Smackdown on Astrology

Caution – if you have strong faith in Astrology, skip this post. I recently came across in the New Scientist (Apr 2006 issue) magazine an excellent article by Chris Holt. Unfortunately, it is locked behind the premium wall. So i decided to paraphrase it. He talks of 4 major supporting rationale that the astrologers give and Holt demolishes each one systematically: If gravity affects the tides, and since humans are 70% water, it should affect us also
Since we know the masses of the planets and we know Newton’s law of gravity, we can actually calculate the gravitational force. It turns out that a one ton car on the road exerts a gravitational force 10 times as greater as the one that planet Mars exerts on a human being on earth. Magnetic fields have an impact on us because planets can even cause sunspots
Further our brain operates using electric currents, so magnetism of the planets infuences us.
Scientists have shown that if anything the magnetic interference from the household electric equipment is far greater. I can see the Vaasthu experts salivating at this. This is why the Vaasthu
shastra says that the microwave oven should be kept in the north east corner of the house or
whatever! Calendar Theory
The time of the year you were born infuences you. Per Holt, this maybe the most scientific of the lot because there is some evidence that the season you were born in may have a bearing on your personality to a small extent.  He says the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere but Australian astrologers still use the same charts used in the northern hemisphere.

Thanks to the astronomical phenomenon called Precession  there has been a shift of one whole zodiacal sign over the last 2000 years. So if your zodiacal sign is Aries it would actually be Pisces because astrologers use charts from 2000 years ago! In my view there is one simple point against Astrology – correlation is not causation. If something happens because Astrologers predicted it, it would have to be proven using the principle of causation not correlation. References:
1. Skepticwiki’s take on Astrology
2. Dr. T. Jayaraman of Matscience takes down Astrology during the attempt to add Astrology to the curriculum in India. Yikes.


  1. Anonymous said January 28, 2007, 7:26 am:

    As per the indian system, astrology does not work because of gravity. It is based on the premise that human beings are part of the Macrocosm, anything which happens to the universe effects the microcosm. Just like a infection in your nail has an impact on every cell of your body. Astrology is used in determining this impacts. To chart a horoscope requires amazing knowledge of Astonomy (please see my post on Rahu and Kethu in CH1B). I think there is a correction for precission in Indian astrology (1 degree correction is Sun’s axis every 75 years)

  2. Anonymous said January 29, 2007, 9:33 am:

    Archana – I have a question for you. If what Astrology uses is the macrocosm – which should be the entire universe – why does it rely only on a handful of planets in the solar system? It doesn’t even take all the planets of the solar system into consideration – Uranus, Neptune & Pluto, along with all the major moons of the planets (excepting ours) have been left out.

    If someone makes a fantastic claim that they can predict the future, I’d like to understand how they do it. Where is the connection here, even going by your theory?

    – Priya

  3. Anonymous said January 30, 2007, 8:25 pm:

    Priya – The answer that is given to this question is that the objects closest to us have the greatest impacts on us.

    Having said that, I agree with you 100% that there is no scientific basis for preditions. We should also understand that, the Indian astronomy developed because of Astrology. Did you know that Rahu and Kethu are the points were the plane of Moon’s revolution meets the pale of earth’s. It is only at these points eclipse takes place. This was known few 100 years BC. It was science till one point in time and we should acknowledge its contribution to science.

  4. Anonymous said January 31, 2007, 1:05 am:


    This post is merely to show how fundamentally flawed astrology is from a scientific perspective. The fact that astrology may have given rise to Astronomy is not the issue at hand here.

    As for objects being close to us having impact. This also cannot be true. Priya made an important point. A cursory analysis of the solar system shows that Mars which is included in the astrolgical charts has 2 moons, Jupiter which is included in the astrological charts has 63 satellites and Ganymede which is the largest of Jupiter’s satellites is even larger than Mercury which is included in the astrological chart. [Source: Wikipedia]

    Ultimately, it is not the accuracy of the calculations that is in question. It is an impressive feat that our ancients were able to calculate the position of astronomical bodies. But what they did next with the calculations is where the issue comes – using astronomical calculations to show how you one can predict one’s life – this is what is not scientific.


  5. Anonymous said March 10, 2007, 6:41 am:

    Yes I have heard about diffent horoscope but Indian horoscope is much more powerful Comparison other horoscope so try it.