Astrology is the study of the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details supposedly to understand, interpret, and organize information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. A practitioner of astrology is called an astrologer. Because of the math involved in crafting astrological readings, many believers claim astrology is a science--but it really isn't. Real science works because it deals with assertions that can be proven using careful experiments.
Astrology is often considered as pseudoscience by scientists, as it does not meet Karl Popper's philosophy of falsifiability. Many astrologers consider themselves to be using scientific methods to show that scientific evidence is consistent with their understanding and interpretation of the heavens and its effect on human affairs. Michael Behe, proponent of intelligent design, believes that astrology could be classified as a scientific theory under these conditions.
According to a 2003 Harris Poll, thirty-one percent of the American public believes in astrology, with women more likely to do so than men. Nancy Reagan was a "dabbler" in Astrology. She consulted astrologer Joan Quigley regularly for various purposes. However, liberals are more likely to believe in it than conservatives. According to a 2009 study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, over twice as many Democrats believed in astrology than Republicans (31% to 14%).
The early Christian writer Saint Augustine strongly rejected astrology; in his late 4th-century book Confessions he disproves astrologers in several ways, but one of the clearest logical demolitions uses the story of Esau and Jacob:
- "I then turned my thoughts to those that are born twins, who generally come out of the womb so near the one to the other that the short interval between them - whatever importance they may ascribe to it in the nature of things - cannot be noted by human observation or expressed in those tables which the astrologer uses to examine when he undertakes to pronounce the truth. But such pronouncements cannot be true. For looking into the same horoscopes, he must have foretold the same future for Esau and Jacob, whereas the same future did not turn out for them. He must therefore speak falsely. If he is to speak truly, then he must read contrary predictions into the same horoscopes. But this would mean that it was not by art, but by chance, that he would speak truly." - Confessions, Book Seven, Chapter VI
The Catholic Church has also spoken out against astrologers and fortune-tellers, although accepting that people are naturally curious about what the future has in store. Pope John Paul II pointed out that in Acts 1:7, Jesus stated that only the Father knows the time at which the Kingdom will be established, when responding to the curiosity of the Apostles. The Pope argued that Jesus did not want us to waste time trying to work out things that only God can know, but rather use our time in the best way we can.
- Aries - March 21 - April 20
- Taurus - April 21 - May 21
- Gemini - May 22 - June 21
- Cancer - June 22 - July 22
- Leo - July 23 -August 21
- Virgo - August 22 - September 23
- Libra - September 24 - October 23
- Scorpio - October 24 - November 22
- Sagittarius - November 23 - December 22
- Capricorn - December 23 - January 20
- Aquarius - January 21 - February 19
- Pisces - February 20- March 20
- When asked "But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?" Behe answered "Yes, that's correct. And let me explain under my definition of the word "theory," it is -- a sense of the word "theory" does not include the theory being true, it means a proposition based on physical evidence to explain some facts by logical inferences. There have been many theories throughout the history of science which looked good at the time which further progress has shown to be incorrect. Nonetheless, we can't go back and say that because they were incorrect they were not theories. So many many things that we now realized to be incorrect, incorrect theories, are nonetheless theories." http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html
- The Harris Poll #11
- Sydney Omarr, The Reagans, and Astrology
- Beliefnet article on the Pew Forum study
- Papal sermon at vespers, New Year's Eve, 2001