Psst… Astrology Is Still BS!

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I think I have a concussion from all the facepalming I’ve done in the past 24 hours.

I remember there was this one day in high school that was really busy and really stressful. I had a lot going on, with situations to address that were both personal and professional. At the end of the day, I noticed my good ol’ Virgo horoscope on my browser homepage. The day was over, but that little paragraph described what had happened exactly. I was in awe.

I remember another day in high school when we were on a field trip and someone on the bus had a big book about astrology. It could describe your personality based on your sign. They read Virgo for me, and so much of it was dead on. I was anal and particular and all kinds of other things that everyone born between late August and late September were supposed to be.

Guess what, folks. Astrology is complete bullshit.

There is no wiggle room on this. It’s not even a little accurate. There isn’t an ounce of truth or reliability to it. It is utter nonsense—bogus superstition (which is redundant, but worth saying to drive home the point).

1) Do you really think there are only 12 13 kinds of people? 2) Do you really think that everybody born in the same month is the same? (Let’s not even get started on those Chinese animals—trust me, there are plenty of other ’85ers who are nothing like this ox.)

Yesterday’s announcement that the signs are changing only had one impact on me. It made me feel bad for the writers of the Battlestar Galactica series, because their 12 colonies should have been 13 to include “Ophiuchon,” but that’s about it. (Maybe they can work it into the next spinoff since poor Caprica was canceled.)

I was so disappointed to see so many of my friends on Facebook upset by this matter. Really? Are folks that insecure or naïve that they are living their lives according to the stars someone who’s good at writing self-satisfying ambiguity for their favorite newspaper, magazine, or website?

Apparently, I was never a Virgo. I was a Leo. Who the frak cares? If I had been told I was a Leo when I was a kid, I would have been able to have the same kind of mystifying experiences I described above. It just would have happened on different days.

If you want some reliable feedback about your personality, take the MBTI. It’s a reliable measure based on actual social science. When I say I’m an ENTJ, it’s because I know that the identity reflects who I am, not because I am a product of the imposed identity.

Now, assuming you’ve even read this far, a lot of you are probably thinking, why is Zack so bothered by this stupid little thing? The problem is that the same mental error people make about the validity of astrology is the same mental error people make about lots of superstitions, including luck, sin, and the probability of winning the lottery. Astrology, itself, may not be harmful, but the susceptibility to it very much is.

It’s primitive thinking. And it’s dangerous. There are a lot of stupid decisions made by people who are not stupid because of this kind of thinking.

If you get meaning and purpose from star signs, I feel bad for you. I hope you take some time to reflect on how senseless this is. If you want to have a conversation about it, let me know.

Seeing how many people were upset about the big astrology announcement might have made just a little bit more cynical. At the very least, I now have a sore forehead.

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There are 5 Comments to "Psst… Astrology Is Still BS!"

  • Barbara_K says:

    Yes, Facebook had me smacking my forehead yesterday too. After I posted about this on Facebook yesterday (the post was tongue in cheek and had a link to the Wikipedia page on the Forer effect), a friend posted about it and he was really upset that he wasn’t a Taurus anymore. He posted a link this morning to an article quoting an astrologer who claimed that they of course knew this all along, and that it was already accounted for by modern astrologers. My friend’s comment on the link was that he was so relieved that it had been debunked, because the news had kept him up all night. I find that sad.

    You mentioned the MBTI, and I’d like to relate my experience with it. I found the questions on that test to be very frustrating, as I could see choosing either answer for a good number of them, depending on the context of a given situation. My results on one of the parts was close enough (and a second of the four was nearly close enough) to either choice that I was instructed to just read the descriptions of the options and pick what I felt fit me the best. I don’t have a lot of confidence in the results. I certainly think the approach is more sound, but just found the whole process, especially the fact that at the end of it all I just had to pick what I liked best anyway, to be annoying.

    • ZackFord says:

      The key to appreciating the MBTI is understanding that it’s about tendencies. It doesn’t pigeonhole who you are. The questions are written that way for a reason; your answers don’t reflect what you would always do, but what you would be more likely to do.

      It’s a tool for helping understand yourself, not for being told about yourself by someone else like astrology.

  • Barbara_K says:

    Yeah, I definitely think that the approach to the MBTI is more sound. It has to be – astrology assigns you an identity then lets you fit the qualities associated with that identity to yourself, and the MBTI is the opposite. I was just frustrated because I was really interested at the time in having some way to assess my personality traits, as I didn’t know where to begin doing it for myself, so to have 2 of the 4 results be sort of either/or was disappointing. I’m a lot more confident and self aware, and less reliant on the opinions of others (like, say, astrologers), now than I was then, so it’s very possible I’d have a more positive experience with it now.

    I just dug up my results (this was 10 years ago), and the either/ors were between S/N and T/F. Looking at the general descriptions, I feel more confident now than I did then in accepting the, very slight (5 points), tendencies toward S and T.

  • libhomo says:

    When a guy asks what my sign is, I say “No Parking” unless he’s cute.

  • Mark Holsing says:

    I really like looking at those personality tests and what different people get. Another good one is the DISC personality test. It does a good job of identifying your strengths in group settings and warns you of tendencies that are deconstructive or harmful. For example I’m an S/C with a very dominant S which means that I tend to care more about how everyone is feeling rather than accomplishing the goal. But I tend to be an encourager and build up my group mates to make everyone feel involved. There is much more involved obviously and the addition of my C blurs the lines but it was interesting to read about how I interact with people so that I could be aware of when I’m helping and when I’m hurting the group.
    P.S. I’m an ISFJ in MB.

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