There are many out there who would like to consider Astrology as science. This is completely illogical. While it can be considered a craft, an art or a hobby, it has no elements to qualify it as a science.
The reason why many think it is science is because it deals with stars, constellations, mathematical calculations which are the tools or ingredients of the prevailing sciences. This is a ridiculous argument. Using goat’s entrails to predict whether it would rain does not make it biology or meteorology. Stopping oneself from entering the street because the cat has crossed your path does not make it zoology. Just because one has built an elaborate scheme using astronomical data to predict things that happen to members of one single species on an insignificant planet revolving round an ordinary start in one of billion billion galaxies does not make it astronomy or a science.
I would like put forth the following points for people to ponder. (If you don’t want to know the details just go the point # 6 which gives you a comparison).
1. There are four fo
rces in the Universe.
a. Gravitational fo
b. Electromagnetic fo
c. Strong Nuclear fo
d. Weak Nuclear fo
Both Strong Nuclear and Weak Nuclear fo
rce work within the confines of atoms and hence I will rule them out in the following discussion since it involves celestial objects and behavior of humans.
2. It leaves us with two forces to deal with- Gravity and Electromagnetism. The electric charge of most of the planets is very minimal compared to their mass, thereby making it insignificant. Venus and Mars have no magnetic field while Me
rcury has 1/1000 of Earth’s magnetic field. Only Jupiter stands out amongst Sun’s planets with a very strong magnetic field that is 20,000 times stronger than that of Earth while Saturn has 500 times stronger field. Uranus is 50 times stronger while Neptune is 30 times stronger. Pluto has no magnetic field.
3. Mass of Me
rcury is 1/20 of Earth, Venus is 0.8 of Earth, Mars is 1/10 of Earth, Jupiter is 300 times of Earth, Saturn is 100 times of Earth, Uranus is 15 times of Earth, Neptune is 17 times of Earth, and Pluto is 0.9 of Earth.
4. Farther the planet weaker its strength. Magnetic field falls rapidly inversely proportional to square of the distance. Mars is 800 million km, Venus is 400 million km, Me
rcury is 900 million km, Jupiter is 630 million km, Saturn is 1300 million km, Uranus is 2700 million km, Neptune is 4400 million km, and Pluto is 5700 million km.
5. If the Earth gravity and magnetic field were to be at
, then the effect of these planets on a human being is almost negligible. Almost all the effects are less than one-billionth compared to Earth, exceptions being, gravities of Venus and Jupiter which are 0.2 and 0.3 of millionth of Earth (still very negligible), and magnetic fields of Jupiter and Saturn which ware 2 and 0.1 of millionth of Earth. Center of Earth
6. In all respects, either it is magnetic or gravitational, Earth influences humans million times more compared to any planet out there. In fact, if you are standing next to a truck of 80,000 pounds, it would be influencing you 300 times more than what Mars would. If you are using an electric shaver you would be influenced 16 million times more than what Jupiter would, and if you are close to a transformer in a building, you would be influenced 100,000 times more than what Jupiter would.
The above discussion suggests that no planet can influence a human more than the objects closer to you. None of the forces that these planets can influence have an effect on humans in any significant way. There is no recorded evidence of any other particles traveling from any of these planets or any stars which can influence one human while avoiding another.
Some proponents of Astrology make another case. They say there are other kinds of influences not known to science. There could be certain ‘cosmic rays’ or rays that travel faster than light and so on. If one were to assume that it is the case (which it is not) we still come to the same conclusion. Take the case of a variant of cosmic rays that seem to affect human beings. They are supposed to have an influence on a newly born baby. When asked how they go inside a hospital building, the proponents of astrology attribute it to their property to penetrate buildings.
According to them, they penetrate every planet and matter and hence they can pass through the building of a hospital. So, the question is, if they can pass through the building, shouldn’t they pass through the baby as well, without producing any influence on the baby? If one were to assume that these rays only affect the living bodies thereby sparing the building, how do these cosmic rays know the difference between the mother and the baby? If we do assume that they pass through building but stop at living bodies, the question is will they not influence the baby when it is inside the womb? If they can travel through millions of light years penetrating everything that is on the way only to stop at a baby, why should they not penetrate the womb of the mother and influence the baby while it is inside, why is the moment of birth so important? What is birth according to these stars and planets, the moment of conception or the moment of seeing the outside world, or is it when the tether at the baby’s navel is cut off from the mother? Is the boundary of such termination just the skin of human or is it something more (like heart, brain or soul)? So, are we to assume that these planets are aware of each individual who is born on earth? If so, are they aware of each living species on the planet? There would be many billions of living beings on the planet, would they consider the fate of each of those living organism? Or these planets are especially interested in humans only? What about our cousins the chimps, gorillas and orangutans?
Astrology fails all tests of science and reason. However, people tend to believe it as ever and may be with renewed vigor in these post-modern societies. There is no single scientific proof, reason or theory which suggests Astrology is a predictive science. Most of the success stories of astrology are in fact attributed to mere coincidences, human psychology and human’s wishful thinking. Just because the predictions turn out to be right does not make the mechanism a scientific mechanism. One may observe that each time it rains the goat is inside the house and conclude that they have direct correlation. Next time, to make it rain the man may bring the goat into the building but for some reason there is no rain- that’s when the theory fails. Most of the astrological successes are coincidences based on vague patterns which seem to hold true given a good number of sample cases (like one can always predict that a man is 5’8” in a country if one were to know that it is the average height. He may turn out to be right more than 30% of the time, which is a good success rate).
Also, people tend to look at the predictions that have turned out to be true rather than look at the times they tend to be completely false. That is the nature of humans and nothing to do with any scientific theory. For example, a newspaper articles writes about an astrologer who has predicted again and again many events- like change in governments, death of presidents and prime ministers, ai
rcraft accidents, and even 9/11 disaster. How come he was not taken seriously when he made those predictions in the first place? How come we look back and then say, ‘Yes! He is right’. He may have predicted 200 other events which may not have come true. Nobody bothers to look at those. If indeed he is right, as Munnabhai suggests, he should select the Indian Cricket Team for each game, by picking up only those players who score centuries and take six wickets.
Given the number of astrologers that we have and each one making thousands of predictions, some of them are bound to be right. Just take a class of 50 students and ask each of them to make ten predictions each for the coming year. We will have 50 predictions. And after the year has elapsed, we may find some of them are indeed right (like
winning the World cup, or a leader of a state getting killed or a major disaster happening in India Indian Ocean). Do such success stories make these students astrologically superior? Some, who have got it right more than others (say two out of ten have turned out to be true) may be considered good predictors. What if only those chosen students are asked to make more predictions for the next year. Will they come out right? Most probably no! The reason they came out right was because we had many predictors and hence statistically it was possible that some of those events would turn out right, but once the size of these predictors is shrunk drastically the pool size is small and the chances of getting it right go down as well.
One can go on writing against each aspect of Astrology and completely debunk it. However, people will continue to believe in it. What is sad and also dangerous is not that any people believe in it- nowadays, the most learned, even those graduating from universities with PhDs, believe in this. Astrology is another of the pseudo-sciences which will prevail throughout human history. It may change shape or form and differ in methods, but as long as the man is curious about his future, astrology or any of the predictive hobbies will prevail. What needs to be combated is how it is entering the domains of scientists, PhDs, engineers, doctors, graduates and eminent academicians. Astrology in
is another aspect of growing love for India ’s glorious past. Astrology alone is quite harmless, but when combined with other potent forces such as numerology, vaastu shastra, Vedic sciences, etc, tend to feed into supporting the cause of the fascist forces which seem to bank on such grand theories to establish their credentials and bolster their cases to support Aryan supremacies, explain away caste differences, legitimize superiority of certain classes, and glorify their religion vis-à-vis other religions. India
Links: Astrology Debunked [Added in 2013],