By Chris Barts
For the past two weeks, I have been attacking various lapses of reason common in our society. This week I shall take on a lapse of reason so big it takes up space in most newspapers. It is called astrology, and it's a lucrative bit of untruth.
Astrology, like most illogical beliefs, is founded upon entirely false explanations of the universe. It is the belief that stars and planets can somehow influence your life and the lives of those around you. How chunks of rock and balls of fusing plasma thousands upon thousands of miles away could possibly affect you is never explained, but that doesn't stop practitioners from raking in the money of the duped.
But astrology isn't modern. It originated with the most ancient religions, those that held the skies to be the abode of gods and monsters and the stars and planets to be the images of those beings. Ancient people lived in a world much less regulated than our own, and much more subject to the vagaries of nature and random chance. Indeed, a whole region's very existence could depend upon when and how heavily the rains came, or how long the rivers flooded. The Ancient Egyptians looked to Sirius as their way of predicting when the Nile would flood. Since the Nile flooded as regular intervals and Sirius happened to appear to the Egyptians at equally regular intervals, this worked. It rarely happened that way, though. Most of the time, astrology was completely worthless. So it is today.
Of course, now we don't need astrology for anything. Most of the religions that had astrology as a part of their worship have either died out or become parts of faiths that don't practice astrology. So why do people still rely on it? Out of ignorance in its complete lack of effectiveness. People like to believe that we can control and predict the random, chaotic place that is the world we live in. Of course we can't exert that much influence on the universe, nor can we predict it that well. But that doesn't stop us from trying, sometimes in the least logical ways.
One of those illogical methods is in the newspaper astrology section. There, listed for all to read, are predictions' that are supposedly valid for anyone born within a certain range of dates. How a person's birthdate, as opposed to a person's personality or intelligence level, could predict one's future is one of the mysteries of the junk science of astrology. The fact that the predictions' are incredibly vague is another strike against astrology. Real science is based upon the fact that sufficient evidence can topple any theory or law. Astrology makes predictions so vague nothing could completely prove or disprove it. Astrology is useless as a predictive method. Why is it still used?
Because too many of the people want to be duped by something. Following a system blindly is one of the great weaknesses of humanity. Only logic can heal it.