate No: 59388
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (3)

 

SirMaximus

Pro

Astrology has been believed in since c. 1000 BCE, at the latest. Many people still believe in some form of astrology today- nearly every newspaper has a daily column devoted to it. However, I argue that the belief in astrology is pure superstition. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were not discovered until after the creation of astrology. The earliest astrologers only took the other planets in our solar system into account. This, I argue, destroys the very basis of astrology, because it debunks how astrology began. If we can't trust the basis of astrology, how can we trust astrology in general?

I take the affirmative, or pro/for position in this debate: I accept the proposition that astrology is pseudoscience.
Swedishperspective

Con

Hello! Seems like an interesting debate. I will give it a try!

I will argue that there isn"t enough evidence to claim that astrology is false. However, astrology doesn"t operate in a strict scientific way. When an astrologer reads your natal chart he or she doesn"t need to have to justify the conclusions reached that is within the realm of our current scientific knowledge since, I admit, astrology researchers are still in the process of trying to understand adn determine the cause of the causality that celestial bodies' movements have on humans. In studies where there have been poven causality between the said points to a potential cause. In fact, its on this premise that science operates; it makes knowledgeable attempts at developing theories that can account for observations. I will argue that whether or not astrology should be considered science or a potential candidate for being a domain of scientific inquiry, there isn"t suifficent evidence to say that it is "pseudoscience". Stephen Hawking once suggested that the universe might be curved and he was laughed at. Now that is the prevailing view among the scientific community. Even though something can"t be explained at the moment doesn"t mean that there is no explanation at all.

We also need to define what astrology is. Astrology follows a set of rules about the relative positions and movements of celestial bodies have an effect on the moment of time. Astrology can thus make predictions about events on earth as well as to explain human personality traits based on the moment of birth. Though some astrologers work with stars and constellations, western astrologers work with the Sun, the Moon and the planets (including Pluto) within the Solar System. There are, however some distinct differences between different fields of astrology that is important to point out. Conventional astrology used by astrologers is not the same as the astrology you read about in the magazines used to foretell how your day is going to be. There has to be a clear distinction between what is real astrology and pseudoastrology in order for the us to set the debate in a constructive course.

For an individual astrology is a psychological tool translated into a chart that includes all planets (as well as the Sun, Moon, and Pluto), 12 houses and 12 signs from which you can extrapolate information about a person`s personality traits. It is, however, - and I do want to stress this point - not the same as the astrology you read about in the magazines. There has to be a clear distinction between what is real astrology and pseudoastrology in order for the us to set the debate in a constructive course .

Unlike what my opponent stated, Astrology is as old as 5000 years old and has been a tool used by many of the greatest empires we know of today. In fact, in 1988 Reagan regularly changed the dates of his top-meetings based upon the advice of his astrologers.

To give an historic outline of how the knowledge of the origins of astrology and how it has progressed, the sumerians, who lived in Mesopotamia between Euphrates and Tigris, were the first ones to avail themselves by astrology. The priests were the ones who took notes of their observations of the heavenly bodies and, based on which, they were able to make predictions about the constellations of the relative positions of the sun, the moon and the other planets. From Mesopotamia it spread to Egypt from which astrology was further refined and eventually spread to other areas of the world. Even though the knowledge of astrology weren"t known to many people at the time, some things that were seen as common knowledge actually emanated from astronomical observations. For instance, the knowledge that grapes were growing better when cultivated when Orion had reached its peak, was a great benefit for the ancient greeks .

In fact the knowledge that has been put forth by astrology has been useful for several millennia and hence the knowledge has been protected, cherished and expounded upon over the course of time. The fact that heavenly bodies affect life on earth was known then as it is now. Even though some of the things that were unknown in the past are now under the scope of our scientific understanding, there are still things that we are not able to explain using the context of our current scientific understanding. In fact, several experiments have been performed that points to the fact that the heavenly bodies have quite a large effect on subjects on earth than perhaps sceptics would submit. One example of this is an experiment performed by Professor Frank Brown in the 60s that showed that oysters that were moved from Long Island to his laboratory in Evanston followed the rhythm of the moon. At Long Island they opened and closed in relationship to the tide. However, when they were in Evanston close north to Chicago, approximately 100000 miles from the coast, there was no tide. Thus, it turned out that the oysters in Evanston opened and closed simultaneously with the tide .

In order to determine whether astrology is scientific we first have to look at what science is. If I look up the word in the Oxford dictionary it reads as follows: "The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."

So basically, what constitutes science is a field of study that can be observed and tested in a concrete matter. Thus, in order for Astrology to be considered a "legitimate science" it must meet the definition of science, and conform to the rules of science. The scientific method sets out to descibe a theory in the following way: First, one has to be able to describe a phenomena observed in nature, establish an hypothesis to account for that observation, use that hypothesis to predict other events which would be tested by several experiments in order to ascertain whether the hypothesis can be reliable or not.

Hence the first question is whether or not Astrology can be subjected to falsification by the scientific method. Before I set out to show that it can be, I must stress that it is extremely difficult to obtain sufficient accurate objective data. To isolate the huge number of variables involving astrology and human behaviour is not as easy task. To falsify an experiment the whole experiment has to be replicated. That would mean that the unique conditions of someone"s planetary positions during the moment of the persons birth has to be identical to a that of a new subject - the uniqueness of which has never been repeated within recorded human history.

Another thing to emphasize is that the Experimenter effect, i.e. a cognitive bias by the researcher which unconsciously causes them to influence the performance or the subjects in the eperiment in a way that distorts the findings and affects the outcome of the experiment, is potentially stronger than in an experiment involving for instance chemistry or physics since the experiment involvs not something tangible as certain physical laws but human behaviour. Thus, the criteria that the experimenter uses, the data that he or she selects as well as the results are particularly open to conscious or unconscious biases. Statistics used in physics and chemistry is pretty straightforward. To put that in contrast to astrologic statistics, the data and the variables are more varied and complex, results can obviously be misrepresented and skewed .

As phychology Profesor Hans Eysenck stated: "testing astrology is a complex and difficult field, as indeed all fields relating to psychological variables".

However, astrology can be subjected to scientific testing. A comprehensive study conducted by Gauquelin (1984) collected data from over 20,000 eminent individuals from various European countries and United States. What he detected was that successes in different areas was statistically correlated with certain out of the ordinary diurnal positions of Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and the moon.

In one of his findings, a phenomena now commonly known as "he Mars effect, namely that Mars has either risen over the horizon or passed its upper culmination, was documented and was found to have played a significant role for not only athletes but for military leaders, chief executives and physicians. Generally he found that certain planetary positions at birth when the planets had reached their upper culmination was associated with exceptional professional accomplishments. His findings thus corroborates what astrologers have pointed out for several millennia, namely that certain angles planets (or the moon) manifests prominently in the individual.

1.http://astrology.about.com...
2.http://www.horoscopeswithin.com... http://www.historyworld.net...
3.http://cecaust.com.au...
4.http://www.astrologer.com...
5.http://www.scientificexploration.org...
Debate Round No. 1
SirMaximus

Pro

My opponent argues that, for an individual, astrology is influenced by the 8 planets in our solar system, Pluto, the sun, and the moon. I reiterate that Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were unknown back when astrology began. See my argument for Round 1 for more on that. Secondly, why don't astrologers take planets from outside of our solar system into account?

My opponent also claims that there are 12 astrological signs for an individual. However, there is also the sign known as Ophiuchus, the serpent. Why don't astrologers take Ophiucus into account? He also states that astrological charts of and individual can help you extrapolate personality traits of said individual. These charts usually involve the date of birth, the time of birth, and the place of birth. However, many twins, born mere minutes apart at the same location, are often polar opposites. So how can people with such similar birth charts be so different?

My opponent asserts that the Greeks realized that it was better to cultivate grapes when Orion had reached its peak. However, whether or not it's a good season to cultivate grapes is controlled by factors such as temperature and location, so there is no proof that it has anything to do with Orion reaching its peak.

Finally, my opponent claims that oysters were found opening and closing their mouths in relation to the tides, and that certain planetary positions at birth have often predicted success among individuals. However, correlation does not imply causation. Scientists may not know what the cause is yet, but they're still looking for the answer.
Swedishperspective

Con

Swedishperspective forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
SirMaximus

Pro

I don't really have anything else to say about astrology, and since I currently have no more arguments to respond to, I can't really say anything for this round.
Swedishperspective

Con

Swedishperspective forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
SirMaximus

Pro

I still don't have anything more, because I currently have nothing to respond to.
Swedishperspective

Con

Swedishperspective forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
SirMaximus

Pro

Well, I guess there's nothing more for me to say.
Swedishperspective

Con

Swedishperspective forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
SirMaximusSwedishperspectiveTied
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had a massive BOP to overcome and didn't come close to proving astrology false. Con was the only one to give any sources. Pro gets conduct points for forfeit. I'm tempted to counter vote Sagey's ridiculous source point but I'll just refrain and report his vote. It might be better if this one ends in a tie anyway.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
SirMaximusSwedishperspectiveTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Con Forfeited without a fight, thus Good Conduct to Pro.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
SirMaximusSwedishperspectiveTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: Nearly full forfeit, hence conduct. Con appears to have the major BoP here, which is to show that astrology comes from evidence and therefore is scientific. Con's evidence doesn't prove astrology as I know it, but that definition isn't ever argued in the debate. What is argued is the definition that celestial bodies have some effect on life here on Earth. That shifts the burden to Pro, which he shouldn't have allowed, but never contradicts, despite having three extra rounds in which do to so. Most of Pro's responses simply don't get there, as the majority of them are just questions. As I see it, Con provided a good response within the context of his definitions. Without an appropriate response from Pro, even with all of the forfeits, I must award the arguments to Con.