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11 Mar 2007


Posted by Oblivion in General | 6:27pm

Thanks to MV, the discussion on astrology is still active and I like to note a few more points.

1.Science is not biased against astrology. Science is sceptical about imagination and insists on verification. More so when theories are based on flawed concepts. There are still some primitive communities that believe anaesthetics are bad because they interfere with God's decree. Although logically you cannot prove the belief wrong, yet you dismiss it as unreasonable for it's based on ridiculous assumptions. 

2.Science doesn't claim it knows everything and its findings are final. On the contrary. Many theories - be they Einstein's or Freud's or Newton's - were dumped when they proved inconsistent with results of experiments and further studies. Science doesn't deny mystery; only, it refuses to explain it away with mere assumptions.

3.If you are an immigration officer, you don't go by trust. You insist on the documents even if a chap is giving you genuine information but has no documents. If the region is known for liars and fake documents, you will be even more meticulous. Even though it appears arrogant, it is a fairly sensible approach. If you go by trust, you have to take a chance with a thousand guys (for there's no reason why you should believe one and doubt another) and that's not the best way to go about doing your job. Science does just what you do as that officer. And given that man has the propensity to believe in wrong things than right, it is all the more strict with scrutiny.

"Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones."
- Russell

4.To assume a point and then go back and connect the dots is not the best approach to understand anything. It's easy and flawed. It's very easy to suspect or even frame a guy and gather evidence to convict him. If you want to see God, you can see God by doing all that mental circus for a few weeks. If you believe in prayer, you can relate the consequences to God's preferences for you. Start imagining the world is scheming against you and you'll become paranoid in two months. Your perception will be absolutely true for you, and nothing in this world can persuade you to doubt it. It fits despots, fundamentalists and Bush.

5.Science doesn't dismiss "interconnection" in universe. But as regards "influence" among the objects, it relies on studies rather than appearances. If imagination would suffice, there's no flaw in Douglas Adams' take - "Since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation -- every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history -- from, say, one small piece of fairy cake."

6.If X is Y's friend or mentor, X influences Y's psyche, not the color or texture of his hair. Imagine a celestial object influencing the personality of Mr.Z, living on an island in the Atlantic! Variations in temperature or light can affect your mood, but it's always the state of the world that affects your psyche. You react differently to the hit of a meteor from that of war even though the devastation is same in both cases. A quake might render you homeless and compel you to contemplate the cause or the precautionary measures you should take next time, but it's the care and help that the world extends that will shatter or reinforce your faith in humanity. Drop a nuclear bomb and no planetary configuration can help man to survive.

7.Predicting is not a tough business, as long as accuracy is not demanded for. Contemporary events suggest where the world is moving to. The effects of global warming, the dominance of machines, the advent of gadgets, the kind of diseases, political unrests and wars, whether a pair will marry, etc are being fairly predicted without referring to any arrangement in the skies. Problem is, accuracy is mapped only in retrospect. Predictions of astrologers are no better than this. If your firm has restructured staff the last two times when it made an acquisition, you can also predict that a lay-off circus is in store if you chance upon the news of the latest acquisition. Predicting the result of games is a big business. Stock movements are predicted. But no scientist or Nostradamus can tell me the exact rise of a stock or the result of an interview or the time of my death. Astrolgers do no better. So, what's the deal with stars, et al, except as a fancy exercise?

8.Our feelings or orientations follow templates. The differences in these among us is just in degree, not in form. So, if you take 100 people, you will certainly notice a pattern among groups. Horoscopes do no better than this chance data.

Rachleff tells of a very interesting experiment in which an identical horoscope was mailed to over 100 persons who had given their natal information to a post office box number. The recipients had 12 different birth periods represented by their birth dates, and their varieties were as opposite as could be expected, through Leo and Cancer. Each person was told that the horoscope sent out pertained only to that one person, and basically they accepted it as such. He tells us that "many admired its pertinence and exactitude". The fact is, if enough information is given, we are able to find ways in which it fits our own experiences. (Clifford Wilson and John Weldon, Occult Shock and Psychic Forces)

And as Time magazine observed, "There are so many variables and options to play with that the astrologer is always right. Break a leg when your astrologer told you the signs were good, and he can congratulate you on escaping what might have happened had the signs been bad. Conversely, if you go against the signs and nothing happens, the astrologer can insist that you were subconsciously careful because you were forewarned."

How credible, then, is this horoscope business?

9.That a belief system's origins date back a few millennia to Babylon or Egypt or Vedas doesn't mean it is infallible. With all due respect to their attempts to comprehend the universe and its ways, if an idea is based on flawed assumptions, it's wrong. Not up to appreciate the discovery that geocentric theory is wrong, the adherents of astrology must've prevailed and passed on the belief system to the next generation. Belief is a luxury. Belief is redundant.

10.If a girl, who you have a crush on, smiles at you, you'd like to believe that it's a sign of approval rather than an innocent gesture. Signs are open to interpretation. If you stop at that, it's nothing better than imagination. People find it boring if they are told the planets and stars exist just like that and affect them no more than a pebble on a beach hundred miles away. So they play with fancy ideas. Imagination is a matchless tool for penning poetry, not for comprehending and explaining the workings of the universe. 

11.Astrology is paranoia.

A man said to the universe, "Sir, I exist!" "However," replied the universe, "The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation." - Stephen Crane

(P.S. MV, thanks and sorry :-) ) 

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4 Comments | "Epilogue" »

  1. By Vj

    13 Mar 2007, 6:55pm [ Reply ]

    @Vijay: Let's congratulate him on joining the club of impatient, two-dimensional thinkers :-)

    Might meet him one of these days...

  2. By Vijay

    13 Mar 2007, 3:30am [ Reply ]

    You'd be amused (as much as I was) to know that Harshad refers to JK as "the adulterer" and Russell as "the crank who suffered from multiple marriage disorder" ;-) Meeting him anytime soon?

  3. By Chandu

    12 Mar 2007, 8:02am [ Reply ]

    MV, flaunting your new boxing gloves?? :)) Vj, I'm with you. Fear not :))

  4. By MV

    12 Mar 2007, 7:59am [ Reply ]

    Yeah, get into the ring :-))))

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