Astrology and the long road to education

Blog 20160720 Astrology and the long road to education

The educational status of humanity can be measured in many ways. Jerry Coyne, the evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago has discussed the great difficulty he has teaching students about evolution. That is because most of them arrive at college having been thoroughly indoctrinated in its opposite: creationism. He first has to dispel that view to make any headway in teaching his courses. Our campaign to rid the world of relativity and the Big Bang Theory faces a similar problem.

While Professor Coyne’s students may not be prepared for college, many of our “students” seem not to be prepared for science. The scientific worldview is based on univironmental determinism, the observation that what happens to a portion of the universe is determined by the infinite matter in motion within and without. Indeterminism, the opposing view, takes many forms, but mostly it relies on unbridled imagination without regard to reality. In science, we rely on imagination too, but we are proud of our ability to “bridle” it. That is what we do with our "Ten Assumptions of Science," which provide the foundation for all our work. I am always aghast when “scientists” present ideas directly opposed to those assumptions even after they have become aware of them. How could anyone believe in “matterless motion” or the explosion of something out of nothing?

Of course, believers in such stuff have a different, opposing “bridle” that I call “indeterminism.” Like religion itself, astrology is not logical—unless you use indeterminism as its foundation. As I have said many times, the evolutionary purpose of religion is to instill and enforce loyalty. Logical or not, that is sufficient to enlist an army to protect your tribe, state, or nation. The propaganda engendering that is everywhere, at sporting events, billboards, newspapers, and the internet. The belief in astrology seems to feed on the same thought patterns, with nary a newspaper failing to present such nonsense as if it were true. That fact alone shows that we have a long way to go before our populace reaches even a modest level of education. Here is a link to “The Pseudoscience of Astrology,” a wonderfully succinct article in LinkedIn that should get more circulation. As scientists, we may not be allowed to criticize religions in public institutions, but maybe we can get somewhere by criticizing astrology. The essay is written by Reginald V. Finley, who interviewed me about the book right after "The Scientific Worldview" came out.

You might think that astrology is only harmless entertainment, but I beg to differ. It actually is an important part of indeterministic propaganda. We all have only so many microseconds to live. Why waste any of them on useless BS?

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