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Thread: Astrology in The Independent

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Astrology in The Independent

    This article is in The Independent today (28 April) (and will probably become pay-to-view in three days):

    Mystery of the planets: It's in the stars. Really
    and
    Toyah Wilcox: Astrology affects us all. Keep a diary and you'll see

    The Independent is one of the more serious newspapers in the UK and I think this shouldn't go unchallenged. I'm still annoyed with The Observer (Sunday newspaper), also a former broadsheet, publishing horoscopes. I wrote and complained when they started, but got a dismissive answer - people like them.

    It would be possible to go through the article challenging various points eg they mention Percy Seymour (heard that name before) and give him credibility by saying he is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society. If they'd said Royal Society, it would be different, because that's by recommendation by other fellows. You can become a member (do they mean Fellow?) of the Royal Astronomical Society if you can afford the subscription, you don't need any qualifications etc.

    I'd like to send a pithy comment because short letters are more likely to get noticed than long-winded ones. If someone has spent 20 years studying a subject, they won't want to be told that they've wasted all that time studying rubbish. So I'm not expecting to change minds in a few words. I'm not very good at witty letters, but I strongly believe that articles like this should be questioned.

    Now where did I put that copy of nightsky with Phil's article on astrology? And Owen Gingerich's letter about it in the next issue. I know there's a website attached to this board too...

  2. #2
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    Much as I rate the independent, I have also seen articles about dark matter and dark energy in there!

    Equally speculative. Tsk.

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    May the debunking of this total codswallop we call Astrology continue!

    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs...ology_hum.html

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    One of the rules I use to simplify the complexities of life is:

    "Never believe anything you read in a newspaper that employs an astrologer".

  5. #5
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    Moved from Against the Mainstream ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by P.Asmah
    Much as I rate the independent, I have also seen articles about dark matter and dark energy in there!

    Equally speculative. Tsk.
    No, dark matter and energy are based on objective evidence, astrology isn't.

    Futuramma
    Robot truck car thing:
    "Calling all scientests you are requied to attend a meeting at kyoto about global warming"
    Astrologer runs up with paper
    "I've got a degree in astrology!!"
    Robot truck car thing:
    "you've got a degree in balony"
    Sprays him with water and he falls over.

  7. #7
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    Good grief. In the "Science and Technology" section, for crying out loud.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555
    No, dark matter and energy are based on objective evidence, astrology isn't.

    Futuramma
    Robot truck car thing:
    "Calling all scientests you are requied to attend a meeting at kyoto about global warming"
    Astrologer runs up with paper
    "I've got a degree in astrology!!"
    Robot truck car thing:
    "you've got a degree in balony"
    Sprays him with water and he falls over.
    Homeopathic medicine, actually, but it's got the same value. (The paper is a diploma from The Evergreen State College.)
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  9. #9
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    Ahhh

    Well same differance

  10. #10
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    On the First article:

    The first part of the article is based on testimonials, and argues how astrology has been practised since thousands of years, and how it "is a metaphysical doctrine, not a science, and cannot be easily judged by the narrow instrument that is science." I am really tired of this argument. If it applies to the real world, and has observable consequences, it can be tested by statistical experiments. I just hope they would understand it.

    But is there any scientific basis for astrology? Most scientists, such as Sir Patrick, dismiss it as pseudo-science. Recently, however, some heads have been put above the parapet. In the late 1970s, Michel Gauquelin, a French statistician and psychologist, suggested that there were statistical links between birth dates and certain professions.
    This is wonderful... earlier in the article they say that astrology is too complex, etc... . Then how can you trust a "link" between a single factor and birth dates? Why choose to trust only what you want to? And at the end of the article they give personality descriptions of the zodiac signs, inspite of having argued that it's much more complex than that.

    Overall, it's a typical astrology supporting article, relying on testimonials and psuedoscience ("the tides"). Obviously, they have never browsed the BA's article or SkepDic (The Forer effect, testimonials, etc).

    The second article is psuedoscience, because it's based on anecdotal evidence. For more look at the above link.

    The Independent is one of the more serious newspapers in the UK and I think this shouldn't go unchallenged.
    I agree... how about we at BAUT write to them collectively, like a petition or something?

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    If you write and respond, you will encourage supports to come out and keep the pot boiling.

    I once heard the best strategy is silence and let the story die and become tomorrows fish and chips wrappings

    BTW do they still wrap fish and chips in newspaper?

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    I say we must make ourselves heard, there is no way one should allow a thing like this to just "die" off.

    If we want to curb psuedoscience, we must do something. As the BA has said, millions of dollars are wasted in psuedosciences like Astrology. And also that "uncritical thinking is tearing this world to peices". I am hoping they would notice and give importance to a letter from a big astronomy forum like this.

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    But a lot of their readership believe in this junk, and daily look up their horrorscope. If they published stuff, saying it was junk and thereby infering that the masses buying into it are ignorant peasants, would that not alienate their readership.

    Somehow I can not see a newspaper doing that as it wants to keep its punters happy, so they keep shelling out.

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    I guess that's true, but we can try, and the OP said:
    The Independent is one of the more serious newspapers in the UK
    We can try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks
    If you write and respond, you will encourage supports to come out and keep the pot boiling.

    I once heard the best strategy is silence and let the story die and become tomorrows fish and chips wrappings

    BTW do they still wrap fish and chips in newspaper?
    Not actual newspapers anymore, but the do use the same sort of paper that is blank...

  16. #16
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    It's my understanding (don't know where I read it, in other words) that the use of actual newspaper is now illegal for . . . health reasons, I think.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

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    Newspaper isn't used anymore because the ink is soluble in fats iirc

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    How I miss the taste of newsprint...

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    In fact, I have sent an email to the Independent critiquing Toyah's commentary. Please feel free to PM me if you want the text (I don't want to clutter up the thread with my blathering - well, not too much of it, anyway ).

    Sticks - I believe that it is better to point out what a lot of nonsense this is, when the article is printed in a supposedly reputable newspaper like the Independent.

  20. #20
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    We have a number of saying over here, some from shakespere, some not.

    1. Let Sleeping dogs lie
    2. Me Thinks She dost protest too much
    3. The more he went on about his honesty, the more we counted the spoons
    4. Never believe anything until its officially denied


    And quoted by that bastion of truth and veracity, Bart Sibrel on his website [/irony]
    "The likelihood of one individual being right increases in direct proportion to the intensity to which others are trying to prove him wrong."
    - - Harry Segall
    Not that I agree with that statement, but is there not a danger that by keeping something going we engender more interest in this junk. The more we try and debunk, the more some people get it into their heads that there might be something in this, because why else would we be opposing the "truth"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kylenano
    The Independent is one of the more serious newspapers in the UK
    LOL! Well they're serious alright. But not about credibility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren
    It's my understanding (don't know where I read it, in other words) that the use of actual newspaper is now illegal for . . . health reasons, I think.
    Still useful for multiple other uses not involved with reading
    __________________________________________________
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    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks
    We have a number of saying over here, some from shakespere, some not.

    [snip]...[snip]

    ...is there not a danger that by keeping something going we engender more interest in this junk. The more we try and debunk, the more some people get it into their heads that there might be something in this, because why else would we be opposing the "truth"
    "Over here" - you mean Tyneside as opposed to Teesside, I presume?

    Yes, there is a danger that we engender interest in the topic. However, if we can persuade even a few of those who are not really sure yet that the spouted nonsense is indeed nonsense, then we are doing some good.

    And I, too, think that Sibrel's quote is a load of codswallop. He does not seem to consider the possibility that people try to prove him wrong (successfully, too) because he is making a living out of deceiving the public. Maybe someone should sue him for fraud.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Nigel
    Maybe someone should sue him for fraud.
    But suppose you took him to court and some how you lost, aka Dan Brown et al

    Then it could be claimed the the courts have finally decided that the lunar landings were a hoax.

  25. #25
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    The most annoying thing about papers like the Independant is the Star guide and astronomy news ie. the scientific fact pertaining to the night sky is published once a month. The total balony of Astrology is published daily! They call themselves a 'newspaper'!

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    This is something I found on the web... It was published in The Independent, it seems, 10 years ago:
    http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/Dawk...e_in_stars.htm

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    It also winds me up when astrologers pop up on day time television programmes answering questions about problems that people have. (Should we move house in six months? - that type of thing). These are vulnerable people being given advice by individuals who aren't qualified in anything. Particularly not qualified in knowing anything scientific about the night sky.

    The article you linked is right. They should be held to account.

  28. #28
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    Jake, you are very correct.

    It annoys me to switch on the TV every Sunday morning and see Astrologers and Numerologists (the current fashionable "rage" in India), and they are giving all kinds of ridiculous advice. When the recent eclipse occured, the news channels were asking astrologers about the effects. And, needless to say, they were saying nonsense, about the great force of gravity and it's effects on us... lets just say they certainly weren't doing anything to curb superstistion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren
    Homeopathic medicine, actually, but it's got the same value. (The paper is a diploma from The Evergreen State College.)
    Hear about the homeopathic patient who forgot to take their medicine.

    Died of an ovewrdose.

    I know, used that before, but I really like it. So I'll most likely use it again - soon.

  30. #30
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    I remember on a TV programme someone trying to give a "scientific" rationale to astrology by talking about "resonance" Galaxys are in spirals and so is DNA, spot the connection

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