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Bombay High Court Rules Astrology is a Science
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Mansoor



Joined: 26 Nov 2010
Posts: 56

Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:53 am    Post subject: Bombay High Court Rules Astrology is a Science Reply with quote

This is something small but significant, I feel.

About a year ago, In January 2010, a public interest litigation (PIL) had been filed before the Bombay High Court by a city-based organization “Janhit Manch” against astrologers, practitioners of feng shui, numerology, gemology and faith healers.

Here’s the news:

PIL AGAINST ASTROLOGY

MUMBAI: This is one event which even the most astute astrologer could not have predicted. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Bombay high court against astrologers, practitioners of vastu, numerology, gemology and faith healers. The PIL has sought criminal action against such persons and a ban on the popular "forecasts'' on televisions and newspapers. The petition, filed by city-based organisation, Janhit Mach, has asked the courts to make it mandatory for astrologers for put a disclaimer in their advertisement, which reads: "It is not tried and tested''.

"Most of them operate deceitfully or fraudulently,'' said the petitioner Bhagwanji Raiyani. "The state has failed to perform its duty to develop scientific temper and crack down on such persons who misguide people,'' he added.

In his petition, Raiyani furnished a list of persons who he had approached to prove their skills, including self-proclaimed `gurus', astrologers, palmists, and vastu, gemology and numerology practitioners. Subsequently, he also registered non-cognisable complaints against a few.

"The practice and belief in astrology and related theories is devoid of any scientific process and experimentation, based on ludicrous theories of cosmic constellations, gravitation, divination, existing and non-existing solar objects as well as illusionary and imaginary placement of zodiac signs,'' stated the petition. The PIL added that astrology was supposed to be based on planetary positions but some planets, which were discovered during the last three centuries, don't find place in the astrological chart.

The predictions also cause harm by spreading rumours, alleged the petitioner, pointing to two specific incidents in the aftermath of an earthquake in Gujarat as well as end-of-the-world predictions. "The quacks sometimes spread rumours through their illogical predictions and cause great inconvenience, as well as monetary and business loss,'' said the PIL.

The PIL furnished a list of "predictions'' that had been proved to be false in recent times. Despite the enactment of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) and a pending bill Maharashtra Eradication of Block Magic and Evil and Aghori Practices Act, no action was taken against such persons, the petition claimed.

The PIL has sought the court directions to all "jyotish-related operators'' to prove their claims or face prosecution and a life ban from practising their "remedies''.

SOURCE: THE TIMES OF INDIA
DATE: 11.01.2010.


RULING:

The Bombay High Court has dismissed the PIL, stating that astrology is a science.

Here’s the news:

Mumbai: The Bombay HC on Thursday dismissed a PIL seeking a ban on ‘‘articles, advertisements, episodes and practices promoting astrology and related subjects like vastu, reiki, feng shui, tarot, palmistry and zodiac signs’’. The PIL had called for action against ‘‘bogus astrologers, tantriks and vastu shastra practitioners’’.
A bench heard the PIL that an NGO had filed. The PIL questioned validity of astrological predictions.
‘‘The SC has already ruled that astrology is a science. The court had directed the universities to consider if astrology science can be added to the syllabus. The decision of the SC is binding on this court,’’ the bench said.

SOURCE: THE TIMES OF INDIA
DATE: 04.02.2011.
Very Happy
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mattG



Joined: 21 Sep 2007
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Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am taking it that SC stands for Supreme Court. It would be good if this decision was a binding precedent on the courts over here just in case any of our skeptics try a similar tactic.

Have you heard of the Indian Rationalist Association? I seem to remember them staging stunts against astrologers a few years back.

Thank you for the news.

Regards

Matthew
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jventura



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
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Location: Portugal

Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Bombay High Court Rules Astrology is a Science Reply with quote

Mansoor wrote:

This is something small but significant, I feel.

(...)

‘‘The SC has already ruled that astrology is a science. The court had directed the universities to consider if astrology science can be added to the syllabus. The decision of the SC is binding on this court,’’ the bench said.


Well, it is good news.

However, I would like to know what are the facts that the SC (Supreme Court?) has considered proven to justify that Astrology is a science, anyone knows?

Although is a step forward, if those reasons aren't sufficient, or worse, aren't justifiable, it is just a case of opinion of an "authority" (the judges), and it has the same value as other "authorities" (the "scientists") saying that it is not..


João Ventura
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Deb
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Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wanted to place a notice that I have recently uploaded an article about this, which considers what significance this might have on western astrologers:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/astrology_a_trusted_science.html

Or it can be downloaded as a PDF file here:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/pdf/astrology_a_trusted_science.pdf

Feel free to circulate freely, as I think it has an important message for astrologers and anyone working in the holistic fields.
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jventura



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Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:

I just wanted to place a notice that I have recently uploaded an article about this, which considers what significance this might have on western astrologers:


Hi Deb,

may i say that it is a good article the one you wrote!

For what i've understand, for the India's SC the definition of science is: a field of human knowledge with its own (or inherited) techniques and concepts.
With this definition, Astrology is a Science, but also are "palm reading", tarot, etc., and also what we consider fields of art, like music, painting, sculpture are sciences, because all are bodies of knowledge with their own specialists and concepts and techniques, etc.

I tend to agree more with the "modern" definition of science: fields of human knowledge from where that knowledge is inferred by analytical methods. This rules out arts, where for instance, advances in music are more subject to tastes rather analytical tools, and other fields of knowledge.

So, in this perspective, i think that we must stay sober, and realize that no real advance has happened to astrology regarding the decision of the SC. They are just confirming something that everyone knows, that astrology is a field of human knowledge. And they are basing their facts in the fact that astrology has more than 4k years.
Is the confirmation of that fact (that we all know) all that important, only because someone more "important" said that? I think not. It's the same thing as a very important scientist saying that astrology is not a science, both are losing their time..

In my opinion, accordingly to the modern definiton, Astrology is (still) not a science mainly because the new knowledge isn't inferred by analytical methods. The new knowledge that sometimes arises usually are inventions of some authors who think that are doing something useful! Lets face it, rigorous control and testing is not being done in Astrology to see if those "new" techniques are in fact working!
I "do" science in my "day job", dealing with statistical methods, and when i say that something works, i must also say how many times my methods are effective (like 75%) and in what conditions the experimentations have occured. I (still) don't see this in Astrology, and that is why Astrology can't be considered a science by the modern definition.

I'm not saying astrology doesn't work (or else i wouldn't implement software for it and wouldn't frequent this forum), but only saying that, unfortunatelly (in the scientific point of view) it is not subjected to rigorous control.. So, there is no point of losing precious time trying to convince inflexible people that astrology works..


Just my humble opinion,
João Ventura


Last edited by jventura on Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Deb
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Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi João

Thank you - and yes, I agree with you that we must be careful not to confuse people or allow the public to think that our methods are more subject to rigorous control than they are (or comparable to what the modern definition of the term 'science' implies).

It is the definition that you confirmed that I believe allows astrology to command respect in its own right: "a field of human knowledge with its own (or inherited) techniques and concepts." I also approve of the fact that this offers respect to other holistic studies too - I know some palmists for example who have studied very hard indeed to acquire mastery of their subject, both in theory and practice. In short, I like the idea that as a society we recognise the human right to tolerance, freedom of opinion and basic respect for any kind of studied knowledge.

I'm also looking over the article again now because I want to be clear that any implied criticisms of scientists is not pointed towards scientists generally, only those extremists within it who have lost the ability to make reasoned criticism as Nurse suggested and focus on denial instead (unfortunately its often a small group of extremists who tend to make the loudest noises, and anyone who promotes the idea that scientists must invest time and effort into ‘debunking’ astrology, have shown that they have misunderstood the purpose of scientific advancement).

Thanks for the comments
Deb
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Eddy



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Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second João's view. Moreover, the Bombay High Court'sdecision worries me.

It should be noted that Janhit Manch is not a kind of debunkers society but a NGO that is dedicated to assertion of human rights. http://www.janhitmanch.org/

I don't share the enthusiasm about the Bombay High Court's decision, because I realise that this is to be seen in a bigger picture of the rise religious fundamentalism/nationalism. In Meera Nanda's article 'The perils of Vedic 'Science', this is explained. http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Hinduism/2001/05/The-Perils-Of-Vedic-Science.aspx excerpt from the original larger article http://newhumanist.org.uk/827/intellectual-treason-by-meera-nanda-januaryfebruary-2005# I have read several articles of Meera Nanda, and this threat of religious and nationalist ideology is to be taken very seriously.
Quote:
Hindu nationalists, like U.S. evangelicals, are co-opting their nation's culture and calling bad science good.

A few years ago in the US, parents objected against the eduation of Intelligent Design in schools. Fortunately they won the case in court. The case in India is similar, unfortunately it have been the religious that won.
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Deb
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Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eddy,

What I hoped to clarify in the article is that the use of the word ‘science’ in this situation does not relate to our modern western understanding of the word, but only to an older definition that was broadly applied to any body of knowledge, as João has described it. So it’s important for astrologers (and others) not to jump to the conclusion that this would support any kind of definition of astrology as a ‘science’ in our own understanding of the term (and nor should we want that IMO too).

Rather, I think it’s important for astrologers to realise that astrology has its own strengths and purposes, and that it deserves respect in its own right, for being exactly what it is. Obviously there are many elements within it that deserve better quality scientific investigation; but asking scientists to consider those points is not the same as expecting the subject to gain a new definition.

There is an interesting comparison here between two very different cultural approaches to the subject. Perhaps each would be improved a little by the awareness of the other’s extremes?

I personally like the views that Nurse expressed, as quoted in the article; that science needs to be critical and sceptical, but it should not adopt a closed-minded and intolerant approach to closing down other people’s views and interests.

Good knowledge and 'good science' can only reflect the attitude behind it. There is no reason why any body of knowledge cannot be treated with respect and made available to the study and exploration of those who find value in it; but that then means that all dogmatic attempts to impede the acquisition of knowledge are equally wrong. This would be the case in India if the situation was a negative one as you fear. (I'm not sure it is myself, but admit to have not followed the politics closely).

The idea I really want to emphasise is that people can exercise choice to value what they feel inclined to value without the fear of imposed humiliation or condemnation – and also that different disciplines should all realise that they have weaknesses that could be improved by furthering their own knowledge rather than seeking the oppression of another.

All the best to you
Deb
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Eddy



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Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Deb. About the terminology of science I agree with you, but according to Meera Nanda's article this is not what is taking place in India. In some fundamentalist groups 'science' implies on the one side re-reading modern scientific knowledge (like nuclear power) in the vedas and on the other side rejecting science as practised in the Western countries as imperialistic, reductionist and soul- or meaningless. It's even referred to as 'Semitic'. (Do I see the influence of Blavatsky here?).
When Nurse refers to scepticism, he rather means the narrow mindedness of climate change denialists. In Nurse's view I can't find much which could support the case of astrology. Rather than opposing science, I try to integrate it in my view of astrology. Even if it means that much has to be thrown out which hurts. You get a lot in exchange. I don't share the uncomfortable feelings that most astrologers have with the disenchantment of the universe. A universe that consists of simply dead matter obeying physical laws is fine for me. If astrology affects us like alcohol and caffein does then I don't need to see meaning in it. More than that, I see rather problems with 'meaning' in physical matters. I'm glad to realise that diseases like cancer have no deeper meaning. Believing so, one easily inclines to concepts of 'karma' and 'spiritual punishments', which in my eyes is far more cruel than disenchanted nature.

I think it's a misconception to believe that the Indian approach is more enlightened than Western. The dark side are the caste system and the discrimination based thereupon, corruption, illiteracy, poverty. What Bhagwanji Raiyani is trying to do is fighting these problems which are partly maintained by abuse of scrupleless people. Just compare it with the 'psychic' readings and 'mediums' on the commercial tv stations. Pure deception of the public. It's rather the excrescences of astrology to which the PIL was directed.

I therefore see the Court decision as a hard blow to science, because in it I recognise an intolerant religious undertone towards science. It reminds me of the 1930's in which non-aryan science was refuted as materialistic, 'Semitic' and non-spiritual. They are back, only in another disguise. Moreover they or their ideas have infiltrated rather the minds of idealist progressive people who in their belief that they help the oppressed don't recognise that they support the forces who maintain oppression. Reading Nanda, Sokal etc. one will see what I mean. For this I deeply worry about the attempts to have astrology taught in universities as a factual science (not only in India but also in Europe like the Sophia Centre). If this continues, teaching a flat Earth isn't far away and science will deteriorate and the liberalising effect which science has on society will be suppressed.
Paul Nurse wrote:
I have an idealistic view of science as a liberalising and progressive force for humanity. Better understanding of the natural world not only enhances all of us as human beings, but can also be harnessed for the better good, leading to improved health and quality of life. It is also a truly international activity which breaks down barriers between the peoples of world, an objective that always has been necessary and never more so than now.
I see the idealisation of India as part of the disillusion of many Westerners with our modern life. However I don't see creating a new illusion or a new mythology as a solution. I don't feel the need to connect spirituality to the cosmos. A detachment through science not only serves the understanding of the physical world, it is also an asset to discern the spiritual. To integrate this in astrology we therefore have to look at the future, and not in the past, like Brockbank appears to do if he want’s to see astrology as a kind of divination. The problem with this is that often a past is idealised, and it’s usually a past which actually never existed.

But I'm probably getting too philosophical here for the News/notices board.
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Robert Currey



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Posted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eddy,

I too am a little ambivalent about the wording of Indian High Court ruling as I don’t believe astrology as practiced in India resembles what we in the West might describe as science. However, I think the context of the ruling meant that it had to be defined in this way. The Public Interest Litigation sponsored by the FDA a scientific body citing an Act connected with Medicine
Quote:
“urged the authorities to ban articles, advertisements, episodes and practices promoting astrology and related subjects like vaastu, Reiki, Feng Shui, tarot, palmistry and zodiac signs.” ~Times of India. 3 Feb 2011


I would be surprised if advertising in India is not regulated as it is within Europe and false claims are liable to prosecution. If the consumer is not adequately protected then this is the area of legislation that the sceptical ‘scientific’ group should have targeted. However, it appears that they put their desire to impose their fundamentalist rationalist beliefs over the interests of the consumer.

I have not yet had time to read your links connected with Janhit Manch so I cannot judge the extent of the movement towards religious fundamentalism and anti-science or whether this is propaganda. What I do know is that there are extremists from an ultra rationalist point of view and from an extreme religious point of view who have never let the truth get in the way of their goal of discrediting their opponents. I had an experience of this, when I criticised Professor Brian Cox’s ill-informed and unscientific comments on TV on my public Facebook page:

My comments were not in any way disrespectful of the Professor as an individual. However, they were circulated around the world on Twitter, in blogs and in on-line Journals that astrologers had specifically set up a Facebook page to ‘hate’ Cox. Websites recycled this false spin verbatim without even looking at the page. So it was not surprising that I had to respond to many hundreds of angry irrational ‘rationalists’ invading the site.

It appears that the attempted Indian litigation was based on intolerance and prejudice and this may have caused it to backfire. History is littered with groups who seek to impose their world view and narrow experience onto others. It’s easy to cite religious, racial or sexual intolerance, but even movements that appear to be ‘good for society’ like Prohibition in America proved disastrous. I think that it is fine that you see the universe in black and white and others see it in colour. Everybody is working with different models. I too don’t see the disease cancer as having a connection with Karma and this view is certainly not supported in any astrology courses or schools that I have attended. However, I do feel that besides genes, diet and lifestyle, we should consider psychological factors which operate in a way which are not easily addressed by strict use of the scientific method.

I can’t answer for the Sophia Centre, though I don’t believe astrology is being taught as a factual science. Let me know if you have evidence to support this claim. What I do know is that students of astrophysics are either being taught a very narrow and old-fashioned view of astrology or the subject is totally avoided even though it is integral to the history of their science. So students come out believing they have expertise in all things celestial when most like Cox are clueless when it comes to astrology.

PS this is my first post here so I apologize if I have not followed the protocols and formatting styles.
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GarryP
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Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eddy,

Robert is right, astrology is not being taught 'as a factual science' at the Sophia Centre - you have been misinformed. Since I have attended the Centre's seminars from the early days and do some tutoring for them, I think I'm well-placed to say this. I would be interested to know where this idea came from, in case it needs to be corrected elsewhere?

I think your evaluation of James Brockbank's work rather misses the point as well, but if it's his thesis that you're referring to there's not much latitude for discussing it until it's published.

Garry
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Eddy



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Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Robert,

Quote:
However, it appears that they put their desire to impose their fundamentalist rationalist beliefs over the interests of the consumer.

I have not yet had time to read your links connected with Janhit Manch…
Sorry if I’m curtly but how can you make that judgment when one sentence later you say you haven’t read about it?

This is from their website:
Quote:
Bhagwanji Rahiyani of the NGO said several well-known people are practicing various forms of astrology claiming cure for almost everything – right from swine flu to heart disease
I assume that the EU has better consumer-protection than India.

It’s unpleasant having your comments about Cox twisted on Twitter and I’m sorry to see that Deb’s website, of all those hundreds of astrology websites, has been abused by the media as a target. Note that this all is the media we are dealing with. The scientists are barely represented. Just compare the irrational rationalists’ reactions with the muslim-bashing of last decennium. On the internet anyone can call themselves islam-‘specialists’ and all what they do is copying each other. I’ve already mentioned that the media set up a frame, a strawman argument. The worst thing astrologers can do and actually did, is stepping in the frame. Rather than defending themselves against the strawman, astrologers should fight against abuses like in that quote above. Astrologers indeed do, by setting up ethics standards like the AAPI does http://www.professionalastrologers.co.uk/ethics.htm
Quote:
(e) To refrain from offering any medical, legal or financial advice to a client on astrological grounds unless the appropriate skills or qualifications have been obtained.
http://www.professionalastrologers.co.uk/ethics.htm
If astrologers would join and publicly dissociate themselves from astro-tv tarot/medium/astrologers-in-one quacks and sun sign babble, this would at least give an impression of being serious. It’s not a surprise that astrology is being mocked at. Unless astrologers set up their own house in order, these media ridicules will continue.
Quote:
I think that it is fine that you see the universe in black and white and others see it in colour.
I get the impression of a valuation of different views. However if this seeing in colour is like seeing the old Laurel & Hardy movies in colour, then I’d rather stick to black and white.
To translate my absence of a need for a spiritually permeated universe in astrological terms, I would prefer a natural astrology, like Ptolemy taught, only adapted to a more modern view. However modern physics aren’t promising in this, but I still find it an attractive one. Perhaps my view won’t be tenable. In that case I should reconsider ideas which I used to reject, like those of Revilla, or mathematically based views. I like the abstract side of maths even to such an extent that, applied in astrology, it doesn’t especially need to ‘work’ for me.
Quote:
I can’t answer for the Sophia Centre, though I don’t believe astrology is being taught is a factual science. Let me know if you have evidence to support this claim.
http://www.astrology-and-science.com/h-chai1.htm

Hi Garry,
I just saw your post popping up when I finished my reply to Robert. What I said about the Sophia Centre was based upon the link just mentioned.
I indeed can’t fully judge Brockbank without reading him but when I read your post
Quote:
James' thesis is that it is necessary to involve 'non-human agency' in order to explain astrology - in other words it argues for a view of astrology as divination.
Obviously, I need to read more to comment on him, but I based my remark on this proposed explanation of astrology. I didn’t mention it but I somewhat related this view to the view as in your article mentioned in Mark’s Buddhism and Astrology thread on page 9 about theurgy/interacting with non-human beings. I assumed that Brockbank’s view might be on the same field as this view, but perhaps I jumped into conclusions to hastely. However, I think that astrology’s path should not be in that direction (or my interpretation of it).
It should be noted that I write my critical remarks as a friend of astrology. I try to submit my own astrology to scrutiny like what Nurse says:
Quote:
Skepticism is very important… be the worst enemy of your own idea, always challenge it, always test it. I think things are a little different when you have a denialist or an extreme skeptic.
Unfortunately it are often the astrologers who take this latter stance. German astrologer Peter Niehenke faces this problem though.
Quote:
..., it could well be that scientific methods in general, and statistical methods in particular, are not appropriate to prove astrology as a whole but they are in fact appropriate to prove the statements made in astrological textbooks and announced in astrology courses. It is not very helpful to explain these facts away or to deny their existence. We all too often try to wriggle ourselves out of our problems with various justifications, downplaying our failure, finding thousands of explanations after the event -- instead of getting a deeper knowledge of astrology by taking up these facts.

http://h1743330.stratoserver.net/onlinetexte7.html
Again, I have no intentions of quarreling but since I realise that astrology can and has been in the past a powerful tool to abuse I feel that I have to point out the risks involved.

I realise that my views aren't very popular and especially nowadays when this media-attack is causing so much turmoil in the astrology community. Perhaps it's better that I refrain from these kinds of discussion at the moment. My 'dissenting opinions' might be mistaken for actions of a debunker which I'm not. Justice Scalia the 'dissenting opinions' man par excellence, doesn't turn his back to astrology. Likewise, I often dissent, but don't turn my back to astrology. By the way, I too have to set up my own house on order constantly.
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Robert Currey



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Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eddy,

I can’t help but agree with a lot of your points.

I am going to avoid discussing the Sophia Centre as it is not my domain.

The unacceptable claims of some Indian astrologers which I had read about is actually part of the reason why I believe that the Indian rationalist group appeared to take the wrong (both philosophically and practically) approach. If they had targeted these abusive cases and consumer protection is the most effective way, they might have succeeded and with my blessing. However, they appear (and I stress this word appear because I have not read everything available) to have gone for a blanket approach of banning “articles, advertisements, episodes and practices promoting astrology and related subjects like vaastu, Reiki, Feng Shui, tarot, palmistry and zodiac signs.” Would this blog be a banned article?

Now if your articles say that this is not correct and the rationalist group were only targeting specific cases of abuse then I stand corrected and they were clearly putting customer protection as a legitimate priority. However, if not they were imposing their fundamentalist rationalist beliefs over the interests of the consumer. If you have a problem with rogue plumbers, you don’t try to ban all plumbers – unless you have a personal issue with plumbing.

Otherwise, I agree that the Ophiuchus red herring was a straw man argument (sorry to mix metaphors) that brought a huge number of astrologers including myself into the no-lose argument – though the correction was essential. I also agree that one of the main reasons astrology gets bad publicity is not the field of astrology, but us astrologers. These are points, I have made elsewhere. However, as to your question about disassociation with media astrologers, I am tied between my loyalty to fellow astrologers and my loyalty to the integrity of astrology. It’s a bit like when a member of the family does something that’s not good – do you stay loyal to family or distance yourself? I will think about this dilemma and if I get a better answer, I will post later.

I welcome a spirit of debate within astrology. We need it and I wish I could devote the time that it deserves. In general, I have found that exchange with sceptics who offer constructive points such as Geoffrey Dean (whom you have cited) has been very stimulating and given me greater clarity about how astrology could be improved. My great disappointment is that Dean will in my experience never concede a point favouring astrology or correct a misunderstanding that goes against astrology. This in my view undermines the credibility of everything that he has published, though I still admire his intellect. So my point is that from what I have read of your comments, this astrology blog will be the loser if you decide to leave.

~Robert
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for joining the forum with your comments Robert.

Touching on some of the interesting points being made here, I can’t help thinking that a lot of the emotive fervour of the more extreme sceptical attacks are based on their fear of religious fundamentalism being able to suppress the advances of modern science; and their projection of that fear upon astrology.

It’s a misplaced projection because astrologers are mainly very-independent thinkers (they have had to be). I don’t think astrology can be divorced from relevance to the spiritual as Eddy suggests, but the word ‘spiritual’ can carry negative connotations to anyone who thinks that it involves religious doctrine (instead of it being about the creative and animating impulse which causes motion; the fundamental proof of ‘life’).

When fear of religious fundamentalism becomes irrational and suppressive in itself then it becomes religious fundamentalism itself. Hence some of the sceptics show slavish and emotional attachments to keeping ideas stifled without examination, which is the very thing they claim to abhor.

For example, Brian Cox, described his attitude to astrologer’s complaints in his Huw Wheldon Lecture (Dec, 2010) saying:

The BBC asked me for a statement – mine was, “I apologise to the Astrology community for not making myself clear. I should have said that this New Age drivel is undermining the very fabric of our civilization.”

So here is an example of an extreme and irrational view on astrology; which he targets as being trivial and nonsense on one hand, but dangerous to society on another. What is really dangerous is when society (any society) loses sight of being balanced in its analysis and moderate in its opinions, so that issues get forced to emotive extremes which whip up inflamed reactions. Of course we astrologers have to be careful of not getting caught up in that too; but we need to be wary of it, and realise the dangers of it.

For the record, I’m agnostic myself and have never felt inclined toward any organised religion; although I think that all world religions and different world cultures all deserve respect. (As does astrology and all other holistic fields Smile )

Deb
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Eddy



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 922
Location: Netherlands

Posted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also agree with your points Robert. Perhaps a report of the Bombay court will learn us more about the indictment and its rejection. I haven’t seen it yet, perhaps it will be there in a few months.

Also the loyalty dilemma, I can understand. There’s a danger of a slippery slope towards internal intolerance. Astrologers can condemn sun sign astrologers but might also go further and condemn those who use sidereal astrology. On the other side, I feel that plain abuse should be condemned. Perhaps a poor comparison but the abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are terrible but the initial carpet sweeping did even more harm. Hence the ethics codes are good means of self-regulation. Unfortunately, the internet makes it possible to spread all kinds of weird ideas.

And Deb, yes it’s rather the negative connotations with the spiritual that makes me wary. However spirituality in astrology is possible without its connection with the cosmos, ‘up there’. As spirituality is an inner issue, the associations that take place in the mind with celestial events and which make astrology to work could be just as valuable as a living cosmos permeated with spirit.

And Cox appears to be right about the ‘new age drivel’ so his apologies seem sincere. I can’t really blame him if the shelves on astrology in the average book shop only contain sun-sign books, and if there’s astro.tv (at least in the Netherlands). And there are websites where people discuss their Ophiuchus sign and disasters related to a non-existing planet Niburu that would enter the solar system in 2012 (as if the solar system is just a couple of million km wide). Let’s hope this will stay at the margin.

I don’t intend to leave Robert, it’s only that I don’t have the time either to devote the time on this. It takes quite a few words to express my ambivalent feelings. Too short could be interpreted wrongly, too long is time consuming. Well I think we all are somewhere on the same track here, having to cope with both an unfair external representation of the subject as with the ones among the astrological community who cause this. And for the media, it’s the extremes that sell nowadays.
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