Horoscopes are still pseudoscience

By Jeremy Fejfar, January 19, 2011

I was disappointed to see articles in the Tribune about the possible addition of another zodiac sign. It’s also disheartening that the newspaper still prints horoscopes.

I find it amazing that anyone out there lends the slightest credence to the idea that the position of the planet at ones’ birth has any effect on their personality traits or future.

William Hirschel discovered Uranus in 1781. Scientists later noticed some peculiarities in the way Uranus orbited, and through mathematical calculations, they determined it was due to the gravitational tug of an undiscovered planet. They were able to calculate the location of the planet, and in 1846 Neptune was discovered.

This is the power of science over pseudoscience. Science makes testable predictions that can then be analyzed. If the planets had any real effect on us, shouldn’t astrologers have predicted the existence of Uranus and Neptune? After the discovery of these planets, astrologers have integrated them into their charts.

It was later observed that Mercury has a disturbed orbit as well, and it was postulated that there may be another planet nearby, dubbed Vulcan. Astrologers, not wanting to be embarrassed again, rushed to incorporate Vulcan in their astrological charts. After further scientific study, real scientists demonstrated that Vulcan does not exist, but the orbital irregularities are due to its close proximity to the sun.

Astrology, like all pseudoscience, is a waste of time and it detracts from the true majesty and complexity of the universe by injecting its own brand of magical thinking.

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