Talk:Astrology

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Welcome to Wikipedia's Astrology article. This represents the work of many contributors and much negotiation to find consensus for an accurate and complete representation of the topic. Newcomers to Wikipedia and this article may find that it's easy to commit a faux pas. That's OK — everybody does it! You'll find a list of a few common ones you might try to avoid here. The sections of the WP:NPOV that apply directly to this article are:

These policies have guided the shape and content of the article, and new arrivals are strongly encouraged to become familiar with them prior to raising objections on this page or adding content to the article. Other important policies guiding the article's content are 'No Original Research' (WP:NOR) and 'Cite Your Sources' (WP:CITE).

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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

Principles
Four groups

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Dating of Earliest Astrologies

Have a look at following sources.

  1. Nakshastras: The Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology by Dennis M. Harness, page 16.[1],
  2. The Astrology Book: The Encyclopedia of Heavenly Influences, 2nd Edition, by James R. Lewis, page 707[2].(used on this page for other references)
  3. A Thousand Suns: Designing Your Future with Vedic Astrology, by Linda Johnsen, page 9[3][4].
None of these three seem to be suitable at first look. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:11, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
James R. Lewis is used as reference for this page already, and how he is not reliable source? Linda Johnsen has master degree about the Eastern studies. Dennis M. Harness holds doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology, Although not too sure about it, but rest of the two can't be unreliable. Bladesmulti (talk) 09:31, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

These are some sources, that dates Hindu astrology to 2000 - 3100 BCE, they usually cite Rigveda, which are probably oldest surviving scriptures, still in use. I tried searching if there are any refusal regarding such theories, I haven't found any yet. Also the given dates for other astrologies on the lead, such as "1950–1651" BCE for Mesopotamia doesn't seems to be popular dating, found 0 results, when i looked about it.[5] Bladesmulti (talk) 08:32, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

You are misreading the lead. It says " A form of astrology was practised in the first dynasty of Mesopotamia (1950–1651 BCE)" If you had substituted the word 'dynasty' for 'astrology' in your search you would have found results. Anything about Hindu astrology in this article needs to be written according to WP:SUMMARY, in other words it needs to reflect the parent article. Neither Johnsen nor Harness are reliable sources - having a degree isn't enough. Dougweller (talk) 14:20, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Astrology Table/Quick facts

Please include Venus and Neptune as cross-references under the planets used in astrology. K.J.Grey (talk) 22:28, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Good catch. I added them to the template. No idea why they weren't there already. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:40, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

:249 and :424

These numbers appear between cites 5&6 and after cite 7 in the introduction. There's something similar after cite 17, 66, 84 92, 93, 94 and others. Looks like maybe they are supposed to be page numbers, but shouldn't this go inside the cite rather than cluttering the article? Mr. Swordfish (talk) 20:53, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

It's one of several accepted ways of indicating page numbers. The advantage is that it keeps down the number of citations of e.g. books by using local refs to page numbers. Chiswick Chap (talk) 21:00, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah it's the style I used and for that reason :) @Mr swordfish, you can read more about it here: Template:RP. IRWolfie- (talk) 22:02, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Deleted text on Precession of the Equinoxes (moved from GA page)

Under the section Lack of mechanisms and consistency, I am removing the following paragraph: Astrologers usually have only a small knowledge of astronomy and they often do not take into account basic features such as the precession of the equinoxes which would change the position of the sun with time; they commented on the example of Elizabeth Teissier who claimed that "the sun ends up in the same place in the sky on the same date each year" as the basis for claims that two people with the same birthday but a number of years apart should be under the same planetary influence. Charpak and Broch noted that "there is a difference of about twenty-two thousand miles between Earth's location on any specific date in two successive years" and that thus they should not be under the same influence according to astrology. Over a 40 years period there would be a difference greater than 780,000 miles.[118]:6–7

due to its pejorative tone and lack of truth. There is no citation for the phrase "astrologers usually have only a small knowledge of astronomy" and it is complete misconception and misunderstanding of modern astrology to claim that astrologers do not take into account the Precession Of The Equinoxes. The truth is that modern Western Astrology does precisely that, by using the Tropical Zodiac , formulated by Ptolemy in the 1st century AD. This theoretical Zodiac is based on the seasons, more specifically the Vernal and Autumnal Equinox and the Summer and Winter Solstice. Horsechestnut (talk) 21:35, 16 February 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dougweller (talkcontribs)

You are right about the incorporation of precession in Western astrology - the debunking book is certainly in error. Precession is the reason why the astrological ages exist, as the first point of Aries cycles backwards through the 12 signs in turn. In other words, Western astrology does take precession into account, and the critique offered by Charpak and Broch is demonstrably misguided. However they have made the critique, so I suggest we include a brief mention of their critique (less than is there now), immediately followed by a cited rebuttal. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:36, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
We should, however, be careful to only issue rebuttals for things, like this, that are demonstrably false, and not fall into the trap of turning a criticism section into an apologia. A similar misguided criticism is that the Sun isn't actually in the constellation of Aries for people with the sun-sign Aries; in that case a rebuttal is illustrative, as it clarifies that astrology has nothing to do with the stars. — kwami (talk) 21:38, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Absolutely right. Beautifully put. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:59, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
You might think its in error because you didn't actually bother yourself to read it, or the text quoted. This edit [6] creates a straw man out of what Charpak and Broch actually said. You removed all of the context which is given in the specific quote. For example, astrologers taking into account precession has nothing to do with the statement: "the sun ends up in the same place in the sky on the same date each year" since the statement is false. If you also read, you will see that it is the astrologer that claims the planetary influences are the same because they are "in the same place". Charpak also deals with the empty boxes of the tropical zodiac (see Astrology_and_science#Lack_of_physical_basis). He is fully aware of astrologers taking into account of precession for the tropical zodiac. That does not mean they always take it into account in everything they say. As far as I am aware astrologers use programs to generate horoscopes. These programs take precession into account, but the astrologers don't in the language they use etc. Second Quantization (talk) 23:45, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Your edit also watered down what is said in the Chris French piece [7] going from "many" to "some". Second Quantization (talk) 23:30, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Please avoid accusatory language. The citation I added demonstrates that astrology has known about precession of the equinoxes since Ptolemy. Horoscopes, whether cast 'by hand' or using programs make use of precession. Any language about 'returning to the same place' - and I do not doubt that confused and ignorant people can be found to say such things - is mistaken, you are correct. Therefore we need to distinguish quietly and carefully between what we will need to call 'serious' or 'professional' (or something of the sort) calculations and 'popular' or 'confused' (etc) astrology.
In 'serious' A, precession is a fact, and there is no relationship between 'stars' and predictions; there is no possible mechanism (rays or whatever) because precession changes the geometry between the stars and the Earth. The refutation of this kind of A is simply that it does not work and has been proven wrong.
In 'popular' A, it is very possible that precession is ignored and all kinds of unjustifiable claims are made. The refutation of this kind of A is that it could not possibly work because the geometry of precession contradicts it.

Therefore we need to distinguish the two types of Astrology, and offer different refutations for the two. The Charpak and Broch quote attacks 'popular' but the wording in and around it does not make that clear. I think that would be easily fixed. Simply restoring the quote just re-establishes the confusion. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:43, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

No. Again you are misunderstanding the reference and adding in your own original research. "Professional" astrologers do not understand procession and routinely make mistakes with statements they make. Their computer programs and books they use to churn out horoscopes might understand procession, but they don't (in general) and it comes out when they try to say why they think astrology works. There is a fine distinction here. The quasi-scientist picture you have of professional astrologers is the issue and talking about Ptolemy and the tropical zodiac is missing the point they are making. If you read the text you can see there is nothing incorrect with what it says. Second Quantization (talk) 09:00, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I am glad you agree there is a distinction to be made. Your new text is a slight improvement but it still wrongly suggests that nobody knows how to interpret a horoscope which a computer cast using precession; this is basically just a slur and should be withdrawn. We are however in agreement that there are plenty of people about who are vague or wrong on the matter, so only a small rewording is required. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:04, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Calling my edits slurs is hardly civil. "it still wrongly suggests that nobody knows how to interpret a horoscope", No it doesn't, point out where (there is no correct way to interpret a horoscope since it doesn't work but that is neither here nor there). I also had already added a sentence about precession to the article: "The tropical zodiac has no connection to the stars, and as long as no claims are made that the constellations themselves are in the associated sign, astrologers avoid the concept that precession seemingly moves the constellations." The article says they often don't take into account procession. That is clearly true as evidenced by the example. Second Quantization (talk) 09:10, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
We should avoid casting whatever-they-ares at astrologers, I am not casting any at you. I suggest we replace the "usually", which is very sweeping (and hard to verify), with some typical Wikispeak like 'sometimes', which is undoubtedly true. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:16, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Base your reasons on policy. The source clearly says "Astrologers actually know very little about what goes on in the skies". If we were to follow the source closely we would strengthen the language rather than weaken it. Clearly changing that to "Some astrologers" is inadequate and disagrees with the source, and thus I don't support the change. Where is your source to argue otherwise. Second Quantization (talk) 09:32, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
  • As an aside, I think it should be obvious that professional astrologers don't need to understand astronomy well to be successful at their work. It is more about interpersonal skills than anything, Second Quantization (talk) 09:39, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. Why don't you use the actual quote, it is stronger and clearer than the current wording. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:57, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Excessive quotation, and it would attribute it solely to Charpak rather than it being a general description. Second Quantization (talk) 10:14, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Ah, but we have no evidence it is a general description. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:25, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
What is in the source: "Astrologers actually know very little about what goes on in the skies" sounds plenty general to me, Second Quantization (talk) 23:37, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
One source's general statement is a bit different from our making a general statement (in wikipedia's voice) based on one source's opinion.--Other Choices (talk) 14:01, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Dissent

As I understand it astrology is rejected by scientists. However, are there any significant scientists who disagree? See List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming. Could there be an equivalent list, “List of scientists opposing/disputing/(disagreeing with) the (mainstream) scientific (assessment of)/(rejection of)/(opinion on) astrology”? Of course, we would first need to find such scientists, and sources to support such claims about them.

Btw, I do not believe in astrology.--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 12:33, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

There's probably some in Transpersonal psychology or other nonsense that could be counted as "scientists" in a loose sense of the word. That would be funny, but I don't think it's a notable topic area. The climate change list is notable because denialism and the use of token scientists in the media are part of the story. There is a general List of astrologers though. (It's unnecessary to state that you aren't an astrologer). Second Quantization (talk) 11:19, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
I concur. In the latter case there is a gap between the scientific consensus and the general (ie public) consensus. Hence the relevance of dissent etc. even if it is minor all things considered. In the former case there isn't such a gap so any such list is of (eccentrics) little importance. François Robere (talk) 21:26, 23 February 2014 (UTC)