Studies against astrology

But it has nothing to do with the horoscopes being right. Horoscopes make people feel better because of a psychological effect known as the placebo effect. The placebo effect is when the belief in a useless method actually makes a person feel better. It is the belief itself, and not the method, that causes the improvement. The placebo effect has been scientifically verified. If you give pills to ten sick patients containing only water, but tell them it is a powerful new drug that will help them, and then have ten sick patients not take the pills, then over time the patients taking pills will show better health.

Because of the placebo effect, a new drug must not just be proven to make patients feel better. It must be proven to perform better than a placebo. In accurate medical experiments, the control group is not a collection of untreated patients. Rather, the control group is a collection of patients receiving a placebo.

The placebo effect is the mechanism at work with astrology. Many people believe in astrology. When they read their horoscope and follow its advice, they feel better. But it is the belief itself and not the astrology that is making them feel better. Many pseudo-scientific treatments — from crystal healing to homeopathy — help people through the placebo effect. Believing in a treatment that does not actually do anything may help, but believing in a treatment that does is even better.

Sticking to scientifically proven treatments gives you the benefit of the belief and the benefit of the treatment's action. For instance, instead of reading your horoscope each morning, go for a walk. Exercise is proven to be good for body and mind, and your belief in its effect will also help you.

Topics: astrology , astronomy , gravity , horoscope , placebo , placebo effect , sign , stars. Public Domain Image, source: Christopher S. The other half were asked the same question about horoscopes.

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The results shows a surprising disparity in opinion. In research I carried out a few years ago, I tested the hypothesis that people get confused between astrology and astronomy, and it is this that could account for widespread apparent belief in the scientific status of astrology. Even well-respected national newspapers have been known to make this mistake. My survey also asked people how scientific they believed various activities to be.

One of these was astronomy.

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Using a statistical technique known as regression analysis, I discovered, after adjusting for age, gender and education, that people who were particularly likely to think that astronomy was very scientific were also very likely to think the same about astrology. This points to semantic confusion about these terms among the general public. In the same study, I was interested to look at other explanations for why some Europeans think astrology is scientific and others do not. If one does not have an adequate understanding, it might be difficult to distinguish between science and pseudoscience.

So it turns out to be. When taking a wide range of other factors into account, those who have a university degree and who score highly on a quiz tapping scientific knowledge are less likely to think that astrology is scientific. In line with previous studies, women are more likely than men to think astrology is scientific, regardless of their level of education and knowledge about science.

The most interesting result, however, is based on an idea proposed more than 50 years ago by the German sociologist Theodore Adorno. In , Adorno carried out a study of a Los Angeles Times astrology column. What is particularly interesting, though, is the connection drawn between astrology with authoritarianism, fascism and modern capitalism remember that this was in the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust. For Adorno, astrology emphasised conformity and deference to higher authority of some kind. People high on authoritarianism tend to have blind allegiance to conventional beliefs about right and wrong and have high respect for acknowledged authorities.

They are also those who are more favourable towards punishing those who do not subscribe to conventional thinking and aggressive towards those who think differently. However, synchronicity itself is considered neither testable nor falsifiable.

It has also been shown that confirmation bias is a psychological factor that contributes to belief in astrology. From the literature, astrology believers often tend to selectively remember those predictions that turned out to be true and do not remember those that turned out false. Another, separate, form of confirmation bias also plays a role, where believers often fail to distinguish between messages that demonstrate special ability and those that do not. Thus there are two distinct forms of confirmation bias that are under study with respect to astrological belief.

The Barnum effect is the tendency for an individual to give a high accuracy rating to a description of their personality that supposedly tailored specifically for them, but is, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.

If more information is requested for a prediction, the more accepting people are of the results. In Bertram Forer conducted a personality test on students in his classroom. The personality descriptions were taken from a book on astrology. By a process known as self-attribution, it has been shown in numerous studies that individuals with knowledge of astrology tend to describe their personalities in terms of traits compatible with their astrological signs.

The effect is heightened when the individuals were aware that the personality description was being used to discuss astrology. Individuals who were not familiar with astrology had no such tendency. In , sociologist Theodor W. Adorno conducted a study of the astrology column of a Los Angeles newspaper as part of a project that examined mass culture in capitalist society. False balance is where a false, unaccepted or spurious viewpoint is included alongside a well reasoned one in media reports and TV appearances and as a result the false balance implies "there were two equal sides to a story when clearly there were not".

Following the complaints of astrology believers, Cox gave the following statement to the BBC: "I apologise to the astrology community for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation. Studies and polling has shown that the belief in astrology is higher in western countries than might otherwise be expected.

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Astrology and science

Some of the reported belief levels are due to a confusion of astrology with astronomy the scientific study of celestial objects. The closeness of the two words varies depending on the language.

This may partially be due to the implicit association amongst the general public, of any wording ending in "ology" with a legitimate field of knowledge. In half of the polls, the word "astrology" was used, while in the other the word "horoscope" was used. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: astrology and astronomy.

Astrology and science - Wikipedia

James [23] : Main article: Mars effect. See also: Forer effect. Making sense of astrology.


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Amherst, N. Looking for coincidences post hoc is of very dubious value, see Data dredging.

Medieval astrology

Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union. Bibcode : IAUS.. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. The cosmic perspective 4th ed. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 6 July Astronomical Society of the Pacific. May Personality and Individual Differences. To optimise the chances of finding even remote relationships between date of birth and individual differences in personality and intelligence we further applied two different strategies.

The first one was based on the common chronological concept of time e. The second strategy was based on the pseudo-scientific concept of astrology e. Sun Signs, The Elements, and astrological gender , as discussed in the book Astrology: Science or superstition? Bappu 1. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. Asquith, ed. Dordrecht u. National Science Foundation. Archived from the original on Retrieved 28 July About three-fourths of Americans hold at least one pseudoscientific belief; i. Archived from the original on 18 March The Humanist, volume 36, no.

Bok, Bart J. Jerome; Paul Kurtz In Patrick Grim ed. Philosophy of Science and the Occult.