Astrology considered pseudoscience

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  1. Examples of Pseudoscience
  2. What Will Scientists Discover Next?
  3. Astrology Might Be Fun, But It Sure Isn't Science
  4. Pseudoscience Related to the Earth

Pseudoscience, on the other hand, tends to greet any challenges to its dogma with hostility. Look at the research. Science is supported by a deep and ever-growing body of knowledge and research. Ideas around the topic may have changed over time as new things are discovered and new research is performed. Pseudoscience tends to be fairly static. Little may have changed since the idea was first introduced and new research might not exist.

Can it be proven false? Falsifiability is a key hallmark of science.

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This means that if something is false, researchers could prove that it was false. Many pseudoscientific claims are simply untestable, so there is no way for researchers to prove these claims false. Hothersall, D.

Is Astrology Science or Pseudoscience?

History of Psychology. Sabbatini, R. Phrenology: The History of Brain Localization. Wixted, J.

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Their influence on the biosphere is being studied. If we leave aside the obvious connection between life processes and sunlight, then all the remaining "influences" are of an ill-defined, unpredictable, or even unproven nature [9]. The most competent astrologers already understood that it is best not to talk about the direct influence of the stars and planets on the Earth [as] it is so insignificant.

Now they prefer to invoke a type of "cosmic rhythms", "star clocks", and other indications of indirect and non-physical associations between the biosphere and the starry sky.

Examples of Pseudoscience

However, I want to return to the topic of the cosmic influence of the planets and stars on the Earth so that the reader is left with no doubt on this score. Of all the types of physical interactions one can only talk about gravity at all seriously; the remaining fields, streams of particles, and radiation from stars and planets are so weak in the proximity of the Earth that it requires great effort to record them even with sensitive modern instruments.

In order to perceive the gravitational influence of the moon on the Earth it is necessary to measure the difference of the lunar attraction at several points on the Earth. This difference of forces elongates our planet in the Earth-moon direction. But inasmuch as the Earth rotates relative to this direction with a period of about 25 hours a double tidal wave, two "peaks" run through our planet with the same period in the direction of elongation and there are two "valleys" between them. The height of these "peaks" is small in the solid matter of the planet and in the open ocean, a total of about half a meter.

Therefore, we cannot note tides either in the ocean or on land. And only on a narrow coastal strip can high and low tides be noted thanks to the fluidity of ocean water which flowing to shore in a tidal wave the speed is not slow, hundreds of meters per second! The sun, which has greater mass but is farther away than the moon, also acts on the Earth in the same way. The height of solar tides is half that of lunar [tides]. During the new moon and full moon when the Earth, moon, and sun are in a single line, lunar and solar tides have an cumulative effect.

But in the first and last quarter of the moon these tides weaken one another inasmuch as the peak of one coincides with the valley of the other. Lunar and solar tides are a quite conspicuous and important phenomenon in the life of the Earth [10]. For example, under their influence the Earth is gradually slowing its rotation; the length of the day is increasing.

The Earth's tidal force on the moon is even stronger; for a long time it has slowed its daily rotation so much that one side constantly faces us. Gigantic tidal effects influencing the motion of planets give rise to the illusion that small living bodies have long been controlled by them.

What Will Scientists Discover Next?

As a result we hear naive statements from the creators of "scientific astrology": "The moon causes tidal effects in all fluid systems of the Earth, in the ocean, in the semi-liquid Earth's core, in each cell of an organism, and in all intercellular fluids" [11]. They try to explain the phenomena of sleepwalking, very popular in astrology on the basis of similar assertions; they propose a "biological theory of tides".

Thus the level of argument is this: "The moon causes the tides in the sea and people are almost entirely composed of water [so] this means that they ought to experience a related influence" [12, 13]. Of course, here water has nothing to do with this: the Earth's surface, as we already know, is deformed by tides just like ocean [tides]; the difference is only that dry land cannot flow and therefore the tidal wave flows to the shore.

But as a whole, from the standpoint of physics, the "biological theory of tides" seems simply laughable, for anyone next to you, for example a neighbor at a desk, exerts a gravitational tidal influence on you about a million times greater than the moon. Statements about the direct tidal influence of planets on the Earth seem even less serious; for this, it is sufficient to look at the table shown below. The total effect of all the planets cannot cause tides on Earth greater than 0. But their influence on a specific living being distorts its form by no more than the size of a single atom!

Now we touch on a somewhat more complex issue, the indirect influence of planets on the biosphere of the Earth here the sun is used as the "amplifier". In the s A. Chizhevsky, the pioneer of heliobiological research in our country, wrote: "We know that the periodic activity of the sun is not a fully independent process. After many years we understand that Chizhevsky had exhibited unjustified optimism: repeated attempts to associate solar activity with the arrangement of the planets simply did not lead to the expected result.

The height of a static tide in micrometers at the surface of the sun and the earth caused by various planets Planet Tides on the sun on the earth Mercury 0,23 Venus 40,0 Earth - Mars 10 0,4 Jupiter 4,0 Saturn 50 0,15 Uranus 1,0 0, Neptune 0,3 0, Pluton 0, 8x What is the real influence of the planets on the sun?

It is evident from the table presented above that even if all the planets are arrayed in a chain and their tidal influence is added, all the same the height of the tidal "peak" on the surface of the sun is no more than 3 millimeters. In spite of the insignificance of this value journalists regularly frighten a credulous public with "parades of planets". In a book by J. Gribbin and S. It says that in all the planets will end up on one side of the sun and this "parade of planets" will cause disturbances on it fatal to the Earth.

The 10th of March came, the moment of maximum approach of all the planets. And, of course, nothing terrible happened, neither on the Earth where natural catastrophes occurred in the usual order, or on the sun: its activity did not change under the influence of the planets. They promised a new apocalypse on 11 August when a "parade" coincided with a solar eclipse.

We will hear such predictions which exploit the basic instincts of people, one of which is fear, time and again. For fans of physics who have a habit of catching journalists in incompetence we note the naivety of the very concept, "parade of planets". Tidal deformation stretches a body along one axis to different sides of the sun remember, lunar and solar tides are cumulative during the new moon and full moon. But modern astrologers take no note of this. The maximum height of the tide is achieved when they are aligned with the sun.

This happens about every four Earth months; however, no changes in solar activity have been noted with this periodicity. Yes, it is hard to expect a notable effect from the tidal influence on the sun: for the energy of the deformations, which is dissipated in its interior every second, is a thousand times less than its thermonuclear power.

But even this does not mean that every "parade of planets" increases the luminosity of the sun by 0.

Astrology Might Be Fun, But It Sure Isn't Science

Finally, having turned attention to cosmic matter located beyond the solar system we will not burden the reader with exercises in physics but simply say that the influence of the stars on our biosphere is so meager that no customary scales are at all comparable to them. How Can Astrology Be Exposed?

For a person who understands rational arguments the exposure of astrology is not difficult: it is sufficient to familiarize oneself with the statistics of the correctness of its predictions. Here are the results of some studies [15]. Psychologist B. Silverman from the University of Michigan studied the influence of the zodiac sign corresponding to the birth of each of married couples and the probability of their marriage or divorce. Data about weddings and divorces registered in Michigan in were used. The scientist compared the real information with the predictions of two independent astrologers against a favorable or unfavorable combination of zodiac signs for the married couples.

Pseudoscience Related to the Earth

It turned out that there was no coincidence between the predictions and reality and therefore Silverman concluded: "The position of the sun in the zodiac at the moment of birth does not exert an influence on the formation of personality". Astrologers say that with the aid of a horoscope one can determine a person's predisposition to a particular profession. If this is so, it promises a great economic effect. It is possibly, therefore J. Bennett and J. Barth, economists from George Washington University, tried to find whether the position of the planets relative to zodiac signs influences the professional inclinations of people, in particular the frequency with which young people enter military service.

The signs "controlled" by Mars were studied especially carefully. This research of astrological predictions was not confirmed. American physicist J. It also turned out to be completely random. The quality of a complete prediction of a person's character by astrologers was also studied. Chicago psychologist J. McGrew turned to the Astrologers Federation of Indiana for this purpose. Six experienced specialists in astrology were called upon to participate in experiments. At McGrew's request 23 volunteers filled out a questionnaire which contained both astrological and traditional questions about the qualities of their character, work, etc.

Then the time and place of birth of the volunteers were reported to the astrologers and six members of a control group who were ignorant of astrology. The following results were obtained: the astrologers' predictions turned out to be no more accurate than the predictions of members of the control group and neither [group's predictions] correlated at all with the real qualities of the volunteers being tested.

Pseudo-science and other bullsh*t

The most curious thing was that the characteristics of the very same volunteers themselves and the information from the various astrologers differed from one another in the strongest fashion. It should be noted that the verification of the predictive power of astrology is not done by astrologers themselves, but by "outsiders". A majority of scientists think of astrology as a prototype of all the pseudosciences generally uninterested in a precise validation of its principles. This not so much irritates scientists as it does disturb them: they simply do not understand: how can a pseudoscience like astrology flourish in the most technically developed society in all the history of mankind?

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Professional scientists who try to find a rational core in astrology think [16] that the most interesting results in this field were obtained by the Parisian statistician M.