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Astrology regarded as pseudoscience

Their criticism focused on the fact that there was no mechanism whereby astrological effects might occur:. We can see how infinitesimally small are the gravitational and other effects produced by the distant planets and the far more distant stars.

Astrology, the beloved pseudoscience, could actually really help science

It is simply a mistake to imagine that the forces exerted by stars and planets at the moment of birth can in any way shape our futures. Astronomer Carl Sagan declined to sign the statement. Sagan said he took this stance not because he thought astrology had any validity, but because he thought that the tone of the statement was authoritarian, and that dismissing astrology because there was no mechanism while "certainly a relevant point" was not in itself convincing.

In a letter published in a follow-up edition of The Humanist , Sagan confirmed that he would have been willing to sign such a statement had it described and refuted the principal tenets of astrological belief. This, he argued, would have been more persuasive and would have produced less controversy. The use of poetic imagery based on the concepts of the macrocosm and microcosm, "as above so below" to decide meaning such as Edward W.

James' example of "Mars above is red, so Mars below means blood and war", is a false cause fallacy. Many astrologers claim that astrology is scientific. If the astrologer insisted on being inconsistent with the current understanding and evidential basis of physics, that would be an extraordinary claim. Carl Jung sought to invoke synchronicity , the claim that two events have some sort of acausal connection, to explain the lack of statistically significant results on astrology from a single study he conducted.

However, synchronicity itself is considered neither testable nor falsifiable. It has also been shown that confirmation bias is a psychological factor that contributes to belief in astrology. From the literature, astrology believers often tend to selectively remember those predictions that turned out to be true and do not remember those that turned out false. Another, separate, form of confirmation bias also plays a role, where believers often fail to distinguish between messages that demonstrate special ability and those that do not. Thus there are two distinct forms of confirmation bias that are under study with respect to astrological belief.

The Barnum effect is the tendency for an individual to give a high accuracy rating to a description of their personality that supposedly tailored specifically for them, but is, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. If more information is requested for a prediction, the more accepting people are of the results.

In Bertram Forer conducted a personality test on students in his classroom. The personality descriptions were taken from a book on astrology. By a process known as self-attribution, it has been shown in numerous studies that individuals with knowledge of astrology tend to describe their personalities in terms of traits compatible with their astrological signs. The effect is heightened when the individuals were aware that the personality description was being used to discuss astrology.

Individuals who were not familiar with astrology had no such tendency. In , sociologist Theodor W. Adorno conducted a study of the astrology column of a Los Angeles newspaper as part of a project that examined mass culture in capitalist society. False balance is where a false, unaccepted or spurious viewpoint is included alongside a well reasoned one in media reports and TV appearances and as a result the false balance implies "there were two equal sides to a story when clearly there were not".

Following the complaints of astrology believers, Cox gave the following statement to the BBC: "I apologise to the astrology community for not making myself clear. I should have said that this new age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilisation. Studies and polling has shown that the belief in astrology is higher in western countries than might otherwise be expected. Some of the reported belief levels are due to a confusion of astrology with astronomy the scientific study of celestial objects.

The closeness of the two words varies depending on the language. This may partially be due to the implicit association amongst the general public, of any wording ending in "ology" with a legitimate field of knowledge. In half of the polls, the word "astrology" was used, while in the other the word "horoscope" was used. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: astrology and astronomy. James [23] : Main article: Mars effect. See also: Forer effect.

Making sense of astrology. Amherst, N. Looking for coincidences post hoc is of very dubious value, see Data dredging. Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union. Bibcode : IAUS.. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. The cosmic perspective 4th ed. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 6 July Astronomical Society of the Pacific. May Personality and Individual Differences.

To optimise the chances of finding even remote relationships between date of birth and individual differences in personality and intelligence we further applied two different strategies. The first one was based on the common chronological concept of time e. The second strategy was based on the pseudo-scientific concept of astrology e. Sun Signs, The Elements, and astrological gender , as discussed in the book Astrology: Science or superstition?

Bappu 1. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. Asquith, ed. Dordrecht u. National Science Foundation. Archived from the original on Retrieved 28 July About three-fourths of Americans hold at least one pseudoscientific belief; i. Archived from the original on 18 March The Humanist, volume 36, no. Bok, Bart J. Jerome; Paul Kurtz In Patrick Grim ed.

Philosophy of Science and the Occult. Astrology School Accredited". The Washington Post. Science Communication. This underlies the "Barnum effect". Named after the 19th-century showman Phineas T. For example, the more birth detail is used in an astrological prediction or horoscope, the more credulous people tend to be Furnham, However, confirmation bias means that people do not tend to pay attention to other information that might disconfirm the credibility of the predictions.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The Cambridge concise history of astronomy Printing Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. New York: Oxford Univ. Iranian Studies. Zalta older edition Chicago [u. Imre Lakatos ; Alan Musgrave eds. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. London: Routledge. The relevant piece is also published in, Schick Jr, Theodore Lanham, Md. Social Studies of Science. A concise introduction to logic 9th ed.

Belmont, Calif. Patrick Grim ed. Philosophy of science and the occult. Retrieved 2 August My former student Shawn Carlson published in Nature magazine the definitive scientific test of Astrology. Maddox, Sir John Archived from the original on September 12, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Bibcode : Natur. The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July Journal of Consciousness Studies. Nexus Network Journal.

Is astrology science or pseudoscience?

The "Mars effect": a French test of over 1, sports champions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Retrieved 13 May Physics Today. Translated by Bart K. Baltimore u. Bibcode : PhT Associated Press. London: The Guardian. Retrieved 8 July Archived from the original on July 9, Bad Astronomy.

Retrieved 13 March In that case, astrology and genetics may investigate similar issues since both of them would deal with congenital human characteristics and capabilities. Moreover, this would also entail that astrological claims can fit the system of natural sciences; and since astrology —alike genetics— would explore the laws of the natural world, it would become a natural science. In my thesis I do not detail what natural scientific investigations should be done to reveal the causal processes between planetary motions and human lives because I am not an expert of natural sciences.

However, I think Gauquelin and Seymour were on the right track when they declared that solar activity and the magnetic field of the planets might have causal connections to the nervous system of humans. But I do not know what scientific research should be made in the case if the initiator of the causal chain is not the planetary motions close to the Earth but a common cause which exist outside the Solar System.

Nevertheless, if statistics show significant correlations, then the further questions should be raised by those scientists who investigate the cosmic effects on the Earth and humans. Seymour and Gauquelin were not philosophers of science but they just investigated astrology. Seymour is an astrophysicist who thinks that astrology works because planets have obvious effects on the Earth and living beings; while Gauquelin was a statistician and psychologist who assumed on the basis of his statistical results that there is a correlation between planetary positions at the time of birth and walk of lives.

My contribution is that I connect their initiations to the philosophy of science and show that according to their theories, astrology can be changed to a scientific research programme which meets the requirements set up by certain philosophers of science. For astrology is neither a pure science nor a pure pseudoscience but somewhere in between: it is a mixture of 1 empirical generalisations based on observations and 2 philosophical assumptions. Although astrology has showed several pseudoscientific elements during its history, it has never been refuted on the grounds of proper scientific reasons, therefore its practice has never ceased and the possibility still exist that it can be changed to a scientific theory.

Astrology: Science or Pseudoscience? In general, the origin of the debates concerning astrology is that it applies both the inductive and the deductive scientific research method. Preparing generalisations on the basis of astronomical forecasts is the scientific part of astrology, while philosophical assumptions and metaphysical commitments constitute its non-scientific part. A special feature of astrology is that we cannot find any exact date when it was officially declared to be a pseudoscience.

Already in antiquity some philosophical schools Peripatetics, Epicureans, Neoplatonists rejected it, while Stoics were the defender of it and made a huge contribution to the establishment and development of the astrological system. Among those who rejected astrology, there was no general agreement why it should be rejected. In antiquity, there was no distinction between astronomy and astrology for a long time, moreover, many scientists dealt with astrology. One of the first authors who distinguished the words astronomia and astrologia was Isidore of Seville in the 7th century A.

For example, several systems of houses were invented but none of them became generally accepted. The motion of Sun and Moon have obvious effects on the Earthly occurrences like the growth of vegetables or the biorhythm of animals and humans, hence it seems not impossible that other planets or stars also have influence on the living beings on Earth. The original Stoic theory of astrology involved that forecasts can be prepared only on empirical basis, namely empirical observations and generalisations should be done in order to discover the signs of the future.

On the basis of these views, astrology had been developed as a science but later it became distort since there was no significant development in it.

In the presented texts later in this chapter we can find both good and bad arguments against astrology. The best argument is raised by Geminus of Rhodes who claims that from the obvious effects of Sun and Moon on Earth it does not inevitably follow that other planets or stars also have any effects on the Earthly life. This is the most serious scientific argument against astrology I deal with this issue in details in the third chapter. It is also a valid argument posed by Cicero that it is difficult to prepare exact observations and exact generalisations about planetary positions and human lives.

However, this does not reflect a scientific behaviour: even if it is difficult to prepare exact observations, the aim is to prepare the most exact observations as possible and improve them again and again. From the viewpoint of contemporary philosophy of science, it can be posed that astrology is not scientific because it is based on philosophical assumptions which are not accepted by the most of the scientists and philosophers. The original Stoic theory included that without the benevolence of God, human beings would not be able to predict the future.

Moreover, if we lived in a non-deterministic universe, astrological forecasts could not work. However, even in that case, astrology could have right in describing human characters, but this would entail that astrology is restricted to a certain scope.

'A Dangerous Fatalism'

The response of the defenders may be that astrology can work without any philosophical assumptions in the case if statistical correlations can be found between horoscopes and life events, as it was originally assumed by Ptolemy. Nevertheless, it is an open question whether such correlations can be found and whether they can be proved. And even if it is possible that the future cannot be predicted —as Epicureans, Peripatetics or some Christians state— it is not proved that this is the case.

It is not a scientific behaviour if someone rejects astrological predictions without making any research about them. Furthermore, natural sciences make many successful predictions about the future, which is a serious argument for future being predictable and determined even if it is not completely but partially determined. Scientific Observations from the Beginnings to Ptolemy The very beginnings of astrology can be found in Mesopotamia where a kind of proto- astrology was established around at B.

However, the origins of a sophisticated and more complicated astrological system can be found in the ancient Greek culture. Astrology was taken over by the Greeks in the 4th century B. And finally, it became really popular around in the 2nd century A. This is shown quite conspicuously by the fact that many horoscopes remained extant from the first four centuries A.

Ptolemy probably lived in Alexandria and was a mathematician, astronomer and astrologer at the same time. Ptolemy regularly made observations about the motion of planets and stars and his aforementioned work is a collection of astrological claims i. He declares that astrology is capable of being investigated in a proper philosophical way and is based on the regular occurrences of the planets and the events observed by those who live close to nature. Ptolemy, unlike Stoics, does not think that people are subject to the inevitable control of fate, but states that astrology is beneficial in the sense that it helps to be prepared for what is likely in the future.

The Moon, being of all the heavenly bodies the nearest to the Earth, also dispenses much influence; and things animate and inanimate sympathize and vary with her. By the changes of her illumination, rivers swell and are reduced; the tides of the sea are ruled by her risings and settings; and plants and animals are expanded or collapsed, if not entirely at least partially, as she waxes or wanes. The stars likewise as well the fixed stars as the planets , in performing their revolutions, produce many impressions on the Ambient.

They cause heats, winds, and storms, to the influence of which earthly things are conformably subjected. Also from contemporary point of view, this idea may be scientific since it does not assume any metaphysical theory. However, when Ptolemy enumerates the meanings and influences associated with certain stars, he does not explain their origins but only transmits the information.

For example: 7 Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos I. The stars in the mouth are like Saturn, and partly like Venus: those in the feet and in the belly act in the same manner as Mars and Mercury: those in the tail are like Saturn and Jupiter. So the causal origins of astrological explanations are quite ambiguous. In our extant sources we can only read about the interpretation of certain constellations, but they do not mention how they were explored or invented.

For example, Imbrasios of Ephesos around at the turn of the 1st century B. Fever will be especially sharp, and there will be thirsts and desire for cold and frequent vomitings. For example, he demonstrates a horoscope of a baby who died 13 days and 13 hours after his birth. In the 1st century A. Mathematics and physics holds another opinion.

First, one must grasp that warning signs of rain-storms and winds occur around the Earth, and do not reach very high. However, it is notable that Geminus in the first part of the above citation argues against the scientific approach of astrology which was held by Ptolemy as well. So he regards astrology as a theory which is in fact, scientific, but different from his scientific view and is mistaken.

Does Science Back Astrology? - Beliefnet

He mentions only at the end that sympathy is assumed between the stars and the Earthly occurrences, which is a philosophical hypothesis, therefore is incapable of being proved by empirical observations. Cicero also attacks astrology in his De Divinatione. He states that astrology is quite useless because diviners and astrologers cannot instruct us in astronomy and no one consults them concerning philosophical problems or ethical questions, and they cannot give us any light on the problems of the natural universe or logic or dialectic or political science.

Cicero argues against the scientific aspect of astrology as well: from the effect of Moon on tides astrologers inferred that stars also have an effect to Earthly life, but this inference is unwarranted. Moreover, astrologers usually predict only great events like wars but cannot predict small ones.

And he raises a scientific point: it is impossible to measure the motion of stars with exactness; therefore astrological forecasts cannot be exact even if astrology could work somehow. In many cases of the astrological debates, philosophical and scientific arguments are mixed, but from the viewpoint of philosophy of science, only the scientific arguments can be regarded as valid. The Influence of Stoic Philosophy It is a widely accepted view that Stoic philosophy was an extremely important condition in the development of the more or less16 complete system of Western astrology.

Formerly, in Mesopotamia and Babylonia only the very origins of astrology have been established, but no complete astrological system was developed. They assumed that there are correlations between human lives and the motion of planets because the whole universe is based on the same laws; and future is predictable because it is determined and God gives us signs about it.

So the idea that future is predictable was originally not supported properly on scientific grounds, but it was a philosophical assumption. Because of this reason, in many cases it is difficult to make clear what the Stoics exactly thought. Omens concern only the fate of the country and the royal dynasty and are fully descriptive, e.

The king of Elam will be slain with sword: in Subarti […? The reason for this seems that in all cultures, astrology was originally closely connected to a religious or a philosophical system that maintained the view of universal harmony and the intelligent arrangement of the universe. These concepts altogether entail that future is predictable, therefore they do not support only astrology but all kinds of divination as well.

Stoics maintain that the world consists of two principles: one is the matter which is the passive, and the other is God which is the active principle. However, God and matter cannot be separated: God is immanent in the world in every place at every time. They argue that anything that can act or can be acted upon cannot be incorporeal; therefore God also must be material, since he is the acting agent while matter is completely passive. So their theory states that after all, God generates all motions and changes in the world while forming matter.

They conceive God as the benevolent and intelligent governor of the universe: God has a providential ruling force and arrays the universe in the best possible way.


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Namely, he ensures that only such occurrences can take place in the world which are always the best among all possibilities. All the occurrences are teleological because all of them support the best process of the universe. Therefore nothing happens by chance. If, then you were to think that the great ornament of the cosmos […] were your own house and not that of the immortal gods, would you not seem to be downright crazy? And it is worthy of note that in antiquity, philosophy and theology was not divided and this is the reason for that Stoic philosophy —from modern point of view— is a mixture of philosophical and theological assumptions.

Because the whole universe is governed by God, all causal chains are interconnected by means of him and there are parallel occurrences between 19 Sellars , pp. Therefore, from one certain occurrence we can infer to an other occurrence that is a part of a different, distant causal chain. Furthermore, Stoics think that all causal chains are determined by the providence of God, hence the future is determined too.

From the determined future and the existence of cosmic sympathy it follows that future is predictable, which is to say that divination is possible. Because of the parallelisms of cosmic sympathy, certain things or occurrences in nature can be the signs of certain other occurrences in the future. Well, just because not all sick people recover, it does not follow that there is no craft of medicine.

Signs of future events are shown by the gods; if some people make mistakes in interpreting them, it is not the nature of the gods that erred but human inference. This means that in the case of astrological forecasts, planetary positions are not part of the causal chains on Earth but they just sign the future. Stoics consider divination as an empirical science, since it is based on the observation of nature e.

Nothing happens by chance but every determined cause leads to a certain determined result. Since God is the active principle, he generates all motions, therefore he is the governor of all causal chains. His successors said that fate was a rational principle for the things administered by providence within the cosmos, and again in other treatises they called fate a string of causes. According to the latter, fate includes the view that everyone has a special role in the rationally ordered universe and if someone follows her fate, she contributes to the perfection of the cosmos.

Bad For Science, Bad For Women

Or in other words: our fate, whatever it is, is always the best among all possibilities. The Possibility of Divination In the Hellenistic period, Epicureans as well as Neoplatonists and Peripatetics criticised Stoics, especially their views about fate and causal determinism and the possibility of forecasting the future. Their primary criticism was that if future is determined, then any decision made by a free human agency is not possible. However, this consequence seemed absurd for them and argued that there are such decisions which depend on us i.

According to Susanne Bobzien, the prototypes of empirical sciences were medicine and divination in the Hellenistic era. For both aim to establish correlations between types of signs and types of occurrents in the future, namely both are prognostic in this sense. The correlations are figured out by the virtue of empirical observations, conjectures and induction. In the case of divination, universal correlations are established according to scientific methods.

However, it is a significant difference between divinatory theorems and other kind of scientific theorems that the former ones connect signs with future facts, while the latter connect causes with effects. One important point concerning divination is that from the view of deterministic universe does not inevitably follow that the future can be known by human beings.

Stoics think that future can be disclosed only because God is benevolent and gives signs to humans because he cares for them so the notion of deterministic universe and divine benevolence are both necessary conditions of divination. Furthermore, our extant sources do not mention that divinations foretell human behaviour but they predict only such occurrences which take place in the future quite irrespectively of human acts. This, too, is full of folly. Hankinson defends Stoics by saying that this argument confuses explanation with support: the supposedly empirical facts of successful divinations support the hypothesis of determinism; and conversely, the deterministic hypothesis explains divination.

A proposition uttered in the 32 Cicero, De Divinatione I. And in II. Epicureans do not accept determinism and reject that propositions about the future have truth values. If there were any occurrences happening by chance, they would not be predictable. Cicero transmits a debate of Chrysippus and Epicurus concerning the logical structure of divinatory propositions.

Cicero reports that Chrysippus does not want to accept this kind of necessity because he wants to defend the notion of free human agency and moral responsibility. Sirius or Alpha Canis Majoris. However, Cicero misses this point when he states that it is absurd that Chrysippus expects doctors and geometricians to reformulate their assertions in this way since their statements are not based on divinatory signs but on physical causal relations. They do not base their argumentation on logic but on Platonic doctrines. Plotinus, following Plato, maintains that stars are happy, divine and eternal beings.

He not only thinks that they have a soul but also that their intellectual capacities are far above human mind and closer to the omniscience of the world-soul. He does not reject the Stoic view that there is a cosmic sympathy in the world, and agrees with Stoicism that human beings are responsible for all of their acts, even if the motion of stars or birds can predict the future. However, Plotinus thinks that stars and planets are not changeable beings, therefore they cannot have different attributes in different zodiacal signs, so regarding this point he does not accept astrology.

After all, Plotinus rejects astrology on the grounds of this reason. Nevertheless, it is obvious that he does not provide scientific but only philosophical arguments and denies astrology on the grounds of his Platonist philosophical convictions. Cases from the Later History of Astrology In this section I present and analyse some cases from the later history of astrology. In the first part, I demonstrate a story which shows that it has always been a special issue that a certain planetary constellation can be interpreted several ways and there has not been any general agreement about the exact interpretation of the planetary positions.

In the second part, I present and analyse the political and ecclesiastical attacks towards astrology. These attacks exhibit that astrology was rejected several times on the grounds of political or theological reasons; and because astrology has never been fully refuted according to an appropriate scientific method, its practice has never ceased.

The Conjunction of According to our sources, many astrological predictions were prepared concerning the conjunction of Astrologers and astronomers have figured out a long time before that at the end of February , a really unusual and unique planetary conjunction will take place. Six of them dwelled in Pisces from the 23rd of February to the 6th of March in ; hence many astrologers predicted enormous floods for that time since Pisces is a water sign.

Some of them predicted an extreme weather huge amounts of rain and snow only for that two weeks period when the planets were actually in Pisces, while others thought that the weather would be extremely wet in the whole year. A couple of sources state that some people have taken this alarm so seriously that they built ships or prepared in other ways for the floods. Those authors who express their hostility or scepticism towards astrology, state that despite all predictions, the year was unusually dry.

We do not have such texts which report floods or huge snowings between the 23rd of February and the 6th of March, but some testimonies state that the later part of that year was extremely wet. Pietramellara who lived in Bologna states in his calendar that between May and the end of November there were enormous storms in Italy with smashing wind and huge amount of rain.

The clergy rang the bells in the temples several times in Bologna during the year, because they thought that by means of it God would listen to their prayers and would abolish the storms. Many animals died and many people needed to leave their homes because of the damages caused by the rain. And the weather became finally normal again only in December. And after the end of that year, he connected somehow the planetary conjunction with Luther. It is a quite surprising consequence of the conjunction of that even astrologers attacked each other and did not agree in a certain interpretation of it.

Additionally, these descriptions also show that those who accept or reject astrology on the basis of personal and not scientific reasons, do not prepare objective and correct observations in many cases. Attacks from Authorities It is also a general problem that there have always been some astrologers who wanted to improve astrology according to the scientific methods, e.

However, there have always been such astrologers too, who did not want to reform astrology and wanted to maintain the old, traditional views. On the one hand, internal fights obstructed astrology from development, while on the other hand, some astrologers were able to smash this barrier and introduce new theories or new calculations. Among scientists who accepted astrology, Johannes Kepler and Francis Bacon argued that it should be reformed rather than rejected.


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  • It is interesting that while many astrologers were working on the development of their field, at the very same time the Catholic Church expressed a serious prohibition against astrology and divination. In the bull he declares that God alone knows the future, therefore it is not possible for humans but even for demons to forecast it. However, natural astrology which concerns agriculture, navigation and medicine, remained still acceptable.

    Similar cases can be found in antiquity too: in 11 A. Augustus issued a decree which forbids holding any private or secret consultations with astrologers or diviners. Opposite to this, from Augustus on, almost all emperors had a court astrologer in Rome. They enjoyed a great power, while general horoscope sellers suffered persecution. Therefore there still remained many people who did not reject astrology and practised it or turned to astrologers for preparing their horoscopes. According to Jim Tester, astrology died only in the age of enlightenment because it fitted no more the generally accepted world-picture.

    Even if it is regarded as pseudoscientific, it is still alive, which can be seen from the facts that many astrological books are published and many people offer or resort horoscope readings. In the second part of the chapter I present some problems concerning scientific laws which are relevant equally to sciences and pseudosciences.

    I show that even if they do not separate sciences from pseudosciences, they bring us up to the most appropriate criterion of demarcation. Everything that does not meet this requirement must be rejected as non-scientific. Because of the inductive method, scientific statements are not capable of being verified but only of being falsified. This means that not the verifiability but the falsifiability is the criterion of demarcation.

    He remarks 62 Popper , p. They are not testable, therefore there is no possibility to refute them by experience. The more a theory forbids, the better it is. All research programmes have a hard core which does not change even if anomalies are experienced, and a research programme is not refuted until a better one is not introduced.

    The possession of greater empirical content or of a higher degree of empirical corroboration makes one theory superior to, and more progressive than another. But such comparisons are impossible, therefore Lakatos and his followers have not been able to identify any historical case to which the Lakatosian definition of progress can be shown strictly to apply.

    Hence, according to Lakatos, there is no connection between a progressive theory and a theory of rational acceptability. Nevertheless, Laudan did not provide any new criterion of demarcation. However, Thagard —following Popper— also admits that astrology is hardly testable but according to him, the main reason for astrology being pseudoscientific is that it is highly unprogressive. Thagard claims that a theory or a system of theories is pseudoscientific if it meets the following requirements: 1 It has been less progressive than alternative theories over a long period of time, and faces many unsolved problems.

    However, psychology is more progressive than astrology, therefore according to the first criterion, it has superseded astrology. Comparing the aforementioned criteria of demarcation, it seems that the most effective distinction between sciences and pseudosciences is that the formers are progressive and heuristic, while the latters insist on their traditions and almost never modify their theorems.

    So Lakatos and Thagard do not exclude that something that is regarded as pseudoscientific today, can change in the future and can become progressive and puzzle-solving. However, with the notion of falsification he degrades sciences, because he claims that it is impossible to discover ultimate truths on the grounds of the inductive research method. Hence, the more theorems a science falsifies, the more advanced it is. This entails that the aim of sciences is not to verify theorems, but to falsify them.

    I think Lakatos is right in saying that it happens very rarely and only in extreme cases that a whole theory is refuted. He points out correctly that a complete theory is rejected usually only if a new, more sufficient or more successful system is introduced. Without a new theory an old one is not refused or is not recognised as pseudoscientific.

    However, I do not agree with Popper that astrology is a complete pseudoscience since some parts of it are based on 78 Ibid. Furthermore, I think it is possible that the non- scientific part of astrology can be rejected, while the others, the scientific components can remain and astrology could become a progressive and puzzle-solving research programme. It is true that astrology has not solved any significant puzzles for several centuries, but this only entails that astrology is in a degenerating stage at the moment.

    Why Astrology Is a Crock

    Nevertheless, on the basis of new empirical observations it could be developed and new theorems could be introduced and old ones could be falsified. Kuhn claims that astrology is not a pseudoscience because of the lack of its testability, but because that there has never been any puzzle-solving tradition in it. However, later its development was not continued and it became pseudoscientific.

    Additionally, it has also a great significance in the acceptance of a theory whether it is compatible with the spirit of the age or Zeitgeist.