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The case for and against astrology
End of a shouting match

"If I doubt astrology to a believer, I am looked at with a shocked and bewildered stare, as if I were attacking apple pie and motherhood." Anthony Standen, Forget Your Sun Sign, 1977.

Abstract -- Eleven representative views of astrologers 1863-2006 imply that astrology is all-revealing, factual, inarguably true, applicable to everything including past lives, enthralling to thinkers, soon to dominate scientific thought, the key to a new world view, and more. Just study it seriously, they say, and you will be convinced it works. But seven representative views of scientists 1930-1998 who studied it seriously imply the exact opposite. This conflict of views can be explained by differences in what astrology means to different people, by differences in what astrology claims, and by the failure of astrologers to allow for non-astrological factors (hidden persuaders) that lead to astrology-like outcomes. The case against astrology is that it is untrue, it has failed hundreds of tests, and astrologers do not usefully agree on what a given birth chart indicates. The case for astrology is that a warm and sympathetic astrologer provides low-cost non-threatening therapy that is otherwise hard to come by. Much the same applies to sun sign astrology but at a more basic level. In short, there is more to astrology than being true or false. But astrology is an easy target for commercial abuse. It also faces strong competition from hundreds of self-help psychology books that it may or may not survive once its true nature becomes more widely known. Includes tests of validity and agreement, and insights into how not to test astrology.

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Full article is 36 kB, needs about 6 pages of A4, takes 12 minutes to read, has 2 graphics.