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Moment Supreme
Why astrologers keep believing in astrology

Rudolf Smit

Translated and updated from the original Dutch article in Skepter, March 1993.

Abstract -- For ten years the author was a professional astrologer and teacher of astrology. In his experience astrologers are generally nice, caring people. They become interested in astrology, and stick to it despite the overwhelming empirical evidence against astrological claims, because horoscopes seem to correctly describe a person's character and circumstances. This discovery is an unforgettable Moment Supreme, ever returning with each new horoscope, which makes astrologers go on believing in astrology. So they see no need for scientific research. But astrologers also make astrology nonfalsifiable, so the Moment Supreme is an illusion. When the author pointed this out, he was immediately seen as an enemy of astrology. Nevertheless a small but increasing number of astrologers accept that the horoscope is just a tool, not a source of information. Clients are helped less by the astrologer being a good astrologer and more by the astrologer being a good person. Nevertheless Mayer (1984) found that, despite his best efforts to use the horoscope only as a tool, "some clients continue to use it in a deterministic manner". He concluded that horoscopes should not be used for clients who believe in cosmic correspondences. As an experiment, the author tried reading horoscopes where their owners were told the reading was merely an exercise in looking at astrological symbolism. Amazingly, there was still a Moment Supreme, and they went away quite happy. Most likely this was because the interaction was helpful and rewarding, if only because both author and client focussed on any meaningful statements and ignored the rest, just as would occur when talking to a neighbour or priest. To skeptics this kind of "astrology" might be more acceptable than believing in untrue cosmic correspondences, but it might not invoke as strong a following. More research is needed. Five references.

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