Astrology

Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world. In the West, astrology most often consists of a system of horoscopes that claim to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict future events in their life based on the positions of the sun, moon, and other planetary objects at the time of their birth. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and the Indians, Chinese, and Mayans developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations.

Among Indo-European peoples, astrology has been dated to the third millennium BCE, with roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. Through most of its history, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition. It was accepted in political and academic contexts, and was connected with other studies, such as astronomy, alchemy, meteorology, and medicine. At the end of the 17th century, new scientific concepts in astronomy (such as heliocentrism) called astrology into question, and subsequent controlled studies failed to confirm its predictive value. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing.

Astrology is a pseudoscience, and as such has been rejected by the scientific communities as having no explanatory power for describing the universe. Where astrology has been falsifiable, it has been falsified. Since the enlightenment, particularly from the introduction of classical mechanics, common belief in astrology has largely reduced. Scientific testing of astrology has been conducted, and no evidence has been found to support any of the premises or purported effects outlined in astrological traditions. There is no proposed mechanism of action by which the positions and motions of stars and planets could affect people and events on Earth that does not contradict well understood, basic aspects of biology and physics.

Read more about AstrologyEtymology, Principles and Practice, Cultural Influence, Scientific Appraisal, Theological Viewpoints

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Famous quotes containing the word astrology:

    Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy—the mad daughter of a wise mother. These daughters have too long dominated the earth.
    Voltaire [François Marie Arouet] (1694–1778)

    About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm.
    Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (b. 1922)

    We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms.... Only in superstition is there hope. If you want to become a friend of civilization, then become an enemy of the truth and a fanatic for harmless balderdash.
    Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (b. 1922)