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Brian Williams NBC Nightly News talks about astrology
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Olivia



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like this one.

http://www.examiner.com/astrology-in-national/astrological-signs-are-not-changing-but-journalism-is


Quote:
No one's sun sign has changed, despite the misinformation about the constellation Ophiuchus that is scampering around the web this week in reaction to some completely amateurish reporting. What has changed is that journalists used to have editors who would do fact-checking and require reporters to consult with someone who actually knew something about the subject matter before they would rush a story into print.....
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yuzuru



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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She summarized exactly what I was thinking. The real story is not about astrology. It is about how journalism was not that great 20 years ago, but now is moved by hysteria and twitter messages.
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that's a wonderful piece that really hits the mark.
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Eddy



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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Some astrologers might seem hostile to science Eddy, but I donít believe that most of us are. In general when astrologers are defensive it is because some of the attacks used to discredit astrology are based on disingenuous reports that obfuscate the real issues.
Perhaps I sounded somewhat bitter Deb. All too often I've been confronted with too much rubbish to be shocked anymore of some criticism by scientists. I just had a look on an other astrologyforum, there are a dozen threads about this precession/Ophiuchus-news, quite hysterical. Rather than countering the scientists, it would be better if astrologers would fight the hustlers on the tv shows with astrology, mediums and tarot reading per telephone and make clear that these are the ones that discredit the art. As long as this exists, scientists and the BBC will call astrology rubbish.

Olivia/Yuzuru, It's very true what happened with journalism. It seems that today's news has to be fun rather than fact. Who knows for example that there was a coup in Fiji five years ago?

The problem for the astrologers is that they can't agree on what astrology is and how it works. The disagreement on fundamental issues makes that attacks hardly can be repulsed because there's no unity. With disagreement I don't especially mean differences in technique but rather the view on astrology.

* Astrology as a science? In that case it has to meet the standards of modern science and submit itself to research to achieve any respect. For this view at least some technical agreement on the basis is required.
* Astrology as a natural effect? Related to the the scientific view but rejected by science because of the (up to now) impossibility to detect by scientific means with instruments. Accepted by very few nowadays but a view which made it possible for (Ptolemaic) astrology to survive during the ages of Chrisitianity because it left man's free will undisturbed.
* Astrology as a religion? (Most fitting with the traditional/Hellenistic astrology?) In Curtis' article I read the following
Quote:
We can also see that astrology was not just a way to make existence more predictable but it had become a centerpiece of many religions. This historical fact is one of the reasons keeping scientists from effectively debunking astrology.
It's indeed difficult to argue about religion, hence most scientists won't bother to say a virgin birth is impossible or to say that it's impossible that Jesus walked on water. Even the differences between religious groups can be steered in the right direction when there's mutual respect. Often rejected by Christianity in the past because of the divinatory element and possible restraint on free will.
* Astrology as (mainly Jungian) psychology? Possibly related to the religious view but rejected by the traditional astrologers because of it's non-concreteness. However, a view which made it possible to survive persecution for violating the Witchcraft Act that still was operative a century ago.

It's very probable that these four groups won't ever agree. With the main division between the first two and the last two. Although I don't see the effects of astrology as 'beams' going in your head and influencing you, I see astrology as natural (the second view), but rather in the way that different kinds of music affect you than pushing forces. I have the quiet hope that planetary effects once may be traced in the brains or nervous systems of humans or animals. Since I was vehemently attacked for my view by an adherent of the psychological view a few years ago, I have little hope for any union between these different views in astrology.
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Olivia



Joined: 15 Oct 2008
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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm seeing the same thing on another astrology forum, too, Eddy, including someone who insists the 12-sign zodiac was only accepted by an (un-named) astrological society in 1930, and all that she's channelling about Ophiuchus now makes much more sense than going with such flimsy authority as that.

A bunch of people seem ready to give up at the news because - hey - astrology is fake, just like the scientists said. Or there's been some massive conspiracy to hide the truth from them from those of us purporting to be astrologers (ever hear of fixed stars and constellations, people? Ophiuchus is in there). I wish they would get out of it, but they won't.

*wailing and gnashing of teeth*

or

I share your frustrations.
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zoidsoft



Joined: 10 Feb 2006
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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy wrote:
The problem for the astrologers is that they can't agree on what astrology is and how it works. The disagreement on fundamental issues makes that attacks hardly can be repulsed because there's no unity. With disagreement I don't especially mean differences in technique but rather the view on astrology.


Sociology 101: An oppressed people tend to fight amongst themselves more than their oppressor. Look at slums and prison systems and you will see this dynamic in action.

What made astrology vulnerable to the most recent attack was the popularity of Sun sign columns listed with their dates.
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Tom
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it would be better if astrologers would fight the hustlers on the tv shows with astrology,


We can't. First off one has to be invited on the show. One cannot demand air time and expect to get it. Secondly when astrologers are invited they usually also invite several skeptics or debunkers who litter the discussion with ridicule, non sequiters, and outrageous claims. At best the astrologer gets to try to refute the lack of facts and logic, but never gets to make a case.

I think an astrologer would have to be nuts to accept an invitation to go on TV or radio. The odds are there is no intent to give anyone a fair chance.

The dominant attitude is "It can't be true so it isn't true." There is no way to fight that with sound bites, and there is no organization in astrology that has the necessary funds to conduct the research "science" demands. And even when the research favors our side like the Gauquelin research, they refuse to accept it preferring ridicule and lies. The problem isn't with science. It is with scientists. We don't even agree among ourselves on how to do this and what we should be doing


I've been asked several times in the past two days about the changes in the zodiac. Try to explain to someone with almost no knowledge of astronomy or astrology why these assertions are factually incorrect. It is a waste of time. Ignore them and everything will eventually go away until the next time this happens.
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Astraea



Joined: 04 Oct 2004
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom wrote:
Try to explain to someone with almost no knowledge of astronomy or astrology why these assertions are factually incorrect. It is a waste of time. Ignore them and everything will eventually go away until the next time this happens.

I think that's about the size of it.

On a different, but related note: I'm finding that even among those with a passing knowledge of astronomy and astrology, there are some who - while they will concede that the issue appears to be about precession - insist that there is a deeper significance to the current brouhaha, i.e. the timely fulfillment of prophecies from a prior era. That's another conversation stopper.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom wrote:
Try to explain to someone with almost no knowledge of astronomy or astrology why these assertions are factually incorrect. It is a waste of time. Ignore them and everything will eventually go away until the next time this happens.


When doors close, windows open. Although astrologers are all tired and thoroughly fed up of this issue now, the general public is still very curious about it, so I think it's important to use the opportunity to set the record straight. Through this issue some people will discover that there is more to astrology than just sun-signs and horoscopes, and some people might discover something very useful about astrology because of this. I also used to think that astrology was just a load of newspaper rubbish, until I had a reason to look more deeply into it.

The issue about BBC misrepresentation is important too, because it demonstrates a prevalent attitude in the media of not even attempting to show astrology as more than a joke. The British Astrological Association has an ongoing complaint about this, and is presently preparing an online petition and discussion board for astrologers to show their support. Itís very important for all astrologers to get behind that so I'll be posting more details as soon as the link is available.

I agree that panel shows are designed in such a way that astrology is trivialised, but in 1995, in very similar circumstances, the AA did get the BBC to agree to create a programme in the 'Everyman' series, to counter the unbalanced representation. This included a full hour of stunning graphics and intelligent narrative from Roy Gillet, Nick Campion, myself, Graeme Tobyn, Pam Crane and Gordon Stachan. It explored the use of astrology from several angles, and incorporated details on its history and philosophy too. Hopefully, the exaggerated and inflamed media coverage of late will allow opportunities for more sensible explorations later, but I don't think astrologers can afford to adopt an attitude of acceptance and resignation. There are things we can do about this, but we need to be sensible and a little restrained for now, and not rush to make the situation worse by providing pointless 10-second soundbites that get used as fillers for the sensationalist stories they would like to create.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I probably should have posted this under News, Notices, Books and Links...
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Eddy



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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curtis, do you happen to know on which legal basis the fingerprints of astrologers are taken in several US states? There has to be a basis in some law act or so. There you might find the deeper reason of this usage in those states.

Itís quite bizarre that on several forums astrologers are upset by this Ophiuchus and the 13th sign story. The boundaries of the constellations as shown in astronomy books are based upon the agreement of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1928. The boundaries are straight lines, just like the frontiers in post colonial Africa and some US states like Nevada and Utah are straight lines. Both types are based upon an agreement, a consensus. The zodiac was originally based upon the Ďideal yearí of 12*30=360 days (which clearly was derived of the lunar months combined with the year) of the Babylonians used to facilitate administration. After the discovery of precession, astrologers went different ways with tropical division and the use of anchor stars for sidereal zodiacs (or a significant date, see for more info on defining the zodiac http://www.astro.com/swisseph/swisseph.htm#_Toc226863949 ). Although Kepler dismissed the division of the zodiac (and the houses all the more) as man made, he acknowledged the use of it and supposed the possibility that man and God would adapt to it
Kepler wrote:
I submitted to the reader's consideration, whether God himself does not conform to it, even though this division is not a natural thing, and whether He does not wish to speak to human beings therewith in a language or method of communication that they understand.
http://cura.free.fr/docum/15kep-en.html ß4.6.

Although I always have preferred the Keplerian view of not using divisions of the zodiac but only the aspects, now I have had some moments of doubt lately this makes me possible to take some distance from the subject and appreciate different views on using a certain kind of frame of reference, zodiac (sidereal or tropical), equatorial (Chinese lunar mansions) and certain house divisions. The emotional attachment of a subjective personal experience that a certain frame of reference, technique or whatever must be the correct one disappears when one doubts the own personal experience and whether thereís a correct one at all. However, it doesnít need to mean that it all has to be rejected at once and it still can serve its purposes (e.g. for imagination or visualization exercises). On the other side this induces some astrologers to become extremely vague and covering this in an incomprehensible quasi wisdom jargon, outdoing eachother in being eloquent in the pejorative sense. I don't think that astrology is served by this.

If people want to criticize astrology, they should better do their homework and learn a bit more about the subject. (Dean and Mather etc. may be an unpleasant experience to astrologers but at least they are honest people and know what they are talking about.) The news argumentation is a rhetorical tactic, a straw man http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man and serves no real purposes than to arouse ridicule. While there are many possibilities to challenge astrology, the straw man is like a little boy trying to kill an elephant with a pea shooter, while a shotgun is necessary. However if more and more kids with pea shooters come, the elephant sooner dies of panic.

The problem is to challenge the Ophiuchus frame without stepping in it. I believe in constructive discussion between opposed views provided it is done with good argumentation without rhetorical sophisms.
Quote:
We can't. First off one has to be invited on the show. One cannot demand air time and expect to get it. Secondly when astrologers are invited they usually also invite several skeptics or debunkers who litter the discussion with ridicule, non sequiters, and outrageous claims.
Probably a constructive debate is supposed too boring that the show wonít sell. This ridicule is done by both camps and in all kinds of fields. In a pro-Intelligent Design debate one Darwinian scientist will be invited and used as a scapegoat for ridicule. So tv/radio is probably not the medium for seriousness, unless you make your own tv/radio channel.

If you still want to go to the media, what can be done is to turn the ridicule and say that this astronomer forgot the constellations just a few degrees away from the ecliptic in which the Moon can be found. A kind of humoristic self-mockery. Sometimes itís useful to poke fun at your deepest fears. According to the IAU division there are a few constellation boundaries within 5į off the ecliptic: Cetus, Orion and Sextant. (Perhaps I shouldnít say this because there might be astrologers who will use this seriously.) After this it can be explained that astrology is rather not about the pictorial description of the sign. However, this will mean that any analogy referring to the pictures, like human, bicorporeal and mute signs shouldnít be used anymore. Furthermore most analogy still raises some problems to scientists which made Ptolemyís elemental/natural astrology acceptable even to scientists.
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Tom
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Curtis, do you happen to know on which legal basis the fingerprints of astrologers are taken in several US states?


Not Curtis, but they would argue fraud prevention and probably tax collection. Fingerprinting is done as part of a background check and for future identification should the astrologer skip town with the widow's money. Despite the association with criminal activity alone, it is becoming part of the American way of life. I worked in a bank once and even though I didn't handle money in any way, I had to be fingerprinted, although it is not a state requirement.

The 10th amendment to the US Constitution gives the states authority to do anything except those things denied to them or granted to the Congress. This would probably come under public safety.

It is usually municipalities that regulate astrologers and they get the authority to do that from the state constitutions. Just because they have the power, it does not follow that they must use it. So some municipalities will not bother with regulating this sort of thing. It is more likely to be part of the code of larger cities. So usually an astrologer usually could set up shop with little ado in the suburbs, but the customers are more likely to be found in the cities. Philadelphia is the most recent major city to try to outlaw astrologers and fortune tellers, but it was successfully challenged as there was no major fraud that motivated it. The first time an astrologer makes off with a widow's money, you will see strict regulation put in place.

The problem we face is that every place has fraud statutes and being an astrologer by itself is considered fraudulent behavior. Be careful out there.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy wrote:
Itís quite bizarre that on several forums astrologers are upset by this Ophiuchus and the 13th sign story... After the discovery of precession, astrologers went different ways with tropical division and the use of anchor stars for sidereal zodiacs (or a significant date, see for more info on defining the zodiac

Why do you find it bizarre that astrologers are upset Eddy? Donít you think itís perfectly understandable? Regardless of what zodiac is used, all zodiacs have a 12-fold division, and thatís a simple fact. Zodiacs are based upon mathematical divisions of the ecliptic, which is measured through 0-36į longitude, with each sign measuring 30į each. The foolish reports imply that there should be 13 zodiac signs, which is idiocy, but the implication is that astronomers understand the subject better than astrologers do.
The problem is that astronomers donít like to use longitude because it rests upon an earth-centre perspective Ė which is perfectly valid in its own terms, and which perfectly suits astrologyís earth-centred symbolism; but itís not current amongst modern astronomers, because they are not interested in astronomical measurement which conforms to geocentric principles. No astrologer is disputing the constellation boundaries Ė this is a problem about constellation boundaries being confused for zodiacal signs.

Iím shocked to discover that finger prints are taken from astrologers in America.

Deb

BTW, Curtis Ė I think you link is valid here but feel free to repeat it in the news section if you wish. In fact, please do use the news section to let us know whenever you add anything new and interesting to your site.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eddy

Quote:
Itís quite bizarre that on several forums astrologers are upset by this Ophiuchus and the 13th sign story.


Misinformation to the detriment of anybody makes upset understandable from their point of view. In this case particular astronomers have (deliberately?) misinformed the public about the process of how western (tropical) astrology works. Saying things like "when [astrologers] say that the sun is in ≠Pisces, itís really not in Pisces", but of course it misinforms and obfuscates the matter. When astrologers say that the sun is in Pisces, it most definitely is in Pisces, just not the constellation of the same name. Were I to make a fallacious remark about astronomy and it were to go viral and be taken up by newspapers all over the world, despite it being completely incorrect, you can bet that astronomers the world over would be upset.
In this case we have astrology unfairly misrepresented (possibly deliberately, I certainly suspect so) to the detriment of not only astrologers globally, but to the fundamental truth of astrology itself. Misinformation, when widely believed, is definitely a cause for upset.

Quote:
The problem is to challenge the Ophiuchus frame without stepping in it. I believe in constructive discussion between opposed views provided it is done with good argumentation without rhetorical sophisms.


I disagree, I think the 'problem' is in educating on what astrology actually is and how it works, but we'll never manage to do that when astrologers are not given an equal voice to their detractors. If one side of the argument is only ever heard, then one side will only be believed and understood. The problem has nothing to do with Ophiuchus, there is no reason to really 'argue' it at all, no more than I would argue whether or not a square has five sides. Instead I'd prefer to teach what a square actually is and by doing so it will become utterly apparent that it can never have 5 sides. Similarly the entire school of astrology needs to confront itself with better critical thinking so that we stop catering to the simplest watered down versions of it and teach what it really is with a better degree of critical thinking. Enough Leos are generous and are going to have a good day tomorrow and meet tall dark strangers today. In fact many astrologers are just as to blame as anyone else, I've even seen sun sign columnists mention that the "Sun was passing through the constellation Libra at the time of your birth...", etc. when of course we can hardly blame astronomers or anyone else for confusing signs for constellations if astrologers themselves do it too.



Zoidsoft
Quote:
In Nevada, you have to go into a "booking" process where you are fingerprinted in the same way that criminals are treated after having been arrested for a crime if you want to do readings for people legally as a business


Wow, that's really scary. Note to self: Never emmigrate to America.
I struggle to think of a good logical reason for how finger printing an astrologer would prevent any crimes though.

[/quote]
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Tom
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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Wow, that's really scary


I learned last week that in Germany and Sweden, if anyone moves from one town to another he is expected to register with either the police or some government agendy in the new place of residence and that doesn't only apply to astrologers. There is no such requirement in the USA. I find that far more scary than fingerprinting.
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