Perhaps it is cruel to snuff out the shinning gleam in the eyes of a person who upon hearing that I am an astronomer exclaims, "Oh, I love astrology!" and I reply, "No, I study ASTRONOMY." But they don't understand it. The subtle differences in syllables of the words belies the vast gulf in empirical tendencies between the separate endeavors and it is too much to explain. I simply walk away.
I hate astrology and I hate when people get astronomy and astrology mixed up. I could be more understanding, but I have to choose my battles. I meet a lot of interesting people in coffee shops, bars, airplanes, parties and wherever else life takes me and when someone gets excited about the fact that I study astronomy it means they have a deep curiosity about the skies above. That curiosity is occasionally deeply misguided with astrology and their questions are so fundamentally misconceived I struggle to answer them with candor and accuracy (for example they ask, 'Do the planets affect our daily lives?' and I hesitate to answer honestly that we must consider their gravitational pull, so the answer must be yes). On the other hand I meet people who are genuinely interested in massive collections of gravitationally bound glowing gas and I am very happy to answer their questions.
There is a real danger when logic, or pseudologic, is applied to astrology. Recently there was an uproar about the shifting of the zodiac that made it into some news headlines. Briefly I shared the frustrated sentiments of astrologers because the shifted zodiac has been well known for some time, why is the public just now hearing about it? The book in the image above is from the seventies and claims right there on the cover that, 'Most astrology is unscientific and inaccurate', and goes on to explain the shifted zodiac and how to have a movie ending romance. The ideas in this book are the apotheosis of dangerous thought. A little bit of knowledge is a very dangerous thing when combined with pseudologic in the guise of rigorous proof. It has also not escaped my observation that many of the people I have known who believe in astrology also believe in God as if to demonstrate the utter confusion and inconsistency of their minds. I don't mean to badger defenseless people here. This is simply an honest expression of how I feel. I have summed up my sentiments into a paragraph which I think would be nice to place on a card with which to hand out to people who confuse astrology with astronomy:
I cannot rightly conceive of a logic which would allow one to study such disparate phenomena of love, planets, stars and come to see any connection. Perhaps, desperate for meaning people find it wherever they look; conclusions are forged before the data have been taken. Those who would apply science to astrology may as well attempt to apply science on whom to love and sociologists do study what makes a lasting relationship and neurobiologists study what chemicals are active in the brain during feelings of love, but no scientist will claim that Romeo shouldn't love Juliet. I believe science and an understanding of natural phenomena adds to the beauty life, but pseudologic and lies even when propagated with good intentions ultimately lead to pain and suffering. The human mind has the ability to find patterns anywhere, indeed often where they do not exist.