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Astrologer Proves Top Skeptic Wrong

GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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12/3/2009 1:12:34 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Skeptic Michael Shermer tried to disprove Astrology on his own show, but master Astrologer, Jeffrey Armstrong passed the test. However, he practices Vedic (Eastern) Astrology which is, according him, the true practice unlike the mainstream newspaper Astrology.

(I personally am indifferent to Astrology, I don't practice it, though there may be a link between Astrology and archetypes.)
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

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-- Frederic Bastiat
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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12/3/2009 3:33:57 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Meh I've seen this clip before. Some obvious issues come to mind, such as failure to do a double-blind test, the subjective nature of validating the accuracy, etc.
Dmorgen
Posts: 8
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12/4/2009 1:49:21 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Thought-provoking, but not in the way I think you hope Geo :)

I read a blog post a few weeks ago by a skeptic who was bothered by the way the skeptic community approaches these issues. The author contended that we - as skeptics - frustrate woo woo believers because we don't clearly define what we're looking for. I think he has a point.

In cases like this, the skeptic tells the astrologer that evidence is required to demonstrate astrology, and often leaves it at that. We skeptics often fail to realize that woo woo believers are totally unaccustomed to scientific or rational thought. Therefore, the astrologer will conduct a study with poor procedure, find some small correlation, and present it as though it is groundbreaking evidence that affirms everything they believe about astrology.

They are understandably dismayed when we are unmoved by their study. We told them we wanted evidence and in their minds they have brought it to us. In order to resolve the discussion we then explain more about scientific rigor, and then the difference between correlation and causation, and then the need for an explanatory mechanism, and to the astrologer it looks like we are moving the goalposts.

Unfortunately, before this kind of conversation can really be had the woo woo believer must acquire an adequate science education. The astrologer, for example, cannot persuade a skeptic without understanding the skeptical perspective. Most conversations I have had on the topic end with the astrologer staring dumbfounded as I explain the physics and astronomy behind the night sky. My way of thinking is alien to the woo woo believers. They accept the model of reality that feels best to them, not the model that is demonstrable.

From now on I think the most honest approach to take with woo woo believers is to demand they have an adequate understanding of science before addressing their claims. I'm happy to listen to arguments about scientific procedure, practice, data, and theory, but that's never where the discussion starts. It simply isn't feasible for me to entertain a conversation where I have to provide an education in fundamental physics, chemistry, biology, and the scientific method in order to be understood.

Is this elitist?

Yes, but it is unavoidable.

This is where such conversations inevitably lead - the woo woo believer wanders away confused by why the skeptic doesn't accept his wonderful ideas, and the skeptic shakes her head and wonders where to start. I would say there is no starting point until the woo woo believer exercises and develops his or her Reason, and tries to persuade the skeptic with rigorous scientific argument.
Cheers,
Don
wjmelements
Posts: 8,206
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12/4/2009 2:17:36 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Good video. It'd be interesting to get into the how of astrology and the why.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
MistahKurtz
Posts: 400
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12/5/2009 7:06:33 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
There is, without a doubt, a science to Astrology.

That isn't to say, however, that it's this flashy crap in the video. I would argue that there is absolute link between one's social, emotional and physical characteristics based on the date they were born. It's a matter of making educated guesses based on statistics (i.e. divorce rates for an age group) and logical traits (those born in winter months have bushier eyebrows)

It's a totally useless trick, though. Why would people want someone to guess what they already know about themselves?
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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12/5/2009 7:27:35 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Sure, if you want to equivocate on the term Astrology. The birth date dictates how planetary motions influence your life, something your little model leaves out.
MistahKurtz
Posts: 400
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12/5/2009 7:41:02 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/5/2009 7:27:35 AM, Puck wrote:
Sure, if you want to equivocate on the term Astrology. The birth date dictates how planetary motions influence your life, something your little model leaves out.

Well, I suppose that's a fair point. I suppose astrology is more of an answer as to why birthdates affect one's life.