Astrology Versus Astronomy: Scientific Fact or Frivolous Fiction?

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Astrology Versus Astronomy: Scientific Fact or Frivolous Fiction?

Art Courtesy of Gwen Bowdish

Art Courtesy of Gwen Bowdish

Art Courtesy of Gwen Bowdish

Art Courtesy of Gwen Bowdish

Karen Rose, Staff Writer

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For some, checking their horoscope is a daily habit. For others, astrology is only something to mock. What most people don’t realize, though, is that astrology is more than just an assigned zodiac sign and a monthly horoscope.

Astrology is the study of planets’ positions and the effect they have on people’s’ daily lives and behavior, as well as terrestrial events.  For example, a person’s zodiac sign is their sun sign: the sun’s position when they were born. It is said to reveal talents, emotional patterns, strengths, weaknesses, and much more, but the sun sign is just a small piece of this study.

One’s birth chart is so complex that there can be meaning derived from the planets’ positions relative to one another.

The debate surrounding astrology’s legitimacy is nothing new. Astrology has long been classified as a pseudoscience, since it is unable to be proven scientifically.

What does an astronomy teacher think about this? Minnetonka’s own Russell Durkee weighs in.

“Astrology is historically interesting to me, but it is not based on scientific principles.  It does not make specific predictions that can be tested using scientific method. Look at it this way: astrology is a human invention. The constellations are a human invention,” Durkee explained in an interview.

This raises another question: Can science be used to disprove astrology?

“Science does not disprove anything, and it can’t really. The burden of proof is on the astrologers themselves to prove that they are accurate with evidence. There is an old saying that ‘extraordinary proof requires extraordinary evidence.’ Astrology provides neither,” Durkee says.

Despite its flaws, many astrologists say that anyone who does an in-depth study of astrology and their birth chart will find the evidence hard to dismiss. However, Durkee explained his own test in regards to this statement.

“I am an Aries…because according to astrologers, the sun was in the constellation Aries when I was born. But I can use a planetarium program on my phone to clearly show that while I was taking my first breath some 49 years ago, the sun was squarely in Pisces some 40 moon diameters away. It is not even close,” Durkee states.

Although many do find astrology questionable, it’s difficult to undoubtedly declare it a false belief. Tests created by scientists and statisticians have highlighted astrology’s inconsistencies, yet the verdict of “not proven” is reached time and time again–perhaps by chance, perhaps not.