Saturday, 29 June 2013

Saturday silliness: Astrology & Abuse.

Now there's a curious mixture of subjects.
Piss-keys or Pie-sees?
John Cassis said:- "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."

I'm Piscean and Pisceans don't believe in astrology ;-) My logical brain tells me that it's a load of cobblers, but when I read an astrological assessment for my birth date, my mind was blown by how it had my personality down to a T. I asked a friend to read a print-out. When she'd finished reading, I asked her what she thought. She said that it was accurate in terms of personality and likes. How does that work?

A Piscean trait manifested itself last Wednesday. A blogger (who I'm not going to name) posted a status on his blog's Facebook page, calling a female science blogger a fat c*nt, along with a link to an edited sound file of an interview she did years ago in which she was nervous, lampooning her.

I commented, saying that he wasn't qualified to judge people on matters of science and that the woman's physical characteristics were irrelevant to science (the ad hominem fallacy). He commented, telling me to f*ck off. I commented, saying that he was funny when he was drunk. A while later, he blocked me from leaving further comments on his Facebook page. Hmph!

To cut a long story short, I de-liked his Facebook page, blocked him personally on Facebook, blocked all email addresses containing his website name or surname on my ISP's email server and blocked him from leaving comments here. I removed him from my life.

This time, it's forever. No hard feelings, it's how I roll.

Update: The offending post has been removed. If you ever read this, thank you for doing that.


George said...

Yes, it would be nice to dispose of astrology with the same scepticism that rules out other other forms of magic, but the universe is not that simple. Regarded not as a predictive art but as a kind of psychodiagnostic tool it is harm to dismiss. However, mention of new planets (neptune, uranus, pluto) is bogus as only sun, moon, and classical planets (out to saturn) have influence on Earth's magnetic field.
Years ago I used to read a detailed weekly horoscope, but for some reason only got that paper when the week was over. It always seemed to summarise the week that was. One day I read it and it was just WRONG, no relation to the facts. I told my flatmates "this is the wrong horoscope for last week, there's been a mistake". Sure enough, an apology was printed 2 weeks later, it had been the wrong week's horoscope printed by mistake.
I found that astrologer's work accurate, but I am aware that regular printed horoscopes are not consistent, some writers may be using idiosyncratic, outdated or otherwise unscientific systems. I had a birth chart done years ago by a stranger in another country and decoded it myself using a cross section of books in the library. It was very specific down to hobbies and interests, weaknesses and strengths.
It's not really an interest of mine or something I want to debate at length or research at all, but I do consider human birth-chart astrology to be a candidate for the only pseudoscience with some sort of connection to reality.

Diana said...

I have the same feeling as you about astrology. And about the blogger (the guy). Why did you take him seriously in the first place? Oh never mind, you're a Pisces.

I'm a Leo. When I first read a detailed description of my personality, I was struck by how much of it was true and no, this is not self-fulfilling prophecy. I shared it with my mother, a confirmed non-believer, and she was astounded by its accuracy.

When I was a teenager, astrology became very popular not only due to the hippies but because of an astrologer here in the US named Linda Goodman whose LOVE SIGNS was a raging best seller. Whether or not one believes in this stuff, her books were wonderfully well written. She was a very wise & shrewd judge of the human heart.

I remember a prediction she made. This was at the height of the radical feminist movement. Linda predicted (or rather, diagnosed) that feminism would only make the home and family oriented woman even more popular, if driven underground. 40 years later, she has been proven correct. In my neighborhood (rich, white, Obama loving), the ideal family is 3 kids and a stay at home mom.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I don't believe in pre-determination. I believe that life is mostly what we make it (barring tragedies beyond our control). In the US, you can't watch Derren Brown's "The secret of luck" , unless you have a proxy server or some other way of stopping YouTube from knowing where you really are.

The tl:dw version is that whether life goes well or badly for you depends a lot on you. People with a negative attitude miss out on great opportunities that are staring them right in the face, whereas people with a positive attitude spot them and make the most of them.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

"Why did you take him seriously in the first place? Oh never mind, you're a Pisces." Lol!

"When I was a teenager, astrology became very popular not only due to the
hippies but because of an astrologer here in the US named Linda Goodman
whose LOVE SIGNS was a raging best seller." I read that book. When she referred to a Piscean wiggling his ears in delight at something-or-other, I nearly wet myself as I often wiggle my ears in delight.

Diana said...

They also wet themselves when they are delighted.

Diana said...

Richard Wiseman writes about luck. I couldn't see Derren's stuff but it sounds to me as if they write along parallel tracks.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I intend to make as much luck for myself as possible!

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Not always. It depends upon how full my bladder is at the moment of delight.

George said...

There are these things called genomes that have been said to introduce a fair degree of predetermination into life. I like what Lichtenberg said on the subject "perhaps our sense of free will is really the awareness that the mechanism happens to be working perfectly".
Optimism enables us to exploit good luck, pessimism is the adaptation for avoiding bad.

Proof that some astrologers do not understand their subject is in that Guardian article:
"Last year, Geoffrey Dean, who left astrology to become a scientist in Perth, carried out what is probably the most robust scientific investigation into astrology ever undertaken. He led a study of 2,000 people, most born within minutes of one another, and looked at more than 100 different characteristics, ranging from IQ to ability in art and sport, from anxiety levels to sociability and occupation - all of which astrologers claim are influenced by heavenly bodies. He found no evidence of the similarities that astrologers would have predicted."

It's not enough to be born at the same time, you'd have to be born at the same longitude as well. A study of people who happened to be born at the same time in the same hospitals would be more to the pint, and the questions would have to be as personal as "do you wiggle your ears in delight?"

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I don't believe in predetermination in the sense of being able to predict non-human future events.
I do believe that the sun & the moon influence our decision-making processes, which influences our future events.

Mark Sissel said...

Hi Nigel

Great article. I agree with that 100 %. I hope you are doing OK.

Wishing you the best,

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hi. I'm doing fine, thanks. I'm really busy getting lots of projects done around the house, garden, car etc. Hope you're O.K.
Cheers, Nige