It seems astonishing that in our "enlightened" culture, despite our space-age sophistication, many people still believe in astrology! A Gallup poll concluded that 55% of teenagers believe in astrology; 1220 of the 1750 newspapers include a horoscope column of some kind to serve their readers. Many simply dismiss this as a harmless form of entertainment, feeding their curiosity. However, in the Old Testament it was a form of divination and a capital crime: practicing astrology was punishable by death!1
Empirical Results: It Doesn't Work
- Marital compatibility: Psychologist Bernard Silverman of Michigan State University analyzed birth dates of 2978 couples who were getting married and 478 who were getting divorced. There were no correlations with predicted compatibility.
- Shawn Carlson of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory provided horoscope information and a standard California Personality Inventory for groups of volunteers to 28 professional astrologers (procedure approved in advance) to match each horoscope to one of three profiles submitted. The random expectation of 34% was achieved.2
- French statistician Michel Gauquelin sent the horoscope for one of the worst mass murderers in French history to 150 people and asked how well it fit them. 94% said they recognized themselves in the description.
- Geoffrey Dean, an Australian researcher, reversed the astrological readings of 22 subjects: 95% identified themselves with the reversed readings.
- Astronomers Culver and Ianna tracked the published predictions of well-known astrologers and astrological organizations for five years. Out of 3000 predictions, only 10% came to pass.
Ten Questions for the Astrologers 3
1) What is the likelihood that 1/12th of the world's population is having the same kind of day today?
2) Why is the moment of birth, not conception, crucial for astrology? [Is that why identical twins always have the same personality?!]
3) If the mother's womb can keep out astrological influences until birth, can we do the same with a cubicle of steak?
4) If astrologers are as good as they claim, why aren't they richer? (Ex: stock market, etc. How many foresaw Black Monday, October 1987? None.)
5) Are all horoscopes done before the discovery of the three outermost planets incorrect (Uranus, 1781; Neptune, 1846; Pluto, 1930)?
6) Shouldn't we condemn astrology as a form of bigotry? (i.e., refusing to hire a Leo or date a Virgo, etc.)
7) Why do different schools of astrology disagree so strongly with each other? (...precession of the Earth's axis, how many planets and celestial objects to be included, allocation of personality traits, etc. No convergence of consensus.)
8) If the astrological influence is carried by any known force, why do the planets dominate? [The obstetrician who delivers the child turns out to have about six times the gravitational pull of Mars and about 2,000 billion times its tidal force (less mass, but a lot closer!)]
9) If astrological influence is carried by an unknown force, why is it independent of distance? [The importance of Mars in a horoscope is identical whether the planet is on the same side of the sun as the Earth or seven times farther away on the other side, etc.]
10) If astrological influences don't depend on distance, why is there no astrology of stars, galaxies, and quasars? [Doesn't the omission of Rigel, the Crab pulsar, and M31 render a horoscope incomplete?]
Danger: don't play around with things that are expressly prohibited in the Word of God. They are not just manifestations of ignorance, or harmless "entertainments." They are occultic and very dangerous. They are "entries" for malevolent influences that are out to destroy the very future you're inquiring into! God means what He says and says what He means. You have access to far more powerful - and reliable - supernatural resources in the Holy Spirit, which has expressly been given to you if you are, indeed, in Christ. Do your homework. Your eternity depends on it.
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- Astronomy versus Astrology , 20-page pamphlet, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 390 Ashton Ave., San Francisco, CA, 94112.
- Astrology: True or False, by Roger Culver and Philip Ianna, 1988, Prometheus Books, 700 E. Amherst St., Buffalo, NY 14215. One of the best skeptical book on the subject.