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Why Astrology does not work- A scientific view point- Dr Vijay Sardana


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Why Astrology does not work- A scientific view point- Dr Vijay Sardana

  1. 1. Why Astrology Does Not Work : A Scientific View Point Vijay Sardana [email_address]
  2. 2. Astrology <ul><li>What’s the need of knowing future </li></ul><ul><li>Politicians fighting elections </li></ul><ul><li>Investors risking capitals </li></ul><ul><li>Generals leading Army </li></ul>
  3. 3. Birth Genetic endowment inherited from both parents environmental factor Personality traits Physical Characteristics Death
  4. 4. Pseudoscience <ul><li>“ Body of knowledge, methodology , belief or practice that claim to be scientific / made to appear scientific but doesn’t adhere to basic requirements of scientific method. ” </li></ul><ul><li>Pseudo – False / Pretending </li></ul><ul><li>Science ( Latin Scientia) – Knowledge </li></ul>
  5. 5. Pseudoscience <ul><li>Astrology </li></ul><ul><li>Quackery </li></ul><ul><li>Occult </li></ul><ul><li>Superstition </li></ul><ul><li>Vaastu </li></ul>
  6. 6. Pseudoscience : Characteristics <ul><li>Vague scientific clauses, not precise </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to make use of operational definition </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of boundary condition </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of effective control </li></ul>
  7. 9. Pseudoscience : Characteristics <ul><li>Assertion of scientific claims that can not be falsified if incorrect (Falcifiability) </li></ul><ul><li>Over reliance on testimonials & anecdotes </li></ul><ul><li>Selective use of supportive experimental evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Assertion that claims which have not been proven false must be true (Argument from ignorance) </li></ul><ul><li>Reversed burden of proof </li></ul><ul><li>Mantra of ‘holism’ to explain negative finding </li></ul>
  8. 10. Pseudoscience : Characteristics <ul><li>Evasion of peer review before publishing (science by press conference ) </li></ul><ul><li>Assertion of claims of secrecy or proprietary knowledge if requested to reveal data/ methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to progress towards additional evidence of its claims. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of self correction </li></ul><ul><li>Use of misleading scientific sounding language </li></ul>
  9. 11. Pseudoscience : Characteristics <ul><li>Tight social groups, authoritarian personality, group think can enhance adoption of belief with no rational basis, critics identified ‘enemies’ </li></ul><ul><li>Assertion of Claims of a conspiracy of scientific community to suppress the result </li></ul>
  10. 12. Why Pseudosciences staying <ul><li>Human proclivity for seeking confirmation rather refutation (confirmation bias ) </li></ul><ul><li>Tendency to have comforting beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Human prone to association based on resemblance only </li></ul><ul><li>Human often prone to misattribution in cause effect thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Public lacks the ability to judge claims on scientific basis </li></ul><ul><li>Support from political/ beurocratic/ prominent personalities </li></ul>
  11. 13. “ Pseudoscience has no scientific meaning & mostly describe our emotions” Larry Laudan
  12. 14. Astrology- History <ul><li>Ancient Babylonia – 3000 yrs back </li></ul><ul><li>Priests used to contribute a calendar on astronomical basis- when to harvest plant </li></ul><ul><li>(Name of planets - name of Gods) </li></ul><ul><li>1000 BC – literature on ‘planetary omens’ </li></ul><ul><li>Mars – god of war – summer </li></ul><ul><li>Venus – goddess of sexual love – spring night </li></ul><ul><li>600 BC – Babylonia 12 sign zodiac </li></ul><ul><li>14 th april 410 BC- oldest horoscope </li></ul><ul><li>Greek & Roman & Babylonia Astrologers (Chaldeanss) </li></ul>
  13. 15. Astrology- History <ul><li>Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>19 th century end – Vanishing Cult </li></ul><ul><li>1930- British Astrologers – R.H. Nay- daily newspaper horoscopic coloums </li></ul><ul><li>India – 325 BC with invasion by Alexander the great </li></ul>
  14. 16. Astrology – Principles <ul><li>Vedanta philosophy – life governed by past action (karma) </li></ul><ul><li>Position of planets at birth – determine present & future </li></ul><ul><li>Unanswered questions </li></ul><ul><li>What is scientific correlation between planets & life – birth, education, marriage, children, job, health. </li></ul>
  15. 17. October 17 Tula September 23 Libra September 17 Kanya August 23 Virgo November 16 Vrischika October 23 Scorpio August 14 Simha July 23 Leo July 16 Karkataka June 22 Cancer June 14 Mithuna May 22 Gemini May 14 Vrishabha April 21 Taurus April 14 Mesha March 21 Aries Date of entry Raashi Date of Entry Sign Sun’s entry into Raashis Sun’s entry into signs
  16. 18. February 13 Kumbha January 22 Aquarius January 14 Makara December 22 Capricorn March 14 Meena February 21 Pisces December 16 Dhanus November 22 Sagittarius Date of entry Raashi Date of Entry Sign Sun’s entry into Raashis Sun’s entry into signs
  17. 19. Astrology <ul><li>? Gravitational force of nursing home, Gynecologist, pediatrician, Anesthetist. </li></ul><ul><li>? Electromagnetic radiation from TV, other appliances </li></ul>
  18. 20. Astrologers – Astrologers view point <ul><li>Just as gravitational force , planets influence life through infrared , ultra violet & cosmic rays </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals emit electrons at different roles. Planet passes electromagnetic field around them Interaction results in various experiences in life </li></ul><ul><li>Astrology / Jyotisha - “Darshana” – dealing with great transcendental knowledge (extra sensory or supra-natural) </li></ul><ul><li>above ordinary & worldly science </li></ul><ul><li>Many predictions by great Astrologers true. </li></ul>
  19. 21. Astrologers – Astrologers view point <ul><li>Horoscope based on scientifically established Astronomy. Hence predictions perfectly scientific </li></ul><ul><li>Western ‘scientists’ have endorsed / vouchsafed scientific nature of astrology </li></ul><ul><li>Wrong predictions </li></ul><ul><li>-Date & time of birth wrong </li></ul><ul><li>-Mistake in panchanga chosen – position of planets in different panchanga different </li></ul><ul><li>-Quacks in the field to be blamed – not science of astrology </li></ul>
  20. 22. Astrology <ul><li>Biggest strength – Vagueness defies experimental verification </li></ul><ul><li>Eg- </li></ul><ul><li>- Nation will face a national calamity in Ist week of January </li></ul><ul><li>- (Lilawati) – would undergo lot of sufferings </li></ul>
  21. 23. <ul><li>“ How happy are the astrologers if they tell one truth to a hundred lies, while other people lose all credibility if they tell one lie to hundred truths.” </li></ul><ul><li>Francesco Guicciardini (1483-1540) </li></ul><ul><li>Astrologers consider the short-lived public memory as the corner-stone for their dubious trade. </li></ul>Astrology
  22. 24. Why Astrology <ul><li>Comfort of having guidance of making decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Comfort of believing in destiny predetermined by astral forces beyond control. </li></ul>
  23. 25. Astrology- Reasoning Missing Planet <ul><li>Astrology invented – 5 planets – Mercury , Venus, Mars , Jupiter & Saturn </li></ul><ul><li>Uranus (1781) Neptune (1846) Pluto (1930) </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands of Asteroids, hundreds of comet , dozen of satellites </li></ul><ul><li>Billions of stars, Billions of other Galaxies & other strange objects. </li></ul><ul><li>Linda Goodman – A planet doesn’t have any influence until it is discovered </li></ul>
  24. 26. Astrology- Reasoning <ul><li>Rahu & Ketu – Imaginary planets </li></ul><ul><li>Time of birth – light time relativity </li></ul><ul><li>Sun- 8 minute Venus – 6 minute </li></ul><ul><li>Need for precession – Axis of earth rotates on itself - 25000 year to complete rotatio </li></ul><ul><li>Zodiac sign – 2000 yr </li></ul><ul><li>Earth’s rotation – 30 degree </li></ul><ul><li>All Zodiac sign should be changed </li></ul><ul><li>Zodiac signs – Babylonia -12 ( range 6-18) </li></ul><ul><li>Chinese & Hindus – 28 </li></ul><ul><li>Toltec culture ( middle America ) -20 </li></ul>
  25. 27. Astrology <ul><li>Dropped from syllabus of Oxford & Cambridge in 17 th century. Astronomy – continues to be taught. </li></ul><ul><li>Astrology illegal in Britain for > 1 century </li></ul><ul><li>King George IV – “every person pretending or professing to tell fourtunes or using any suitable craft, means or device by palmistry or otherwise, to deceive and impose upon any of his majesty’s subject …. Shall be decevied a rogue & vagabond, within the true intent & meaning of the act” </li></ul><ul><li>punishment – 3 months hard labour </li></ul>
  26. 28. Astrology – Scientists objection <ul><li>1975- 186 leading scientist including 19 noble prize winners statement in “ the Humanist” </li></ul><ul><li>Cautioned public against unquestioning acceptance of prediction & advice by astrologers </li></ul><ul><li>Distance & Gravitational force of planets can be measured – can not shaped future, make particular day more favorable for anything, determine competability with people </li></ul><ul><li>Concern over media’s role </li></ul>
  27. 29. Astronauts : Position of planets Sagittarius Gemini Gemini Libra Leo Gemini Leo Sep 17, 1930 Ed Mitchell Capricorn cancer Aquarius Aries Pisces Aries Aquarius March 15, 1932 Alan Bean Sagittarius Taurus Pisces Gemini Taurus Leo Taurus June 2, 1930 Pete Conrad Sagittarius Taurus Sagittarius Capricorn Capricorn Virgo Capricorn January 20, 1930 Buzz Aldrin Sagittarius Gemini Taurus Leo Leo Sagittarius Cancer August 5, 1930 Neil Armstrong Saturn Jupiter Mars Venus Mercury Moon Sun Birth date Astronaut
  28. 30. Saturn Jupiter Mars Venus Mercury Moon Sun Birth date Astronaut Capricorn Virgo Pisces Capricorn Aquarius Aquarius Pisces March 14, 1934 Gene Carnan Aquarius Libra Virgo Leo Taurus Cancer Gemini July 3, 1935 Harrison Schmi Virgo Libra Virgo Scorpio Libra Pisces Libra November 18, 1923 Alan Shepard Aquarius Libra Scorpio Leo Virgo Scorpio Virgo October 3, 1935 Charlie Duke Sagittarius Gemini Gemini Libra Virgo Virgo Virgo Sep 17, 1930 John Young Sagittarius Taurus Aquarius Pisces Aquarius Virgo Pisces March 17, 1930 Jim Irwin Capricorn Cancer Aries Gemini Taurus Gemini Taurus June 6, 1932 Dave Scott
  29. 32. Nobel Laurel : Positioning Planets Sagittarius Pisces Taurus Aquarius Capricorn Aquarius Sagittarius January 15,1929 Martin Luthe King Jr. Taurus Capricorn Gemini Pisces Aquarius Aquarius Pisces March 25,1914 Norman Borlaug Leo Leo Taurus Pisces Taurus Libra Taurus May 21,1921 Andrei Sakharov Taurus Leo Taurus Leo Leo Virgo Virgo September 29,1943 Lech Walesa Pisces Virgo Leo Cancer Leo Taurus Leo August 27,1910 Mother Teresa Saturn Jupiter Mars Venus Mercury Moon Sun Birth date Nobel Laureate
  30. 33. Saturn Jupiter Mars Venus Mercury Moon Sun Birth date Nobel Laureate Gemini Pisces Capricorn Capricorn Sagittarius Sagittarius Sagittarius December 28,1856 Thomas Woodrow Wilson Leo Leo Virgo Libra Libra Sagittarius Virgo October 10,1861 Fritjof Nansen Taurus Capricorn Leo Aquarius Pisces Aquarius Pisces April 22,1854 Henry Fontaine Cancer Taurus Sagittarius Scorpio Virgo Gemini Virgo October 27,1858 Theodore Roosevelt Capricorn Virgo Libra Scorpio Capricorn Pisces Capricorn January 14,1875 Albert Schweitzer Aquarius Taurus Libra Taurus Leo Gemini Cancer July 29,1905 Dag Hammarskjold Sagittarius Sagittarius Leo Aquarius Pisces Gemini Aquarius February 28, 1901 Linus Pauling
  31. 34. Saturn Jupiter Mars Venus Mercury Moon Sun Birth date Nobel Laureate Taurus Gemini Pisces Gemini Taurus Sagittarius Taurus May 22,1943 Betty Williams Virgo Libra Gemini Aries Taurus Virgo Taurus May 27, 1923 Henry Kissinger Libra Capricorn Gemini Scorpio Sagittarius Capricorn Sagittarius January 8,1867 Emily Green Balch Sagittarius Gemini Scorpio Virgo Leo Taurus Virgo October 2,1871 Cordell Hull Leo Sagittarius Leo Leo Virgo Capricorn Virgo October 3,1889 Carl Ossietzky Pisces Capricorn Virgo Virgo Libra Capricorn Libra November 1,1878 Carlos Saavedra Lamas Virgo Virgo Leo Virgo Virgo Leo Leo September 13,1863 Arthur Henderson
  32. 35. Astrology- Scientific scrutiny <ul><li>Bernard silverman ( 1967-68 Michigan) </li></ul><ul><li>2,978 married couple, 478 divorced couple-no correlation </li></ul><ul><li>John Mc Gervey – 16.634 scientist, 6475 entries in who’s who in American politics- no basis that occupation predominate under certain sunsign </li></ul>
  33. 36. Astrology Time twin study <ul><li>London 1958 – 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>2000 babies born within minute of each other in march </li></ul><ul><li>Compared for decades 100 parameters about health, occupation marital situation, anxiety level, Aggressiveness , sociability, IQ level, abilities in music, art, sport, mathematics, language etc. </li></ul><ul><li>No correlation </li></ul><ul><li>Journal of conscious studies - 2004 </li></ul>
  34. 37. Astrology- Scientific scrutiny <ul><li>Roger Culiver & Philip Ionna – statistical study </li></ul><ul><li>60 occupations </li></ul><ul><li>35 physical characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>47 medical disorders </li></ul><ul><li>26 personality traits </li></ul><ul><li>Not influence by sun sign </li></ul>
  35. 38. Astrology- Failed prediction <ul><li>Roger culiver & Philip john – </li></ul><ul><li>3011 specific predictions of Astrologers & Astrological magazines over 5 yrs </li></ul><ul><li>338- true (11%) </li></ul>
  36. 39. Astrology <ul><li>The science & rationale association of India – Rs. 20,00,000- anyone who can predict death (year & date) of 4 famous personalities by astrology / other psychic power </li></ul><ul><li>James Randi Educational foundation – 1 million dollar if actual effects attributed to Astrology proved under scientific scrutiny </li></ul>
  37. 40. Failed Prediction – Indian scenario <ul><li>1971 elections </li></ul><ul><li>1980 elections </li></ul><ul><li>1989 elections – 12/13 astrologers failed to predict PM </li></ul><ul><li>1980 – International meet of Astrologers in Delhi </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. N D Shrimali – President – Indian Astrology Federation </li></ul><ul><li>- War between India & Pakistan 1982 end </li></ul><ul><li>-World war 1984 </li></ul><ul><li>-India 5 th biggest power by end of decade </li></ul>
  38. 41. Astrology – This week for you <ul><li>“ It is better to cancel your travel program as you may have to put up with hindrances & delays. You are lucky in having an ambitious partner who will have beneficial influence on you. You will show philosophical tendencies but you will be particular in your religious beliefs. do not rely too much on friends” </li></ul><ul><li>Prof P.V. Krishna </li></ul><ul><li>The Week </li></ul>
  39. 42. Astrology – This week for you <ul><li>Patchwork of - </li></ul><ul><li>Vague statements about readers character </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning less warnings </li></ul><ul><li>Commonsense warnings </li></ul><ul><li>Exotic anticipation </li></ul><ul><li>Man’s ego – assumes vaguely resembling events referring to him.same ego ignores prediction which don’t ‘apply’ </li></ul>
  40. 43. Astrology <ul><li>UGC – decided to start deptt. Of Vedic Astrology ( Jyotish Vigyan ) in indian universities. </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamental studies as per constitution – to develop scientific temper , humanism & spirit of reform. </li></ul>
  41. 44. Astrology <ul><li>It is necessary only for knowledgeable men to do nothing for nonsense to triumph </li></ul><ul><li>Edmund Burke </li></ul>
  42. 46. Astrology: Quotes <ul><li>“ The planets do not make or mar our destiny. We the makers of our destiny.” </li></ul><ul><li>Pt Jawahar lal Nehru </li></ul><ul><li>“ Let stars come, what harm is there ? If a star disturbs my life, it would not be worth a cent” </li></ul><ul><li>Swami Vivekanad </li></ul>
  43. 48. “ When you collect the 10 wisest men of the world and ask them to find the most stupid thing in existence, they will not be able to find anything stupider than astrology.” David Hilbert, one of the greatest mathematician of the 20 th century Astrology - Quotes
  44. 50. Astrology <ul><li>“ You will find that all mystical things are generally sign of a weak mind, there for as soon as they are becoming prominent in our mind, we should see a physician, take good food & rest.” </li></ul><ul><li>Swami Vivekananda </li></ul><ul><li>“ Star gazing & astrology, forecasting lucky or unlucky events by sign , prognosticating good or evil, all these are forbidden.” </li></ul><ul><li>Gautam the Buddha </li></ul>
  45. 52. Astrology – Social & psychological dangers <ul><li>Marriage & Astrology </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Kuja/mangalika Dosha’ </li></ul><ul><li>Prediction of calamities in horoscope – psychological agony </li></ul><ul><li>Adversely affect common sense & reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>Precludes individuals attempt to improve. Prevent them from becoming ‘self dependent’ & ‘free persons’ </li></ul>
  46. 53. Conclusion <ul><li>Astrology – Fascinating symbols , mysterious charts, abstruse calculation </li></ul><ul><li>Astrology oldest & currently most popular pseudoscience </li></ul><ul><li>Proved invalid & baseless </li></ul><ul><li>Has the potential of making weak insecure even more weaker </li></ul><ul><li>Show will go on – too many people like to be deceived & too many available to make money by deceiving </li></ul><ul><li>We should face the world failure lies in ourselves not in stars. </li></ul>
  47. 54. <ul><li>Change the things for good if you can </li></ul><ul><li>Accept the thing you can not change </li></ul><ul><li>Know the difference between two- what you can change & what you cant </li></ul>
  48. 55. Thank You