I write this because my horoscope tells me to

Quite often my friends, especially newly acquainted ones, ask what my exact date of birth is. Why would they do that? One would think that they want to be aware of important date in my life, or they are just simply setting up a calendar of birthday parties to hangout with me. However, the harsh truth is that they just want to label me with one of the twelve horoscope signs and use it to determine my behavior. “You are Gemini, and therefore you are not responsible”. A person labels me before knowing me. Quite irritating, I have to say.

I used to believe Zodiac forecasts, since my grandmother truly believes in Chinese Zodiac system, which is a much more complicated set of horoscopes compared to traditional Babylonian. She had always told me who I should be and become. I really enjoyed listening to the vague flattering predictions, but it just did not seem real. I could not accept that ones destiny is determined solely by the time of birth. My belief that choices we make have stronger impact on ones life had caused a strong internal conflict. Eventually, tired of the contradiction with my own principles and logical fallacies, I gave up astrology and everything related to it.

Horoscopes have penetrated many aspects of our day-to-day life. They exist on television and waste space in newspapers. Horoscopes divide the whole population of earth into 12 groups and define their behavior on daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. They also forecast events in a similar fashion for each group of 587 million. “A good day for Taurus, you are going to travel to Zimbabwe and find your soul-mate”. Does this mean that all 587 million people who were born between April 20 and May 21 are going to meet up in Zimbabwe on that exact day and be lucky enough to find their soul-mate?

Today more and more people truly believe in Astrology. Those people raise Astrology to the level of science. Moreover, among people belonging to the age group of 18 to 24, almost 60% believe in validity of astrological horoscopes. There is also a tendency for future generations to trust astrology more than previous generations did. Absurdly enough, Astrology is moving up from the ranks of entertainment pseudo-science to the prestigious level of true science.

Is horoscope actually supported or disproved by scientific evidence? We do not know and have no means to find out at this point of time. There is no solid evidence against celestial impact on our mundane lives. The lack of evidence against is used in support of Astrology validity – quite weak evidence in support. However, what we do know, is that the horoscopes at the moment are completely inaccurate. The constellations shift by about 1 degree every 72 years. Therefore, every 2000-and-a-bit years the constellations get shifted by one House of Zodiac. The Zodiac horoscope was established 2300 years ago by the Babylonians, which means that today the constellations are shifted by one House. In spite of this, the horoscope astrology has never changed and forecasts are being made according to the old Houses placement. Even if Astrology is valid, horoscopes should be readjusted according to movement of celestial objects.

In addition to the inaccuracy, astrological predictions use very vague statements. Therefore, human perception of the Zodiac forecasts are affected by “subjective validation”. Forer effect, which is tightly related concept of “subjective validation”, is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. Horoscopes, given their vague wording, are interpreted quite personally – the subject believe the forecast applies only to him or her. In addition, the authority of the predictor is  rarely scrutinized.

Finally, there are quite a few logical problems with astrology, which can be found here towards the middle of the article.

Some also believe that astrology is harmless. However, astrology provides believers with explanation of events, and therefore it takes away the need to look at the world and think from time to time. Astrology, as a matter of fact, weakens people’s ability to objectively assess reality.


6 thoughts on “I write this because my horoscope tells me to

  1. Is the poll of just Americans? I also heard the other day that 60% believe, literally, in the story of Noah.


    Are getting less educated? What is triply ironic in light of your finding is that more Americans than ever have more formal education measured as years and degrees.

    • Yeah, I think it was the poll of just Americans, at least the article states so.

      On the topic of education, I believe years and degrees are supposed to measure level of education. “Supposed to” because the exam scores, which actually are supposed to measure students’ erudition, are incorporated in the years and degree. What I believe is necessary is to make a certain set of classes mandatory. Here in Bucknell we have the some academic criteria to fulfill, but the range of classes that cover the requirement is way to large. It is quite possible to take some garbage (in terms of knowledge and learning) class and fulfill the requirement just for the sake of an easy grade.

      However, it might just be me, since in Russia the education system is slightly different. Nevertheless, my friends and relatives that believe in horoscopes, do not suffer form lack of education. As a matter of fact, most of them are quite knowledgeable, and some are quite intelligent, in every sense of this word.

  2. I think you brought up interested viewpoint of horoscope. I used to be a fan of it during high school, “believing” that all the events happens due to some matter of destiny. However, later on, I recognized that most explanations in astrological books are simply ambiguous and can be used to explain events in either way. It is like having an answer and try to make up a solution towards it. So I gradually stop believe that and just used the “properties” of horoscopes as jokes to my friends. There are similar topics, such as blood types, but in general, I do not think they matters any person at all.

  3. I’m personally not a believer in horoscopes. My only direct contact with horoscopes are checking out the different animals on the menus at Chinese restaurants (ie. Monkey, Rooster, Dragon, etc.). I avoid fortune tellers at all costs.

    I simply think it is another imagined method people use to locate answers, meaning and reasoning for a variety of different things. And I do agree that some horoscopes are so “vague” and general enough to apply to anyone in certain situations.

    Individuals are products of genetics, surrounding environment and interactions with other people. There is not a trace of reasoning behind their birth date.

  4. You make a lot of great points here. I myself have never bought into any of these things. I don’t need a horoscope to tell me what I am going to become. I guess it kinda goes along with my personality in that I don’t even like when people tell me how to live my life. While I don’t buy into these horoscopes I have seen people that do really buy into them.

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