Nathan (vovat) wrote,

No Apology for Astrology

The second Bullshit! episode of the new series was about astrology, a subject I'm surprised Penn and Teller hadn't covered before (and they even joked about that at the beginning of the episode). It was pretty typical of the show, pointing out the tricks that astrologers use while also taking some cheap shots, like at the guy who took forever to define astrology. Unlike orgasm therapy, astrology is something into which a lot of people seem to put a fair amount of stock. I see plenty of people talking about what their star signs signify when it comes to life choices. I don't think this episode is likely to change anyone's mind about the topic, but I do have to wonder why so many people who are aware that astrologers are basically pulling parlor tricks still consider their star signs to be of some kind of importance.

One thing I'm curious about when it comes to the pseudoscience is whether all astrologers are of the carnival huckster variety, or if there are some who actually follow the established rules and believe in it themselves. Or ARE there any real established rules? Astrology is an ancient practice, but it's not like there wasn't plenty of humbug in the ancient world. Just look at the ambiguous prophecies of the Oracle at Delphi, for instance. Still, ancient astrology definitely had its place, as it paved the way for astronomy. But, well, to follow the rules about how planets govern our lives that were conceived by people who hadn't yet figured out what planets actually WERE sort of seems akin to how the Catholic Church of the Renaissance era accepted Aristotle's ideas wholesale, even though Aristotle himself was a supporter of logic and observation.
Tags: history, mythology, religion, television

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