Daily Horoscope: Pay Attention, There Will Be A Test.
Author’s Note:This post is a continuation of my previous post Daily Horoscope which can be found here.
Over the past week I have been neglecting my readers (admittedly there are 5 of you or so) who have been waiting for my next post in the Apologetics and Apostasy series. I apologize for being such an ungrateful host.
I have, for the past several days, been sidetracked by an ongoing debate with astrologers over at my friend Jason’s blog. The previous post does a good job of explaining the basics for those readers who are new to this debate.
To this point, the astrologers have predictably stayed within the realm of the “bob and weave”, effortlessly floating like a butterfly knowing that they have nothing to sting with.
Their core argument:
- You don’t know me. Why you hatin’? You don’t know me.
- You’re just hatin’ cuz you’re a sad, empty skeptic.
- You don’t know jack about astrology, bro. You can’t hate on what you don’t understand.
- I gots yo “evidence” right here, right behind this here zipper.
As I’m sure you’ve figured out, I’m not overly impressed with the quality of the debate thus far.
I’ll put this out there:
I am a skeptic, yes. I do not believe the onus is on me to go brush up on astrology. I admittedly know close to diddly friggin’ squat about boomerang yods, conjuncts, trines and quincunxes and what effect, if any, astrology assigns to these things. I know this reads to the astrologer as “George can’t be bothered to learn about the subject” and to a degree, that is a valid criticism.
Every skeptic I have ever met believes in one core idea: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
- That stellar bodies several light years away from earth have a noticeable effect on the lives of humans is a pretty extraordinary claim, if only because it flies in the face of everything we can observe scientifically here on earth.
- That the time I was born has a measurable effect on my personality or future events in my life is an extraordinary claim, not least because it has only been discussed anecdotal with a hefty peppering of confirmation bias.
- That astrology is a repeatable phenomenon, that it can be used predicatively to gain insight into future occurrences, as opposed to anecdotally after the fact to “predict” that things happened just as they should; this too is extraordinary.
To Any Astrologer Reading This:
If you have evidence of any of these claims I am more than open to consider them.
Expect skepticism, expect questions, don’t just expect credulity.
I am open to new ideas. I won’t discount real evidence on it’s face. I will discount bald assertions and anecdotes. I will rightly question beliefs that fly in the face of logic and common sense. If you don’t have evidence, what you have is credulity, blind faith in something that you care not to question.
That’s not me.
That’s not how my brain works.
Explain it to me, please. Offer good evidence, useful falsifiable predictions, something more than “that’s just the way it is”.
If you expect me to invest hours upon hours of my time to prove/disprove a claim that is this fantastic, this counter-intuitive, this magical, then give me some hint that I’m not wasting my time chasing rainbows. Offer me some hard evidence, then leave it to me to do the rest.
Here are a few ideas:
From James’ comment at Funk Astrology.
Hypothesis: That the time of a persons birth can be calculated with better than average accuracy using the dates of a series of unrelated events in their lives.
Experiment: Provided with a list of ten (10) unknown subjects information including date of birth, place of birth, and several important events in their lives, the astrologer will be able to calculate their known birthtime within an insignificant margin of error. These calculations are to be statistically more accurate than the guesses of 5 non-astrologers.
Hypothesis: That astrology can be used to predict some future events within a statistically insignificant margin of error.
Experiment: That given time to pick fifteen(15) astrologically significant dates over the next two(2) years, the astrologer will be able to predict the location and nature of several seemingly random and unrelated events with a margin of error significantly less than that of the Null Hypothesis.
I’m offering you olive branches here guys, a chance to wow us with the veracity of your methods.
I know full well that there is no way to set up a completely scientific analysis of astrology in an internet forum. I do believe, however, that in order for me to prove you “cheated” at any of these tests, I would at least be forced to make some pretty extraordinary assumptions.
That would count for me as “good evidence”, not irrefutable, but sufficient to require further study on my part.
You may also like to offer testable hypothesis of your own. I am open to new evidence that I have been sorely mistaken about astrology for all these years.
You have the floor guys, make the most of it.