The stars cause influenza

Nope, that's foolishness. The word 'influenza' actually is derived from the medieval Latin influentia, meaning influence, because doctors once believed epidemics were caused by unfavorable planetary and stellar influences. But we know now that's ridiculous.

Four hundred years ago a way of knowing the facts about the world around us was developed. We still use it today; it's based on empirical validation of ideas. In other words, we just can't believe everything that comes into our heads, we need proof because some things we dream up are just plain loony (as in lunatic...a word derived from a supposed influence of luna, the moon).

After the scientific revolution astronomy became a successful source of understanding about the universe. Astrology began to appeal only to people who didn't take the time to think for themselves. Even today, many people just don't think critically about the wacky claims of astrological con artists.

Actually, it doesn't take much thinking to realize that astrology can't have any basis in reality. For example, what's so significant about the moment you're born--the basis of an astrological sign? Why not the moment of conception 9 months earlier, say? And for that matter, what do celestial conditions years ago have to do with our life today anyway? And why 12 signs, there should be 13.

Sure, if the Big Bang had slightly different characteristics we might not even be here today. But Jupiter (more massive than all the other planets combined) has less effect on you than a dump truck several miles away.

A question to ask yourself is why are people so willing to believe goofy stuff?



Lynn Hayes said...

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Tom said...

See my response elsewhere here.