Thursday, January 18, 2007

Astrology Vs Science II: Linda Goodman debunked

In the previous topic, I lingered upon astrology a bit [I also talked about Vaastu Shastra here]. In this episode, I have taken Linda Goodman’s book SUN SIGNS to ridicule some of her propositions. I took Libra for example. She says about Librans:

Librans hate to be rude, yet they’ll straighten the crooked picture on your wall and snap off your blaring TV set.

I took Librans for discussion because I happen to be one of them (according to my birthday and sun signs) and many of my family members and my close friends are also Librans. I am married to a Libran too. I have a sample of 12 people from this group whom I know very well. Nothing about the above statement makes sense. All of them tend to be rude once in a while and most of them don’t seem to straighten a crooked picture- especially not my wife.

Like gentle doves of peace, they go around mediating and patching up quarrel between others; still they enjoy a good argument themselves.

I ask you, who on this planet would not like to be seen as above? Many of us want to enjoy a good argument, and be seen as gentle doves of peace.

They’re good natured and pleasant, but they can also be sulky, and they balk at taking orders.

The way she puts it, almost everyone on the planet qualifies for the above. Everyone likes to be seen as good natured and pleasant. Is that true that Librans balk at taking orders? If so, should we make sure no Libran enters the Army?

Libras are restless people. But they seldom rush or hurry.

Now, I am beginning to doubt her expertise on this subject. She doesn’t take a stand on what Librans are. For each assertion, she puts a rider, negates it, or tones it down. By doing this she is making sure nobody will accuse her for being patently wrong. She can then always say, but I always said BUT. In the above four sentences, she uses words like, ‘yet’, ‘still’, ‘but’, ‘but’. Then she goes onto say:

Just because the sign is symbolized by the golden scales of justice, don’t ever think that Librans are always perfectly balanced… However, did you ever watch the balancing process on a pair of old-fashioned pharmaceutical scales?... First one side is low, then the other. Up and down, and they dip until there’s perfect balance.

This is when you really start doubting her theories. Is she telling me that I am supposed to correlate myself with a sign that is laid out on the stars and constellations which some primitive man out of boredom called it a ‘balance’ in the night sky? Actually, there is no limit to the number of constellations. There is no reason why it can’t be 1024 constellations instead of just 12. With an ordinary telescope one can conjure up many signs in the night sky- starting from a computer, a train, a bus, an airplane and even a floppy disk. The more bored you are, the more weird the object in the sky. The constellations are a pattern of stars as conjured up my man’s imagination. They constellations are not even closely held entities. In the same constellation, some stars are very close to us while some are extremely far away. It’s almost like one star being about feet away while another one is next to the moon. Just because our ancestors saw an object that resembles a balance we Librans cannot be correlated or uncorrelated with a balance in any of the wildest theories. I could look at the same pattern and can conjure up a sexy lady and will that have a damn effect on how every Libran is made? Then she goes onto say:

Librans features are almost always even and well-balanced… (About dimples) There will usually be a couple in the cheeks or one in the chin.

Man O Man! I am not sure how people have read this book. According to the cover page, more than 4 million have been sold. None of my Libran friends or relatives that I know has any dimples on the cheeks or on the chin. On the other hand, other sign people seem to have these. Is she telling us that one in 12 people on this planet will have a dimple on the cheek or chin? Then she goes onto say:

(About dimples)… If they’re not in the face, you might check to see if the knees are dimpled. Many Libran knees are.

:) This is an extremely clever statement. No wonder she sold 4 million copies. If I don’t find a dimple on the cheek, I should look at the chin, and if I don’t find one there, I guess I should look for the knees. Can someone tell me how should a dimple look like on a knee? You know what, take this from me- all knees on the planet, including that of animals have dimples. Go check! (It all depends on how you want to defined those knee-dimples) But she is not even sure of that, so she adds:

But be careful. Very few girls will believe you when you tell them you were staring at their knees “because I want to see if you were born in October”. Be discreet, but check. With the men, of course, the trousers rule out that clue…

Hmm! Clever woman, huh! She should have said, “Look under the armpits for dimples!” That would have made her theories irrefutable.

Don’t get discouraged if you find dimples, then discover the person was not born in October. Those fetching dimples have a right to be there, because he or she will have a Libra ascendant, so your guess is still correct.

Now, this gets interesting. As I said earlier, everyone would have dimples on their knees- it all depends on how you want to define a dimple on a knee. She wants to protect herself now. She adds in another factor- Libra ascendant. So, you end up with so many factors, that now it has become a loop of ‘if, but also if, or else, and if not, but, yet, and not so often,’ and so on.
What does this whole argument about dimples prove? Or what should I conclude? Do Librans have dimples or not? Do the people having dimples Librans or not? No conclusion! So much for her theories!

That’s when I tossed the book into the nearest garbage can!


  1. OK dude.. do you really think anybody who reads your blog actually believes in astrology?

    I couldn't even be bothered to read what you have written.


  2. Anshuman:
    To be very honest, I don't know who reads my blogs and who doesn't. I started off writing this blog to target the people that I know. I still continue to do that. When I see that people around me believe in astrology, I write about astrology. And I really do not bother or care to bother myself if someone reads it or not.


    1. Told like a true Libran. I am a Libran too. I thought I would write that exact reply..PS. The only sign I believe is the road sign.

  3. General:

    Overall a very good blog sujai. Have been reading it off and on for several months.

    One request:
    Try to handle comments like the above one a little better. You keep doing this "I'm not bothered" while coming out to make that statement but also thank most commenters that agree with you (why, if you dont bother?).

    In some ways your response reminds one of the characteristics listed in "Peevish Indian".


  4. Jai-
    Thanks for the advice. Will keep that in mind.

  5. Hi, I will give you some quotations from Linda Goodman's "Sun signs" about Libra:

    "He (Libra) doesn't really care which side he takes in a good argument, as long as it's the other side. Tell him you like a movie and he'll tell you what's wrong with it. Criticize it and hell praise it."

    "When he (Libra) denies your analysis of him, just say smugly, "I expected you to take that attitude. Librans always argue every point." "

    Well, you DID argued every point she has given you, didn't you? I think she made a really good analysis of every zodiac sign, INCLUDING Libra and even not in astrological but in psychological way.
    Anyway, you have the gift to write and it was a well written blog. I only think that you should not only write but also try to read carefully what others have written.
    Wish you luck ;)

  6. I think it matters not whether astrology is a science or a proto/puesdoscience. I personally like astrology, but I still like astornomy as well and plan on being one in the future. I believe that astrologers need to stop claiming that it is a science. Unless they change their ways, astrology will not be a true science. And just because someone believes in astrology, does not make them illogical or stupid. I will never as an astronomer combine my studies with astrology; that would be preposterious.

    Astrology is the earlier forms of astronomy and its main foundation. Every known ancient and old astronomer prior to the 1600s was an astrologer also. And evidence show this as true. But now, after the scientific revolution, the two disciplines have split and gone there seperate ways. It is just an ancient way of how the people in a pre-scientific world explained the stars. In my opinion, astrology should never be critized for it is just a hobbie and fun past time for some people like myself. Astrology and Astronomy are like twins, but with different ideas. They are related; but never allies.


  7. Astrology is an ancient practice and a fun tradition. It is definitely a helpful tool whether real or not, I'd almost prefer someone get an Astrology reading before going to a counselor. The trade is filled with benefits and advice for any individual. I myself find at least 70% accurate but I also find 99% of humans the exact same so... We are all but the same consciousness expressed in different ways. I understand your point of view, a lot of astrologers give superficial definitions but once you learn a little bit more it gets interesting. Then you'll begin to recognize areas of your life which seem to correlate with your Natal Chart. Perhaps just reading it brings it to life subconsciously, I do not know. I'm still suspicious about the subject though, there are too many interpretations that say the person "may" or "might" do or say certain things. I've yet to get a professional reading but I basically interpret my chart myself. It's entertaining, fun, and a decent hobby if you don't take it too seriously. Nice blog by the way.

  8. I have read and experienced Linda Goodmans writing , she makes lot of sense , what she has written is correct , I dont know if astrology is science or what is science for that matter , but astrology is a fantastic guide , it is not some kind of joke , I wish people experience this some time in their life then they wouldnot criticise Linda , may be few statements made by her could be generic but she is right in every way

  9. hey i realized about suns sign that affect countries.i see capricorn on my studies book(thanks to wikipedia)
    that the countries are ,what the people in the country have dark skin.the ones in my book are afghanistan,mexico,india,pakistan,cuba.
    and the behavior of the people in such countries like romania,italy and france may be dramatic i see it first hand its a little funny when you think about it on a astrological sense italians are like doing their trademark italian
    mannerisms and so on.again it make me glad in irony ,from a fellow scorpio

  10. Linda Goodman's write up on zodiac signs are accurate but it doesnt apply to western zodiac signs. Check the following site, see what your sign is and then check Linda Goodman's descriptions of signs. It would make sense. BTW, Linda was a Libran and not aries like she always mentions.

  11. And yeah, my wife is libran, she has dimples and a mole on her face.


    Im Aries btw, although born in November.

  12. Hi Sujai,

    Once again please try to understand that constellations, positions of planets in sky etc in astrology just serves one purpose and the purpose to give a time to the occurrence of any event. So den you dont need 1024 constellations u just need 12 of dem.. asking y not 1024 or y not all the million other stars and planets in the universe is like asking y dont we take reference of all the other things around a wall clock and just take 12 digits around the centre.. Its just the cosmic clock not any energy or rays or force from dese affecting humans behaviour on earth... u read a lot abt astrology from the wrong sources and spent a lot of time proving those wrong sources wrong...


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