The Instigator
Lickdafoot
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Ore_Ele
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

Astrology should be recognized as a science.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,723 times Debate No: 17549
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (6)

 

Lickdafoot

Pro

Claim: Astrology should be recognized as a legitimate science.

First we need to define astrology. Astrology is NOT the same as the horoscopes you read in magazines which only go by the Sun sign. Astrology is a psychological tool that draws a chart including all planets (as well as Sun, Moon, and Pluto), 12 houses and 12 signs. Unfortunately, most people do not know enough about astrology to accept it as anything more than superstitious speculation.

And what constitutes a science? A field of study that can be observed and tested in a concrete matter.
Ore_Ele

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this and would like to start by defining some words.

Science - "The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." [1]

Legitimate - "Conforming to the law or to rules." [2]

In order for Astrology to be considered a "legitimate science" it must meet the definition of science, and conform to the rules of science. One of the key rules of science (which is sadly missed by many people now-a-days) is the correlation vs causation, which can be a logical fallacy (logical fallacies being unscientific). [3]

Correlation is not scientific, causation is. If you find a correlation between two things, they are not necessiarily tied together (increased CO2 levels inverse to number of pirates in the seas). To make it to the realm of science, there must be a logical, scientific reason to leap to causation.

I will pass this back to my opponent to give them a chance to scientifically show the causation of Astrology.

[1] http://www.google.com...=
[2] http://www.google.com...=
[3] http://www.jstor.org...
Debate Round No. 1
Lickdafoot

Pro

Thank you opponent for accepting this debate. I am new to debating so this will sure be a challenge for me, and you seem to have cut to the core of the issue!

Before I begin with addressing my opponents point, I'd like to make a statement. There are two different parts to this debate that need to be addressed. The main issue is whether or not astrology is in fact a science. Because I am confident that astrology is a science, it is also worth discussing the current effects of astrology not being considered a science vs. the potential effects of astrology being considered a science. For sake of length, I will be addressing only the former in this post.

I agree on the terms defined by my opponent. Astrology researchers, I admit, are still in the process of determining and understanding the causality that celestial bodies' movements have on humans.

"...though correlation is necessary for linear causation in the absence of any third and countervailing causative variable, and can indicate possible causes or areas for further investigation..." [1]

So we see that though correlation is not the cause itself, correlation does point to a potential cause. This is the way in which science operates; knowledgeable attempts at making theories based on the observation and experimentation of what is around us.

Many astrologers have conducted research to determine that the correlation (between the placement of celestial bodies and human interaction) is significant enough to study further. This means that the correlation is happening above chance levels.

There are four main things needed to prove causality: [2]

1. Association
2. Prediction
3. excluding alternative hypothesis
4. dose dependence


1. Association

Here is research showing that being an astrologer is associated with having Moon in the 10th Sector of the horoscope wheel. This is happening consistently 20% or more than average.

http://users.tpg.com.au... [the site linking chart at 3]

And here is research showing an association between murderers and natal charts.

http://www.astrologyresearchjournal.org...


2. Prediction

Here is research showing that significantly more people than average are injured when the transiting Sun forms a harsh aspect (0* conjunction, 90* square, or 180* opposition) to the native's natal sun. This is a prediction that has results.

http://safire.net...

3. Excluding alternative hypothesis

What could cause celestial bodies' movements to relate to objective events that happen in numerous persons life? Chance? These things are happening over the chance level.

One alternative, but not defeating, hypothesis for Astrology is Jung's theory of synchronicity. It states that events can be grouped by meaning regardless of cause or effect. The meaning is significant even if we are not sure "why." Large objects did fall from the ground before we knew why and how gravity works.

4. Dose dependence

When the celestial bodies' positions change, human nature in some way (our thoughts, actions, feelings or physical bodies) changes. For example, in the prediction research shown above, we saw that injuries correlate to harsh aspects between natal and transiting sun. When the sun moves away from that harsh aspect into a harmonious aspect (60* sextile, 120* trine), chances of injuries are decreased exponentially- below the chance levels! When there is no aspect being made, the rates of injuries are happening at chance level.

Therefore, the likelihood of injury is dependent upon the position of celestial bodies. Causality.

Astrology is an observational method of looking at the cosmos with testable theories and results. A science. Actually, it was the very first science! Vote Pro or take a trip to Pluto!

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://www.scribd.com...
3. http://users.tpg.com.au...
Ore_Ele

Con

If I flip a coin, we know that the odds are that 50/50 for heads. However, if I flip a coin 100 times, there is a 37% chance that I will get heads (or tails) at least 55 times (10% above the average). The equation for this is combin(n,w) � p^w � (1-p)^(n-w).

Simply showing a difference in statistics from predicted odds does not mean that it is not chance.

1) Association

I'm also trying to find what "Moon in sector 10" even means. Even googling "moon in sector 10 astrology" isn't finding me anything other than the study that you showed. But one of the big errors this makes, is assuming that everything else is completely random (that if there are 12 phases, each phase should get 8.25% of the people).

We know that babies are most often born on Wednesday (it was tuesday up until a few years ago), being 15.4% above average. And the least common day being Sunday, it is 35.1% below average [1]. Such wide swings are attributed to scheduled deliveries, since weekdays are better for having more staff at the hospital and getting your doctor, rather than someone on call. These massive variations (swinging by as much as 50% between different days) are not taken into account when applying a straight average as is done in the graphs that you provided.

A more accurate comparison would be to compare the odds of astrologers being in the 10th sector of the moon with the general population.

2) Prediction

This also suffers from the same flaw. It is assuming that everything else is completely random. However, we know this is not true. More babies are born in late summer (August) [1]. We also find that August is the most dangerous month for driving [2]. The "predictions" made by the chart would suggest that (related to birth) months 0, 3, 6, and 9 to be the most dangerous. For August kids, those would be August, November, February, and May. If we look at those, we see tht August is already the most dangerous for cars, November has Thanksgiving, and highly traveled week with a lot of injuries from that, May has memorial day, another major traveling day, and February is the coldest (and often wettest) month, putting other known risk factors in.

Tying back into the "you can't just take the average and apply it" we can see that death's per month are not completely average [3]. With the variance between months ranging over 20%. Most of this is ditacted by weather as a contributing factor.

3) Excluding alternative hypothesis

"What could cause celestial bodies' movements to relate to objective events that happen in numerous persons life?"

This is making the assumption that the celestial bodies' movements actually do relate.

Most alternative hypothesis will not relate to their movements as anything more than coincedence. As mentioned with the births related to the day of the week, or the month of the year. Those are all tied to our social and earthly environments. As well as the when people are more likely to be injured and more likely to die.

4) Dose dependence

Dosage isn't really related for this, and is more for medical studies (namely 10 mg of Vicodin should do something different than 100 mg of Vicodin).

[1] http://www.babycenter.com...
[2] http://www.forbes.com...
[3] http://www.medicinenet.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Lickdafoot

Pro

Thanks for a great debate opponent!

My opponent mentioned that if you flip a coin 100 times, there is a 37% chance that you will flip either heads or tails 10% above average. This has to do with the limited amount of data. Flipping a coin 1,000 times will start to correct for the errors and more accurate results will be seen. Also, the higher the variation from chance, the less likely chance is to be the case.

So, this is more of an issue of sample scale than irrelevancy of the technique. More samples lead to more accurate results. As you can see, the first chart that I posted in round one has 2,174 astrologers. An even larger sample could be used if Astrology were accepted as a science. More funds and recognition would lead to the most accurate testing.


1. Moon in sector 10 relates to a concept by Michel Gauquelin, a leading researcher in Astrology. He divided the chart into 36 sections, 10 degrees each. [1] Sector one starts at the point in the sky where the eastern horizon rises at time of birth and moves clockwise around the horoscope wheel.

And as you mentioned, an accurate testing would be to compare different findings for different professions with the general public. The best way to do this is to take people born in the same year, month, and location as the people in question. This covers the issue of demographic and the issue of whether or not the "average" is happening at expected chance level.

You can see this done here:

http://www.theoryofastrology.com...

In figure 3 you can see that for sports stars, Mars is in "key" sectors consistently 25% + more than other people born up to 3 days before and after the sports star.


2. My opponent's point about the results correlating to certain months' danger level is invalid. For one, this test was not exclusive to august born babies. A large enough sample size and evenly distributed data will offset this factor in any observational test. For two, the "0,3,6,9" aspects are set within a limited orb range. There are 360 degrees in a horoscope wheel, 30 for each sign. Those baby’s suns which were born in the beginning of August will be aspecting transiting sun differently (at different times) than those born at the end of August. This is not a month issue, it is a degree issue.

Let me show you an example of this.

I cast a chart for a hypothetical person on August 1st, 2000 12:00 pm in Washington, DC. The natal sun placement is at 9.41 degrees Leo.

We are looking for days where the transiting Sun is making a conjunction (0 degrees), square (90 degrees), or opposition (180 degrees) to the natal Sun.

On April 30, 2011 the transiting Sun was at 9.19 degrees Taurus. This is within one degree of a 90 degrees square to the natal position. [2]


The second chart is set for August 31st, 2000 12:00 pm in Washington, Dc. The natal sun placement is at 8.32 degrees Virgo. On May 30, 2011 transiting sun is at 8.16 degrees Gemini. This is within one degree of a 90 degree square to the natal position. [3]


So we can see here that the time for an increased risk of injury is individual to each person's time of birth (ie the natal position of certain celestial bodies at the time of birth in relation to their placements at the time of the injury.) And in no way has to do with the times in which there is more risk of danger due to demographic and geographic variances. These variances deal with increased injuries on a whole but not individual level. We are looking here at astrological effects in relation to individual events and individual people.

Yes, I will admit, there are other variables than astrology that come into place when looking at certain things happening. For someone to know every single variance in relation to any given event is, in the least, highly unlikely. Therefore it is important for astrologers to consider artefacts into to the calculations (for example the time sun is in cancer is a bit longer than the time sun is in capricorn.) With enough data spread out over a range of time and place, and using control groups, the alternating factors are eliminated so that the statistics remain valid. If enough people are getting injured more often than not when their sun is making a harsh aspect to the transiting sun, this is showing that the effect is there regardless of other variables.


3. My opponent says "This is making the assumption that the celestial bodies' movements actually do relate."

It is not an assumption when various research, of which i've given a few, has shown that there is a relation between the two.


4. No, dosage is not so important here. I left it in for the continuity with the source that I used to frame my debate. The key word here is "dependence." The dependence of one factor based on another shows that the latter is causing/altering the former. We are clear that dependence is happening because the results showed a significant drop in trend when the aspect was not being made.


Let me state now that there are many variables which can affect any given event/action/thought/mood/desire, etc. I do not deny that. I am simply saying that astrology is one of those variables. We have seen the proof in that in the evidence supporting the causality between astrology and human nature. Evidence shows that there is a legitimate claim to causality of Astrology, that works with all other variables, and more research needs to be done to explore that.

We know thanks to Hawking that space is curved. [4] He showed evidence of that through calculating the actual coordinates compared to the visually assumed coordinates of celestial bodies near the sun during a solar eclipse.

When Hawking proposed this theory, many refuted it because they could not understand how or why curved space fits into our universe. Refuting the theory on the basis that they cannot explain it is not progressive.

We do not know how or why astrology fits, but it does. The research shows that it does. More research done on the subject matter is progressive and could lead to the answer.

With that being said, I would like to close my debate with the discussion of where astrology is at now, and how mankind will be better off when astrology becomes supported once again as a science.

Astrology answers plenty of questions but it raises even more. Some of us astrologers are attempting to answer some of these questions through objective research. Unfortunately, this is very difficult for us. Astrology is a dying science in that its popularity is lower than ever. Not enough people know, or care, about astrology. Because of this, research done is out of our own pockets. There is no funding. There is no support. There is not enough data from a wide range of people.

Astrology is also rapidly increasing right now due to the availability of the internet. Astrologers can access online databanks of birth charts. We can make programs that will gather the data for us and shorten our time invested in research. We have the potential right now to study Astrology in a way that has never been done before. We can only keep up the progress and offer more evidence if we have more support to carry out our research.

If there is something here with enough evidence to show potential insight into our human nature, why drop the ball on it by keeping it repressed? Only fear and misunderstanding.

Thank you for your time. I'd also like to extend an offer to do an astrological reading for him. Because he's skeptical on the issue, it could be a good learning experience for either or both of us. PM me if you are interested, Ore_Ele.


1. http://astrologyexpressed.wordpress.com...

2. http://i42.photobucket.com...

3. http://i42.photobucket.com...

4. http://www.hawking.org.uk...
Ore_Ele

Con

As this is the final round I will try not to add any new arguments, but merely address current ones.

My opponent correctly says that the more you flip the coin, the more these factors are reduced. However, oddly enough the less and less likely it get that you will actually 50/50. But really, the point was not to come up with some number, but to express that randomness does not always (and in fact rarely) ends up directly to the original chances.

In regards to the fact that more babies are born in August than any other month. My opponent states that since the sampling was not of just august babies, that it doesn't matter. It actually does.

For simplicity, I'm only going to divide the year up into 2 seasons (of equal length), hot and cold, though the principle behind this still applies if you divide the year into months, into astrological signs, or even down to every second of the year.

If 3/4 of people are born in the hot season (so 1/4 are born in the cold season) and 3/4 of injuries occur in the hot season (so 1/4 of the hurt in the cold). We will see that statisitcally, people hurt in the same season that they are born is greater than people hurt in the opposite season they are born.

Here is the math.

People born in hot (3/4) and hurt in hot (3/4) = 3/4 * 3/4 = 9/16
People born in hot (3/4) and hurt in cold (1/4) = 3/4 * 1/4 = 3/16
People born in cold (1/4) and hurt in hot (3/4) = 1/4 * 3/4 = 3/16
People born in cold (1/4) and hurt in cold (1/4) = 1/4 * 1/4 = 1/16

So people that are hurt in the same season they are born (hot in hot and cold in cold) = 10/16
And people that are hurt in the opposite season that they are born (hot in cold and cold in hot) = 6/16

As you can see, you are 67% more likely to hurt yourself in the season you are born than in the opposite season, based on pure statistical chance.

Again, this works whichever way you divide it. So long as the birth rate and injury rate are not flat line, this variance will statistically occur. So all we need to do is find scientific reasons why people are born more in different months, and why people are injured more in different months.

By showing that there is an increased risked in the months of of 0, 3, 6, and 9 related to the most common months, that shows that there will be a statistical skewing as observed. And it is nothing more than expected chance.

"When Hawking proposed this theory, many refuted it because they could not understand how or why curved space fits into our universe. Refuting the theory on the basis that they cannot explain it is not progressive."

This is a combination of the Galileo fallacy and Appeal to Novelty fallacy. The truth is we should be skeptical of things that can't be explained. We should try to find a rational and scientific explination. That is the entire purpose of science, trying to explain the things going on around us. And from there, we should apply meta-science (the science of science) to try to explain why sciences work.

I thank my opponent for this enjoyable debate.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
I'm just posting here so I see it on my profile and remember to come back and read this.
Posted by Lickdafoot 6 years ago
Lickdafoot
@ dimmitri. get your facts straight. astrology isn't horoscopes. astrology isn't sun signs. astrology has nothing to do with constellations. i'm tired of people attacking what you have never given a look into; you just think you know about it because of what other people have told you. study it some, from the actual greats (Robert hand, Ptolemy, Alan Leo, William Lilly to name a few) and then talk sh*t if you want to.

@f-16, yes there have been lots of small scale predictions (which would be confidential to a client.) i know some large scale, documented ones are out there too though i'm not sure what they are. thanks for bringing it up, i will look into it some.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 6 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Interesting debate. Done two months ago? Didn't get a chance to read this before. I would like to ask Lickdafoot if there are any records of astrologers correctly predicting something that couldn't have been predicted by using experimental and observational sciences.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 6 years ago
Dimmitri.C
As Wjmelements declared, and as Sheldon Cooper will further illumine. Specifically, horoscopes are nothing more than a mass cultural delusion that the sun's apparent position relative to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth somehow affects your personality. Astrology is not science. Rather, it is based on unrelated correlative interactions which bear no relation to society. The methodological effect of Astrology does not obtain to that of the principal methodology which science remains intrinsic to.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
Astrology doesn't use the scientific method, nor is it empirical.
Posted by Pathatlon 6 years ago
Pathatlon
Ahh nvm... I see you wrote "As well"...
Posted by Pathatlon 6 years ago
Pathatlon
"Astrology is a psychological tool that draws a chart including all planets (as well as Sun, Moon, and Pluto), 12 houses and 12 signs. Unfortunately, most people do not know enough about astrology to accept it as anything more than superstitious speculation."

The sun is not a planet... It's a star...
Posted by quarterexchange 6 years ago
quarterexchange
Astrology is a sham....at least that's what my palm reader tells me.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
Apparently rfd doesn't like the percentage symbol.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 6 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
LickdafootOre_EleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Core of the issue was whether causation = correlation and Pro didn't meet the burden of proof to show that it is, neither did Pro prove that there was actually was any relation between celestial movements and what astrologers predict.
Vote Placed by Meatros 6 years ago
Meatros
LickdafootOre_EleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro should have fleshed out the definitions more. Pro was unable to fulfill the BoP and Con's arguments were ultimately not refuted.
Vote Placed by ohnoyoulost 6 years ago
ohnoyoulost
LickdafootOre_EleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to meet her burden of proof.
Vote Placed by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
LickdafootOre_EleTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had the burden of proof, and made a valiant effort. However, her argument presumed Astrology to be science, but failed to prove it. Pro's sources were partisan to say the least, while Con's held more water. Moreover, Con had a brilliant debate, in which he obviously invested much time and energy. He nearly perfectly negated the Pro in this winning effort.
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 6 years ago
quarterexchange
LickdafootOre_EleTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made the assumption that certain events, such as injuries, occur at random when Con showed that was clearly untrue. Pro went on to make the tremendous claim that celestial bodies and their positions/movements, were therefore responsible while she had lost her base for that claim.
Vote Placed by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
LickdafootOre_EleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Most of this debate is off topic. Con just edges ahead in relevance to maintaining position. Being able to spew s of popn. statistics =/= explaining the mechanism perceived to be involved.