Problem

Horological superstition

Other Names:
Astrology as superstition
Dependence on horoscopes
Nature:
The study of the zodiac and the calendar to predict the course of human affairs, usually with a detailed character study of the person involved (as determined by his or her birthchart), although being a highly developed art, is regarded as superstition in most developed countries, and not a reliable science.
Background:
From ancient times to the 18th century, astrology was considered a legitimate science.
Incidence:
Fortune-telling is a traditional occupation of gypsies and other peoples. Horoscopes are popular in daily, weekly, monthly and other journals in developed countries. Skilled astrologists practice in many countries, but usually do not publicize their activities. Prominent coverage has been given to the astrologer associated with USA's President Reagan, through his wife, during the period 1981-88. The astrologer in question claims to have influenced many presidential policy decisions. An increasing number of sophisticated investors are reported to be acting upon the advice of astrologers, although it is suggested that such advice should be treated as but one factor in a range of relevant information. In Chinese culture, since birth in particular years of the Chinese horoscope is considered especially auspicious (such as the Year of the Snake), this has a significant influence on the birth rate within any year.
Claim:
1. Despite the long history of astrology no one has devised a reproduceable experiment to demonstrate that it works. Of course astrological techniques are not perfect predictions but it should be possible to define some things that can be correctly predicted by astrology more often than by any other method. If not then astrologers and their followers have no basis for claiming that astrology works.

2. In the UK, over half the population are thought to believe in astrology. And half of them think it's a science !

Counter Claim:
The astrological theory of the universe, which most historians of science had supposed to have been irreversibly sterilized by about 1700, has recently been the basis of a whole network of studies and experiments which are beginning to mesh into a new astrology. Some scientists consider that a new science is in the process of being born.
Broader Problems:
Superstition
Fortune-telling
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET
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