The Questionable "Science" of Astrology
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I was working on a puzzle in one of my two morning newspapers yesterday (2 August 2005) when for some reason, my eyes drifted upward to the daily horoscope, a section I ignore. And I saw to my surprise, the heading All Signs. I was unaware that astrologers made blanket predictions applicable to everyone, and I decided to read it.
Caution: Avoid shopping or making important decisions from noon today until 9:15 p.m. tomorrow night EDT. (Yikes.)
Yikes indeed! Can you imagine what would happen to the economy if people followed this woman's advice? And if you choose to avoid making an important decision, is that, in itself not an important decision?
I wondered if this recommendation applicable to all signs was a special addition due to an unusual alignment of the stars, and I checked back a few issues in the recycle pile. It seems that the writer makes a universal recommendation for shopping and decision making in every column. Regardless that the supposed effect of astrological alignment on every other aspect of our lives is determined by the sign you are born under, Georgia Nichols apparently considers that the stars regulating shopping and decision-making simultaneously affect us all exactly the same.
I turned to the horoscope in my other morning paper to see if there was an equivalent prediction. But there were just the standard thirteen (12 signs plus today's birthday.) Clearly Sally Brompton lacks Georgia's special insight into shopping and decision-making.
Having the same day's horoscope open before me in two different papers, it occurred to me to do a comparison - after all, as astrologers are using the same basic algorithms, the predictions should be completely in alignment.
Following are some selected samples for 2 August 2005:
|2 August 2005||Georgia Nichols
Globe & Mail
|Taurus||You feel like Popeye! "I am what I am||Even if you are the kind of Taurus who finds it hard to show emotion, you will find it easy to open up.|
|Cancer||Be very careful dealing with groups and friends.||Lately, you have been keeping too much to yourself|
|Leo||Refrain from making important decisions||You seem to have the happy knack of picking winners.|
|Virgo||Underhanded activity, dishonesty, misrepresentation, lies and deceit are highly likely now somehow in your life.||Don't be defensive if a stranger approaches you on the street.|
|Libra||You're not sure what's going on. Therefore, do not act. Say nothing.||Knowledge is power, and if you know something about a rival or competitor that can be turned to your advantage, you will be tempted to use it today.|
|Scorpio||You might think partners are being obstinate, uncooperative, and stuck in their ways.||Bear in mind that others look up to you.|
|Sagittarius||You're concerned with politics, religious ideas, dealing with foreign countries and travel right now.||Nothing much seems to bother you lately|
|Pisces||Don't charge boldly where no man has gone before. Quite the contrary. Wear water wings. Stay away from the deep end.||Let that special person know how much they mean to you - don't leave them in doubt|
|Today's Birthday||You have dramatic flair! ... People like the bold, original quality of your work.||You will be tempted time and time again to do the one thing that no one expects of you. That one thing, inevitably, will be the wrong thing.|
It seems they are giving quite the opposite advice for nearly all the "signs.". I think the above comparison validates my preference that newspapers should save on ink, and leave the space used for horoscopes blank. It would provide a nice little scratch space for working on the Sudoku.
- Selection based on the same aspect of life apparently being addressed.