There shall be no mocking of astrology in India!

I disagree fully. Therefore… commence mocking.

Astrology is like astronomy, says BJP MP Ramesh Pokhariyal

Astrology is like astronomy, claimed a BJP member in the Lok Sabha, drawing protests from some opposition members.

While making references to traditional practices such as astrology and ayurveda, Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank said that among others, concept of atom, was known centuries ago in India.

He said there should be no mocking of astrology as ayurveda was also treated like that earlier but now it is recognised worldwide.

Yes. Astrology is pre-scientific. When we discovered the process of science, we ditched it and moved to ACTUAL study of ACTUAL bodies and forces in the universe.
Astrology is more like a religion.

This story is a good example of cognitive dissonance and proof that no matter how many times you say something with authority, it still doesn’t make it true.

For the JREF’s educational module on Astrology, check out their education page. Maybe we need to send a big old crate of these to India. They have serious issues.

  10 comments for “There shall be no mocking of astrology in India!

  1. Kurt
    December 4, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    I always ask a simple question: If astrology were accurate and true, then why did every culture develop a different version of it? All cultures only developed one version of, say math. One always equals one but a Gemini doesn’t equal a Rat.

  2. Bill T.
    December 4, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    The dangers of vaccinating against childhood diseases is also well known world wide. That raises the validity from nil by zero.

    But Nishank’s statements give me no confidence that he understands what constitutes actual evidence, so there ya go.

  3. Bill T.
    December 4, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    In fact, I’d say applies equally well to all traditional belief systems.

  4. Ronald H. Pine
    December 4, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Some of those who (like me) believe that astrology is total nonsense sometimes say that the apparent positions of constellations and other visible features in the sky, at any given time, have no effect on our lives. This is not the case. They do have effects. The point that should be made is that these effects are incalculable. Aside from the myriad ones having to do with sequences of cause and effect that are totally untraceable and undemonstrable, there are more obvious ones such as the fact that the apparent positions and star patterns of constellations that we see stimulate the initiation of chains of thought in us that are different than what they would have been had we seen different positions and patterns. And what one is thinking affects what one does and says, which affects the actions of other people and the rest of the world, through infinitely complex webs of cause and effect. All this is much more complicated than the “butterfly effect” is usually represented as being. To give an example of how this works, in order for me to have been born, a very specific sperm had to end up being the the lucky one, out of an enormous number of competitors, to enter a particular egg. The web of cause and effect that got that sperm to exactly the right place at the right time was infinitely complex and if any one of these factors had been different, the chances of my ever being here would have been astronomically low. If my dad had done the tiniest thing differently the day (or night) that I was conceived, such as, maybe, taking just one more puff on that cigarette, before I was conceived, the timing involved in getting that sperm to exactly where it needed to be when it needed to be there, would have been thrown off. For that matter, any little thing that my dad did or didn’t do, longer periods of time ago, in his life, would have changed the webs of “accidental” cause and effect events, at the cellular level, that determined exactly which sperm, as defined by their genetic holdings, would be produced and which ones wouldn’t be, so the particular sperm responsible for me would never have been produced if anything had happened differently back then. People die in automobile accidents. In order for any specific accident to have taken place, involving fatal injuries to someone, an infinite number of tiny things in the earth’s past and that person’s past had to have happened, just so, in order for the precise conditions to exist at a precise time, to allow the accident to occur. Think of all of the chance meetings that result in marriages, and all that follows from a marriage–and so on. Think of all of the great “chance events” of history that changed everything. What this means, among an infinity of other things, is that the tiniest action of yours or mine today will result in all the people in the world, in less than a hundred and thirty years from now, being different people from all the people who would be here if we had not performed that action. So don’t ever feel insignificant. All of this, having to do with the way that things work in the real world, is one reason why astrology is bunk.

  5. Ronald H. Pine
    December 4, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    It’s obvious that if you go back in history/prehistory far enough, you’ll eventually get to a time before any humans had developed any system of astrology. It therefore follows that if the principles upon which astrology are based are true, then someone would have had to have discovered them and, one wonders, who was this and how was this accomplished? I don’t see how these principles could have been demonstrated to exist without someone developing questionnaires which were distributed to many people to fill out–questionnaires which asked these people when they were born and all sorts of personal questions having to do with life events, temperament, and many other personal qualities. Then someone would have to have utilized sophisticated statistics to demonstrate the correlations between people’s personal traits, kinds of luck that they’d had, etc., with astronomical positions at the times of their births. Of course, this never happened. If you are a “believer,” then I need to have you tell me how the ancients figured out that the supposed principles of astrology exist and what put them on the right track in the first place.

  6. Ronald H. Pine
    December 4, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    If atrology worked, then it should work in reverse. In other words, if you knew all kinds of things about a person, except for when the person was born, you should be able to figure out the latter from the former, correct? In order to test astrology scientifically, an investigator could have a very large number of people fill out questionnaires that asked them many questions, chosen by a panel of astrologers, about their personal traits, trends in their lives, and so forth. Then have different astrologers look at all these filled-out questionnaires, while being kept in the dark as to when the people were born, and have these astrologers, for each filled-out questionnaire, come up with when the person’s birth occurred. Then see if the astrologers come up with correct answers with greater frequency than would be predicted by chance. If they did, then maybe the investigator would be qualified to win Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge.

  7. Jeff Rubinoff
    December 4, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Nishank got one thing right. Astrology and ayurvedic medicine are equally scientific.

  8. December 5, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    On the plus side we now know that rape horoscopes are a thing. Which, er… OK, I can’t think of anything good about that.

  9. December 7, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    For those wondering what horribleness this is, here’s my 12/3 post on rape horoscopes that Skepchick referenced:

    Rape Horoscopes: India TV News’ Latest Ratings Ploy

  10. December 7, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    That’s also linked in the piece above.

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