Astrology is science now according to Toyah Wilcox

Toyah Wilcox introduces us to the magic of Astrology.

The article begins on a high-note.

I have studied astrology for the past 20 years and it has become a part of my lifestyle. On certain levels, it is a science. I follow a Moon diary, a Sun diary and where Mercury is throughout the year. It goes into retrograde three times a year – the last time was 2 to 25 March – and anyone working with computers or cars will experience some kind of breakdown at these times.

Astrology is no more scientific than slaughtering an animal and making a decision based on an examination of the entrails.

As someone who works in tech support, I unfortunately haven’t seen evidence of an increase in the rate of computer failures caused by the cheeky actions of Mercury. As someone who owns and works with quite a few computers and electrical items, you’d think I would be very likely to experience a breakdown based on her claim that “anyone working with computers or cars will experience some kind of breakdown at these times”.

The phases of the Moon give tangible evidence of astrology; people with mental sensitivities and depressive people are undoubtedly affected by the full moon.

There is no evidence for this, it’s an urban legend better explain by the Skeptics Dictionary. Some people may be affected by the moon, you can’t dispute that. The problem is, this doesn’t provide any evidence for astrology. Take this example..

A person with mental-health issues can be affected by a large number of things. If you are a nervous person, a noise heard late at night can give you a fright. Does this mean that there is evidence for ghosts or proof that there is an intruder in your house? I think not – Correlation does not prove causality.

You could note that since global warming has increased while the pirate population has decreased, there is a link between the two. This clearly can’t be established without evidence. You can’t connect mental-health issues with astrology without sound evidence.

Toyah leaves us with this advice.

“There is no way that horoscopes printed in newspapers can be totally accurate – they are too general and sometimes do not help the reputation of astrology at all. But I would recommend that anyone interested in astrology should keep a diary, noting down moods and days when they were creative or non-creative in work, and then look up the dates when Mercury was in retrograde and the dates of the full moon.

This is true. Newspaper horoscopes are proven to be nothing more than guesses. If you predict something for a large enough group of people, you will without doubt seem to score some hits. I predict that capricorns June is a good time for them to find love or a new friend. Although this will not apply to everyone, it will certainly apply to some. Those people who find love or a new friend will think “Wow, that’s uncanny.”

Personal horoscopes are not much better. At least if someone is speaking to you, they can learn a bit about your personality and they can make predictions that fit you. Still, they’re not using some supernatural powers, they are just good at reading and deceiving their audience.

Her suggestion that you keep a diary almost seems plausible. After all, how can you argue with documented evidence? You can argue very easily. There are a number of ways in which you can convince yourself that astrology works.

You are biased – you can’t escape this fact. If you are expecting a particular day to be significant then you will notice events that would otherwise seem mundane. You will ignore facts that don’t back-up your belief. This is a common mistake made when testing supernatural claims.

Testing the claims of psychics is often flawed because a researcher allows their beliefs to determine what data are relevant and discard those considered unimportant. If the person being tested fails to chose the right card in 8 attempts but succeeds with 2, you can claim that there was an external influence affected the psychic.

Good researchers recognise this fact and take steps to compensate for this. Toyah’s test does not and will lead to nothing better than comforting anecdotes that will simply confirm what you want to believe.

Toyah is free to believe that horoscopes work but it’s pretty silly to claim a scientific basis. By making such claims, she joins the ranks of the Intelligent Design crowd, flat earthers and others who seem to revel in their scientific ignorance.


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