“Astrology is rubbish”, but… (via Whewell’s Ghost)

Here’s a very nicely reasoned and invective-free blog post, on the subject of the decision by the Astrological Association of Great Britain to petition the BBC in complaint about its “unfair representation of astrology”.

"Astrology is rubbish", but... Over the past week or two I've seen a steady trickle of tweets from astronomers, science writers and journalists having a good laugh about astrology. Fair enough, perhaps, except that this all began with a story on NBC News (and video here), reporting on the comments of one Parke Kunkle, an astronomy instructor linked with the Minnesota Planetarium Society and Minnesota Community and Technical College (where, it appears from Rate My Professor, he … Read More

via Whewell's Ghost


8 Responses to ““Astrology is rubbish”, but… (via Whewell’s Ghost)”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bewildered, Peter Coles. Peter Coles said: "Astrology is rubbish", but… (via Whewell's Ghost): http://wp.me/pko9D-2jV […]

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    I remember learning of the Ophiuchus argument from the head of Australian Skeptics. The Whewell blogger is right that the real reason why astrology is crap lies elsewhere, ie that it doesn’t work. This was shown decisively in the first double-blind test to have protocol designed in collaboration between leading astrologers and scientists:

    A double-blind test of astrology, S. Carlson, Nature vol 318, pp. 419 – 425 (05 December 1985)

    Scientifically, there is nothing more to be said.


  3. telescoper Says:

    Sigh. Spent ages cleaning our the spam filter. I should have realised that a post mentioning astrology would generate dozens of spam comments about horoscopes, etc.

  4. Rebekah Higgitt Says:

    Many thanks for linking to my post, and for the nice comment. For some reason the Whewell’s Ghost site has not (yet?) been spammed with horoscope offers, although I have attracted some interesting new followers on Twitter!

  5. Rhodri Evans Says:

    What I find curious about this “star signs are wrong because of precession” story is why is it such big news now. We’ve known about the precession of the equinoxes for hundreds of years, and a 12 year old could calculate that if the period of precession is 26,000 years and there are 12 constellations in the Zodiac that means we’ve drifted by one constellation in the last 2,000 years.

    In every intro astronomy course I’ve taught I point this out to my students, and I’m sure every other astronomy lecturer does too.

    So why is this news now?

    • It is news now because Twitter is a bullshit multiplier. Garbage in, garbage out. Bad Astronomer Phil Plait referred to this episode as a topic “trending on Twitter”. What is this world coming to? It seems that almost all media have not only picked up on this story, but have done so thinking it is real news.

      Age of Aquarius, anyone?

      As always, Jesus and Mo hit the nail on the head: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2011/01/18/signs/ .

  6. I think the readers of this blog will appreciate this tongue-in-cheek scientific analysis of 22000 horoscopes by the Information is Beautiful team:


    Particularly the “meta-horoscope” is brilliant.

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