Ancient astronomers envisioned the zodiac constellations as having unique patterns that reflect the shapes of animals and humans. As illustrated, the zodiac constellations form an imagined belt in the sky that stretches about eight degrees above and below the ecliptic plane.
Is it true that many believe in astrology?
Christine Smallwood’s fascinating piece, “Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty:
Astrology is currently experiencing widespread popular acceptability that has not been seen since the 1970s. The transition began with the introduction of the personal computer, was expedited by the Internet, and has now reached new levels of speed thanks to social media. According to a Pew Research Center poll from 2017, about a third of Americans believe in astrology.
Astrology, like psychoanalysis before it, has infiltrated our collective vernacular. At a party in the 1950s, you could have heard someone talk about the id, ego, or superego; now, it’s normal to hear someone explain herself using the sun, moon, and rising signs. It isn’t just that you are aware of it. It’s who’s saying it: folks who aren’t kooks or deniers of climate change, who don’t find a conflict between utilizing astrology and believing in science…
I ran a short Google search and discovered the following Pew report from October 2018:
The religion breakdown was the only thing that surprised me about this table.
I had the impression that mainline Protestants were the rational ones, but they believe in astrology at the same rate as the overall population.
But, hey, I guess they’re ordinary Americans, so they have average American ideas.
Only 3% of atheists believe in astrology, which is also unexpected.
This makes sense, yet it seemed reasonable to me that someone may not believe in God but believe in other supernatural things: in fact, I could see astrology as a type of replacement for a traditional religious system.
But it appears that is not the case.
Brian Wansink has been compared to an astrologer who can make astute observations about the world based on a combination of persuasiveness and qualitative understanding, and then attributes his success to tarot cards or tea leaves rather than a more practical ability to synthesize ideas and tell good stories.
Does Brian Wansink, on the other hand, believe in astrology?
What about Marc Hauser, Ed Wegman, Susan Fiske, and the rest of the bunch who call their detractors “second-string, replication police, methodological terrorists, Stasi, and so on?”
I doubt they believe in astrology because it symbolizes a rival belief system: it’s a business that, in some ways, competes with rah-rah Ted-talk science.
I wouldn’t be shocked if famous ESP researchers believe in astrology, but I get the impression that mainstream junk-science supporters in academia and the news media feel uncomfortable discussing ESP since its research methods are so similar to their own.
They don’t want to be associated with ESP researchers because it would devalue their own study, but they also don’t want to put them under the bus because they are fellow Ivy League academics, so the safest plan is to remain quiet about it.
The greater point, however, is not astrology believing in and of itself, but the mental state that allows individuals to believe in something so contrary to our scientific understanding of the world.
(OK, I apologize to the 29% of you who don’t agree with me on this.)
When I return to writing on statistical graphics, model verification, Bayesian computation, Jamaican beef patties, and other topics, you can rejoin the fold.)
It’s not that astrology couldn’t be correct a priori:
We can come up with credible hypotheses under which astrology is real and amazing, just as we can with embodied cognition, beauty and sex ratio, ovulation and voting, air rage, ages ending in 9, and all the other Psychological Science / PNAS classics.
It’s just that nothing has come up after years of rigorous research.
And the existing theories aren’t particularly convincing: they’re speculative world models that may be good if the purpose was to describe a real and enduring occurrence, but they’re less so without actual data.
Anyway, if 30% of Americans are willing to believe such nonsense, it’s no surprise that a significant number of influential American psychology professors will have the kind of attitude toward scientific theory and evidence that leads them to have strong beliefs in weak theories with no supporting evidence.
Indeed, not only support for specific weak theories, but support for the fundamental principle that pseudoscientific views should be treated with respect (although, oddly enough, maybe not for astrology itself).
P.S.In defense of the survey respondents (but not of the psychology professors who support ideas like the “critical positivity ratio,” which makes astrology appear positively sane in comparison), belief in astrology (or, for that matter, belief in heaven, gravity, or the square-cube law) is essentially free.
Why not believe these things, or not believe them?
Belief or denial in evolution, climate change, or unconscious bias, on the other hand, can have social or political consequences.
Some opinions are purely personal, while others have a direct impact on policy.
I have less patience for famous academic and media elites who aggressively support junk science by not just expressing their trust in speculative notions supported by no real data, but also attacking those who point out these emperors’ nudity. Furthermore, even a hypothetical tolerant, open-minded supporter of junk sciencethe type of person who might believe in critical positivity ratio but actively support the publication of criticisms of that workcan still cause some harm by contaminating scientific journals and the news media with bad science, and by promoting sloppy work that takes up space that could be used for more careful research.
You know how they say science corrects itself, but only because individuals are willing to correct themselves?
Gresham’s law is also true, but only when people are willing to distribute counterfeit notes or money they think is counterfeit while keeping their lips shut until they can get rid of their wads of worthless stock.
P.P.S.Just to be clear:I don’t think astrology is a waste of time, and it’s possible that Marc Hauser was onto something real, even while faking data (according to the US government, as mentioned on Wikipedia), and the critical positivity ratio, ovulation, voting, and all the rest…
Just because there isn’t enough evidence to support a theory doesn’t mean it’s untrue.
I’m not trying to disprove any of these assertions.
All of it should be published someplace, along with all of the criticism.
My issue with junk science proponents isn’t simply that they advocate science that I and others perceive to be rubbish; they can also be wrong!
However, they consistently avoid, deny, and oppose valid open criticism.
P.P.P.S.Remember that #notallpsychologists.
Of course, the problem of junk research isn’t limited to psychology in any way.
Professors of political science, economics, sociology, and history, to the extent that they believe in astrology, spoon bending, or whatever (that is, belief in “scientific paranormalism as describing some true thing about the natural world, not just a “anthropological recognition that paranormal beliefs can affect the world because people believe in it), this could also sabotage their research.
I suppose it’s not such a big problem if a physicist or chemist believes in these things.
I’m not attempting to shut down study into astrology, embodied cognition, ESP, beauty-and-sex-ratio, endless soup bowls, spoon bending, the Bible Code, air anger, ovulation and voting, subliminal smiley faces, or anything else.
Allow for the blooming of a thousand blooms!
Given that a sizable portion of the populace is willing to believe in scientific-sounding notions that aren’t backed by any good scientific theory or evidence, it should come as no surprise that many professional scientists hold this viewpoint.
The repercussions are especially evident in psychology, which is a vital field of study where theories can be hazy and where there is a long legacy of belief and action based on flimsy data.
That isn’t to say that psychologists are awful people; they’re merely working on difficult challenges in a field with a long history of failures.
This isn’t a critique; it’s just the way things are. Of course, there is a lot of excellent work being done in the field of psychology. You’ll have to work with what you’ve got.
someone, not fully understanding what it was intended for. The board, together with the drinking containers, would then have been placed as a sacrifice to a god worshipped in the cave whose identity is unknown.
“There is undoubtedly a possibility that this astrologer’s board showed there as an offering coupled with other unusual goods that were either bought or robbed from a passing ship,” Forenbaher added. He pointed out that the drinking cups recovered in the cave were meticulously chosen. They were foreign-made, and only a few specimens of cruder amphora storage vessels were found with them.
“It nearly seems like somebody was bringing out wine there, spilling it and then discarding the amphora away because theywere not good enough for the gods, they were not nice enough to be deposited in the shrine,” Forenbaher said.
The phallic-shaped stalagmite, which may have grown on the place naturally, appears to have been a center for these offerings and for rituals performed in the cavern. Forenbaher cautioned that all stalagmites resemble phallic to some degree and it’s difficult to know what meaning it had to the inhabitants in the cave. “It certainly meant something important,” he said.
“This is a place where goods that were valued locally, were deposited to some type of supernatural power, to some transcendental entity or whatever .”
Is astrology considered a science?
This isn’t the first time astrology has had a moment like this, and it won’t be the last. For thousands of years, the practice has existed in various forms. More recently, the New Age movement of the 1960s and 1970s included a heavy dose of astrology. (Some refer to the New Age as the “Age of Aquarius,” referring to the 2,000-year period after the Earth’s passage through the Aquarius sign.)
While astrology didn’t go completely in the decades between the New Age boom and nowyou could still read horoscopes in the back pages of magazinesit “got back to being a little bit more in the background,” says Chani Nicholas, an astrologer in Los Angeles. “Then there’s something that’s happened in the last five years that’s given it an edge, a relevancy for this time and place that it hasn’t had in 35 years.” The millennial generation has taken it and run with it.
Many of the people I spoke to for this article felt that, while the stigma surrounding astrology still exists, it has faded as the discipline has gained traction in online culture, particularly among young people.
“We’ve seen a reframing of New Age activities over the last two years, very much tailored toward a Millennial and young Gen X component,” says Lucie Greene, global director of J. Walter Thompson’s Intelligence Group, which studies and predicts cultural trends.
Broadly’s horoscope traffic, according to Callie Beusman, a senior editor, “has increased very dramatically.” The Cut’s president and editor-in-chief, Stella Bugbee, claims that a typical horoscope article on the site received 150 percent more traffic in 2017 than the previous year.
Astrology is well-suited to the digital age in some aspects. If you feel like plunging into a Google-research rabbit hole, there’s a low barrier to admission and practically infinite depths to plumb. The availability of more detailed information on the internet has given this cultural wave of astrology a level of sophistication. There will be more jokes about Saturn returns and less “Hey baby, what’s your sign?” questions. lines for a pick-up
A quick refresher: Astrology is not a science, and there is no proof that one’s zodiac sign has anything to do with personality. However, the system has its own logic. The positioning of the sun, moon, and planets within 12 parts of the sky, known as the zodiac signs, is given significance in astrology. Even if you’re not an astrology fan, you’re probably aware of your sun sign, the most well-known zodiac sign. It’s determined by the position of the sun on your birthday. However, the position of the moon and each of the other planets at the time and place of your birth adds more shades to the portrait of you that your “birth chart” paints.
Horoscopes are designed to tell you what the planets are doing right now and in the future, as well as how all of this influences each sign.
Susan Miller, the popular astrologer who developed the Astrology Zone website, describes the planets as a cocktail party. “You could have three individuals chatting at the same time, two people arguing in the corner, and Venus and Mars kissing.” I need to figure out what’s going on in those monthly talks for you.
“Astrologers are continually attempting to break down these massive concepts into manageable chunks of information,” Nicholas explains.
These days’ kids and their memes provide an ideal setting for astrology.
Astrology uses the planets and zodiac symbols to express complex ideas about personality, life cycles, and relationship patterns. That shorthand also works well online, where symbols and shorthand are frequently used.
Bertram Malle, a social cognitive scientist at Brown University, wrote me in an email, “Let me say first that I consider astrology a cultural or psychological phenomenon, not a scientific one.” However, “full-fledged astrology,” which goes beyond newspaper-style sun-sign horoscopes, gives you a powerful vocabulary to describe not only your personality and temperament, but also your life’s obstacles and prospects. To the extent that one just learns this vocabulary, it may appeal as a rich method of reflecting (rather than explaining or forecasting) human feelings and life events, as well as identifying some potential coping paths.
In times of stress, people frequently consult astrology. According to a short 1982 research by psychologist Graham Tyson, “those who contact astrologers do so in response to pressures in their lives, notably stress related to the individual’s social duties and connections.” “Under high stress, the individual is willing to employ astrology as a coping mechanism, even though he does not believe in it under low stress.”
Millennials have been the most stressed generation since 2014, according to American Psychological Association survey data, and they are also the group most likely to claim their stress has increased in the past year since 2010. Since 2012, Millennials and Gen Xers have been much more anxious than previous generations. Since the 2016 presidential election, Americans have been experiencing greater stress as a result of the political turmoil. According to the APA’s 2017 survey, 63 percent of Americans are “extremely concerned” about their country’s future. Reading the news stresses out 56% of individuals, with Millennials and Gen Xers being substantially more likely than older people to say so. Political infighting, climate change, global problems, and the prospect of nuclear war have all been prominent in recent news. If stress makes astrology look more appealing, it’s no surprise that more people are interested in it now.
What makes you think I should believe in astrology?
Astrology has been shown in studies to significantly impact and even validate a person’s self-concept, as well as improve their confidence in their unique characteristics. In short, astrology’s ruminative nature stimulates self-reflection, allowing people to better understand themselves and their surroundings.
What proportion of horoscopes are accurate?
Throughout my research, I used a tried-and-true strategy of asking a series of questions about attitudes and activity while omitting any reference of belief. The image that emerged is far more complicated than the basic division between belief and doubt suggests.
In one of my groups of predominantly male students aged 18 to 21, I discovered that 70% of them read a horoscope column once a month and valued its advise 51% of the time. Other questions revealed a wide range of responses: 98 percent of people knew their sun sign, 45 percent said it reflected their personalities, 25% felt it can make accurate forecasts, and 20% believe the stars have an impact on life on Earth. The higher percentages are comparable to prior study that revealed 73 percent of British adults believe in astrology, while the lower ones are comparable to Gallup polls.
Other questions about the pupils’ behavior and attitudes were also posed. Nearly half (45%) admitted to researching possible or actual partners’ sun signs in order to better manage their relationships, and 31% admitted to reading their astrological predictions for the coming year.
What became clear from all of my surveys is that when we ask questions about personal experience, meaning, and behavior (such as valuing an astrologer’s advice or learning about partners’ signs), positive responses are roughly twice as high, if not more, than when we ask for statements of objective fact (such as “I value an astrologer’s advice” or “I value an astrologer’s advice”) “Is astrology a reliable source of predictions?).
My samples were limited, and each one offered a snapshot of a certain group, making generalization impossible. However, they all suggest that when we ask a range of questions, we get a diversity of answers. How many people do you know that believe in astrology? It’s possible that it’ll be 22%. It’s possible that it’s 73 percent. What I refer to as the difference between the two figures is what I refer to as the “The zone of doubt and uncertainty between deep and shallow commitment is known as the belief gap.
So, what is it that makes people believe in astrology? The issue we have is establishing trustworthy research. If we can’t get to first base and figure out how many people believe in it, attempts to figure out why they find it significant a better word than belief will be fruitless.