Curious how many of my friends are scientifically minded, yet still believe in astrology. But heck, I believe in faeries, so who am I to talk?
Here’s the way I’m going to answer this:
1. Carl is totally right and we should publicize way more science and way less crappy predictive horoscopes that are glorified anonymous cold reads. I actually just finished reading the book that this quote is from.
2. In the context of the book, the marketing of astrology (when he wrote this book, this was the height of the Psychic Friends Network & Miss Cleo & all that) is the fraud that he is referring to. Someone is making a profit (either a newspaper or a magazine or a 900-number) and because it is called “entertainment” there is no scientific standard that it is held to. Furthermore, what he’s ACTUALLY talking about here, in context of the book, is not the fact that people read horoscopes, but that people (as in, not individuals, but the masses) believe them (and other unprovable things) at face value, but cannot do so for actual, proven science. That’s the discrepancy he’s speaking out against.
3. “Astrology” is more than “TAURUS: Contemplate domestic turmoil" — and to dismiss it as a whole is short-sighted, and dismissive of global culture and history. While not exactly "religion" on its own, astrology is an important part of a belief system to many, and to some, serves a similar purpose.
4. Science is dismissive of astrology and the zodiac, and experiments that are done are typically done poorly, without proper controls or with a very small group tested against. What is normally tested is how effective the same cold-read is to a group of people of a mix of signs/birthdays. That doesn’t disprove the zodiac to me.
5. The truth is, I can’t give a science-minded answer to WHY the zodiac makes sense to me. It’s a pseudoscience and a hobby, and I find that studying the unique characteristics of the zodiac signs has taught me a lot about people, relationships and personality types, as well as understanding my own inherent traits, quirks and flaws. I imagine that if it were studied differently, we might find better answers, and more satisfying ones. Look at phrenology — we used to believe that you could figure out a person’s personality type by the shape of his or her skull. ie, If you have a lump on this part of your head, you’re psychotic. But did that pseudoscience not lead to studying the parts of the brain and modern neurology?
Believing in faeries is just ridiculous though. ;)